All posts by Jason Haberman

35 years old and starting over in April 06. Moving onwards and upwards. With the help of friends, family and a little creative writing.

Boise State 2011, TCU and more – My Take

I know I haven’t written as much about Boise State football in the recent months as I did early on in this blog. Probably a function of less time to blog, and more important events going on. But, I’ve held my tongue enough. In the wake of the loss to TCU this past Saturday, I have some observations I’d like to pass along.

Note, I have not read a single analysis, recap or opinion of this game. I’ve been in a self-imposed 100% media blackout since that field goal try went wide right. So, if anything I’m writing here has been repeated elsewhere just know that these are my thoughts and my thoughts alone.

Also, this is not just about that game, although there will be plenty of thoughts about that in here. There will be season long reflections as well. Some of these things have been nagging away at me, and took the focus of a loss to bring out. For the record, I did enjoy the orange uniforms with the white helmets. Unfortunately, with the outcome of the game we may not see that combination again any time soon…

Here goes nothing.

First off, let me say that losing sucks. Losing at home sucks worse. Having been to every home game since 1992, I’ve seen plenty of losses. 1996 comes to mind when we went 2-10 including 6 home losses. However, we hadn’t lost a regular season home game since 2001. Hadn’t lost a home conference game since 1998. That is domination. I don’t care who you’re playing.

So, this is uncharted territory.

Saturday was the perfect game to highlight what went wrong with this team. Some in our control, some not. There is plenty of blame to go around.

1. I think it was obvious that our coaches got out game-planned. Because TCU had rushed for 390 yards the previous week against Wyoming, that was what Boise State’s coaches thought they would need to stop. However, TCU’s coaching staff knew that Petersen and co. would go that route, so they decided to go the other way and throw over the top. You can tell that Boise State’s defense was geared up to stop the run. That is why the DBs kept jumping on the play action and pump fakes leaving wide open receivers to catch 75 yard touchdown passes. I’m sure they had been drilled during the week that they would need to support the run stoppers. By the time the 2nd half rolled around and adjustments could be made, the damage had been done. I mean, we won the 2nd half 21-16. Unfortunately, we were down 20-14 at half. Side note, we did stop their run. They only had 33 rushing yards on 26 attempts. Unfortunately, they also threw for 473 yards…

2. Injuries. Oh god the injuries. Let me say that we really missed having Jerrell Gavins in this game. The senior CB was having a huge season before his season-ending injury. Jamar Taylor, a junior CB is also hurt. Ebo Makinde apparently pulled his hammy on one of those bombs. This left us with sophomores and freshmen with limited experience at corner. TCUs game plan went right at these guys. While some of these guys will be really good, true frosh Lee Hightower I’m looking at you, they weren’t ready for prime time on Saturday.

While we’re talking injuries let’s look at running back. Drew Wright, the 4th or 5th string running back was in there at the end, to fumble away the chance we had to salt the game away. That fumble is what gave TCU the ball and the chance to come back. Nice enough player, but the guy you want to see running the ball when you’re up 35, not at crunch time. Doug Martin, the clear #1 running back was injured a week ago against UNLV. He was in uniform, but obviously couldn’t go. #2 DJ Harper had a good day running the ball, but was apparently injured on the previous possession. Malcolm Johnson, who probably would have been the 3rd RB blew out his ACL in fall camp. True freshman Jay Ajayi  could have burned his redshirt year, except he blew out his knee in practice a couple weeks ago. Leaving really only Drew Wright to tote the rock, against a team who’s only hope was to force a turnover. Note, after the fumble when Boise State got the ball back, Doug Martin went into the game but he was obviously not 100%.

3. Our receiving corps. We have a lot of good players at receiver. In the off season I got really tired of hearing the national media say how we’d never be able to replace Titus Young and Austin Pettis. I thought we’d certainly have the players to do it. Now, while all of our receivers are good, none of them are explosive. We basically have 5 possession/slot receivers. Shoemaker is really good. Miller is already really good, and may someday be great. That deep ball that Kellen Moore completed to true freshman Dallas Burroughs on Saturday was the first true bomb I can remember seeing all season. We’ve had long touchdowns, but they’ve usually been caused by poor defense and were passes of 15-20 yards that the receiver took the rest of the way. Nobody has elite speed. Nobody can get open deep. They can all run good routes and get open, and Moore is amazing enough to fit the ball into tight spaces. But that deep threat is not there. Geraldo Boldewijn was supposed to be that threat, but I just don’t think he’s up to the task (and he missed the first 4 games of the year).

4. I think we miss previous offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin more than I thought we would. No offense to current OC Brent Pease, but the offense just doesn’t seem to have the same spark… that same precision as in previous years. Harsin (now at Texas) is a supreme play caller. He would get a defense on it’s heels, then press every advantage. I’m not sure I’m seeing that this year. Feels like we’ve had way more 3 and outs. I know, fans who complain about play calling are usually idiots and all. I’m not saying I could do it better or anything. I’m saying I think that Harsin DID do it better. That’s the limit of my knowledge in that area.

5. Speaking of coaching, the end of the game I have a problem with as well. It’s been well known that we have a serious problem in the kicking game. Obviously, when you attempt a grand total of 4 field goals in 8 games, that doesn’t scream confidence. Not to mention, I’ve seen more missed/flubbed/blocked extra points this year to last me a good long time. Now, I don’t want to pile on our freshman kicker any more than he’s already gotten. Instead I have issues with the coaches. After a decent last minute drive to get in position we had the ball on the 20 yard line, with 20 seconds and a time out. Instead of riding the arm of your Heisman finalist and winningest QB in NCAA history, you decide to have him run into the middle of the field and lay down, to set up that ill fated kick. I will never understand that call. You HAVE to keep the ball in Moore’s hands. He’s done it before, see VT last year. He’s a senior. He was 46-2 for a reason. Instead, you decide to put the game on the foot of a freshman who’s made 3 field goals all year. I just don’t get it.

