Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Nevermind, Forget It

An oldie, but a goodie. This is a portrait of Audrey in Lisa's womb.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lisa, Me and Max Makes Three

When Lisa and I sat down at the Target Portrait Studio sometime in 1999 to have our engagement photo taken, dreams of a child were far from our minds. That day, however, the photographer had brought his two-year-old son, Max, in with him. A cute little scamp, Max was very advanced for his age as he was already walking around and speaking perfectly. He was a cute little guy and, yes, the type of child who you didn't mind spending an hour or so with about once a year. It was because of this charm that the little boy drew a crowd, as he sang a song and did a soft shoe dance on the front counter for all the customers.

But he really warmed up to us. During our time in the studio, Young Max followed me around and kept trying to get Lisa to make him a grilled cheese sandwich. When it was time for our sitting, the lad jumped into Lisa's lap and in front of the camera no less than three times. The little bugger was really starting to get on our nerves as his antics caused laughter and attention from the onlookers who had surrounded us.

At long last, our photographer offered to give us our prints for free if we would just let the boy in the photo with us. Never ones to turn down a deal, we took him up on it. After the photos were taken and we had approved the one we liked (Max ended up sitting with us for several poses), we waited until the lad was distracted by a flash bulb, blended into the crowd and snuck away never to see him again.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Speaking Of Mixed Tapes...

While rummaging through some old boxes of cassette tapes recently (God, how I miss them so!), I came across this relic from May of 1998. Unfortunately, the tape itself is missing, but the cover is still in-tact.

The value of this item is priceless in that it's the first mixed tape I ever made for Lisa. We officially got together in March of 1998 and, a couple of months later, she asked me to come out to St. Louis to meet her family. At the time she was still living in Columbia and, because she would be heading out a day before me, we drove two separate vehicles. I took this opportunity--that of her driving back afterward by herself (and me, a short distance behind her in my car)--to create one of my famous mixed tapes as a gift to her. Complete with cover. I had just started graphic design school and, although not yet familiar with the ways of design-oriented computer software (that came during the third semester), I had a Xerox machine and all the paper and toner I needed at my disposal. It should be noted that the recurring theme of the bald child is the scanned image of my niece, Abby. At that time, she would have been approximately one-year-old.

It should also be noted that the playlist consists of artists and groups still true to my heart (Tom Waits, CVB), rather dated (Possum Dixon, Ween) and downright embarrassing (The Connells, Counting Crows). Another noted characteristic is the two selections I had chosen to lead-off side two: "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, and Public Enemy's "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos." The former being a country song about prison life and, the latter, being a hip hop track about a prison break. Two perfect songs, back to back. Like peanut butter and chocolate.

The playlist, in case you care:
"one side..."
The Heart Of Saturday Night -- Tom Waits
Sodajerk -- Buffalo Tom
Einstein On The Beach -- Counting Crows
The Mighty KC-- For Squirrels
Victim -- The Wild Colonials
All Sinks In -- The Connells
(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame -- The Young, Attractive Elvis
Kentucky Rain -- The Old, Fat Elvis
Invisible -- Possum Dixon
Someday I Will Treat You Good -- Sparklehorse
Fair -- Ben Fold Five
Red Balloon -- Bill Janovitz

"...and the other side."
Folsom Prison Blues -- Johnny Cash
Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos -- Public Enemy
Her Baroque Syntax -- Jetenderpaul
Courtyard -- Olivia Tremor Control
The Official Iron Man Rally Song -- Guided By Voices
Like A Rolling Pin -- The Replacements
Sometimes/She divines Water -- Camper Van Beethoven
Perfect Day -- Lou Reed
Lights -- The Jayhawks
Honey, Don't Think -- Grant Lee Buffalo
Your Existential Past -- The Spent Poets
In Spite Of Me -- Morphine
She Wanted To Leave -- Ween

Sunday, February 11, 2007

2006 (Best Of)

This weekend was our annual Best Of the-year-in-music mixed tape swap. Mom and Papa Erlinger were kind enough to come out and take care of Audrey so that we could meet out at Brandon's new loft in Lawrence. As usual, the festivities were exhausting.

To read my final playlist, click on the lower image, which is the back of the CD case. As usual, I invite my fellow tapeheads to list theirs here as well.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Thursday, February 01, 2007

iPod (2005-2007)

I'm slightly inebriated as I sit here tonight to write of the great loss we suffered this past week. Tuesday morning, I awoke and, as with my usual routine, I showered, brushed my teeth, packed my lunch, grabbed my man-satchel and unplugged my trusty 20G iPod from its home on top of the tower of my Macintosh G4. That day was different than most, as the iPod would not awake from its slumber. I expressed my concern to Lisa, who replied by reminding me to put socks on the baby before heading out the door with her.

Lisa had given me the iPod as a Valentine's Day gift back in 2005. I guess that's one reason why I weep as I sit and write this. As it happened, the iPod never awoke. I decided, that very evening, to end my suffering and destroy said-iPod before the problem began to obsess my every thought. I did so by smashing it upon the office floor, thus causing its guts and internal essence to sprawl out everywhere. Like a pigeon in a Martin Scorsese film. This saddened me and I immediately called Brandon to seek solace.

Brandon pointed out that any philosopher would have told me that I did the right thing. Instead of becoming a slave to this gadget, I ended the suffering prematurely thus putting my haunting thoughts aside. As he said "You're absolutely right. Confucius would say, 'Smash the bastard.' Actually, he'd probably ask a question instead of making a statement, but in the end you'd be smashing the bastard." This made me feel somewhat better.

So I realized then and there how much I had obsessed over the iPod with 20G of hard drive. That's around 5,000 songs, ladies and gentlemen. With all of this free space, I couldn't help but fill up every part of it. And what did I fill it up with? Volumes of music that I never listened to. It was gluttony. Pure gluttony. Who needs it? It was then that I realized I had become a slave to my iPod. I guess, in a sense, its dying was the best thing that could have happened to me.

So, tonight, I drink a toast to the iPod. To its many countless hours of nostalgia. To its introduction of new music. To its help with many a volume of mixed tape experiments. Thank you, iPod. Tonight, I tip the bottle to you.

So, last night, I got on ebay and ended up buying a brand new 4G iPod Nano for about three-fourths what it goes for in the store. Less space means more freedom. It should be here any day now. A new edition to the family.

Thank you for the memories, 20G iPod.

Welcome to the family, 4G iPod Nano.

The Circle of Life continues...