Monday, May 30, 2005

baby digs and poster gigs

Baby: We've purchased our crib set. These are basically sheets for the baby's room, but are very specialized. They will allow us to start putting together a plan for the decor of the baby's room.

Probably the biggest priority for Jen right now seems to be picking a name. Now that we know it's a boy we are able to quickly narrow down the list to a few names. This is one of the most difficult things that I'll ever have to do. The repercussions will last for generations. I do realize that whatever name we come up with will simply be how we know the baby. Names seem to fit the person after awhile. Once you call your baby Cornelius a million times you can't imagine calling the baby anything else. I would like to come up with a name that isn't too common or too strange as to give my child unneeded baggage once he walks into a classroom or a workplace.

For some reason I don't want to pick a name too early. Maybe I want to have the name be the surprise since the sex is not. I'm not sure. I don't want to be rushed. This much I know.

Gig Posters: I'm going to coordinate a poster show for St. Louis. A friend is going to be a part time gallery curator for a place that opens this weekend. We have spoken about doing a poster show in September. I'm really excited to give artists a place to show and sell their work and bring a little sense of what I consider cool to my city.

There is a large poster show, Flatstock 7, in Seattle in September so that will draw a lot of the really big designers, but it should also allow us to piggy back on the press it will receive. I think we'll be doing a show that is smaller and more or less regional to begin with. Once we work this one out and get some experience we should be able to do something larger and more impressive down the road. It'll be good to get our feet wet with something like this.

I'm excited to work with some talented people and to plan the opening night celebration. I'm going to try and get some of the artists to speak about their craft, serve some food and drinks and of course burn a wicked cool mix to entertain the masses. I'll post updates. Assume you are invited.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

It's a BOY

Baby: We caved. We started talking about it last night and decided in the waiting room that we were going to find out the sex of the baby at today's ultrasound. It's a good thing we did. It's going to take Jen the remaining 4.5 months to come to terms with the fact that she is having a son. She can't even imagine what that will be like or what kind of relationship she'll have with him. She feels like she'll be outnumbered by guys now. She's right in that it will be 2 guys to one girl but the 2 guys will completely adore her.

This is both good and bad news for me. I'm thrilled to be having a son. I am worried that much of the blame will fall on me if I am unsuccessful in raising a son. It seems that it will be my job to make sure that he fits in well with other boys. That he doesn't become either a bully or a pushover. That he knows enough about men's interests to fit in but not to the exclusion of other interests that women can't relate to him. The pressure is now on me more so than if we found out we were having a girl. I could have just spoiled daddy's little girl and gotten away with it.

There are plenty of benefits to knowing that we were previously in denial about. Decorating the nursery is one thing. Also we only need to come up with one name. That alone is going to be very difficult. We don't have to buy all of those gender neutral things. I didn't know that most baby stores were filled with light green things. Filled.

Today was a very special day. Each day that passes makes it feel more real. Each goal, deadline or benchmark that we achieve adds a little more confidence. At some point my son will call me Dad and I won't even look around to see who he's talking to.

Rehab: Tuckpointers showed up this morning. 2 weeks early! Not a bad thing, but it was a surprise. Steve is coming tomorrow morning to start the framing. The window guys are moving along nicely. Things have been slow but they are picking up momentum and probably won't slow down much until the end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


The other day Jen and I were stopped at a light on Grand and saw a guy roll down his window and throw a whole bag of fast food garbage out the window, roll up the window and drive off. This is not the first time I have witnessed this kind of behavior. It makes me wish they allowed caning in the city of St. Louis. I have an anti-death penalty stance, but would love to see more extreme punishment on these kinds of crimes. What kind of filthy pig behaves in this manner? Nothing says "ghetto" quicker than trash blowing down the street. I didn't see the license plate on the car, but from my recent run-ins with the police, I would not expect them to behave appropriately to my complaint. This is going to have to be the last of my rants. I've got to get out and enjoy something before I (or a vein in my temple) burst.

I grew up in the suburbs and for the first time since moving to St. Louis I'm wondering if that is where I belong. In the suburbs people hurry across the street, they do not creep and glare at you as they cross the street. People throw trash in containers, and if they don't someone WILL say something since they don't live in fear of retaliation. I love parts of the city. There are some benefits, but do they outweigh the drawbacks? Will the things that are out of my control change for the better quick enough? Will I be allowed to raise my child in an urban environment free from fear? Will I turn my home into a fortress/prison to save myself from the nightmare that is rush hour traffic? I will be thinking hard about these things in the next year or two. City don't let me down. You've come a long way, Baby!

Monday, May 16, 2005

There's a baby comin'

Baby: Jen is definitely pregnant. She has grown out of all regular clothes and can only wear maternity now. For awhile she could get away with wearing larger sizes but that doesn't work any longer. Her body continues to change but I think from here on out it'll mostly be just her belly growing.

She couldn't ever imagine what it would be like to have a baby moving inside her. It seemed so alien. What she's learned, however, is that the 9 month process is long and slow enough that you get used to things before the big changes. By the time the baby is large enough to come out giving birth will seem like the most normal thing.

