We’re Holding Back So We Won’t Explode

Matt Pond PA

My “music friends” undoubtedly know the feeling. You have thousands of songs in your ITunes library (I currently have 8,405) and sometimes for days or even weeks on end, you hate all of it. Right? I am feeling this right now. No matter what comes on my IPod while it’s on Shuffle, it’s not what I want. I’m not in the mood for it. That one is too slow. This one is too loud. The only thing I want to hear right now is Matt Pond PA. That’s right, out of the 8400 songs I have, I only want to hear 46 of them and all of them are by Matt Pond PA.

Yes, it’s a slightly unfortunate band name, but not as bad as Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s (who you also ought to hear). Right now, Matt Pond PA is IT for me. The only way I can describe them is to use the word organic. There’s something magical about the way they craft songs. Beautiful strings drift in and out (Frankie P, you’ll love this, I think). There’s a melancholy, but their music doesn’t depress me one bit. The voice – it’s unique, which always gets me. Unqiue voices. Talent. Organic. Real.

So listen and tell me it isn’t good.

The Hollows:

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Measure 3:

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  • A largely under-the-radar rock band called Dramarama released a terrific album called “Vinyl” back in the early 1990’s. The album was just hooks galore, a mix of Stonesy riffs, chugging guitars and backbeats, dressed up nicely with lead singer John Easdale’s clever lyrics. One of the things I liked best about the album was that there were audio clips from various films or television shows between song on the album. They had their share of decent successes and I even got to interview Easdale back when I had time to interview people on this site and I snuck in a question about the audio clips. Anyway, one day last year I went online and found audio clips from some of my favorite movies and I now include them on my IPod, so when it’s on shuffle I get a movie clip about every 5-6 songs. Neat. You should try it. It makes for some good conversation pieces.
  • It’s a good sign that you have a tiny bit more time when you’re able to plant a vegetable garden again. I had to take two years off from doing it, but this year I was able to do it for real again. Three tomato plants, four basil plants and an eggplant are now in the ground at the house and I may still do a couple more herbs if I can find room for ’em. Hopefully these plus the local Maynard farmers market will keep us eating locally through the start of winter and beyond.
  • Knowing that the Carolina Hurricanes were swept by Pittsburgh is a real kick in the gut. It proves out that the Bruins were the better team, but just not that week they played Carolina. Oh, what could have been. It must really hurt to be a Bruin right about now, knowing they missed out on a huge opportunity to really move the needle this season. I couldn’t watch any of that Carolina-Pittsburgh series without getting a sinking feeling in my stomach about that Bruins loss.
  • I was reading Inc. Magazine on the plane ride home from NYC yesterday and came across this article. Even if you don’t care at all about business on the internet, the story is a must read. It simply defies logic. Or does it? Really makes you think and it’s a terribly interesting and fun story. Not convinced? It’s about a guy who works basically one hour a day and pulls in $10 million bucks a year. Does that make you interested enough to click the link? Aside from that, Inc Magazine also claims that the average employee sends 38 emails per day. If I had to guess, I’d say I send somewhere between 60-80 work related emails per day.
  • Finally today, every now and again I take a look at my traffic logs for this site. In case you’ve ever wondered, the site, on average, gets 70-120 pageviews each day. Using 100 daily pageviews as the rough middle point, that would be about 3000 pageviews per month. It used to be that direct traffic (when people type rustedrobot.com directly) and Google were the top two sources of traffic, by far. It has been that way for a long long time. But in the last year, there’s been quite a seachange. LinkedIn and especially Facebook have almost caught up with Google as a traffic referrer here and I’ve seen similar instances in articles and heard the same thing from various SEO/SEM firms.  I wonder how Google’s feeling about that? I am sure we’ll see their reaction soon enough.

A Systemic System of Systems

Systems. It’s a word that has a very versatile set of meanings. An IT guy will have a much different gut reaction when he or she hears the word “system” than a football coach will. A lawyer or judge will have a 180 degree differing reaction when they hear the word uttered. The other night Steph and I got into a discussion about our kids, our “system” and how – for us – it’s made our lives easier.

