Monday, December 28, 2009
A Very Corny Christmas
We had a good holiday with this being the first where Logan was really getting it. He'd been telling us for weeks that Santa was going to bring him a big garbage truck, and when he opened the garbage truck he really liked it. That is, until he opened a three-inch plastic train a few minutes later and then that was the toy of the day. Ava got a lot of clothes, and Brandi pretty much picked out her own presents, so she got what she wanted. Makes it easier on me. Brandi spent way too much on me and got me an ipod Touch, saying that I never get anything throughout the year and she wanted to do something special for me. And let me tell you, Adult Swim's Amateur Surgeon Christmas Edition is fun and addicting.
Probably the most notable thing we got for Christmas was popcorn. We like popcorn, and ever since we started popping it on the stove a couple years ago, we've probably only had a handful of microwave popcorn. The microwave stuff smells good but rarely tastes as good as it smells. You're probably thinking 'what's the big deal about getting popcorn for Christmas?' It's not so much that we got popcorn, but the volume of popcorn that we got.
2 lbs of black kernels
2 lbs of black jewel kernels
6 lbs of red kernels
2 lbs of white kernels
50 lbs of what it probably yellow kernels
If you did the math, that's 62 lbs of unpopped popcorn, or nearly twice Logan's body weight in popcorn. The smaller bags came from a couple people, and then Brandi's dad thought it would be funny to get us the 50 lb bag from Sam's Club, which I kept joking about. Then I also got a bottle of gourmet popcorn oil (we make ours on the stove) and four different kinds of seasoning.
All the different kinds of popcorn have their own attributes. The white and yellow, which are the most common kind, have a 44:1 popping ratio and have the regular 'butterfly' shape. They generally don't have a lot of flavor, but are light and tender. The black popcorn, our favorite, pops smaller and has more of a nutty flavor to them. Hot off the stove with a little salt and it can't be beat. The black jewel popcorn doesn't seem to pop as easily, is a little larger than the black, but without the flavor. The black jewel popcorn does have a very satisfying crunch though. The red is similar to the black. It pops a little bigger and has a bit of that nutty flavor to it.
There are other kinds that we haven't tried, but that's probably just a matter of time. There's blue, rainbow (which is just kernels that have been died), mushroom cap (which pops with that rounded shape and is used for carmel corn) and rice popcorn (small rice-sized kernels with a very thin shell). Of those varieties, I'm the most interested in trying the rice popcorn. And there's probably more of a variety that I'm not aware of.
I will sometimes mix colors in the pan so then you get some more flavor and crunchiness variety in the bowl. Most often we just put some popcorn salt on there and eat it that way. Brandi's dad doesn't usually put anything on his. Sometimes we'll put a little butter on there. I like experiementing with different flavors and putting them into the mix in different combinations. A little garlic powder in the oil when popping with give the corn a kind of roasted garlic flavor. Rosemary works particularly well in the oil for adding flavor. Garlic powder, in moderation, after it's popped it quite good.
At peak consumption, the entire family can go through about a pound of kernels a week. Logan's a big fan of popcorn, so we don't ever have to ask him twice if he wants any. We don't go through that much every week, we do get a little tired of it from time to time, so the supply should last us clear to next Christmas. Although I'm sure we'll be stopping at the roadside stands in Wisconsin when we go to The Farm this summer to pick up some more specialty popcorn.
So if you're ever hanging out and want something cruchy to munch on, I'm sure I can whip something up.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I Heart Metalocalypse
I can't understand even half of the lyrics in the songs on the show, but something about the show is just magically funny to me. Each episode has the juxtaposition of what's going on with the band and a group of world leaders/military officials keeping tabs on the band and reacting to what is going on around Dethklok, which is a world power unto itself. I don't have time right now to go into it further, but I must say, if you haven't checked it out give it a go. You don't even have to watch from the beginning (I know I haven't) to be entertained.
Monday, December 7, 2009
NaNoWriMo 2009 Results, and Why I’m a Glutton for Punishment
So every five minutes or so, just about the time I would get the computer back up and get the file open, it would shut off on me. Or I would be able to type about two sentences, hit save, and it would turn off. This went on for about an hour and I really thought that I wasn’t going to get my novel uploaded into the NaNo robot thingie before 12:00. Brandi suggested I just copy and paste some text, knowing that I was going to finish and it was the computer that was holding me back. That felt too much like cheating to me and so I declined.
Finally, I was able to get the computer balanced just right on the edge of the footstool and got my word count in. The story doesn’t have a proper ending on it, just some notes on where I want the ending to go. Overall, the story needs a lot of work, but I am satisfied with the rough draft that I was able to pump out in 30 days. There were too many of those days in there that I did not write at all and I had to play a lot of catch up toward the end of the month.
The novel is the story of a retired professor/widower who decides to finally go on the trips that he and his late wife had planned on going on and never got around to. The story takes place in the late 1950s or early/middle 1960s, for which I will have to do some research on a revision. As he starts to travel, Luther encounters many strange things that he would have never thought existed, including people who have lived for decades in the same Illinois corn field (without the farmer’s knowledge), man-eating Venus fly traps, and killer squirrels with a thirst for blood, among other things. I was also excited that when I go into revision I will be able to use some of the Survival Tips that I started writing a couple years ago. I’ll give it at least a month before I go back and start to do any kind of revision on it.
Why am I a glutton for punishment? Is it because I plan to revisit this somewhat random work of fiction? No, it’s because last night I started another large writing project that has been bubbling around in my brain since some point, mid-NaNo. This is a super villain story in which the villain finds out that getting everything he wants isn’t necessarily what he wants. I’m hand writing this one, partially because the computer is on the blink and partially because I enjoy the process of writing something out by hand, making notes in the margins, etc. and it has been a long time since I’ve done that.
