Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Here is to a great 2010 for everyone!

And as an aside, I agree with Jesse Walker here:
Please spare us from these ninnies who keep insisting that the aughts aren't ending tonight. If we were discussing "the 201st decade," they'd have a point. We're not, so shut up. If you insisted that 2000 was the last year of the 20th century, you were being pedantic. If you insisted it was the last year of the '90s, you were just being stupid.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hugo Project

Today I finally picked up the last books that I need for the Hugo project. At least until something else wins this coming August. I started with this many of them:

And now have this many:
This picture has them stacked by decade. The 40's and 50's are on the left stretching all the way over to the 00's on the right. For those scoring at home, I've read the first two books from the 70's.
The only problem is, what books should I start shopping for now?

Five Years

This blog turns five years old today. It has been a good five years. The FP Gal and I talked about our blogs earlier. She isn't sure if she would have started if not for me. Part of me thinks that I would've started one anyway but . . . I could have done so pretty easily as early as August of '03 and I didn't.
I'm glad it's here if for no other reason that it provides a pretty good record of the last five years. I picture Relia and Baby XY reading this years from now and learning about a time that otherwise would be unavailable to them. (Of course they'll have to fight through tons of dead links by then.)
Here is to (at least) another five.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2000 Retro-Not-Oscar Movies

And the nominations are closed. I was hoping for a large list that we could pare down to 10 dramas and 5 comedies. By my count we got 11 dramas and 6 comedies in the nominations. That's close enough so we'll go forward with that. My intention is to review these in alphabetical order and then we'll vote on a winner for each. The dramas will be first:

Almost Famous
Cast Away
Chocolat
Crouching Tiger...
Finding Forrester
Gladiator
Memento
Requiem for a Dream
Snatch
X-Men
Yi-Yi

And the comedies:
Best in Show
Bring it On
Charlie's Angels
High Fidelity
O Brother...

I'm open to swapping categories between comedy and drama if anyone wants to argue that I put something in the wrong place.

Monday, December 28, 2009

"It's Not Science Fiction"


So . . . it's not science fiction. Does that mean that the Air Force is actually performing rescue missions on some planet with two moons?

Off to Work

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas, Part Deux

Today we drove down to Austin. We had planned on yesterday but that didn't work out. The change of schedule worked out for us anyway.
We opened up with our usual Sunday morning walk through the MOA. Of note, Relia asked to wear Paratrooper Bear (aka child harness w/leash) and we let her. That always brings looks from others as they try to decide if it's cute or inhumane.
We left from there and went straight to Austin. The FP Gal predicted that she'd be fast asleep by Burnsville. She was. They were both asleep by Northfield. Which allowed me to spend some time with my music and my thoughts. The three of us don't spend enough time together.
We went to Uncle David and Aunt Donna's house for lunch. Amy made very yummy Chinese food. Then it was time for some Christmas themed readings. Relia picked a part that was represented by a crown, which she announced was a 'birthday cake'. She is in full on mimic stage which brought about a short memorable speech that went something like, "He was on the cross with birthday cake!". The FP Gal was in tears, she was crying so hard.
Relia helped with present time, opening packaging whether it belonged to her or not. She was also very insistent on knowing what was in each thing. She got some snack cakes and made a small (but cute) mess. This was followed by card playing and naps.
We took some time to visit the Bremners before they head east and then to parts unknown. Always a good time. Good talk for the adults and Relia gets swept into the whirlwind of their 14 children. Even though we only saw them a few times a year, we'll miss them.
Then back home with Relia sleeping most of the way (again). Her bedtime is all screwed up for the night but we'll make it through. Christmas is almost done for us (and will be as soon as we get things mailed out). We had a great time. This is a holiday that is always better with a toddler.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Challenge

