Monday, November 30, 2009

thankful: a list.

thanksgiving has come and gone like this: whoosh! so fast. i LOVE this time of year and have been thinking about all the things i have to be thankful for. it's something f and i do every night before bed, y'know, we count our blessings. it's one of my favorite times of every day. she's snuggly and clean and warm, it's dark and peaceful, and it feels so good to remember how lucky we are and how much we love all the people we love. anyhoo. what follows is a list of things i'm feeling thankful for today.

1) thanksgiving dinner at my mom & step-dad's house. besides their house being one of the most peaceful places to me, thanksgiving there is always made up of an interesting, large, and lively group and we never know who will be a part of it. we've had everyone from exchange students to the president of a large japanese fashion corporation to a little girl just adopted from china (it was her first day in the US with her new parents) to, well, you name it. this year our group included people of all sexual persuasions and a jesuit priest from portugal. awesome.

2) the pre-thanksgiving dinner ritual at my mom and step-dad's: we pass around a candle and each person says what they are most thankful for. this year, f was one of the last to get the candle, and she was so quiet while everyone (all 18 people) spoke, one at a time - she just waited patiently, holding her grandpa jack's hand, looking so sweet. i was so curious to see what came out of her mouth when it was her turn to talk, but i never would have predicted what happened: she totally busted out a little freestyle rap! she said "i'm thankful for the library and..." then she went off, dropping mad science on all of us. i couldn't make out 75% of what she said but i heard a few "all the days" which is one of her go-to phrases lately. a few of us were in tears - it was truly a priceless moment. a tiny little freestyle flow on thanksgiving - so sweet!

3) my dad's backyard. my dad and my step-mom are two of my favorite people in the world, and my dad's backyard just makes me sooo happy. it's a little wild but it has all kinds of cool things going on; it's a kid's idea of heaven. a playhouse/fort, lots of mud, random plants, room to run, dig, play ball, build bridges, explore, and even a way for the big kids to climb on the garage roof. i love that f gets to play there whenever we visit, and she loves it too.

4) pals. we have some friends who are so selfless, and everyone else reaps the benefits. boobs and los, i'm looking at you.

5) f and j, of course. who knew that love just gets bigger than the universe, all the time? some people know, but it's hard to describe i think. wow, and my gratitude is boundless for it and for them.

6) the holidays! the christmas lights, the shopping, the food and parties and celebrations and lists and traditions and all the good goodness.

7) that ben gibbard show we went to for our last date night. i still keep thinking about it and it takes my breath away.

8) twilight, the books and movies. i resisted them for so long, but dude, they are so much fun! mindless, swoon-worthy fun. haters to the left.

9) mary poppins. been watching a lot of her lately, and i tell you what. julie andrews and dick van dyke? they just don't make them like that anymore! step in time!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a fan of fanfarlo

i've had this record for 24 hours as i type this and already it's made my top 10 albums of 2009 list. son of a biscuit it's GOOD. beautiful, really. think arcade fire + clap your hands say yeah with a young, serious david byrne singing. that's ballparking it. you, meet awesome: fanfarlo.

Monday, November 23, 2009

date night at the WTF festival

have you ever had a kid? and then that thing happens when all of the sudden you realize you haven't had time alone with your spouse (where, say, you're both in nice clothes and maybe not still inside your house) in, like, forever? it's so nuts! thankfully, we're starting to get better about date night and, um, actually having them. sometimes we just go out to dinner, or maybe we go to a show together, and if we're feeling REALLY crazy, we do what we did this past saturday night: dinner AND a show. living on the edge, i know! it was exhilarating.

it all started with an impulse buy. i came across a little blurb about the WTF festival that was happening at the actor's gang theater in culver city and could not believe it when there were still tickets available for the ben gibbard solo show. no matter that, hey! it's the weekend before thanksgiving, and we're driving to l.a. for thanksgiving weekend! and, the tickets are not cheap and, right! we have a child to bring with us to the city (i kept my fingers crossed that my mom would be able to babysit) and and and there were a million reasons why it didn't make sense to do it, but ben gibbard! and friends! solo, in a theater that seats 100 people! do you hear that noise? it's the sound of me whipping out my credit card. impulse buy, shmimpulse shmy - we were going, damnit, and it was going to be awesome.

and thankfully, it was. f was so happy to get time with her "dranny" (it's what she calls my mom, long story). we scored a free parking spot a block away. we had a really good dinner and great margaritas at kay 'n' daves and saw ben and his new wife zooey deschanel walking by while we ate. we walked into the back patio of the theater right as the DJ was spinning kula shaker, who i adore. tim robbins was chilling with other hollywood-types while everyone else acted like it was no biggie. and i almost smacked rebecca de mornay right in the face with the bathroom door as i was walking out and she was right about to walk in. oops! and when we took our seats, david crosby sat down three rows in front of us! j actually talked to him on our way out, something which thrilled him to no end. i love l.a., i really do.