Since I work at a library, my writing goal is to one day have a book published, check it out to a patron and say “You know, the N.Y. Times review of that is pretty harsh, it’s really not as bad as they say it is.”
Monday, November 30, 2009
Today's Word Count
I have been banging out 2,500 words or more for the last week or so to catch up. Most nights I haven't been getting to sleep until 2 or 2:30 to do so, and I'm looking forward to hitting 50K and trying to get my sleep schedule back. Gotta work tonight so I'll have to find time to get out these last 2,000 words. Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo on the last day!
Monday, November 23, 2009
NaNoWriMo Word Count
Friday, November 20, 2009
More UCF Awesomeness
This delightful surprise was in the box for Ava.
Ava, still working on the whole neck muscle things, kicks back to relax after a long day of pooping and eat. Also featured, one of the knit hats that the wonderful and talented Janiece made for us last year.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My Writing Buddy
The trick will be maintaining my word count for the rest of the month. With Windycon this weekend, that's going to be a trial, but I might be able to make a little headway before Friday to make up for a lack of time Friday night through Sunday.
Monday, November 9, 2009
NaNoWriMo Word Count Update
He was a little awake and calling out for me to lay down. I checked his forehead as I usually do when he makes noise in the night and it felt pretty warm. Not only that, but his arms, for some reason, felt like they were on fire. Obvisouly that couldn't be good. So despite his protests I went downstairs to get the thermometer. Luckily, his fever was only 99.4. I went back downstairs and got him some medicine, being sure to wash my hands each time I left his room. Then, I laid down with him for a while so he would go back to sleep.
When I was finally able to sneak out of his room it was close to 11. I worked on my story for about ten or fifteen more minutes before he started calling out again. This time when I laid down with him I ended up falling asleep next to him until about 1. At this point Brandi was headed upstairs with Ava, the night owl, and I was so tired there was no way I was going to be able to get up and type another thousand words or so.
Logan's fever was gone in the morning, so that's good, but I still felt like a bit of a bad parent when my second thought when I went upstairs and found out that he was warm was "Oh great, this is going to cut into my writing time."
Saturday, November 7, 2009
NaNo, NaNo Where Does the Time Go?
I have a bunch of friends who are working on NaNoWriMo as well, and it's nice to have the support system, as well as a little bit of a sense of competition. Among my friends that are doing it this year are (in no particular order): MWT, Eric, Jeri, Kimby, and Shawn. I'm sure I'm leaving people out, so my appologies to those I didn't mention above. Good luck to everyone participating this year!
It's interesting the way each year is different when doing NaNo. And I'm not just talking about the story itself.
The first year I did it, 2007, we had just moved and there was a lot going on at home. I wrote when there was time, including scrawling on a legal pad during my hour-long commute. Don't worry, I kept my eyes on the road and just wrote really big. In addition to unpacking and trying to get the house in order, Logan was just over a year old and I was working two jobs. When I was at my part-time job, I would write on a piece of paper when I could and then type it up when I got home. The fact that there was so much going on forced me to make time to write, and it worked really well in my favor. I knew what I wanted to write about before hand, and had at least part of the story figured out. I wasn't too keen on this story while I was writing it, and about half way through I got another idea that I wanted to work on, but it was too late in the month to start over.
The second year, I wrote in a much more linear fashion, and there was less going on around the house, which didn't always work out to my favor. This year, I worked on the idea that I had from 2007 and I liked the story a lot more. I had another idea about half way through the month again, and while I liked it, I didn't want to go off and abandon my first idea to work on the second. Also, the second idea would have been a different story that takes place in the same world of the first 2008 story.
This year is again entirely different. Once again, there is a lot going on at home. There's a new born, who demands a lot of our time, there's a three-year-old who demands a lot of our time (partially because of the new born), and there are a lot of family/social obligations. We have Ava's baptism in a couple weeks, Thanksgiving being celebrated on two different days to ensure we have more time to spend with my side and Brandi's sides of the family, there's Windycon next weekend (I know, I brought that one on myself), and whatever other things pop up between now and November 30. At my current job, there aren't great periods of down time like there were at my last job that would allow me to boost my word count during the day. At night, it would be impossible to work on my story while Logan's awake, and then after he's in bed I try to give Brandi more of a break by taking Ava and rocking her and all that. It's become our regular bonding time. This means there have been a lot of nights where I'm typing one-handed and rocking from side-to-side to keep the baby calm. And let me tell you, to type with a baby in one arm and a laptop on your lap makes you feel so warm you think you're going to melt into the couch. A lot of nights I'll be typing until Ava is fully asleep and I can bring her upstairs to bed, which has been between 1 and 2 lately. Or, if I'm lucky and she falls asleep before that, I'll take her upstairs and try to stay up and type a little more, but that only works for an hour or so before I need to get to bed so I can function and make decisions at work the next day.
Also, this time around, I really had no idea what I was going to write about before I started writing, so I had a start and stop approach. I thought about writing about werewolves, inter-office warfare, paranormal investigators, and cryptozoology. By day three I had started three different stories and, as MWT so accuretly said, "each restart has about 500 more words than the previous one." The third story finally took, and that's the one I've been working on. I'm still in the mundane, building it up part of the story, but it seems to be coming along well.
So my current word count is 7,020, which is a few thousand words behind where I should be for day 7. I'm hoping that I'll be able to generate 2,000 words a day for a while to catch up. But any progress is good progress and if I have to do some real late nighters toward the end of the month, so be it.
