Straight From 12th Grade Into Junior College

I might have eluded the police last week. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it’s possible. I was on my way to Sears to pick up my new slowblower and I was probably driving 10 MPH or so over the speed limit, when I blew right past a cop who was parked on the side of the road. I typically do drive above the speed limit on this road out of habit – it’s the road I take to get to my hockey games and I’m used to driving them late at night when nobody is out.

Anyway, I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw the cop pull out onto the road and come in my direction. The sirens were not on, but cops don’t always put them on – some put them on when they get closer to you. I then turned a corner and thought “I’m gonna play this one safe” so I made an immeadiate turn into some office park and curved around a building and sat there for about 60 seconds. I know, I know, I can’t believe it. I’ve never felt the urge to outrun or hide from the cops, but on this day I just didn’t want to deal. And I still don’t know for sure if he was coming after me or just changing locations. But I’d like to think I outsmarted them. Sigh.

By the way, I’ve been seeing a lot of baseball headlines about this guy Kosuke Fukudome, who recently signed with the Cubs. I don’t really care how he does or who he plays for, I’ve already made up my mind on the pronunciation of his last name. I’ll leave it to your imagination, but no matter what the actual pronunciation is, it doesn’t matter. He’ll always be……..well, you know.

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Random Musings

I Twittered it earlier, but it bears mentioning that I went and picked up a new snowblower last week (Thursday) and within the first three days of owning it, used it four times. There are certain things I don’t mind doing outside, but there are two that I avoid at all costs – shoveling snow and raking leaves. I just won’t do it. Not when there’s machines that can do it for you. A old roommate of mine in Somerville once said “if I can do anything to make my life a little easier, I do it.” Godspeed. If you can afford a snowblower, or a leaf blower, or an air conditioner or whatever – but it. OK? Good.

I guess I’ll be posting my top 10 music list sometime soon, but it’s so hard to find the time to really launch a big post like that, complete with music samples and all. I might have to suck it up and stay up past 10pm one night to do it. It was another pretty rich year for music to these ears.

How about this stat – The three Boston teams currently in mid-season (Bruins, Celtics and Patriots) have a combined record of 52-13-3, a .764 winning percentage! When you add in the recently completed Red Sox season, you get 148-79-3, for a .643 winning percentage. The whole thing is pretty unreal. You sorta get the feeling we’ve sold our soul to the devil and it’s coming back soon. For now, we enjoy! That I can even include the Bruins in there is a miracle unto itself.

The passing of Dan Fogelberg was but a footnote yesterday as much more juicy stuff hogs the headlines as usual – Christmas, meaningless elections, steroids LindseySpearsLohanBritney. But The Boston Globe’s Joan Anderman penned a nice tribute to a guy whose music was probably a skeleton in more closets than you can imagine. For me, “Run For The Roses” was never a song I turned off. And of course, “Leader of the Band” was one of those songs about fathers and sons that always get me. I don’t own any of his music, nor did I ever buy an album, but I rarely turned it off if it was on. Maybe that explains my recent appreciation for Jack Johnson’s Curious George soundtrack.

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Now playing: Tim Easton – I Wish You Well
via FoxyTunes

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Somebody Please Hit Me With A Shovel

A while back Idolator posted some year-end lists from this year’s music tours. Two of those lists caught my attention.

Top 10 Selling Tours of 2007 (Based on total dollar volume of tickets sold)
1. Hannah Montana
2. The Police
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Van Halen
5. Justin Timberlake
6. Kenny Chesney
7. Jimmy Buffett
8. Dave Matthews Band
9. Bon Jovi
10. Genesis

The Hannah Montana thing is par for the course. Each and every year, there’s a new teenybopper show that all the kiddos have to see. You’ll also see something a little stomach churning in the list below, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Is there a recurring theme going through your mind as you explore the list above? How about 6 of the 10 on the list being acts whose true glory years were laid in the late 1970s or 1980s? What does this say? I guess it says one or two things: people my age are spending a lot of money on concerts and people younger than us aren’t (other than the Hannah Montana thing……and we’ve removed that from this analysis). Seeing this list has actually made me sad. The big beacon for me here is that there is no such thing anymore as one truly popular band that transcends it all. For me, back in high school it was U2 and in college it was Nirvana. Who are the flag bearers today? Nobody. The music business has ruined music. There is one benefit, though – much of the bands I love still play intimate places. Nothing better. Although something tells me that seeing Band of Horses in a sold out arena would be nothing short of sensational.