I've challenged the FP Gal that we should name our upcoming son after the winner of the 2010 Men's Skeleton in Vancouver. She has declined...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We're done with our Christmas travels and home for the night. How did the day go? Pretty well, all things considered. This Christmas will be widely remembered because of the weather. It hasn't been the snowiest weather that I can remember. Haven't heard actual totals but probably something like a foot. The strange thing has been how long it's snowed. Something like 48 hours (off and on). Went out and shoveled three times yesterday and still had to dig my car out this morning.
The other weird thing is how warm it was today. Temps were right around freezing, maybe a touch higher. That meant lots of slush. And heavy shoveling. Tonight we'll get down into the low 20's so the ice should be spectacular tomorrow.
But that isn't what Christmas is all about, family is. We started the morning by bringing Relia into our bed and explaining that she's having a little brother. She didn't get it. I'm not sure how much she'll understand before the end.
We went downstairs and opened our stockings. That meant that she got (unprecedented) candy at breakfast time. A very strong start to her day. She also got some small toys.
Then it was off to the FP Gal's family for waffles and such. And more presents of course. She was our little elf, handing out gifts once we pointed her towards the new owner. It was fun to watch her open gifts for herself, slowly at first and soon all business. These presents scored her more candy and toys. Personal highlight: got to talk to Hans on the phone for more than a half hour.
Next I dug the car out (and got some pushing) and we were off to my Mom's house. Relia fell asleep on the way over and we thought she might take a bit of a nap once we got there. No such luck. Rain and dripping trees woke her and she was ready to roll.
More presents and this time Relia really wanted to open all of them for herself. She opened a shirt from Hans and Rachel and said, "Oh, a cute shirt!". Pretty darn adorable.
Got all set to leave and my car decided to pull the ten minute wait nonsense. So we sat in the car, all bundled to go and counted down till we could start it. Mom came out to shovel and see what was wrong just as we started it. We rolled down the window and explained and then were off for home! Relia took another nap.
Now we're home and recovering. If the roads are ok, we'll drive down to Austin tomorrow.

Hope you all had wonderful days!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And We're Having...

Actually, I can't tell you yet. The FP Gal has decided on a bit of privacy or something like that. In any case, when we got the ultrasound a few weeks back we asked them to write down the big answer and put it into an envelope for us. We planned on opening it tonight and (after a marathon putting to bed session) we have done so. With any luck we can share it soon.
I can tell you that we're both happy but we would've been either way so that doesn't answer much.

Some stories on a related subject while you wait? My cousin Andrea had two boys in quick succession. When the boys were a few years older (3 and 4?) she was pregnant again. She decided that it would best to find out the gender so she could prepare them. Found out she was having a girl.
The boys were horrified. A little sister is not what they wanted. After a few days of being upset they cheered up and came to talk to her. They told her that they decided to pray to God and ask for a change to a little brother instead. She told them it was unlikely.
Then they tried to be helpful by coming up with a name. After some discussion they decided on 'Zorro'. Andrea told them that, while a fine name, 'Zorro' wasn't really a girl's name. They put their heads together and found a solution. Their new sister should be named 'Zorro-Lynn'.

Update: And the FP Gal changed her mind. I can tell you that we're having a boy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snowmegadden

At least that's what the FP Gal is calling it. Just wanted to get word out to the rest of the family that in spite of the dire warnings of snow on the way WE ARE ALL STILL ALIVE. Updates as warranted, of course.
It sounds like the worst of it will hit further south. I'll try to reach someone in Austin later to make sure they're still there. From news reports, I wouldn't bet on it.

Stay safe out there...

Straight No Chaser


I'm stealing this from Heidi's blog. Very good stuff, especially the Toto tribute.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Children Book Anachronisms

Tonight I read a short book to Relia before she went up to bed and something struck me. Many of the things that are commonplace in the kid's books that I grew up with are nearing the fossil stage.
Think about how much phones have changed in the last 30 years. We're almost a cell only household at this point. A 'wired' phone is more of a rarity. And a rotary phone is roughly as current as an 8-track.
Speaking of which, record playing is hard to do. When I was young I had a record library of some 30 albums or so, all children's music. She'll have CD's.
Newspapers? Will there be delivery newspapers five years from now? I wouldn't bet on any that she'd see on any kind of regular basis. (Will the next generation of children's books use blogs?)
The FP Gal has noted that Relia already lives in a world where we can pause TV and fast forward through commercials. She'll always have the internet and all of its wonders.