(that's j, chilling on the back patio at the theater)

(the back of david crosby's head is in there somewhere, i swear)

(tim robbins, promise)

our seats were great - there wasn't a bad one in the place. tim robbins came out and welcomed everybody and explained what the WTF festival was trying to do and talked about some of their upcoming events. it was funny because he seemed nervous! kept waving his hands around and giggling as he talked. ben hit the stage and played a couple songs on the piano, one of which was a hauntingly beautiful version of nirvana's "all apologies". he then stood up and played his acoustic guitar for the next few songs. he sang "grapevine fires," "cath," and "soul meets body," among others. he invited his wife onstage with him and they harmonized on a few songs, joking around between each one. really sweet, those two. and then he invited david crosby up and they sang an old C,S,N, & Y song & some everly brothers songs, the three of them. it was just beautiful and we could not believe our luck. when zooey and david crosby left the stage he finished with "i will follow you into the dark" and then opened it up to requests, which was really cool; he played "lack of color" and joked about how he now lives in l.a. when he played "why you'd want to live here".

yes, that's an awful picture of ben gibbard (rocking a pageboy haircut and mad chops) and yes, clearly it's time to invest in a new phone, because my 2006 special just isn't cutting it anymore. regardless, the night was breathtaking and fun and just felt like a win, all the way around. ben gibbard solo + date night = good for the soul.

Friday, November 20, 2009

2nd base

it's never a good sign when you walk into your child's preschool and the teacher looks up, sees you, and starts laughing out loud, is it? fortunately, our daughter's antics tickle me to no end, but i can only imagine what it must be like to be an extremely conservative parent - horrifying, on a daily basis. that is, if your almost-three year old is anything like ours: a wise-cracking, nose-picking, boob-flashing little bundle of joy.

ahh yes, the boobs. or "boo-boos", as we've inadvertently started calling them at our house. see, here's the thing: f has had a fixation with my boobs since she turned one. my boobs are, you could say, her comfort object. i weaned her at 10 months, thanks to a combination of recurring mastitis (mine) and teeth (hers). my goal was to breastfeed her for a year, but my goal also was to never let her use a pacifier and to not let her watch TV until she was at least two years old. so you see how well this whole goal-setting thing works out for me. anyhow, about two months after she was fully weaned, she started fiddling with my nipples absentmindedly every time i held her. at first it was kinda sweet and really, no big deal. and it still is not a big deal, except that SHE'S ALMOST THREE AND DUDE! ENOUGH ALREADY! i get more nipple stimulation in a day than your average (i'm guessing here) porn star does in, um, two days? that is, a LOT. when i am holding her (walking down the street, or through target, or on the beach) and when we're watching a movie and when she climbs up into our bed in the mornings: her hand are on my boobs. i don't even notice it anymore, it's just how it is with us. she knows not to pinch (though she takes great delight in pinching j's nipples and yelling "TWEAK TWEAK!") and generally, i pay it no mind. but lately, she's realized that she too has boo boos, and she wants you to know it.

so when her teacher started telling us that f had been showing her friends her boo boos that day, i wasn't shocked. if anything, the sweet sweet innocence of it just bowled me over. so precious, that! some parents might revel in their kids painting a picture (we do too) or not having any accidents that day (we do too) but telling me f was sharing her boo boos with her pals - my heart just swelled with love! i kid you not. i am, by no means, an exhibitionist - i just thought it was so damn funny and sweet and really, i know it is normal and is nothing to worry about. that being said, we definitely don't want it to continue, mainly because i want her to learn about her own boundaries, privacy, and how her body is HERS and hers alone. so that when little johnny jackrabbit tries to play doctor with her in kindergarten, she'll have enough sense to make sure she's wearing cute panties that day. KIDDING!

thankfully, the conversation about privacy and how our bodies are for us and not for our friends or other people, etc, has already begun in our house. every once in a while she asks to take out one of my boobs in public, so she can play with it. (wheee!) so i've talked to her about how our bodies are private, they belong to us and are special to us and no one else. and that's pretty much exactly what her teacher said she'd talked to f about that day too. we made sure we were on the same page with the message for f and promised to continue the conversation at home, and went on our merry way.

