What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

This is for the enlightenment of all spouses, to hopefully save them a few black eyes in the future.

Scenario 1: your wife has been puking her guts out all night and is greener than

what NOT to say: You look like hell.

what TO say: My God, you look radiant! This must be the pregnancy glow they’ve been talking about!

Scenario 2: Your wife suddenly realizes she no longer fits into ANY pre-pregnancy clothes and the scale is now hovering at an ungodly number.

What NOT to say: mimic the sound of a garbage truck backing up whenever she enters or leaves a room.

what TO say: do you even HAVE an ass? I can’t even see it it’s so tiny!!

Scenario 3: your wife downs her 3rd carton of Ben and Jerry’s for the night.

What Not to say: I thought you were supposed to be eating for 2, not an entire football team!

what TO Say: would you like me to get you some more , darling?

Scenario 4: your wife is screaming in pain in the delivery room.

what NOT to say: Anything. At . All.

Scenario 5: a SMOKING HOT, thin woman walks by in front of you and your wife. your wife is at the point in her pregnancy where she can no longer see her toes. you accidentally catch a glimpse of the woman walking by and your wife takes notice.

What NOT to say: (wolf whistle), man, I wish I had me some of that!

What TO say: She isn’t NEARLY as hot as you. And she’s fatter and uglier!

Jersey City and All Points West

This past weekend we drove to Jersey again to see my sister and attend the first annual All Points West Music Festival. APW was supposed to be the northern US’s answer to Coachella and Bonnaroo. Plus, Radiohead was headlining and they weren’t playing too many other nothern U.S gigs, so we really wanted to go! We were also psyched that Grizzly Bear, CSS and Underworld were on the roster.

We drove down on Thursday evening and hung out with the sis, bro-in law and the nephews. They are getting cuter and more of a handful by the minute! We ate some yummy Indian food from a great place down the street from her.
Friday we got to the festival early…or at least we tried to. We took the train from the New Brunswick station, and then took 2 light rails to get to the festival. The festival website said there would be plenty of signs (there were none!), and that the light rails would take you DIRECTLY to the festival…well it didn’t. When we got to the park, it was literally over a mile to get to the festival. No exaggerating–it took us a 1/2 hour to walk there…in the heat…on the asphalt…with me and my big pregnant belly. No one else seemed too thrilled about having to walk, either. Bad form for APW.

When we got to the festival we discovered that the bands weren’t going to be staggered, thereby causing us to have to choose between one band vs. another instead of sneaking over to see bits and pieces of each. We were bummed! That kind of seemed like a rip off after we payed to see all of those bands.

You also weren’t allowed to bring in any outside food, an umbrella or a blanket. What kind of a festival is it if you can’t even sit on a blanket? what are you gonna do, smother someone with it? C’mon people…

they had a “beer garden” from which you could purchase crappy beer in a plastic cup for the “bargain” price of 10 dollars. Yes, that’s right, 10 bucks for warm, crappy beer! you could only drink it in a designanted area and you were only allowed 5 total drinks. With prices like that who could afford more? Not that I drank anything, but Chris had one…and that was enough for him.

Food selection was good-at least we were able to find a few good vegetarian things. We tried this interesting corn and mozzarella cake called a Repas, which was good, and we had veggie burritos and corn dogs. Food was overpriced but at festivals it always is.

The lack of any kind of shelter was concerning, as it poured several times throughout the day, intermixed with a scorching heat that made you feel like you were in a deep fryer (no shade or shelter plus 30,000 sweaty concert goers= purgatory!).

But enough bitching and moaning for a second. We’ll try to be positive for a minute and talk about the actual reason why we went…the music. Here’s a writeup of who we were able to catch:

First up was Pawn Shop Roses, a band that evoked a Black Crowes sound on a low-fi caliber. Not bad, not amazing either (1.5 stars). next up was Lowry, a band whose sound was so bad I can’t even guess what kind of image they were going after. Normally it would sound like a good idea to mix a violinist with a keyboard player and an electric guitar…but not if they were all playing out of harmony! Lowry…you kind of Blow-ry. (1/2 star).

Little Brother was playing next door at the Bullet Stage, playing hip-hop beats. The hip hop was too much like any other kind of hip-hop, not very unique, and way too many bitch-ho references to gain our interest. (1 star).

