Monday, June 30, 2008

Vacation suggestions

For Rachel...

This looks very nice. So does this, but you might be tired of mountains. You could try this (but don't tell the kids).

Anyway, good luck!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Misheard Lyrics

This post (and accompanying YouTube) had the FP Gal and I crying we were laughing so much. The comments are pretty good too, as plenty of folks have links to other similar videos. I mishear (or misremember) lyrics all the time. The FP Gal is the best I've ever met at keeping the words straight.

Tonight, she sleeps with the fishes...



For the story, and other cute pictures, visit here.

World's Largest Globe


After a discussion with the FP Gal last week, I decided to try and figure out where the world's largest map is. I expected to find that some enterprising city would have painted a city square with a map of the world or something like that. If they have, I didn't find it. Instead I found something called 'Eartha'.
Eartha is a 3-dimensional scale model of our earth with mountains and landforms in full 3D, that rotates and revolves, simulating the earth’s real movements. Eartha was given the title of "World's Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe" by the editors of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999, and still holds that record today. It measures 41.5 ft in diameter. Unveiled July 23, 1998 Eartha took two years to build and represents earth as it is seen from space. It rotates and revolves on a specially designed and built mechanized, cantilever arm.
This globe is located in Yarmouth, Maine, which is only a hundred miles, give or take, from Acadia National Park (New England's only National Park). Let's see if I can find a good picture...
Kind of looks like the north shore, doesn't it? What else is interesting about it...? Well, it was the first National Park east of the Mississippi. It's roads were created privately by Rockefeller. And it does look beautiful.

Lost Weekend

The FP Gal took Relia down to Ioway this weekend and left me the all alone in the house. Very nice, except that I didn't have a lot of good stuff planned. I'd invited some friends over on Saturday to play some boardgames and while that was fun, it didn't fill that much time. (We did try and set a regular schedule for future games. We'll see how that goes.)
What else did I do? Watched some baseball. Actually a lot of baseball. Got to see all of the White Sox - Cubs games on Friday and Saturday. Saw large parts of the Twins - Brewers game and most of a Mets - Yankees game. It reminded me that I really do miss having the baseball ticket and watching random games from other teams.
Also caught up on some Dr Who. The new series is outstanding, the most recent season especially so. In the latest episode, the Doctor met up with someone from his personal future. What a twist!
Also got some reading in. Am currently reading 'Lolita' on Meigan's recommendation. It's good, if slightly horrifying. Or possibly better known as very well written but creepy. I'll put up a full review after I'm done.
Now I'm just waiting for mother and (dear) daughter to come home. They've both been cooped up in a car for several hours. One will need to run around and the other to collapse. I'll let you decipher which one is which.

Friday, June 27, 2008

You know...

...what the world really needs? You know what invention would make someone an absolute boatload of money? I'll tell you what it is. Someone should develop a universal remote that will turn the bass down in nearby cars.
A few years back there was a hullabaloo about people talking remotes to bars and turning off TVs. This would be the same type of thing. Yes, there are property rights issues, but frankly I can't picture a legislature that would pass laws against these or a jury that would convict. I'd pay $100 for one, easy.
This post is brought to you from the jerk down the street who is parked and talking to his friends while his music plays and plays and plays. May his battery run low. Very soon.

Have a great Friday

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mall walking

We went out to the MOA this morning for a quick walkabout. As soon as we got there we discovered that we hadn't brought any toys for Relia to play with. This is a tactical error because her attention span has shortened considerably. It used to be that she'd be asleep by the second floor, now she actively (sometimes loudly) wants out.
On Sunday we fixed this by finding a quiet cross space and letting her wander for awhile. She made friends with everyone that passed by, she's not the least bit shy. The only downside is that she discovered that she can't throw herself at a fence made of bars, like she can a solid wall. Well, everyone needs to learn that lesson sometime.
Today we decided to let her out near the legos. We thought she might have a fun time with the bright colors and all the other kids. We supervise her closely during this, usually walking beside her. That's what we did this time because the legos didn't interest her at all. Nope, she wanted to walk through amusement park. And walk and walk and walk. We tried to keep a clear path so she wouldn't get trampled. I think most people thought she was cute, maybe even enjoyed this little girl walking through there.
And then she found some steps. And desperately wanted to climb them. And then we were done. The day is coming where she'll do most of that walk on her own, and that day isn't far off.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oceans

