Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
A few months back, on a whim, I asked Relia if we should get a shark head for momma. She was in favor but we didn't go in. We sometimes mentioned it again from time to time. Once I asked her if we should get one for daddy. "No," she said, "those are only for women". Which, given the picture, is fair enough.
The other day we walked past and as luck would have it, they've changed their art. She stopped and looked all forlorn. "Now momma can't get a shark head!"
I don't know how to reassure a girl with that problem.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Vikings have the 12th pick in the draft. Their QB situation is famously bad and the belief is that they'll hope to get a franchise QB. Everything I hear says that there are two QBs that are head and shoulders above the others this year and both should be taken earlier. So then what? Do they reach and pick the third best QB?
Man, I hope not. The biggest needs for this team are offensive line, defensive secondary and defensive line. I want this draft to focus on these three areas, with a huge emphasis on the O-line. I'd much rather sink with Joe Webb and a better line than a new QB and a worse line. If that means we wait a year to get a franchise QB then so be it.
I'm also hearing that the Vikes are looking to pick up a receiver in the first round. This seems silly to me. You don't rebuild teams with skill position guys, you build with foundational types at the lines.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
My winter routine for this was to have Relia stay on the porch while I got DF into his car seat. Then back for her and away we'd go. Now that the snow is gone and she can actually get to the car without climbing over the white stuff, we usually all go at once. Not today. So I only had DF to worry about as we went to the car.
My hat had a brim, his hod didn't so he got rained on. Which he thought was the weirdest thing ever! He gave me a look that said, "daddy, are we sure about this?". When I stopped at daycare the wind was positioned perfectly to blow rain on him as I got him out. Same look.
DF, my luck duck, this is one of life's lessons. Sometimes it rains.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Strange, but not anything that we want to discourage. And this is something that I've been thinking about lately. How do we help our children stay outgoing as they grow up? This may seem like a strange question from a person who did years and years of theater and still can't help going up on a stage to sing. I've joked about how you could push me out on the 50 yard line at the Super Bowl halftime show and I'd try to do something entertaining. But this is different somehow.
Somewhere in life I became convinced that it was wrong to try and draw attention to myself. Not sure when or why but I knew that I didn't want to be one of 'those people'. Sometimes I'm glad of this but the flip side has been a growing tendency towards becoming a wall flower. Unless I'm with people that I'm very comfortable with, I simply react to what they're doing. Even when I know that I can lead, I don't.
Well, I don't want this for my kids. I'd rather that they have the courage and will to take the reins and be the one that the crowd follows. But how do you help them keep that natural childish instinct? Is there any way to protect them from being ground down by the inevitable failures that comes with being a leader?
Well. Going back to the post that inspired this post, the answer is probably that I can only have a small effect anyway. But I'll keep looking for ways.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- A few notes on the nominees. I haven't read any of these but from the online buzz, I'm expecting to like 'The Dervish House' the most. It'll be interesting to see if that holds up or not.
- Lois McMaster Bujold is a very familiar name to the Hugo list. If she wins here, she'll have a record five Hugos for best novel. This will break a tie with my hero Robert Heinlein. I haven't gotten to any of her novels yet in my reading but man, she better be good.
- There is some controversy over 'Blackout/All Clear'. It seems that the publisher took a longish story and simply cut it in two. This kind of screwed the reader as they had to buy two books. Amazon currently has them both in hardcover at a combined $33.05 (kindle versions for $24.98. There was some movement to ask the nominators to punish the publisher.
- I haven't heard of either of the other two before and I'm very curious to see what they will be like! You may remember that my favorite from last year was a book called 'Palimpsest' and I never would have picked it up if it hadn't been nominated.
Relia learned a bit about it at preschool. She knew about the horses on the roof. She told me it was where the governor lives (though she called him the boss of Minnesota). I told her we would go there sometime and, well, this seemed like a good opportunity.
