Saturday, April 29, 2006

Does it shoot lint bullets?


Speaking of guns, how about this little beauty?

If you just blew past that link, you really should go back and click on it, because it points to a picture of a knit machine gun, which DaddyTypes pointed the way to.

This is why they shouldn't let knitting needles on planes.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ten Fingers, Ten Toes, and a Gun


Let me be clear from the start: when we went for our ultrasound, the biggest concern that Mama and I had was about 3B's health. We didn't feel that we had anything specific to worry about, other than, you know, a heart arrythmia. But, seriously, we believed the midwife when she told us that it was almost certainly hiccups, which it must have been since the ultrasound of 3B's heart was normal and we haven't heard that backbeat again.

We just wanted to know that things were going well for 3B, sort of like peering into the nursery while he's sleeping, just to make sure. . .

Along with finding out about his ten fingers, ten toes, one healthy liver, a beating heart, two eyes, two ears, a nose, a brain, and all those other things they check for, it was fun to find out that 3B is a he. Not that we had a preference, and we would have been just as happy with a she.

But, he is a he, so we've been trying to figure out what, if anything that means. This is when Mama's master's in women's studies comes in handy--what are the differences, and are they biological? social? genetic? learned? reflex? habit?

And, at a certain point, does it matter?

I told Mama before we knew that if 3B turned out to be a girl, I hoped for one just like her, because I can't imagine a better woman to add to our house and raise. Once we found out that 3B is a boy, Mama kept saying that she hopes he's just like me. Oh no, I reply. I hope that we don't go to the emergency room that often. Just ask sister #2 about the time I fell out of the tree, nearly bit my tongue off, and couldn't remember. . .well. . .anything for awhile. Or, ask her about the time I sliced my knee open to the bone on the beach. You get the point.



Then there's the whole gun thing. My Dad didn't like them, didn't want us to have gun toys, and so we didn't, other than an odd cap pistol here or there--although we rarely had any caps. Then, I got a bee in my tiny, elementary school bonnet one year about getting one of those "cool" full-sized M16 toys that makes a machine gun sound when you pull the trigger, and he just kept saying "No." He would talk to me about it, about being in the Navy, about knowing what real guns do, and so on; I would talk about, well, mostly how cool it would be--c'mon Dad, we're talking supercool!

He would just calmly, softly repeat what he had just said, explaining why guns aren't cool. Actually, he never said, "No." Not that I recall. He kept explaining his reasons. In spite of that, I ended up getting three M16s for my birthday--good thing for friends, right? Thing is, after about a week or so of all M16s, all the time, I burned out. I couldn't care less where they were, what noise they made, or how cool the other boys thought they were. They bored me.

In hindsight, Dad could have saved a lot of time and breath if he had just given in and bought me half a dozen M16s. It probably would have all been over in a day. On the other hand, I would never have gotten to know why my dad was opposed to guns, which means that I wouldn't have known Dad as well as I did, which would have been a shame. And I think that may have been the method in his madness, since I'm sure he knew that if I didn't get the gun, I would just make one out of the nearest finger, pencil, ruler, stick, etc.

That's just how little boys roll--no matter whether it's genetic or learned, it's what we do. As Mama and I consider all of the things that 3B, as a boy, will do, we first wonder if he really will do all of those things. As we read around, there are some pretty funny tales about the differences, whatever the causes, between boys and girls.

Who knows, though? That gun trip was probably the last normal boy thing that I did. We'll just have to see who 3B turns out to be. As we do, I'll try to remember what my parents taught me--it's all about right and wrong, no matter if you're a boy or girl.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Barky Hates My Music


I'm up at 11:40 on a Wednesday night, painting a board and the top of the wall that will be behind our fridge. Cutting in on the wall, actually, which is not a dance floor negotiation, but a delicate maneuver that requires balance, patience, blue tape, and neck muscles of steel. And a wet rag for when you screw up and drip Red Pepper paint into your brand new, unsealed grout.

Which will be under the fridge, so you don't really need to worry about it much. Right?

I hit up some net radio on the laptop that now lives atop the TV in the living room, thanks to wifi, to keep me company while I paint, only to find that it was totally freaking out Barky. For the record, the song was the DNA remix of Tom's Diner. Barky does have issues with a particular pitch that sometimes comes up in songs, particularly Beck songs, where I think it shows up in some feedback and loops. Anyway, we don't play any Beck when Barky's around, which shows how much we love him.

The issues were created when he was locked in a room all day with a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector. We thought that we were keeping him safe. Turns out we were driving him crazy.

Anyway, he heard something that set him off tonight, so he started pacing the hallway, hoping to get into the bedroom to escape, panting, and generally carrying on. I was on top of a ladder with a full paint bucket and a dripping brush, so I couldn't help. He just had to suffer through. He couldn't go into the bedroom because Mama had banished him, presumably for bad blanket manners, which he has a well-deserved reputation for. She needs all the sleep that she can get, since she's leaving at 0'dark thirty tomorrow morning to train up to NYC for a two day meeting, reception, etc. work thing, so she was in no mood for shenanigans, anyway.

Especially not shenanigans coming from the fuzzball who had pulled our coats and baskets out of the closet and tipped over his water bowl while we were at childbirth class tonight. Oh, did I mention that we're going to childbirth classes? Yeah, I'll save those stories up for another post.

In the meantime, if you want to discuss the details of the mucus plug and cervix effacement, I'm your go-to guy. I'm doing nothing but waiting for paint to dry, sitting on the couch with my neurotic hound--who has since calmed down, and who is now flopped out across two cushions of the couch like a fuzzy, drooling sack of concrete. Almost as good as talking about mucus plugs, no?

So, yeah, the music doesn't seem to have killed him, as he had feared. I figure that his hating my music is just training for how 3B will respond to my music. Of course, I will also have to listen to whatever 3B is playing, which I will happily refer to as "that noise." Oh yeah, being a dad's going to be so much fun.

If Mama ever lets me near the child.

Patience, Grasshopper

OK, so it turns out that the patience is the key with iPhoto's photocasting. Eventually it will publish updates, although it may take several attempts and a few hours. Hey, what's the rush, anyway? We've got a few weeks left with this kitchen project.

In my attempts to fix things, I took the feed down, then reinstated it all at once, which scrambled all the photos together. Previously, they were in chronological order by day. My bad. Anyway, starting today I'm going back to it, so if you never dropped your feed subscription, you're in luck. If you never picked it up, now's your chance to get your feed on.