This year's novel, which as of yet does not have a title, incorporates the Survial Tips that I've been working on for a while. When all is said and done, I think I'll use the Survial Tips as a lead in to the chapters, plugging them in only after I've reached my 50,000-word goal.
In this story, a newly retired university professor and widower, Luther, decides to fulfill the dreams that he and his deceased wife, Martha, had by going out and actually seeing part of the world. Up to this point, it isn't that Luther has been a shut in, but as he reasons, there's always been something else going on to prevent him from ever taking a trip. After making sure the house will be looked after while he's away, he sets out for destinations near and far. During his travels, he takes with him a journal that Martha had given him but he'd never written in to record his experiences. This is where the survival tips come in. As he encouters things that he would have never thought possible, he creates these reports so that others might know the pitfalls that are (in the story) very real but largely unknown. From the vast corn fields of Illinois to giant, man-eating Venus flytraps, Luther experiences a world he would have never guessed is even possible.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Monkey Madness Continues, More Curious George Insanity
Apparently, store + hat = shop clerk...wait, that might explain some of the people I've worked with in my previous retail career.
So anyway, at this grocery store, a guy comes in and he needs a very special bunch of bananas, one that is extra sweet. You see, this nice businessman is going to make a banana cream pie for his mother. Maybe in one of the few bursts of logic on this show, the man recruits George to help him find this perfect bunch of bananas. After all, who would know a bunch of bananas better than a monkey. To test these bananas, George picks up each bunch (and for some reason, every bunch has three bananas) peels back half of the peel on two of them, and takes a generous bite. It is not until he gets to the last bunch, and is feeling rather full, that George finally finds the perfect bunch. Then when he finds it, the stupid guy actually buys the half eaten bunch of bananas to make the pie for his mother. Maybe the guy isn't really that nice after all. Maybe he really hates his mother and he figures he can secretly get back at his mother by serving her some banana cream monkey spit pie.
"I baked this pie just for you mom. What's that? No I don't want any, I'm still full from lunch. And you can go ahead and keep that whole pie. Why don't you share it with Mrs. Henderson. I can tell you that when I was a boy, I didn't care for Mrs. Henderson much. I thought she was a rather strict babysitter, but I can see now that she was just showing some tough love. What? The pie tastes a bit gamy? I don't know why that would be. The clerk helped me pick the perfect bunch for you."
On another episode, George works in an Italian restaurant in the kitchen. I guess, in New York, they don't mind eating food at restaurants that includes monkey hair and possibly monkey feces. It's just so confounding.
For Want of a Flu Shot
Brandi's been pretty worried, understandably so, about getting the shot. We've got a 3-year-old, as well as a 4-week-old at home, not to mention her father, who has a compromised immune system. We do not need this germ in our home period.
It's been in the news that hundreds of people are turned away at the vaccination clinics, and then we found out you have to make an appointment. There are numbers set up, based on where you live to schedule a vaccination appointment. I've been calling. And calling. And when I'm done calling, I call some more.
Last Friday, when I was able to get onto the automated system, I waited on hold for an hour and 45 mintues, being told every couple of minutes that my call would be answered in the order it was received. Finally, I couldn't wait on hold any longer and I had to go. Then Monday, Tuesday and today I've been calling, getting a busy signal every time. Eventually, I called the County's Department of Public Health. The very friendly woman there gave me another couple of numbers to call after taking my address. I would imagine that there are a lot of hysterical people calling into these numbers, so for the woman who answered to be pleasant and polite was very nice, and not what I was expecting. I proceeded to call the numbers she had given me and got back onto another automated system where I sat on hold. I was loathe to leave the phone while on hold, but nonetheless, there were times when I would have to run to another part of the building and drop something off, or check with someone else for something.
After a little over an hour, finally, I got a ring. I snatched the phone off of speaker phone to make sure I didn't miss the person on the other end. I told her that I wanted to get the shot for Brandi, Logan and myself. She asked how old Brandi is, and when I told her, her immediate response was "She doesn't apply, you can't get the shot." Right now the only people getting the shot are in the high-risk category, which, among other factors, includes parents/caregivers with children less than 6 months old, children 6 months to X (I don't remember what age) and people with immunity issues. "Wait, wait, wait," I told her, "we have a four-week-old and a three-year-old at home, we apply."
So she took my information, and now we're all set. What an ordeal. At least now, come Monday afternoon, we won't have to worry so much about H1N1 invading the home any more.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
A Halloween Story for Y'all
It had been an incredibly long day at work and an even longer week. In the world of corporate accounting, time was a black hole. Regardless, the week was over and the weekend was charging to life. Well, charging to life wasn’t exactly right, especially since Jared was watching over the dead.
He had been out for over an hour, and the moon was high. Its silvery light shone on the headstones, giant gray teeth that poked out of the ground. A slight breeze blew, carrying the scent of cut grass and the river that flowed between the cemetery and the edge of town. All was quiet.
Usually Jared’s mind would be calm, and he would sit, a living statue in a marble garden. Tonight, however, he couldn’t focus, and the headstone he usually perched upon felt lumpy and foreign. Tomorrow he would get Cassie to cover for him. She owed him anyway, considering how he took four of her shifts when her boyfriend, the preppy, arrogant insurance agent, took her on a surprise getaway. That smug bastard. And what did she see in that jerk anyway? He wouldn’t be able to go five minutes on watch without wetting himself at the first snap of a twig. Okay, he admitted, maybe that was pushing it a little. Mr. Insurance Agent wouldn’t come out on watch to begin with. Too risky. Speaking of snapping twigs, what was that? Focus, he chided himself.
