AndyO Blog

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Magically delicious

I've found that when the going gets tough with my boys, I can make everything better with cereal. I'm not talking about that whole-grain-no-sugar-good-for-you crap. I'm talking about sugar and bright colors and cereal characters and boxes with mazes and games on them.

For "Bachelor Week" I bought two boxes of "sugar" cereal:

The problem is I've probably eaten more of this cereal than the boys. In fact, my older son, Cameron, asked me why the Trix box was almost empty this morning. Drew calls cereal "candy" now.

Interesting note: A friend of mine told me that the characters' eyes on cereal boxes are always looking down. This is because they want kids to feel like the characters are looking at them from the supermarket shelves. Check it out for yourself.

posted by AndyO @ 12:17 AM   0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bachelor Week with the boys

Whenever Brenda is at a meeting for work or is out of town, I tell my two boys that it's "Bachelor Night." In its simplest form, Bachelor Night is really just a state of mind: it usually comes down to ordering pizza, renting movies, or doing something that we don't do every night. This is especially important to my two-year old who gets upset when his mom leaves the room.

So when Brenda decided to go to Japan for a week-long business trip, I figured the best way to couch it to the kids was that we'd be having "Bachelor Night" every night--aka "Bachelor Week."

I thought I'd compile a list of helpful hints for people who might be facing the same type of week.

  1. Get help from other people. A lot of people have stepped up to help this week, thanks to Brenda's planning. This can be as simple as someone driving your kid home from a baseball game to having them over for dinner. This has been a huge help already (only three days into my nine-day solo week).
  2. Go do things (get out of the house). Yesterday, Cameron had a baseball game and birthday party, so he had a full schedule. But today he woke up and said he felt like "climbing a rock." Since we have one of the best climbing walls here in Seattle at the REI Flagship Store, we went down in the morning and signed up Cameron. By 11:30, he was climbing up the Pinnacle to about twenty or so feet. Just walking around REI with the kids was something fun to do.
  3. Cook simple food. What I mean by this is cook food that you know how to cook--in other words, don't feel bad if you don't actually cook. My wife is a great cook, but I don't really have the patience for it. So even though she left me a list of easy-to-make food, yesterday I went shopping with Drew and picked up stuff that I knew would be simple. While it might not be the most nutritious food in the world, I bought a bunch of those breakfast biscuits and sandwiches that we could throw in the microwave and then take in the car with us. I also bought a bunch of lunch meat, cheeses, potato and macaroni salad, apples, pears, cereal, and California Kitchen frozen pizzas. I'm not proud of all these choices, but it will reduce some of my stress by not having to worry.
  4. Get a DustBuster. I bought one of those cyclonic DustBusters a while ago that has really powerful suction, and it's been especially great this weekend for picking up the messes after every meal or snack.
  5. Rent movies and watch them with your kids. Last night we watched "Ghostbusters 2" and "Three Men and a Baby," and Cam and Drew really liked both films. The former was a little scary for Cam, but by the end he was laughing. Drew liked both films because they had babies in them. He liked to walk up to the TV screen and touch the baby.
  6. Let the kids stay up later than usual (especially on the weekend). I find that most of my arguments with Cameron are about his bedtime--so last night I let him stay up till 9:30 to watch the end of one of the movies. (He was still up before me this morning.)
  7. Take breaks even if the kids are both there and want to bug you. On Saturday and Sunday, I had the boys watch a movie while I did stuff upstairs. I feel like this has made all the difference in my patience.

So, that's a list. I'll report back more when the week is over about how everything went.

posted by AndyO @ 9:12 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Porcupine Tree at the Showbox

I went to see Porcupine Tree at the Showbox last Tuesday with my brother and our two friends Steve and Monica. If you haven't heard about Porcupine Tree, they're a band from the UK that is starting to get bigger in the US. They're touring to support their new album Fear of a Blank Planet. They fit into the Progressive Rock category of music--but like a lot of bands in this category, they use a lot of different styles in their songs.

The drummer, Gavin Harrison, plays with a musicality that's really a pleasure to listen to. His style blends the influences of Neil Peart (Rush), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Tim Alexander (Primus), and many others. But, most importantly, his drum parts fit the music.

For part of the concert, Erik and I stood near the front of the sold-out Showbox (about 1000 people). This was an all-ages show, so that meant we had several teenagers around us who would start to mosh during the heavier music. They always stopped just short of Erik, who is a bit of a giant and used to play football. We both laughed.

John Wesley, who is a solo artist and tours with Porcupine Tree as guitarist and backup singer, was also a pleasure to watch. His solos are tasteful, and his playing always fit perfectly into the music.

The opening band was called 3, and they also had an interesting sound: progressive, latin, rock, with a lot of other stuff thrown in. The crowd was definitely with them.

One interesting note was that Alan White, the drummer for Yes, attended this show, too. He walked in before the opening band and headed to the back. A few friends of mine went back to talk to him and said he was a nice guy. It was fitting that Alan, one of the greatest progressive rock drummers, showed up for Porcupine Tree.

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posted by AndyO @ 3:42 PM   0 comments links to this post