Oct 12 2010

double digits

The oldest of either of my sisters’ children turns ten years old today.  Ten years!  A decade!  How can it be ten years already?  I hope you have a terrific birthday, Maggie.  ‘Cause Unkie Hotrod is feeling pretty old.


Oct 12 2009

once upon a time, not so long ago….

"Bon Jovi is awesome!"  That's an exact quote from Dabysan from a couple of months ago.  I was over at CarrieNation and Daby's for one of our pre-football-season Sunday-afternoon playdates.  They had just purchased Rock Band 2, and we were on a mission to open up as many songs as we could.  We started playing "Livin' on a Prayer" like any other song, but an odd thing happened when we got to the final chorus.  Both Daby and I simultaneously and spontaneously burst into song, backing up Ms. Nation's stellar lead vocal.  I'd say I got caught up in the moment – that hearing "Livin' on a Prayer" took me
back to junior high school.  But it didn't – it doesn't – really.  I didn't recognize in junior high school just
how great Bon Jovi really was.  Bon Jovi was a girl's band, you see.  Boys
listened to much harder and better stuff, like Ratt and Def Leppard and Whitesnake.

Around the same time, I was compiling another birthday mix for Maggie.  I'd selected most of the songs, but still I had a couple of reservations.  There was one song about which I'd been on the fence all along, and another in which I had forgotten the "a-word" could be heard.  After much soul-searching, I decided to keep those songs on the shelf for next year, when she turns ten.  (That's the rule: you hit double-digits, and you can be exposed to a few of the more minor swears.  Also, this is my rule; please don't tell my sister.)  Remembering both that Bon Jovi primarily appealed to young girls and that I had recently remembered that they were actually really good, my choice became easy.  All I had to do was move a few songs around so the mix a little flowed better.

I will freely admit that the cover art this year leaves a little someting to be desired, in that there isn't a cover.  The image above was supposed to be inside the jewel case.  I asked my sister to send me a few pictures, but some bratty kid deleted them from her (my sister's) camera before she could send them.  The worst part is that I'm probably more disappointed about the lack of a cover than Maggie.  It was gonna be cool.  Anyway, what were we talking about again?  Oh, right….  Bon Jovi….  Man, they're awesome.

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Oct 12 2009

terms of endearment

I planned this trip poorly.  I flew back home this morning, and not only did I have to get up ridiculously early to do so but I'm missing out today on Maggie's ninth birthday.  I don't know why it didn't occur to me to take the day off so I could hang around to celebrate.  On the other hand, though, the novelty of me being around seemed to have worn off by the end of my visit judging by the names she was calling me.  I'm shocked, frankly, at her disrespect for her elders.  (I blame bad parenting.)  And she's not the least bit shy, but it was like pulling teeth to get her to sit still long enough for Unkie Hotrod to take a new picture.  I'm not sure what this pose is supposed to be; I think maybe she was trying to keep the entire internet from seeing that she's in her pajamas.  Anyway, happy birthday Maggie!  Lucky thing for you I find your bratty behavior kind of endearing.
 

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Oct 12 2008

tween

Maggie sure is one lucky girl.  Her birthday falls right smack dab in the middle of the rockingest month of the year.  She turns eight years old today.  It's hard enough for me to get my head around that fact, but all the reports from Ohio suggest she's eight going on about fifteen.  Which is cool, 'cause that means for next year's birthday CD Unkie Hotrod can include a few songs with some swears.

Happy birthday, Maggie!  And keep on rocking.  You're already cooler than your mom.

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Oct 12 2008

love is a mix tape

I recently made a mix for a girl for the first time in a long time.  I put – as you might expect – a lot of effort into it.  I carefully selected the songs and even more carefully sequenced them.  Then I edited, and replaced songs and re-sequenced when the music didn’t flow quite the way I would have liked.  I even made cover art for the CD case.  Finally, I listened.  I played it to myself over and over.  And over again.  I became convinced it was perfect.  But as I prepared the package to be sent last week, I got – as you might expect – a little nervous.  What if she didn’t like any of the songs?  Time was too short for me to second-guess myself.  I dropped it in the mail and hoped for the best.  Maybe she would be glad just to get it.

It’s tough making a mix for an eight-year-oldSister #2 hectored me relentlessly about age-appropriate material, as if I needed to be reminded.  I was already aware that I’d be working with a more limited palette on this one; all the best songs about sex and drugs had been scratched from my list since the beginning.  I debated the song above at first because of the line about “get[ting] you high” and more recently out of fear that later in life she might end up exiled in Guyville, but ultimately I included it anyway.  The Prince song that’s on there is probably fine if she doesn’t pay attention to the words too closely and thinks it’s about raspberries.  And the song I included just on the basis of the title, willfully ignoring the subject matter – “Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad” – was cited as an early favorite yesterday when I received a thank you call.  She apparently called Grandma, too, to tell her about that one.  I wish somebody had thought to introduce the Clash to me when I was eight.  It would have saved a lot of time.