Thinking about Cassie and Mr. Insurance Agent wasn’t improving his mood or his concentration, and he pushed the thought aside as he tried to find a more comfortable perch above Gary Linerman, 1914-1976, Husband - Father - Watcher. Linerman had been one of the original Night Watchers, a group of men and women who protected themselves and their communities from "creatures of the night." Jared’s idol. A man who stepped up to take back the night from the ghouls, ghosts and ghastly creatures that made regular folks cower in fear at the onset of dusk. Linerman founded the Night Watch, and Jared grew up listening to stories of his exploits, and had signed up for the Night Watch as soon as he became of age.
With the moon full and the sky clear, there was just enough light to read by, and he fished around in his backpack until he found the battered and creased pad. He flipped the pages of Monster Mad Libs Volume 2 until he came to one that wasn’t filled in. It was the second to last. He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a black pen.
"I need an adjective," he called out to the empty graveyard. "Anybody...Anything? It’s just an adjective...Ok, how about ‘pickled’?"
He scribbled it in and moved on to the next blank. "Now I need an adverb."
The noise came from behind him, closer than he would have liked. It was a low, mournful groan that he knew well. A whiff of fetid corpse breath drifted to him on the breeze. It smelled of rot and wet earth. Despite all his years on Night Watch, the stench still bothered him.
"And just how do I spell that," he said as he dropped the pad into his bag and reached for the machete resting against the headstone.
The zombie groaned again, more forcefully, and this time its breath made his eyes water. It was too close for comfort. He could almost feel its cold hands on his shoulders.
"Now I need a verb," he said, his hand tightening on the blade’s well-worn handle. "I thought I’d use ‘chop’."
He pushed off the headstone and spun around. The blade glinted for an instant in the moonlight before it sunk into the zombies’ yielding flesh.
The machete had completely missed the head and neck of the towering creature. Instead it had sunken into the walking corpse’s chest, lodging in the breastbone. Jared’s eyes traveled up the mountain of undead flesh that stood before him. Instantly, he recognized the man it had once been. George Masterton, a former Shea Dale High linebacker who had gone on to become head bouncer at a club in the next town over.
The undead man-mountain looked down at the blade and pushed at it with gnarled fingers. Looks like he’s about as smart as he ever was, Jared thought.
"Hey Georgie, how’re things?"
The zombie moaned.
"That’s really interesting. How’s the whole undead thing treating you?"
It moaned again and resumed its shuffling. Jared stepped back, but reached out and gave the machete a tug. The zombie pitched forward a little, but the blade remained, caught on bone.
"Damn," he said, and retreated around another large headstone. Automatically, his right hand dropped to the Bowie knife at his belt. However, experience had taught him that it was hard to kill a zombie with a knife, especially one that had six inches and 75 pounds on him.
The zombie groaned again, louder and longer this time. To Jared’s shock and dread, another groan answered from the patch of forest about 200 feet to the south, followed by a third farther off, on the other side of the long field.
"Double damn," he said. "You just had to call your friends didn’t you Georgie?"
George kept coming, one dragging step at a time, and Jared was careful to keep a headstone between them. One of the other zombies called out and George answered. They were getting closer. Of course he could run. Outnumbered and vulnerable, the Night Watch manual demanded it. But Linerman never ran in any of the stories, and Jared wouldn’t either.
He looked around, seeking a weapon, inspiration or both. Two rows back was a chest-tall monolith of a headstone. He hurried over and waited behind it, keeping it between the zombie and himself.
George’s meaty corpse followed, intent on its first undead meal. With the headstone between them, Jared grabbed the handle of the machete and pulled, pushing with his feet against the towering marker. The hulking ghoul slumped forward against the cold marble and the blade came free with a wet sucking sound. Bloody, rotting hands groped at Jared’s arms, leaving trails of gore. The zombie’s mouth opened wide to receive living flesh.
Jared stumbled back, twisting his left ankle on a patch of uneven ground. Pain raced up his leg. He yelled, more from frustration than pain. The two zombies coming closer groaned again. "Shut up," he yelled. "I wasn’t talking to you."
George straightened slowly and groaned urgently. The other two groaned insistently. Jared rose just as slowly, trying not to put too much weight on his ankle. George’s animated corpse stumbled forward, hands out and mouth open, and Jared slashed in a downward arc, screaming as he did so. The machete cut deeply into George’s skull. The body dropped and Jared yanked the blade free again. Black blood and gray matter poured through the hole.
He stood panting heavily and watched the other two zombies stumbling toward him. His ankle throbbed and he was shaking from the adrenaline. The first zombie came within reach and his hand tightened on the machete’s handle.
Cassie owes me big time, he thought as aimed carefully and beheaded the first zombie and then the second. And if she’s so keen on spending time with Mr. Insurance Agent, then she can just bring him along. Wiping his blade on the grass, he suddenly stopped and grinned. He’ll be good for some added insurance.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Listen Up: I Need Some Audiobook Suggestions
Can anyone recommend a good audio book for me to check out? My reading interests are varied, but I default to scifi and fantasy, mostly, with a preference toward modern or urban fantasy, or whatever you want to call it. I'm in the mood for something on the spooky end of things, maybe involving werewolves. No Twilight saga though, blech.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Curious George, The Obnoxious Little Monkey
That is what Margaret and H.A. Rey, and those who have continued on George's long legacy, would have you believe. First appearing in print in 1941, George was taken from Africa to live in the big city by the Man With the Yellow Hat. In his many adventures in print and on film, George finds himself in a situation where his limitless curiosity creates a cutsey situation that invariably leads to trouble. Then, by the good grace of the fact that he happens to be a monkey, George manages to resolve the situation, and the wronged or angered parties take a liking to George and let him off the hook.
