You are finite, Zathras is finite. This..... is wrong tool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Go Team Venture!

It has been since about 1999 that I watched a show and actually looked forward to seeing the "Next time, on XXX" at the end of an episode. That long since Babylon 5 went off the air and there hasn't been a show since that I look forward to like the Venture Brothers. Sure I enjoy shows like Mythbusters and a few others, but they're not shows where the plot continues across episodes; where there's an arc. Venture Bros. doesn't really have a long-term laid out arc like B5 did, but it does have a continuity that I appreciate (something I always loved about the Tick cartoon show -- how the moon continued to have CH carved into it from an episode where Chairface decided to use a huge laser to carve his name in it.) The show's primary theme is failure, and it focuses on a washed-up dude who is living off his father's legacy. A father who was a famous super scientist, but not a great father, and who died while the main character was in college. A lot of the show seems a conscious parody of Johnny Quest, and although I didn't watch much of Johnny Quest as a kid, I do still see the parallels. This show is perhaps the real life Johnny Quest forty years later (in fact, there's a character who is clearly Johnny Quest in the show who is a strung out junkie.) The theme of later consequences of adventures and failure really resonates with me for some reason. Anyway, the show is on hiatus (again) until later November, when the one-hour season finale will air, and then it'll be God knows how long until the next season airs. Hopefully not too long. And hopefully the show is picked up for at least a fifth season, if not

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Out of sight, out of mind.

Stephanie worked yesterday and Sunday, and it was the second and third times that I drove the new car. And only the fifth or sixth that I actually rode in it. It's not that I'm angry or jealous about it at this point or anything, I just noticed it when we were going to swimming last week. The point of it is that all this while it just hasn't really occurred to me that we have a new car. To a certain extent I suppose I was aware that if I needed to go somewhere I could take Nathaniel in the Subaru, and even considered it a bit from time to time. The point, though, is that it just wasn't something I thought about until this weekend when I drove it. Despite what I wrote earlier, I just haven't thought about it at all. I suppose that's a good thing since I was worried about jealousy. have thought some about what sort of vehicle to get myself when/if that time comes, though. I've seen a lot of the two-door Honda Insights, which are intriguing, although I haven't had good luck with Hondas, and then I wondered if there would be a Smarte Car Hybrid (or if it would just make more sense to do an electric vehicle.) There have been some articles recently about plug-in cars and fully electric vehicles, and the word is that around 2012 they will be far more available. While they're going to start only on the west coast, I can only hope that by 2014 or so we'll have them more available around here. Probably not, but with some luck, there will be some nice small hybrid for my purposes, or maybe I'll be at a place where something fun will be realistic. Like a 1973 BMW 2002. I guess that's the difference between my definition of "fun" car and most peoples'. Most people would think of something like an Audi TT or a BMW coupe. I think of a forty year old German family sedan which I saw on an old episode of MacGyver and fell in love with. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My son has brown hair.

I'm not sure why this should come as any sort of a surprise to me; I mean, it's visible literally every single day. Every time I look at him (or at least, so long as he's not actually wearing a hat at that precise moment, and then only a really nice warm hat) I can see his hair, so why is it that when I looked at him while he was sitting on my lap (reading books) today that it struck me suddenly that he has brown hair?
Setting aside the point that I just noticed this, it's still a little strange to me because my hair is black, and I thought that was supposed to be dominant. My parents both have black hair, and my dad is Indian, so how did Stephanie's lighter brown come through? Who knows; maybe it will darken over time but it's just a little odd to me.
I wonder sometimes about my views on appearance. On the one hand, I know that I obviously care very deeply about how someone looks, but I also know that when asked to describe someone I'm absolutely useless. Despite having some (usually unidentifiable by most people) non-white ethnicity, I tend to not notice race in most cases, but when I do I'm very aware of it. All the women that I've dated are white, and most of the women that I find attractive are white (which is not to say all.) When we studied anything having to do with race in law school, I found myself rather conflicted, finding the issues considerably more complicated than most people like to admit (on either side.) I find the thought that I don't notice racial things most of the time to be somewhat comforting, but I also know that it's a bit of a false sense of things, and it's really more of a case of simply not noticing things around me to the extent that I probably should. Details are something that I've always said I'm good with during job interviews and such, and I've always thought it to be true, but I'm also bad with names, descriptions and people, so it's kind of a toss-up as to which one of those things is going to win out when I actually begin practicing. I'm hoping that the ability to remember details about a case will be the thing that helps rather than the inability to remember the name of the case being the thing that causes me problems. We'll see.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Von Hansen's Meats

