Thursday, April 30, 2009

Movie trailer mismatch

You may not know this but movie trailers rarely feature music that will actually be in that particular movie. I think this is because the music is one of the last things finished so they have to go with something else. This is both irritating and fascinating to me. It's irritating because a movie's score does quite a bit for me and more than once I've been sold by a trailer only to be let down by the actual score (see 'Legends of the Fall'). On the other hand, it's kind of interesting to track down the actual piece.
Today I put on 'Finding Nemo' to see if Relia cares about cartoons yet. The first trailer is for 'The Incredibles'. Can you name the movie that they stole this from?

Andrew, I expect you to know this even if no one else does...

Where in the World scoreboard

Answers for round three are here:

11 Potola Palace, Lhasa Tibet
12 Yu Yuan Garden, Shanghai China
13 Forbidden City, Bejing (or Peking) China
14 Golden Pavilion, Kyoto Japan
15 Mt Fuji, Japan

That means that the scoreboard reads:

Michelle 9
Hans 4
Jen 2

and picture 6 is still out there waiting to be identified. And Michelle correctly identified number 6 as Table Rock near Capetown.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Most popular songs

Ok, so I'm going back to the whole best Police song debate from a couple of weeks ago. It occurred to me that there is one more easy way to add some judgment here. Go to YouTube! More specifically, I'm going to type in 'police' into the search window and see which video is most popular. And the winner is: Roxanne.
This isn't a perfect method of course. It gives a major boost to singles and people could be watching for the video rather than the song, though probably not with that video. Out of curiosity, I decided to see how some other groups stack up.

Sting - Shape of My Heart
U2 - One
Beatles - Hey Jude
REM - Losing My Religion
Elvis - Always on My Mind

Um, after seeing those results I'm thinking that this method must be truly flawed.

"One, two, tree"

After months and months of coercion, Relia finally decided to count to three today. Well, kind of. We're under no illusion that she understands the concept of 'a single thing', 'two things' or 'three things' but at least she's saying them in the proper order.
For some unknown reason she also adds "oh no!" at the end and then laughs hysterically.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not the swine flu

Went into the doctor's office today about the cold that's been wiping me out since Saturday. Turns out that it's not swine flu, it's just a regular sinus problem. They suggested some different allergy medicine than I usually take and some sinus rinsing. As a bonus they told me that I should stay away from work at least another day.

Now if only I could sleep...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where in the World 3

Round three, hope you're enjoying this...
See rules here before commenting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is German for 'Surreal'?

(Via John Scalzi) Here is a 30's nightclub version of 'Tainted Love' and yes, that's as strange as it sounds.

He got the list here and it includes 'Mambo No 5'. Very strange.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lawnmower needed

We need some advice. Summer is coming up and that means that soon the yard will need mowing. And not just once, but probably several times. And both of us hate doing it.
Well, the money isn't too bad for us now so I suggested that we hire someone to mow for us. I had in mind some young teenager who could come over once a week (or every other or something like that) and mow the durn thing. We could give them a dollar or something and everyone would be happy.
But there are problems with that approach (and apparently inflation means that $1 is out of the question). We have an electric mower with a long extension cord. The FP Gal is afraid that a young mower would run over the cord and ruin it. Also, we are surrounded by renal properties and don't know many of our neighbors.
So we need advice. How do we find someone to help us out?