All the King's Men - Warren

At first glance this is a book about a corrupt politician who finally gets his just desserts. The pol (Willie Stark) must be based at least in part on Huey Long. He's a populist in it's purest form, promising the 'little people' that he'll battle those special interests that are keeping them down. He starts from the best of motives and soon is seduced by the power until it becomes it's own goal.
The book is told from the standpoint of Jack Burden, a son of privilege who became a newspaper man and then an assistant to Stark. He is a deeply cynical man who doesn't care that he's turned his back on his upbringing. His mother is on her own while his father has left to lead an almost hermitlike life. One of Burden's most important relationships with Judge Irwin, a very close friend of the family and something of a surrogate father.
You might remember that the movie came out a few years back and it was terrible. Now that I've read the book I can see where it went wrong. It followed too many sub-plots and meandered, failing to even close some of them. It probably made sense to those who were fans of the book.
How was the book itself? The story was interesting, if dense. The main character would talk through very long internal monologues, pages and pages of asides without any real dialogue. But the story does have a destination and it's a rewarding one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer is here

Since I've complained so much about the cool weather so far this year, I should note that the weather has gotten warm on us. We started up the AC this weekend for (I think) the first time this year. We've been up above 80 the last few days, thankfully cooling at night.
I might be sick in the head, but I'm ready for a nice cool drizzly day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Hate The Cubs

(Sorry, Aunt Donna.) After Friday's heartbreaking walk-off loss and yesterday's 23-2 loss, I've turned off tonight's game with the Sox down 6-0. That's enough for me. I might have to watch the 2005season DVD again. Sigh.

P.S. The FP Gal says that the Cubs are ruining her marriage.

The Bumpy Head Time

We've entered that period of time in which Relia's walking confidence is outshining her walking judgment. That means she hits her head. Often.
She either misjudges her footing and tips forward. Or she tries walking under something and raises her head at the wrong moment. Or she moves at the wrong moment and gets clobbered by Mommy or Daddy. Right now she has two visible bumps on her forehead, towards her left. She's got a scratch on her cheek. No other bumps or bruises that we can see but her elbows and knees have been taking a beating.
I know, I know this is all common. I still feel bad for her.

Movie List

EW has created a list of 'new classic' movies (via Althouse). This is the list of their top 100 movies of the last 25 years. I'm going to modify and pass it around (like we did with the booklist from Carrie). Movies that I've seen will be italicized. Movies that we own will be bolded. Movies that I've watched in the last five years will get a plus (+), as classic movies should be rewatched, no? Movies that shouldn't be on the list, that aren't classics will get an x (X). Clear on the rules? Here's the list:
1. +Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. +The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. +Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. +Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. +Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. +The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. +Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. X This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. +GoodFellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. X Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. +Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. X +Casino Royale (2006)
20. X The Lion King (1994)
21. +Schindler's List (1993)
22. +Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. X +A Room With a View (1986)
25. +Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. +The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. +When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. +Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. +Fight Club (1999)
33. +The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. +Fargo (1996)
35. +The Incredibles (2004)
36. +Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. +Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. +The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. +Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. +Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. +The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. +The Truman Show (1998)
54. +Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. +L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. +Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. +Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. +Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. +Broadcast News (1987)
71. +Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. +Out of Africa (1985)
76. X +The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. +Moonstruck (1987)
82. +Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. +Sideways (2004)
85. +The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. +Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. X +Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. +Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. +Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. +South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Pass it on!

Friday, June 20, 2008

White Sox - Cubs

Today starts the White Sox true biggest rivalry. (I know plenty of Twins fans consider themselves the biggest but it just isn't so. The FP Gal tells me that the Twins have a commercial now that includes some line about not letting your child grow up to be a White Sox fan. Yeah, it would have sucked for them to be champs in '05. They also would have missed out on the wonderful sense of moral superiority that Twin's bloggers seem to get but those are the breaks.)
Anyway, this afternoon the Sox go up north to Wrigley and play the Cubs. The history of the rivalry has been that the less successful team somehow wins and turns their season around. Both teams are among the winningest in baseball so far so they don't really fit that pattern.
Two years ago there was a big brawl between the two at Wrigley. The competition between the fans is always intense. Yes, I'm excited.

Go Sox!

