Hello everyone!

I hope everybody is having as much fun this holiday season as I am!


Fun Chicago Trip!

This weekend I went to Chi-town for a SNAP conference and got to see two of my good friends from college, Mariangela and Punky. It had been too long! We all went to grab some killer Thai food, drank some wine and martinis, and Punk and I went on to see a some random band play live. Great times!


No more band

I'm bandless again. I had to quit after a very torturous attempt at finding a practice time that wasn't in the middle of the two hours I play soccer every weekend. Apparently, those were the only two hours in the entire weekend that would work for the band. Not wanting to be unreasonable, I quit. Which sucks.

I really enjoyed playing our music. I enjoyed my bandmates, most of the time. And the music was fun. But that's the way it goes I guess.

I am now back to solo project mode. ¡Coño! is my band now, and you can find me on the InterWebs here: www.myspace.com/conocono


Good pre-Halloween weekend

Boo Boo and I had a fun weekend doing pre-Halloween activities like going pumpkin picking, attending the neighborhood Octoberfest party, and even making a construction-paper witch hat and broom.

Jenny and I have always loved Halloween, and I hope that Sylvie also does (so far, it's a big hit. Sylvie loves to play dress up with a million different hats and stuff, so Halloween isn't a big stretch. Can't wait to go trick or treating!

Also, my good friend Jane came to visit from NYC. We used to work and wine together out in Oakland/S.F., and it was really nice to see her again. Come back soon, Jane!


Grandparents in/Boo in hog heaven

Sylvie's grandma and papa are in town for the week and she couldn't be more excited about it. Also, mommy and I might as well not exist anymore... :-)

Me: "Where are you going?"
Boo: "Outside with grandma and papa."
Me: "Can I come too?"
Boo: "Daddy no come with us. Stay inside."

Well, at least I know where I am in the pecking order! :-)


Ain't that a kick in the head?

Ouch. Got fouled hard on the pitch this Sunday and took a knee to the side of the noggin. That freaking hurt. Goose egg ensued. :-(

Scored a freaking awesome goal with my left foot, though, so that made everything all right. :-)

Boo Boo and I made a bird house this weekend, which was exciting and fun for both of us. Mommy got time off for good behavior this weekend. :-)


Yes! Take that, oxymoronic Patriot Act!

Federal Judge, and American Hero, Ann Aiken struck down as unconstitutional a large part of the Patriot Act yesterday in Seattle. Finally, the courts are doing the job the Congress is too terrified to do: protecting the 1st amendment rights of Americans from the Bush-led tyranny machine.

In her decision, Hon. Judge Aiken wrote the following wise words:

"For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law - with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill- advised. In this regard, the Supreme Court has cautioned:

'The price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power. Nor must the fear of unauthorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of Government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society.'"

You go, girl!


Awesome vacation in Wild, Wonderful WV

We went down to our place on the Greenbrier river in WV for a whole week last week...what a blast!

My folks were there with us, which means that Sylvie Boo was in heaven bossing grandma and papa around the place: "Papa do it!" was the common refrain of the week.

Boo Boo caught her first fish ever, a tiny bluegill barely bigger than the lure itself, and when my mom asked her if she caught a fish she yelled, "YES! BIG ONE!" :-)

I did indeed catch a big 17" smallmouth bass on the last day, which is always a thrill. I was by myself in the canoe, a long way down the river from the camp, and didn't have a net with me. As I was de-hooking the fish with my thumb in its mouth I had a sudden image of the fish squirming and impaling my thumb on the treble hook in its mouth. All I could think was, "how the hell am I gonna paddle home with a fish stuck to my hand?"

Luckily, I successfully got the lure unhooked and returned the monster to the depths to breed other 17" fish.

Jenny and I had a date at the Greenbrier resort, which was fantastic. We had lunch by the infinity pool and then did a tour of the secret, underground bunker where Congress would hide in case of a nuclear attack. That was really cool. If you think that the X-Files type secret government stuff only happens on TV, you're mistaken. Crazy stuff.

