Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Here Come the ABCs!

As a longtime fan of They Might Be Giants, I looked forward to getting Mr. Na their latest DVD, "Here Come the ABCs!" and I was not disappointed. The songs are as catchy as Schoolhouse Rock and the animation is fun to watch. Mr. Na gives the DVD two thumbs up.

Although some of the content is geared for older kids--particularly singing the alphabet backwards (the little guy is still trying to master them in order), that's the beauty of this collection--he'll always be learning from it.

What's even more refreshing is that the songs are as cool as all of the songs from They Might Be Giants; so Mr. Na's Pa and I find ourselves happily singing "Fake-Believe" and "E Eats Everything." It's a nice departure from the Wiggles or having to sing "Old MacDonald" 60 times over!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Finished, but far from done

I finished writing my book yesterday. A total of 418 pages. Phew! That only took, what, like 15 years? (Actually, it took me three years if I just count the current storyline.)

It feels great but now comes the hard part: editing. And after that? More editing. And then, um, more editing. Let's just hope that doesn't take another 15 years.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

He's Such a Snot

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Things are quiet in the Na household this week--partly because Mr. Na caught a really bad cold. It's nasty. I had forgotten about the amazing amount of snot one child can generate when sick. Mr. Na is no exception. He's got green boogies oozing out of his left eye and his nose is plugged into his little brain.

Of course you know what that means...Pa and Ma to Na are sure to follow with sickness. Great! The thing I hate the most is that my kid gets sick for all of five minutes and I wind up being sick for weeks! It'll suck for Pa, too, since he'll be starting a new job in two weeks.

On the plus side, we all got to play with Dave Matthews and his daughters on the playground this past weekend. I had a chance to tell him about how we adopted Mr. Na from Ukraine and he thought that was pretty cool. You betcha sweet bipee it is! I love this little guy...snot and all!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Duran Duran - Part Two

Shelley and I were among 6,000 Duranies, many of whom never quite made the transition to adulthood, which made for some interesting scenery. It's safe to say that nearly everyone in the crowd was over 30, and those who weren't were the 12 year-old daughters of the New Romantic throwbacks who managed to fit into their black baggy pants and white skinny ties or their Duran Duran "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" tour t-shirt, circa 1984.

Shelley wanted to kill me because I wouldn't stop playing with my phone, which I was using to either take pictures, call Audioblogger, or record some of the concert using my voice memo (all of the audio files sound horrible, so I'll spare you); but other than that, we were immersed in two solid hours of nostalgia. And though we didn't know one another back in 1984 when we both first saw Duran Duran (she at Key Arena me at The LA Forum), our experiences were identical.

I've seen a few of my favorite "old" bands perform recently and I can honestly say that out of all of them, The Cure and Duran Duran have stood the test of time and still sound amazing (and they look great, too--John Taylor somehow managed to lose his middle-aged paunch and Simon LeBon looks as though those Botox treatments are working wonders).

I love music that catapults me back to the first time I'd ever heard it. During the concert, "Planet Earth" was one of those songs--and I can remember, during the summer of 1982 when I saw the video on MTV. For me, it wasn't just about that song, I knew that there was new music out there, just waiting for me to get my little hands on. Sure, my older cousin Lori had already turned me on to Split Enz, Squeeze and the Police--but there was more...much more and at the time MTV was my gateway. That's how I first learned about The Cure, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Fun Boy Three, The Specials, The Jam, and The English Beat.

I remember how, during the summer of 1983, I was so nutso over Duran Duran (I was 15), my mom had flown to California to go house hunting and she left me in the care of my neighbors for the weekend with about one hundred dollars for "incidentals". As soon as she left the house, I went to Crazy Eddie's on Route 17 and bought Duran Duran's "video album" for $80. Never mind that I didn't have a VCR, I used my neighbors' instead.

During the show, I enjoyed the anime playing on the large video screen behind the band during "Careless Memories," where the band teamed up to conquer EMI (in this case "Endangered Music Industry"), blowing the building the smithereens.

