Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Playlist: Songs With the Word "Christmas" In Their Title

The Waitresses | Christmas Wrapping

John Fahey | The Christmas Song

Jethro Tull | A Christmas Song

The Flaming Lips | Christmas at the Zoo

Sufjan Stevens | That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!

Mogwai | Christmas Steps

The Ramones | Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)

John Prine | Christmas in Prison

Daniel Johnston | Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Bob Dylan | Twas the Night Before Christmas

Lou Reed | Xmas in February

Bright Eyes | Blue Christmas

Dawn McCarthy + Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | Christmas Eve Can Kill You

Sufjan Stevens | Christmas in July 


Complete Playlist

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Many Faces of Our Girl

"How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?" - James Salter

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Parenting in the Tropics: Cloth Diapering

Wow, this post was started so long ago - back when I still relied on our changing table, I had time to neatly fold each diaper, and Lucy didn't kick everything around her!  Things have changed... this neat sight is all but gone as her changing table now houses an array of clean clothes that this busy mom doesn't even have time to put away.

Here is a look into our cloth diapering routine... 5 months into parenthood.

We originally chose cloth diapering for four reasons:

1. Cost.  While the initial cloth diaper set up can be a bit expensive (ours ran us $250, plus we have added another $120 to that - be warned, cute diaper covers can become a costly addiction), disposable diapers are more expensive in the long run.

2. My girl's health.  Disposable diapers are full of chemicals to make them extra absorbent, meaning it can be hours before you realize your babies diaper is literally full of shit.

3. The Environment.  Once a child is potty-trained, cloth diapers can be reused with your next child, resold, or used as rags around the house.  After using disposable diapers, they will sit in a landfill for the next 250-500 years before they decompose.

4. Cuteness.  There is nothing cuter than a semi-naked baby in a big, colorful cloth nappy!


Our diaper station has changed a lot in the past few months.  Once Lucy started rolling back to front, I decided it wasn't safe for us to use the changing table any longer.  Now we have two baskets of supplies, one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  I change so many diapers a day, it is just easiest to do it right where we are playing, so I don't have to stop everything and ramble into the other room.

In the living room, we keep the basket stuffed with all our diaper covers, diaper cream, lotion, and powder.  Currently we are using Grandma El's at the first sign of redness.  We keep a container of cloth wipes as well.  Next to the basket is a big stack of cotton pre-folds and micro-fleece inserts.

We chose to go with one-size-fits-all adjustable covers with pre-fold diapers and inserts.  We ordered a variety of brands of diaper covers and have been happy with all of them so far.  We got the majority of them from Bububibi** and KaWaii Baby, but also found a few cute ones on Amazon to add to the collection such as Thirsties, Rumparooz, EconobumsBest Bottom, and Bambi.  We have 15 all together (plus 4 more on the way!), which is perfect if you do laundry every other day.  You can use most of the covers a few times before you need a new one.

** A word of warning about Bububibi - after placing my order it took over two months to receive my goods.  I wrote them several times, but they never responded.  It was all pretty annoying, but eventually I did get my order.  I actually think these covers are my favorite (and the cheapest!!) but when I attempted to contact them about ordering more and having shipped directly to Vietnam, they once again didn't get back to me.  So I gave up.

We use cotton pre-folds bought from Cotton Babies.  We have 18 infant sized pre-folds and 24 regular sized ones.  So far these have been perfect.  We chose to go the pre-fold route because they are not only the cheapest cloth diapering option, but also the most practical for us.  Since we don't have a dryer and instead rely on line-drying, cotton pre-folds make the most sense.

We also use inserts, which get stuffed into some of the special insert diaper covers or can be set into a normal diaper cover.   These are very Dad-friendly as they are pretty hard to mess up and require the least amount of skill to get on the baby. 

While we used to use disposable wipes, I realized they were a huge waste of money two months ago and made my own cloth wipes.  We were given so many flannel receiving blankets that we never use, so I cut a few of them up, sewed around the edges to keep them from fraying, and keep them soaked in water in a tupperware container.  They work great!

The basket in our bedroom contains our night time diapers.  After a few diaper rashes and way too many night time wake ups for diaper changes, we now use disposables at night.  Along with diaper cream (Magic Stick, used nightly), some wipes, and lotion, I also keep our insert diapers ready to go for morning changes.  I like to change Lucy while still in bed first thing in the morning.  Occasionally I can coax her back to sleep for a little longer after a nappy change!