She asked me if the building was made out of metal. I told her it was a kind of stone called 'marble'. Then I told her that we couldn't yell while we're in there. She seemed doubtful, but was good enough to obey.
Relia and the horses. The stuff on her face is paint from the Children's Museum. You can't see it well but her chin and throat were blackened. She explained that this was to 'guard the flowers on her cheeks'. Non-parents take note, kids sometimes act like you've given them LSD.
Inside on one of the numerous staircases. All of which she preferred to hold hands. I quietly told the FP Gal that parts of the capitol building were simply begging for a rubber ball. That brought this to mind for her.
Relia rubbing the foot of William Colvill (or at least his statue). This man was instrumental in many things, among them being an early inspiration for her cousin Will's name. We told her that rubbing his foot would bring good luck, which may be true for all we know.
One of the big, glorious marble staircases. I think she liked them a lot. Behind her is the Minnesota State Senate. We tried to explain this to her but I doubt it really stuck. We also showed her the House (which looked nothing like a house) and the Supreme Court. I think my explanation of the Supreme Court was the most confusing to her. After I was done she told me that they showed them on the TV at Grandma D's church.
Laying next to the North Star and looking up at the dome. I've heard this is a popular activity among kids. I liked it. We had to time this for in between tour groups. Actually, there were only the two tour groups and us. It's nicer to explore without crowds.
The inside view of the dome. As you can see, there is construction going on. Or more likely they're cleaning. We got to see the chandelier that normally hangs up there. The sign said this was it's first cleaning in 31 years.
I'm glad we went, even though it may have been too early for Relia to really get what we were seeing. I'm sure we'll go back in a few years and she'll understand more and more. I'm guessing DF will get more out of a future visit too . . .
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
- Arizona - lots of desert, with cactus. Did you know that cactus have arms?!? Also, one of the deserts was painted.
- Utah - the one with a great salty ocean. It's gray. And people ski here.
- Nevada - more desert. People play games here. Also, Hoover dam where they turn water into electricity.
- Idaho - It has the same state bird as the last one*. (After some prompting she told me that they grow potatoes here. I guess Idaho doesn't really stand out.)
She told me that her next learning program will be about 'mans'. They'll learn what is inside that makes us tick-tock.
*This is true by the way, both of them have the Mountain Bluebird.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I blame Easter. You see, I've come to believe that spring isn't prepared to really be here until Easter has arrived. And this year, it's a very late Easter. I was curious how the date for Easter is calculated so I went over to Wikipedia and found this:
Easter is determined on the basis of lunisolar cycles. The lunar year consists of 30-day and 29-day lunar months, generally alternating, with an embolismic monthecclesiastical new moon falling in the 29-day period from March 8 to April 5 inclusive is designated as the paschal lunar month for that year. Easter is the 3rd Sunday in the paschal lunar month, or, in other words, the Sunday after the paschal lunar month's 14th day. The 14th of the paschal lunar month is designated by convention as the Paschal full moon, although the 14th of the lunar month may differ from the date of the astronomical full moon by up to two days. Since the ecclesiastical new moon falls on a date from March 8 to April 5 inclusive, the paschal full moon (the 14th of that lunar month) must fall on a date from March 21 to April 18 inclusive. added periodically to bring the lunar cycle into line with the solar cycle. In each solar year (January 1 to December 31 inclusive), the lunar month beginning with an
Accordingly, Gregorian Easter can fall on 35 possible dates—between March 22 and April 25 inclusive. It last fell on March 22 in 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It fell on March 23 in 2008, but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011. The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date, happening 220,400 times or 3.9%, compared to the median for all dates of 189,525 times or 3.3%.
Ok, I don't understand it either. But you might have noticed that the latest possible date is April 25th, just one day later than this year's date. Next year it falls on April 8th. Let's hope that means an earlier spring.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Me: Like what.
Relia: (without pause for thinking) Of Nana's arthritis!
So if you pull up to our curb and see some hands with red lightning near the knuckles, you'll now know the rest of the story.