Have a great Friday

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Godzilla and the Koi

Relia got her hot little hands on an open bag of goldfish today. She wandered around for about ten minutes just carrying it nicely. We thought it was adorable and didn't take it from her. (Experienced parents know where this is going.)
Yes, she overturned it all over the floor. How else was she going to get at the little fish? So there they were scattered in front of the couch smiling-back-at-her. And she was sitting there happy as a clam, picking them up and eating them. (Clam? That doesn't sound right. Shark? Sounds too harsh. What eats goldfish? Um, frat boys on a dare? Ok, there she was happy as a frat boy eating goldfish.)
After a few quick pictures, I got in there to try and pick them up. A brief discussion with the FP Gal and we decided that they were mostly salvageable. (Judge us if you must.) As they started moving away from her she quickly got up and took a few steps after them. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!
Two morals to this story, no, three.
  • Don't let your children wander around with open bags of crackers unless they're old enough to keep from dumping them on the floor. Somehow we missed that one at our child classes.
  • When there are fish all over the floor you have to move very fast to get them up. Otherwise they turn into an orange powder. (Heidi, is this the motto at the Pike St Market?)
  • And three, parenting really is a two person job.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday Night Random Stuff

  • Here's a gallery of flood pictures. It really is astonishing just how much damage has been done there. Kind of reminds me of Grand Forks.
  • Who doesn't love economist jokes? Here's a whole page of them. Fun for literally 4% of the world. (I giggled a few times.)
  • Yes, we're still enjoying Mario Kart. For those who don't know about it, it's a very cartoony go-kart race through exotic (and sometimes beautiful) locations. The goofy factor is huge. Once we're connected online, we can play it against people all over the world.
  • Ken Jennings recently finished his nursery painting project. Looks very nice. I'm hoping that the FP Gal tries something similar.

That's it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mosa

Ok, this started with Carrie and then spread to the FP Gal. Here goes...
1. What is your first name? That's a Danish frigate with my name on it.
2. What is your favorite food? Some form of 'za.
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color? Royal blue.
5. Who is your celebrity crush? You can't tell from this picture but it's Brooke Burke. Yum.
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation? Hawaii.
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Lion tamer. Why didn't I think of that when I was younger?
10. What do you love most in life? Same as the FP Gal.
11. One Word to describe you. Curious.
12. Your flickr name. Rocko!

Play along, if you'd like. here's how it works:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

Snow

Ok, it's been a bit cool here in Minnesota so far this year. At least we're done with winter, right? Not so in Spokane, where they just had their latest snow in recorded history (going back to 1881). What the heck is going on this year?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pink and Blue

Scientists are theorizing about why the gender gap between colors.

"The explanation might date back to humans” hunter-gatherer days, when women were the primary gatherers and would have benefited from an ability to home in on ripe, red fruits," Dr. Anya Hurlbert, who led the team of researchers, said. "Culture may exploit and compound this natural female preference."

While blue was liked universally, this preference stood out among men as it was not balanced by a parallel liking for pink, the study found. This, too, could have deep-seated natural roots: water that appears blue is more likely to be clean, and the colour is also an indicator of fine weather.

Uh-huh. This isn't the least bit persuasive. If we were going to use the evolutionary model to explain color preferences, wouldn't hunting men prefer tans and browns and other natural colors for animals and prey? Seriously, they liked blue because of the sky? Why didn't they like green which showed good rainfall?
I wonder what Kipling would have thought?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Saw a bit of Jimmy Kimmel on TV tonight and he joked that fathers around the world really wanted the same thing today - some peace and quiet. That's what I got this afternoon and it was very nice. I did spend some time with Relia's gift, the Wii. She gave me a little something else today too. She left some mashed up pancake on my shirt.
Lately she's been very generous, her new thing is to hand you whatever she's playing with. It's very sweet. She also has a love of any toys that make noise. She'll bring them to you so you can activate them. Very cute, the first dozen times. Um, Hans and Heidi, we all have an agreement not to buy presents for nieces and nephews that make sound, right?
Also called my Dad tonight and wished him a happy Father's day. We're alike in many ways. I probably got my love of books from him. Probably my enthusiasm for yard work, too.
Anyway, it was a good day. But they all are, aren't they?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert RIP

