Friday, December 26, 2008
Christmas was a blast. Justin truly enjoyed himself. Last year we were helping him unwrap his gifts, but this year he was an instant master. He only tore into one gift before Christmas day. His self-restraint was admirable. Now he is a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys. I have separated out a few that require time and assembly. If they are out of his sight he will not be chanting “Open! Open!” He has many puzzles (since that is his pastime of choice lately) and a Colorform funny face game that he cannot seem to leave alone.
I received a plethora of Criterion DVDs for Christmas. Jen was more than generous. I also received a new denim shirt that I can begin to wear well and wear often until it barely exists. Jen received a new digital camera with the hopes of reigniting her photography hobby. Unfortunately, Jen started her work week on the evening of Christmas and her last shift ends Sunday morning. It feels like our holiday was cut a little short, with Jen being at work. But our work weeks have never seemed to mesh with the schedules of most working folks we know.
The climate has warmed significantly and the snow is melting away. We still had some flurries this morning, but rain seems to be the dominant precipitation at the moment. Justin has an urge to make “snow angels” tomorrow, but he may end up making “mud angels” instead.
Now — if Justin will just settle down for the night — I can enjoy a few hours of television, while I begin the process of whittling down my choices for the next book that I will read.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
So, we’ll be exchanging stockings tonight. It occurred to me that we were taking one of Santa’s magical tasks away from him: the duty to leave stockings stuffed with toys for young children. We were instead using our stockings as a teaser for what was to come on Christmas day. Justin has enough toys in his stocking alone to keep him busy for six months. I’m looking forward to see his reaction upon seeing Totoro’s head peaking from the top of his Christmas stocking.
We awoke to more snow this morning, and it was still coming down quite heavily. I called my doctor’s office to reschedule my appointment for next week. It didn’t make sense to stress myself with the drive to the medical center to recheck the effect of my high blood pressure medicine. A little counterproductive. So I’ll be seeing my doctor on the morning of New Year’s Eve instead of Christmas Eve. My wife’s response was, “at least you’ll be seeing her before the end of the year, instead of taking it of next years deductible.”
I have a few more items for Jennifer that need to be wrapped. I too many stocking stuffers, so some will become wrapped gifts, giving them an extra air of importance when the reality is that they are just “stocking stuffers.”
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After reading a three books in a row on philosophy and the mind, I have promised myself a fiction break through the holidays. First was Girl Factory by Jim Krusoe and a few days ago I finished The Spinning Man by George Harrar. Both of those books were excellent and kept me from watching much television. Now I am reading Firmin by Sam Savage, which is about a rat that lives under a bookshop in Boston and, after being forced to diet on pages from Moby Dick, or possibly Finnegans Wake, Firmin realizes that he is able to read. I'm only about 40 pages in, but the language is wonderful and Firmin's tale is filled with many literary references.
Today we took Justin to the Northgate mall with ideas of having his picture taken with Santa. This year would be the first year we have done that particular social ritual. I had an inkling that Justin would need to warm up to the idea and probably wouldn't accede initially. I was right. It's not that Santa didn't try. He tried persuading him with a candy cane, which Justin accepted...through the fencing that surrounded the jolly fat man. And then Santa showed him a Clifford book, but Justin was adamant that he was not ready to sit on the lap of a strange bearded man. I can't say that I can blame him. We decided to skip it and try again on another day. We then had lunch in the food court, which was plastered with about a dozen flat screen TV's broadcasting a steady stream of commercials. I nearly lost my appetite. Then it was down to Toys 'R' Us to allow Justin to overcome his fear of the Barney ride at the front of the store. He attempted the ride about a week ago, but was scared and wanted off. Since that time he hasn't stopped talking about it, so we gave him a chance to try again. That wasn't happening today either. He was kind of in a borderline meltdown mood all day today. He is getting excited about Christmas though, and all the paraphernalia that surrounds the winter holiday.
So I started my entry with the intention of giving a short excuse about my lack of blogging. Once I start writing though, I tend to go on and on. So I'll stop and leave you with a video explaining my mood of late.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I had a nice break in Edmonds last week. I visited three book stores in three days, but only one of those is actually in the city of Edmonds. I also bought some gifts for Justin at Teri’s Toy Box, which is a great independently owned store that puts a lot of thought into their inventory. I also dined out quite a bit while I was away. In fact by the last night I was tired of restaurant food, so I opted for a Payday bar for supper from the machine in the hotel. The weather was pretty nice for the most part, and allowed for some nice walks along the docks. I always find it romantic to watch the ferries passing each other in the night.