I'm not the only impatient one, as it turns out. Here's Barky, waiting for us to load the food into the first new cabinet to be installed. He's actually on the money with this. The main part is big drawers for pots and pans, but the narrow side cabinet is a pullout cabinet where we'll store his food, with a childproof latch, so there will be no more inadvertent midafternoon feasts for Barky. So, he can't wait for the cabinets, but he may not be so happy with what they mean for him.

Then again, that look may be saying, "Here's something else that I can jump on top of and scrounge for food while they're out." All he has now for that is the dining room table. You can get the full photo scoop the old fashioned way if you, like me, aren't so patient with the photocast feed.

No matter how you do it, though, try a little patience, as Axl says (screeched?). When I've gotten impatient with the kitchen, I've remembered our time in Morocco, reminding myself that there are people who don't have clean water, much less running water, much less a kitchen to cook in. . .and it sounds like MetroDad has been reminded of the same thing on his recent trip.

Imatience is my Sisyphus challenge. Some days I get it to the top of the hill, and some days it rolls down and crushes me. Let's all work on it together, people, and chill out. I just need to remember that there's a whole world out there, revolving around the sun, and that I'm just one little piece of it. A grasshopper.

OK, it's a little creepy that as I was typing that "You're So Vain" came on iTunes. Sure they're not watching us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It takes a train to cry


Fortunately, there are a lot of people make me laugh regularly, and I must thank them for it. . .

  • Laid Off Dad, who just loves the black licorice jelly beans. Not those weeny little Reagan beanies, but the full-sized, pull yer' best filling out Brach's classics. As a left coast native who can't stand Twizzlers (they're not licorice, people, they're disgusting), I have to help out anyone who shares the love for licorice--and who makes me laugh all afternoon.
  • Brother #2, who got a blog, but said that it was only so that he could post comments on blogs that require a Blogger account. Except that now it turns out he is actually blogging. You might not care, but I get free pictures of my nieces and nephews out of it, so that's a good deal. On the other hand, I also get the picture of his razor and tube of Chamois Butt'r. . .let's all be thankful that's all that he included in the picture. The beginning of biking season isn't always pretty.
  • Greg Daddy, over at DaddyTypes who is all about the Bugaboo all the time--and the most stylish baby swag in general--until he finds out what the Crown Prince of Norway uses to roll his baby across the beaches of Mallorca, which may or may not be nearly as perfect as a Bugaboo. My question: when did the Dutch corner the market on excellent strollers?
  • Speaking of Dutch, how about Dutch (nickname or actually one of my peeps? only The Shadow knows. . .well, him and Dutch, I suppose), over on Sweet Juniper who writes outrageously funny posts about smoky-link-filled mac and cheese, why TV is easier than books, and his thing for Michael Landon on Little House on the Prairie. On top of that, Wood is funny and wonderful too, and together they're brilliant.
  • And, not least, Zygote Daddy, a fellow left coast native and prenatal insomniac who takes a break from the morning sickness to go kiss frogs. Reminds me of my friend Jason Helvey, from Colorado, a bad ass fisherman who went down to east Texas for grad school, where he nearly got killed every day by the bugs, snakes (which he was studying), heat, bicycle haters, or long hair haters. Not so much of the Allman Brothers look to ZD, but the same idea of a good time makes the connection for me.
Without a blog to point to, there's also 3B, who has taken to punching--or kicking--me in the mouth whenever I talk to him with my mouth right up against Mama's belly, which makes Mama and I laugh. Who knows? 3B might be laughing too.

So, laugh it up fuzzballs. Enjoy the reading. Share the love.

Monday, April 24, 2006

On Day 11, God was still in the Bahamas

But, in our little world, Day 11 means that almost all of the drywall repairs are done, and we were able to start painting. And, by "we," I mean "me."

We're pretty sure that it would have been safe for Mama to help out, but we'd rather be sure than sorry later. Besides it's only fair, given that she painted almost the entire rest of the house by herself because I'm a slacker (although, to be fair, in California we call that "laid back" or "motivationally challenged").

So, tonight I got the white on the ceiling and the red on the walls that are done. The hope is that tomorrow cabinets can go on that wall--and perhaps even on the other wall, although we'd then have to tape them off and paint around them.

I also took a shot of where our kitchen has migrated to--our dining space ("room" is a bit generous for this portion of the condo):


Other big accomplishments today:

  • a 220 outlet for the dryer, although there's no power to it yet
  • a 110 outlet for the island, which has power, but there's no island yet
  • a lighting fixture installed in the kitchen. . .with power
When God was done, he rested. When we're done, I believe that we'll collapse, but they both have the same effect, right?

Photocasting? Not so much.

So, I tried the whole iPhoto "we're creating a new word for what people are already doing" thing called photocasting. There were some glitches with it, like that you can't change the titles of the images, can't add captions, can't. . .well. . .do much with it except convert a group of photos into an RSS feed.

As of tonight, I can't even do that, so I just scrapped the photocast, since it was more of a pain than a service. All apologies if you were subscribed to it, just waiting for the next exciting photo of, like, the 220 outlet for our dryer or something. I'll still keep the more interesting ones coming right here on the blog, for your convenience.

I know, I know, I'm just give, give, give. Not "why?" but "how much?" Ain't I grand?

You know who else is grand? Barky. Yeah, he's been a champ through this whole kitchen remodel, pregnancy, floor installation before that, then there was the move. . .well. . .let's just say that he's been a champ since we've had him. We weren't sure if he was hip to the whole pregnancy thing, but then we caught him. . .

My son


It's amazing how much can change in a few months. Back in February, as I'm sure you recall, 3B was certainly more than a twinkle in our eyes, but he was just starting to make his presence known.

Today, on the way to the Metro station, Mama gave a little gasp, looked at me and said, "Your son just kicked me in the ribs."

Just like that, he's my son. When he's laying there quietly, or just rolling around, he's "our son," but as soon as that foot cracks against something solid and painful, he's all mine. I tried to explain that since Mama's the black belt (second degree, no less--I have to brag about it because she never will), any ap chagi or any other kind of chagi is coming from her side of the family.

No dice.

Oh well, it's nice to know that there will be some times when I'll have him all to myself.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Technical difficulty?


Were you having technical difficulty subscribing to the ever-exciting RSS feed of our kitchen renovation pics? That may be because I inadvertently used a Mac-only address when I linked to it. If you were having trouble, and want to try again, try this address:

http://web.mac.com/bradstein1/iPhoto/kitchen-remodel-2006/index.rss
You can also see them by going, the old fashioned way, to a our O Kitchen, My Kitchen page.

