News for February 2007

Snow Business, Sweet Dreams

I’m so glad we’ve got snow.  If it’s going to be cold, you might as well have snow.  I’m not even bitter about shoveling our driveway (all one hundred feet of it) 3 1/2 times in a 24 hour period.  Would I complain if someone left a snowblower on our front steps? No.  Would I be offended if one of the many folks that live on our street and drive atv’s with plow attachments happened to plow our driveway? No.  But do I complain? No.  In fact I sit back and think of even more reasons to enjoy the snow.  Why, just the other day I went snowmobiling for the first time.  Now there’s a reason to love the snow!  It was pretty rad, Lydia and I put on helmets and she sat in front of me and we took off all around twin lake, following a friend.  I got done and told our host that I finally understood why people want to open the national parks up to this stuff.  Screw wildlife habitat – snowmobiling rules!  I totally cancelled my Sierra Club Membership.  Those mamzy pamzies.

Lydia did love snowmobiling, but even more so I believe she was drawn to the helmet.  It had a face shield that allowed her to do face plants in the snow and stare at the snow from a mere 3 inches away.  It was pretty hilarious to see her trekking around with the helmet on.  In fact yesterday when we went out sledding she decided she should have her bike helmet on, just because helmets are cool.  Safety first kids.

That kid of ours has been having bad dreams.  What’s worse is that those dreams cause her to crawl into our bed in the middle of the night.  Now I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on my wife because she’s pregnant so allow me to make a gross generalization about pregnant women. (Gross in the GNP sense of the word, not icky, nor 144)  They take up a lot of room in bed.  And they lose a bit of their grace when rolling over.  And they get up a lot.  Couple that with a wiggly 3 year old and you can understand my motivation in getting rid of the bad dreams.  So acting in a sane and well thought manner, the platform from which I impose all of my parenting, I assured Lydia on Saturday night that if she stayed in her bed all night she could have chocolate ice cream for breakfast. 

The pregnant one who doesn’t sleep as it is, intervened and reminded Lydia that sometimes “daddy speaks crazy talk” and told her that there would not be ice cream for breakfast, but that she should do her best all the same.

I believe that Lydia is a deeply hopeful child and it was this hope in things to come that kept her in bed through the night.  The hope that maybe Mom would go to church early and that Daddy would come through.  Sadly for her, we all went to church early, Lydia did not get ice cream for breakfast and Mom preached on temptation.

With ice cream off the table, today we made a dream catcher.  We’re going for a wholistic approach.  Dare I say a generous orthodoxy?  Using yogurt lids, yarn, beads, and feathers from a pillow – who knew that they could stuff pillows with eagle feathers? – we crudely fashioned a traditional dream catcher to rival that of… well lets not get into petty rivalries.  We hung it up tonight, turned out the lights, I layed down next to her and there was silence.  Two minutes later she turned to me and said, “It definately works.  I already had a good dream.”  And proceeded to tell me her dream about a truck, the pet cat that was locked outside of it, and the quiet beep beep it made.  Seeing as it was a dream I’m not sure if ‘it’ was the cat or the truck.  I would guess the truck which makes me near postive it was the cat.  Not only because dreams work that way, but because Lydia works that way.  Thats one creative soul.


Posted: February 27th, 2007
Categories: fact
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it is finished, hear my cry

Well folks, breathe your collective sigh of relief.  I have completed the rpm challenge.  What does this mean?  We should fear and love the internet and head over to the endeavors page to learn more about the new CD, Oh, and Ten.  Bound to revolutionize the way wee indie rocking confirmands approach the small catechism, this release will also most assuredly rocket me to indie rock fame and give me some mad street cred.  Watch out ‘falling boy’, beware you ‘beautiful taxi killers’, on your guard ‘and they will know we are christians by our love!’  I’m very pleased with the output and very curious to get some feedback, so please do check it out.  At this point it’s download only, but if you e-mail me ( nate at natehouge dot com )with your address I might burn you a copy and send it to you with a self addressed envelope in which you can enclose a few dollars so that my family doesn’t starve to death or get our heat shut off.  But no pressure, only send what you can spare. 

Be good to each other, and remember no amount of rule following will save your sorry soul!

Posted: February 27th, 2007
Categories: fact, song
Comments: No Comments.

snow, finally.