It was really hard to come home and go back to work. What a great week!


Birthday awsomeness weekend

What a great weekend! My b-day and Labor Day festivities usually coincide and this year was no different. Our long weekend was chock full of fun stuff, including the following:

• A Syrah-themed wine party on Saturday night

• Playing soccer on Sunday morning (scored a b-day goal and Jenny and Boo came to watch!)

• Band practice on Monday (using my spankin' new Squier Affinity Telecaster I got from my folks for my b-day--thanks!)

• About six hours' worth of soccer watching (Let's Go, Fulham! Let's Go, Fulham! Let's Go, Fulham!)

• Watched "Little Miss Sunshine," which was charming and funny and cute and really, just downright nice and awesome. Watch it!

Hope you all had a great one, too!


Let kids be kids! PLEASE!

What is this country coming to? Seriously. A school in Co. has banned the game "tag" on its playgrounds.

The reason? "...some children complained they were harassed or chased against their will. "It causes a lot of conflict on the playground," said Cindy Fesgen, assistant principal...."

For god's sake! Maybe a sane person would take the opportunity to just teach the teasing children why it's not polite to tease and the teased children how to stand up for themselves. But that's not the new, lazy, fear-ridden American way. We'll just ban something else. Asinine to the nth degree.

Other playground casualties of the new FearUSA® school systems:

• Monkey bars
• See-saws
• Fun of any kind that isn't sponsored by Disney, Elmo, or some other TV shite.


Blech weather

Things are grey grey grey right now in the Capital city, although the heat has abated, which is nice. It's supposed to get back up there this weekend, though. Maybe a trip to the pool will be in order!


This is how I feel.

From the fine folks at DieselSweeties.com. Apparently, Indie Rock Pete and I have more in common than good looks.

Happy B-Day to my sweetie!

Someone special's b-day is just about here! I love you honey!


What the hell is going on here?

This insane, illegal war in Iraq has left our soldiers and Marines resulting to SS- and Gestapo-style operational tactics. It is truly horrifying and disgusting to read in The Nation first-hand accounts of the brutal tactics we are employing in Iraq.

From the article:

Once they were in front of the home, troops, some wearing Kevlar helmets and flak vests with grenade launchers mounted on their weapons, kicked the door in, according to Sergeant Bruhns, who dispassionately described the procedure:

"You run in. And if there's lights, you turn them on--if the lights are working. If not, you've got flashlights.... You leave one rifle team outside while one rifle team goes inside. Each rifle team leader has a headset on with an earpiece and a microphone where he can communicate with the other rifle team leader that's outside.

"You go up the stairs. You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall. You have junior-level troops, PFCs [privates first class], specialists will run into the other rooms and grab the family, and you'll group them all together. Then you go into a room and you tear the room to shreds and you make sure there's no weapons or anything that they can use to attack us.

"You get the interpreter and you get the man of the home, and you have him at gunpoint, and you'll ask the interpreter to ask him: 'Do you have any weapons? Do you have any anti-US propaganda, anything at all--anything--anything in here that would lead us to believe that you are somehow involved in insurgent activity or anti-coalition forces activity?'

"Normally they'll say no, because that's normally the truth," Sergeant Bruhns said. "So what you'll do is you'll take his sofa cushions and you'll dump them. If he has a couch, you'll turn the couch upside down. You'll go into the fridge, if he has a fridge, and you'll throw everything on the floor, and you'll take his drawers and you'll dump them.... You'll open up his closet and you'll throw all the clothes on the floor and basically leave his house looking like a hurricane just hit it.

"And if you find something, then you'll detain him. If not, you'll say, 'Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening.' So you've just humiliated this man in front of his entire family and terrorized his entire family and you've destroyed his home. And then you go right next door and you do the same thing in a hundred homes."