driving home, as we talked about her day at school, i mentioned that her teacher had talked to us about keeping our clothes on at school and not sharing our boo boos with any of our friends, and f said "mama! i showed 'A' my boo boos!" "a" is one of her most adored buddies, and yes, he's a little boy. so, totally trying to be nonchalant and non-judgemental, i talked with her about it a little more, just reiterating the message about privacy and stuff. when i was done, she turned to me and said, so proudly, with a big smile: "BUT, MAMA! I TOLD A TO TOUCH THEM!!" well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, i burst out laughing. because, that's my girl!

i later emailed a's mom and warned her that her son may have skipped first and gone right to second base with f at school that day. kids these days! thankfully, a's mom is awesome and knows f well enough to know it's just a passing phase. and i'm happy to report that was two days ago, and she apparently has not done it since, so maybe it has already come and gone. i know that she will outgrow her attachment to my boobs, and i hope that it comes sooner than later. i think i have nipple fatigue. (um, great band name alert: NIPPLE FATIGUE! someone use that!) she'll outgrow needing to touch them all the time and will move on to the next grand adventure. in the meantime, i remind myself that it could be worse. what if she was really into smooth jazz?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

rock shows

i remember very clearly the day that fm 94/9 launched - i was doing afternoons on one of its rival stations, 91X, and i sat in our program director's office listening to fm 94/9 thinking, basically, "oh shit." the station sounded great, was doing what i felt we should have been doing, and they were aiming their production right at 91X. it was brutal and i was bummed.

fast forward a few years later, and here i am, thanking my lucky stars every day that i actually get to be on fm 94/9. it's everything i thought it could be, and like a million times more. and the station knows how to throw a good party. there were some lean years while i was at 91X and we put on a few shows that made us DJs cringe when we had to promote them on the air: crazytown headlining the holiday show, anyone? staind headlining X-fest? ouch. so to get to work for a station that puts together shows that just thrill me and make me feel proud to be a part of them: it is truly awesome.

it's funny, though. i'm not sure what our listeners think, but i get the feeling people think we just pick and choose whichever bands we want, and that's who plays our shows. if only. there is SO much politicking that goes on between record labels and management and the stations trying to get bands for their shows, it can get really ugly. a LOT of "we'll give you THIS if you give us THAT" and "you can't have this band because the other stations in your town have been playing them too, and it might piss them off" and "sure, you can have them, but they want $130,000.00 to play, so if you get them, your listeners will be thrilled about the band and will HATE you for having to charge $60.00 a ticket just to cover costs." i am not a programmer so thankfully i do not have to do any of the dirty work, as far as booking bands goes, but from what i've seen, it is rarely easy and rarely a clean, happy little exchange. some stations hire outside promoters to do the dirty work for them, so they then are able to land bigger bands than, say, if they were paying for it and booking it all themselves, but then they make less money on the show too. at least that's my understanding of it. my point is, putting together a great lineup takes TONS of work and haggling and money and stuff, and i wish more of our listeners understood how hard it is to pull off a rad lineup when you are booking the shows on your own.

but i digress. i was happy about the lineup for the fm 94/9 7th anniversary bashes: night one was black joe lewis & the honeybears, cage the elephant, and jet, and night two was switchfoot doing an all ages show to kick off their tour in their hometown on the eve of their new cd's release. not bad! we sold out both nights pretty quickly, which is always cool, and the fm 94/9 house band started practicing at a warehouse in mira mesa a couple nights a week. halloran picked the songs, we learned them, and it was on.

so the night of the first show, saturday november 7th, hal told us to get to 4th and b at 5 to soundcheck. i was running late and panicking, left f at home with j in a rush, racing downtown as fast as i could, scrambling to find parking so i could get inside. but as i walked into the back doors, i saw tommy on his phone and hal chatting with matt from cage the elephant. i set my keyboard down and said hi and then? hal told me the neither CTE nor BJL & the honeybears had soundchecked yet. all of that rushing for nothing. doors didn't open until 7pm, so we had a lot of time to kill. but it was all good - tommy, amanda and i walked around the corner and had beers at the local, and walked back to 4th and b just in time to see our gear being loaded on to the stage. the band started at 7:30 - my keyboard wasn't even plugged in until halfway through the first song, and we know now that half the mics weren't working. we still had a blast - matt from bad credit, aaron from scarlet symphony, and jake najor from all kinds of crazy bands were awesome and made it so much fun. timmy pyles killed it on vocals, as did owen and garett, who, i might add, is my boss. not a bad gig, playing in a band where your boss is screaming out ramones and iggy and the stooges songs! dallas was cracking me up and ron fountenberry, matt from transfer and steve from the styletones made us look like professionals, so that ruled. it was, over all, pretty awesome.