The length of time works in my favor as well. I'm hoping that by the time the baby arrives I'll feel like (and behave like?) a father. I think already doing things like researching strollers and pumpkin seats helps to take the mystery out of the whole parental thing.

This Thursday we have the ultrasound where they can tell us the sex of the baby. We are still sticking to the plan of not finding out what we are having. That may change. We are weak. Would be nice to know. We'll see.

Music: Spending a lot of time with Spoon's Gimme Fiction right now. I can't believe this band is from Austin, Texas. They are the least Texas sounding band I've ever heard. Music from Texas is usually unable to get away from a roots sound. This band could be from anywhere (UK, Sweden, Iceland). Very nice contemporary sound made with guys playing real instruments.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

We were Robbed!

I don't mean figuratively. Tonight our house was illegally entered, ransacked and valuable items stolen. I can't sleep now because I'm still upset by it. It is such a violation! This is not helping my current sense of rage.

Here's the story. Jen and I went to Arcelia's for dinner because we've been craving Mexican food. Just before we left the house I took the trash out to the dumpster in the alley. I think I forgot to lock the door behind me when I came in and we left for dinner immediately afterwards (7pm). We were thrilled that there wasn't a wait. We got a table right away and ordered our meals. Afterwards we came home (8:30pm). Right when we walked in the door I noticed some lights on and I joked to Jen that she forgot to turn them off. She said she didn't leave any lights on. I noticed the couch cushions were messed up and I orderd Jen out of the house while I looked around. One peak upstairs and I saw the disaster. Every drawer was pulled out and dumped on beds and the floor. I went outside to tell her to call the cops. I remembered that my neighbor behind the alley had been working on his car all day so I went back there to see if he had seen anything and his wife said that she saw 4 or 5 young black males walking out of our house about an hour and a half earlier (very close to the time we had left). She's a schoolteacher and described them as being between 7th and 10th grade and wearing the usual long white T-shirt and blue jeans that every single kid in the neighborhood wears.

We didn't want to touch anything in the house until the cops got there. I did go down in the basement to see if anyone was hiding down there and saw the basement door, which is always locked, was wide open. The cop arrived, took a report and called for the crime lab to show up and take fingerprints. The crime lab guy was no CSI guy. All he did was tell me how he couldn't get fingerprints off anything. Everything had either too many fingerprints or wasn't a surface that he could get fingerprints from. No help there.

We started cleaning up and taking note of what we had lost. The first thing I noticed is that a bowl full of change had been emptied. About $20 worth of change. Then Jen started naming all of the things that kids would want to steal. I ran to the office and saw that my MP3 player, our digital camera and our video camera had all been swiped. We also found a can of soda in the bedroom and realized they stole beer and a 12 pack of Pepsi from the fridge. The worst, though, was the video camera. The case contained our entire library of irreplaceable family videos. I know it could have been worse, but it could have not happened at all.

I try to be polite as flocks of school aged kids walk down the middle of my street cursing and yelling at each other and everyone else. I tell myself that they are rude, but they haven't been taught any better. Lack of manners doesn't make them criminals? From now on I'll be suspicious of every kid that walks by my house. The cops said that they are most likely neighborhood kids. Which ones? I want to know. I want to smack the shit out of them and then, when I know I have their attention, give them a piece of my mind. This is a fantasy. I'll never know who broke into my house. Just like I'll never know who stole both of my cars 2 years ago, vandalized my motorcycle last Summer, broke the rear window in my Liberty last Fall. I just have to pack those feelings away until the rage subsides and come to terms with the fact that life isn't fair. Things get stolen from good people and these miserable little punks have terrible home lives and will most likely remain bums or go to jail. Life isn't fair. Count your blessings.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

The World famous, Eero Saarinen designed, St. Louis Arch. It is kind of a cliche to many. It represents the "flyover" States. If you are making a movie or commercial and you want to represent a cross country trip you have an obligation to show an image of the Arch out the window of a moving car as it crosses the Mississippi.

To residents (or at least transplants like me) it means a lot more. The Arch represents a different era to me. 1965 was a time when people still valued creativity. When building a 630 foot sculpture wouldn't have been considered a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. The Arch is a grounding object. I see the Arch on a daily basis and it gives me a sense of direction. I always know which way is East because of the Arch. In that way it is a helpful friend.

Up close the Arch is magnificent. All that stainless steel seems both modern and timeless. I love the fact that you can walk right up and give it a slap. And I do recommend slapping it. It's so massive that it doesn't give one millimeter. There is no hollow ping to the Arch. It's solid and will stand for centuries. As a structure it's massive size and beauty are inspiring.

I wish every city in the world had such a structure with which to identify. I hope you can come to St. Louis and visit our monument. We'd be happy to host you. You can go up to the top of the Arch in little podlike trams and look out to the West and the future of America in a way that Lewis and Clark couldn't have dreamed of. Did I mention it was inspiring?