I was pretty convinced that al gore was right and that global warming had done got the best of us.  But you can never trust those democrats.  We got like 8 inches of snow last night – score!  It’s March and it’s snowed 3 times this winter and this was the first time I had to shovel.  So don’t worry kids everything is normal.  This is just how our parents remember MN winters. 

Here’s a free tip to stay at home parents everywhere – get out of the house.  My daughter, and I’m not naming names here, had a terrible morning, as kids sometimes do.  I ground the coffee without closing a door between her and I and that was my cardinal sin that set her off.  She hates the coffee grinder.  So she layed down and bemoaned my actions for like 1/2 an hour.  Usually you can distract the kid and all is forgotten, sometimes you can try a time out (usually makes things worse and the only pleasure I get out of it feels a little guilty which is never a good sign of necessary discipline).  Anyways so it went from crying about the grinder to the amount of cereal she got to not finding the shirt she wanted.  Jodi had to head off to work – I’m amazed she didn’t leave earlier – and I was going nuts so I put on my snow stuff, told her to cowgirl up, and headed outside to shovel our driveway which is way too long.  I checked in on her 5 minutes later, and though still whimpering, she was getting her snow stuff on.  I helped her get it on, we got outside and spent the next hour and a half having a blast playing in the snow.  Now we’re back inside, she’s drinking hot cocoa and making baseball cards with her picture on them and is having enough fun that she doesn’t care that I’m blogging.  It went from a horrible morning to a fantastic morning, and you know why?  We got out of the house.  So there’s your free tip of the day.  And here’s a photo from Lydia’s baseball card.

lydia's baseball card

She’s a natural, like her old man.

play ball!

Posted: February 24th, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized
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snowboarding, awarding, recording

So, last Sunday I headed out snowboarding with the kids from church.  It was a great group, 5 outstanding youth and one other outstanding adult.  I had been snowboarding one other time about 12 years ago when a girl I knew in college said she could get us cheap lift tickets so me, Paula, Heather, Ben, and …. who else came? Maybe Jenny or Adam… anyways I just remember driving forever, falling a lot, and being really thrilled and sore from the experience.  The crazy thing was, as we pulled into buena vista (what else would you name a ski hill in northern mn?) this was the exact same place I had gone 12 years ago!  Now I know MN isn’t exactly ripe with slopes, but what are the odds that I’d end up at the same place.  It made for a nice little trip down memory lane.  Although as you can see from my earlier listing of friends along for the ride, my memory lane is very short and indescript.

They say in relationships that each person takes on certain roles and that includes who remembers what.  Jodi remembers everything in our relationship.  Except numbers and directions.  I think thats one reason I write stuff, if I don’t it’s gone.

Anyways, lest we forget, I was out snowboarding.  It was great.  I actually fell more holding onto the stupid rope for the bunny hill and getting off the lifts than I did the entire rest of the day, and not once did I catch my front edge.  Thank God.  One of the youth was a visiting exchange student from Peru – it was awesome watching him get up the courage to get on the lift and go down his first ride.  I doubt I would’ve attempted as much were I him.

To sum up, snowboarding was good.

On the way to the hills, on some county road I noticed a deer, so I said, “DEER!” and started to brake.  Then I said “DEER SCRATCHING HIS BACK ON A TELEPHONE POLE!” and finally it dawned on me, “DEAD FROZEN DEER PROPPED UP AGAINST POLE!”  Apparently someone hit this dear deer, it died with its entrails contained, and once frozen a kind passerbyer had given it mad props.  Kind of like when you see a hub cap propped up on the side of the road.  Like someone would claim it?

The guys in my car thought this was hilarious and took note that it was at mile marker 68 so that on the way back we could get a shot of it.  And sure enough as we drove home you would’ve thought we were at the gates of disney land.  From mile 72 on down they were absolutely giddy – 4 miles to go!!!  And yes, we stopped and I handed one my camera and 5 young men ran off to the pole to pose with said frozen deer.

nate on deer

That’s Nate, not me Nate, other Nate, riding the wild doe.  There’s more shots over at my flick’r site.

Then they got back in the car and said… my hands kind of stink.