Last night we had Stephanie's parents and sister and her husband over for dinner. It gave us a chance to burn up a lot of the wood that we've accumulated over the summer as it falls from the big maple tree in the back, and to try out the Von Hanson's meats that I bought. I got some chicken, bacon swiss patties and some blue cheese burgers. They're pre-made patties which have the cheese/bacon put in the ground meat. They were delicious. The best part of it is that they aren't actually much more expensive than regular meats would be. It's about $5-6 per package, and each package is about a pound, so the price is actually right about what it would be to buy ground beef and blue cheese and make it myself, or in the case of the chicken, it might be cheaper than buying chicken and bacon and swiss cheese. And it's tasty. I have a feeling I'll be heading there more often now, and will dig out the George Forman to make them in the winter. Those blue cheese burgers were damn good.
Von Hanson's has about fifteen stores, all in Minnesota except for one in Arizona. If you're near one, I suggest you check it out. Beyond the foods that I mentioned above, there are also Pizza burgers (burgers with Mozzarella cheese inside,) stuffed pork chops, brat burgers, home made brats (and beer brats,) chicken-bacon-swiss brats, shrimp, and various and sundry other readied meats and kabobs. Finding a good butcher is something that is really key in a new city, even if I've lived here all my life, I know it to be true. Now if only Nelson's Cheese Factory still made the same great variety of cheeses as I remember as a kid (although the store is still awesome in its current incarnation.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New update with Lemon Fresh Scent ... and PICTURES!

It's been absolutely beautiful here for the last week and a half or so. Getting up to around 70 degrees (or higher sometimes) and sunny. It's given us a lot of time to play outside, which is Nathaniel's favorite thing to do. As soon as he wakes up in the morning it's "bye-bye," meaning I want to play outside. He got a nice sand and water table from my parents for his birthday, which is one of his favorite things, and he also likes his little slide/sports climber, although it's a little less exciting these days since we've been going to the playground at Hillcrest, where there are much bigger slides.
That playground is nice in that it has a smaller playground for smaller kids as well as the main one. You'd think he'd enjoy the smaller playground, with the steps closer to his size, and the smaller slides, but he's much more interested in trying to clamber up onto the side of the playground where the bottom step is about even with his sternum. He's fearless with the slides too, demanding to go down the biggest ones on the playground, and often doing so so quickly that I have to leap off the side of the playground to catch him as he reaches the bottom, and sometimes tumbling over backwards if I'm not fast enough. He also loves to play in the sand, both at the playground and in his sand table, although luckily we've pretty much managed to stop him a. throwing it, and b. eating it. It's funny, because he was fearless with the slides and flying down them long before he was willing to try to stand up or walk on his own. He hates the swing, which is not really surprising since he also dislikes being swung around in one's arms overmuch (although he does enjoy running around in my arms.)

Now that he *is* walking, though, he really wants to go fast and far. For a while we walked up and down the sidewalk in the front with his Tonka truck in front of him, running as fast as he could and sometimes falling down when we hit a bump or a crack in the sidewalk. Now, we tend to just walk (thankfully most of the time holding daddy's hand) up and down the sidewalk looking at all the cars going by and saying "Vroom!" at them.

I shouldn't say we walk "up and down" the sidewalk, because we both walk, hand in hand down the sidewalk, but when it comes time to turn around, he decides that really means it's time to let go of daddy's hand and keep going, usually faster. I'm kind of worried about what we're going to do when winter comes around, but hopefully we'll be able to entertain him indoors, and since we have the new car (and thus the Subaru available for trips) we might be able to take advantage of some open gym time at the rec center.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Separation at ECFE

