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There are many musical associations lurking in our heads. In my experience, a connection between a certain song and a stimulus happens often, and some even happen and repeat on a regular basis. For example, “Summertime Rolls” by Jane’s Addiction is triggered every year during the month of August, and I think I’ve experienced this — the song evoked by the late summer heat, set to repeat in my head — since I was 14 or 15 years old.
I thought about personalizing and re-hashing the lyrics for this post, but that seemed a little too contrived (although the line “there is so much space…I cut me a piece” is a perfect fit for beachgoing). I also didn’t use the song as a soundtrack to the beach footage below, but for me, it’s playing in my head when I see my daughter barefoot, fingernails of mother’s pearl playing in sand, gumming cantaloupe, and dancing with her Uncle Rich.
Katie, Jackie, Rich, Mindy, and I spent five days at Ocean Isle. It was a rescheduled vacation that Rich put together after my parents were unable to make the first trip we planned. My folks stayed in Boone to look after my grandmother during her fight against congestive heart failure. She hasn’t lived 95 years because she’s not committed to life, and I’m glad to report that she’s almost back to full strength. It was disappointing for us to be beach-bound without my parents (understatement of the year: they deserve a vacation), but they did what they had to do.
The rest of us enjoyed our time at OIB; no one soaked in more of the experience than little Jackie. I’ve included some pictures below. If I had the time to arrange them chronologically, the images would tell a cohesive story. I’ll leave it up to you to organize them from first to last (especially the pictures where Jackie is eating sand). As soon as I have time to edit the video from the trip there will be some live-action memories posted here too.
Another birthday has come and gone, and I realize now that one of the best periods of every year is not my actual birthday, but the two weeks that follow it. My family and wife’s family now know that I would rather have new music than 99% of other gift ideas. It isn’t that they aren’t creative in their gift planning. Rather, they try to make me happy, and I truly appreciate that.
During the fortnight after my birthday, I don’t let the iTunes credits, Amazon credits, and cash burn holes in my pocket. I spend time reading about, listening to, and legally purchasing new music.
Here’s what I’ve scored recently, and I’m fairly pleased with everything on my album acquisition list for late July and early August.
- Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue
- God Help the Girl by God Help The Girl
- Dragonslayer by Sunset Rubdown
- Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free by Akron/Family
- Got Nuffin (EP) by Spoon
- Farm by Dinosaur Jr.
- Ambivalence Avenue by Bibio
- Calls & Responses by Memory Cassette
Classify those last two albums under the hottest new summer genre: chill wave, or GorillavsBearcore. If you’re into this sort of thing, read a summary of the sub-genre Carles coined at I Guess I’m Floating or the original Carles post at Hipster Runoff.
I’ve also been cherry-picking some other artists, not all of whom have recent releases. I’ve included some editorial notes too.
- The Eels — always one of those bands that I thought I would like if I ever put in the effort. Their catalog is pretty large, and I’ve enjoyed my time browsing.
- The Magnetic Fields — chalk this up to the single thing that makes The Triangle much cooler than it would be otherwise: Merge Records. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary, and it inspired me to try out my favorite Merge band that I knew very little about. I’m about 10 deep in 69 Love Songs.
- The Hood Internet — if you like hip-hop and indie rock, you can’t find a better value (free at http://thehoodinternet.com/) than these mash-ups. I’m not exaggerating when I say that some have blown me away. I’m serious. These guys are supreme matchmakers.
Finally, can someone out there explain the appeal of The Very Best’s Warm Heart of Africa. Even though every respectable taste-making music blog/magazine is smitten, I’m afraid I just don’t get it. I’m cool with world music, I like Afro-pop, but I just don’t get it.
Our daughter is at a funny stage. She learns and forgets certain behavioral patterns almost daily, but she practices other, more important behaviors almost routinely.
For example, during a couple of weeks in June, she shook her head as if to say “no” with her body language. Regardless of what we said or did during this period, she would respond by shaking her head left and right, seemingly in dissent (and smiling the entire time). After repeating this gesture several times a day for those two weeks, she hasn’t done it again in the past month.
Whenever I hug anyone, I pat her or him gently on the back. This is a common practice in my mother’s extended family, which is probably where I learned it and why I do it still today. When I pick up Jackie, I pat her too when I first hold her. A few days ago, she patted my back in return. This surprising, yet familiar action blew me away because it was both affectionate and learned. I expect this patting to continue for another day or two before she forgets it.
Her forgetting of behaviors is similar with language, except that some of her language development is not learned by rote, in a mechanical, repetitive way; instead, she has started to attach meaning to her babytalk. The first words we heard her mimic were “uh-oh”. She only repeated it when Katie or I said it. After the first time, Katie and I said “uh-oh” just to hear her repeat it, so I don’t think she connected the word with any particular meaning. She said “uh-oh” several times over the span of a few days, but she didn’t say it for several weeks after. Then, a few days ago, she dropped a toy onto the floor and said “uh-oh”; it was almost like she was keeping the phonological memory of the word on a mental shelf until she made a meaningful association.
Her favorite, and perhaps first true spoken word, is the phonetic equivalent of “goh”. Of course, this isn’t a real English word, but it is obvious that she attaches meaning to the pronunciation of “goh”; the first few times she said it were when she saw Baxter or Robah walking by her. She started saying it more often, as if she was calling for the dogs when they weren’t in the room with her. Lately, she doesn’t say it much at all.
Is it possible that her brain is starting to make retrieval connections between her short-term and long-term memory? I’m no epistemologist, but I wonder if her brain is dividing new knowledge into meaningless (shaking her head randomly) and meaningful (“goh”), and the meaningless eventually gets tossed into her cerebral trashcan. Like “uh-oh” before it, I predict that she will not forget or discard “goh”, because it’s relevant to her daily life in a house with dogs. Instead, I think “goh” will eventually transform into “dog.”
Thanks to Sarah Shanahan for flying down from NYC to visit us the weekend before last. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with her, and it took very little time for Sarah to endear herself to Jackie (see the pictures below).
Sarah, a nutritionist, also tolerated a lot of food and health-related questions during her stay. You would think that having a health-wise visitor might inspire us to put our most wholesome foot forward, but this was not the case. Instead, Katie and I introduced her to some of the most decadent cuisine Raleigh has to offer (pizza at Lilly’s and BBQ at The Pit). At least we didn’t offer some ridiculous flavor of Vitamin Water, like Essential or Rescue, to go with her English muffin at breakfast.