Now off to the awards.  My father in law recieved an award from the Northern Plains Growers Associaton on Tuesday night in Grand Forks.  This was a big deal – a sort of lifetime achievement kind of thing.  There was a big dinner and ceremony and we all got to go.  Normally you wouldn’t go to this thing unless you were a farmer or connected with the farming industry, and it was a total honor to attend as someone whose connection with the land peeks at a 10 x 10 garden plot and the occasional mowing.  After the awards it was mingle time so I followed my brother in laws around and listened in on a bunch of farm related conversations.  Here are a few observations.

Farmers are honorable – I listened in as business deals went down – everything was on a handshake – contracts would be sent out eventually, but only as a formality.

These guys are great storytellers.  Maybe it’s the hours in the field, maybe it was the open bar, but I listened to hilarious stories for hours on end.

Farmers know the land.  I can’t even begin to explain how struck I was by folks describing their land and its location to each other.  I think non-organic farmers get way too much crap for ‘not caring for the environment’ These guys care for it better than any urban hippy at the co-op ever will.  We buy organic whenever we can afford to, and we’re member owners of our neighborhood co-op in St. Paul – that’s all good and fine.  But if you want to meet folks that know, love, and care for the earth, sneak into one of these conventions – it’s amazing.

So, hats off to farmers, thanks for feeding us.

We spent the night in Grand Forks and woke to streets of ice, there had been freezing rain all night.  We delayed our departure but even when we left at 10 there were still jackknifed semis all over the place for the next 60 miles.  thankfully we arrived home safely.

So today, friday, i finally got back into the studio.  It was a fun day – I’m almost done with my 10 song CD.  When I finish I’ll post it with lyrics and notes and all kinds of stuff.  High lights today include using my daughters “My First Tape Recorder” to do some vocals and using an old electro voice room mic to give the drums a super compressed trashy sound.  Once this recording process is over I’m going to have a lot to debrief – it’s been a crazy great experience and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to articulate why…

but then again, what can I articulate?


Posted: February 23rd, 2007
Categories: fact
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snowboarding summary – master shredder.

I ate the snow don’t hate the snow

we are not the snow

not cold jello

we are not cold jello or any sort of parasite

I sleep the floor and eat galore

your cheese is not my indicator your cheese belays the hope of yiddles and skittles and little round pieces of purple nonsense drifiting off

sedate the snow berate the snow below the snow i heard you wuloop and tulu and thought the dance was familiar but my feet were rakes and leaves were not you

but if you were the mozzarella cries your liberation

yes my rakish delight I sukoodle your rizzlebang and lulup your pazalglat (but that could’ve been a cardboard square of toffee or something similar like yellow)


Posted: February 19th, 2007
Categories: fact
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From Perham to DL

We couldn’t take it any longer.  The cold was doing us in.  Yesterday morning the family packed the swim suits and headed to the rec center in Perham.  A mere 30 minutes later i was running in shorts on an indoor track.  It was worth every penny.  I was so happy to be warm I even lifted weights.  I really don’t know how to lift weights so I found a poster on the wall that showed what to do to bulk up my shoulders and triceps.  I reached for the 20 pound dumbells, noticed no one was watching and quickly grabbed the 10 pounders.  Long story short, I’m now buff.  Than the family hit the pool, the hot tub, and the showers.  We were all much happier and way hungrier.  In our warmth induced state of euphoria we drove 20 miles down the road to Detroit Lakes, or as we locals call it, DL.  And there we dined on the fine mexican food at Miguels, drank peace coffee at the local coffee shop, and hit the big grocery store with the olive bar.  That’s right kids, I said olive bar.  It was a good day.

On the rpmchallenge front, I’m running out of time!  Last night I didn’t have a clue what to do for the last 4 songs, I finally came up with ideas for 2 of them and got them roughed out a bit.  Today I got acoustic guitar recorded for song #7.  I have little idea what tracks 8 & 9 will be, but 10 is pretty together.  All in all I guess I’m doing okay, but tomorrow I’m chaperoning a ski trip.  I call it ‘operation hurt nate.’  I know it’s going to be painful.  The last time I went snow boarding happens to have been the first time I went, and the first shall be last – and that was 11 years ago.  So, I’m not worried, it’ll all come back to me I’m sure.  Jodi pointed out that my head is still along way from the earth, and I left before she could point out that gravities pull is only increasing with my age.  So I hit the slopes (or they hit me) for sunday and monday, than tuesday we head up to grand forks for a potato convention that my father in law will be honored at.  We return wednesday – and depending on when we get back lydia may or may not go to preschool which means I may or may not have a few hours to myself this week. 

