hot damn, my boy’s a brian eno geek!

hot damn, my boy’s a brian eno geek!
“be careful, man… because Raven slept thru the night until at like 5 months, she did a total flip-flop & was up at all fucked up hours of the night”– Brian Fortin

Oh yea, we were pretty cavalier about the whole sleeping thru the night thing. We werent cocky, mind you. We were just basking in the good fortune of having avoided the New Parent Buzzsaw of sleepless nights & screaming wee ones. We knew we were lucky. But we didnt know we were nearing the end of the line for this here Sleep Train.

Upon Jude’s 4-month peditricians appointment, we were asked some rather pointed, albeit familiar questions: “How are his sleeping habits” “Whats your process for putting him down for naps & down for the night?” “Tell me about your schedule so far”

Schedule? Process? What… he goes in The Swing at 8.30, he’s snoring by 9, and we’re opening the kind Pinot & watching another DVD by 9.15. The look on the doctors face was priceless. His body languarge was razorfish: “You silly amateurs!”

We had come to rely on the use of tools. The Swing! Long on the top of the list Desert Island devices that have come along with a new baby, this device is now to be cast aside as if it were the Rake of the Devil. Simply BECAUSE it worked so efficiently on putting the Lil Dood asleep is why it needs to be discontinued. Little did we know, the whole time we thought we didnt need a schedule, that damn Swing, night after blissful night, was establishing the worst kind of schedule we as new parents could have initiated: Dependence Upon Tools.

See, with 4+ months of Swing use under the bridge, the three of us have grown to such a state where the thought of putting him to sleep without the use of The Swing is folly. You’re a fool, man! It’ll never work. Putting him down in the crib, even when he’s tired from the day & drunk with milk, even under the best of circumstances would surely result in the blood-curdling screams of an Unhappy Cranky. But we knew that one day (soon), he’d physically out-grow The Swing and we would be doomed. DOOMED!

So, with the stern admonishment of the Infamous Doctor Dow, we began a torturous regimine of putting him to sleep without the swing. For this, anna began to seek the advice of some Tracy Hogg & the advice outlined in her “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.” This woman, Hogg, teaches that the use of tools is bad bad bad, the pacifier is a-ok, touch & patting but not rocking, and basically to walk that humanistic line between “rescuing” baby from night-time sobs or, letting them cry themselves to sleep. Thus, there we are at the side of the crib & patted & rubbed a Fussy Monkey for close to an hour at a time until he’d fall into a fatigued sleep. Only to repeat this process 90 minutes later, regardless of how ridiculous an hour it was for an adult. Welcome to NORMAL SLEEPING HABITS!

No longer were we able to flop around with Jude at night only to plop him into The Swing at a reasonable hour to start our dinner. No longer could we rely on the fact that he would sleep straight thru till 7am like last night & the night before. No longer would things be the same. And all of this could be traced back to the Regime of The Swing. Or lack thereof. Regime Change does begin at home, apparently.

We were about solid week into this new Swingless Regime when we were about to lose our sanity & our firm belief that Jude was a very atypical baby. We had been trying various things in conjunction with The Baby Whisperer’s recommendations. Most significantly however, was my use of Jason Falkners BEDTIME WITH THE BEATLES. This amazing compilation sees him covering classic Beatles tunes in gentle lullaby tones & chords. Not gentle enough as it turns out. That was when I happened upon a notion, a recollection.

Back in 1993, I became smitten with a genre of electronic dubbed AMBIENT. Compilations such as Astralwerks EXCURSIONS IN AMBIENCE were, to my palette, a wholly more provocative sound then anything else i could get my Tucson hands on. Research on the genre naturally pointed me at the Godfather of Ambient, Brian Eno & his seminal 1978 release MUSIC FOR AIRPORTS. Here we have tones. Just tones. Beautiful soothing tones. But they cover so much more then that. Simplistic yet moving harmonic studies. Kevin’ll remember that i coined this mans music as “sonic wallpaper,” with the sparse tones acting as ignorable patterns that hint at aesthetics we see, but cannot really express. He may also remember how instrumental this CD was in bringing us down to earth at sunrise from some recreational evenings. Which reminds me of how a wise man once said that John Bonham was such a genius percussionist by what fills he DIDNT fill; your musically-predictive mind never missed the beats he paused over. But i digress…