Today I finished reading Girl Factory by Jim Krusoe. I devoured this strange tale in two days. If the strange and unpredictable interests you as a reader then Jim Krusoe is the author for you. He had only written two novels and I’ve now read them both. For most of the afternoon I have been trying to pick a novel to read. I promised myself that I would read fiction through the holidays, since I have been reading a lot of cerebral stuff lately. I just hope this isn’t one of those occasions when it takes me days to decide on another book. That’s the problem with having over two thousand titles in my library: too many good books to choose from.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
After returning to my hotel room I took a hot bath and then read a few more essays by Bertrand Russell. I then finished watching an episode of Columbo that I had started watching last month during my stay in Chicago. It was an episode from the first season with Robert Culp as the murderer. Then as I was trying to pick something else from Netflix to watch on the laptop, I fell asleep. I awoke at four in the morning to shut the laptop and lights off.
I was hoping today was going to be sunny like yesterday, but so far there is a bank of clouds hanging over the harbor. I'm currently trying to decide where I want to have lunch. The seafood joints are in the opposite direction of the Edmonds Bookshop. I think I would enjoy a walk down by the docks though, as I make my way towards Anthony's for some oysters, or mahi mahi tacos.
There is a great little toy store in town that I want to make sure I visit before returning home. If I don't do it today then it will be a must-do for tomorrow. I'm on a quest for some stocking stuffers for Justin.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My son Justin and I have had some good days lately, although he skipped his naps twice this week, including today. The result today was one fairly intense "night terror" episode. Night terrors resemble Linda Blair's performance in The Exorcist. The child is still asleep, but thrashing around like he's possessed. It's a little unnerving. Justin has recently been enjoying the pastime of puzzles. He now has a half dozen 24-piece puzzles that he assembles and disassembles many, many times a day. He gets giddy when he has found the spot for a particular piece, and prolongs the pleasure of attaching it until he's about to burst. Today while he was working on a puzzle I got the urge to open the panel on the subwoofer speaker that sits on the living room. I knew that Justin had stuck something in the port tube. That's the hole in front of the unit, where the sound comes out and a two-year-old's arm goes in. The photo below shows what I pulled out of the unit this afternoon.
There are four toy cars, a plastic strawberry, a orange game peg, two new cat collars, and a baby in a basket. Justin thanked me profusely for finding his cars. My wife and I had just been talking about how quickly his car collection had dwindled to a precious few. I had a nice father and son moment when Justin helped me reattach the electronic panel by turning the screwdriver. He really enjoyed helping to reinsert all twelve screws. He kept saying "another one!" After the toy retrieval mission was accomplished I covered the port hole with packing tape. Justin seemed impressed that his car couldn't penetrate the heavy clear tape. I'm sure right now he's dreaming of ways to get past the temporary barrier and drop more items into subwoofer oblivion.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Speaking of President-elect Obama: Election night was quite the historic event. When Barack Obama gave his speech that night I got Justin out of bed to bear witness. He will be turning three in January, so I doubt if he'll remember much, if anything, about the night. When my wife arrived home from a co-op parents' meeting we all went into the backyard with some sparklers left over from July 4th and whooped it up. Tonight Justin remembered me getting him up, because he tried to use that excuse to get out of bed again. "Watch Barack Obama" he said to me. This was in addition to requesting water, crackers, different music, no night light, and a big hug. He took a big long nap this afternoon, so I'm not complaining.
Speaking of Justin . . . My main reason for posting tonight is to put up some recent pictures of Justin. These include his first haircut, Halloween, his Super Obama T-shirt and a couple others for good measure.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
h/t bob cesca
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Soon I was joined by my wife and son. The only thing left was for me to pee before we could leave the hospital. Don’t ask me what the ability to pee has to do with “enhancing the soul” of a human being, but that was my task. It is never more difficult to pee than when the pressure is on. After two cranberry juices, four waters and a nurse telling me that she would have to stick me (catheterization) if I couldn’t go, I was finally able to go. The statement by the nurse was more than enough impetus to prompt my bladder to do its job. I was provided a wheelchair and Justin rode with me as Jen pushed us to the parking garage. By the time we were in the car on the way home it was 4 p.m..