6. Frankly, I just don’t think we’re as good as last year. Good enough to kick Georgia’s teeth in. But still, not as good.

7. What really bums me out is with this loss, and the Nevada loss last year, is we’ve essentially wasted the last 2 seasons of Kellen Moore. We got to the BCS in ’10 vs TCU and won. But last year, we were really primed for something special. We’d have gone to the Rose Bowl. Instead we had to choke away that Nevada game. This year we had perhaps an admitted longshot at a national championship game. At worst, we were looking at a probable Sugar Bowl. Now? We’ll be lucky to get back into the Las Vegas bowl. It’s just depressing. You only get so many chances to see a transcendent player on the biggest stage. We blew 2 of them.

8. I hate having a college football system where we have to go undefeated to get a taste of anything above facing the 8th best Pac-12 team in some crappy bowl nobody cares about. Despite how we’ve made it look in previous seasons, going undefeated is hard. I don’t care who you play. If it was so easy, more teams who play so-called “weak schedules” would do it. That really sucks.

9. I really hope our pass defense isn’t as bad as it looked. San Diego State has been known to throw the ball around and we have them in their house this weekend. Yikes.

Ok, on to a few of the more positive things I’ve got.

1. If we had to lose this year, I’d pick to lose to TCU. At least they have some national cache. If they hadn’t choked away 2 early games, they could have easily come in here undefeated. I wanted to beat Georgia. Badly. That gets the “you’ve never beat an SEC team” monkey off our back. Losing to anyone else would have be way worse.

2. At least now I can stop worrying about polls, and what other teams are doing and everything else. Small consolation, however. Perhaps this next weekend I can just enjoy football without hoping that Georgia is winning, and Oklahoma State is losing or whatever else. I just know that none of it really matters now. That being said, I still did enjoy watching Oregon stomp a mudhole in Stanford’s ass Saturday night. I KNEW Stanford was overrated. They hadn’t played anyone. At all. And got exposed. That was fun.

3. TCU’s coach Patterson said after the game that the Big 12 should absolutely get Boise State into it’s conference. Of course, that probably isn’t going to happen, but was good for someone to say.

4. All things being equal, we’re still living in an era of 46-3 with those 3 losses coming by a combined 5 points.

5. I still love Boise State. No loss, no 10 losses, no 50 losses will ever change that. Ever.

6. When we got home from the game, I was obviously still pretty salty. But we walked in the door and Alex saw me and came walking right over to me wearing her little Boise State shirt. Sorta puts things into perspective. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, but perhaps it’s not all as bad as it could seem.

 

Twins at 10 Months and Pictures

We made it another month… Double digits, baby.

The girls are going like gangbusters now. Alex has no fear, and will let go of the couch and just recently walked like 6 steps before tumbling. It’s amazing, and frankly a little disconcerting to see a person less than 2 feet tall walking. If she wasn’t so cute, it might be something out of a horror movie. Meri, is still walking only while holding on to something. She isn’t as adventurous as her sister. However, she is generally less perturbed about things than Alex is. Meri can entertain herself more than Alex. Gets less upset when hurt than Alex, except for when mom does the nose sucker… she does NOT like that.

We’re sleeping through the nights still. Bed time is around 7pm which is awesome. It gives Jess and I some decompress time before we crash. It’s really nice. We also have a routine where while Jess is feeding them, I’m making something for she and I to eat. Usually something simple, but still… home cooking.

They both are eating well. They are getting 3 “solid” meals a day now. Jess and I take turns with who gets to get the girls up and fed in the mornings, and who gets to sleep an extra 20 minutes. Basically, one of us will roll out of bed around 6am. Get both girls changed, warm up some formula and get that in them (put them side by side on the couch while you double fist two bottles). Then, get them in their highchairs and mix up some of their oatmeal and maybe mix in a little fruit. Feeding them solids can still be a bit of a challenge as they don’t like to pay attention. Also, when the food gets on their face they like to smear that around. We gotta use strong spring clips to keep their bibs on since they like to pull theirs off (or, their sister’s depending) and wave it around. After breakfast is over and they’re cleaned up, they go in their jumperoos while we get ready for work. Usually, while they are in those, one or both of them will poop, so they’ll have to be changed again before getting dressed for the day, loaded in their seats and out the door. Somehow, we are able to leave the house around 7:20am every day. Whew.

Without further ado, let’s make with the pictures. As always, click an image to view it, or the whole set on Flickr.

Alex & Meri

Meri & Alex

Alex is walking, almost

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex

Alex & Meri

Monster

Mom and the Girls

Twin updates and pictures, Months 8 & 9

Alex & MeriIt’s that time again. I’ve finally cleaned the memory card of photos I’ve taken in the past couple months. Here is what Alex and Meri have been up to lately.

Let’s see… what’s been going on…

Well, we successfully drug the girls across country to Pittsburgh PA. That was a serious accomplishment, if I do say so myself. Full post on that trip is forthcoming, I promise.

After a few more teething rounds, which were not fun at all, we now have 5 teeth each. Nothing can stop these pip-squeaks from growing. I remain completely blown away how 2 kids can both start teething within 12 hours of each other. Amazing.

We took the girls to the Western Idaho Fair a couple weeks ago. It was hotter than hell the day we went, but they were total troopers. Nary a cry was heard. They are almost always good in public, though. They didn’t get much out of the fair, I don’t think. They just kinda rolled around in the stroller with the same bewildered look on their face. Next year will undoubtedly be more fun. One side note to taking twins to the fair… for once WE were not the biggest freak show/attraction for people to stare at and comment about. Between carnival rides, food booths, farm animals, and hot tub sales, there was plenty else to keep peoples’ attention off of me any my kids. I can’t adequately describe how nice that was. I wish I could go to the fair every week for that reason alone.