And one more story about this subject? A few months back Relia was talking about arthritis and she stopped to tell me that it was 'our-thritis' because it can be a problem for everyone.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Relia: How big would a tiger be in our house.
Me: Um, probably as big as the couch.
Relia: We should get one!
Me: No. It would be too expensive to feed him. He'd have to be well fed or he'd think you and DF were snacks.
Relia: And he'd eat us?
Relia: And we'd be dead?
Me: (realizing his mistake too late) Um, yes.
Relia: (pause) What if we got a baby tiger? He wouldn't eat us!
Me: Well, the problem with baby tigers is that they grow up to be big tigers.
Relia: (thinking some more) When he gets big we could let him go! Then he'd go home!
Me: (trying to stay ahead of her) But if we raised him at our house he'd think that was home. He'd just come right back to us.
Relia: Then we'd lock the doors! Lock, lock, lock, lock, lock!
Me: (giving in) Ok. I'm on board. If you can convince Mama, we can get a baby tiger.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
We met up with Pop Pop at Godfather's Pizza. They have a nice pizza buffet and plenty of room for extended family so it works out well. The music there started with 'Everybody Walk the Dinosaur' and continued on with George Michael's 'Faith' and Genesis 'Land of Confusion'. In other words, they haven't changed their music selection in twenty some years. Not that I was complaining!
We left Felix with Pop Pop at the church (lots of room to run around and an actual nursery). Then it was off to the Paramount. This was my first time in there since it was renovated. It's gorgeous. Lots of older style decor and glitz, of course. And the auditorium is painted like a city at dusk. There are even stars on the ceiling. I pointed them out to Relia and she kept saying 'it's like we're outside!".
The show . . . well . . . Here is the deal. I'm a terrible play goer and have been for some time. It's next to impossible for me to turn off my internal critic. Usually that means that I'm figuring how I could have given a better performance than someone. Today it meant that I wanted to give the cast notes on being louder and faster on the cues. Which, frankly, is a pretty unfair criticism to lay at the feet of a troupe of kids.
Did Relia enjoy it? I think so. I'm not sure how much of it she understood. She knew there was a troll and some frogs. And a real live dog appeared on stage. There was some three year old restlessness before the show ended, I can firmly attest to that. But . . . I think she liked it.
After it was done we went up to the stage to say hi to the cast. She wanted to shake their hands. They told her she could go on stage and look around. So we did. While back there I ran into Cameron Davis, who built the set for the show. Relia asked him if he was the troll. Without missing a beat he said, "No, I always look like this!".
I had one very nice moment with Relia on the stage. I stopped her wandering and asked her to look outward. I mentioned that with the lights on, the actors could barely see the audience at all. When I asked her if it looked fun she nodded yes with lots of energy.
She just might have caught the bug after all.
Update: The FP Gal has photos up.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
- Rhode Island - the red colored state. Where the inator of some kind of cloth was from. (Me: 'Inator'? Relia: Yes, inator. Me: Inventor? Relia: Yes, that's it.) Also, it is small.
- Massachusetts - the white colored state next to it. (There was some process of elimination involved here.)
- New York - Where the Statue of Liberty is.
- Pennsylvania - Some state with a bell.
- Florida - the one with all of the alligators.
- Louisiana - the state where they eat alligators. (Me: Did you know they have lots of pelicans there? Relia: Hahahahahaha!)
- Illinois - Where they have a museum with a T-Rex named Sue.
- Iowa - They have lots of corn. They sell it to us!
- Arkansas - The capital city is a rock. They have bad kings here who shoot cannonballs at people. They also have good kings who ask for permission before shooting cannonballs. (And no, I have no idea whatsoever what the deal with kings and cannonballs is.)
- Candace (aka Kansas) - They have corn and wheat here. And cowboys!
- Oklahoma - The one next to it. They have cowboys who shoot bad guys.