Our troops must look a hell of a lot like the Nazis looked to the German-occupied areas of WWII. We are the world's boogieman now. We used to be its beacon of freedom. Unreal.


Hace mucho calor...demasiado calor.

Damn it's hot. And muggy. Ugh.

Better than trudging through snow any day of the week, though!


Pool and the City

Yesterday Sylvia and I finally went to the pool again.
We had a great time other than the evil children incident.

I got my first taste of kids who are already "mean girls."
One child shoved another child into the baby pool and the parent justified the shove saying, "well your daughter touched my daughter's house she was building..." OK. That freaked me out.
When did parents stop parenting? Also note that these were not "big kids," they were only a bit older than Sylvia. It's amazing how the personalities are already formed. These same girls also kept taking toys from Sylvia and not sharing and one even would tease Sylvia and act like she was going to give her a toy and then would yank it away as Sylvia grabbed at it. Needless to say, I promptly removed her from the situation and got her away from the girls. At least I know who to avoid next time we're there.

Today we went into DC and visited the bookstore, Politics and Prose. I bought her a new book, "Polar Bear, Polar Bear what do you hear?" She's already off reading it! :O)

Feast of Stephen Reunion Now Live on the Web!

It's finally here! The Radio Free Charleston documentary on the Feast of Stephen reunion is now live and on the Web! Special thanks to Rudy Panucci, the brains behind RFC; Jerry Fugate, our intrepid cameraman and great friend; Brian Young, who ran the mixing board; and especially the other guys in the band: Tommy, Rad, Dan, Bob, and Fred, you guys are my musical brothers forever!

Surf, don't walk, over to Radio Free Charleston right now to watch this great show. You can see out-takes from the rehearsal the night before (which include our biggest hit, "Gomec") on the Feast of Stephen Website (look to the left-hand side of the screen under the band info). And Rudy gives the background on the show on his Myspace blog.

This was a fantastic experience for me and the guys, and we hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. This is Stephen. Witness His Feast.


Butterflies are free

Yesterday Syl and I had a nice day:
Dropped Daddy off at Metro, then drove to the ATM, then went to the post office, then we went to Brookside Gardens (home of my 2010 Art Show) to see the butterfly exhibit.
We met my friend from my old job and her new baby.
It was really a beautiful morning...we walked around the gardens first, looked at the roses and then the wisteria and Syl was obsessed with the fountains. If there is water, she will go to it.
The butterfly exhibit is amazing. There were these HUGE blue and brown butterflies and foot long (wing span) rainbow moths. Really incredible and located 10 min from our house.

Today, alas, was not so fun. We were stuck in the house all morning waiting for the washer repair people. They finally came and then asked to use OUR WD-40. Crazy. And I think the WD-40 might have done the trick. But I will test for the weird noise again tomorrow.
I need to find a better repair person, pronto.


Still likin' those cheap Chinese imports, America?

• Poisoned pet food (that killed my dad's dog, btw)
• Poisoned tooth paste
• Poisoned cough syrup
• Lead paint used on children's toys

And now this lovely chemical burn-inducing flip-flop disaster. Gross!

Also, check out this huge timeline of dangerous Chinese crap blithly imported onto our shores.

Free trade isn't feeling so free these days.


Creative Cutie

Today we met some of my friends and their kids at the Smithsonian for a performance of "Dance Africa!" Well, there was no dancing (at least at the beginning) so poor Sylvia freaked out and we had to punt. She had been prepping in the car on the way down. Dancing, wiggling her shoulders and getting ready to boogie. All her friends were fidgety and I think that it also why she wanted to leave...sorta a monkey see, monkey do situation. I have to admit that she did follow the directions of performer really well, but I think the performance was better for bigger kids.
SO, after we left, we headed to a farmer's market on the Mall with our friends and Syl picked out three beautiful tomatoes and a cantaloupe. YUM.
Then we rode the carousel. Then we walked to the Hirshorn Museum.
Then we came home. Breathe IN, breathe out!