When I was younger I wondered about how much had changed in my great Grandma's lifetime. She went from horse and buggy to men on the moon. In my 30+ years I've seen the rise of the personal computer, the internet and the cell revolution. What kind of changes will Relia see in hers?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best Movies of the 00's

Yes, another list. Actually a bunch of lists. Slate has set up an interactive guide that aggregates various 'best of the decade' lists. Each movie is on a scale from 50-1 with best movies getting a full 50 points and the 50th best getting only 1. The results are kind of interesting.
Best overall movie? 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. The FP Gal and I both like it a bunch. The story is good and well told. The questions it raises are worthwhile. The cinematic technique is outstanding. Probably wouldn't be my choice but it's a strong one.
It was one of only two movies that made all six lists (the other was '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days'). That says something about how few movies towered over the rest. Only two movies were on five lists and 12 made it on four of them. More than half of them were only on one list. This is a very diffuse list.
The various number 1's:
  • 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'
  • 'Eloge de l’amour (In Praise of Love)' (haven't even heard of this one)
  • 'Mulholland Dr'
  • 'Hidden (Cache)' (haven't heard of this one either)
  • 'Fahrenheit 911'
  • 'City of God'

Back to Work

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Noon

The older I get the more I more certain I am that Viking games should start at noon on Sunday. The occasional Monday night game is fine and (of course) playoff games are fine at noon, 3p or 7p, Saturday or Sunday. But during the regular season I want the games to start at noon. Any other game throws off my rhythm.
Even worse than the rhythm is that CBS keeps putting my television shows on Sunday nights. Two weeks ago it was the Amazing Race finale on opposite a Viking game. Tonight is the Survivor finale (and reunion show) opposite the game. That's six hours of programming that doesn't start until 7p. Grrr.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Have a Great Friday

Beatles 3000


Historians from the year 3000 look back at the Beatles influence.

Oak St Cinema moving to St Anthony Main

Story here. Oak St Cinema is a small, one screen theater near the U campus that shows classic and foreign films. It's where I first saw movies like 'Casablanca', 'The Third Man' and 'A Clockwork Orange'. I would have been sad to see it go.
Meanwhile, the St Anthony Main theater used to be a literal six block walk from our apartment. I saw a bunch of stuff there from '95 until '00 or so. Lots of memories there too. I hope that this arrangement will let both locations thrive a bit.
The article mentions that college students are more likely to watch movies via Netflix and the rise of the good home theater means that the at-home movie experience is always getting better than it was. Still, there is something to watching a film with a group of people. That may be especially true for the older films. I'm glad that the opportunity will still be there.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Speaking of Christmas Carols...

Mental Floss has a list of the six most controversial Christmas carols of all time. Fun stuff (and I think #2 might be a favorite of my mother) but I'm mostly linking to this for one reason. I think my brother owned the album for #6.

Undefeated

With both the Saints and the Colts opening their seasons 13-0 and threatening to go undefeated there has been quite a discussion as to whether the teams should go for every win or pull back their players and just focus on being healthy for the playoffs. Add to this, the annual discussion of whether resting players for the last few weeks of the year leads to sloppy playoff performances and you get quite the range of opinion.
My take? If you can have a perfect season I think you have to go for it. Not to the point of risking players who really aren't healthy enough to play or anything like that but absent extreme health risks, you play hard throughout. You simply owe it to your players to be a part of history.
You probably owe it to the fans, too. Imagine being a Saints fan. Your team has had some small success at times but never a break out year. This year they have a chance at being historic. They will always remember a 16-0 team, 13-3 or 14-2, not so much. With everything that the New Orleans has been through and all the doubt on the future of the team, they need to be as special as they can be.
The Colts are in a different boat but I think it leads to the same place. They've been the winningest team of the 00's and won the Super Bowl just a couple of years back. It's been a good time for them. If you were a Colts fan wouldn't you want them to go for 19-0? Man, I would.