However, the biggest news has come from changes to our bedtime/sleep routine. We had settled into a routine of rocking them to sleep every night. Some nights, it would take 45 minutes… sometimes 90 minutes. To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t that bad of a gig. Jess and I would each get a beer, have our phones, sit in their dark room and relax ourselves. The problems came in keeping the girls asleep. If they woke up, we could be stuck rocking them back to sleep because we didn’t know what else to do.

Well, Jess had ordered a DVD called The SleepEasy Solution and we chose to try their method. It basically consists of performing your regular “wind down” bedtime activities as usual… pajamas, stories, bottles, etc. But not letting them fall asleep. Then, you put them down awake and leave the room. Of course, they cried. You set a timer for 5 minutes, then you go into the room and let them see you, but don’t touch them, and reassure them that you’re there and they can do it. Less than 30 seconds. Then, you set a timer for 10 minutes. Repeat. If they’re still crying, set a timer for 15 minutes and repeat. Basically, you’re teaching them they can fall asleep without a crutch (our rocking). The first night they cried for about 35 minutes. The second night, we didn’t make it to the 15 minute check, they fell asleep at about 28 minutes. Eventually, in 5 or 6 days they are asleep in less than 5 minutes after we put them down. Seldom do they cry as we leave the room. We will listen to them on the monitor and they will jabber to each other in the room, but not cry. Then they just fall asleep. Damn, this shit almost works like magic. Amazing. Plus, it gives Jess and me 30 to 90 minutes of our days back. Not to mention that when the girls wake up in the middle of the night, they seldom cry. If they do, we still don’t go in and they just fall back asleep.

Now, we’re still rolling out of bed at 6:30am, but there isn’t much we can do about that…

Anyway, without further ado, on with the pictures. As always, there are more pictures on Flickr than posted here. Click on the picture itself, or the link to go there.

Haberwtins at 8-Months

Alex & Meri

Alex

Meri

Meri & Alex

Floor full of toys, we choose the diaper wipes

Meri

Busted

Twins (and mom and dad) made it to 9 months!

Alex, in the toy basket

Meri

One of the girls at daycare french-braided our hair!

Alex

Meri

Synchronized Standing

Meri in the Bath

Alex in the Bath

Meri and Alex

Meri

Alex

Meri

Story Time

So, there ya go. More to come!

Concert Compare and Contrast:
U2 vs. Mötley Crüe

I have attended 2 concerts this summer. First was U2 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and the second was Mötley Crüe and Poison at the Idaho Center.

Needless to say, these were quite different experiences. Funny bit of trivia, 2011 marks the 35th year for U2, 30th year for Mötley Crüe and 25th for Poison. That is some symmetry for ya…

U2 – July 26th, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA.

Basically the impetus for our taking the twins to Pittsburgh in the first place was that Jess bought U2 tickets on a whim last year while she was still pregnant. Of course, we couldn’t know just how much our lives would change with the arrival of the girls. Nevertheless, we loaded up the family and journeyed across country for 2 reasons… to see family (and show off Alex and Meri) and to go to see U2. Jess and I had had U2 tickets for the previous summer in Seattle, while she was still pregnant. However, Bono threw is back out or something and that leg of the tour was postponed. Thus, this summer rolled around and we had to adjust our plans.

This was by far the biggest concert I’d ever been to. I’d never seen an outdoor arena show (local amphitheaters excepted). Especially not an outdoor show with 70,000 other people. Jess, on the other hand is a bit of a U2 freak. This show would mark her 10th time seeing them. Double digits. Pretty impressive. Even more when you realize they’ve never been to Boise, so she’s had to travel for each and every one of those shows.

We had general admission floor tickets and had planned to eat before the show. Unfortunately for us there was exactly ONE food option for the entire floor population. We ended up standing in line some 45 minutes in order to get a cheesesteak served on a hotdog bun by some young women from an former Eastern Bloc country. Rachel, Jess’s cousin who was with us speculated they might be slave laborers. One unfortunate side effect from our food necessity was we missed being in the Gigapixel Fancam. What a bummer. The other, less unfortunate effect was we missed all but about 4 minutes of the opening act Interpol. None of us could name a song of theirs. I’m sure they must be good if you’re going to open for U2 and all, but we weren’t losing any sleep over missing them.

Eventually, we ate our food, got beers and headed into find our spot on the floor. Despite what that gigapic looks like there was actually a nice bit of space on the floor where we were. Nobody was packed together to tightly, which was nice. I hate being stuck somewhere unable to move. We settled probably 30 yards from the stage.

Showtime.

Bono and the boys just walk out on stage. All shown by their gigantic 360° screen above the stage. I found it interesting that they didn’t even dim the lights before. To be perfectly honest, they strode to the stage like it was out of a movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if they choreographed that. Maybe just because they are so practiced at it, it just looked like a music video.

Speaking of music videos, this entire concert was so smooth and polished everything felt like it was a movie or video shoot. The camera work that they displayed on their screen felt like it was pieced together over a couple of weeks by an experienced editor, not produced on the fly. Amazing work.

This massive  video screen at one point in the show expanded down to almost reach the stage. When it was in this mode, they did more designs and motion tests than pure video. Broke up the show nicely.

All told, I probably recognized a good 60% of the set list, which made things fun for me. I’m one of those fans that really enjoys familiar songs. Sue me. They played the 3 songs that I really wanted to hear, Beautiful Day (with the help from the International Space Station), Sunday Bloody Sunday (with accompanying imagery from the “Arab Spring”) and Where The Streets Have No Name in an encore. I have to say, there is something about being 30 yards from one of the most famous people in the world in Bono. If there was someone who was crafted in a lab to front one of the biggest music groups in history it is this guy. He is at turns ultimate showman, singer, humanitarian, and switches between them effortlessly. I do find it mildly amusing that I don’t believe any of the other 3 guys ever said one word during the show… happy to let Bono do it. Also, I’d like to mention guitarist The Edge. He has crafted a sound which you immediately recognize. It was really something to hear him tear into Mysterious Ways or City of Blinding Lights. Even for a non-die hard fan it can give you chills.