Last week was week three of ECFE. It was also the first time that we separated--adults in one room, kids in the other. It starts with us playing in the room as we have for the last couple of weeks, getting the kids comfortable with their surroundings, and then we say goodbye and let them stay with the teachers and the other kids for a while. Nathaniel didn't seem to have any problem when I was first leaving. He wasn't interested in even looking at me or paying me much mind when I said "Daddy's going to go bye-bye," just continuing to play and look around the room for new toys. When I'd left and was watching through the one-way mirror, he was watching the other parents leave and saying "bye-bye" to them as they went out the door. I was relieved that it had gone well. Then within ten minutes of us being in the parents' room, we got a call that he wasn't doing too well and so I brought down Leo and his pacifier. When we went back at the end, I could see him walking around the room while one of the teachers blew bubbles, his pacifier hanging from his overalls by it's leash. He absently put it in his mouth, and then let it fall.
I felt like I shouldn't have brought the thing down to him. I should ahve let him have Leo and then if he still needed it brought the pacifier. He does so well at home just having it in the car or stroller or at nap times. I don't want him to start using it more regularly. The teacher said that it was a big help, but I don't want him to be using it every time he needs to calm himself down. I want him to have other strategies for that. We'll see how it goes next week, but I will have to actually assert that if I can and hope that it goes better as he has done it once before.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New car.

We bought a new car last night, a Prius. I'm sure I'll be happy with the car, but I'm nevertheless pained by the amount of debt incurred, and worried about having made the right choice. The Prius ended up a good five grand more than the primary other option at which we were looking, the Nissan Altima. The Prius will save us a lot on mileage, and with Stephanie's job that actually figures to be a significant consideration; she drives a good 1000 miles per month, and the Prius gets more than twice the MPG (51 to the Altima's 23 in city driving.) But I'm just never one to enjoy spending money. I could have won the Powerball and I'd still be hemming and hawing over this kind of purchase especially, but also the PS3 that I've been trying to decide on for over two years now. I've decided that I want that over the XBOX, but that doesn't mean that I'm ready to spend the $300 on it. I'm just adverse to spending money when I know I will have some degree of buyer's remorse. For the PS3, it's always goign to nag whether it was worth the price. For the car, I'll always doubt if we should have gone with the Altime (or the Sonata.) I hope that means that I'll be good with money over time. But I kind of doubt it.

This car is for Stephanie. She'll be driving it the most (which was true of the Subaru too, I guess, but perhaps more so for this one; we'll see.) A big part of the thought process was about her work situation, from mileage to dealer location, and I am feeling a bit jealous that she'll be driving the new car so much more. It will be nice to have the Subaru around for backup when it gets too cold to walk Nathaniel up to ECFE comfortably, and to get around even when I'm just watching him, to the grocery store/errands whatever (especially as my parents gave us their car seat for it, so that we can have one in both cars). I don't anticipate using it much, probably similarly to the Corolla when we borrowed that a couple years back. It will be nice to have that option. But I'm still jealous of the new car, and then I started to think about getting myself a new car (in three to five years) and trying to think what kind of car I'd want. Part of me wants to say a flashy/fun kind of small car, but I know in reality I'm just too practical to enjoy spending money on that kind of thing (tens of thousands of dollars in rapidly depreciating sheet metal--or more likely fiberglass) so I'd probably end up getting another Prius, or perhaps a different sedan. An Insight or something. By that time, perhaps there will be more hybrids available. But more likely than any of that, would be that we get a van. By that time we'll be thinking about more kids and need the space for car seats and such, and so it's unlikely that I'll be able to get a new car for me until the kids are in the process of going to college. Or at least the latter stages of high school. Perhaps it will be different if my work situation changes and it's just not practical for me to ride the bus in to downtown Minneapolis (or wherever I end up.) But for now, I see myself being able to get a new car for me to drive in about twenty years.

Devi's visit

My godmother Devi was visiting us over the weekend to see Nathaniel. Apparently she received our picture that we sent out (12 month photo) and decided she had to come. She arrived on Thursday, though, so it was a little bit tougher due to ECFE. And he made it tougher by not napping in the morning, so he was tired for the meeting, but was still generally his happy self. Seeing Papaaaa and Soniya didn't hurt. We had to leave relatively early on Thursday, but we had a good Friday and even managed a short visit Saturday morning before she had to go. We did lunch at Little Szechuan where Nathaniel loved to look at the fish in their tanks, and dinner at Peninsula (where Devi had gone on Thursday afternoon but wanted to go again.)
I had dressed him in some of my old clothes on Thursday, but Devi didn't see me enough at that age to recognize them, but I did get a comment about the cool "retro" clothes that he was wearing at ECFE. I said it wasn't so much retro as "original" and were mine when I was his age. I think I ought to write more about ECFE and how the first separation there went.