(photos by dustin singler)

the rest of the night was kinda a blur - j got to be there this year, which was awesome, and we drank beers and ate phil's BBQ upstairs and really, just hung out with friends new & old. we were blown away by cage the elephant's performance. later, i learned that their bus driver that had been driving them for two months had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital right before they went onstage. still, they pulled it off. i can only imagine how hard that must have been. we left when jet started, and that was that.

night two was fun also - i met timmy and owen at the east county performing arts center around 5 and we walked to go get dinner and drinks, then headed backstage and hung out in the green room with halloran, O, the switchfoot guys, and a few local band guys & their girlfriends. after the new archaic played, owen and i went and grabbed seats and checked out the switchfoot set, and those guys? they owned it. they are so humble and kind and GOOD at what they do - i wish them nothing but the best.

so the shows went well, but i'm glad it's over. up next: the fm 94/9 holiday hootenanny. spoon, phoenix, manchester orchestra, white rabbits, & vampire weekend, with some extra cool stuff that we haven't announced yet too. talk about a lineup i can be proud of! i can't wait.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a list.

f has been slinging some zingers our way recently. i want to remember them all but there are so many, i only seem to jot down the ones that really stand out. a few recent gems:

1. as i tucked her in to bed, she said "mama, don't let the eagle get my armpit." um, huh?

2. "mama, it's not a good idea to rock and roll when you're walking down the street all by yourself." oh but f, it certainly can be. you'll see.

3. "your boo boos are squishy!" (yes, my boobs. sweet.)

4. "NO THANK YOU!!!" screamed at us, for anything and everything. she's approaching three. it's fun.

Friday, November 6, 2009


it was f's first time trick-or-treating this year, and holy cute-bomb: it was ridiculous. when i wasn't laughing i was either taking pictures or being all weepy and emotional at the sweetness of it all. this was her first time! we rolled out with a bunch of her buddies and she loved it. she asked me every afternoon for the next few days if we could go trick-or-treating again that night.

almost as funny as the toddler posse demanding candy: spiderman pushing the doublewide. good times.

dinosaur jr

when i was in college radio, dinosaur jr. were, as we used to say, the sheezy. meaning, they were (are) flipping AWESOME and we all pretty much worshipped them. ditto for sebadoh, sentridoh, and just about any 'doh lou barlow was involved with. fast forward a few (ahem, 16 or so) years and last wednesday, halloran is asking me if i "wouldn't mind" if he brought dinosaur jr into the studio while i was on the air so he could tape something with them. um... mind? dude. i would only mind if you didn't! bring it on! and he did. i was a little excited, but fortunately my pal O was there to document it all:

keep the glove, berb.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


it was mid-september when we learned that our neighbor carly had been in a horrific tour bus accident with her band, a city serene. i wrote about it here and really, it was a couple of weeks before their outside lights finally were off during the day. as the weeks ticked on, j and i began to talk with her parents here and there, and the updates were always hopeful and positive. she's awake! she's talking! she's recognizing people! she's tweeting!! she's being transferred to a hospital in san diego soon! and finally, she's coming home! and she did: carly's home.

last weekend, carly and her mom cathi came over while i was putting f down for her nap. f had just fallen asleep and i was still laying next to her when i heard their voices in our front courtyard. i flew outside to see her with my own two eyes, and she was there, so alive and so cute and funny and just, well, awesome. carly, who suffered a brain-injury, who had a tube in her throat to help her breathe, who had our whole neighborhood talking to god and allah and anna nicole smith (that's another story for another day), asking for them to be with carly and help her survive and thrive - carly was right there, doing just that: thriving. she was talking and laughing and she was smart and sweet and really, aside from the walking cast on her foot, i would have never guessed that she'd been in a coma recently if i didn't know it to be true. carly. you are a stud!

on halloween she and her bandmates got together at the hospital where their drummer mike is still staying, and it was the first time since the accident they were all together again. they say their plan is to make a new record and put it out next year. personally, i think just the fact that they all fought hard to survive and are all doing so well again is more than enough. as a parent, i can't even begin to imagine what cathi and shane went through. having carly home feels like a victory not only for the baker family, but for our little neighborhood too. we're stoked.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

team "save the beauties"

a great, albeit really emotional, way to start a sunday: walking a 5k through balboa park in honor of anyone who's ever battled breast cancer. today we rallied around our girl janet, who just finished her course of chemo and radiation and walked it in a hot pink wig. her three year old son wore a shirt that said "my momma's a survivor". we laughed and talked and toasted to janet with bloody marys when we were done. team save the beauties!