I've seen this type of comment all over the blogosphere, and it sums up my feelings too. I don't remember the last time the death of someone I don't personally know has saddened me like this. I used to watch MTP every Sunday and it was all because of Tim. (Honestly, try watching CBS 'Face the Nation' sometime .) He was tough and fair. Interview after interview you saw it. He'd display old quotes from politicians and force them to confront them. He'd show video clips that showed their contradictions. He could cut through the BS.
I think it was his fairness that most endeared him. If you saw him in limited action, you'd think that he would always vote against the party of his interviewee. If you saw him over a longer period of time, you knew that everyone got that treatment. He recently got a lot of heat from the left side of the aisle after he asked some of the toughest questions of the Democratic primary. Much of that criticism was short-sighted and once the heat of the primaries fade, I think that criticism will fade.
He wasn't tough just to be tough, he had a very obvious warm and human side. From his open love and respect of his father, to his rooting for his hometown Bills he always seemed like someone you'd love to sit next to at a bar or a ballgame. Every four years during election coverage he'd pull out a whiteboard and tally electoral votes. I hope NBC doesn't screw with that this coming November.
He was a man of obvious love for his passions. He found the perfect spot for himself and did his job better than anyone else. He'll be missed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Photoshop Disasters

Only with difficulty can I stop reading this.

Anniversary day




Today marks our third anniversary. We've got many special memories from that crazy day and we're still hoping that our ambush style of wedding will take off and become popular around the country. I gave my fullest version of the story here. A somewhat more complete version with loads of pictures and background can be found here.
We've developed a tradition of going back to the site and taking annual pictures. The FP Gal has them posted here. We were a little worried that it would rain today but we had good luck. After our pictures at the steps we walked back down to the river so that Relia could see it. Awfully cute (of course) and thanks to my unwitting help she almost killed her very first caterpillar.
It's been a good three years and I hope that our good fortune continues. Love you, FP Gal!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wii Downside

The FP Gal never sleeps anymore. She stays up all night playing Mario Kart and then spends the day in some zombie like fashion. It's a good thing her classes are all done, because her quality teaching time is over. I wonder if they'll take her here.

The Story that Just Won't Go Away

Link.

Or: My fall back position if the travel industry tanks.

Rain in the Summertime



A great live performance.

The Workplace Read

Rachel mentioned it in the comments, so I thought I should explain more fully. Yep, on slow days I'm allowed to read at work. Always have to answer the phone and do other tasks, of course, but if nothing is coming to me I can kick back and crack a spine.
It's because my job is very seasonal in it's busy times. We go through periods where we need twice the staff we have. Then we go through times when we could get buy with a third of it. Sometimes both of those things happen in the same day.
Our management understands this and tries their best to cope. During slow times they actively promote unpaid time off. During the reallllly slow times they understand that card games will break out. The trade off is that they expect us to knuckle down during the active periods.
We hit the slow period a little early this year. Oh, a little weather problem and a closed airport will still have us jumping but we've had some pretty slow days already this summer. Last August I probably read about 2000 pages at work and that was with the last week off for baby. The best week for reading is the one between Christmas and New Years. You can get a solid 30 hours in if you're that committed.
Yeah, sometimes my job is pretty ok.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Library Update

I posted last week on the book habit and how to live with it. Well, I visited two different used book stores over the weekend and added eight new books to my life. One of them is a rebuy on a book I've had for years that suffered serious water damage and should have been replaced long ago. One of them is 'Lolita' and I'm really looking forward to it. Another is 'Anna Karenina' which I've been meaning to read for awhile. Most of the others are for the slow time we get at work each summer.
The FP Gal looks at these new stacks of books and just shakes her head.

Northern Lights Forecast

Since a rather large number of people that read this blog on a regular basis are taking Alaskan cruises this summer, I thought I'd point to this handy little site that helps you find out when you should keep an eye out for northern lights. The forecast is minimal right now but there are supposed to be periods of medium activity in the next month. The site is also useful if you're planning on camping up north.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ok, One Picture

Can't Talk Now

We just got Mario Kart.