I pretty much stayed in bed for the next couple of days. I was kind of looking forward to being in a “Vicodin haze,” but my prescribed pain medication ended up being Oxycodone. It dulled my pain and allowed me to sleep, but it didn’t give me the urge to listen to Dark Side of the Moon, while simultaneously watching The Wizard of Oz.
Tomorrow I head back to Dr. Personality to make sure that everything is healing well, and that my newly enhanced soul can take the possibility of John McCain pulling a win out of his ass this coming Tuesday. Next week I have jury duty, which I have been dreading more than my surgery. The day after election day I have another doctor’s appointment to recheck my high blood pressure, and I will be visiting the dentist to get a cavity filled. I am looking forward to a break from my myriad of maladies, and I will be getting that when we take a trip to our favorite spot on the coast in mid-November: Kalaloch. It’s still the best soul enhancing experience around.
And now a musical interlude with Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Justin chose today as one of those days to go without the usual nap. I really needed those two hours to myself to read and rest, but it just didn't happen. Tomorrow he will need to be occupied for a time, while I'm being checked into day surgery, so we will bring the portable DVD player. Lately he has been quite obsessed with Pee Wee Herman, but if we brought that show along he would be dancing through the hallways. Instead we'll bring My Neighbor Totoro, which usually transfixes him for its entirety.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I’m about a hundred pages into Blindness by José Saramago. It is a compelling read, which is unfortunate for me since I don’t seem to have much reading time these days. Blindness is so good that I picked up two other works by Saramago at Half-Price Books in the last couple of days. I don’t know when I’ll ever get to them, but they’re on my never-ending list of books-to-read.
This morning when I awoke I had a plan. Justin and I would head to Half-Price books, and then to lunch with a stop at the playground on the way home. It all worked perfectly except that Justin just wasn’t tired enough when we arrived home to take an afternoon nap. He was downright wired after all that activity. Like the other times he has gone without a nap during the day he has awoken with night terrors tonight. One an hour for the last three hours. The night terrors don’t bother me quite as much as they did when I didn’t know what was going on. It’s heartbreaking when your child is screaming in terror, and when you try to console him it just make it worse. Now I realize that he is actually still asleep even though his eyes are wide open. I just watch over him to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself until the episode is over.
I could continue to type into the night, but I’d still like to watch something on TV tonight beside baseball before I collapse. I’ll just do what every other blogger seems to do when they don’t have time to write: post a couple of videos.
Oh, the humanity!
Friday, October 10, 2008
This morning I was determined to sleep in, since this is the only day out of the three when I would have that opportunity. I initially awoke at 8:30, but returned to dreamland only to re awake at 11:30 a.m.. I reminded myself that I was still on west coast time and to my body it was merely 9:30, so my guilt was assuaged. It was a gorgeous day outside and I left the hotel and headed toward the (obvious) Frank Gehry structure a few blocks away. I found out that the structure was part of what is called Millennium Park and I spend some time walking about and taking pictures. Whenever I saw someone frolicking with their young child I immediately missed my son Justin. He's been talking up a storm on the phone with me since I arrived, although I haven't a clue what he's saying. After enjoying myself at the park I went in search of a late lunch. It was difficult not to find someplace so crowded that the patrons were spilling onto the outdoor dining. I wanted something quiet and found a non chain Mexican restaurant called Cocina Barro that was just what I required.
The actual FFRF convention activities start at seven o'clock tonight, so I still have a few more hours to read (I'm nearly done with Choke) and get some more rest before tonight's events. After my late lunch I doubt that I'll be hungry enough to eat before the convention starts, but I'm fairly confident that there will be plenty of late dining to choose from on a Friday night in Chicago.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
I plan on bringing a laptop with me to Chicago when I travel this Thursday, so that I can blog about my experiences at the convention. Most of those blog entries will probably end up on my other blog, because, after all, it is a national gathering of heretics and infidels. I felt so comfortable among that crowd of reasonable freethinkers when I attended my first convention last year that I swore that I would make a yearly ritual of it. I'm hoping that FFRF follows through with their plans to hold the 2009 convention in Seattle, so that I can save on travel and hotel costs.
Politics and the state of the world has been weighing quite heavily on my mind lately, so I was happy to find a meaningless quiz today to take my mind of the heavy stuff for a bit. The purported purpose (say that three times fast) is to tell the quiz taker what Beatles album they are. My results are below:
"You Scored as Magical Mystery Tour
You are a free spirit who is somewhat a hippie but you clean yourself. You'd love to see a positive anti-war country that does not use up all of the natural resources."