Finally - our laundry situation - What do we do with our poopy diapers?  After a diaper change, the messy diaper goes to the bathroom to be rinsed off.  In Vietnam, most toilets come with a small spray hose.  Just wash off the mess into the toilet, then throw it in a pile under the sink.  I used to do laundry every day, but since switching to disposables at night, we don't use enough diapers a day to warrant a wash.  Usually every other day does the trick around here.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SAIGON Ộ HIGH feats ninja beat doctor MIKE GAO (LA) - Media Art Party


Electronic hip hop music & Live visual art party
Liên hoan âm nhạc điện tử Hip hop kết hợp nghệ thuật thị giác

* Time & Date: 9pm until late - 23rd August 14
* Venue: Cargo Bar, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, D4, HCM
* Artists: MIKE GAO (LA), Jase Nguyen, Demon Slayer, Lon
* Live Visual artists: L.A.V [Live Audio Visual]

From the organizers:

Mike Gao is a ninja beat doctor!

After slugging out a career as an underground hip hop producer and DJ (alias Nightprowl) since 2005, winning numerous beat battles from Chicago to LA, working with a who's who of subterranean MCs royalty and producers like Ta-ku and Brainfeeder beat queen TOKiMONSTA, and appearances in Low End Theory invitationals since the early days, Mike's definitely earned steet cred and kudos along the way. He's one of the rare creatures respected by all crews, from affiliations with Huhwhatandwhere (HW&W), to Soulection and Team Supreme, to Kaytranada.

With a new album soon to be unleashed by Alpha Pup Records and a self-released remix project out prior this year, no one really knows where gear head Mike finds the time to nerd out, make his own digital music instruments and software hacks, get a masters and work on a PhD under Miller Puckette, the guy who put the MSP in Max/MSP (the widely used software now integrated into Ableton Live as Max for Live). That's why he's a ninja. That's why he's a doctor.

Oh, and he make beats and is a damn good live electronic musician and improvisor as well! 

Don't be intimidated by his academic pedigree. He's a beat man and hip hop head through and through. 

Odd and sophisticated yet streetsmart and accessible, he peppers his groovy funk, uptempo R&B, soulful dubstep and trap stylings with the right amount of restraint and experimentation, all while flexing his prowess as a beatmaster. You don't have to know it's his custom vocoder app on rap accapellas as he improvises chords to make them sing. You don't have to know it's not spilt beer when on his laptop when he tilts it to make sounds with a program he wrote in ChuCK programming language. You don't have to know it's in odd time signatures when you're getting it down on the floor with his blackhole bass tones, as sultry melodies float by in bliss with synths and chopped up vocals. 

But of course, there's his toys. Watch as he drills as he solos and improvises some chords on his colorful iPad custom apps. Let him show you how it's done. Or just close your eyes and dance.

Stepping it up is our own local bestiary of fantastic musical beat creatures Jase Nguyen, Demon Slayer, and Lon premiering new tracks and tricks. Keep your ears peeled and you may even get a few tunes and teasers of the new material Jase will perform at TECHNO PARADE in Paris this September 

With 3-screens surrounding the performance stage, we're giving plenty of space for new visual experiments with live video and choreography from L.A.V [Live Audio Visual] group.. whose content and hot eye-candy so already in your face, your face will melt. 

So Hi, Hello and get High because Saigon Ộ is back for round 2! 

Saigon Ộ High!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adventures with Goose: Ho Tram Beach, Viet Nam

With Grandparents visiting we decided to take our first family trip.  Just a couple of hours by drive to the windswept coast of the East Sea and the casuarina-lined Ho Tram beach.  Gavin and I visited the brash  Ho Tram Grand a few months back, but for this trip we opted to stay at the quainter and more aesthetically rich Ho Tram Beach Resort and Spa.

The Goose was a perfect travel companion - she traveled well, napped on the road, and was ready for her first day at the beach when we arrived!

 We toured the resort grounds and took some pictures here and there.

Then camped out in the beachside bar for refreshments + revelry after the journey.

Finally it was time to hit the beach!

Lucy's first dip in the sea!

An un-pictured trip into the pool - Lucy looked so cute in her little pool float, but unfortunately the swim was short lived!  Maybe next time!

The Goose was POOPED after her first day at the beach and was out as soon as bedtime rolled around. We kept her safe under the net from the 'wildlife' at the resort - they appear to be breeding their very own population of giant, insatiable biting flies and mosquitoes.  Normally unscathed in Saigon, we returned from this trip riddled with welts and wounds.

Day two was a blast!  Lucy was up nice and early, ready to get out there and start the day!

We passed the Goose around - I don't think she was ever not being cuddled or held the whole trip.

She even wore her crab pants for the trip to the beach.

 We hit the salt water pool in the morning for a dip.

This time she lasted a little longer, however she seemed pretty happy when we pulled her out (just before the water works started) and wrapped her up in a towel!

All fresh and clean!  Hanging around in the Beach bar for lunch!

 An early evening stroll through the grounds....

Goose loves to fly!

A girl and her Mom.

A girl and her Dad.

 A girl and her Grandparents.

A wonderful trip had by all!