However, by FAR the most fun thing for me was watching Jess absolutely light up during this show. After the tough past 8 month daily grind of having and raising twins, it was worth every single bit of stress it took to get us to that show to see her love it so much. I couldn’t have wiped the smile of her face with a belt sander. She was engrossed in it. I doubt she had a care in the world for those 2 and a half hours. That alone was worth every last penny to me. I now know why she’s made it to 10 of those things. I’ll say it right now, next time they’re on tour, I’m in for another go-round. Let’s do it! You can see my iPhone’s feeble attempt to capture her during the show in that image.

Bono and the boys did play for 2 and a half solid hours. As you can see from the set list, 25 songs. Many of those contained snippets of other songs in them which stretched them out. You certainly can’t claim we didn’t get our money’s worth. If my aching feet were any indication, we most definitely did.

Seeing U2 at this point is almost a cultural touchstone. Even if you’re not a fan you probably should take in a show of theirs just to say that you’ve done it. Well worth every bit of effort it took to get there.

Mötley Crüe & Poison – August 13th – Idaho Center, Nampa ID

On the other end of the spectrum from U2 would be Motley Crue. When I was 13 I was a GIGANTIC Motley Crue fan. I have never seen them in concert for whatever reason, but this was my chance to relive my childhood. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I was probably an even bigger Poison fan when I was 14. I was young and dumb… what can I tell ya?

Ma and Pa Haberman came to watch the Habertwins for the night, so Jess and I packed up a few beers to drink in the parking lot and headed out to the Idaho Center. As we sat there drinking our beers, we watched other fans arrive. I gotta say, the people watching was OUTSTANDING at this show. You had all types. The dudes who look exactly the same as they did in 1988. The chicks all sexed-up in their miniskirts and heavy makeup. Metalheads in their denim jackets over old tour t-shirts. Bikers. People obviously in costume. Rednecks. Even boring old normal people like me. Great stuff.

We got into the arena and got us a couple more beers. After walking around a bit, we hit the merch counter to take a peek. Jess talked me into getting a Motley Crue t-shirt just for the comedy of the whole thing. It is the first bit of anything I have ever purchased at a concert. Probably worth the $25 it cost.

It wasn’t long before Poison started their opening act. I told Jess that after watching a few seasons of Rock of Love, I was pretty tired of Bret Michaels’ shtick. And he was in full “Bret Michaels” mode in this show as well. But, since they only had limited time to play, he didn’t have a lot of time to talk to the audience. Instead, they busted through all of their biggest hits. Only mixing in “We’re An American Band” originally by Grand Funk Railroad to change it up. 45 minutes of music later they were done. I have to say, I think I enjoyed Poison even more than I thought I would. Of course, I knew every word to every song they sang. It almost took me back to the days when I would put their tape into our big stereo at home, grab my headphones to listen and read the latest issue of BMX Plus magazine. Good times. They ultimately finished up with Talk Dirty To Me and Nothin’ But A Good Time. It certainly was.

Between shows, the crowd thinned considerably. Ostensibly to empty their bladders and to get more beers. Jess and I among them.

Our seats for this show were in the front row of the arena seats, just one step off the floor. Basically we had floor tickets, but saved $20 a piece. The most amusing part of our seats was that we were right next to the stairs heading up the aisle of the stands. Being that they were steps and many tipsy people walking by, we got to see a number of good stumbles from people. I love the ones who played it off like they meant to trip. Too funny.

On stage, the crew was busy swapping the stage around for Motley’s main act. From our distance, we couldn’t really see what was going on, but they were really working up there.

The way the Crue started was sorta like the way U2 started, in a bizzaro universe. House lights were still up, and people were still milling around… then BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! Six or eight very loud pyrotechnics went off, the curtain drops, lights go out and they immediately tear into Wild Side. The crowd went nuts and hundreds of people tried rushing back to their seats in the dark without spilling their beers.

Seeing a metal show is really unlike seeing some other type of music live. You certainly don’t go to a metal show looking for quality audio. Going in, you know it’s going to be loud. I mean like really loud. Like pushed way past distortion loud. And the Crue was definitely that. Throw in the, let’s say “sub-optimal” acoustics of the Idaho Center and you get otherwise awesome songs sounding like they are being played through crappy speakers at full volume with your head in a beat up aluminum garbage can. But, you don’t care.

The set list for Motley Crue contained exactly 1 song released after 1989, and that was their Grammy nominated song from 2008 Saints of Los Angeles. That is exactly the way I wanted this show to go. None of that “now here is a few songs from our new album!” Nobody cares. We’re there to hear the songs we know and love, and Motley Crue delivered the goods.

Also, a staple during a metal show is a few “solos” by the guitarist and drummer. Of course, the Crue obliged. Mick Mars did a wailing guitar riff that lasted a good 5 minutes… fingers flying around the strings.

The big spectacle of this show however was the apparatus that was Tommy Lee’s drum kit. “Roller Coaster” we were told. Always the innovator and a hell of a drummer, Tommy Lee really pushes the envelope with his live shows. In 1987 he broke out a spinning drum kit. At this show, his entire kit rides a giant circular rail system while he pounds out a massive drum solo. At one point, he brought a woman up on stage to go for a ride with him. He really comes across as a giant kid who is just having the time of his life.