For the quick update, today is day 10, and it's a rainy Saturday, which means that Barky's favorite contractor may come by and continue working on the drywall. Yesterday was a draining day. She put in all the drains that we need for the washer and the sink.

Gotta run. We're going to try to make it to yoga today, and we have to get to a notary public before we do.

Friday, April 21, 2006

So unfair. . .

For a Papa and Mama--and probably for 3B and Barky too, although they don't talk, so we can't tell--who are living out of a microwave on a tabletop in the second bedroom, reading the Vegan Lunch Box is torture, but I can't stop myself.

I know that I've said it before, but Shmoo eats better than I do, even when I have a kitchen in my house.

My Bad

I'm clearly really behind on my blog reading. Zygote Daddy tagged me a week ago, and I just saw it.

Mea freakin' culpa, dude.

To start at the end of your post, I'm not sure about this tagging thing either, but yours was at least more specific than Liberal Banana's shout out tagging of anyone who read her blog, so you showed some restraint.

Weird facts. OK. I'll try.

I feel like I should take a deep breath and hold it, like I'm about to be dropped into an icy lake or out of a plane or something. No, that's not my first fact, that's just how I feel right now.

  1. I'm going to cheat with my first one, though, because I think it will amuse Mama, if she ever reads this. My first weird fact is the exact same as Zygote Daddy's number three. Go figure.

  2. I used to be the Stage Manager at the Palm Springs Follies, where I worked along with the King, who is the Anonymous commenter. He can tell you how strange it is, but Mama, who also worked there, pointed out that when the TV show "Strange Universe" shows up to film a documentary piece on your workplace, you work in a strange place. One of the dance captains said that it's like what they call in Vegas a "tits and feathers" show, except all the performers are over 50. I think this could qualify for a twofer, since I met Mama while we were working at the Foolies, but since I already cheated on the first one, I won't cheat again here. Although the show itself is weird enough to qualify, there are also all the sordid details that make working in theatre so much fun, like the storing the sets in "The Dungeon," which was an abandoned underground mall in Palm Springs, or having to chase off the bum who took a leak in the pink bathtub that we used in the stripper number, but had to store in the alley out back during the show. Should I go on?

  3. I used to be Smokey Bear. No, that's not some delusion of grandeur; I really used to be Smokey Bear. Pet peeve: there's no "the." It's just Smokey Bear. When I worked for the Forest Service, part of the job description was dressing up as Smokey. Actually, most FS employees have done it at one point or another, but since I was in customer relations, it really was in the job description. It's not that hard, since you're not allowed to talk. The only job skill really is the ability to stay conscious when wrapped in a heavy, dark body carpet on a sweltering summer day. It is a magical experience, however, because the kids really do believe that you're a real bear when you appear, and they are just amazed that they can touch your hand (paw?) and give you a hug.

  4. Mama and I arranged to have our tour guides "drop us in the Dades Gorge" in Morocco, on the advice of the woman who runs the hostel we stayed at in Marrakesh. [Updating: "tour guides" is way off the mark. There was only one guy, Mohammed, and he didn't speak much French, so mostly he drove a group of seven or so of us around Morocco in a tiny van for about a week. So, we did tour around, but we depended on each other as much as Mohammed, since we were all English speakers. There was no real "guiding," except the getting us from one place to the next. Lonely Planet: Morocco did the guiding.] We spent a beautiful few days there. Each one started with the proprietor of the tiny hotel where we stayed asking us what we wanted for dinner, since he was going to market to buy food for the day, and each one ended when they turned off the generator, all the lights went out, and the inky sky enveloped us in its warm embrace. The dinners were all miraculous tajines that we ate while reclined on pillows, after spending our days winding up through the smooth bellies of the gorge into dark, cool passages. At the back of one deep overhang, where water was seeping out of the stone, there were water bottles carefully placed under each regular drip. One day, a boy came down the gorge as we went up, passing us with his mother camel and a young camel calf.

  5. I've owned my pet ornate box turtle since 1980--26 years. He still looks older than dirt, and acts younger than I could ever hope to feel. He is a Zen master, who I secretly believe is controlling my whole life. That's probably for the best. If I was left to my own devices, I would probably never get out of bed, unless I ran out of books, cookies, or water. On the other hand, my life is being controlled by a reptile who, left to his own devices, walked off my bed onto a tile floor. He was fine; this was 25 years ago, and he's still going strong (knock on wood . . . does being overly superstitious count as one?). Also, I thought that he had better sense than to do that. That's not a picture of him, since I don't have any that I can quickly link to. He's much more handsome than that guy.

  6. Mama and I wrote our wedding vows the night before our wedding--after spending the day looking for our marriage license, which we had lost somewhere. I believe that her brother found the license. One of my favorite wedding memories comes from the day before the wedding. Our minister, the Right Reverend Rich, was floating in an inner tube in Perch Pond, beer in hand. As Mama and I arrived, he called out to us, "Hey, guys! Written your vows yet?" He gave us a laugh, then floated off. To this day, we're not sure what we said, since Rich walked off with the only written copy, and we haven't wanted to watch the video of the ceremony that Uncle Bill took, not wanting to ruin the perfect moment that we shared together. We have watched the rest of the wedding footage that he shot, which is great of the people, the farm, the whole experience. But that moment, facing each other, is something that I think we'll only ever want to see from the inside, looking at one another, saying . . . something. Ah, the words weren't that important. If they were, we wouldn't have been scrawling them at Grandma's kitchen table at midnight the night before our wedding.
There you go. I hope that you learned something weird about me. As for passing the tag along, let's see . . . I pass it along to
  • the cousin, who loves lists--or is that Liszt?
  • Liberal Banana, as a tag-back
  • the King, who can TCB by responding in a comment, since the King's too big for a blog, baby
  • Brother #2, because he has nothing else to spend his time on other than hunting down Stab-Lok breakers to FedEx to us and responding to a game of blog-tag
As for the late night posting, ZD--I'm right there with you. I don't know if my body is trying to prepare me for the great sleep deprivation experiment that's coming my way like a tornado, or what, but I'm always up, writing and posting into the wee hours.

Mommy Goes to War


Not Mama, Mommy. As in Mommy Wars, the book.

Whoever said that women are all about community and support and nurturing and all that had better take it back after reading the review of Mommy Wars in the Atlantic Monthly.

It is a fun read--although I have to say that I haven't read MW, so I don't know if it's fair--but I have to agree with DaddyTypes, who points out that it's still all about the Mom.

I do have to disagree with him about the bad words, however. "Bliki" is the worst that I've heard to date.

