Archive for the ‘critic’ Category

Lost in the Woods

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Just before he turned two (Omigod, Evan’s two and we haven’t blogged about that!) (Or anything!) (Well, what’s this blog’s tagline anyway?) we started letting Evan watch what Anna’s watching on the TV (movies on DVD only—we still aren’t plugged in). And that’s a little different from when Anna started watching movies. He’s seeing Elmo, and Bob the Builder, and My Little Pony, and other stuff that Anna’s gotten into.

But we also kept showing him one of the first things we let Anna watch, and now he’s starting to love it just as much as she did—Lost in the Woods. It incorporates live footage of animals with photos from the book of the same name, with voiceovers creating a story. Actually, none of us call it “Lost in the Woods,” we call it “Spring is Here,” which is the first song. Evan’s been playing the first part of the DVD again and again, and just recently he’s started to let it play past the first song.

It’s in my head this morning, and I’ve realized how much Erika and I love this as well. There are catchy songs, dorky asides, and it all smacks of an independent effort to put something together innocent and charming. We love the story of making the movie as well. It shows how goofy the people are who put this together.

If you’re looking for the first thing to show a child on TV, we’d highly recommend this.

Not Sleeping

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

This is not the same as writing in a journal, which I used to do sometimes when I would wake up in the middle of the night. I’d write down my dreams, and there was/is something so personal, alive, cozy about writing that way. At the same time, though, it’s always so hidden away, and sometimes typing is just so much… FASTER. Sometimes it gives you a chance to keep up with your thoughts.

And what’s more, someone else can read this. Even far away. At another time. And that can be a wonderful thing.

So here I am, tapping away at a keyboard, looking in the darkness at the glow of this screen, much better than a CRT screen certainly, but alien and harsher than other forms of light nonetheless, rather than going to sleep. I lay down for a while and read with the itty-bitty book light, something I haven’t done for a while. Finally I turned it off and was heading towards sleep perhaps. But my head was buzzing with life.

I’m reading The Magical Child, which Lara gave me for my birthday, and it’s really just incredible. It’s a deep exploration of the potential of the human brain and of the growth of intelligence in children, and it’s truly humbling, reminds me of how detached from life we all are compared to where we once were. The last chapter I read was a scathing critique of hospital birthsit explored each step of the traditional birth model that still exists today and is still prevalent throughout our society, and found the process seriously wanting. It makes me gladder than ever that we chose to have a home birth, and it also makes me wish that Erika had spent, say, the first two weeks not just close as she was to Anna, but naked and carrying her at all times… Hmm. That doesn’t quite sound right, but the point is that the brain develops (according to this guy) through stimulus, and that the close physical stimulus of the mother THROUGHOUT THE DAY is absolutely the best thing for the child. I count for something too, to be sure, but I can see how, come on, let’s start with first things firstmom rocks.

And Erika does rock. She’s so engaged, so inquisitive about Anna, so utterly connected to Anna’s emotions, it’s wonderful. I also feel pretty lucky to be so connected to this beautiful new being, but I still know I’m not as close as she.

That’s not the point. What’s the point? There isn’t one this time aroundin case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m rambling.

But there was something there… don’t you just love those late night musings? Don’t you just wish you could capture them all? Sort of like how in Until The End Of The World everyone just gets addicted to their own dreams…

but WAIT.

I was really going to say something. I get off on these tangents and I want to throw in a link and I have to go look it up, etc…

What I was going to say was this:

I lay there, my head buzzing, before I resolved to burn some of that creative energy actively by getting up, and I was listening to my wife and my child sleeping, and I couldn’t hear much because really I was listening to the sound of an alpine stream which we play at somewhat high volume to help Anna sleep. And it’s quite pleasant to listen to, although I also keep getting these weird interchanges in my head about what’s more natural for AnnaI mean on the one hand it’s this loud digitally reproduced sound which seems artificial and mechanical and is broadcast somewhat heavy-handedly through two speakers, but on the other hand, it IS a nature sound we’re reproducing, as opposed to the sterile quiet of the sealed house in which we live, quite removed from natural surroundings really, so isn’t it an improvement?