- Texas - It's very big. (I can't make up my mind if Texans would be upset with the brevity of this description or really, really pleased.)
- California - Also big. Nana has been here!
- North Dakota - It's cold and windy here. (Relia: Should we go there? Me: [horrified] No! No!)
- Alaska - Yes, dad, I know that it's the biggest state in the union.
- Hawaii - Where she wants to live with her boat where she has promised to take me to various ports.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Sometimes I wish I could film our short drives to and from preschool. That's where she says the best stuff. Lately they've been learning about U.S. states, two per day. It's always a challenge to figure out which ones they studied. The description usually starts off with something like "it was a green one". One of today's states was North Dakota and she told me that it is windy and cold there. I can't agree more.
It was kind of slow out at the MOA. Most of the spring breakers are gone and this isn't a big retail time. That meant that we could take our time at the newly renovated aquarium. In fact, it was quiet enough that I got DF out of the stroller and let him walk. Which he loved. So many different surfaces to walk on and touch. Meanwhile Relia drove the stroller and became upset if Daddy tried to help her steer. Fortunately there were no casualties.
We spent some good time at the play area there. Relia quickly adopted a younger girl and after a brief argument they amicably decided that they were both queens. Meanwhile DF picked up a couple of college girls. It was his winning smile of course.
He just might be a heartbreaker when he's older.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Check out the link up there for some video. You can also hear the song styles of our divine Ms Relia.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
It was a great episode of Amazing Race tonight (spoilers follow). The start was in Calcutta and the teams were quickly off to Varnasi, still in India. All the teams had plenty of time to make it to the airport for the quickest set of flights, with Kingfisher Air. And all of them did, except for the Cowboys who simply walked up to the other big domestic Indian airline booth, Jet Airways, and bought tickets on a flight that was an hour later. A simple mistake, made much worse by the fact that they didn't double check for something earlier. So they simply gave all the other teams an hour headstart. Not smart.
Varnasi was described as the spiritual heart of India. It is the holiest place in Hinduism and (according to Wikipedia) one of the oldest continually settled places on the planet. Needless to say, it was a bit of a culture shock. The streets were filled with cars, bicycles, pedestrians, cows and elephants. Traffic rules are open to debate and as the Globetrotters said, "When they push the gas pedal down the horn goes on".
The first task there was to track down seven holy men inside of a particularly crowded section of town. Most teams did this methodically but poor Ron decided that his best bet was to wander a long way down the riverside. The Cowboys caught up and actually passed him before he finished up. During this task Kent made a small betrayal of Gary but running away before showing him where the final holy man was. To do this in one of the capital cities of Karma showed remarkably bad sense to me.
The teams had to choose between two tasks, one where they made cow manure into pats of fuel and one where they would haul hay for some cows in the city. Each task included a ride on the Ganges. It was there that the teams could really get a look at the city. Mallory witnessed some river side cremations and said that this was unlike any place that she'd ever seen before. I've long praised The Amazing Race for what they show of the world and this episode was prime evidence of that.
It was a race to the finish and Ron's wandering cost he and Christine the race. Next week is in Austria and I'm sure that the contrast in wealth will be fairly stunning.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Update: And related, this PJ O'Rourke review of 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' made me laugh out loud.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
The baseball season is under way, a more sure sign of spring than the disappearance of the snow drifts. The season always used to start on the first Monday of April but then they decided to add a special Sunday night game as kind of a kick off. This year they backed it up a few days and we got a full weekend of games. I've been wanting this exact approach for a few years so I was glad they were trying it. And it really seems to have worked. There has been nothing but positive response.
Every year I get some kind of baseball deal so that I can watch my White Sox even though I'm far outside of their territory. I've bounced back and forth between programs to watch it over the computer and the TV. Back at Christmas we were gifted an Apple TV unit which we've been using nearly daily. About a month ago they included an easy hook up to MLB.tv so I quickly went that route.