Take the quiz yourself.
I may be aging myself by even being slightly interested in what Beatles album my personality may resemble, but hell, the blog where I discovered the quiz is written by someone ten years younger than me. I even had my favorite Beatle when I was a youth: John (of course) with George a close second. My two favorites from the fab four are both now dead and we're left with Paul, his dyed hair and his horrible choice of a third wife...er, ex-wife; and Ringo, who is seems like a fine bloke, but I never thought of him as an exceptional drummer.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Last night I saw My Morning Jacket perform at McCaw Hall and before the concert was over I knew that it was going to one of the best I’d ever seen. It was certainly the best concert I have seen since the Beck and The Flaming Lips tour of 2002. I only have two albums by My Morning Jacket (“It Still Moves” and “Tennessee Fire”), and I didn’t consider myself a huge fan; but I had always heard that they needed to be seen live to be truly appreciated. I’m fully on board with that notion now. They came onstage at 8:30 and played for two hours straight before taking a very short break, returning for a 20 minute encore. The theater was filled with enthusiastic fans of all ages (“brothers and sisters” as lead singer Jim James stated.) Earlier in the evening — when the babysitter arrived — I jokingly stated that we were going to a “Rock Show!” and I wasn’t disappointed in that respect. The smoke machines were cranking full bore; the light show was impressive and would have enhanced any previously ingested hallucinogenic. Most fans stayed standing throughout the show. I think that I can now confidently say that I am also a huge fan of My Morning Jacket. I even came home with a $30 t-shirt and I usually disdain buying the overpriced merchandise at any show. For those of you unfamiliar with this band that I am heaping high praise upon they released a DVD in 2006 called Okonokos, which documents a live performance recorded at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. Until you throw that disc in your Netflix queue here is a taste of My Morning Jacket.
This is one of those crappy cell phone videos, but I think it does a good job of capturing the excitement and enthusiasm I experienced at the show last night.
The original video done for the same song, "One Big Holiday."The silhouette puppets remind me of the classic German animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
When I say to my wife, "guess what song I have in my head?" she has learned to say, "No, no! Don't tell me. I don't want it stuck in my head!"
Friday, September 26, 2008
After we left the Broadway Grill and headed back to our car I started to inform Justin that we would be stopping to pick up an apple pie and then head home for his nap time. He seemed okay with that and started to repeat it back to me. All good. We made our way over to Marie Callender's and bought the pie, but when we got to the car it was obvious that he thought we were going to eat the pie at that moment. He had a slight meltdown, but he relented when I promised him that he could have some pie when he woke up from his nap. (I didn't bother to include the fact that he would be having pumpkin pie rather then apple, because the apple pie was for someone at my wife's place of business.)He slept really well -- nearly three hours -- and the first words out of his mouth when he awoke were "apple pie!" He had probably been dreaming about it and had obviously remembered my promise. I pulled the pumpkin pie out of the fridge, exclaiming it goodness the whole time, and cut him a piece. The switch didn't seem to matter. It's all "cake" to him.
Later on he was good enough to allow me to watch the debate even though he needed his Pee Wee Herman fix. As long as I assisted him with laying the track for his trains he was willing to hold off on Pee Wee's Playhouse until tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Today I chose relaxation as my pastime. I got another chapter read in the tome that I’m currently in the midst of. It’s a great journalistic exposé called The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet. It’s the second book in a row that I’m reading in preparation for my upcoming trip to the Freedom From Religion convention in Chicago. The Family is filled with frightening data concerning backroom deals made by this secretive Christian organization. Sharlet will be speaking at the upcoming FFRF convention, along with Daniel C. Dennett, Eleanor Clift and others.
I also managed to squeeze in a two hour nap after dispatching a door-to-door magazine salesman. This evening — as always — I caught Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show, which managed to beat Larry King in the ratings last week. (I would not miss those suspenders in the least, never mind his endless softball questions.) I also managed to see the Mariners come from behind to break their 12 game losing streak. So all in all I had a good day off.