Even lead singer Vince Neil still had his pipes available and hit all of the requisite screams when need be. Very impressive. Thinking about it, it really is incredible that all 4 original members of this band are still alive… still coherent enough to play a killer concert night after night. I read their book The Dirt and the amount of partying and drugs they did is astronomical. I would wager that if normal humans had tried to live that way, a good 50% wouldn’t survive 2 years, let alone 30. The only thing we can surmise is that they aren’t human. They are super-human metal gods put on this earth to bang the heads of the masses.

After blasting out all of my favorite Crue songs (Home Sweet Home, Same Ol’ Situation, Looks That Kill) they finish off with Kickstart My Heart, replete with huge pyrotechnics and boom, they’re done. No encore. They played fast and loud for an hour and a half and that was it. You kinda have to admire their not playing the phony leave-the-stage-but-come-back-for-the-encore-that-was-always-planned-anyway routine. They just quit, took their bows and walked off. That’s metal.

Ok, on to the comparison. I think we should break this down tale of the tape style… here goes.

U2
Motley Crue
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA Venue Idaho Center, Nampa ID
Advantage: U2
Lots of beer stands… one single food option with a 45min line for 3000 GA patrons Concessions Plenty. Easy to access, and not outrageously expensive.
Advantage: Motley Crue
70,000. Loud, but generally normal people (various continuous pot smokers excepted). Aged young to old Crowd Maybe 7,000 made a lot of noise for the size and completely packed with a plethora of kooks. Epic people watching
Advantage: Push
Interpol Opening Act Poison
Advantage: Motley Crue
Crystal clear. Beautifully mixed and very smooth. Very loud (possibly louder than the Crue, but was also outside), but so well balanced you caught no distortion Audio Quality Still very loud. Every dial pushed to 11, damn the torpedoes. Sometimes devolved into a cacophony of unrelated noises and distortion. If you didn’t know the songs, you weren’t learning them there.
Advantage: U2
Entire concert played like a movie. Flawless. Something to behold. 360 screen put to awesome use. Production Quality Rough… but with pyrotechnics. No constant video of the band in background. Did have a drum kit roller coaster.
Advantage: U2
60% – 15 of 25 songs I was pretty familiar with. Not bad for a band that I’ve never really listened to. Song Recognition 100% – granted, I’m not totally hip to Saints of Los Angeles. But knowing every lyric of every other song makes up for that, I believe.
Advantage: Motley Crue
Lugged two 8-month olds 2000 miles across the country. Ease of Attendance Mom and dad babysit
Advantage: Motley Crue
30 Years as a band 25
Advantage: U2
Current tour grossed over $700 million. Dozens of stadiums sold out around the world. One of the biggest bands in the world. Cultural Relevance Aging hair-metal band. Once huge, now playing in glorified rodeo barns. Still rock though.
Advantage: U2
Bono wore leather pants and at one point a leather jacket with red lasers sewn into it. Leather Everywhere… Band… Opening band… backup dancers/singers… audience
Advantage: Motley Crue
Wore earplugs. At one point I thought the crowd sounded pretty quiet compared to the band… then I took my plugs out and realized they were NOT quiet. Quickly put them back in. Post Show Ear Damage Level Also wore earplugs… Damn I’m getting old.
Advantage: Push
Strong. Would travel to make it happen. Desire to see again Maybe… probably wouldn’t go out of my way to.
Advantage: U2
Made Jess inordinately happy. She knew every word to every song. Danced the whole time. Attention rapt with the band. Intangibles Made me grin like a fool most of the show (especially with the spinning pentagram). Felt like 6th grade again. Knew all the lyrics.
Advantage: U2
7 — Totals — 5

There you have it. With a total of 7 to 5 (with 2 pushes) the U2 concert takes home the title of best concert I saw this summer. Motley Crue put up a good fight, but the enormity of U2 was too much to over come.

Thank you Jess for getting us there. If it was up to me, we would have DEFINITELY skipped it and would have been far worse off for it. Having toted them girls across country now makes every day seem easier by comparison. There isn’t anything we can’t do. I mean what I said about next time U2 tours… we’re going someplace fun to watch ’em. Maybe even visit some friends in Chicago.

Twin Pix – Months 5,6 & 7

You know how when you get busy and time just slips away from you? AKA, why you’re getting 3 months of photos in a single post…

A short Habertwin update. They are growing quickly. They are grabby as all hell, especially with things they aren’t supposed to have. They are eating a ton of baby food and still sucking down bottles of formula. Their dexterity is amazing. They are now able to grab a binky and put it correctly into their mouths. Of course, they are also just as apt to chew on some other part of the binky… can’t tell if that’s intentional or not. Meri is now combination army crawling/rolling across the floor to get to where she wants to go. Alex isn’t quite as mobile, but can still roll and scoot backwards a little bit. They’ve both got “monkey feet” which they curl their toes to grab things.

They are sleeping in their own room, each in their own cribs for about the past month. Which is a good thing, since they were rolling and knocking heads sleeping together. They generally only wake once per night. Unfortunately, that is only a generality. Last night they both were crabby and awake from 1:30am until about 4. Not good times. Meri has slept through the night a handful of times already. Alex is not there yet. That’s the thing with twins… Even if one perchance sleeps through the night, the chances of the other one doing the same thing are not great. So, we’re still getting out of bed anyway. The frustrating thing is we know they know how to do it now… they just choose not to.

We’re still crying on the commute home every day. That’s not fun. Nothing we attempt to do appeases them. So, they cry the entire 45 minute trip home. As soon as we get there, they stop. Go figure. Good thing that’s not stressful.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the pics. As always, more pictures reside on Flickr.com to view. Click the link or the individual picture to view them.

5 Months Old on Flickr

Feeding Time

Meri

Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

This is what it is like attempting to hold 2 babies who’d rather be doing something else:
Mom with girls

6 Months Old on Flickr

You’ll notice that only Meri is wearing the sticker on her shirt with the “6 months” on it. That’s because we misplaced the other set. Still haven’t found ’em, nor really had much time to look. Oh well.
Alex & Meri

Meri & Alex

Alex

Meri & Alex

They aren’t getting any easier for mom to position…
Girls

7 Months Old – 4th of July on Flickr

Alex

Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

So, there ya go. Hope you enjoyed.