We actually went to the Hirshorn earlier this week and the carousel and the Hirshorn's Scultpure Garden but she wanted to go again today. We went to the 2nd floor today of the museum. Tuesday we went to the 3rd floor. Next week we'll try the National Gallery of Art.

We had a lot of adventures this week that I will blog about later but I am too tired to type more tonight.

I'll take the back seat, please

According to a new study by Popular Mechanics magazine, you are WAY more likely to survive an airplane crash if you are behind the wings. Here's the diagram:

Photo by PopularMechanics.com


New look for an old blog

We've updated the Googleiffic back-end templates for the blog and since we were doing that anyway, we figured, what the hell, some new colors couldn't hurt! Whatchuthinkaboutdat?


Full Summer Mode

We've been in FSM lately: Barbequeing every night or just about every night, hitting the pools (both backyard and cement variety) with the Boo, and sipping on nectar and ice. The weather here in the DC Metro has been hot and dry, with less humidity than we normally get swamped with this time of year.

The skeeters have been held at bay a bit by the lack of rain, which has been a godsend. We've actually been able to let Sylvie play in the yard this summer! Crazy!!!!

Hope all of our friends and family are having as good a summer as we are!


A whole month with no blog! WTF?

Man, have we been slacking. Sorry folks.

We've been super busy lately with a bunch of family in town for the Boo's b-day, and things aren't settling down too much even now between various board committments, work, soccer, playdates, blah blah blah! Whew. I'm tired even typing it!

I'm really enjoying playing soccer again. My touch still isn't back to my EBOT glory days, but it's getting there. I did get my big toe stomped though, and it's having a hard time healing properly. Oh well, the price of futbol.


Bada boom, bada b

And that was that.

I was blown away by the Soprano's ending last night. It was a perfect way to do it. After all, this show has always been about the "normal" life as a Mob boss, not Goodfellas inspired shootouts. Well done.


I'm Internet Famous!

The newest edition of Rudy Panucci's fantastic videoblog, Radio Free Charleston, is now online! After the end credits roll, The Feast of Stephen, my old band, is featured in an Easter Egg doing a blistering version of "No Vaccination." It takes a minute to download the whole thing, due to the general crapitude of the Charleston Gazette's servers, but it is worth the wait, let me tell you!

This was the second take of the song with no prior rehearsals whatsoever. It's amazing to me that we could be so tight as a band after so long apart from each other. Fun stuff.

Here's what some comments on Rudy's blog had to say:

I’d only heard of The Feast Of Stephen. Never got a chance to see them. The name is spoken in hushed tones, as though holy relics are being discussed. That was awesome beyond belief. I can’t wait until episode 23. --Mexican Romeo

Jesus Christ, man. That extra song after the end credits is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen from the local music scene. Kudos all around. When do we get to read the notes on that? --Longtime Listener

...But the surprise song. I didn’t even know Bob Miller was still in the area. Melted my aging heart to see The Feast Of Stephen perform together. I can’t wait for episode 23! --Mountain Woman PhD

You hit us with Whistlepunk 2.0, which is amazing, and then you BLAST OUR BUTTS OFF with Feast Of Stephen!!! How are you gonna top this? --Fred Martin

Thanks for the compliments, folks! I can't wait for episode 23 either!


Cupcakes for the Cure

The Komen Race for the Cure is June 2nd, here in Washington DC.
To raise money for this organization and the disease that has affected many of my family members and friends of our family, I am baking pink cupcakes and selling them on June 2nd at our neighborhood yard sale.
I will post again with photos of the cupcakes and let you know how we did.


Save the Date: Spring 2010

My floral photography portfolio was accepted to Brookside Gardens for their art show!
Now I just have to wait THREE YEARS before I can show my work!

Sylvia and I went to Brookside Gardens today for their butterfly exhibit. We met another mom from the 'hood there, with her daughter.