So anyway, I suddenly remembered, through my whole body, that I’m a primate. And so, most likely are you. Actually if there are any non-primates reading this, I’m VERY INTERESTED and you should let me know :)

I’m a primate.

I breathed a great deep breath and felt some whiff of millenia-old contentment pass through my body as I realized that my family is safe, and happy, and probably not going to be eaten by tigers. And I felt pretty good about that.

(Although I didn’t really think about the tiger bit until nowthat’s just fluff to explain the feeling via language written on a keyboard and transmitted through electrical lines to pulse this way and that and perhaps light a fire somewhere else.)

And then, perhaps because life is so good, so truly astoundingly good, and all our basic needs seem to be easily met, I had to get up and muck with it by feeding the electronic group brain. It feels good though.

But now I’m hungry.

Go Franz Go!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, because May has been crazy. I’ve gotten more work at the same time as Erika’s been gradually moving back to working mode herself, and strangely enough we do not have time for anything. Okay, except for a fabulous visit from Leah and Lance, and socializing when we can.

But my point is, you’d think I would therefore have something sweet to say about Anna, or I’d catch you (whatever small minority you actually are) up on how she’s grown. Well, you’ll just have to wait. Instead, I want to offer this little ode to Franz Ferdinand (the band, not the man):

Why I like Franz

by Jeremy, age 35

I get in the car and pull out of the alley. I turn onto the street while my right hand pushes in the tape, hits the button on the adapter, and fiddles with the buttons on the Discman to turn up the volume because I need to replace the batteries. I get the CD player’s volume to 10, adjust the car’s tape deck volume, and rewind the track.

A few gentle strums on the guitar, a pouty English voice sets the stage before the attack begins, and then…

Sublime. Utter. Cool.

Wait, still need to change the fader so the less crappy front speakers are giving me all the soundnow I can crank it up a little further, and while I can visualize the tears in the speakers which are producing the buzz I can actually feel along with the bass, they aren’t too big. Yet. And it’s almost loud enough. There we go.

Okay, then, where was I? Oh, yes:

Sublime. Utter. Cool.

The crushing twangy guitar, the crisp definitive bass line, the tightness of the voiceit all combines in a Blondie-meets-Soft Cell-meets-PIL kind of way. I can feel it all coming backthat teenage angst, the cramped-up desire, the release that comes from shouting along to the music at the top of your lungs, the sexual ambiguity of rock heroes having lipstick and cropped hair and tight pants, the sheer Fascist sexiness of post-seventies new wave, punk, what-have-you beats these ragged speakers to a pulp and I feel like a Master Of The Universe.

I open up the sun roof, dangle my sunglasses off my nose, and feel the crisp clear air of the late spring morning. The Continental Divide gleams in the distance, the road is clear, and I am young again, and clearly I AM SO COOL despite the fact that my car is a somewhat neglected Honda Civic with a paint job going south, despite the fact that the sunglasses only have one stem loosely held on by the last screw and no longer even sit correctly on my face when they aren’t stored in the thin white plastic cup that is their resting place in the car’s cupholder.

So. Damn. Cool.

Well, I feel cool anywaythey’re that good.

I think Franz Ferdinand will be the destroyer of these clearly long-abused factory special speakers.

Just say no to New Age

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

So, if you’re ever like, in the library, and you’re checking out some free music, and you’re thinking, “well there’s not much here but I could get some mellow stuff to listen to, say, when my wife’s having a baby, or any old time, like when I’m working”, and you come across a disc called “Desert Vision” and you think, hey, you occasionally like New Age, certainly used to, and maybe this has some good really chill tunes, and you think you MIGHT JUST TAKE IT HOME BECAUSE IT’S FREE…