Monthly Archives: November 2009

They Might Be Giants (11/3, First Ave) was one nostalgia show I didn’t bother with this year (X and Sonic Youth were solid; De La Soul was a long, tiresome harangue to put your hands up—or is that every hip-hop show I’ve seen for a decade?). TMBG now makes music for children, which means I’ve run a full generational lap with college rock.

A poem by Kurt Schwitters, a collaging hero of mine, animated in type.

In the right frame of mind, the Country Teasers’ hypnotic rants sound something like Truth.

Add “Lisa Bonet Ate No Basil” to the list of things I find endlessly funny AND mark me as a total dweeb.

In more nerdcore news, Sarah and I saw the Mountain Goats at the Cedar Cultural Center (my new favorite old venue), with opener Final Fantasy, who stepped in with his violin for the tune “Going to Bristol.”

>> Richard Buckner talks about finding a new career after your last one dries up.

>> I have never before this month been thinking so much about Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwiches. Or eating so few.

>> Global Culture Snippet: Latvia’s Ethnographic Mittens.

>> On the tragic scarcity of street food in Mpls/St Paul.

>> Bodaciously browser-rockin’ art GIFs (hit the arrows to peruse) (thanks, Kate)

>> Bank robbery communiqués and their authors.

>> We are contemplating a trip to Colombia. I am cautiously optimisitic.

Whether or not we do so knowingly, that thing about parents projecting their own ambitions and idealized selves onto their children is unquestionably true. We try to follow Johanna’s cues (You like pink teddy bears? Get on with your bad self!) but just as often we steer her to embrace the things we love or recreate our own (real, embellished or wished for) childhoods. Then we beam about how lucky we are to get a chip off the ole block.

Suddenly I have an apprentice eager to share my atelier. She has a knack for oil pastels and charcoal, likes her pencils sharp, and thinks everything’s better collaged together. Aren’t genes amazing?

Some recent collaborations:

We three stayed in a cabin outside Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, last weekend and spent most of two frosty days drawing by a wood stove. It was the escape I was hoping for, though I felt nervous sketching out in the woods with rifle shots echoing through the valley around me. When I returned to the cabin, I saw our hosts had supplied day-glow vests.

Entering a “classroom” with dolls lined up on the bed.

Jo: Come see the show. I am going to be the teacher.

Me: I’m only staying a minute.

You can’t leave. It’s going to be very special for you.

What are your dolls doing?

They are watching. When I call their name, they come to me.

Then what do they do?

They come. Because I’m the teacher and I called their name. And they get a rock when they cooperate.

What do they do with the rocks?

Shake them. They like to do that a lot.

Now we are doing the performance. All the performers get rocks. You get the biggest rock. For being the biggest Daddy. And for cooperating.

I’m not sure I’m going to cooperate.

Now we jump over the rocks. NOT YOU. Just the dollies.

I’m leaving now.


Today I’m 35. Aside from the artificial weight our counting system gives multiples of five, this fact doesn’t feel that significant. My new age has arrived unaccompanied by any special realization or sense of change (then again, it’s not quite 10am).

I seem to be entering a gradualist phase. It’s like I’m settling into a long drive—focused on the road, making small adjustments to the seat and mirrors. Spasms of doubt and regret (and surprise, I might note) are fewer and easier to ignore.

Is this maturity? Is it resignation? I feel like I’m making room for growth around me. In light of Johanna’s daily transformations (big girl, stoic, peer, prodigy, infant, brat, mini-me), I think stasis has its place. For now.

I know Karl’s with me.

Photo 50

Among all the celebrated firsts, Jo’s first licensed character obsession isn’t a milestone I was excited about. But while it would be unthinkable with Disney Princesses or Hannah Montana, Hello Kitty has grown on me. Something about her inscrutability and projectability. And thus for Halloween I was convinced to carve her likeness in pumpkin.

Hello Kitty

Johanna (Urban Cowgirl) and Rey (Robot Superhero) hit up both sides of 44th Avenue on Halloween, taking turns knocking. All grade-A candy, handed out in twos (it’s a low-traffic trick-or-treat street). It was a good run, though Johanna not only forgot to say thank you most times, she frequently coughed in the candy bowl. Horrors!

Photo 34

Glancing at television, I sometimes have to remind myself it’s being broadcast from this planet.


Speaking of things that give you pause, WordPress serves up all kinds of info about how visitors found your blog, and I check it from time to time. Turns out yesterday somebody came to this site by performing the search: “Fucked my cousin’s friends at the family reunion.” My people.