Children From the Produce Aisle

Being a first-time expectant father, I have a lot to learn about the pregnancy process.

Relatively speaking, men have it easy for the nine months their significant other is pregnant.  So in an effort to be a good husband, I’ve taken it upon myself to learn as much about what the Civee is going through as possible.  However, in my effort to be studious, I’ve also become quite bewildered.

In an effort to explain what the baby is like at a certain point during the pregnancy, many books and Web sites will liken the baby’s size or weight to an outside-the-womb item.  That’s all fine and dandy.  However, most of these sources like to compare the baby to a fruit or vegetable.  Take, for example, the bountiful resource  In their “Your Pregnancy: Week by Week” section, they liken a baby’s progression to the following:

  • sesame seed
  • lentil bean
  • blueberry
  • kidney bean
  • grape
  • kumquat
  • fig
  • lime
  • lemon
  • apple
  • avocado
  • turnip
  • bell pepper
  • large heirloom tomato
  • banana
  • carrot
  • spaghetti squash
  • large mango
  • ear of corn
  • average rutabaga
  • English hothouse cucumber
  • head of cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • butternut squash
  • try carrying four navel oranges
  • large jicama
  • a pineapple
  • your average cantaloupe
  • honeydew melon
  • crenshaw melon
  • a stalk of Swiss chard
  • a leek
  • a mini watermelon
  • small pumpkin

Right now, The Civee’s at week 23.  It’s weird and frightening to picture her giving birth to a large mango.  But beyond that, I’m not sure what a rutabaga looks like.  I have no idea how a crenshaw melon is different than a honeydew melon.  And I thought English cucumbers were always wrapped in plastic.

It would be nice if they could think of other real-world items (weighs as much as a can of paint, as big as a Playstation controller) that they could compare the baby to.   I applaud the creativity, but comparing a baby to fruits and vegetables is confusing, and scary when one is in the middle of the produce aisle trying to pick out a good kumquat or jicama.

A Close Call For Richard Cuomo

Earlier today, reputable news sources reported that Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo and his family were involved in a bus crash, with Cuomo being hospitalized due to rib pain.

However, now eonline is reporting that Rivers is okay.  See for yourself:

Get well Richard.

In all seriousness, I wish Rivers, his wife and daughter a speedy recovery.  A few months ago, The Civee was involved in a car accident and while she’s okay now, she was shook up pretty bad.  And after hearing the basics on the phone right after it happened and waiting to find out more, that’s not a good spot for anyone to be in.

Sure, some Weezer concerts may have to be postponed, but aside from some rib pain, the important thing is Rivers is okay.

Naming Is Not A Game

Last week, the Civee and I found out that our baby on the way is a girl.

We’re both happy about this, and I have to admit, knowing this will cut down on a lot of disagreements within our household.  We’ve had a girl’s name in mind for many years.  On the other hand, when it comes to a boy’s name, we’ve only recently agreed on one that we both like.

I take naming our child very seriously.  Because of this, I was a bit more sensitive to some of the boys names out there.  Some names were rejected because they didn’t flow right.  Others reminded me of kids I grew up with, and I refuse to name my child after the kid who was smelly or one who beat me up at any time.

At the same time, there were a bunch of names that I liked that got an immediate veto from the Civee.  Here are some of them (including first and middle name combinations when applicable):

Those are just some of the names that the Civee has rejected.  Of course, she could forget these if and when there’s a next time to talk about boy’s names.

(And no, I won’t tell you what the boy’s name we liked was or what our daughter will be named.  I fear for my life should I spill the beans).

The Island Moves Again…To Tuesday Nights

It’s a good thing that the only decent thing on TV on Tuesday nights is already on ABC, because the alphabet network announced today that the final season of Lost will air Tuesday nights at 9.  Or as Lost Boss Carlton Cuse tweeted earlier today:

LOST will premiere Tuesday, February 2 at 9PM.

And yes, Tuesdays @ 9 PM will be the regular time slot.

I’m glad it’s back at 9:00 again.  That one season where it started at 10:00 kept me up way too late.  I’ve actually enjoyed ABC ‘s V revival, and it will be nice to have these two shows back-to-back.

