Thursday, 28 June 2012

Hunter Turns One Tomorrow.

When we found out we were pregnant, we discussed the names we would give our child. The temptation was very strong to name him after my father, but after long discussions we realised that what made us both love my Dad so much was that he was a unique character- we would do better to honour his memory by raising our son to be a man he would be proud to call his Grandson.

So we looked around for men who inspired us. People who had left us better for having knowing them. We wrote lists, and spoke at length about the characteristics of each. Our lists overlapped, and in that space a pattern emerged: we both had chosen bold men, men who lived passionately, truth seekers and truth speakers. Some of them were wild, some were meek, some stayed in the redrafted lists, and the two who made it all the way to the top are two who I can honestly say I am proud to have named my son after:

Hunter S. Thompson, and William (Bill) Hicks.

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
- Hunter S. Thompson

 “I left in love, in laughter, and in truth, and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.”
- Bill Hicks
It has been a stormy year, with Lee’s injury and some of the difficulties I experienced early in Hunter’s infancy, but I would not return to childless shores, even if all the riches of that life awaited me glittering on the banks.

I’ve spent a year looking after him, and every day I have woken up excited to see his face. His smile is unbearable in its perfection, his laughter melts my heart and the enthusiasm he has for very single experience is truly inspiring. He has revealed to me a truth about the world that I would never have understood: when my Dad used to tell me I was the best thing that had ever happened in his life, he meant it. The last thing my father said to me was that he was so glad he got to be my Dad, and I finally understand the gravity of what he was trying to tell me.

Hunter, you are my most amazing victory, my best souvenir, my finest work. I adore you.
Happy first birthday for tomorrow little man.

Im so impatient, I can't stand the wait.
Sandi D

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Makes Me Happy: Modest Mouse Documentary At PitchFork.

One of my favourite songs of all time is one that seems to speak to me of my own childhood. Its a heartfelt, achingly beautiful indie track called Trailer Trash by one of my favourite bands, Modest Mouse.

Eating snow flakes with plastic forks
And a paper plate of course, you think of everything
Short love with a long divorce
And a couple of kids of course
They don't mean anything
Live in trailers with no class
goddamn I hope I can pass high school means nothing
Taking heartache with hard work
Goddamn I am such a jerk, I can't do anything
And I shout that you're all fakes
And you should have seen the look on your face
And I guess that's what it takes
When comparing your bellyaches
And it's been a long time
Which agrees with this watch of mine
And I guess that I miss you, and I'm sorry
if I dissed you

If you also love Modest Mouse, or post-grunge pre-indie music check out the full length doco on the making of The Lonesome Crowded West by clicking this link.Featuring interviews with the entire band, as well as producer Calvin Johnson, there are some brilliant stories told about what was going on in their lives at the time of recording, as well as the process they undertook to create the beautiful and critically acclaimed multi-layered post-surf rock post-grunge poetically suburban soundscape. Watch out for Elliot Smith (poor uncle stab-stab) and Daniel Johnston (Hi, How are you?), and join me in admiring Isaac Brock's book shelves!

It's been a long time,
Sandi D

Saturday, 16 June 2012

I'm Feeling: Awed! Hunter Has Learned To Walk!

In the last two weeks my son has gone from pulling himself into a standing position, letting go, taking a few bumbling steps, to outright walking. My mind = blown!

He has the biggest smile on his face as he strides towards me, arms outstretched in anticipation of the hug he knows completes every journey. It's a wonderful feeling to see him so utterly excited to be growing and learning and getting better with every day that passes.

Sometimes he stumbles and plops onto the floor, but its no worry, he just crawls towards something he can pull himself back up with and begins again. Nothing fazes him, no tumble halts his progress, he just keeps striving for understanding, driven by the thought of 'walking excellence'. And he is excellent. He is awesome. He is the best thing.

A beautiful feeling,
Sandi D

Monday, 11 June 2012

Great Alternative, Indie, Punk and Rock Songs To Sing With Kids. Cool Music For Children Of All Ages. No Swear Words, Promise.

I recently hosted a giveaway, where I asked readers to share with me their favorite songs to sing to and with their kids, not lullaby's or kids songs, but real songs you would actually want to listen to. There were some great suggestions, including Alana W's winning suggestion of No Surprises by Radiohead. I had so many great suggestions that I would be cruel to not gather them all up into one place and share them with you. And so dear friends, I give you, a huge list of songs that don't suck that are kid friendly.

As is the case with parents and music, Hunter and I will love to sing together until the day when the thought of  singing along to my daggy oldy songs will be more shameful to him than almost any other activity. God knows the idea of being trapped in a Moris Minor for seven hours while we drive to Grandma's singing Don McLeans American Pie over and over and over again sends shivers up my spine (thanks mum!) and yet when I'm at Target and I hear it come on over the radio I find myself humming along. Perhaps deep down inside of me I'll always secretly love the songs of my childhood, right up until the day the music dies...