Of course, the only thing missing at this concert was what I experienced during the '84 show in LA: I didn't get to meet Ricky Schroeder or C. Thomas Howell. After the Forum show, as my cousin Guen and I were waiting for my mom to pick us up, a sea of girls stood around a green Delta 88. Curious, we walked up to the car and said "hi" to the driver and passenger. They smiled and told us to get in the back. We did (again, um, I was 15...didn't say I was exceptionally bright). Upon introductions, we learned we were with "Rick" and "Thom" who proceeded to invite us to a party in LA. My response? "We can't cuz my mom'll be here any second..." (Guen and I had a good long laugh about this two weeks ago when I saw her at brunch in Huntington Beach...she said, "what the fuck were we thinking?")

We blew it. Our fifteen minutes of fame were up before we even knew it.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The (Re-)Union of the Snake

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My friend Shelley and I saw Duran Duran last night and, quite frankly, they put on a great show.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...laugh all you want. Roll your eyes at my blog even. I had a great time last night, so the heck with you!

I'll write more about it later.

Monday, March 07, 2005

So who do you think rules supreme?

Today, the Audiophile columnist on poses the question, "Who rules supreme?" You can e-mail your answer by clicking on the hotlink within the column.

My answer is Kasabian. They've been on the top of KEXP's charts since their single, "Club Foot" was released in mid-February. The Leicester, England band revives the infectious grooves of the early 90s Manchester scene (think Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Charlatans UK) and hey...anyone who names themselves after one of Charles Manson's minions is ok by me!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

KROQ, the radio station I grew up listening to, lost its luster long ago and for the past few trips back down to Southern California, I never bothered to flip the radio dial in my rental car to 106.7.

I had heard about a new radio station, Indie 103.1, and never really paid much attention to it until our trip last week, and I instantly became a convert. Sure, it's not as "Indie" as KEXP up here, which is entirely commercial free (Indie is also owned by Clear Channel, so explain to me again why it's "Indie"?) but they played some really awesome stuff when I was down there.

Case in point, we drove from Santa Monica back down to Laguna Niguel, where we were staying...easily an hour drive, after spending the day seeing friends, walking to the beach, eating at my all-time favorite, Islands, and we were all dog tired. With Mr. Na and his Pa both passed out, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard "Waterfall" from The Stone Roses--a song I hadn't heard in 15 years. It sent chills down my spine and I was flooded with memories. Of course, the minute I got back to Seattle, I pulled out my Stone Roses CD (and blew the dust off) and listened to "Waterfall". Matter of fact, that whole CD is just amazing and I'm really glad to have rediscovered it.

I'm a loyal listener to KEXP and love the fact that anyone can listen to it online anywhere in the world; but now I have a second favorite that's also available on the 'net. If you haven't done so already, check them out by clicking on the links above!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Back to Work I Go...

It's a small world, ain't it?

We had a glorious time in So. California and we capped it off by spending our last day in Disneyland. I'm a sucker for the Magic Kingdom and from the moment I set foot inside, I became a geeky kid all over again.

It was fun watching Mr. Na soak everything up and I was kinda glad the park was going through a major renovation. There were fewer crowds which meant shorter lines for everything. Unfortunately, though, Space Mountain and the Enchanted Tiki Room were both closed. And when I looked for Bear Country Jamboree, I was told it had been taken over by Winnie the Pooh and friends. At least Mr. Na and his Pa had fun with the Hefalumps.

My favorite of all favorite rides is the Haunted Mansion. I can remember going there for the first time, at the age of five--and I was scared beyond my wits. Of course, I had forgotten about how scared I was of all the ghosts until I took Mr. Na inside and saw him grabbing on to his Papa's hand. I thought for sure I was going to pay dearly for subjecting him to such spookiness; but he took it all in stride and handled it really well.

As I suspected, my trip back to California was quite different from any time I'd gone before; but I also think it was one of the best times, too. I spent a lot of quality time with my friends and family whom I only see once every few years, if I'm lucky. And even though we had to sit around a lot while our kids slept or played, it was time well spent.

Mr. Na and his Ma

So now we're home and it's time for me to finish my book. I've already told all of my friends I was almost done (with the first draft) and now that I've boasted, I'd better get to it.

Here goes...