This gives me all out of market games directly on our big screen of our TV. Most games are in HD and (very important!) I can choose which team of announcers to listen to. A clear win!
But this isn't a great set up for everyone. Why? Because Major League Baseball's blackout policy is still based on their understanding of how radio would effect attendance. Some 75 years of experience and they still don't get it.
Take a gander at this article here and you'll see the bad news that the owners aren't really interested in figuring this out. Basically, if you are in a team's 'territory' then they can (and will!) blackout those games. To give you an idea of how big these territories can be, the Twins claim all of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota and part of western Wisconsin. So if you're in Rapid City SD, 576 miles and nearly 10 hours away, you can't use MLB.tv to watch Twins games. And this applies to all of their games, not just the home ones. Does that make sense? Even worse, the entire country of Canada is the territory of the Toronto Blue Jays.
And it gets worse. If you look at the map in the article you'll see that some territory is claimed by multiple teams. The state of Iowa is the territory of the Twins (as I mentioned) but also the Royals, Cardinals, Brewers and both Chicago teams. That means that an MLB.tv or Extra Innings subscriber in Des Moines could have six different games blacked out on any given night. Outrageous!
MLB needs to understand that the people that are shelling out these extras are their hard core fans. If they spend an extra hundred dollars to see some baseball they should be able to do so. Blackout rules should absolutely be waived for these people. And they would be if the owners were even a little bit in touch with their fan base.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
20. Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield (I'm surprised this made the top 100, much less the top 20.)
19. Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper (Not as good a song as 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' or 'True Colors'.)
18. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners (A prototypical one hit wonder and a good one.)
17. Here I Go Again - Whitesnake (Not my style of music, never really cared for it.)
16. Need You Tonight - INXS (I've got no problem with this pick. Great song.)
15. Jump - Van Halen (Another great song. Not my style but I've got no argument with it.)
14. Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles (Kind of gimmicky but it works. Certainly wouldn't crack my top 20.)
13. With Or Without You - U2 (Great, great song and could be #1 on my list.)
12. How Will I Know - Whitney Houston (Not a big fan but I know she was popular.)
11. Don't Stop Believin' - Journey (Best hair band of the decade.)
10. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC (Again, not my style.)
9. Walk This Way - Run DMC (Seriously? Number nine? Doesn't this seem wildly overrated?)
8. Like a Virgin - Madonna (Yeah, this was one of the defining songs of the decade.)
7. Sweet Child of Mine - Guns N' Roses (Ick. Wouldn't crack my top 1000.)
6. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) - Hall and Oates (Really? Number six? For a throwaway song like this?)
5. When Doves Cry - Prince (You could convince me that 'Let's Go Crazy' belongs here but not this one.)
4. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (Yep, easily one of the top five defining songs of the decade.)
3. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran (No problem with Duran Duran here but I would have gone with a different song.)
2. Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard (Awful, awful song. Made worse by being overplayed to death.)
1. Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi (Ugh. I can't stand this song either. Same faults as #2 but was even more popular.)
Interestingly, the songs they have 21-40 are much better. If I had to pick between a compilation album, I'd go with this set every time:
40. Love Shack - B52's
39. I Melt With You - Modern English
38. Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2
37. Janie's Got a Gun - Aerosmith
36. 867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone
35. In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
34. Every Rose Has It's Thorn - Poison
33. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
32. Sister Christian - Ranger
31. Under Pressure - Queen/David Bowie
30. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar
29. Burning Down the House - Talking Heads
28. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham
27. Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
26. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses
25. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Go's
24. Take On Me - a-ha
23. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
22. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
21. Beat It - Michael Jackson
Delete the Poison and Guns N' Roses and that's a pretty strong set of songs.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
This morning it is an old remote control. This is his totem and he can't get enough of remotes in general. The trick for us is to keep him supplied with ones that we don't use. Not easy as he figures it out pretty quickly.
The best thing is that he is sooooo cute during all of this. Just an adorable explorer.