Until that day, I will never publicly admit I know all the words to pretty much every commercial radio song from the last fifty years. Actually, I can't back that up. Three beers will have me busting out Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise back to back with Phil Collin's Another Day In Paradise, and my ruse will be revealed. I'm not proud. I'm not done yet neither.

Peter, Bjorn And John, Second Chance

Richard Hell And The Voidoids, Blank Generation

The Cure, Love Cats

Modest Mouse, Paper Thin Walls

Garageland, Come Back

Nirvana, Son Of A Gun

Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated

Beat Happening, Cat Walk

B52's, Rock Lobster

Fugazi, Waiting Room

White Stripes, We're Going To Be Friends

The Pixies, Where Is My Mind?

Custard, Apartment

Urge Overkill, Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon

Blondie, Call Me

Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out

Talking Heads, Psycho Killer

Spiderbait, Calypso

Interpol, Slow Hands

Cake, The Distance

Dresden Dolls, Coin Operated Boy

Eels, Beloved Monster

The Stranglers, Golden Brown

Hot Hot Heat, Bandages

Islands, Don't Call Me Whitney Bobby

Moloko, Fun For Me

Kim Wilde, Kids In America

Kings Of Leon, King Of The Rodeo

Marcy Playground, Comin' Up From Behind

Placebo, 36 Degrees

No Doubt, Spiderwebs

Pony Up! The Truth About Cats And Dogs

Refused, New Noise

Queens Of The Stone Age, Go With The Flow

Smashing Pumpkins, 1979

Snowman, You Are A Casino

Social Distortion, I Was Wrong

Sleigh Bells, Comeback Kid

Ministry, Lay Lady Lay

Rancid, Ruby Soho

Nine Inch Nails, We're in This Together

The Strokes, Is This It?

Jebediah, Military Strongman

Metallica, Memory Remains

Something For Kate, Captain

Primus, Shake Hands With Beef

Mark Of Cain, LMA

Soul Coughing, Circles

The Stooges, Passenger

Tom Waits, Big In Japan

Beastie Boys, Intergalactic

They started singing,
Sandi D

Friday, 8 June 2012

Parents Using Technology

Mum sent me this picture of myself as little kidlet- now she has an iPhone she is wild for phone photography and emailing and picture messaging and 'the wi-fi' etc. She's gone totally 21st Century on me.

Talking about centuries- It looks like I'm from the 19th century here, but I assure you that this picture was taken in 1984. The weird thing is, so much of this photo (apart from the technology of taking coloured photographs and elastic thread in socks) could have come from another era. Mum cut my hair, sewed and smocked my dress, cooked on a slow combustion stove- after cutting the wood for it herself. Dad probably made my shoes- hard to say on that one, but go with me here. She probably belted me* with a belt she hand made after tanning the hide and forging the buckle herself, once she saw the mess I had made though. (*it would have been more of a 'chasing me around and threatening me with a belt while I held my bottom and screamed at the idea of being hit'. She wasn't one for corporal punishment, which was good because I wasn't much for it either. Nimble and quick though, that's for sure.)

When I look at my parenting of Hunter, I've basically done nothing but shop. How the hell did women living in the 19th century find any time to raise their kids between the hand washing of garments, and the hand sewing, and the baking and the cleaning and the walking to the shops and carrying home again and then going back in another two days because all the ice in your ice box had melted and the meat was turning bad?

In my defense I learned all about technology as it was being invented, and then taught my parents- something not too many generations can say. In the past knowledge was handed down, not force fed up the chain of command. Programming the VCR, taping from the radio, connecting the record player and CD player up to the same amplifier, faxing, computing, scanning, texting, digital cameras- at one time these very straightforward acts were as foreign to my parents generation as hand sewing a crinoline is to mine. My mother thinks it very space age of me to intuitively know how to work all these new fangled devices. Simple acts that, without instruction, she finds as difficult as herding cats.

Technology has brought us so much spare time, even as we sit here on the internet wasting it away. On the plus side it lets my mum iMessage me to let me know what she drank, ate and listened to while at the beach, lets my girlfriend message me to let me know that she thinks the blonde girl on The Block (Guilty Secret- I fell in love with it last year when Lee was stuck on the couch with a snapped up leg, and found it that it was on this year and so have been tuning in to see it like, five nights a week at least) is a useless mole responsible for reversing over a hundred years of positive "girls can do anything" feminist action into a weak wristed slap on the face, and lets a complete stranger show me what a tough job being an Astronomical Image Enhancement Engineer is- a job that would never have even been imagined in ye olde days of crinoline sewing and meat safes et al. What a wonderful predicament to be in.

Space cats and sooty children,
Sandi D

Sunday, 3 June 2012


I put the call out requesting people to share with me their favorite non-lullaby songs to sing to their children and had some excellent responses- the best of which was Alana W's suggestion of Radiohead's No Surprises. Thank you Alana, a CD copy of Rockabye Baby Lullaby Renditions Of The Pixies is coming your way shortly- check the post!

A big thank you to everyone who entered, check back soon for another giveaway!
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