I’m really loving my rpm project, and I can’t wait to write all about it once it’s unvieled.  It’s challenged me in every way – as a writer/musician/christian/recorder/familyman – it’s wonderful but of course hugely distracting because of its wonder and thats really frustrating sometimes.  Sometimes its frustrating to be full of wonder.  I want to practical and self disciplined, and in control – and for me those things do not sync with wonder.

Tommorrow morning I’m going to play “Special” music at church.  I’m not sure what makes it special – they told me my education was special too.  Maybe I’ll show up at church on the short bus.  In fact if I ever get to tour the church circuit with a band maybe we’ll travel in a short bus and at each stop we can hop off and say, “Hi!  We’re here to do special music!” 

Remember kids, in God’s eyes, we’re all special.

Posted: February 17th, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized
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Up with Dates, Down with Prunes

Hey, check out the Endeavors link to your right – I just got done setting up a youtube account and posted some videos I’ve made over the last few years as well as a link to Deanna Miller’s play-do-a-constrictor for which I wrote the soundtrack.  Oh, and I’m working on a flicker account too, so check out cheese.  I taught my 3 year old how to use the camera and she’s taking pictures as we speak, so I’ll try to get some up, cause i know that’s what the b-sphere has a hankerin’ for.

Posted: February 15th, 2007
Categories: fact
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oh you must.

And now I’m hawking signs for church bathrooms that read, “Employees Must Wash Feet.”  Than come the EMWF bracelets.  It’ll be the biggest thing since my “Christians Really Are People” campaign of ’02.  By the way, if any one still wants a CRAP bracelet I  have about 4,999 left. 

Thanks for the support mom.

Posted: February 15th, 2007
Categories: fact
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oh must you?

Many great things have been happening as of late.  I’ve recorded a bunch, recieved great CDs, am now Nora Abenth’s godfather, played music with the official Nora’s Baptism Band, featuring Martin Marty, Bill Singsaas, and the Abenth brothers.  Yes, life’s been good.  And on top of all this merriment I had a bit of a revalation while washing my hands at Caribou coffee in Alexandria, MN.  As I was reaching for the paper towels I noticed the sign “Employees must wash hands.”  Oh crap.  What if they caught me washing my own hands?  Would they take my latte away?  Why did I take the initiative?  If only I’d seen the sign earlier I could’ve walked up to the counter and had one of the nice baristas wash my hands, but now here I had gone and taken the job on myself!  I don’t know if I was infracting union code at this point or what, but needless to say I was a nervous wreck.  I ran through the options.  Make a run for it and hope they didn’t catch me, Admit that I had done their work for them, or Pee again and pretend I had never washed…

I remorsefully approached the barista and admitted my fault.  She looked disgusted and turned away.  I meekly recieved my latte and vowed that henceforth only employees would wash my hands.  Forgive me Caribou.  Forgive me.

Posted: February 14th, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized
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photo update

the recording is going well.  It’s been a little frantic trying to squeeze any free time into the studio and as a result it’s a bit of a mess, so as my daughter falls asleep (theoretically) next door, I’m wrapping cords and cleaning house.  I sadly won’t have a second in here till Monday – but happily for very good reasons.  I’m gonna be a godfather!

Here’s the floor halfway through the clean up

key floor 


my ultra technical mic’ing technique – it’s really a zen approach – if you toss the mic near the source it will find it’s place over time. 

kick mic

I need to work on the camera angle, but Micah pointed out to me that my drum set up is curiously similar to those on Pedro’s It’s hard to find a friend album cover.

its hard to find a drum

and finally, a gift from Jason Moran – he gave me two and I thought I gave the working one to Micah, but a couple weeks ago Micah told me he tried it on some drums and he couldn’t get a signal, so I pulled this one out and whatdayaknow?  It sounds pretty much how it looks – but maybe looks can be decieving… as is the DEVIL, suckers!!!  That’s right brothers and sisters the devil is coming to git you, so gird up befar his deception befalls you!!!  Oh, and look, this microphone feels it’s source to be the notebook.  Lion and lamb, mic and notes, we are all one peoples, we are all one.

ev desk





Posted: February 7th, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized
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