Monday, May 09, 2005


We are full of rage. At least we all seem to be right now. I'm included in this one. Lately I have been on the verge of beating my neighbor. Last Friday he was out yelling and making noise at 3:30am. I walked out onto my front porch and pointed out the time to him. He yelled some expletives and said something about me waking him up at 7am. I can asure everyone that I am rarely up and never making a peep at 7am. His friends then drove down the street honking their horn the whole way. It was 3:30 am! I wouldn't have gotten out of bed at midnight even if he woke me up, but 3:30am is ridiculous. I didn't sleep the rest of the night I was so upset. I stared at the ceiling all night plotting ways to get away with murdering him. The next day I went over with the idea of talking to him but the thought of beating him was also present. He wasn't there, but his roommate was and said they'd come over and talk to me about it. Over a week later and I haven't heard from him. The next night he woke up my wife and my visiting Mom at 3:15am when he drove home so drunk he had to be carried into his house. One of the frustrating things is that as a homeowner I care about my neighborhood, but since he is just a renter he doesn't care and their is very little I can do without pissing him off and starting some kind of neighborhood war. If I call the cops for a noise violation I'll wake up and find my car has been keyed.

Also while my parents were in town we walked up to a local restaurant for dinner. After dinner we walked to the grocery store to pick up some ice cream. While at the store Jen and I were waiting in the self checkout line and my Mom and Dad (in their mid 60's and as harmless as people can be) decided they would get out of crowded line and walk to the front of the store to wait for us to complete our purchase. A young man in front of us started saying some rude expletives to MY MOM. She may or may not have bumped him with her purse or maybe he thought she was taking cuts in line. Whatever happened it wasn't blatant and wasn't clear to me until my Mom walked up to him and apologized for whatever she did that upset him. Then my Dad spoke to him and asked him if he had a problem. My 67 year old Dad was challenging this kid that wasn't more than 25. It was complete insanity and I didn't even realize what had happened until we were out of the store. My helpless Mom was not challenging this kid at all yet he felt the need to swear at her for who knows what reason.

What can you do with these people? You can only suck up the rage you feel towards them for so long before you get all COPS on them and they are dragging you off to city jail without your shirt and shoes.

Then today Jen was pulling up in front of our house and was about to parallel park. She pulled just ahead of the parking space and put her turn signal on to identify to the car behind her that she was pulling in. The car then sped around her yelling "Bitch" at her. Jen said the car had children in it too. What was this guy so mad about? She had done nothing wrong. It was maybe a 10 second delay in his day while she backed in? Why did he have to bring his rage into our lives and the lives of the children in his car?

Is there something bigger going on here? Is the whole country on edge about the state of the world? Is time so precious to us now that we can't wait 10 seconds? Are we so inconsiderate that we treat neighbors like a random driver on the road that we don't expect to see again? Have we just lost our manners?

That kid in the grocery store should have excused himself for being in the way even if my Mom had bumped into him. My neighbor should have apologized if he had lost track of the time and learned that it was 3:30am and not 3:30pm when he was yelling out in the street. That guy in the car should have given Jen a friendly wave as he safely drove by after it was all clear.

How do we dispell our daily collection of rage without hurting others? This is getting seriously unpleasant.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

CD Mix Exchange

I'm involved in my first ever cd mix exchange. In case you are unfamiliar it works like this...each month you make a mix of songs that either you like or you think the other person would like. You then mail it off to a person on the list. Someone else on the list is doing the same thing and mailing it off to you. You do this until everyone on the list has sent a mix to everyone else on the list. The only other rule for this particular exchange is that no two covers can be the same.

I enjoy making mixes and introducing music to my friends that I think they would like if they were just given the opportunity to listen. This particular mix exchange is through Gigposters. There are 21 people involved in locations all over the world. There is great diversity in the taste of these people so I am looking forward to what may be sent my way. Many of those involved are gig poster designers or other artists. Much effort is going into the covers and cases for the mixes. I myself am not an artist so I usually use existing artwork or photos that I have taken.

I completed and sent my first mix today. It was sent to a young guy in the UK who is a punk rock fan. He mentioned that he is also getting into some country and likes Hank III. That knowledge developed into a theme and I put together a mix of a lot of cowpunk, old time country songs and other riled up musical pieces along with some movie quotes to make a complete package. The artwork for the package came from a children's book called The Robots are Coming by Andy Rash.

My Android Cowboy cd mix exchange cover.

the complete track listing:
The Black Keys - Thickfreakness
The Gourds - Gin & Juice
Mule - Ass
the Afghan Whigs - Retarded
Son Volt - Last Time Around
Old 97's - Wish the Worst
Bare Jr. - You Blew Me Off
Devil in a Woodpile - I Keep on Drinkin'
Uncle Tupelo - Graveyard Shift
The Rugburns - Me & Eddie Vedder
Big Chief - My Name is Pimp (Mack's Theme)
Superchunk - The Question is How Fast
The Sights - I'm Gonna Live the Life I Sing About
Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain
Doug Sahm - Give Back the Key to My Heart
Clem Snide - Messiah Complex Blues
Low - When I Go Deaf
Sloan - Underwhelmed
Hayseed Dixie - Fat Bottomed Girls
Robbie Fulks - She Took a lot of Pills and Died
the Waco Brothers - Lake of Vinegar