Exiles feed on hope. -Aeschylus

As exiles from our kitchen, we are feeding on the hope that we will someday get back in there. That hope is fed, in turn, by the progress that we see every day in our kitchen. Some days it's more obvious--tiling the floor, for example--and other days, like yesterday--new pipes for the corner sink and the washer/dryer--it's hard to see unless you look closely.

You can now feed your need to stay up-to-date on all of it with our new Kitchen remodel 2006 feed. It's just photos, without captions, and some are just for record-keeping, in case there are questions later on such as "Where does this pipe tie in?" or "What wires are behind all of this?" But, knowing that you're watching now, I'll try to include some that show the overall progress that our kitchen makes toward restoration, which will allow you to track our progress back toward sanity.

Wondering what a feed is? Wonder no more. Also, Auntie Banana has a pretty good piece on her discovery of feeds that explains why feeds are cool.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The thing is, you never know.


Growing up in Palo Alto, it wasn't unusual to have friends go to school at Cal. That's UC Berkeley for the uninitiated. Even though growing up on the better side of the bay, in the shadow of Hoover Tower, had made me a Stanford fan, I still kept in touch with my friends at Cal, even from my school--UC Irvine, way down south.

Sure, UCI's a Cal system school. Just because I was a fan didn't mean that I could get into Stanford, even if my Mom's an alum. Hey, some things skip a generation. 3B can go to Stanford. On a full scholarship for his groundbreaking research, of course.

But, back to the friends at Cal. For those of you who were in the area at the time, particularly those of us who knew someone, or several someones, who were going to Cal or living in Berkeley, as I did in 1990, you were shocked and terrified to hear the news of the shootings and hostage situation at Henry's. Until we had all heard that everyone we knew was OK, it was a scary time.

Fortunately, nobody who I knew at the time was involved. I breathed a sigh of relief, held a thought in my mind for those who were lost, injured, or held hostage, and then went on with my friends. To this day I've never been in Henry's, but I knew my friends were regulars of various sorts, and I distinctly remember walking by with my buddy Philippe the next time that I visited. It was definitely not a good feeling, and I was glad to still have him around.

The memories of those feelings of panic and relief and of trying to understand the tragic horror of that situation have stuck with me to this day. So, it was with great surprise that I read this morning that MetroDad was one of those in Henry's that day. It took me back to that time, made me wonder what all those friends I knew then are doing now. I keep in semiregular touch with Philippe, but I've drifted away from the others.

Interestingly, however, I'm now more closely connected, these many years later, to someone who was in Henry's that day, although he and I are both living on the opposite coast, neither of us in the same city, neither of us having met the other in person. Nonetheless, his brief account brought back to me all of those feelings of fearing for those who I love, fearing the possible loss, but now coupled with the sadness of knowing that I did know someone in there that day. (Although MD did, in his inimitable way, lighten the sadness with his tale of serenading Berkeley's finest with Swing Low, Sweet Chariot from the roof of a car as a result of that day.)

Goddamn Walt Disney was right. It is a small freakin' world, after all.

Day six. Tomorrow we rest, right?


Fat chance that we'll get any rest anytime soon. There's so much going on that I don't know where to begin, and I'm not really sure that there's an end in site. Let's start counting and see how high we get . . . so to speak.


  1. We have no kitchen.

  2. As a result of everything--fridge, stove, dishwasher, etc.--being moved out of the kitchen and the contractor's tools being moved into our house, we also have no dining room (more of an area than a room, really), living room, foyer, or hallway.

  3. As a result of our kitchen being moved into 3B's room, he has no room. Fortunately, he's not here to know that. Or to need the room.

  4. When someone talks about "all the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world," what they're describing is how many grains of dust will infest your house during a kitchen renovation. We're Swiffing and vacuuming every night and still everything feels gritty--the floor, the dog, my eyes. These better be some nice cabinets.

  5. We're having a baby. Oh yeah, that.

  6. As a result of knowing nothing about childbirth and not having gotten or read any books about that whole water-breaks, dash-to-the hospital, baby-arrives sequence, we're taking a childbirth class, which stared tonight. Fortunately for us and for 3B, it covers what to do when the baby comes home too.

  7. The class was fun, the teacher is good at making everyone feel comfortable. She's been involved in or actually delivering babies since 1980. At my age, that doesn't seem that long, since wasn't it 1980 last year? Actually, it was 26 years ago, so she knows what she's doing. The other kids in class seem nice too. Nobody ran with scissors. With half the class being 28 weeks pregnant or more, there wasn't a whole lot of running going on, scissors or not.

  8. We stopped off for frozen custard at the Dairy Godmother (formerly the Dreamery until big bad Nestle sued their tiny little asses into a new name) in Del Ray, which you must stop at when you come to visit his royal cuteness. We mean 3B, once he's here, not Barky, no matter what Barky may tell you. We also got Barky a puppy pop, which is a frozen ice creamesque treat that he loves, because he's been so calm and good during all of this chaos.

  9. This kindness on our part meant, of course, that Barky had gotten into some sort of trouble while we were out. I didn't take incriminating pictures (or put circles, arrows, and a paragraph on the back of each one), but the scene is pretty simple to describe: drywall mud bucket tipped over with dirty brown water splashed across the kitchen floor and our brand new grout--staining the grout, of course--tile fragments strewn about along with remnants of corn cob, napkins, and bags from the contractor's lunch at Popeye's. Here's hoping that Barky didn't eat any chicken bones.

  10. The contractor does turn her phone off at night, so I did call and leave a message asking that they please remove any food trash from our house at the end of every day. She had already left her lunch overnight, which he then wolfed down the next morning after we left and before she arrived. This means that not only is he sluggish all the time, having eaten too much food, and people food at that, he is pooping up a storm. Again, probably good practice for what 3B will do, but still not fun to be the ones cleaning up a poop storm.

  11. Speaking of cleaning up someone else's mess, just today I had to wipe my Treo with a hard reset, to stop it from the relentless resetting it was engaging in. It was resetting probably every 10 minutes or so, and I'd already deleted any programs that might be causing it, tweaked settings, run warm reboots, etc. Got a message from my Mama today that apparently my phone has even been calling her at 4 or 5 in the morning her time. She can hear me talking, so I'm carrying it around, totally unaware that it's placing calls. I wonder who else it's been calling. What has it been saying to them? Has it been playing the ponies? Buying lottery tickets? Could I already be a winner? But seriously, Mom wasn't too thrilled, as you can imagine. Nothing like getting a crank call from your own son. Or his phone. So, I'm spending my next few days slowly adding applications back to it--e-mail was the first, because it's stable and because it's the killer app for the Treo. And not the anemic VersaMail that comes with it. ChatterMail. It's still a bit kludgey with Gmail, but that's only because Gmail won't run IMAP servers. Still, now that I'm used to it, it's the only way to fly. Anyway, that's been fun right after the iPod/iTunes wiped out all the songs in all but one of our playlists. Say what? No idea, we just had to move on.