(Note, I'm a fantasy football player and this is playoff time for us but it's unlikely that either teams decisions would effect me very much.)

European Vacation Suggestions

Unfortunately, my brother and sister-in-law (and three wonderful kids) are going to be in Germany for another year. This is unfortunate because, well, we miss them over here. Our (with) family situation pretty much makes it impossible to go and visit them. Unlikely anyway.
The one plus is that this gives them another year to scoot around Europe and see the place. In that spirit, I offer some vacation suggestions.
Some more personal suggestions for me:
  • Castle Hill in Budapest. Looks like a fun place, fun for the family too. It reminds me of my old Lego castle sets.
  • Take a short cruise! Royal Caribbean has their hot deals page here. Scroll down to the Europe section and you'll find plenty of four and five night cruises in Scandinavia for very affordable prices.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disney.
  • Loch Ness and the Inverness area. Monster watching for the kids, gorgeous scenery for everyone. And while you're at it, you could try and get there using the Chunnel.
I hope this helps!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Overheard at Macys

Today while walking through the crowded stacks of stuff at Macys, with Relia on my shoulders:

"Don't want to smash them over."

(While I think the actual desire to smash them over is probably questionable, I appreciate the self restraint.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Word Answers

Where is your cell phone? table

Significant other? tired

Your hair? missing

Your mother? baking

Your father? cat-owning

Your favorite thing? reading
Your dream last night? scary
Your favorite drink?
cokezero
What room are you in? living
Your hobby? reading
Your fear? alzheimers

Where do you want to be in 6 years? westcoast
Where were you last night? home

Something that you aren't? athletic

Muffins? blueberry
Wish list item?
books

Last thing you did? cuddled

What are you wearing? sweatshirt

TV? seventhheaven

Your pets? sleepy
Friends? solid

Your life? transition
Your mood? tired
Missing someone? yes

Drinking? soon

Your car? cold

Something you're not wearing? thong
Your favorite store? mcd's

Your favorite color? blue

When is the last time you cried? movie
Who will repost this?
mom
Where do you go to over and over? work

My favorite place to eat? hawaii

Favorite place I'd like to be at right now? tropics

Up All Night

Just had a very vivid dream that I had some been named the new manager for the (hated) Cubs. Woke up before it became too intense but I think it's safe to say that it wouldn't have worked out well for anyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Off to Work

Why don't we have ice skating races here?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Family Traditions

Before I got married, I never once thought about my in-law's family. Too focused on the bride, probably. One of the things that I never thought of is that we adopt each other's traditions. That means that each December I get chocolate dipped stuff.
This year I was more of a bystander than a participant, after all the Vikings were on. In the past I've tried dipping ginger snaps (with dark chocolate, very yummy). One year I tried Nutter Butters. This was very exciting for me until I found out that they taste just like Little Debbie's Nutty Bars. Tasty, but I was hoping for something new.
This year the FP Gal made me some chocolate dipped banana slices. And of course the chocolate pretzels are very yummy. She and Relia can split the strawberries and marshmallows.
This is always a good day and this year was no exception.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside


The FP Gal made a Christmas CD that gets heavy rotation in my car this time each year. This is really the first time that Relia has been old enough to interact with Christmas music. One of the songs, as you probably gathered from the above video and title of the blog post, is 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'. Relia calls it the 'it's cold, baby' song and loves it when it comes on. It's one of the FP Gal's favorites too, and she really wishes that I'd learn the male lyrics so we can sing it together.
What is it about Christmas that brings out the gimmicky songs? If I had to pick a holiday that would be the king of jokey songs it would probably be Halloween but Christmas probably beats it 10 to 1. No idea why, but that does seem to be the case.
We probably all have our favorites and least favorites. The FP Gal loves, 'I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas' and can't stand 'Blue Christmas'. I still get a kick out of 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer' but will be happy to never hear 'All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth' again. Go ahead and share your faves and dislikes if you want.