Another good thing about the move to Tuesday nights- April 7, 2010 is a Thursday.  So I won’t be distracted by…other things.

Looks Just Like Me!

The Civee and I went in today for the week 20 ultrasound, which conveniently is also her halfway point.

The doctor seemed pleased with how everything was progressing. Apparently, the baby has long arms and legs, which we’re guessing it got from me.  Also, the doctor pointed out the humerus, which some believe is the source of one’s sense of humor.  Which it also got  from me.

Weezer’s Pinkerton Deluxe: Putting The Puzzle Together


October 2010: Looking for Tragic Girl? Click here.

September, 2010: A Japanese Web site posted a possible tracklist, view it here.

February, 2010: There’s an update to this post here.

Back in 2004, Geffen released a deluxe edition of Weezer’s debut album, 1994’s Weezer (the Blue Album). It was a nice two-disc set, with disc one being the album itself and disc two containing the associated B-sides, some demos, live versions and two previously-unheard songs.

Fans enjoyed Blue deluxe, but from the moment it was issued, also started clamoring for a deluxe edition of Blue’s follow-up, 1996’s Pinkerton. And with good reason, as not only does Pinkerton have a number of “how did they leave these off the album” B-sides, but a whole craze devoted to Songs From The Black Hole, discarded material from Pinkerton’s earliest incarnation.

Earlier this year, the band announced that a Pinkerton Deluxe was in the works. Going off of the model of Blue Deluxe, most fans expected a similar two-disc set, with the album on one disc, and disc two containing demos, B-sides, live versions, and if the band was feeling charitable, some unused SFTBH material.

That would have made fans very happy. But earlier this summer, Popular Sounds, a fan blog, claimed much more was on the way for Pinkerton Deluxe:

Coming from an e-mail of vague provinence, I was informed that Pinkerton [Deluxe] will have a total of 43 tracks spanning 2 discs! The source confirmed that Disc 1 is 21 tracks, while Disc 2 is 22 tracks, one of which is a Weezer song no one has ever heard of called “Tragic Girl.” Quick, go look up Rivers’ COR, it ain’t on there. Folks, Pinkerton [Deluxe] is going to be HUGE.

There was a lot of skepticism surrounding these claims. There is no reference to a “Tragic Girl” in either’s Recording History or Rivers Cuomo’s Catalog of Riffs, the two indisputable sources of Weezer and Cuomo’s pre-2005 recording activity. There were some whispers on fan boards that the claims weren’t totally wrong, but the band was quiet about Pinkerton Deluxe, until this week, when the band’s twitter carried the news that the band was in the studio reviewing material for the deluxe album. Adding further intrigue was the confirmation of the Tragic Girl rumor, when without any prompting, Rivers tweeted:

“Tragic Girl” is going to be like “You Know You’re Right” for Pinkerton fans.

With the man behind Weezer confirming the existence of such a song, maybe this 43-track myth has some basis in reality after all.

So other than the ten songs that made up Pinkerton and Tragic Girl, what else will be on those two discs? They have to throw on the official Pinkerton B-sides, Waiting on You, You Gave Your Love To Me Softly, Devotion and I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams. A few acoustic versions of Blue and Pinkerton songs also made it as Pinkerton-era B-sides. Another possibility is Getting Up and Leaving, a song the band recorded but never released.

Even adding some of Rivers’ demos of Pinkerton songs, the track count just cracks 20, so it’s likely (if the 43-track item is true) that a number of full-band Songs From the Black Hole will finally make it out of the vaults.

(For those of you who don’t know, Cuomo’s original plan for Weezer’s second album was SFTBH, an ambitious rock opera with a storyline paralleling the band’s rise to fame and life on the road. SFTBH morphed into Pinkerton after the rejection of the rock opera idea, Rivers’ solitary first semester at Harvard and the release of then-bassist Matt Sharp’s first Rentals album).

Some of Cuomo’s original SFTBH demos have made it out on his Alone Series.  But fans have never heard the full-band versions, which Weezer recorded in the fall of ’95 before switching to the Pinkerton concept in the winter and spring of 96.  Going through the Recording history, the following songs got full-band treatment and have not been officially released:

  • Blast Off!
  • Superfriend
  • Longtime Sunshine
  • Longtime sunshine: Special ‘coda’ version experiment

Additionally, the band rehearsed versions of these and other songs which were never released.