  12. Move on to what, you ask? Our taxes are done, thanks to Mama, so geez, whatever could we have to move on to? How about . . .

  • the washer and dryer

  • oh, and the microwave

  • oh, and the floor tiles--fixing up that stained grout

  • and then we'll have to get the water shut off to our end of the building to install all of that

  • not to mention plugging all of those pipes in through the wall

  • after which we can probably paint, but first the walls need to be replaced after all that plumbing

  • then primed and the ceiling cleaned

  • and we'd make some calls to friends for support when we were perched on the open end of the couch, if only there was a place to plug in a phone

  • although we do have our cell phones, except mine keeps resetting itself in the middle of calls

. . .and that's this week's kitchen projects.

Next week we get into
  • the building of the washer/dryer alcove

  • installing the island

  • getting power turned back on to those random parts of the house that don't have it

  • assembling and hanging the cabinets

  • and a few other things, like waiting for our countertops to arrive in stock and get delivered.


Or, should I have counted that last one as more than one item?

But really, wah, wah, wah for us.

We brought this on ourselves, we knew it was going to be a mess, and at least we have the blessing through good luck, good friends, and great families to have a home to renovate.

The silver lining is the house that surrounds the cloud of dust emanating from the kitchen right now.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Feast Your Eyes


Because we won't be able to cook any food in our kitchen for a few weeks now.

Lovely, eh?

We just picked out floor tile tonight. Verona White. Sounds like a comic book heroine.

Last night we missed our fix while we were at Easter dinner, so tonight we ran an extension cord over from the dining area--see that farthest dark hole in the wall? that's what's left of our breaker box--to power up the Dish box and the TV so we could see Leo's funeral. Not nearly so moving to me as the time they left him to die in the woods Camp David, but sad when I'm away from the show, thinking about the actor.

We're grateful for all that he gave us while he was here--although we maybe curse him for being so good, which is part of the reason that we're hooked on this crack.

It's amazing, though, how we can be so completely transported out of the disaster zone that our house has become--mind the table saw as you come around the couch, there--through a story and characters who we have come to know and love.

For a few minutes, it's as if all that destruction and chaos behind the couch is no longer there, that when I get up to get a glass of water, my feet will slide smoothly from the Tundra flooring onto our comic book heroine tile, through the new doorway from the living room.

Instead we've got a bucket of drywall mud, a few score boxes of cabinet parts, and loose wires hanging out of holes in the walls . . . "the stuff that dreams are made of."

Love, compassion, and politics

Although this was started as a diary of our preganancy for ourselves, strangers, and Baby Boy Bradstein (3B), it has sprawled, digressed, and developed over time, much as 3B will as he grows up.

I've found that people are most often compelled to discuss the more controversial issues that I write about, even if they don't disagree with me. Not that all four readers don't read the other pieces, but there are more comments and emails about the contentious issue posts than the others--except Mama's sweet email post about 3B moving around, which everyone loves.

(People always think that I'm using an old cliche when I say that Mama is the better half, but she really is. People don't believe it until they meet her. Then they pull me aside, as a coworker did this morning, after meeting Mama at Easter dinner last night, and say, "Mama's awesome. She's just so cool. I love her. I love hanging out with her and talking with her." All I can say is, "Yes," although I often want to tack on an "I told you so." Her post is just additional proof of Mama's innate and overwhelming goodness.)

I write about these issues not because they're controversial--they're not controversial to me, since I'm clear in my own mind about my position on these issues--but because they reflect the world that we're handing 3B as his inheritance, and because they reflect my view of that world.

Sometimes the news about these issues is heartening and encourages me that the society we bequeath to 3B will reflect the values that Mama and I hold as a family--such as the high value we place on the bonds of loving families, regardless or color, culture, religion, or gender. Sometimes the same day's newspaper brings less encouraging news; for example, it's still possible for an ignorant hate monger to be elected--and reelected--to high office in this country.

While I find it hard to believe that there are teachers who would vote for a man who wrote

"It's amazing that so many kids turn out to be fairly normal, considering the weird socialization they get in public schools."
. . . or that there are women--working or not--who would vote for someone who wrote

"For some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. Many women . . . find it easier, more 'professionally' gratifying, and certainly more socially affirming, to work outside the home. . . . Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism."

. . .the news tells me that both have happened, and will likely happen again. And that's part of the message to 3B too--most days bring both good and bad news; how you define which items are good or bad depends on your beliefs; and how you respond defines who you are.

As part of this diary that I'm creating for 3B, I want him to know, no matter what he chooses to believe, what our beliefs are. One of our beliefs is in love and compassion, even for hate mongers, whose names have such a foul meaning.

Of course, we also believe in the political process, which we hope will lead to the defeat of the haters who hold beliefs that are antithetical to ours, such as the hate monger's statment that
"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family. And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."
Yeah, never mind the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The political process is not easy or clear, and it's often too slow for our liking, but that makes it like much of the rest of life. It's still better than making these determinations by lining up on the opposite sides of a beautiful field and blasting muskets at one another until someone cries "Uncle."

As we discuss love, compassion, and politics in the sprawling, digressive, development of this blog, I'm glad that 3B will be able to see that he lives in a community that shares his parents' values. I'm certainly glad to see that Mama and I live in that community. It helps me get through the newspaper without gnashing my teeth, some days.

Man Bites Dog at Protest March, update on the dog at 11


In her delightfully sarcastic L.A. Times op-ed, "One More Job for the Immigrants," Rosa Brooks observes that

If the 33% of Americans who think Bush should be impeached took to the streets to peaceably express their views, that would be almost 100 million marchers — enough to wake up even the most somnolent of politicians. If the 47% of Americans who think U.S. troops should leave Iraq ASAP actually marched on Washington, our troops would already be on their way home. If the 60% of Americans who disapprove of Bush's job performance decided to stage a peaceful sit-in outside the White House, they'd spill over into a dozen neighboring states, and the American political machine would grind to a screeching halt.
Brooks describes the effect that the recent protest marches about immigration policy have had, and then points out that "Mainstream Americans" don't protest anymore, and provides a litany of reasons for this. This all begs the question, "If marches can be effective, why aren't there more of them?"