Jan 28 2008

rock and roll grade school

Today is a big day – one I’ve been eagerly anticipating for over seven years.  Sister #2 begrudgingly acknowledged that the gingers might like a CD of rock tunes from old Unkie Hotrod.  I’d say more, but I need to get started right away.  Gotta go!


Oct 12 2007

plugged

Here’s a little known fact: the electric guitar was invented at some point between 1961 and 1965.  What do you mean that’s not true?  Of course it’s true.  It has to be.  Why else would the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965 be such a big deal if not because people had never seen an electric guitar before?

Look, I’m not saying you can’t rock without being plugged in.  Nirvana proved yesterday that you can.  But most of the time, going electric helps immeasurably.  In one fell swoop Bob Dylan went from boring fringe-dwelling folkie to relevant and important artist.  And not only did he kick off the most creative phase of his career, he pissed off a lot of self-satisfied proto-hippies in the process.  That’s pretty damn good for just a three song set.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96gwo2u9veM&feature=related


Oct 12 2007

lucky number seven, part II

Toledo native and HoHo Swiss cake roll enthusiast Maggie remains in Georgia this weekend, but a little bit of Ohio has come to her.  Grandma and Papa arrived yesterday, presumably to partake in today's birthday festivities.  Seven is a big year.  I'm not sure exactly what's in store but I believe it will be at least in part (high school) musically themed.  I strongly suspect that's why she's asked for a guitar.  It's only a toy guitar, but I am still beaming with pride anyway.  This means it's almost time for Unkie Hotrod to start teaching her about good music.  I have to.  Her mother sure ain't gonna.

Have a terrific birthday, Maggie.  I'd teach you three chords and the truth, but I never learned the chords.

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Apr 28 2007

favorite things

when my sisters and i were much, much younger, our parents instituted a
game (of sorts) at dinner-time called "the best part of my day."  it
was as simple as it sounds; we went around the table and everybody
shared their favorite moment that had until then transpired since they
awoke.  and then we all argued about whose "best part" was really the
best and whose was actually really lame and that's why i am the way i
am.  (haha!  just kidding – no one actually knows why i am the way i am!) 
anyway, now that sister #2 has kids who can form thoughts more complex than "cry" and "poop," she plays the same game (of sorts) with her own family.

last
sunday was a full day for anyone, not least a six-year-old.  after
lunch, we all hastily piled into the van and headed toward downtown
atlanta, while a rousing game of twenty questions occupied the time. 
once downtown, we headed to centennial park where the tour de [editor's note: ugh] georgia
had set up shop for the day.  sunday's final stage was a circuit race,
so we had many opportunities to watch the peloton ride by, and during
the ten to fifteen minutes between the action there were booths at
which to browse, the fountain of rings,
and a half-pipe with cycling aerial displays on the hour.  and when we
returned home the neighborhood kids were gathered at the creek, where
there was a dead fish to be poked with sticks.  like i said, it was a
full day.

my parents – whose first visit was timed to coincide
with mine – drove me to the airport that night so that my sister could
get the girls to bed on time.  as we neared the airport, my sister
called.  the girls had been in bed, she told me, for about fifteen
minutes, but as per usual, she still heard the sound of their voices
after bedtime.  as she walked back to remind them that they were
supposed to go to sleep, she realized they were discussing the best
parts of their day.  so she hesitated quietly outside their door and thus heard maggie
tell her sister, "the best part of my day was when uncle [hotrod]
lifted me up on his shoulders so i could see the bike race better."

hearing that story was the best part of my day.

—————————————————————-

meanwhile….  rushmore was sniffling all weekend, of which i didn't think much at the time.  but it turns out she's generously shared her cold, and now i'm missing my very favorite training ride tomorrow as a result.  guess who "unkie hotrod" loves more.

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Dec 12 2006

no respect

i had to travel to ohio this past weekend under sudden and unfortunate circumstances.  my sister and parents picked me up friday at the detroit airport.  i was greeted with a resounding welcome to "uncle hotrod" which quickly devolved to "unkie hotrod" which quickly devolved to "dorky unkie hotrod" and "dorky orky unkie bunky hotrod" and other rhyming derivations thereof.

as recently as three months ago i was a god to my nieces.  there will be hell to pay.  no one is immune; this, i promise you.

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