In the later Pinkerton sessions, which took place in the summer of ’96, they also recorded I Swear It’s True (an earlier version of which was released on Blue Deluxe) and the aforementioned Getting Up and Leaving.  The band finished these with a different bassist the next summer, but because they were being held for a Pink Triangle retail single which was never released, these versions of these songs are also unheard.

Unlikely to make the album are Rivers’ demos from this era.  Most of Rivers’ demos have been held back for his Alone series, and going by the Recording History, it looks as if all the band recorded during this time was the material that comprised Pinkerton.

(Although, as an aside, it would be interesting if Weezer attempted recording two other songs Rivers wrote during this period, Sheila Can Do [It] and Sunshine O, two upbeat songs which Rivers wrote in between Pinkerton favorites The Good Life and Falling For You.  Both Sheila and Sunshine (which some fans believe to be about werewolves) were played during Rivers’ solo shows in Boston in 1997, and an excellent version of Sheila Can Do [It] is featured on HOMiE Volume 1, the greatest fan cover album of all time.  And neither song seems to fit in the emotional dimension the rest of Pinkerton inhabits).

Some online retailers have posted that Pinkerton Deluxe will go on sale next February, so we should get an idea of the real tracklist sometime soon.  Even if it’s not going to be 43 tracks, there’s still a lot out there that fans want to hear and hopefully, we’ll finally get them.

And once Weezer fans figure that out, then speculation can begin as to what will be featured on Weezer’s upcoming rarities album Odds and Ends.

The Only Thing Worth Waiting In Line For

Earlier this week, The Civee stood in line for a few hours to get vaccinated against the Swine Flu.  Being pregnant, she fits in the main target group. I got a regular flu shot earlier this year and I see no need, for the Swine Flu shot especially considering that by the time the baby arrives, flu season will have passed.   Yet she keeps trying to convince me to get the other shot. Although she hasn’t tried since we had this exchange:

The Civee: I’m so glad I got that shot.  Now I feel invincible.

Me: Well, I’m glad you got it. You only had to wait, what, two hours?

The Civee: It doesn’t mater. You should get it too.

Me: I’m thirty-two-years old. The only thing I’m waiting in line for that long is to meet Mr. T.


The 2009 baseball season is over and the New York Yankees have won it all.

My first instinct is to say that all is right in the world. That with this victory, the new house feels like a home. But there’s more than that. While the 98-99-00 championships were great, this year’s championship is the first after many years of having great seasons, but underwhelming (or in the case of last year, no) postseasons.

This whole season, as a Yankees fan, was an exciting one.  You have the new ballpark, imports Burnett, Sabathia, Teixiera and Swisher, all of the come from behind and walkoff wins.  And then in the post season, the Yankees dispose handily of Minnesota, vanquish the longtime foes from Anaheim, Los Angeles California and finish it all by beating the defending champions.

As someone who was at the game the last time they won a series in The Bronx, this one definitely feels good.  I’m going to enjoy this.

And I’ll try convincing The Civee that Hideki is a suitable name for a boy.

Weezer's Raditude: You Take the Good, You Take the Rad

In the past I’ve avoided (and have even mocked) musicians and bands that do things like collaborate with other artists, such as rockers who have rappers perform on songs.  For my favorite artists, collaboration (unless if were of the Shatner-Folds-Weezer-Bill Clinton variety) really isn’t my musical bag.  Another thing I’m not a fan of- bands whose lead singer doesn’t take up an instrument.

I don’t know why, these things have just annoyed me.

Well now it looks like I either have to accept these musical trends or find a new favorite band.

On Weezer’s newest album, Raditude (the Deluxe Edition), released today, the band collaborates heavily with other writers and artists, with one track even featuring (groan) a guest-rap from Lil’ Wayne.  To top it off, during recent live shows, Rivers Cuomo has given up his guitar for large parts of the band’s sets.

What’s an old-fashioned Weezer/rock fan to think?

If that fan were me, and he gave Raditude a chance, he’d find out that for the most part, the collaboration isn’t a bad thing (although I hope in the future, they keep it to a minimum) and the album is a good, fun listen.