Anyone who has been within shouting distance of me within the last five years or so knows that I believe that protest marches are dead as a means to the end of effecting social or policy change (I was glad to hear that I'm not the only crazy--Daily Kos said the same thing in a recent interview on the Colbert Report. I'd like to a page on Daily Kos that expresses that, but I couldn't find one quickly.) In spite of Brooks' insightful and witty explanation of how effective they can be, I think that she's oversimplifying the situation.

Take, for example, the March for Women's Lives that I participated in, along with several hundred thousand of my close, personal friends. It was big, it was impressive, big name people spoke, and yet, there have been no significant social or policy changes as a result of it. Why not?

For one thing, while calling an event a march makes it sound as if you are going to "march right down to the White House" and give them a piece of your mind, I don't think there are going to be many Selma-to-Montgomery style marches anymore. And, this event wasn't a march, it was one rally on the Mall, a slow shuffle around the White House to another stage at the other end of the Mall, where another rally was held as everyone dispersed.

That may seem like a minor point, but it gets to the heart of the problem--big events like that don't have one clear goal. They are the servants of too many masters:
  • they have to be called marches, because that's what the baby boomers want, because that's what they remember, and that's what worked for them--why make a change when you're working for a change, right?
  • they have to give an official voice to every tiny, freakish faction associated with the cause of the march, because nobody within "the cause" can be offended--which is how you end up with the leader of the Waterfront Hempshirt Drum Circle addressing the crowd about the importance of renewable fibers in a polypercussionist setting before Senator Clinton speaks
  • they have to be tightly scheduled and precisely scripted, down to what's written on protesters' placards, because the television media has deadlines, you know--and goodness knows we can't take a stand that would offend anyone in the media, because then they may not carry our message, which is that people need to take a stand, you know, without taking any risks
It's that last point that is the main problem with marches anymore: everyone knows what's going to happen. Back in the day, before my time, large marches like that were startling, just as the recent immigration marches were. They drew media attention in large part because of their novelty. Tear gas in Chicago was shocking, a million or more African Americans on the Mall was surprising, Freedom Riders were confusing to many. Yes, there was also widespread support for the causes, but that hadn't gotten any play in the evening news--it took something new, unusual, and visual before the TV media became interested.

Now, however, marches are old hat, tightly scripted, and visually bland--everyone carries one of two preselected placards that have been tested in focus groups to ensure that they don't offend . . . that is, until the recent immigration marches.

The immigration marches were something new, they were surprising, and they were visually interesting--everyone wearing white to represent their peaceful intentions, lots of homemade signs, etc. There were also plenty of other events that went along with these--students walking out of class, some of whom subsequently got arrested for truancy or loitering--all of which were also, new, surprising, and visually interesting.

And, that's why they worked, why people paid attention, why there might be actual social and policy changes as a result. While I do agree with Brooks that there is a great need for the silent majority of Americans to take action that demonstrates their support of the country and opposition to the President, I still don't believe that a march, rally, or even a series of such events will produce anything more than a 30-second clip at the end of the evening news--unless a man bites a dog, there's a tornado/hurricane/earthquake, or Barry Bonds hits another home run, any of which would bump the story on the march.

Do I have a solution? No. Without either investigating or intuiting what will achieve the goal of these marches--social and policy change--I do not have one, but that is the first step to finding a solution.

Do I know what will work to rally the silent majority to action, to come out of hiding and join together to make their voice clearly heard? No, I don't, but more marches aren't the solution. Most of the time. Maybe.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Day 3

This is the kitchen that we woke up to this morning. We slept in too late to get to yoga this morning, so it's straight to IKEA for us, to buy our cabinets. We also have to pick up a sink, faucet, lighting fixture, bar stools, over-the-range microwave, and stacking washer/dryer. We'll probably get that last two at Sears, or somewhere other than IKEA, so that's another trip. Then there's the trip we need to take to Goodwill, to get rid of the piles of discards in our foyer. Those tumbling piles include scores of CDs that I finally imported into iTunes just in case we want to hear them again, but that we won't mourn--or probably even miss--if we lost them forever. We could probably get $.50 for each, but that would mean a trip to another store, and we have our hands pretty full buying a kitchen this weekend.

Off to Boot Camp? It's a trip forward into our past.


"If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
-- Steve Jobs, in Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996, via Wired


There are plenty of people who remember this quote, but not many of them seem to be applying it to the recent release of Boot Camp. There are some exceptions. However, I was expecting many more analyses of Boot Camp as it relates to the future of OS development. All that I've seen so far, however, is a slew of "how to" articles about using Boot Camp and various competing solutions.

Although it may not seem like it, God doesn't play dice, and Steve Jobs doesn't idly shoot off his mouth. Jobs usually meets his own goals, even when they're as seemingly absurd as making something that's "insanely great." Ever since I read his "PC wars" quote--I was late to the party, I probably read it a coupla' years after he said it--I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Apple to get out of the OS business.

It won't make me happy when they do, but there is a time for everything, and the time for an Apple OS seems to have passed. There are others who have picked up the challenge of building insanely great software that is easy to use for the rest of us--Google comes to mind--and Apple has already clearly turned its focus to ubiquitous computing, which is probably why there are constant rumors of an Apple tablet, PDA, or cell phone.

The only problem with any of those is that the OS wars are still pretty active in those formats, although I think that Palm is fighting a rearguard action, and soon will be merely a maker of hardware--and they won't last long against competitors like Motorola and Nokia. Treos aren't stable (and are migrating to other OSs anyway, including the Blackberry "OS"), BBs have become ubiquitous, and Motorola keeps putting out smartphones that are more and more cool and more and more stable. But, until that all sorts itself out--my guess is that the dominant solution will be a Pocket PC smartphone with the BB email/communications software; it'll be buggy and awkward, but good enough. Just like what we've settled on for our PC OS.

Why would Apple want to get into that market? Apple may want to after it's settled down, and they can show everyone how it's supposed to be done, as they did when they dropped the iPod into the MP3 player market. (Technically, you could say that they've already done it in the PDA market by releasing the Newton, which is still the best PDA I've ever seen.) I think that Apple is proving--again--the strength of Jobs' will by releasing Boot Camp, which is, I figure, their first step out of the OS market. They've always tried to provide graceful transitions from one processor to another, or from one version of an OS to another, and I think this is their first step toward a transition from OS X to Windows.

