Friday, July 27, 2007

Snip Snip Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

We had our first haircut yesterday.

After some scheduling issues at Amanda's salon, we swung by SuperCuts at Willow Lawn, where walk-ins are always welcome. Fortunately, they had a baby in the chair, so we knew right off the bat that they would cut baby hair.

We waited for about an hour, during which Alastair was having a great time climbing on chairs and playing with his brand new MINI Cooper toy (Chili Red & White!), but when it came time to get in the chair, the waterworks started. And boy did they start.

He started when the apron went on and didn't stop until about 2/3 of the way through the cut.

But, the upside is that I got to be there for his first haircut (he sat in my lap!), and he can't easily be confused for a little girl right now. Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2007

18-Month Vocabulary List

At 18 months, a baby should have a vocabulary of 10 to 20 words. The words don't have to be perfect, but they have to be consistent. Here's a list of what Alastair has so far:

1. Daddy
2. Mama
3. Kitty (pronounced "keey", sometimes "keeeddy")
4. Doggy (but generally we go for "bow whoa")
5. Eye
6. Ear ("eeee")
7. Belly ("beh")
8. Balloon ("boon")
9. Poot (the pride of parents everywhere!)
10. When asked what one does on the potty, we get "poopoo" or "peepee"
11. Hot ("ha")
12. Cool ("coo")
13. Boo!
14. Bath ("ba")
15. Ball ("baah")
16. Ice cream ("eye key")
17. Microwave (yeah, this was a shocker that he dropped on me tonight: "microgoo")
18. Pappy
19. Grammy ("guhgy")
20. Big truck ("big uh")
21. Big Bird ("big eee")
22. Apple ("apu")
23. Strawberry ("gwogoo" thus named because his beloved cereal bars feature an outline picture of Grover, who's also known as "gwogoo")
24. Toe
25. Chin ("chee")
26. Hair ("heh")
27. Knee
28. Shoe
29. Down ("duh")
30. Eat
31. Up ("uh")
32. Boat ("buh")
33. Guitar ("g'tar" or "itar")
34. Helicopter ("hacku")
35. Basketball ("back eh")
36. Coffee ("coh")
37. Pie
38. Pea
39. Bean
40. Broccoli ("bah key")
41. Juice ("joo")
42. Fish ("sh" or "shee")
43. Go
44. Bye bye
45. Hi
46. Cracker ("kaka")
47. Dirt ("deeeeeee!!!!!!!!")
48. Boom
49. Uh oh (daddy's first word!)
50. Bed ("beh")
51. Pants / pajamas ("peh")
52. Hug ("huh")
53. Chair ("share")
54. Yellow ("wewoh")
55. Blue ("boo")
56. Green ("gee")
57. Cookie ("key")
58. Teeth ("teeh")

Though he can say a form of all numbers from 1 - 10, he tends to count in his own base-8 scale:

One ("uh")
Five ("hi ee")
Six ("hii")
Seven ("weweh")
Eight ("eee")
Ten ("teh")

Animals by their sounds:
Sheep ("baa")
Cow ("mboo")
Wolf ("aooooooooo")
Kitty ("mbaaoooo")
Bear / Lion / Dinosaur (this one evolved from "raaar" to "aaaaieeee")
Mad Man ("aie aie aie")
Rooster ("cuck oo")
Chicken ("cuh")
Goose ("hah hah" <-There's a house in our neighborhood with geese, and he starts saying this about a block away) Monkey (curious heavy breathing sound with pooched lips. Yeah, don't ask...) Bird ("tee tee") Objects that make familiar noises:
Car ("thppt")
Boat ("too too")
Train ("shoo shoo")
Horn ("beep! beep!")

Plus, we know all of our Sesame Street Friends.

I didn't set out to brag with this list, but when Amanda and I really thought about it, we were astounded by how many things he's actively communicating vocally.

All I wanted was a cup of coffee

10:00am - Decided to leave at 10:30 for a bag of Costa Rica Terrazu at Ukrop's
10:30am - Left for Ukrop's
10:40am - Arrived at Ukrop's
10:43am - Resigned to fact that they don't have Costa Rica Terrazu; pick Colombia instead
10:47am - Return to car; she won't start!
10:50am - Call Terry Robertson at work for a jump
11:15am - Jason Looney arrives to give me a jump
11:30am - Resigned to fact that a jump won't work (battery is very very dead)
11:40am - Buy the wrong battery at Advance Auto Parts (they don't have the right one)
11:50am - Perform jury installation, car starts!
11:56am - Big traffic jam
12:15pm - Return to desk, hot, tired, $90 poorer, with a battery that doesn't really fit and coffee that I really don't want any more.

Such is life. And 2 days after a very successful RCM tech day, too. Grr.

But, Alastair had his 18-month checkup this morning, and he weighs 28.8 lbs and is 33" tall. Chunky Monkey.

We're in the final few days before heading down to Nag's Head for a week! Yippee!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


What I expected:

Indulgent cheeziness (Michael Bay)
Cool action sequences
A few nods to the original
A passable but not very good script
Product tie-ins and carefully placed bottles of Deer Park water ("That's good water!")