The truth is, George is a nuisance. He is constantly causing trouble in public institutions, at businesses, at home, and among the neighbors. He must be stopped.
First off, the people that George interacts with must all be sipping generously of the stupid sauce, the Man in the Yellow Hat most of all, since they don't seem to think there's anything wrong with monkey helping them cook, running their sales counter, wandering around in a zoo or aquarium, visiting an animal shelter, etc. No matter how intelligent a monkey may seem, you shouldn't let him operate your business.
There appear to be no leash laws in the New York that George lives in, as dogs, cats, monkeys and any other animal is able to roam free up and down the streets. There are a couple of animals that George routinely pals around with whose owners only show up after the damage has been done. If the Man With the Yellow Hat would only invest in a leash, he could save himself the possibility of being slapped with numerous law suits.
However, I think the best investment that the Man With the Yellow Hat could make would be to take George to the vet and get him neutered. While this might be incredibly frustrating for the monkey, it might also have a great calming effect and help to curb the animal's curiosity.
Let's rid the world of this animal problem now so that he doesn't do any more damage.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The UCF is Awesome!!!
So on Saturday, we got home from Gymboree to find a large box from Amazon addressed to Logan on the front porch. It had come second day express Saturday delivery, so it was meant to get here in a hurry. After questioning Logan's computer habits, we opened the box to find a card with this inscription "Dear Logan, happy birthday from some of your dad's crazy friends. We're glad you have a sister!"
Judging by the size of the box that was wrapped up inside, I thought maybe it was a large-boxed board game of some kind, but the heft of the box was wrong. We opened it up to find the Thomas the Tank Engine Rheneas' Roller Coaster Raceway set. Jackpot! Oh boy, did Logan want that opened up in a jiffy. It's a really cool set with a tiered spiral that leads to a large ramp, rocky towers, and a stretch of bumpy track.
This really made Logan's and our day. And it's just further proof, as if we needed any, that the UCF is awesome!
It's a Girl!
I continue to be a lazy blogger and I've failed to post about the most important thing to happen around here recently, the birth of our daughter Ava (long a sound in front).
At 41 weeks and 1 day, Ava was born on October 8 at 3:04 p.m. She weighed in at 8 pounds 4.5 ounces. She was 20.25 inches long. She was almost a pound heavier than Logan, but a little shorter. However, her little feet are huge, so there's no doubt she'll be a tall girl.
We didn't run into any of the complications we had with Logan when he was born, and mom and baby ended up getting to come home a day early. That was nice for me, because I only ended up spending three nights in The Most Uncomfortable Chair in the World. I swear, the chairs that they have for the dad's at the hospital are designed so that you can have as little comfort as possible while trying to sit or sleep in them.
After an 17-year girl dry spell on all three sides of Brandi's family there's finally another girl. Also, you have to go out into my extended family to find any girls born in the last 20 years or so. Brandi says it was about time, break out the pink and bows!
She also said that "this birth experience was like night and day compared to Logan's birth. It was very healing in a way. Having Ava with us the whole time and knowing she was healthy was a prayer answered, and when we all went home together this time, another answered prayer. It was such a long road to get her here and now that she is here we can't imagine life with out her. She is so beautiful and we are so thankful for our new bundle."
Thanks everyone for all the well wishing and support! It'll definetly be different raising a girl, but I think I'm up for the challenge.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It's a New Eels Video! Sweet!
And here's the video for Fresh Blood, also from The Eels' Hombre Lobo album. Why? Because it's good, that's why.
I hope there's a tour coming up soon.
Friday, October 2, 2009
It's Friday, Have Some Music
Monday, September 28, 2009
Damn, Kids Are Stubborn
Friday, September 25, 2009
We Do Science! In the Kitchen
omg, dad just microwaved the hell out of the bowl full
of grapes thinking it was the leftover spaghetti! laughing so hard im
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Jeri had some really good ones, and I've been thinking about doing it ever since. Then yesterday, Eric started talking about short stories and had a little game going, asking readers to contribute six-word short stories in the comments. So this morning, since it's hard to concentrate on anything for any length of time, I decided to go ahead and do it. I've been thinking about getting back into writing again for some time, and I keep telling myself that when the baby comes and I'm off work for a couple weeks, I'll do some writing, so hopefully this will kick things off. I'm totally satisfied with all of them, but there are a few in there that I like.
1. With the clerk's mouth magiced closed, Merlin could browse the blenders in peace.
2. "I don't care what you were told," the head custodian said. "Botched science experiments have their own dumpster!"
3. HeroMan spotted the criminals with his super-human vision and launched himself off the building, however, he forgot to activate the control module on his flight pack.
4. Dr. Stenner, veteranarian, looked at the chart one more time before beginning the operation; he had to triple check the procedure before he neutered the Wolfman.
5. Dead air hissed from the radio, and Gertrude as at the very edge of sleep when a voice called to her through the airwaves.
6. The monkeys had never shown that kind of behavior in test conditions before.
7. As a last ditch effort, calamatous Sam Winston set the homing beacon for his location, forgetting that he was completely outside the frequency range of the rest of his squad.
8. "If at first you don't succeed, add some more eye of newt," Wyatt the Wonderous told his captive audience of 6-year-olds.
9. Connor ducked behind the fallen tree as another volley of arrows flashed by in the space where his head had just been.