Having a young child is hard and having twins, well, I can’t say it’s twice the work because I’ve never just had a single baby, but if I had to guess, I’d say twins are at least twice as hard. I can’t speak for Steph, but I believe that we both obviously knew changes were afoot when the twins arrived. We wanted to avoid those situations where you wake up in the morning and bicker about who’s going to take care of the babies or get them up, dressed, etc. So we devised a system. When the kids were too young too have an established sleeping pattern, Steph and I would just pick one child before we went to bed and stay with them through the night. It was kind of like a lottery of sorts. Some nights you might only get one wake-up call. Others, well, you know. Several. For the record, Steph was the first one to sleep a whole night uninterrupted.

After we (and they) got themselves into a sleeping pattern where they made it through the night (at about 4-5 months old), we then established certain days of the week where we’d get up and take care of their business. So since then and still today we do it this way: on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, I get up with the boys, get ’em dressed, feed them, etc. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are Steph’s days. For Wednesdays, we just take turns each week. For us, it works. There’s no waking up and deciding who will get them. If it’s your day, you’re up. It completely removes what could be a negative source of stress.

So how did we choose the days? If you don’t care, you can skip to the next paragraph. Steph works three days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and those are the days our kids are at daycare. That means she spends the whole day with them on Mondays and Fridays. So it only makes sense for me to get up with the boys on Mondays and Fridays since she has to spend the whole day with them those days. It also allows her to sleep in a little bit on those two days and also on Saturdays, which she very much deserves. Pretty simple. I do the day care runs during the week because she’s at work. So at 8:00am and 5:30pm, I’m dropping off and picking up. We always put them to bed together, except on Mondays, when Steph goes off for some free time.

Anyway, some look at this and may think there’s a regiment. Well, there is. But each household makes their marriage work in different ways. We decided that this system was better for us than the system of waking up, staring at each other and then figuring out who was going to get up. For others, that might work and that’s just fine. I am by no means saying that our way is the only way. It just works for us, that’s all. So all you parents out there, how do you work it? I’m very curious to hear……


Two Hitter

A couple of quick hits today:

  • I didn’t know that Keith Foulke was attempting a comeback. You can never truly know a professional athlete these days because they’re in that 1% of the population who are making 90% of the money, which means most of them live quietly in gated communities so people don’t bother them. Sometimes I think about athletes and I just get mad because their incomes are obscene, while teachers toil away in the $35-50K annum range. That said, the market is the market. If someone is willing to pay them to the moon, why wouldn’t they take it? Teachers would. But the subject of professional athletes is another topic. Foulke is an interesting individual. I can’t tell if he’s a total prick or one of those guys who is just trying hard to be a normal Joe. I think I know the answer after reading that article.
  • I know I’ve mentioned Margot & The Nuclear So-and-So’s here before. Never judge a book by its cover. Yes, the band name is terrible, but these guys continue to make pure, real music. This is a video I pulled from what I think is a French website. The music is shot all acoustic and live, but the video has subtle artsy elements that make it interesting to watch. Nice song, too. See here:

Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s – German Motor Car – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.


Too Much Pork For Just One Fork

Pork. Food of Champions.
Pork. Food of Champions.

Over the weekend I ventured into the magical land of pork tenderloin again, a place where there are always rainbows, sunshine, peace, quiet and nice cold beer. I usually dress up the pork with an Asian wet rub/marinade, but I thought I’d change it up this time and go dry rub. So I referred to our house bible, the Cook’s Illustrated 1,021 page “New Best Recipes” and went with the Basic Spice Rub:

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder (reduced down to 1/4 tablespoon for my wimpy mouth)
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons of brown sugar (be generous with it)

So I got the skin off the terderloin (ick) and soaked that baby overnight in water with 1/4 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of sugar, then patted it dry and applied the dry rub and put it back in the fridge for a couple of hours. During the kids nap on Sunday, I decided the pork with the dry rub wouldn’t be enough, so I got the materials I needed for a Black Bean/Mango Salsa as well (of course, per the house bible). I must tell you, the salsa made the meal. It came out awesome! If you’re doing a dry rub, any of the salsa’s in the house bible will work, but this one was spectacular!

  • 1/2 cup of cooked black beans
  • 1 medium mango, peeled, putted and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced small
  • 6 tablespoons of pineapple juice (I subbed OJ)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • dress with salt & pepper

You just mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge for 2-4 hours before eating it. Grill the pork until it gets to 170 degrees on the thermometor. You pile that salsa on top of the pork, make yourself whatever sides you want (we had rice pilaf and roasted green beans) and you have yourself a masterpiece. Rock it.