A Case of Conscience - Blish

The big idea behind this book is simple enough. In the near future the human race discovers an inhabited planet. A Jesuit priest is on the initial expedition and has to help decide what kind of contact man should have with the aliens, called Lithians. He takes the opportunity to find out what kind religious beliefs they have and the answer will necessarily have a big impact on religious beliefs back on Earth.
(Spoilers.) He discovers a) that they have no religion and b) they don't seem to be able to sin. He has to decide whether that means that they are still in a state of grace or, more dangerously, if the entire planet was a satanic trap meant to lure humanity away from Christianity. Throw in a set of pupal stages that seem to confirm evolution and the priest has no choice but to condemn the place.
That's the first half of the book and it was very interesting. Blish creates an interesting world and race with the Lithians. He also has a compelling four cornered conversation regarding the future of the world.
And I wish I'd stopped reading then because the second half goes into the ditch. A Lithian is brought to Earth and raised there without the benefit of his natural environment or supporting society. He becomes something of a celebrity due to his habit of asking teenager like questions that embarrass adults. Sadly, it's not compelling or convincing.
Blish also has created a culture on Earth that is largely underground due to the leftovers from nuclear war fears. The book was written in 1958 so this probably meant more then but it clangs. He has the skyscrapers of New York virtually deserted because people are unwilling to live on the surface. Not because fears of war are imminent but because so much effort went into building the shelters.
Another thing that bugged me was the make-up of the survey crew. It's virtually unthinkable that the fate of an expidition would hinge on one crew member's religious feelings. Another member is a virulent xenophobe. Can you imagine NASA picking a four man crew and choosing a paranoid racist?
Not a great book and in some ways greatly disappointing. Blish shows that he can write and the ideas are certainly there. But the human sequences defies belief. I'd give it 3/5.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where in the World scoreboard

With two rounds out there the score is:

Michelle 5
Hans 2
Jen 2

From this weeks answers:

7 Buddha Park, Vientiane Laos
8 Grand Palace, Bangkok Thailand
9 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
10 Village of Hoi An, Vietnam

Number 10 was one of the hardest ones for me to find in the whole set. Not the hardest, that's number 18. The next set has some easier pictures in it so don't despair. Use of the internet to find the answers is not only allowed but encouraged. There are still two answers out there right now.
Per usual, the next set will pop on Monday at noon.

Update: Another point for Jen, for number seven. The scoreboard has been updated.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So we've been watching reruns of 'Two and a Half Men' (thank you Tivo!). It's fun and the writing is crisp and we're enjoying it. And...the themes are quite adult so we have to watch it now before Relia understands what they're talking about.
Anyway, as the show changes from scene to scene they use a simple croon of 'men...'. Relia has taken to imitating it. Which could hardly be cuter.

Relatedly, this afternoon while driving her home she was singing the 'Mommy, Mommy' song. I told the FP Gal and she said that it sounded quite a bit like the 'Nana, Nana' song. I'm hoping for my own song soon. I've got my fingers crossed!

All Star Balloting

Here we are almost three weeks into the season and MLB is opening up online All-Star balloting. How does that possibly make sense? They have only played 10% of the season so far. What genius thought this up?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Youth and branding

I enjoyed this post from Shysterball about his letting his boy pick out his first baseball cap.
Stopping by Lids at the mall, I pointed him towards the kids' hat rack. Though Wahoo [Cleveland's controversial cartoonish Indian mascot] was well-represented, there were multiple options available, so I liked my chances. And thankfully he didn't pick Wahoo. He picked Spongebob Squarepants.
The next day he narrowed the choices to baseball caps. The choice was...unfortunate. You'll have to read the piece to find out why.
Still, I can't help but wonder when we're going to go through this process on our own. I'm kind of assuming that my zealous fandom will bleed over but I could be wrong. If we stay here in Minneyota my children could very well be Twins fans. I hope they'll cheer for the Vikes with me. If they go Cubs or Packers they are dead to me and that's all there is to that.

Um, I'm not the only one who thinks about this stuff, am I?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where in the World 2

Second round, here we go.
See rules here before commenting.

Crime scene?