Perhaps next month’s will be published before November, but I make no guarantees.

Lessons for my Daughters – #2

Meri & AlexSecond in the series of imparting my life’s lessons to Meri and Alex to follow as they grow older. If you missed the first go ’round you can find it here. I think my plan is to provide a dozen items in a post. Lot’s of good things come in sets of 12… donuts, juries, days of Christmas, beers, etc.

So, without further ado…

Life Lessons for Alexandra and Meredith.

13. Your mom and dad will always love you no matter what.

14. Search out belly laughs. Laugh so hard you can’t breathe. It’s good for you.
I’m not going to tell you that “laughter is the best medicine” because chances are, you know, medicine is the best medicine… However, if you laugh I guarantee you will feel better. If you laugh so long and hard that your stomach muscles hurt, even better. I can still remember times in my life where I laughed so hard I thought I would pee my pants. Those are some of life’s best times.

15. There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who return shopping carts to the proper location and those who don’t. Always return your cart.

16. Our rules exist for a reason, even if you can’t currently understand why.
Your mother and I will not invent arbitrary rules for you. There will always be a reason. Those reasons will usually fall into one of 3 categories: 1.) For your health and safety. 2.) For familial harmony or 3.) To make you a better more responsible adult.

17. Make your own money. Pay your own way.
If you are secure financially on your own, nobody can hold anything over your head.

18. Let sleeping Dads lie.

19. Bees don’t really want to sting you. Don’t be afraid of them. They give us vegetables and flowers.
Wasps on the other hand…

20. Having the right tool for the job always makes everything easier.
Trying to replace a screw with a butterknife will drive you insane and make things 10 times harder than they need to be. It took me a long time, a lot of frustration and gouged fingers before I learned this.

21. If you communicate on whatever technology exists, please at least attempt to spell words correctly.
If I see you writing, “thx 4 riteing me cuz ur 2 kool!!!” I will lose my mind.

22. There were only 3 Star Wars movies ever made.
Someone someday will try to tell you that there are actually 6, but they’re trying to fool you. Just believe me on this.

23. Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it. – Mark Twain
It’s ok to be afraid. Everyone get’s afraid, even if they don’t show it. Don’t let fear keep you from doing anything you want to do.

24. If you’re reading this, call your mother. She misses you.

 

You both are about to turn 7 months old. Never thought we’d survive this long but we’ve made it. You girls are even sleeping better now. Your mother and I are very thankful for that. I hope I didn’t just jinx us. One of my favorite parts of my day is when you’ve finished your bottle, and are settling in to fall asleep in my lap in the recliner. In your room, nice and dark, you swaddled up and giving in to sleep. Thank you for that.

In 3 weeks we begin our grand adventure taking you to Pittsburgh. Still not sure what to expect, except like I said… an adventure. Your family back there could NOT be more excited to meet you.

Until next time.

Love,

-Dad

My First Father’s Day

Now that I’m in the club, I get to have one more day of celebration a year. Of course, 6-month olds don’t really subscribe to this philosophy. Here’s what my day was like.

Jess said that she would get up with the girls and let me sleep in on my day. Hey! That’s about as good a gift as one could want! Unfortunately, some other people in our house didn’t think that was such a good idea. So, when the girls started squawking around 5:30am, Jess rolled out of bed to deal with them. On a normal day, the girls will usually quiet down once someone gets up to acknowledge them and get them out of bed. This day, not so much. One, and/or both of them decided that they wanted to cry/scream/shout. I laid in bed and tried to block it out, unsuccessfully. First problem was the baby monitor was still on, so it sounded like they were in the room with me. I rolled over to Jess’s side of the bed to kill it, but by then I was mostly awake. I stayed in bed and tried to force myself back to sleep, but I could still hear the cacophony from the next room.

Eventually, Jess gave up and brought the girls into bed with me and we started the day.

After some goofing around trying to keep the girls distracted and not crying Jess brought in my card and gift. Oh yeah… I nearly forgot. In addition to a great card, Jess got me a sweet video camera. Now we can shoot real video of the girls as they grow. It will definitely be fun to play with going forward. Thanks again, babe.

And with that, we started the day. We all got out of bed and got going. Jess said she had designs on making me breakfast, but Alex and Meri weren’t really into sitting quietly by themselves this fine day. I told her to not worry about it and had leftover cake and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Works for me.

My other gift for the day was not having to change a single diaper, which was also pretty sweet. So, as I entertained 1, Jess took the other to get changed and dressed for the day. Swap and do it again.

Time to feed them and figure out what we were going to do for the day. Like I said, the girls were extra fussy, so we knew we had to get them in the car at some point and go somewhere. They will usually sleep in the car (unless it’s 5pm and we’re coming home from daycare. That is a guaranteed cry-fest, but that’s a story for another time). Jess asked if we maybe wanted to drive out to the Birds of Prey area, but that seemed like a long ways to go. So, instead I suggested we go to Costco. So, we loaded up the car and left the house about 9:30am. Sounds early, but I’d already been awake for 3 hours…

The girls are usually really good at stores, and this was no different. They just chill out in their car seats in the Snap-N-Go stroller as we get to do some shopping. This time around we did get some fun stuff… some 8gig SD cards for the camera(s)… a new digital weather station deal… a new pair of shorts. We also got some not so fun things like diapers. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Nampa Costco at 10am on a Father’s Day Sunday but it’s nice. The place was pretty empty. Unfortunately, we got there before they got most of the samples up. Oh well.

Two Hundred bucks lighter it was time to go. We get home and try to feed the girls again and then take turns distracting them so we can eat lunch. Then it came time for naps.