Huge blue and brown butterflies were everywhere and would land on you!
There were butterflies of all colors and sizes but the large ones were breathtaking.
Sylvia had a good time and did not get scared of the flying "bugs!" Though she covered her eyes if they flew too close...


Feast of Stephen Reunion

What a weekend!!!

On Friday, I went down to West Virginia for a 2-day media extravaganza consisting of the U.S. premiere of the AsturianUS documentary (I'm interviewed on the big screen!) and the 15-year reunion of my college band, The Feast of Stephen.

The movie was fantastic and very moving, and I hope it gets a DVD release here in the states so more people can see how the Asturian zinc workers came to West Virginia to begin a new life. It's a bittersweet story and one well worth telling. Kudos to the filmmaker, Luis Argeo, an Asturian himself who now lives and works in Madrid and is a hell of a nice guy.

But the real magic of the weekend for me was the FOS reunion. I really did not know what to expect after so many years. For one, I was really skeptical that all of the guys (there were 5 of us) would be able to clear their schedules to make it, but they all did. A minor miracle, to be sure.

It was a testament to these guys' wealth of talent that in less than three hours of practice -- after not playing together in the same room for fifteen years, mind you -- we had a list of seven songs that we could play as solidly as any band out there.

I think my friend Dave T. said it best when he said the whole evening was like being "in the best effing way-back machine ever." The memories came pouring back after the first notes we played. Honestly, it was like we had never been apart, with Rad and I locking in to weave guitar parts underpinned by Tommy and Dan's solid, popping grooves. As always, the icing was Bob's gritty vocals and lyrics, which give our songs the power to really move people. Even the enigmatic Fred showed up on the second night to bring his trademark percussion magic....

Granted, due to the short amount of rehearsal time we had, some of the more complicated numbers had to be left in the past (Forbidden Dance and Watch Me Plow were both a little too out there, alas), but the final set list was nothing to sneeze at:Gomec, Blue Turbin, Ward 7, Escape the Man, Tired of Sinking, Bankrobber, and Mystery Hole all made their appearances.

The highlight of the sessions for me was a totally unrehearsed, BLAZING rendition of No Vaccination on the second night when we were taping for an upcoming edition of Rudy Panucci's Radio Free Charleston podcast. It was simply crushing.

Throughout the weekend other long-lost faces from the past filtered through: the aforementioned Dave T., my childhood friend and great percussionist; Dave M., singer of the Mad Scientist Club and the engineer who produced the FOS recordings; Sean R., lead singer of StrawFyssh and my favorite songwriter; Spencer E., lead singer for Mother Nang and now in a WhistlePunk with Dan; it was a veritable who's who of musical giants from Charleston.

A special thanks goes out to Jerry F., who came both nights and to the movie too, and took some killer footage for us. I'll post that up as soon as I can this week.

All in all, a fantastic weekend. I won't soon forget it.



We woke up this morning to snow! Last week we had some awesome days where it was in the 70's and 80's and now this...was not ready to go back to Winter.

Since we thought the weather was finally getting warm, Sylvia and I have been going on many adventures together:
-we did a drive-by of the Cherry Blossom trees
-went to the National Aquarium,
-walked in the Smithsonian Castle's garden
-walked on the Mall,
-walked around and looked at the artwork at the Hirshorn
this was all in one morning!!!! PHEW.

We also have been going to Brookside Gardens a lot, so Sylvia can run free.

She's been able to wear her Spring hat as well as ride around in her wagon.

This week she was a "lady who lunches" as we went to lunch at Cafe Deluxe with mama's friend from work, Meg.

She also helped mama pick out some new hedges for the house; Dada had to pull out four dead azaleas last weekend and now we have to find replacement plants.