Relia has covered all of her little dolls with blankets, put them 'night-night' and left them on the floor of the living room. It makes the place look like the morgue for 'CSI Nursery'.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

End of the weekend

Ugh, I could use another day off. Today I drove down to Austin to surprise Dad and spend a little time with him. Was only down for a couple of hours and then buzzed back up here and helped move a bed.
That's right, we got a toddler bed for Relia. She won't be in it yet and I'm not sure what the schedule is but it'll be cute when it's done. (The FP Gal is overhead right now doing a practice construction. Only a few loud crashes and no loud cursing yet. I take that as a good sign.)
We picked the bed up in the small town of Hugo. The development was laid out with a Victor Hugo theme and the streets were named after characters from 'Les Miserables'. I liked it. We discussed other towns for which that would work and now I fervently hope that if someone creates a development in Austin that they name the streets after Jane Austen novels.
Speaking of Hugo (the town) we were curious if it was named after Victor Hugo or not. I suggested that it could have been. Hugo (the author) was popular over the later half of the 19th century and that's when a large portion of this area was settled. What does Wikipedia say? wasn't named Hugo until 1906, which doesn't help my theory. But the historical society says that it was named after him. The world may never know.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In Honor

of my mother finally joining the 21st century and getting high speed internet, I thought I'd post some happy video. This always makes me smile.

Yes, I've posted this before (and the backstory is here) but be honest, aren't you glad that you watched it again?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have a great Friday

(I don't know where this shot was taken from.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Difference Between a Cat and a Comma

(This post was inspired by a conversation at the dinner table at which we discussed whether or not I could be hired by the FP Gal's school district to teach this distinction.)

What is the difference between a cat and a comma?
  • If you put a dot above a cat they don't become a semi-colon.
  • A comma is usually found on a keyboard. A cat is only sometimes found there.
  • Cats use a litter box. No one knows where commas go to the bathroom.
  • Cats are always grammatical.
  • No one is allergic to commas.
  • A serial comma is controversial. A serial cat is...apparently just one of a series of cats.

Where in the World scoreboard

Results so far after 1-5:

Hans has two correct, numbers 1 and 5. AML has 2 and 4. And so far no one has number 3 correct yet, so keep guessing.

Answers so far
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
2. New Cathedral of Cuenca, Cuenca Ecuador
4. Luxor Temple, Thebes
5. Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Best Police Songs

Ok, so I didn't get the agreement that I expected on the 'Every Little Thing She Does is Magic' question. We got one vote for 'Message in a Bottle' and two votes for 'Every Breath You Take'. Let's see what google thinks...
  • First link has the top song as 'Don't Stand So Close to Me'. 'Magic' is number five. 'Breath' is number seven. I'd argue that the entire list should be disqualified because 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' shouldn't be anywhere near a top ten list and it's number four.
  • Link two goes with 'Roxanne' at the top with 'Message' in second. They have 'Breath' at four and 'Magic' at six. But then they go off the tracks with 'De Do Do Do' at number eight.
  • Link three is a top 25 list. They go with...'Voices in My Head'. Actually that list must be the deep cut list where songs are heavily penalized for being popular.
  • Number four is a top 10 list. They've got 'Beds too Big Without You', which is a great song, at number one. They have 'Magic' at five. I'm coming to believe that I'm in the minority for my hatred of 'De Do Do Do' because they have it at six.
  • And the fifth one advertises a top five but goes all the way to eleven. Number one is 'Don't Stand' and has 'Breath' at number two. 'Magic' is at six.
  • Six has 'Breath' as the best and 'Magic' at four.
And that's all I can quickly find. No conclusive top song (which speaks well for 'the Police') but I guess my theory wasn't very obvious.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random Wednesday thoughts

Been awhile since I've done one of these...
  • Beautiful weather this week. Forecasts (rumors) have us in the 70s the next couple of days. I hope that doesn't mean we have to dress all disco-y.
  • Speaking of dressing, we're doing a spring celebration type thing at work this week. We do these often in an attempt to keep morale up. I used to laugh at this (and sometimes I still do) but their hearts in the right place and even when it doesn't work it serves as a distraction. Anyway, this week they are asking people to dress in specific colors on each day. So far we had purple, yellow and blue. Tomorrow the color is pink. Yep, the one color that isn't unisex. Good luck with that.
  • Discussed this with the FP Gal the other day and I'm interested in outside opinion. I suggested that the all time best song from The Police is 'Every Little Thing You Do is Magic'. At times I favor 'Message in a Bottle' or 'Don't Stand So Close to Me' but 'Magic' is clearly the top. Right?
  • The Viking schedule was released yesterday. Last year they had the oddity of no cold weather games. This year they'll play a late December night game at Chicago. Yikes. Bundle up guys!
That's it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Great, great disappointment