For some reason, these girls are horrible nappers. They don’t want to sleep, and when they do, it’s never for longer than an hour. It is usually a battle with them, which isn’t fun. This day, it was an even bigger battle. We tried to swaddle and bottle them and put them down, but they were not having any of it. Both of them were just fighting the whole process and driving Jess and I nuts. Aggravation. So, we abandoned the nap idea and put them in the jumperoos to burn off some more energy. An hour later, we tried again. They’ve got to nap or we’re in for a world of hurt later. We swaddle them back up and try to rock them to sleep. After 30 minutes, they have apparently fallen asleep, so we put them in their crib. Not 5 minutes later, the screaming begins again. *sigh* Back to the rocker and try again. Alex was NOT having it. She was making me crazy by being so stubborn. You could tell she was exhausted but would just not sleep.

Eventually, I’d grown weary of it and instead loaded her into her car seat. We were going for a drive. Jess stayed behind with Meri, who was asleep in her arms and I hit the road. From our house at Chinden & Meridian roads, I went to Ten Mile, then down to the freeway. By the time I got to the freeway, Alex was asleep. So, I drove the freeway all the way to the outlet mall exit, then back up the freeway to the Idaho Center exit in Nampa and up to Chinden and back home. Almost an hour in all. Worth it, just for her to sleep.

When I got home, Meri slept for about 5 more minutes until she was awake. Ok… it’s bath time. We bathe them one at a time and then try derail fussiness and get some food into them. As Jess shoveled peas into them, I decided I needed a cocktail. So I made myself a vodka tonic and a gin & tonic for Jess. We then got them changed and dressed and it was time to head to my parent’s house for a combination Birthday, Father’s Day and Birthday celebration. It was my Dad’s birthday on Saturday and Jess’s birthday on Tuesday, so we were rolling all 3 into one big event. Since it was my day, we dressed them in matching Boise State blue and orange denim overalls things. Really, those things are more of a pain in the ass then their worth. Not very flexible. Tough to keep them on. The girls just chew on the straps and buckles. But, they looked cute. I think we got some good pictures.

Dinner was great. Even better was there were other hands to occupy my children for a little while. They can be exhausting. After dinner and gifts and dessert, the girls started to lose it (even more) so it was time to head home.

Upon getting home we immediately made a couple bottles of formula and changed and swaddled the girls. Fed and rocked, they fell asleep in about 30 minutes, which is pretty good. Apart from Alex waking up in a screaming fit about 20 minutes later (gas bubble) they were down.

Jess and I collapsed into bed about 9:30pm.

Whew.

All in all, I know I’ve had worse days, even with the girls being difficult. Thanks for everything Jess. One things for sure, no two Father’s Days will ever be alike from here on out!

Twin Pix – May ’11

I know I owe you all pictures from the girlies 5 month photo shoot… and for that matter the 6 month photo shoot which has yet to take place. Watch this space for those images coming soon.

Instead, enjoy these pics I’ve take over the past month, May 2011.

As always, there are more pics on Flickr than are posted here. Go view them all.

Enjoy.

Meri & Alex

Is it just me, or can you practically see what Alex will look like when she’s an adult in this picture?

Alex

Meri

Meri & Alex

She loves those prunes

Trying out our new shades

The Family

More to come.

Open Letter to Food Network

Hi Food Network. It’s time we had a talk.

I’ve been largely stuck in the house for the past 6 months with the birth of my twins, and I’ve watched a lot of Food Network in that time. I think you need to reevaluate what types of shows you are now putting on your air. Seriously. You only have 4 basic types of shows anymore and you just rehash them over and over. I want to like you, but you make it really difficult. I present to you your programming in nutshell.

1. Competition shows where someone gets eliminated
Offending shows: Next Food Network Star, Worst Cooks in America, Chopped, Iron Chef America (sort of)…

Is there anything more tired and played out than the episodic shows where people (possibly in 2 teams) compete and someone gets eliminated every week? (ie. Star and Cooks). I know it’s not just you, it’s every single network on TV. Still, just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it ok for you to do. I’m fairly certain I can’t take another show in that “Survivor/Apprentice” vein. Honestly. Next Food Network Star is always exactly the same. People struggle with talking and cooking simultaneously and get nervous on camera. We get it. But, I’m assuming like a lot of your shows, it’s cheap to produce and gets ratings. For the record, I think “Worst Cooks” was completely rigged and those people were all actors… bad ones at that.

“Chopped” is strangely addictive but it’s not perfect. One of the main problems is the same with Iron Chef… at least half of the “secret ingredients” I have no idea what the hell they taste like. Most of the time, I’ve never even heard of them. When you pull out some sheep testicle and dried tambaqui I have absolutely no basis for reference for what that might taste like.  I’m sure you do that deliberately to make it tough for the competitors, but it makes it a bit less interesting for me.  The only interesting ICA battles to me are when they get a common ingredient and are forced to use it creatively. At least I know what cheddar cheese or hamburger tastes like, so I can appreciate what the chefs are doing to it.

Best part of ICA? Alton Brown. Worst part? “Champion of battle XXX… Iron Chef XXX“. I know the Iron Chefs are good, but if they win every single time, it ceases to be interesting.

2. Shows where all of the drama comes from some arbitrary time limit
Offending shows:  Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, Challenge, Chopped, ICA, Cupcake Wars, Worst Cooks in America

Why? Why must everything have some clock ticking down to create forced drama? I know that in restaurants speed is very important. But you know what? I’d guess that a full 95% of your viewers don’t work in restaurants, have never worked in restaurants and will never become a line cook. Why must everything be so rushed and be on such a deadline? I’m pretty sure that when I’m cooking at home, the recipe doesn’t start with , “Ok, you only have 23 minutes and 17 seconds to finish this! Starting…NOW!”  Why can’t the food be the star and we the viewer be treated to watching a true master take their time to create something special? My life moves fast enough. I don’t need to watch people sweating a timer for my enjoyment. If anything, it may be adding a vague subconscious stress to my life that I just don’t need. Maybe if it was just one show using this trick that would be fine. But when it’s used over and over again. Ugh.