Despite my misgivings about the collaboration , Raditude works.  There are a few underwhelming songs, but Raditude succeeds in being what Weezer wants it to be – a power-pop rock album highlighting the band’s versatility.  There are ballads, straightforward rock singles and even a song that could be categorized as “world music.”

As evidenced by the title, Raditude is full of lighthearted, enjoyable rock. Pinkerton aside, Weezer was never a serious band (and even then, one could say they still had some goofiness under the surface) and the new album reinforces this.

I feel some songs are up there with the band’s best.  The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World, a song that’s been around for 11 years and the demo of which was released on last year’s Alone II, finally gets a full-band treatment.  The spoken-word intro seems fitting after the wait the fans have had to endure for this song.  Trippin’ Down the Freeway is an up-tempo rocker with a clever lyrical progression in the chorus (although I have no idea what a Shirley Applebee look is).  Put Me Back Together (written with the help of the All-American Rejects) carries the emotional vulnerability of the Pinkerton years and sounds like it could have been written during Cuomo’s ’98-’99 recluse phase.

There are some other gems on the album, such as the lead single (If You’re Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To, Let It All Hang Out, Can’t Stop Partying (the song with the aforementioned Lil’ Wayne cameo) and The Underdogs.

On the other hand, there are some tracks that just don’t work, such as I’m Your Daddy (while this one is listenable, the title just feels wrong, and the fact that they recently recorded a version of this with Kenny G makes me want to run), Get Me Some (where the band shows their metal influences, and while it’s good from that standpoint, it doesn’t really fit) and In The Mall (which sounds more like a joke song written for one of Andy Samberg’s SNL Digital Shorts).

The one song that I don’t know how to categorize is Love Is the Answer, a song originally recorded for 2005’s Make Believe and earlier this summer, given to Sugar Ray for a straightforward rock treatment.  Well, Rivers took the song back and taking a page out of the George Harrison playbook, incorporated a heavy Indian influence, with Hindi backing musicians.  It’s an interesting song, but I’m still trying to figure it out.

I like these songs, and would like to hear the band incorporate most of them into their live repertoire, including Run Over By a Truck, which features mainly a piano and drums, sounds like something Ben Folds would have dreamed up.

I like Raditude better than last year’s Red Album, for reasons including the return of guitar solos, and the fact that there’s one lead singer on the album, rather than four.

The other positive about Raditude doesn’t involve the album itself, but rather it’s release and promotion.  Once again, Weezer is releasing a number of bonus songs (some lists have this number being as high as 30), including alternate takes and full band demos spanning a number of years.  Some of these offerings (I Hear Bells) have been solid, while others (the Red Album’s Cold Dark World with Rivers on lead vocals) probably won’t be listened to again unless WinAmp hits it on random.

So while not everything on Raditude is among Weezer’s best, there is some truly excellent material here.  Add to that the amount of extra material coming out and you have enough to make any Weezer fan happy.

Even if Rivers is giving up lead guitar duties and teaming up with other musicians.

Lazy Susan, The Dumbwaiter

I recently had a life long dream come true: eating at the “Pope Table” at a Bucca di Beppo.

If you’ve never heard of it, Bucca di Beppo is a chain of Italian restaurants famous for their family-size portions and over-the-top interior decorating. The Columbus location also features the Pope Table, a round table for 10-20 with a bust of a pope atop one of those round serving things, with the table set in an alcove off the main hallway.

It was an experience being at the Pope Table. Perhaps the part of the experience that I’ve gained the most from was correcting my long-held (but wrong) belief that the round serving turntable atop which the pope bust sat is not called a dumbwaiter, but rather, a Lazy Susan.

For years, I believed the serving turntable was the dumbwaiter and the little food elevator was a Lazy Susan. Why? Well in my mind, the following made sense:

  • If the dumb waiter sets your dish down in front of someone else, they just put it on the turntable and spin it to get you your plate.
  • As for the Lazy Susan, it was named after a waitress in a joint where the kitchen and dining room were on seperate floors. Susan was too lazy to go up and down stairs all night.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, unfortunately, I was wrong all this time.

But at least I got to eat at the Pope Table.