Thursday, October 30

Not Bored at the Moment

Wow! This looks like a huge time sink. Oh, to be 13 again and have hours to waste!

Wednesday, October 29

Fires Visible From Space

The Nasa Earth Observatory has some cool pictures of the fires that were burning in Southern California on October 25th. You can see the huge cloud of smoke that covered most of central Orange County from the San Bernardino Fires. Brian, who owns a home in Rancho Cucamonga, just a few miles from the fires, said, "It's like living in Mordor, smoke and ash every where." My car was covered with ash, and today, when I went out side, it was covered with dew. Now my car has a nice ash clay coating. Hot investor tip for the day: Invest in southern California car washes.

Thursday, October 23

Listen! ... Do You Smell Something?

I said in a previous post that a constant low level of noise from Elijah is standard operating procedure. Now, since he is learning to talk, the same is true of Luke as well. Even when they are not "talking" their play involves grunts, screams, woo-woo siren noises (they both love fire trucks) or other verbalizations. Even when they are not making noise with their mouths they make noise by banging toy hammers, rolling cars on the floor, or knocking miscellaneous body parts against the furniture, walls, doorways, etc. I characterize a strange phenomenon, which arises from this constant noise, with the famous quote from King Kong. ...

It's quiet. ... Too quiet.

If I haven't heard any noise from the boys in the last 15 to 20 seconds, then chances are pretty good one, or both, are up to no good. They have a very powerful "whisper mode" which they engage whenever they conspire to break the rules.

It's not always both of them that are actively perpetrating the crime either. Sometimes, Luke will do something he is not supposed to do and Elijah will stand across the room watching Luke, not actively participating, but stock still. Elijah is never, at any other time, still; even in his sleep he thrashes around. Most of the time, however, when it's silent they are both: taking brushes and makeup out of the bathroom drawer, or playing with the toilet paper, or pulling all Luke's diapers out of the changing cabinet, or throwing toys out the window into the planters, or taking everything out of Dad's wallet, or unpacking a toy that is supposed to be a gift for one of their friends, or filching granola bars from the pantry, or smearing Desitin on each others faces, or ...

It is strange, the noise from them is so constant that no matter what I am doing any extended silent period instantly, almost subliminally, triggers the thought, "What are the boys doing?" and nine times out of ten they are doing something they know they are not supposed to do. The other night I was washing the dishes, and thinking about some issue from work. Suddenly, I realized the subliminal silence-timer had timed out. The boys had been too quiet for too long. After rinsing my hands, I went to the living room and found Luke "changing" the DVD in the player.

I wonder if/when they will figure out that, when Daddy is watching them, if they could just continue the steady stream of noise, most of their crimes would go unnoticed for much longer?

So often, when watching the boys, I just wish for some peace and quiet, but the instant the noise stops I get suspicious. It's quiet. ... Too quiet.

Tuesday, October 21

Birthday Post Mortem

Well my third annual 29th birthday has come and gone. I had a wonderful time. I thank everyone who was involved or contributed.

We had a dinner party at my parents. My Sister and brother-in-law came and brought their little girl, Zoe. All our kids played well together. Elijah only knocked Zoe over once, and it was an accident. Kate got me the bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin, so we all drank Gin & Tonics. My parents debuted a new alfresco dining arrangement. We all sat at one big table made from two of the old six-foot school tables side-by-side. We ate filet mignon, Garlic Mashed potatoes, and a pasta/rice thing (the name of which I can't remember right now) which was delicious. For desert Betsy made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, my favorite. She decorated it with cute little frosting carrots and way to many candles.

Betsy also took me to a day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs. We did pretty much everything covered by the basic admission except the dry sauna. (It was hot enough just sitting out side.) We also did "The Grotto" which is a subterranean moisturizing treatment. My joke about half way through was, "so this is what $20 of lotion feels like." I wish we had done the grotto later in the day because, after being super moisturized I didn't want to jump right into any of the chlorinated pools and get all dried out again. The club mud was a lot of fun.

My biggest problem with my birthday is how disorganized and anti-social it makes me feel. On my birthday everyone is paying attention to me and giving me presents and making me feel great. So, I wonder if I return the favor on their birthday, or anniversary, or special occasion. I'm pretty sure I don't, so I end up feeling guilty when they celebrate my special days. I am sure the person who gets the butt end of this deal the most is my wife, but I think I overlook everyone else a bit as well. I really appreciate all the presents and time and attention, and I wish I wasn't such a social heel.

Friday, October 17

Wish List Update

I got a little flak for my last entry. Apparently my tastes are too expensive. But I did link to my Wish List at There are several Items there that are less than twenty dollars. There is one book, True Names: And the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier, that is just a hair over ten dollars that I would really like.

This is a wish list. There is an Apple Laptop on there that is over 2000 dollars. I don't really expect anyone to get that for my birthday or Christmas.

Maybe I should have said that the only things I put on my list here were things I couldn't put on my list at Amazon. Amazon doesn't carry everything. So this list was really intended to be a supplement to that list.

Also, there are plenty of other things that would make great gifts that I did not think of. All gifts are appreciated. These two lists are intended to be a suggestion list for people who don't have any idea what I would like.

OK, enough blogging about my blog.

In recent news: Mom is at a scrap-booking day. Elijah just peed his pants, and has no clean underwear. So I'm off to do a load of laundry.

Tuesday, October 14

Birthday Wish List

There are two blog entries here and here which list two items I would like for my birthday. But, here in one place is my one stop shopping list of things I would like for my birthday along with links to where to get them. There is also a list of books, music and miscellaneous stuff on my wish list at

With out further ado, here is my list, ordered from most expensive to least expensive, including the two items listed above, including descriptions.