Only time will tell, and I don't have the same kind of control that God does or insight that Jobs does, so I'm sure that most of what I've prognosticated will not come to pass . . . although I have learned that I can have a modicum of control over intelligent design. I don't know if there's the same control in the Windows version, but in our new version of iTunes, there's a slider, buried in the Preferences window, that lets you control how often iTunes repeats tracks by the same artist (or from the same album, I think). So now, not only does God not play dice, but also he won't play 15 C.W. McCall tunes in a row either.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Androgyny and the art of polite conversation


Having lived with Mama while she got her master's degree in Women's Studies, which involved reading a fair number of papers, before they got to smart for me to understand--in about the second term--I think that I understand a large number of different sides in the gender discussions and debates. Nature vs. nurture? Culture vs. biology? Family vs. society? Peers vs. family?

Everyone seems to have at least one opinion about why boys are boys and girls are girls. Everyone also seems to have at least on opinion about what a boy is and what a girl is. Now that we're having a boy, these discussions are not so academic anymore--just as they wouldn't be if we were having a girl, BTW.

From my vantage point (sitting with iBook scalding my lap, butt in the desk chair, legs up on the U.S.S. Queen Bed, if you must know--although I was talking more about my temporal vantage point, which is prebaby), my greatest concern is trying to figure out what kind of kid 3B is, not whether or not he's a boy or a girl. The biological part of that seemed to be very clear on the ultrasound pictures (ha! we already have naked baby pictures of you, son. . .I'm sure that for a small fee we can keep them in a drawer, where they won't embarrass you in front of your friends), but what people want to know when they ask, "Is it a boy or a girl?" is "How should I treat him or her? How should I behave? Interact? What should I talk about?"

I don't think that I'm making rash generalizations here, since I'm speaking of myself primarily, but also including my observations of other people with babies.

The problem that I have with this behavior is that these people then only teach the child half of what they know--the half that they have determined to be boy or girl behavior, depending on the gender identification of the child. But why can't we teach boys to be socially adept? Why can't we teach girls to be technically adept? BoingBoing writes about one woman who has been subjected to some socially inept behavior, but who still believes that there's hope for boys.

Two minute rebuttal to you, Ms. Pork Queen

I don't think there could be a better counterpoint to my Easter Vegan Lunchbox than this, via Zygote Daddy.

[UPDATE: Corrected attribution. Reading too many blogs all at once. Mayhem, hijinks, and typos have ensued.]

Simple things in a simple life


I'm a simple guy, who would rather lead a simple life, which is, of course, more complicated than it should be.

Growing up, all the way until . . . oh . . . yesterday, I loved to eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch. The South Beach Diet put a damper on the jelly portion of it, which sort of ruined the experience, but I still kept sneaking them in, claiming that the benefits of the whole wheat bread and peanut butter outweighed the detriments of the sugar in the jelly. I love it because it's simple, easy, and delicious. And it's always the same, which adds to its comforts.

In spite of my preferences, there are other ways to go about making lunch, and Vegan Lunchbox is a fantastic and mouthwatering celebration of one of those ways. If you don't believe that vegan food can taste good, you should check out what Vegan Mom made for her Shmoo for Easter.

Just to torture myself, I subscribe to her feed. Who knows, someday I may even try some of her recipes for 3B? Or me. It would be cheaper than flying us all to Green Zebra for lunch.

Look, shiny things


Vespaway complains that they're always the last to know, but that's just not true.

We are.

Not only is this a pretty (red!) shiny thing, but it's pretty cool too. You can piss off drivers who are lumbering slowly nowhere in their grotesque SUVs--groteSUVs?--as you buzz by them, slipping neatly between lanes of stalled traffic. But it's not all about ticking off others . . . they actually perform a useful function--getting you from point A to point B without having to cart around 4,000 pounds of useless, ornamental sheet metal in the shape of a truck, save fuel, and look great.

Which makes you look smart and stylish, which means nobody will care how big your, uh, truck is.

Old News: New American Hero

This is old news by now, but I just have to give a personal shout out to a true American hero--Harry Taylor, for taking the simple step of telling the truth, which is, in times like this a bold move.

Mmm. Spring--when the world attacks my face.

[UPDATED: Added photo of Nelson from his blog and links over to it, so you can send him some love and spread the word.]

Happy spring, my ass.

As I mentioned, while my hair recedes, my allergies advance, making spring a time to celebrate the blooming of every freakin' plant in the tri-state region by closing all the windows and doors, changing the furnace filter daily and mainlining Claritin.

Foliage is not my friend.

It reminds me of last fall, when Mama gathered some beautiful foliage from the hill outside our condo, and displayed it atop the TV. It was lovely to look at while it lasted, and after it dried up and collapsed, I collected it and dumped it down the trash chute.

Mysteriously, shortly after that, I started to develop a rash on my arms and face, particularly around my eye. Yes, it turns out that poison ivy presents a brilliant display of color in the fall, and that Mama had inadvertently scooped some up in all the foliage that she collected. I tried fighting it off on my own for awhile--not that there's much to do except wait for it to pass--and endured the questions at work--"Do you have shingles?" Eventually, it looked like, from my one good eye's perspective, one eye might swell shut--I wasn't too worried about going blind, since that would have already happened by the time I figured out what was causing the rash. So, I went to a doc who shot me with some prednisone to bring the swelling down, and dosed me with a bunch of antihistamines to help.

For the uninitiated, prednisone is a steroid, which means that you can't just stop taking it; you have to taper off of it. While I didn't end up looking like Barry Bonds, I did become remarkably focused and driven for a little over a week. Just ask Mama . . . it wasn't pretty, although I was amazingly productive.

If you think that Claritin-D is a rush, you ought to try it with a chaser of prednisone. Yikes. I had trouble sleeping for about three days--which really helped my state of mind, I'm sure--until I figured out that I should be dosing up on Benadryl at night, since that's an old school, knockout kind of antihistamine. Mama was pretty happy too, afterI figured that out.



That's all behind me now, but Barky's cousin, Nelson, is riding the prednisone lightning bolt now--unfortunately, Nelson is in more dire straits than I was. His parents are blogging about it, and I'm sure that they'd appreciate any words of encouragement you can spare over on their blog. He's been a great friend to Barky, as have his parents, who are always offering and willing to dogsit Barky, even though they already have one rascal to deal with. Barky has always loved his time there, and is concerned about Nelson's prognosis.

Nelson is their quadruped baby, and it hurts them as much to go through all of this as it would if he were a chubby little biped like 3B will be (we hope. . .). Make Barky, Nelson, and Nelson's folks feel better--send them some love . . . and spread the word so others can too.