The FP Gal has some old Sesame Street episodes on DVD. This has become a reliable distraction/source of contentment for Relia. But not so much for the FP Gal.
You see Relia loves it when Ernie comes on the screen. When she does she gets very excited and yells..."Elmo!". This could hardly upset the FP Gal more. Elmo of course is not authentic. I have to agree with this completely because he certainly wasn't on the show when I was young either. (Of course he's not as bad as Bert, but still.)
This morning, after a sketch where Ernie tried showing off his counting but kept getting stuck on 3, I heard the FP Gal carefully explaining that Elmo is 'yucky'.
This should be interesting...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where in the World 1

Here are the first pics. Good luck!
See rules here before commenting.

Yet another level of parenting

We had another rough night last night (one that the FP Gal eventually fixed around 130a with a waffle). The crying started a little after ten. First there was coughing and we weren't sure what to do. We wondered if this was teething related and if she needed some painkiller. Then the crying started and we decided to give it a try.
I went into her room and gave her some Tylenol. Then I washed out the dropper and went back in to have her drink some water. She was already laying down again and facing away from the door. Back out of the room, but not before tripping over something and making more noise.
No sooner did I get back into bed before she started calling me. The worst part was that for the first time she was calling for me by name. "Daddy! Daddy!" Talk about heart-wrenching!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where in the World?

We just finished playing a game at work that I enjoyed. In fact, I liked it so much that I'm going to steal it for my blog! The game is simple, they gave us 40 pictures of places around the world and we had to say where it was. Sounds easy enough, yes?
So here is how I'm going to do it. Every Monday at noon for the next eight weeks I've got a scheduled post with five of the pictures on it. Each one has a number with it. Your job is to leave your guess in the comment section. First person with a correct guess gets a point (and I will keep score). The winner gets an actual prize. I believe it will be the first one in FP history.

For example, for the above image you would guess 'the Statue of Liberty'. See it's easy.
Sound fun? I hope so, because it's all in place and ready to go. If any of my co-workers are reading this, you're not allowed to play (for obvious reasons). The FP Gal is also out because she's sleeping with the judge. Everyone else is fair game.
Good luck!

Good news

The truck is gone. Hopefully it won't come back. Even more hopefully, it will be taken off the street and painted over.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Classin' Up the Joint

We left the house this morning for our daily (I kid, but only a little) stop at Target. As we got in the car we noticed a truck that we hadn't seen on our block before. This particular gem had a painted back door. The picture is of two ladies, mostly undressed and bending over. (The FP Gal posted about it here with blurred photo.)
Whoo-boy! You just can't buy this kind of authentic experience around people that are decent. Or have taste. Or a brain.
I mean seriously, why in the world would you get a picture like that? Did he lose a bet or something? It's not like this is going to get women to want to sleep with him. I'm not an expert on women but I think it just might repel them.
Not only that, why in the world would you inflict this on the rest of the world? A little bit of privacy in the sexual realm is not a bad thing. Not to mention innocent passersby. Our daughter (thank God) is too young to really be influenced but what about the dozen other kids in the neighborhood?
The police swung by earlier but the car is still there. I'm not sure what we do if it is a semi-permanent addition to the 'hood. I suggested to the FP Gal that we go out early in the morning and spraypaint a bikini on it but she pointed out that we would actually be on the wrong side of the law then.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My baseball rant

So I think I mentioned that I plunked down more than $100 for a thing with MLB so that I could watch out of market games on my computer. As a long time White Sox fan living in Minnesota this was a good deal for me as I want to watch more than the 15-20 games that WGN shows each year.
I can't watch tonight's game. The Twins are in Chicago playing the Sox and I can't watch it. Due to antiquated blackout restrictions, the game is blocked from my online dealie. And we don't have the cable package that the game is on locally. Therefore no game for me.
To make it worse, even MLB's own website can't keep up with the game! The boxscore shows that they're in the second inning but the play by play is stuck at the end of the first. Grrrr.
The FP Gal thinks I should just ignore this game. Maybe she's right and the baseball gods are telling me something. But...c'mon...