We were starting to get dissapointed in the lineup until The Duke Spirit came on and saved us from our ennui! Their sound evokes 60’s British rock with a female twist. The lead singer, Leila Moss, was sassy and sexy as all get out (think a young Debbie Harry with PJ Harvey’s wardrobe) and had unique, deep vocals. They had real stage presence, renewing our faith in the festival. (3 stars)

Next, we headed over to the main stage and grabbed a veggie burrito on the way–9 bucks but it tasted good. The Go! Team, an almost all-girl group dressed in 80’s garb, brought back the Bananarama revival. They looked like they were having a lot of fun but unfortunately the microphone volume wasn’t high enough, and we could barely hear them over the background noise. They do get some points for wardrobe selection though–high knee socks and all. (3 stars).

Despite the scorching heat by this time (at least the festival had the decency to have one “misting tent” to keep people cool), the festival was at an upswing. Michael Franti and Spearhead performed on the main stage, and their world/reggae mix is enough to get anyone moving. They have been festival performers for ages and it shows–these guys had it going on! (3.75 stars).

By the time Franti was wrapping up his set, it started to POUR. good thing we had our ponchos with us! Mates of State, however, were so cheerful that they made is forget all about the crappy weather. The duo from Connecticut have been performing on the indie scene for several years, are married and have 4 little daughters. The little girls were waiting at the side of the stage, and every once and a while they would pop out to wave at the crowds or dance along to their parents music, unbeknownst to their parents. They were very cute! Cheers to them for cheering us up and putting on a sweet, upbeat show (3.5-4 stars).

Forro in the Dark played next door, with an eclectic mix of Brazilian pop and African world jam beats. Fun, danceable stuff! (3.5 stars).

Since Duffy was too lazy to start on time (she gets a zero in our book for that), we headed over to the Queen of the Valley stage to await our beloved Grizzly Bear, whom, aside from Radiohead, we were most looking forward to.
They didn’t dissapoint as usual. Grizzly Bear is one of those rare bands that engages you from the first song to the last, and you are sad for the show to end instead of wearily wishing they’d stop already. They played a flawless set, complete with “Little Brother”, “The Knife”, and a couple of very cool new songs. Still wish they had played “Shift” and “Lullaby” but oh well, you can’t have it all…(4.5 stars)

CSS, those sassy Brazilians, were up next. The crowd went insane to their danceable beats and catchy/kitchsy song titles like “meeting Paris Hilton” and “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from above”. They threw balloons and confetti off the stage and were dressed in a wardrobe bizarre enough to make Bjork proud. A ton of fun!!! (3.5-4 stars)

The night was starting to come to a close, and folks crowded in for the big headliner-Radiohead.
Underworld kept the main stage going with techno that is any computer geek’s wet dream. They even had images from old games (like Asteroid) running on the video screens while they played. Chris, being an adorable computer geek, was in heaven! (4 stars).

By the time Radiohead was nearing their set, the crowd had grown to over 30,000 people strong. Radiohead made the 9 hour day of standing in the heat and rain and smelly crowds completely worth it. They put on a stunning 2 hour show, and came back for 2 encores.

The only unfortunate damper to the event was the incredibly loud and obnoxious drunken couple behind us. They came later in the day only for Radiohead, but were so drunk and loud that they weren’t even listening to the band and they would NOT shut up. At this point, we were so irritated because this is what we came all the way for to see, and I know most people felt the same way. Lots of eye rolling was pointed in their general direction. I finally had it, when I couldn’t even hear Radiohead over their endless sqwawking. I turned around and said to them “I know you guys might not realize it, but you’re talking so loud that most of us can hardly hear the band. Would you mind lowering your voices just a bit? I’m not trying to be a pain.”. Well, the girl looked me straight in the eyes and said “Ok, BITCH!!”. I was dumbfounded. Chris said “don’t you dare talk to my wife like that!”. I was feeling ready to punch this lady but I’m not that kind of gal. I calmly said “I’m not trying to be a bitch, I’m just asking if you guys wouldn’t mind keeping your voices down is all. We’re all here to enjoy the show”. Thank goodness her boyfriend had some sense and tried to calm her down. He apologized to us and said they’d try to keep it quieter. Thankfully they did! But that didn’t keep me from secretly wishing someone would throw her off the ferry later that night…

Radiohead played all of the songs from “In Rainbows”, a good amount of songs from “Kid A” intertwined with even a few faves from The Bends. It was amazing to see them and they made the dissapointments at the festival worthwhile.