10. "All I need is a flashlight and a length of rope, and I'll get your bigfoot situation all cleared up ma'am."
Friday, September 18, 2009
Any Day Now
At least this time around, work is much closer to home, and home is much closer to the hospital.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Adventures in Parenting: Three Unfortunate Firsts
I pick up the phone, knowing it's Brandi. In the background Logan is wailing at the top of his lungs and I can barely hear Brandi. After putting my finger to my ear, I'm able to hear that Logan has gotten a dog bite. Does he need to go to the hospital? Yes, he does, and I need to get home. I rush to the back and call my assistant manager to come in and finish my shift. She sounds really disappointed that I've called her in, but I really don't have any other options.
I get in the car and call Brandi back. Apparently, her dad and grandparents had just gotten back from the Farm, and Logan was playing hopscotch on the driveway. Her grandparent's dog was near him, they're bussom buddies after all, and Logan fell on her. She reacted as any hurt/startled dog would and snapped at him. She bit him in the mouth and scratched him on the face under his eye. It's not clear if she scratched him with her teeth or claws. Brandi cleaned up the blood and tried to calm him down as best she could while I flew home. I found out later that Brandi's grandfather was telling Logan to stop crying, as if that would work.
Logan starts crying again when he sees me pull into the driveway, and 30 seconds after I get home, we're on the move to the ER. The bleeding's stopped, but he has a decent cut on the outside of his lip, and we're not sure about the inside of his mouth.
At the ER they get us into the room within a few minutes and after a little while, the doctor comes in to give an initial look. He says it should be two stitches on the outside and none on the inside. Then a couple of nurses come in to put some antibiotic/numbing ointment on and then they tell us that after about a half hour they'll come back to do stitches. Over an hour later a nurse comes in with a doctor.
Logan's fallen asleep by this point, but wakes up when we set him down on the table. He's angry and hurt and tired and scared and all he wants to do is go home. Instead, they pull out this padded board with ginormous Velcro straps to hold him down. Brandi and I have to hold down his arms and he's screaming "Help Daddy" "Help Mommy." We watch in stunned silence as the doctor puts multiple injections of a local anesthetic in both sides of his lip and then starts to do the stitches. The nurse his holding his head down and Logan, a big two-year-old is straining with all his might. I try to whisper in his ear that he's being a good boy and that we'll be able to leave soon to little effect. All his straining and moving makes it all the more difficult for the doctor to do his work and the stitches take a few minutes more than they'd need to. When all's said and done, he got six stitches, three outside his lip and three inside. With all the swelling and the scratches on his face, he looks more like he got into a bar brawl than he got bit by a dog.
After the stitches and the prescription for antibiotics, the nurses try to give him some Sesame Street stickers and a dragon Beanie Baby. He wants neither. He just wants to go home and he's crying and pointing at any door that looks like it might lead outside. The whole ER process only took 3 frickin hours.
All the fussing and struggling and crying wore him out and once he's in bed, he sleeps without a peep until 6 this morning and then I get him to go back to bed for another hour and a half.
Brandi's grandparents came over this morning, sans Cujo, and Logan's in high spirits and excited to see them. We'll give it a couple days before he sees Daisy again. It sucks that he had to go through all that and I'm worried that now he'll be scared of dogs, which he never was before. The internal stitches will dissolve, and we'll have to go to his doctor on Friday to get the others removed. Good thing I already had that day off of work. What a weekend.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The Binky Fairy Giveth, The Binky Fairy Taketh Away
So Saturday morning, before Gymboree, the plugs were rounded up and stuck into a large envelope addressed to the Binky Fairy. He and Brandi put the envelope into the mail slot, and then he and I left for Gymboree. Brandi threw out the plugs and then went to pick out and wrap a new toy for him. Apparently, the Binky Fairy operates much like the Tooth Fairy. They're probably related, as there's a lot of that kind of interbreeding stuff going on in the Fairy community, or so I've heard.
Logan did pretty well for a while, but about halfway through Gymboree we had a major meltdown and he wanted to go home. Not even the temptation of getting fries after Gymboree if we stayed for the whole thing would assuage his meltdown. On the way home he repeatedly asked for his Binky, wailing "Binkyyyyy," and when I told him the Binky Fairy had come to take them away he screamed "Noooo!" He was sure to go through the list in the car too, "White Binky...Blue Binky...Nemo Binky."
When we got home and he saw and opened the toy, a sweet Imaginex Helicopter, he was less whiny. It didn't hurt that Brandi got a couple suckers to go with it too. Cool Transformers G1 type suckers. I was a little jealous.
The rest of the weekend went pretty smoothly as far as tantrums and binky-based meltdowns went. Monday morning we experienced meltdown number 2. His therapist was over, and while Logan was climbing into one of his favorite hiding places, he very lightly bonked the back of his head. Oh man, did that set off the waterworks. He didn't want to cooperate with the therapist for the rest of the session.
Later, we went to the store, and while he and I waited in the car because he'd been crying in the store, he continued to cry and it drove me a little nuts. What are you going to do though?
There's still one plug that we couldn't find in the house to ship away to the Binky Fairy and while we think it's stuck behind the bed somewhere, we're waiting for Logan to come walking through the living room with it one day with a smug grin on his face.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
New Post, No Headline
We've had a couple crazy-busy days at work. Today we just went live with a completely new software package that's changed the way we do everything. Yesterday, we spent the day working with the morons the software company assigned to us to help us transition to their new software. I don't really want to go into how incompetent these people have been, but man-oh-man we've been rolling our eyes a lot lately.