Anyway, back to Eno. I thought this CD, one of the oldest in the collection, would be perfect for the process of soothing the cranky and inducing the parental patience. The first track, titled simply “1/1” is about 16 minutes long. The first time i played it, i used 2 hands on Jude. My left had held his right arm fast so as to prevent him from rubbing the eyes and ripping the Nancy out of his mouth. My right hand stroked his hair forward from crown to brow. Now, only once before had i tried so brazen a technique, and he nearly took the roof off the place with what i interpretted to be complete & utter displeasure. but i sought to try again. this time, with Mr Eno & his “counterpoint to the frantic arcs of travel” By the end of that 1st track, he was in such a deep sleep that i feared he was having me on, just waiting for me to cease the head-rubbing. But he instead strung his old Sleeping Habits flag back up the pole & slept straight on thru until morning. We couldnt beleive it. SUrely this was a fluke, a mirage, a trick of the light or a result of fatigue. But I tried it again, this time on a muggy & cranky saturday night much later then usual. Once again, before track 01 has played out, he was sound asleep with me rubbin his head. Again, this time employing some testing strategies: swapping out the rubbing of the head for the rubbing & patting of the chest. Again, asleep by the end of the first song.

I want to write Sir Eno a letter. Once again, this CD changes my life. Now I need to figure out what to do with that damn Swing


i believe that DISINTEGRATION was their best album
i believe that no one can ever really prove to you where pregressive house end and trance begins
i believe (now) that oswald acted alone
i believe danny boyle donated the most significant asset to the zombe genre: the passage of time

Posted by: unknown at March 28, 2004 12:09 AM

(Originally Posted: 2003_1021)

a wash in milestones

Recently, our Little Lord Sausage Legs began what can only be called a sting of first’s. And now as i write this, 2 week later, he’s not just done these things once, but is practicing them.

This began on Friday night 9/26 upon our arrival in Santa Barbara for the engagement party of Jena Jenkins & Jan Martinez. As soon as we put the little man down on the bed at the hotel, he started to arch his back & body is such a way that he was pivoting & teetering on that one hip. He was [this close] to rolling over. We had NO idea at what age these creatures ought to be rolling over, but if felt like he was early, just shy of his 4th month birthday. With the grunts & groans of anything trying to heft the better part of its own weight from Here to There, he kept trying and kept trying, only getting as far as the left hip. Only to collapse back onto his back in tears under the fatigue of the continued effort. By Saturday morning, with an audience of Jena & Jan, he seemed to get a wee bit further towards the goal as he would find that notch and just hang out there on the left hip. For the rest of the weekend and on into the beginning of the week, he would try his new move whenever he had the chance. The most “amusing” being that 4 second span between being placed into the car-seat and being strapped into it. But on Tuesday afternoon 9/30, Anna calls me at work literally screaming. She had placed the lil dood down to beat his rhino whilst she went downstairs to fetch the laundry. But upon coming back up the steps, there he was on his stomache. “I fucking missed it!” she cried. But soon afterwards, non unlike the training wheels coming off, he began to roll over more frequently then she she could count, always to the left. And it wasnt until Thursday night that i finally saw it. Now, he his literally spinning over not only to the left, but to the right as well. Furthermore, he is reportedly rolling back over in a baby’s version of a 360. Again, i have yet to see this. It is not until DAD sees the event that it becomes real!!

I think it was also on the Santa Barbara trip that he discovered another new trick. It is no insignificant trick either. AS i’ve been trying to tell him, as a boy growing up, it is one of the most important noises he, as a boy, CAN MAKE. For those boys who can achieve higher & more realistic executions of this trick, their social status amopngst their peers will most certainly be elevated. For boys anyway. I am of course referring to the almighty Fart Noise.

Ok, he’s a slobbery baby. So much so that we thinks the excess of spit is the precursor to early teething. Whatever the case, he’s producing so much slobber that anythng that even THINKS of coming in contact with his mouth will get slippery wet. So, add to this the his achievment of pursing his lips and blowing air thru them. Viola: the ones & zeros of the Fart Noise. With his level of moisture, the fart noise becomes the moist sloppy kind. Sometimes, right after i wipe away the fuel from his mouth, he’ll crack-out one of the more classical staccato farts, only thereafter to degrade again into the messy wet farts. Of all the milestones thus far, i am most proud of this one. He’s getting really good at it. He’s putting some vocalisations behind them, which gives them the bass & heft & authentic sound of The Real Thing. And these are SO LOUD for such a little big man! Call me juvenile, but the more realistically he can create these magical sounds, the more revered he’ll be by his mates, and the more effective he’ll be at making people smile.