  1. External fire wire hard drive.
    The drives I am interested are manufactured by LaCie. The 200 GB Hard drive costs around $350, and the 500 GB hard drive costs around $800. There are a couple of size steps in between. (500 GB =1/2 Terabyte!) PC World has a list of actual prices for the 200 GB drive, the 320 GB drive, and the 500 GB drive. This drive will be used to edit digital video downloaded from our video camera. So we can send you all home made videos on DVDs! The price is a little steep but the useful life time of these drives could be ten to fifteen years, especially the half terabyte.

  2. Sony Memory stick
    A 256-MB memory stick would be great, but a 128-MB would be fine too. This is so I can store more MP3s on my Clie. They sell some of these at Costco, if you want to get them there. They have them at Fry's or any computer/electronics shop. C|Net lists the 512 MB memory stick around $100, and the 128 MB Stick around $60.

  3. A Tilley T2 Hat
    This is a basic wide brimmed cotton canvas hat. The reason I want one of these is they make them in sizes larger than size 8. The web-site specifies the largest size is an 8+. Please get me the 8+ size. I don't know any place that sells this hat in this size besides the website. The price is $60 plus shipping and handling.

  4. A bottle of Bombay Saphire Gin
    This is pretty much available wherever hard liquor is sold. It should be $20 - $30 depending on the size of the bottle. I promise to share some with whoever gets it for me.

Well that's the list as it stands now. I might add things later as I think of them. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of all the things I'd like. It's just a list of things I came up with when people have asked me what I want for my birthday.

Thursday, October 9

Don't Laugh!

I'm a horrible father.

Elijah (my two-and-a-half-year-old son) is cussing. I had one chance to nip it in the bud, and I failed horribly.

Here is how it happened. All summer Elijah and Luke (my one-and-a-half-year-old son) wore Velcro sandals. Elijah has become quite adept at putting on his sandals. Whenever it was time to go outside Elijah Luke and I would go to the garage, and Elijah could put on his sandals while I put on Luke's. Elijah got enough experience that he could put on his sandals in about sixty seconds, which is about how long it took me to put on Luke's sandals. So, it used to be about sixty seconds from the decision it was outside playtime, to actually being outside playing. Now, the weather is getting cooler, so Mom and I have decided that Luke and Elijah should start wearing socks and closed-toed shoes.

This Saturday I was watching the kids and we decided to go outside to play. We went to the garage door to put on our shoes, and as usual I started to put on Luke's shoes while Elijah put on his own shoes. For an adult the difference between shoes and sandals, in terms of putting them on children's feet, is negligible; however, for a two-and-a-half-year-old the difference is significant. As I put Luke's shoes on I was only vaguely aware that Elijah was becoming more and more frustrated with his shoes. By the time I was lacing up Luke's last shoe. Elijah had wedged his foot into his first shoe such that he could get it neither all the way off, nor all the way on. He had been whining, moaning and grunting throughout the entire process, but a constant low level of noise from Elijah is standard operating procedure, so I wasn't paying much attention.

The scene crescendoed with Elijah sitting on the door step violently kicking his partially shod foot up and down, and saying through his teeth in his most disgusted/frustrated voice, "Do, something with this fricken shoe!"

I think I was most shocked by the fact that even though he was compleatly mentally and physically frustrated, he was able to clearly articulate the source of his frustration. Hearing this crystal clear catharsis from Elijah, along with the precocious pseudo-explicative "fricken", was such a shock that before I thought about it I did the worst thing I could possibly have done while trying to raise a child. I burst into laughter.

Someone once told me that the key to being a good parent is not laughing at the right time. Well, obviously, I am not a good parent. Elijah thought I was laughing at his use of the word fricken, which I suppose I was. So, he immediately adopted it as his new favorite adjective. We have spent all week telling him that we don't use the word fricken, but yesterday morning, while I was getting the boys ready for breakfast, I noticed that while he was goofing around at the kitchen table he was repeating under his breath "fricken, fricken, fricken, fricken, ...". I was able to get him to stop, but I am afraid the word is now cemented in his brain, along with the knowledge of how to properly use it.

Oh well, I guess we're all learning.

Wednesday, October 8

Some Saphire Please?

Here is another item on my birthday or Christmas wish list. I'm not really a sot, but I like to keep a bottle in the freezer just in case.

Tuesday, October 7


I feel like I haven't accomplished anything for a week. At work I can't figure out what I should be doing. I have a list of about 5 things that I could do, but I can't figure out which one to work on. Each one requires an investment of time and thought to get started. This in its self is not bad, but I fear I will be redirected as soon as I get in the groove for whatever project I select. So, I haven't selected a project, and haven't really done any work. I am embarrassed about this so I don't go to my manager, who has been on vacation for the last week, and ask him what I am supposed to be doing. People have come to me and asked what I'm doing or for bits of information on the various projects I am/should-be working on. Apparently I have produced adequate answers because nobody seems to notice I'm not accomplishing much.

In my spare time I am reading Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1) by Neal Stephenson []. I read the first third of it, and decided I needed to read it again. I'm not sure that was the best idea. I'm having trouble determining if what I'm reading is foreshadowing events I remember from the first time I read it, or if the associated event is something I have actually read this time through the book. On the other hand I think I understand what is going on much better. It certainly is easier to remember who all the different characters are. I also found the list of characters in the back of the book to be very helpful on this same point.

I just spent the afternoon reading

Time to go home.

Thursday, October 2

Moving. Not Moving. Moving. ...

Now here are some cool GIFs. The first one is my favorite. There are other optical illusion pages in the same site. It's a Japanese site so some of the text is in Japanese.