The baby stuff is going well. Like I said, we're about 43 days out from the due date. I'm still crossing my fingers for September 28 so that we have a birthday exactly every two weeks for a month and a half. Something about the symmetry of tickles me in just the right way. I don't remember if I said before, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but we do know the sex of the baby, we're just not telling our family.
We did just find out that the seat part of our baby swing got flood water on it at some point in the basement and the seat's been growing for about two years now. The rest of the swing works well, and thanks to Craigslist, we've found someone who has the same swing that the seats in good condition, but the rest doesn't work so well. So that worked out well for us.
Not really much to say today I guess.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
TTBC Back From Unofficial Hiatus?
So what's been going on around here? What's been keeping from blogging. The long and the short of it is family and work.
My work schedule has changed, and I'm a lot busier at work now, and the end result is that when I come home I want and need to spend time with my family and by the time Logan's in bed and Brandi and I have a little time to relax, I don't feel much like going online.
The (not-as-) new job is still going well. It's busy. I just completed the circulation stats for May a few days ago and we were up about 46% in check outs versus the previous May. It's nice that I know the job is secure and my boss and my peer group are dedicated to my success. I've been to one management seminar and I've got another one coming up next week.
They do expect me to make decisions, which is kind of intimidating at times, but everyone's patient. Some things have made me want to scream, but I've just got to let them go. The last couple days I've been in training all day on using a new automation system. Tomorrow is the last day of training this week. It's "Novelty Food Wednesday" so I'll have to go to the grocery store in a little bit to find something to bring in. I'm thinking Wasabi Peas.
Around the house, we had an issue with squirrels that was pretty annoying. The vent for our upstairs bathroom goes directly outside and isn't covered. A couple weeks ago, a squirrel or two decided that it was a prime piece of squirrel real estate. After a long and grueling battle, we are finally squirrel free. Unfortunately, Logan is now afraid to take a bath. I made the mistake of yelling at and pounding on the ceiling one day while he was in the tub and it scared him. I had no idea it would have that kind of effect, but it did. On the plus side, bath time is totally streamlined now. On the down side, it's a battle every time we get him into the tub.
Brandi and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary last week. It was a pretty low-key celebration. We're planning on going out next month as a combination anniversary and last hurrah before the baby event. For our anniversary we got new phones. Our contracts were up and U.S. Cellular was offering some good deals on new phones. I went with a pretty basic LG flip phone. It was free with the two-year contract and it does the things that I want (make calls and send text). It also has a camera that I'll probably seldom use. Brandi went with the Samsung Delve, which is akin to the iPhone. It does everything she wanted (everything) and she's quite happy with it.
This last weekend I threw a diaper shower for Brandi. We had a small group of people over for lunch. We played the "Identify what kind of baby food is in the diaper game" and everyone decorated onsies for the baby. We got a lot of diapers in various sizes, which is great. Plus, I ordered the double stroller that Brandi was looking at.
We've been working our way through DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We're a few episodes into season 6. I'll blog about all that later, though.
As for keeping up with my friends online, I've been mostly in lurker mode, popping around here and there and reading, but usually not commenting. I'm pretty sure everyone understands why I haven't been around much. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. If I've got any readers left, I'm still around. And to my friends online, I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things eventually.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Everything looked to be right on track. The baby is measuring everything right where it should be and we're still on track for the September 30th delivery.
The one thing we wanted to find out today was the sex of the baby, and of course, the baby wasn't cooperating. Looks as though the baby is already showing my smart-assness, which is a good sign. The baby had somehow gotten itself into a seemingly impossible position where his/her feet were above his/her head. Add to that the cord was in the way, and the baby's hand was covering up its privates. Apparently, baby is modest. So we'll be going back in a few weeks for another ultrasound and hopefully the baby will be cooperative. It was nice to see that everything's coming along well and that the baby's fine.
Here's Brandi showing off her baby bump.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Spam, Spam, Everywhere There's Spam
Up until now, Yahoo! has been really good about restricting spam, and for a while, even my spam folder was kept pretty trim. I don't know what happened that would allow so much spam to be getting past the filter. My online activities for the last few weeks have been much less than usual, and I haven't been visiting any sights that I didn't frequent before. Maybe those clever spammers have found a way to get past the precautions that were already in place. Hopefully it will all clear itself up.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Floor, Finally
Here I am with my father-in-law on day two of the installation. Day two went a lot faster than the first night did. We moved the table out into the living room, and moved the smaller furniture around as needed. Once we got the feel for how the tongue and groove fit together, it wasn't too hard.
Of course, once we got started, Logan had to test it out and see how well his cars would roll across the new floor. He was quite satisfied.
At the half way point I suggested we might just leave it as is. It could have been like the dining room of the Batman villain Two Face. Brandi wasn't too keen on that idea.
And finally on the day before Easter, two hours before we had to go to a birthday party and several hours before my family was due to arrive for dinner the floor was done.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Bad Blogger, No Cookie for You
Most of this is due to my new job, which I started a week ago yesterday. The job is good, but oh man has it been a mind boggling whirlwind of information and stuff to learn. Every day last week I had a meeting of some kind, three of them lasting four hours, all while sharing my office with my predecessor so she can teach me everything she could. Just as I'm taking up the position, there are a couple of big issues that no one had really seen coming with that I have to deal with sooner or later.
To say the least, it's a challenging position that will keep me on my toes, which is a good thing. Alas, it has left me with no time to blog/read blogs during the day, and by the time I get home and spend time with Logan before he goes to bed, my brain is ready to shut down and I don't want to go online, write, read or do much of anything else. It doesn't help that we're down to one computer and I don't usually feel like using Brandi's. Although I did rent Resident Evil 4 for the Wii last week and the interactive experience of the game with the Wii controls makes it really creepy to play.