After the show was a complete cluster of you-know-what. Imagine a good number of that 30,000 concert goers trekking it back to the light rail station–only to find that there were no extra light rails to be run that night, you’d just have to wait in an INSANELY long line to board the train and get home. People were shoving each other like it was doomsday, and even after Chris reprimanded a kid for rudely shoving me aside, he was met with only a snort. (A wee bit different from the attitude at Osheaga!). We waited in line for over an hour just to board the first train, and a good extra hour after that to board the second one. We almost missed the very last train by 5 minutes, which would have meant we’d have to wait another HOUR before another one ran. We were exhausted and spent and sick of crowds at this point, but we finally DID make it home–a good 3.5 hours LATER!!!

Not sure if APW is anything we’d ever plan on going through again, kids or no kids.

We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing with my sister and the nephews, who made us laugh with their antics. It’s always depressing when we have to leave them because times that we get to visit are few and far between, and the kids are growing up before our eyes. But we do hold on to the times we can and we have fun.

Mid-week update

Just thought I’d update you folks halfway through our vacation week. We just got back from a wonderful time in our fave new city “a la francaise”–Montreal.
The Osheaga music festival went off Sunday without a hitch–the skies hinted a lack of cooperation, but no big storms came–just a bit of spitting rain here and there. We had our ponchos and umbrellas, and camped out on a towel on the ground-so we fared O.K.
Although the lineup was not as stellar as last year, the bands were still great. It was a very eclectic lineup-ranging from soul to hip-hop, punk to techno. I’ll put in a little review of each band we got the chance to see (4 bands were playing on 4 different stages). We rated them out of 5 stars.

Louis XIV- a rock in roll band with a real live rock and roll attitude. They put on a fun show, the lead singer reminded me of what Bob Dylan would sound like with a hard-core edge. (3 stars)

Beast–this group made a surprise performance because the band that was supposed to play in their place, Foals, cancelled at the very last minute. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because these guys ROCKED!! They were a “trip hop” band (kind of like Portishead with street attitude) and the lead singer was this cool woman with a shaved head. We were really surprised at what a cool band this was!! (4 stars)

N.E.R.D–These guys have been around the hip-hop scene for a while (Pharrell Williams is probably their most noted member). They disappointed us by taking way too long to set up (I mean, every other group took less than 10 minutes to set up because they were all on a tight schedule. These guys were getting WAY too picky about the sound and didn’t start until 1/2 hour later, putting everyone else behind). Aside from that, they put on a pretty engaging show. (3 stars)

Spiritualized–how to describe this guy? Trippy, chill-out music with angry lyrics. Like the Flaming Lips on sedatives, with soul backup singers. Not bad, but not up our alley either (2 stars)


Metric: a born-in-Montreal group with a sound similar to last year’s Stars, a fun group with a cute female lead singer. Nothing too unique about them, but fun (3 stars)

Duchess Says: Little did we know, when hanging out at the MEG stage, that the innocent-looking redhead standing in front of us was the lead singer of this Montreal-based punk group. When she took the stage, she became a screaming banshee who jumped into the crowd and started slinging mud at people. CRAZY, but definitely entertaining to watch! (2.5 stars).

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: Sharon Jones has been a soul legend for years, and from seeing this performance we can understand why. This band has AMAZING talent, Sharon Jones has so much energy, she was like the female James Brown! Not a single person wasn’t dancing when she came on, and the crowd went wild. The whole band was vibrant and TIGHT. A pleasant surprise for us, and one of Osheaga’s best acts! (5 stars).

Cat Power: We got burned once before by Cat Power at Mass Moca years ago. She has been notorious for inconsistent live performances that run from spellbinding to sheer histrionics. Honestly Cat Power was more solid this time around, she appeared to have taken her medication this time (there was a writeup of her in Rolling Stone recently, chronicling her bad performance history and addiction recovery). She did however hide at one side of the stage while she performed, and near the end of the set she botched her songs so badly that they were barely recognizable. That said, at least she didn’t run off stage crying like at Mass Moca. I love her music, but seeing the girl live is not worth it. She is in her own world and nobody else can go there with her. (2 stars).