Last week Jen was at a veterinary conference in Phoenix from Wednesday through Sunday, so Justin and I were on our own for a few days. It wasn’t too much different from when Jen works her 14 hour nightshifts at the emergency clinic Thursday through Saturday, except we didn’t even get to see her for the usual hour a day. Justin and I had a good time even though he was battling the latest virus that toddlers seem to pass around so freely. On Saturday we spent the morning building a monstrosity with his blocks. He didn’t need much help from me. I ran to get my camera before he got into his crash mode and he was very willing to have his picture snapped. He even said “cheese” and gave me a big smile. He’s just so darn huggable.
Friday, September 19, 2008
On another note: Jen was demonstrating her stethoscope for Justin recently and he was enjoying listening to my heartbeat. Lately I’ve been playing the only album put out by the “super group” called Little Village. The first song is called “Solar Sex Panel” and when it comes on Justin immediately says “daddy’s heartbeat.” I took it as a complement. It’s nice to know that my heart has a good beat and it’s easy to dance to. Little Village was comprised of the members John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner. When they toured in support of their disc I was lucky enough to garner front row seats. The unlucky part was that I was accompanied my soon-to-be ex-wife, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment one bit. Here is Little Village performing “Solar Sex Panel” on David Letterman from way back in 1992.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Another good documentary I watched recently is The Flaming Lips: The Fearless Freaks. I’ve been a fan of The Flaming Lips for quite a few years and was even lucky enough to see them on their tour with Beck back in 2002. I remember the first time I heard some cuts from the classic album The Soft Bulletin. I was driving a rental car and listening to KEXP here in Seattle. That album is chock full of soaring sounds and emotional vocals, and it feels like an epic. The documentary is not what I expected. The director, Bradley Beesley, was a neighbor of Wayne Coyne’s when Wayne was in art school in 1991. He has been filming the Flaming Lips ever since. There are some poignant moments as we meet various family members of the band, who have had their own ups and downs, including prison terms and suicides by other family members. There is not a lot of concert footage, but the personal stories of the band more than makes up for that. This is the kind of documentary that even non-fans can enjoy.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
This Sunday is my 12th wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is silk, or linen. The modern gift is pearls. Hmm. I was thinking more along the lines of a greeting card. Maybe even one of those expensive “blank inside” cards. Actually, we may have babysitting lined up for Sunday evening, allowing us to go out for dinner and a movie. The reply e-mail was “almost definitely yes,” so I’m not holding my breath. These guys have fallen through before.
Justin peed in his potty today. That was big news on the parenting front. I tried very hard to be enthusiastic and told him how proud I was. I tried to make a show of giving him a special sticker to stick on the lid of his potty. He was more interested in running into the living room to jump on the couch naked. He has been consistently taking his naps on time for the last three days. And it’s been a little easier to get him to stay in bed at night. We’ve been making regular trips to the local playground, where Justin has recently become reluctant to go down the slides. That is until daddy starting going down the slide today. He had to follow me then. He also says “hi!” and “bye” to everyone we meet, whether they’re cognizant or not. He’s a sweet kid and he’s becoming an amazing talkative little boy right before our eyes.
And now . . . Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Since I reserve this blog for the more inane items in my life I'll leave the bitching about politics for my other page. I was perusing my favorite bloggers this morning and found another person trying to keep her mind off the soap opera known as Sarah Palin and her ever-growing brood. Thanks for Aaryn Belfer for turning me on to this awesome short film this morning. This woke me up.
Friday, August 29, 2008
On a more domestic note: Justin is talking up a storm these days. We can’t keep track of all of the new words he’s using daily. He also seems to be getting more imaginative with his playing. He still loves to dance and sing. Today he even had me up and dancing to the Traveling Wilburys even though I haven’t been in a dancing mood for months.
We had our friends Patti and Rich over on Wednesday evening to watch some Battlestar Galactica and to visit with them before the birth of William. Patti had a appointment with the doctor the following day and was told “not yet,” but by the time she had gotten down to the parking lot her water had broken. They are now proud parents of a health baby boy. We’re hoping to visit them this Sunday.
Jen and I did manage to get out last Tuesday to see Intimate Exchanges at the ACT Theatre. I had bought tickets a few months back after watching The Norman Conquests by the same playwright Alan Ayckbourn. The Norman Conquests is a great BBC adaptation that stars Tom Conti and Penelope Keith. I first watched this three part production when it was originally broadcast in 1977. When I found the DVD available on Amazon.co.uk I just had to have it. Luckily I now have an all-region DVD player, so that I can enjoy titles like The Norman Conquests, which is otherwise not available to U.S. audiences. I was pleasantly surprised to see Glittering Prizes released a few weeks ago in the U.S., which also stars Tom Conti and is from that same era. I'm happy to remember that I was watching good British programming like this when I was in high school. My copy of Glittering Prizes should be arriving from Amazon in a few weeks.