Retro-Not-Oscar Reminder

Still accepting nominations for the 2000 Retro-Not-Oscar. Rules (and general description) found here. Don't worry, you won't be judged harshly.
The more nominations the better, so please participate if you haven't already.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thursday Night thoughts

Been awhile since one of these...
  • Very cold here in Minnesota. We went from record cold October to record warm November. December started off normally and now we are in the deep freeze portion. We should get to somewhere around -5 tonight. I could happily go a whole winter without temps below zero.
  • McDonalds rolled out something new, the Mac Snack Wrap. Basically, it's a tortilla with the ingredients of the Big Mac. Tried one out yesterday and wasn't impressed. If you want a Big Mac, stay with the original.
  • I enjoyed these different doorknobs. The last one is my favorite.
  • The latest word on the 'Life of Pi' movie is that Ang Lee will direct and it will be released sometime in 2011. I'm very curious how that will work out.
  • I'm thinking of checking this out. We have been seriously dreaming of a warm vacation (although it's seriously unlikely). Today Relia said, "wanna go to the beach". The FP Gal and I couldn't agree more.
  • It's currently 81 in Honolulu (sigh).
That's it!

Ultrasound

We just got back from the ultrasound. Everything looks good, normal, healthy and all of that. We don't know the gender yet, but we will find out eventually. Relia was thoroughly unimpressed with the whole deal but was somewhat fascinated with the mirror in the room. I'm sure the FP Gal will post with more (and better) details later.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Afternoons

With my recent complaining about Relia's tantrums, I should mention that she's still a blast most of the day. The FP Gal brought her home from daycare this afternoon and she was very happy. We ran around, played with her stuff and even sang into the microphone. She keeps singing "baby and the bomb" over and over. We have no idea what that means or where it came from.
Then the sun went down and it all went to pieces. The FP Gal has pointed out that I keep trying to reason with her and that isn't a two year old strong suit. I just wish I could explain to her why fighting us isn't helping her. No such luck.
Still, the good times are really good. Really, really good.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tantrums

Ok, my post from last night wasn't clear enough. The problem isn't clothing, per se, it's tantrum throwing. Clothes are a focal point but even if she gets her way it only delays the fight. Probably delay it until it's time to go to daycare. (And it's not that she doesn't like daycare.)
Tonight was another rough one, with a very long tantrum as the FP Gal put her down for the night. Yelling, of course, and kicking and hitting. A new one tonight featured an attempt to dismantle a chair that was in there. That's our little carpenter!
It's probably just terrible two stuff and we just need to be patient. That is the tack that we're trying. This means plenty of time-outs and time alone in her room. The really tough time is when we don't really have time to deal with her. The morning daycare fight is a prime example. It's just wearing on us.
Ugh.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Parenting advice

We could use some advice from some experienced parents. We're currently wrapped up in a power struggle with Relia over . . . clothes. Yep, every morning is a huge fight to try and get her to wear such awful things like pants and socks and the like. There is yelling and screaming and hitting and kicking. Tears also. Many, many tears.
There is also a problem getting her dressed for daycare. It started by having to playfully chase her to put on shoes and coat, all the while risking being late. Then it became more tears and yelling. I'm beginning to dread the whole thing.
I know this is some kind of power game. Part of the whole terrible twos thing. We're working through it by outwaiting her but it isn't easy. My question, is there anything we can do to speed up the process? Any ideas out there?