Devotchka: This band gives a whole new meaning to eclectic. Band members hail from Greece, Yugoslavia and Romania and they combine these influences with haunting melodies that range from polka, punk, dance hall and soul. What’s even more impressive is the fact that each band member can aptly play more than one instrument, and for the set they switched between such instruments as the cello and trumpet, the violin and accordion, the drums and the sousaphone. Oh, and they apparently did the soundtrack to little Miss Sunshine. A really impressive show that was hard to describe! (3.5 stars)

Iggy and the Stooges: When I first heard that Iggy Pop was going on a sort of “reunion tour” with his old buddies, I was excited but also skeptical. Judging from how some recent reunion tours have fallen short (Genesis to name a few), I was afraid I’d see a tired, old Iggy playing new stuff that just didn’t have the raw, visceral energy that the old Stooges emanated. Well I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised to see Iggy screaming and writhing around like he had been in the 70’s. The crowd went insane! It was hard to believe he had aged at all, which just goes to show–sometimes you can’t take the rock and roll out of the person. I was happy to hear that he didn’t perform much from his new album, but instead chose to perform most of the tried and true punk anthems. He completed the set by letting everyone and anyone come up on stage and mosh into a crazy free-for-all (don’t worry I didn’t do that!) (I was amazed at how civil most people at Osheaga were. Not one single person tried to push or shove us at any of the performances. In fact only one person bumped into us and apologized profusely (gasp! using MANNERS?? What is THAT???). Canadians are just so nice…)

Oh, and of all the performances, which one do you think the baby got excited about? Did she kick for Metric? NERD? Cat Power? Sharon Jones? (well, a little bit for her). No, the music that our kid kicked up a storm for was Iggy and the Stooges! That’s right; our kids gonna be a hardcore punk…

Booka Shade: It was pretty magical stuff to see this techno group perfoming in the MEG stage, tucked away in a little corner of the forest, the stage lit up by the glow of their audiovisual screen and glow-stick enamored turntable. Booka had incredible energy that got everyone jumping. It felt like a rave. These two German guys know how to get a party going! (4 stars).

The Killers: these guys were the big headliners, and they didn’t dissapoint. We were happy to hear a few faves, but to be honest, at this point our legs were killing us from standing for over 9 hours and we were starting to get tired and cranky. (God, we’re getting old!). So we didn’t stay for the whole set, but we were happy with what we saw (3.5 stars).

All in all, Osheaga was again an amazing event! We were so happy to have gone. Everyone was extremely cool and nice there, and we felt like we belonged. Even though there was a lot of drinking and pot-smoking going on, no one was acting out of control and it felt pretty safe. Only one person that we saw started acting out, at which point security immediately booted him out (and held him down!) before he disturbed anyone or anything. There were actually quite a few people this year with small children; they came well-prepared with special headphones to block out the noise for their kids and they seemed to be pretty darn content. Which gives us hope for next year, maybe??

Everytime we go to Montreal we find more reasons to love it. This time of year is festival mania, with hundreds of festivals going on all summer long. To name a few, our visit there was sandwiched between such festivals as the DiversCite LGBT festival (which we were sorry to miss; after realizing THAT’s why many of the streets were blocked and it was impossible to get to our hotel-we missed the drag queen parade!), the Anime Festival, The International Film festival, The International Gourmet Festival, Fetish Weekend (which Chris was sad to miss, lol), The International Graffiti festival and the Montreal Blues Fest. Wow, and that was only in the first two weeks of August!

We ate at an Asian vegetarian restaurant which had some pretty unique faux meat options, such as veggie goat and eel. I tried veggie sweet and sour chicken, and Chris had veggie herb-encrusted “fish”. Both were actually quite good! I’m not sure what veggie eel would’ve been like…slimy?? We also grabbed dinner one night at our fave veg. buffet place, Le Commensal. Each morning, courtesy of our hotel (Hotel St. Denis again–can’t beat the location or price),we had breakfast at Pacini. The waitstaff there were very nice.

On Monday we wandered around Vieux Montreal (aka Old Port Montreal). The cobblestone streets, narrow passageways and decorated verandas elicited the charm of Old-World France. It was lovely to walk with Chris and explore all of the little patisseries and sundries shops, and watch the flower sellers and street performers. We stopped and ate at a gelateria that sweetened everything with maple syrup. Later on in the day we attempted to visit Parc du Mont Royal, the extinct volcano park from which Montreal got its namesake. Little did we know what a far walk it was from the metro stop, so we decided to head back. We wanted to see Hellboy II but it was only playing in French (with French dubbing, not subtitles), and the Cine Roboteque was closed on Mondays, so we had to settle for playing rummy at a little cafe called Second Cup.

Sigh….je’aime beacoup visiter Montreal! I certainly hope we can return again someday soon, even with a little Renee in tow (she does afterall have to get in touch with her French Canadian heritage).

Later on this week we are heading to New Jersey for the All Points West Music festival and to spend time with the sis and nephews.

More updates and pics to come within the next week or so!