And in a much more sad milestone, Jude has also caught his first illness. There was an episode in mid to late September where we were sure he had pink-eye. Not so much because his eye was teary and red, but more so because Dad developed a funky stye in his eye not too long after that. But this is different. This is a full-blown cold, complete with the stuffy yet runny nose, the sneezing and the coughing, the loaginess and the lack of appetite. And Dad gave it to him. We had just come back from the baptism in arizona where i had caught the legendary 5-day bender cold. No sooner did i make it out of those woods then he starts to develop the same thing. Have you ever tried to suck thru a straw with your nose clogged? How about a nipple? You CANT! Feeding has become crazy hard. And you lie a baby horizontal with all that gunk in his head, and it just turns to concrete and the pressure increases. In a reality where for the next 15 years it will be HIM that gives US these illnesses, i’m not too sure how i feel about having given HIM his first.

He’s clearly getting us back by keeping us up every hour of the night by waking up in his crib and practicing what else: the high-decible fart noises and thrashings of a little big man rolling over & over in his crib.


(Originally Posted: 2003_1010)

the cause & effect reactions

there is the slow growth which reveals itself in spurts and moments of realisation. “oh man these pajamas are already too small for him” and then there is the growth where the progress is tangible enough to taste. some of the first hints i’ve had that i’m dealing with an intelligent being and not some glorified pet was the Cause & Effect reactions he began to develop round about the 2nd month. of course, there was the shallow-slumber, startling-awake, freak-out wake-ups we’d endure when a loud noise was made. then came the smiles.

there is the slow growth which reveals itself in spurts and moments of realisation. “oh man these pajamas are already too small for him” and then there is the growth where the progress is tangible enough to taste. some of the first hints i’ve had that i’m dealing with an intelligent being and not some glorified pet was the Cause & Effect reactions he began to develop round about the 2nd month. of course, there was the shallow-slumber, startling-awake, freak-out wake-ups we’d endure when a loud noise was made. then came the smiles.

at first on their own seemingly without specific causes. then later, there arose a distinct pattern to the smiles. we had insane success with getting the lil dood to smile on cue. wether it be an open-mouth to bare-belly fart or simply the gobbley-gook JudeSpeak one hears around our house, he had a smile for us that took over his whole face. and they’re all day long. when he first sees us in the morning: he’s smiling. when you sneak a peek at him to see if he’s still awake or finally asleep: he’s smiling. when you reach around to console him when he’s fussy in the car: he’s smiling. his smiles even have him at-odds with his other emotions, for when he’s cranky enough to burst into screams, you can throw him a curve by squeaking a kiss on his neck. this puts him into a fit of dualing emotions as the smile cuts thru thru the furled brow as if he were a Muppett.

he had begun to use his voice around the same time. the only patern here being that he was most vocal when he was beating his rhino or in a session with his therapy-bears. sometimes he’s pipe-off a few sentences while he swung watching melrose with anna in the mornings. yet it was at mario’s BBQ in early to mid-august where something spectacular happened. he had just pounded 8 ounces and was being sat upright on my knee facing out towards the party-goers. he just began to orate. it was very important that he hear himself say what he had to say. it seemed that the more he heard himself, the more he would speak. he wasnt playing with the volume of his voice so much as the articulation of the voice. it sounded so authentic that the only missing element was the subtitles underneath him. From then on out, he took advantage of the post-feed-knee to express his opinions. and it hasnt stopped there. he’s liable to sit in his swing and have lengthy conversations with the telly, his llama, or just with himself.

and here enters The Screech. In his first call & response action, he had a week where he was practicing his squeals of delight. Yet, not so much on his own, by himself. No. These were in direct response & reaction to similar noises from anna or myself. Anna would hit a pitch like bird, and a few seconds later, he’s respond with a pitch & decibels that would shatter a wineglass. One right after the other. Call & Response. But about the 24th consecutive hour of this, we thought it best to cease & desist. They were cute, but highly disturbing for the hour before bedtime. But The Screech is gone. For when we stopped the bird noises, so did he. And now we cannot get him to do them again, at all. Now that they’re gone, we miss them.

Yet, in the week since i wrote this, he’s begun something that just trumps them all…

(Originally Posted: 2003_1001)