Highest Average Tour Ticket Prices (For tours that sold over 3,000 total tickets)
1. Celine Dion – $347
2. Elton John – $260
3. Hannah Montana – $257
4. Eric Clapton – $253
5. Bon Jovi – $239
6. Bruce Springsteen – $226
7. Van Halen – $217
8. Genesis – $210
9. The Police – $209
10. Michael Buble – $195

This list disgusts me on many levels. That Hannah Montana’s business folks are charging an average of $257 per ticket makes me want to puke. This means if you and your spouse want to take your two daughters to see the show, it’s $1028 just to walk through the turnstiles. Add another $25 for parking, at least $50 for food/drink and another $17,000 for TicketMaster fees and you’re looking at a loan just to see a 15 year old teen exercise her 15 minutes of fame. Ouch. Shame on pretty much everyone on the list. And who the hell is Michael Bubel? I’ve never heard of him. But listening to the song that pops up on his website, it feels like Christopher Cross for the oughts.

There, I’ve finally worked Christopher Cross into my blog. Mark the date.

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Now playing: The Zombies – Changes
via FoxyTunes

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Let’s Stop & Turn The Record Over

Our babies recently crossed over into six-month old land, so I’m going to take a minute today to express some thoughts. As I mentioned before they were born, this is not going to be a baby blog – except for the photostream, of course. My goal is to continue this blog as it’s always been – a mish-mash of whatever. But I think consistently talking about the babies would get boring. Now and then, though, I need to get it on digital paper so I can look back and get my thoughts from certain junctures.

One thing I learned very quickly: just accept everything that happens and adapt to it, otherwise you will be an unhappy person – and that’s not good for yourself, your spouse or your babies. That can be a very slippery slope – and a fast one. I am no longer an independent being. It’s just that simple. Almost everything I do now hinges on our babies schedules and fitting it in. It used to be I’d have a few hours to myself after my wife went to bed – I’ve all but given that up. I’m now in bed between 10-11pm every night, because the next day requires me to be alert and awake. I just accept it. Luckily, I feel like I took this attitude very early on. There are, without argument, frustrating moments, but these are minimized if you can come to terms with that early.

Six months also appears to be a time when your babies are getting more focused on the world around them. This means they’re less happy to be restrained in your arms or in a bouncy chair or whatnot. So much is new and they want (and need) to take it in visually, mentally and physically. This is really fun to be a part of. Introducing new things to them is truly a joy. There is, however, a little sadness within me that holding them is just a little less important to them now. One of my favorite and distinct memories of the past six months will be their little heads resting on my shoulder, or singing to them and bouncing them as they lay on my lap. Oh, this still happens occasionally, but most of the time they want to be on the floor, roaming around and playing with toys. Early on, I read somewhere how important it is to relish those early cuddling moments as much as you can. I did and I am SO glad for it. Each and every time I held those babies, I didn’t think about what else I could be doing. I thought about how beautiful a moment I was having.

We’re also so lucky we have a couple of very happy babies. There was no colic or extended screaming/unhappiness. There was PLENTY of long nights, sure, but that’s part and parcel of having a baby. We expected that. I take that back – we knew we’d be losing sleep, but we didn’t know to what degree. Holy crap, it was hard. You simply cannot be prepared for it until it happens to you. But we had read the importance of getting twins on a schedule as early as possible and thanks to Steph’s truly remarkable planning skills, our babies got on a schedule early and it has paid off in spades.

Speaking of Steph, words don’t describe what a great job she’s done and what a tremendous mother she is. This has been harder for her in so many ways, because she had to transition from a full-time employee to a full time mother at home. Not easy for anyone. Now add twins and the complexities of napping, feeding, entertaining, etc! I’m still working, so that part of my schedule remains consistent. For her, it was a complete upheaval. No amount of money or gifts can even come close to giving her what she deserves. We’ll have a whole new challenge after the holidays when she goes back to work and the kids go to day care, but we’ll handle it, because she is who she is.

And me, well, I’m just great. It’s been the hardest six months of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The joy I get when I see my boys uncork a simple smile on me is irreplaceable. It’s forever. There’s no better feeling of getting home and seeing how excited they are to see me, in their own way. Zachary’s eyes get wide and he flaps his arms and legs furiously. Nathan coos and smiles his big, open-mouth smile. It’s touching. What has surprised me the most, though, is my self-confidence. Before these babies were born, I always got a little nervous about things like work presentations and large social gatherings. Little things would sometimes get to me, not to mention the unknown of becoming a parent. All that is no more. What Steph and I have done and what we’ve overcome in the last 18 months has given me a newfound sense of confidence that I’ve never felt before. And I’m not letting it go.

All in all, my experience is probably no different than any other parent – it changes everything. EVERYTHING. And it’s hard. But it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Update: How has having children changed me? Well, for one I find myself enjoying Jack Johnson’s Curious George Soundtrack. That’s just bizarre.
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Now playing: Son Volt – Catching On
via FoxyTunes

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