Off to Work

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rereading Heinlein

A couple of interesting posts regarding my favorite author, Robert Heinlein. The first one has to do with rereading 'Citizen of the Galaxy' as an adult.
Others have mentioned how seamless Heinlein's worlds are but I'm always gobsmacked by them, even now. You know that the writer was only showing the iceberg's tip of what he knew about any of his imagined outposts -- like Jubbulpore or the Free Traders' Sisu -- but what he chose to show was exactly what you needed to know. All of the needful stuff is condensed into the man's clear prose, which is never enamored with its own cleverness. In other hands, such concision could be a dull read but this reportorial approach works in Heinlein's hands.
The Hugo project has led me to read lots of books and authors that are new to me. I haven't found any authors who quite hit the same balance that Heinlein consistently does with the narrative. Add in the enjoyable conversation and consistently interesting moral observations and that explains much of my love for the man.
The second post deals with a different juvenile that I also still enjoy, 'The Star Beast'.
While The Star Beast is ostensibly a coming of age story, it is more about the use of diplomacy. Mr Kiku* and his cohort Sergei Greenberg spend most of the book negotiating with the rest of Lummox's race in order to keep the Earth from being blown up by them. The passages about the Beast and John Thomas are interesting -- but it feels like Heinlein really goes off on one of his giddy didactic tears when he gets into the gritty details of status, power and gesture.
My opinion differs. I've read it probably eight or ten times and never was bothered by the 'gritty details' and whatnot. To each their own, I guess. The author here is also bothered that 'Star Beast' focuses on boys relationships but I think that simply fails to account for the conditions under which it was written. Heinlein wrote his juveniles specifically for young boys. It's not fair to take him to task here, especially since one of the strongest characters in the book is his girlfriend Betty.
I've read plenty of adults take Heinlein to task for his female characters. Interestingly, many of these critics enjoyed him as young girls, grew up as fully empowered women and only now find these faults. I think that his lessons of self reliance are easily and transparently applicable to both boys and girls. Any youngling can read his books and learn how to be a better person.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Deep Water - 2006

Earlier in the year I read 'Sailing Alone Around the World', a story of the first solo circumnavigation of the globe. It was a great book, one of the best I've read this year. Reading about the subject led me to a race in the 60's sponsored by a British newspaper, a competition to be the first person to sail solo around the world without stopping at any port. I mentally filed it away as interesting, wondering if there was a book about it. Last night, while looking at Netflix, I discovered that a documentary had been made and released in 2006.
The film mostly follows a man named Donald Crowhurst. Most of the sailors who entered the race were quite experienced, but not Crowhurst. He thought that he could use the most advanced equipment and win fame and fortune for his family. In the process he mortgaged everything. A quick failure would mean he would lose his house and his family would be destitute.
Things do not go well for Crowhurst. He sails (slowly) through the Atlantic but as he goes, the ship develops problems. It becomes clear that it won't weather the Southern Ocean and his life would be in real danger. But if he stops, he'll ruin his family. He is trapped.
His solution is somewhat novel. He starts lying about his position in hopes that he can eventually figure a way through. Soon he is out of place and in serious trouble. He can't just sail into port and be thousands of miles out place. He'd be humiliated.
Add to his mountain of problems that he is all alone. His entire world consists of a small boat and water in all directions. Even the radio won't help as any transmission would give away his location. Crowhurst's sanity slips.
The movie is quite good. Sometimes it gets a bit too arty in presentation but the story is a good one and it tells it well. If you find a romantic element of sailing (which I do) then you'll really enjoy it.