Well, now that I've realized that seeing Weezer this fall is not doable I will end this blog entry before I end up on some other tangent that keeps me up for another hour.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Ah, nothing like a little "Battery Acid" to calm my frayed nerves at the end of the day. You can have your Braham or Kenny G to help you drift you off to never-never land, but I'll stick with QOTSA.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
It's getting quite late and I just finished watching Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend for the second time this week -- this time with the commentary track. I'm also about 100 pages into Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. It's a dense philosophical treatise that so far is just postulating questions pertaining to whether science can and should study religion. I'm reading this tome in advance of seeing Dennett speak at the upcoming Freedom From Religion conference. I'm also simultaneously reading a self-help book entitled Getting Real: Ten Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life. This book knowingly incorporates a lot of Zen type thinking and applies it to being more honest in the moment. It sometimes veers into typically sentimentalist self-help territory, but there are some good communication skills to be gleaned from it.
Getting Real and Breaking the Spell . . . it's all about the truth baby. The truth is out there and it will set you free. At least until truth gets redefined by the corporate powers that pull the puppet strings of our meager existence. Meanwhile I need to seriously consider getting to bed. I promise more inane blog posts soon.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Below are a couple of videos from Weezer. The video for the song Pork and Beans is especially good, but YouTube is preventing users from embedding the video, but here's the link. The video features many "stars" of the YouTube channel.
Say It Ain't So from Weezer's debut album, also known as The Blue Album
An acoustic version of Troublemaker, which is the first track on the latest album by Weezer.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I have less than one-hundred pages to read in Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind. It’s a novel featuring a ninety-three year old Sherlock Holmes, wandering through his gardens and tending to his bees. There are some mystery elements — after all it does star the great detective himself, Sherlock Holmes — but for the most part it’s a meditation on aging and the fragility of memory. How does Holmes, the once great cogitator, handle losing his acute sense of logic and intellect? I’m quite enjoying A Slight Trick of the Mind and am pleasantly surprised that it’s more than just a light entertainment.
My parents arrive from Massachusetts tomorrow afternoon. We figure that they will both be quite exhausted after that long tortuous trip known as a cross-continental flight. Our game plan is to stop at Marie Callender’s for some good wholesome American food and then get them settled into the Extended Stay America just off Aurora. After getting them checked we’ll head to a nearby park to attend the baby shower of a friend, who is expecting her first child in early September. By then we should all be exhausted . . . except Justin. He’ll probably still be awake and ready to rock and roll when we finally arrive back home. Ah, the vim and verve of a two-year-old
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Last night I finished reading Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which was a pleasant diversion from some of the heavier reading I’ve been doing lately. Tyson has a goofy sense of humor and does a good job presenting some very complex ideas to the layman (me!) Now if I can get back to regularly watching my science courses from Great Courses, some of this stuff (black holes, supernovas, anti-matter, and so forth) may start to make sense.
Part of the reason that I plowed through half of Iceland today is because I’m looking forward to reading some more great nonfiction. With my parents visiting in just over a week though, it seems to make sense to stick to light reading until they’re gone. For some reason I think my powers of concentration will be lessened by their proximity.