Have a great Friday

Thursday, April 09, 2009


The other night the FP Gal said something to me about how she doesn't get into long term projects in the same way that I do. This is interesting because no one who knew me back in my 20's (or high school or earlier) would think of me as a 'project' kind of guy. In fact, if it wasn't for this blog I still don't think that I could be mistaken for one. There is something about having an audience to keep promises for that helps tremendously. On the flip side, and maybe more importantly, a project is a great way to make certain you have things to write about.
In some ways I really do wish I had started this stuff earlier when I had time. The first movie project was based on an idea I had back in 2000 or so. If I'd started that one when I was single, I could have gone through it much more easily. Now that I have a wife and a toddler, I don't think I could do it again.
The book projects are a bit easier because you can always carve out small amounts of time to read. You don't need to set aside two or more hours like you do for a movie (or fourteen for 'The Thin Red Line').
I'm finding the Hugo project more fun than I expected. Certainly easier to chain myself to than the Great American novel list. Sci-fi is every bit as interesting and somewhat more mind expanding than general Lit. At least that's been my impression so far.
Also of interest is that I'm not the only one doing this. A little bit of Google searching has uncovered at least three others. The first one I found was Paean's Progress, a sympathetic soul who is reading this list out in Colorado. Then I found that a blogger from the Guardian, Sam Jordison is reading from the Hugo list and also with the Booker books that I like so much. Today I ran across a blogger with the possible name of Cynarion who is also attempting the 'Hugo Challenge'.
I'm behind all four (and am not promising that I'll catch up) but I like reading their reviews after I'm done reading each book. I think I'll start including links to each of them as I write my own. (I might also steal Paean's scoring system.) If I looked hard enough I could probably an organized book club that reads the Hugos but this seems to be much more convenient.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Away from the TV!

Finally, we've found something that will get children to stop watching television! I think this commercial is the very definition of 'mixed message'.

What does an owl say?

"Owl! Owl! Owl!"

At least that's what our daughter tells us. If she doesn't know one of the animals then she just repeats their name back. It's pretty funny and we kind of hope that it takes a while for her to learn the right answer.
In a similar manner, if we ask her what Mommy says she responds, "Mommy!". Same thing with 'Daddy' and 'Relia'. I guess 'what does something say' is closely related to 'how do you say something'.
Again, very cute.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Big Time - Leiber

Time travel is a pretty complicated concept and many sci-fi authors have tackled it. I haven't read anything quite like 'The Big Time' before though. The idea is that two different warring groups, the Snakes and the Spiders, are fighting each other through various time periods. They each try to sway events throughout time to change civilization. Each side takes people from various time periods and rescues them from death...if they'll fight for them.
'The Big Time' takes place in a rest place where the soldiers take a kind of time out from active battle. The narrator lives/works there. It's a place that is cut off from time and space and none of them really understand the machinery that keeps them there. Not to spoil anything but a crisis develops and the place and everyone in it must solve a mystery that has put them all in great danger.
I liked this book. It is written with a very particular jargon that takes some time to get used to. In fact, I wish that Leiber had taken more time to ease the reader into the slang. Maybe it's better on a second pass through, once you've gotten used to it. It's a very clever book and I couldn't help but think that it could be the basis for a pretty good TV show.
A good book.


We have RF Connector problems. I'm not sure what to do about it but I don't think it's serious.