Health update

Just so you know, we're all feeling much better. Relia is still a little bit on the tired side but nothing big. Thanks for all of your well wishes!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Comet McNaught Slideshow


Read an article recently on comet hunting. It had very good tips for how to chart them and photograph (digital cameras are wonderful for amateur astronomers). Of course the hardest part is actually finding one!
Back in early 2007 the beauty featured up there in the video appeared but was almost solely visible in the southern hemisphere. I've had a picture of it as my computer background for the past couple of years. Uh, this one:

If I recall, it was the brightest since the 70's. The curved tail is especially impressive.
How long until the next one? It's really tough to say. While some comets make regular appearances, it's tough to tell how good they'll look ahead of time. You might remember that Halley failed the hype back in '86. We usually get a good one every decade or so though even that is somewhat randomized.
There are smaller ones on a very regular basis. If you live near a dark sky area you can google around for a star-party. Most of them are open to the public and they'd love to show any comets that are out there.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Croup!

We just got back from the pediatrician from our 845p(!) appointment. Daycare thought that her breathing was a little ragged. They were right, she sounded a little like Darth Vader. So we got the next opening we could and found ourselves up waaaay past bedtime in the fine city of Edina, where our pediatricians work.
She was wonderful and patient the whole time. She told the doctor that she felt 'pretty good' even though her breathing didn't agree. The doc listened for about ten seconds and said, "She sounds croupy". Some quick work with that lighted stethoscopey thing confirmed the diagnosis. Yep, she has the croup.
'Croup' doesn't even sound like a real thing to me. Too much like a Dickens plot point. It's like 'diphtheria' and 'whooping crane' or one of those other 19th century diseases that we no longer worry about. Wikipedia confirms that it exists but they also think King Friday is part of the Lancastrian line so who knows if it's true.
So, here are the bullet points:
  • It shouldn't be dangerous, so don't worry. We've got the medicine and the will to use it. The doc warned us that she probably wouldn't like it but she slurped down a full dose without complaint.
  • Of course, she was more than half asleep at the time and may have just been placating us. Tomorrow's dose will be the test. Ugh.
  • Croup (if that is your real name) is contagious but she might be past that point already. Sorry, other daycare kids! Friday is the big test and we'll have to play it by ear.
  • Part of the treatment is having her breathe cold air and steamy air and back and forth. Yep, she's sick and I'll be taking her out in December weather. On purpose. This better be a real thing.
  • It looks like I'm finally past the stomach bug I've been battling. Which isn't really croup related but this seemed like a good place to mention this. Think of this as an omnibus health post.
And done with the bullet points. Don't worry too much, she seems in good spirits. Just tired and labored breathing. By the weekend, this should all be done.

Stand on Zanzibar - Brunner

Winning the 1969 Hugo award is this novel of dystopia, racial politics and overpopulation. Brunner used several innovative techniques including running interlaced chapters that serve as background information. In many ways it reads like a screenplay.
Frankly, I hated it. Found it unreadable. Gave up after 200 excruciating pages. There may have been an interesting story in there but Brunner made it too much work to get there. The other problem is that the story feels incredibly dated. It's like the entire future is 1968 and only the worst parts of 1968.
I would not recommend.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

2000 Retro-Not-the-Oscar

One of my beliefs in regard to the quality of movies is that it takes some time to really tell what was good and what wasn't. Some movies give a quick 'wow' but they don't age well. Others bug you on the first viewing, but keep gnawing at you to rewatch.
Ten years should be enough time to really have the handle on a year's worth of films. With your help, I'm going to try and figure out what movie was the best of the year 2000. Here is what I want, please nominate some of the best movies from that year. I'm aiming to create a list of ten dramas and five comedies.
Please leave a comment with up to five contenders. I'll compile a list and we'll narrow it down to the finalists so we can start reviewing in January. The list will be open so you can watch along. The more nominations the better so don't be shy!
I'm going to put a few rules in place to keep it from being crazy. The movie must be out on DVD. I'm hoping that won't be too large of a penalty. And I ask the jokesters (Hans) to give some serious answers along with the jokes.
Don't remember what came out then? No problem! Wikipedia has a list here. A list of the movies that actually won Oscars is here.

I'll post some reminders later in the month. Remember, I need your nominations to make this work!

Off to Work

Maybe I need a job as a forest ranger.