How we spent our Sunday afternoon

Two two GO! We “run” beside the girl with the bright blue eyes and golden hair.
Two two GO! Around the block we venture out. Up and down the street.
Peals of laughter.
Two two GO! Oh wait, we pause and look at the sky, “Aiwrplane!” And yes, the white speck far, far away is indeed, an airplane.
Ok, people gotta focus.
Two two go! We continue to “race” our 20 month old home.
Everyone STOP! What is that? LEAF!!!! STICK!!!! SQUIRREL!!!!!
The girl asks for “hand, hand” and we each give her one of ours.


Video of My Life on Hold

Hi all! Here's a video of my band's first gig at the Velvet Lounge in DC.... Enjoy!


The inconvenient security that wasn't

I thought I would share with you my experience with Secret Service security procedures this morning, as I found them to be troubling on several levels. When I arrived to work, the entrance to my building (on 17th and L Sts. NW) was behind a police line. Even though my building's main entrance was a mere 50 feet away, the DC Police officer told me that he could not escort me to my building due to Secret Service orders. Apparently, Dick Cheney was in the Mayflower hotel next door and the block had been secured.

While this was a major inconvenience, it was not the disturbing part of the story. What's disturbing is that to enter my supposedly secured building, all I had to do was walk through the bar/restaurant in the basement (their entrance is on L St.) to the elevator, and then off I went into the building.

How can the Secret Service consider a building secure from terrorists when they don't even bother to find and secure all entrances to the building? This is just yet another example of the bogus "security" we purport to have in this country. As with the asinine procedures at the airport, this was simply an empty show of force with no real efficacy. If a lowly office worker can slip into a secured building unnoticed, how hard would it be for someone determined to cause real harm?


God doesn't care about the AFC Championship Game

I don't know about you, but it really bugs me when people in sporting events act like god helped them win.

Last night, the Colts' owner and their coach both had to thank god for letting them win. Does that mean that god hates Tom Brady? I guess god was taking a snooze when the Pats kicked the Colts out of the playoffs for a few years there? WTF?

If you believe in god, wouldn't you think he'd have better things to worry about (Darfur, Iraq, homelessness, Afghanistan, Somalia, kids being murdered in wars all over the world, etc.) than whether or not some millionaires won in a child's game?

Get over yourselves, people. You're not that important.

Go Bears.


Lazy = brain sucker

This product freaked me out.
It's a motorized snot sucker for your infant's nose.
They should have a warning: "could suck your child's brain, right out of it's head."
Yes, it's a bummer to have to use a manual nasal aspirator but seems alot safer to use the one that the hospital uses, yes?

Nasal Clear

The only aspirator that really works! You told us that when it comes to your sick baby, manual nasal aspirators don't measure up. They're invasive, inefficient — and they make already stuffy babies even more uncomfortable. That's why this ingenious electronic aspirator is worth its weight in gold. It suctions so effectively, you barely touch it to baby's nostrils, and before he can squirm, you're done! It even plays distracting songs. You'll congratulate yourself for buying it every time you use it...and you'll use it for years. With see-thru collection cup and two soft tips. Requires 2 "AA" batteries (sold separately). Newborns and up. Note: Due to health reasons, we are unable to accept returns on any opened packages.


My Life on Hold

Well, the band (My Life on Hold...or MyLOH, for short) is really coming together. We've recorded four demos that we're using to (we hope) get some gigs around town...stay tuned on that front.

Ken's addition as singer was the final piece of the puzzle, and we are writing new songs like crazy now. I think it's sounding really good. I can't wait to get out there and play for folks!


Time to gloat

I hate to be a sore winner but...oh what the hell....

EAT IT YOU REPUBLICAN LOSERS!!!! We control the Congress as of RIGHT NOW!!!

Feels damn good, I must admit. :-)

Photo from www.washingtonpost.com


Happy New Year!`

Wow. 2007? WTH? Where did 2006 go?

Anyway, here's hoping all of you had a great Xmas and New Year's Day! Ours was spent at home in MD with my folks (well, Xmas at least). The baby had a blast, and we were even presented with the first of I'm sure what will be many insane temper tantrums... :-)