Tomorrow night Jen and I will be seeing Eddie Izzard perform at the Paramount downtown. We saw him do his Sexie tour a couple of years back and were disappointed. We had seen many of his previous shows on DVD and were impressed with his witty barbs aimed at politics and religion. The Sexie show lacked any of that wit and instead concentrated on Eddie’s recent acquisition of life-like removable fake breasts to wear beneath his clothing. I’ve read some of the reviews of the current tour and I’m excited to report that it sounds like he will be back to skewering religion with his humor and wit. I’m hoping for exceptional show, because Bill Maher happens to be performing the same evening, and I don’t want to walk away wishing I’d seen him instead.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I think I can safely say that I have a plethora of Clint Eastwood movies on DVD now. Jen was nice enough to give me the Ultimate Dirty Harry box set for my birthday last month. The set includes a two-disc edition of the original classic and plus the four sequels it spawned. It also contains a bonus disc with the documentary Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows. Besides the discs there is other ephemera such as a 40-page hardcover retrospective book, replica wallet and police ID, Scorpio poster and San Francisco map detailing the manhunt, six collectible art cards, and production letters. Quite a little box of goodies for the Dirty Harry fan. Also released on DVD recently were a couple of reasonably priced Clint Eastwood triple-features. One of them contains Every Which Way But Loose/Any Which Way You Can/Honkytonk Man and the other set includes Firefox /The Gauntlet/The Rookie. I couldn’t resist them for $15 each at Best Buy. I now have twenty films starring Clint Eastwood on DVD. I also have Letters From Iwo Jima, that Eastwood directed. There are a few films in there that I’ve never seen, including the last couple of Dirty Harry sequels. If I intentionally passed it over then it’s probably not worth wasting two hours with. But who knows? One day I may actually have some extra time and I can spend it watching Clint Eastwood’s worst films.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Yesterday was the day we “put my cat to sleep.” I had adopted Kittykins about six months before I met my wife Jennifer and at the time we guessed her age at about two. So we estimate that she was about 16-years-old. That translates to approximately 80 in equivalent human years. She was feisty right up until the end. On her last day of life she escaped from the backyard (which is fenced) to the front yard (which is not) three times. She was the only cat that was allowed to lounge outside in the sunshine. She’s also the only cat we have that has had her portrait painted. She still has two eyes in the painting, although she lost one of her eyes to a some mysterious ocular degenerative disease. Most of her teeth were gone, although she sometimes would grab a hunk of our dog Molly’s food to chew on. She was always picked on by our two male cats Bobby and Lyle, but she stood her ground. She didn’t take any shit from anyone.
It was tough letting her go yesterday. I knew that her kidneys had been failing for a while. My hope was to have Jen bring some euthanasia solution home and we could let Kittykins go, while she laid in the sunny backyard. Unfortunately death sneaks up on us. All of a sudden yesterday Kittykins was noticeably worse. Jen took her into the local emergency clinic and found that her kidney values were horrible. We could perk her up with a couple of days fluid and rest and then have to give her sub-q fluids daily and even with those measures we could only hope for a few more months of life. I didn’t want to see her suffer, so I made the decision to end her life before she went downhill any more. Hell, she only weighed five pounds yesterday! So, I said my goodbyes and left the exam room before the doctor injected the euthanasia solution into the IV catheter.
Now the house seems so quiet without her meow. She used to sit on the dining room table and beg for canned cat food, only to eat a few nibbles. And I keep looking for her out of the corner of my eye, feeling like I should let her inside before it gets dark. She was my cat for fifteen years. I’m going to miss her.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
I’m about one-hundred pages into Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Death by Black Hole. I keep thinking that I’ll set it aside at some point to start a novel, but I can’t seem to decide on what fiction I want to read next. Tyson’s book of essays is a nice diversion before I delve into something heavy like the shady past of John McCain (The Real McCain), or another book on religious history and criticism. I enjoyed reading a couple of classics recently (Wuthering Heights and All Quiet on the Western Front), but I cannot seem to decide on what novel to read next. I keep browsing through various titles like Was by Geoff Ryman, Peace by Gene Wolfe, and other books that are lying about my room.
I have two films from Netflix to watch soon. One is The Other Boleyn Girl and the other is Eagle vs. Shark. As much as I like (is “lust” a more apt term?) both Scarlet Johansson and Natalie Portman, I think I may just skip The Other Boleyn Girl. It was more my wife Jen that wanted to see it. I’m more psyched to see Eagle vs. Shark, now that I’ve become a fan of the HBO series Flight of the Conchords.
I gave Justin a bath tonight and he seemed ready to go to bed afterwards. He’s still lying in bed, listening to his new audio version of the Frog and Toad tales by Arnold Lobel. I have expected him to be awake until nine or ten tonight, since he slept for about three and a half hours today, but he seems ready to sleep. He did wake up at five this morning, which was about three hours too early for his daddy. We went to the library earlier today and stopped at the toddler playground, which is situated behind the library. There were a couple of three-year-old boys there (“We’re almost four!”) who had been playing with an imaginary friend named “Hugo.” When Justin arrived they claimed that he was “Hugo” and proceeded to call him that for the remainder of the time they were there. Their mother tried in vain to get them to say “Goodbye Justin” when they left, but they insisted on “Hugo.” I found it quite funny myself.