Update: The game came with coupons for McDonalds. Scary. What else does this game know about me?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

New Tennis Scoring Proposal

The FP Gal thinks that when she makes a mistake the other team shouldn't get the point. I think the reasoning is that they didn't really earn it. I asked who should get the points and she said that maybe the line judge should. I think John McEnroe would absolutely hate this idea.
BTW, why does tennis have such a strange scoring system? Well, the good people at Wikipedia think...actually, they don't know either.
The origins of the fifteen, thirty, forty scores are believed to have medieval and French roots. It is possible a clock face was used on court, with a quarter move of the hand to indicate a score of fifteen, thirty, and forty-five. When the hand moved to sixty, the game was over. Another explanation is that the scoring system was copied from the game sphairistike, which was played by British officers in India during the 19th century. That game's scoring system was based on the different gun calibres of the British naval ships. When firing a salute, the ships first fired their 15-pound guns on the main deck, followed by the 30-pound guns of the middle deck, and finally by the 40-pound lower gun deck.[1]

The origin of the use of "love" for zero is also disputed; it is possible that it derives from the French word for an egg (l‘oeuf) because an egg looks like the number zero. "Love" is also said to possibly derive from "l'heure" or "the hour" in French. When stating the score, the server's score is stated first. If the server (or the umpire) announces the score as "thirty-love," for example, it means that the server has won two points and the receiver none.

Ok, who (besides Andrew) knew any of that?

Tom Hanks' Run

In the last 24 hours we've watched 'You've Got Mail' and 'Castaway', both on TV. (And let me give some praise to TNT here. One of my pet peeves is when they place commercials in TV versions without any feel for the movie. TNT seems to have made an effort to get away from that.) Watching them reminded me of something I'd heard about Tom Hanks having one of the most successful movie decades ever. Here's what he did from 1993-2002:
A League of Their Own
Sleepless in Seattle
Philadelphia
Forrest Gump
Apollo 13
Toy Story
That Thing You Do! (Might be my favorite on this list.)
Saving Private Ryan
You've Got Mail
Toy Story 2
The Green Mile
Cast Away
Road to Perdition
Catch Me if You Can
The Terminal


That's four different Best Picture noms and two Best Actor awards. I'd bet that you saw most of these in the theater (I saw 11 of them that way). It's just an astonishing run of films. I think TNT has the rights to all of them almost all of them deserve a stop on the dial.
Tom Cruise had a pretty good run in the late 80's but it doesn't quite compare. Will Smith has a great record of high grossing movies but there have been some absolute stinkers in there ('Wild, Wild West' especially). Not sure who has taken the torch from Hanks. Russell Crowe, maybe, he doesn't have quite the volume.
Not sure we'll ever see a run like that again.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Across the Universe - 2007

To begin with, we've had this from Netflix for most of a month and only tonight were we able to watch it. Watching movies together as parents is incredibly difficult. Also, the weeks of waiting have probably put to much weight on our expectations. Frankly, we were disappointed.
The theory is simple, tell a story about a group of people in 1968 and use Beatles songs to tell it. The execution was well done, as each song was masterfully produced. Really, the movie is beautiful to look at and sounds incredible. Why were we disappointed? The story sucked. It was a set of plot points put together to move the movie on to the next song and barely anything more.
Couldn't help but think of 'Moulin Rouge' while watching this. The idea is similar and they even use some of the same music. The difference is that 'Moulin's' story is strong enough on it's own that it holds your interest while its songs serve to enhance it. Not so here.
As a set of high concept Beatles videos, it works. As a movie it fails. We both thought that it might have been better on the big screen. The downside is that we couldn't then fast forward during the dull parts. I really don't want to rip this type of movie too badly because I love the idea behind it, but this one really didn't work.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Random Thursday Morning Stuff

  • I don't know if we updated, but Relia is feeling fine now, thank you very much. No more fever and she's back to being the happy girl she usually is. The clingy-ness is back to normal (i.e. sometimes too much but not overwhelming). She has slept through last night. In fact, I had to wake her at 830a!
  • I've been given a mission today. I shall go forth and seize a Wii Fit for my lady. (Best Buy doesn't open for another few minutes, so you folks get a blog post.)
  • Did May seem chilly to you? It wasn't just here, it was worldwide. Down almost .2 of a degree from the global norm. Brrrr.
  • Spoke too soon. Just had to deal with a tantrum. That will not be the theme of today, though.
  • And I've called around and no one has the Wii Fit. Guess we'll go to plan B (and no, I don't know what that is yet.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