Famous last words

"Either that wallpaper goes or I do."
Those were reportedly Oscar Wilde's last words, and he might have been speaking of our kitchen.

Don't fear for our health, however. Not only is the wallpaper going but also the wall is going, to open the kitchen into the living room.

Yesterday, Connie got all the cabinets off the walls and out the door, except the one holding the sink. She's being very nice about trying to inconvenience us as little as possible.

We're fine with pretty much however she wants to do things...so long as that wallpaper goes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Where have you been my blue-eyed son?

[UPDATED: Added photo of our lovely new kitchen location--in 3B's room. Also, added links so you could drool over the restaurants without having to Google them yourself. You can thank me later.]

I know, I know--I never write, I never call.

It's been too long, but I've had a few distractions...for example, there's our kitchen, which is currently located in Baby Boy Bradstein's future room.

That's because our kitchen remodel started today--starting with demolition of the old kitchen. Barky's favorite contractor, who installed our new floor, is doing all the work, which makes us happy--and which made him happy when he saw her this morning, I'm sure.

But that only accounts for the last few days, as we loaded the kitchen into 3B's room, what about the previous week?

Here, in no particular order are the activities that have kept me from writing here...you call them excuses, I call them reasons...tomato, tomahto, let's get to the list...

  • We were in Chicago, where I was blogging for pay. Sure, it's not as dramatic as MetroDad's trip to Vietnam, but after spending 14 hours running between sessions and writing (somewhat intelligible) reports on them, I didn't have much time or energy for writing here. Not that I don't love you, just that the pay is better on the other side. If y'all are willing to put us up at the Millennium Knickerbocker in Chicago, however, I'll be your blogging huckleberry.

  • I'm still distracted by the amazing poached egg that I had at Green Zebra (being a Pearls Before Swine fan, I keep wanting to say Green Zeeba). The rest of the meal was amazing, from the amuse bouche to the "little puffs of love" dessert (Mama's description), but that egg was like a whole meal in a few sublime bites. The potato slices were so crisp they cracked like glass, and so thin that we could see through them. The bread was deliciously fried, and the egg...the egg was...an adequate description still eludes me, so you'll have to go to Green Zeeba to experience it yourself. There was also our trip to Chicago Diner, where I had a fajita with protein in it for the first time since I stopped eating meat. And an Anchor Steam, which I'm pretty sure is vegetarian.

    As a matter of fact, I'm quite possibly distracted by all the food that we ate there, including the amazing thin crust, deep dish pizza at Pizanos and the delectable yakisoba at that other place real close to Pizanos. Yeah, I should dig the receipt out of my wallet to get the name, but I'm too lazy for that, which brings us to reason number next. . .

  • I'm lazy. Let's face it, this writing thing takes time, energy, motivation, and discipline. I'm running a little short on all of those lately. Time? See the picture of our kitchen for that explanation. Well, that and a week-long business trip to Chicago. Energy? See my first reason, particularly the part about all the running between sessions, all of which were located in a convention center which appears to be so large as to straddle several state lines. Motivation? Are you kidding? Motivate? Me? You may be reading the wrong blog if you're thinking that I'm motivated. Discipline? I've learned that discipline requires discipline. Lacking either discipline or the discipline that it requires, I have no way to close the circle of logic and develop actual . . . well . . . discipline. That brings us back to the thesis statement here: I'm lazy. Good enough reason for me.

  • Then there's all the little things, like the Treo 650 restarting spontaneously 15 or so times every day. Nothing that a system wipe and rebuild wouldn't cure, but it's just not worth it yet, although it's getting close. Anyway, sort of keeps me from being able to post from the road, meetings at work (just kidding, of course), or other various locations. Other little things this year include spring. Usually, it's not much of a distraction, but it seems that as I get older, weaker, and slower, my allergies only get stronger. Yippee. So, there's been several days of Claritin and Sudafed, which is quite an afterburner on top of a morning cup of coffee. It's great for getting lots of 30-second projects done really really fast, but not so good for, like, concentrating. Unfortunately, not lots of 30-second projects in my life these days, which has made the whole allergy-medication cycle a little distracting. Speaking of youth, it seems that there's something else going on in my life related to youth . . . oh yeah--we're freakin' pregnant.

  • I think that little 3B is stealing my brain too. I can't seem to remember the small things--or even some of the big things. With all of our food in 3B's room, most of it on the floor, in easy reach for Barky, it's essential that we keep the door closed when we're gone. Not only can't I remember to close the door, but I can't remember whether I did close it or not, which means a frantic trip home to ensure that Barky didn't gorge himself on Frango mints and fresh ground coffee or coffee toddy concentrate. Good times.

Generally, I guess I could sum this up by saying that the universe is inexorably moving toward a state of entropy, as it is wont to do, and I'm dismayed that I can't organize things a little better. Sort of like standing on the sloping deck of the Titanic, worried that I spilled some wine on my shirt.

OK, but I'm back now, and I promise to keep writing from now on. Unless the universe intervenes. Freakin' entropy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

For those who don't read comments. . .

So, here we are in the Windy City, where I finally finished up work after several long days that involved walking multiple miles through the McCormick Place convention center. I think I logged a marathon just on the skybridge between the east and south buildings.

I was blogging our annual conference--turns out there might be a future in this blogging thing after all . . . who knew?--attending several sessions each day, and writing up as many of them as I could, often writing up one session while I took notes in another, so we could get as many reports as possible up as quickly as possible.

That's mostly over now, although I've still got several session reports to complete. The sprinting around is over, though, which is nice.

Since then, I've been checking in and continuing to draft some material, but we've been wandering around the city, checking out the sights. We're staying in the shadow of this building

. . . not the water tower, but the tall, black building, which I was always told was named after a famous patriot. Turns out that it's had a name change, according to the sign next to the water tower:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A gimme clue

My favorite sight of the day: the horse-drawn buggy driver talking on his cell phone via his Bluetooth earpiece...says the man who wrote this as he walked to his hotel.

Penultimate clue, cast your ballots...

It's a bit colder today, particularly where we are staying, down by the lake, where it's a little more windy, but it's still nicer than we were expecting.

It's a bit odd to come home--back to our room, anyway--and not have Barky come out to greet us. Baby Boy Bradstein has been keeping us company, though, bumping around throughout the day.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Next clue

This is in the convention center where I'm working. It's a bit misleading, since the artist hails from farther west, but what fun is guessing without a few red herrings?

Bonus points if you guess the artist.