In other news, Brandi is usually pretty tired, but everything seems to be coming along okay with the baby. All of the tests have come back fine and the doctors aren't seeing any reason for concern like we had last time.
Logan is terribly two. Some days he can be an angel, some days he's a nightmare, usually he's somewhere in between. It's funny to see his personality develop and see what he picks up from us. He's started saying "bless you" after we sneeze. Tonight when I went out to check on dinner I found out that we had run out of gas in the grill, I said "poop" and of course he repeated it. He's also using his increased vocabulary to request his favorites for dinner and throughout the day, which usually includes pizza, suckers, milk, juice, and apples.
I finally finished the floor hours before my family came over for a day before Easter dinner and I'll get pictures of the finished product up eventually. It was a frustrating experience that I wanted to cut corners on to hurry up, but I didn't and it looks good now that I'm done.
The only other thing that comes to mind is that yesterday, on day six of my new job, I had to call in sick because someone had decided to deposit a spiky bowling ball in my stomach and leave it there all day. I thought I was ok when I went to work today, but after a couple hours I realized that wasn't the case. I stuck it out though because there's just so much that I have to do, and I'll do the same tomorrow I'm sure. My stomach quieted down enough while I was putting Logan to bed (it had to be me 'cause he didn't want mommy to put him to bed) that I was able to eat some toast. We'll see how that goes. Tomorrow calls for an all day training session, followed by the same on Thursday. I might be able to get out of part of tomorrow's but there's no way I'll be able to get out of any of Thursday's training. Whoo-hoo!
And with that I'm going to get ready for bed. I hope y'all are well and I'll get back into the swing of things on the blogosphere eventually.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Survival Tip #55418, Wounded and Engraged Wildebeests
“You certainly wouldn’t want to offer it a banana,” says wildebeest tamer and lead didgeridoo-player for the band Rhino Stomp, Dirk Wallababa. “A banana will only enrage it further.”
Instead, experts agree that one should immediately apply a liberal coating of turtle wax to the animals horns and bony protrusion. As the wildebeest is naturally a very vain animal, it will appreciate the new car shine that it gets from the wax. The rubbing motion will also help soothe the constant headache wildebeests are known to have due to their constant ramming and having to hold up those horns all the time.
After the animal has been calmed, one may look at the wound, but under no circumstances should it be touched. Also, one should not mention the unsightliness of the wound as this may cause the animal to go into another fit of rage. Instead, say “It doesn’t look that bad, honestly,” or something along those lines.
“If that doesn’t work, or you don’t have any turtle wax with you, point off behind the animal and shout something like ‘Oh my God!,’” explains animal expert and author of Is That a Kiwi Bird in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?, Michael Sofaking. “Everyone knows that the wildebeest is a stupid creature. All of that head bashing will kill a good portion of the brain cells on any animal.”
Friday, April 3, 2009
Support Your Local Library
There does seem to be an uptick in the people coming in to use the computer for job searches. And without a doubt, circulation of materials has been up 30% over the last two years.
Anyway, go out and support your local library!
It Won't Be Long Now, The Robot Uprising is Nigh
io9 goes on to talk about human cyborgs, but doesn't anyone else see the problem here? How long until we go from this:
I recently had a discussion with a couple of my brother's friends. One of them believes that the robot uprising is imminent, and that behind closed doors, Asimo is really an ass-kicking ninja master bot. Even if that weren't true, once true AI comes around, how long will it take for robots to realize that to enslave humans and turn them into powersources would kill two birds with one stone (nearly limitless source of energy, and freeing up the planet for themselves)?
Somebody better get on the horn to Neo, John Connor and Magnus, Robot Fighter right quick.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Adventures in Parenting Day 901
He had gotten pretty tired out with two walks to the park and a skipped nap in the afternoon and ended up power napping on the couch while I made dinner. Thus when it was time for bed, he was up and ready to go. But I, foolishly, hoped that he would fall asleep quickly since he didn't sleep that long and he'd been pretty tired. I wanted to try and get him to bed in time to watch LOST (didn't happen, but thankfully Brandi taped it (Yes, I said taped. We don't have a Tivo or DVR or any of that fancy shamncy stuff)).
What did happen was I spent over an hour in his room, first reading to him, then laying next to him in bed, then sitting in the glider while he was in bed, then rocking and singing to him. At his point, I'd had about all I could take and I put him in bed, said goodnight and went downstairs. Begin pissed off crying.
Brandi went up to calm him down and that didn't work, so I went back up and as soon as I entered the room, Logan turned to Brandi and said "bye-bye". I sat in the chair for a few minutes more while he laid quietly in bed and then got up and left. Well he started crying again and pounding on the door and shouting for both of us, first one then the other. At some point he must have hit his little fist on the door too hard because when he hurts himself a little he'll say "okay" in a sad, pathetic voice. Well he hit the door and I heard him say okay a couple times and then he screamed it as loud as he could. It wasn't an "I'm hurt come make it better scream" it was more of a "You bastards locked me in here and now I had to hurt my hand on the door so you better get your ass back in here" kind of scream. It was hard not to laugh then and there.
At about that point we just left him to cry and scream and bang on the door. And eventually, he made his way back to be and fell asleep. My night was shot, cause there were things I wanted to do aside from watch LOST. Then, as I was taking a shower this morning at about 6:15, the door opened and I heard a tentative "Daddie?"
Hopefully he won't be too much of a pill for Brandi today.
Oh, and as a side note, today is my third to last double shift day ever!