(Update: This is related to our new DVD player. And I have no idea what an RF Connector is or what it does. Beside the obvious answer that it 'connects' something. And probably something RF related. But I don't know what that means.
Good thing I married a smart girl.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy Aniversary

We celebrate a lot of different days around here. Most couples just have their wedding anniversary as a special day. The FP Gal feels that the date of our first date is a big deal. For me it's the day that I proposed to her.
It's something of a floating holiday as we celebrate on the first night of the baseball season. Which is tonight. So happy anniversary, love. It's been a wonderful four years.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Night out

Last night we dropped Relia off with Grandma D and spent the night in a hotel. It was wonderful (well, mostly).
We stopped by Mom's about 5p with baby. We quickly got her inside and situated. She loves my Mom's piano and is very cute while playing it. The canary is also a novelty and she learned how to say 'peep!'.
Then off to the hotel, Le Bourget, in Bloomington. We've stayed there in the past and it's a nice enough place. We dropped our stuff and then off to the Macaroni Grill for dinner. It was my first time there. The food was good and the service was excellent. Then a quick trip to Dairy Queen so the FP Gal could have an after dinner cone.
Back to the hotel and I got a quick nap to get rid of my nagging headache. The FP Gal went off for some discount shopping. When she got back we discovered that the cable didn't include E! so we couldn't watch 'The Soup' which was very disappointing.
Off to the pool. Floating around was very nice. The water was nice and warm which I liked more than the FP Gal did. Back up to the room to shower off the chlorine.
And here was my only complaint of the hotel. They didn't have traditional pillows on the bed. Instead they had throw pillows. They were too puffy and didn't have any 'sweet spot'. I didn't sleep well. Le Bourget, please change back.
This morning featured breakfast at Perkins and then home. The kitties were thrilled to see us. Hungry as well. Naps all around and the date was over.

New pics

Professional pics of us can be found here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Unpopular baby names

Relia has discovered our baby name books. She's just tall enough to reach them and demand that she be able to look at the babies. Well, all of our books are boring to look at. At least for toddlers. A pretty picture on the front but inside nothing but black and white paragraphs of name descriptions.
Sometimes there is something interesting for adults though. One of our books is 'The New Age Baby Name Book' (which is fitting since the FP Gal and I are very into crystals and astrology ). This book has some interesting lists, one I discovered today is a list of "Most Unpopular Names". Sound fun? Here is the list:

Amourous (talk about sending your daughter down the wrong road)
Bugless (every parent's hope I suppose)
Despair (middle name Pit of)
Feather (actually surprised this is on the list)
Ham (somewhat better than 'Pork')
Lettuce (sister of Bacon and Tomato)
Minniehaha (serious diaper changes for this kid)
Murder (Marshall's younger brother?)
Strongitharm (Rachel, I think you should consider this)

So there you have it, a list of names that are almost criminally underused. Or in some cases just descriptions of crimes. Feel free to use this as a cheat sheet for any of your upcoming baby needs.

Bad Star Wars Costumes

(Via Althouse) Holy cats these are bad. The last one is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Work schedule

This week we went to the new 35 hour workweek. My new schedule has me working ten hour days on Mon, Tue and Fri while only doing half days on Wed. It's very strange to leave while it's still busy. I'm sure I'll get used to it somehow.

Especially when it warms four months from now...


Thanks, Aunt Heidi!

Is it possible to wear goofy glasses without looking like Elton John?

Storm update

Remember that snowstorm I mentioned Sunday night? Well it finally arrived overnight and dumped a vicious quarter inch of snow on us. People are scrambling to find snow brushes and hats, I'm sure. The weather people assure us that another couple of inches are imminent. We'll see.
Open question: have the local weather people underestimated a snowstorm here in the Cities sometime over the last ten years? I can't remember any time. I talk with people from all over the country and they do sometime exceed the forecasted weather. Really, it happens.
Not that I'm cheering for snow, mind you. I could use a couple of days in the 60's. (Well, if I'm wishing for stuff it would be in the 80's and I'd be on a beach somewhere warm.)
Anyway, be careful out there. And remember to wear a hat...