I feel it needs to be said. Your show “Challenge” is only very tangentially related to food at all. Just because they are using chocolate and sugar to create another 4-foot tall princess castle, nobody is going to eat it. If nobody cares what it tastes like, it ceases to be food at that point. There really is no difference in using sugar than using any other cast-able, brittle substance. But I digress.

I think one of the worst offenders of the “time limit drama” is Restaurant: Impossible. I like Robert Irvine. I like that he doesn’t take crap from anyone and tells these delusional restaurant owners that their places suck and he’s gonna fix it. Why on earth does he get stuck with that arbitrary 2 day limit? Why can’t he have all the time he needs to get everything done he needs to really help those people out? I mean, this is these peoples’ livelihoods. And just because the producers set an arbitrary 2 day limit, the resulting product may not be everything it could have been.

3. Shows where you visit restaurants around the country and show what’s good
Offending shows:  Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, Best Thing I Ever Ate, Kid in a Candy Store, Meat and Potatoes, Outrageous Food, any Giada or Rachel Ray show

Now, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these shows. I’ve enjoyed them. I’m sure if anything I’ve watched them a little too much. Here is my major problem with these. I would be willing to bet that a full 99.9% of the places you feature in these shows I will never EVER make it to. Once I realized that, I couldn’t watch the shows with the same enthusiasm. Now every time I see one all it does is make me hungry for something I won’t get and remind me that chances are very good I will never end up in the town you’re visiting. Not to mention, even if I do visit said town, the chances of my remembering that there was a specific dish at some specific restaurant that I wanted to try are pretty friggin slim.

Wait, remember when I said there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with these shows? I take it back. There is… and it’s name is Guy Feiri. The host of the show I refer to as “Diners, Drive-ins and Douchebags”. In the beginning, he was ok… in small doses. But anymore, you’ve got this guy on your air in 2 hour blocks and that shtick runs pretty thin after a while. I think I’ve had enough sweatbands and frosted tips for a while. But again, I know that show is probably ridiculously cheap to produce, with the major expenses being hair care products and transporting his convertible all over the country.

Finally, the worst type of show on your air…

4. Shows about cake
Offending shows:  Ace of Cakes (which I’m assuming started this trend), Cupcake Wars, Challenge, Have Cake Will Travel, Last Cake Standing

C’mon. Seriously. ENOUGH with the friggin cake. The absolute last thing that anyone on this planet needs is yet another show about cake. These shows aren’t even about how to make a good cake… they are about how to make a cake look like anything BUT a cake. Ultimately, there are simply glorified design shows. If I wanted to watch design shows, I could go to Bravo or TLC. I go to Food Network because I want to watch shows about food. Cake, although delicious, is not in need of this much PR.  A few years ago, I enjoyed Ace of Cakes. It was new. The people were kinda interesting. Duff was kinda fun. But, after a season or 2 I realized that it’s all just brightly colored fondant (which is largely inedible by the way) molded into shapes. Over and over. I’m assuming Duff realized it too and mercifully killed his show.

Honestly, I can’t even comment on any of the other cake shows you are currently running in endless loops. I boycott them on general principle. That, and watching that commercial of some chick carrying a cake while wading through a fountain certainly doesn’t scream “food” to me.

Please. I beg you. No… More… Cake…

 

Now, you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned your actual, you know, cooking shows. That’s because you cram all of those in the mornings when I, and most normal people, are working. I’ve watched a couple of them and sometimes they’re good… except for that amazing fraud Sandra Lee. But, you have long since gotten rid of my sole favorite of this genre: Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. You never even bother to replay the old episodes you have. A shame.

Don’t even get me started on what the hell “Ice Brigade” has to do with food. Read this description and tell me honestly that sounds like something that should be on a “Food Network”. The only way ice approaches food status is if it’s going into a mixed drink. Even then, it’s barely more “food” than the glass is.

There is another thing about your network that bothers me as well. So, while watching an evening of your programming, you are basically telling us about outstanding food and that there are a lot of great restaurants in this country and how good local food is, so on and so forth (of which I wholeheartedly agree). Then you cut to commercial and it’s a never ending parade of Applebees, Outback Steakhouse, and TGIFridays peddling their new “dynamite chicken flingers!”. Don’t you find that odd? Don’t you find that just a touch hypocritical? I’m fairly certain I haven’t seen ol’ Guy Feiri roll into some town and say, “Ya know… we should hit up the local Olive Garden!”. Chain restaurants are the lowest common denominator. The change from watching, say Iron Chef America, then cutting to a Red Lobster commercial is quite jarring… to say the least. If only your and/or broadcasters could figure out how to serve up targeted local advertising over a national network so, those small restaurants could advertise to the people most likely to visit them. That is what something like Food Network should be doing.

All of which gets me thinking… what show do I see listed on Food Network when I’m scanning through my DirecTV guide makes me excited and want to stop on your channel… Turns out there is only one show left that does that. Good Eats.

Unfortunately, it appears you no longer care about Good Eats since according to this, it’s ending and you never even bother to show repeats. According to your website, between now and June 6th, you are showing a grand total of 5 different episodes. That is pathetic. You’re showing 5 different episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives by tomorrow. Good Eats is the show that got me watching Food Network in the first place. More importantly, it was the show that made me want to start cooking. If it really is coming to an end, I hope you put the entire series out on DVD so I can buy it and just not bother to turn on Food Network ever again.

I suppose I just need to set my DVR to PBS and record a bunch of America’s Test Kitchen, since that’s the last bastion of entertaining and informative food programming left.

At least if they make a cake, they actually care about what it tastes like.