More Wii Love

We're totally into Wii Sports. For the uninitiated it features Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Bowling and Boxing. Each of these is fun in its own right and I can see why this set of games has made the system a hit with many unusual demographics.
The unexpected (and wonderful) part is that each sport features training rounds. These are little competitions that focus on smaller parts of the overall sport. Each sport has three different skills you can select from.
They might be the greatest set of late night, sitting around with friends games ever. Especially if adult beverages are involved. For instance, with bowling you get a chance to bowl for strength. They do this in ten rounds. Each round they add another row of pins to the back. You start at ten and then go to fifteen. 21, 28, 36, 45 and so on all the way up to 105. By the tenth round you're bowling at a virtual sea of pins. Who doesn't enjoy that?
Similar fun is part of the boxing training. The trainer throws tennis balls at you while you dodge left or right to avoid taking one in the noggin. The better you are, the faster he throws them. I love watching the FP Gal play this one as she can't help from laughing at the absurdity of it.
Throw in some booze and you have a party!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Aquarium


Berlin

Speaking of books

Ran across this article (via Reason) written by a book lover. He writes about the need to buy books and what that does for his living space.
But after living in smallish apartments for decades I just spent seven years in a house with a full-size attic, and everything went to hell. Books entered my house under cover of night, from the four winds, smuggled in by woodland creatures, and then they never left. Books collected on every surface; I believe that somehow they managed to breed.
That reminds me of a certain brother and father of mine. Yes, and me too. Actually I can relate to the entire thing. I love books and have to make an effort not to buy too many more. Used book stores effect me just like catnip does to the kitties. When I worked at a B&N with a used section, I'd come home with arm-loads of the things. This section spoke to me too:
Over the years I've gotten used to the inevitable questions about my accumulation of books. No, I haven't read all of them, nor do I intend to -- in some cases that's not the point. No, I'm not a lawyer (a question usually asked by couriers, back in the days of couriers). I do have a few hundred books that I reread or consult fairly regularly, and I have a lot of books pertaining to whatever current or future projects I have on the fire, and I have many, many books speculatively pointing toward some project that is still barely a gleam in my eye. I have a lot of books that I need for reference, especially now that I live 40 minutes away from the nearest really solid library. I have some books that exist in the same capacity as the more recondite tools in the chest of a good carpenter -- you may not need it more than once in 20 years, but it's awfully nice to have it there when you do. Primarily, though, books function as a kind of external hard drive for my mind -- my brain isn't big enough to do all the things it wants or needs to do without help.
Really, I could quote things from almost every paragraph in the piece. The whole thing is well worth reading.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Top 100 Booklist

This list comes from Time magazine. It was published way back in 2005 and is the best 100 novels written since 1923 (when Time was first published. Before that there was only Space in the continuum.) (And no, I don't know if that last sentence was punctuated correctly but it's my blog and the editor says to go with it.)
Anyway, the list is here. They aren't ranked so I can't argue with their top ten or anything like that. I've only read 17 of them though I've seen the movie versions of another ten or so. There are a number of books that this list and others have convinced me must be worth reading. Among them:

Gravity's Rainbow
I, Claudius
Lolita
A Passage to India
Tropic of Cancer


Some lesser known books from the list that I'd highly recommend are 'Snow Crash' and 'Midnight's Children'. Both were written in the last 30 years and have not been made into movies. 'Pale Fire' probably fits into that category as well.

Relia update

It was another week of learning and doing for Relia. (If you're easily bored by stories of other people's children, you should skip this post. I'll try and follow it with something more broadly interesting.)
  • She got her first real black eye this week. At daycare, not at home. There was a story about toys being thrown. We're assuming it was other children and not the kind daycare ladies. It was pretty impressive on Wednesday and you can still see it a bit.
  • Her walking is becoming faster and more confidant. While it's usually the 'zombie walk', more and more she's carrying things with her. Sometimes something in each hand and she'll stop on the trip to trade out for something else.
  • She's becoming more and more focused on certain objects. Or at least she really wants one thing over another. The 'thing' changes from time to time.
  • Over the weekend she discovered that if she talks into a plastic tub that her voice sounds very different. She's fascinated by it and it's adorable. (Ok, I'm more than thirty years older than her and I find it fascinating too.)
  • She caught Ozzie today. He was in the window sill facing away from her. She came up behind him and got a full grip on one of his back legs. Yes, he was very surprised and I was able to separate them before it came to blows. I imagine that both of them have some lessons to learn on this front.
I'd include pictures of all these things if I was a better parent but the camera is never there when I need it. Sorry!