What I got:

An all-out assault on my intelligence
Probably the single worst script I've ever encountered
Horrible performances from some very good actors
Mediocre action sequences
Multiple rounds of exposition
Multiple moral lessons better suited to 2nd graders than adults.
The desire to chew my ears off the side of my head.
But...really cool metamorphoses and some truly bad-ass US military toys

Let me review some of the finer points of this gem:

Basil Exposition: You may recall this name as Austin Powers's boss, who sets up the story for us in that film. It was a perfect cheeky name, and Amanda and I use it frequently when the back-story is set up poorly in fiction. This time, we not only had Optimus Prime (hereafter: OP) telling us about the All-Spark (who the F picked that name?) at the beginning of the movie, but also when he meets Sam Witwicky, and then one more retelling when Sam repeats the story to John Turturro's character.

I'm not an idiot, and the story's not that complex. Did we really need to hear it 3 times?

Dialog that would choke a camel: Michael Bay isn't known for his prose, and I accept that. But what I cannot accept is dialog that makes Anakin and Padme's lake-front vacation seem like Shakespeare (remember the bit about how sand gets everywhere, and she's all soft and smooth?).

This movie's target audience was probably always intended to be young adult men, so why did they lift lines directly out of the 1984 series and 1986 film, both of which were intended for boys? And why is it that the teenagers in the movie were more credible than any of the adult roles? Shia and Megan seem to be the only ones who gave anything approaching a performance, and the only ones who got lines that didn't burn on contact.

And did we really need to her "more than meets the eye" twice? I mean really: once was enough to elicit a groan from the audience.

Some of the worst acting performances...EVER: John Turturro and Jon Voight used to be pretty good actors. Evidently the mortgage has gone up, though. Mr. Turturro needs desperately to buy his soul back before God smites him like Raul Julia for showing up in Street Fighter.

So wait: are the extraterrestrial warring robots intelligent or not? OP goes on about how humans have a lot of learning to do, and that all beings should have the right to determine their own destinies, but can't sit still in an alley for 5 minutes? Why the holy F were he and his buddies crouching behind the house? Why did Jazz need to act all "yo"? Why did Ratchet need to call out Sam's desire for Mikaela? (Ok, yeah, it was funny that they learned English from the world wide web, and that they learned the location of the magical glasses from eBay...)

And as the story unfolds, we get constant moralistic reminders from OP about being good, but all pitched at about the intelligence level of the average 7-year-old. How are these things going to protect us?

Physics: thy laws are hereby revoked! Shia LaBoeuf takes a tumble from the side of a very tall building (one that seems to get much taller through the action sequence...). He's caught in mid-air by Optimus, which strangely doesn't snap his neck or anything, but then OP takes his own plunge down the side of the building, hitting the pavement below with a very big whack. He opens his hand and out pops a perfectly unharmed Shia LaBoeuf! Ta-da! Thank you ladies and gentlemen! I'll be here all week! The worst part about that is that it happened twice!

And then there's that scene in the desert where humans demonstrate parthenogenesis, but in an extremely evolved way: when the soldiers first flee the base in Qatar, there are like 9 of them, but after the scorpion decimates them, suddenly there are 12 of them! Magical halleluia!


Now, there were some really cool things in the movie, too, like getting to watch an AC-130 Spectre gunship raining down 105's. Never seen that before in a movie! And some of the transformation sequences were really cool, too, but it seemed that they got faster as the movie wore on. What was up with that? Were they learning how to transform themselves, kind of a practice-makes-perfect kind of thing?

And I wasn't really bothered by product placement. In The Island, it was wretched ("Let me call him on my Cisco IP communicator" was really a line. Really.), but it's next to impossible to show a GMC truck without showing the logo, and trying to sell old trucks and old Beetles as super-advanced alien technology would have been pretty hokey, so I'm cool with that. In fact, I thought they did a great job with the Autobots and the GM tie-ins.

Anyway, it was certainly entertaining, and it was quite the spectacle, but frankly, for as much of an intellectual disaster as Die Hard 4 was, I think it worked better as a movie.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

It's so nice to be home. I got home earlier than I expected on Friday and got to spend some time with my family. Yay!

I learned a lot in the class, including (and most importantly) that I have a lot of work to do here. Basically I learned that our implementation is a hot mess with absolutely no coherent design philosophy. So I'm gonna work on that, and hopefully save some taxpayer money (or at least spend it more wisely).

Of course, I came back and immediately met resistance from the politicos. Oh, well, such is life.

Speaking of life, I had a wonderful time with Amanda and Little Man this weekend! There's nothing like a week away to make you realize how much your family means. In just those 5 days, Alastair already looked different from how I remembered (that was a shock: they change so fast!).

He was my little buddy all weekend, and we played in the sprinkler, wrestled in the grass, and got a couple of new 18-month toys (he'll be 1.5 on Sunday!). My favorite toy is the PlayMobil 1-2-3 race car and corresponding tow truck (race cars tend to be magnetically attracted to walls, so we had to get a tow truck).

In other Alastair news, he's starting to shuffle-run. It's definitely quicker than a walk, but still a bit too wild to call a proper run. He also has a pretty full head of teeth, with all 8 fronts, at least 3 pre-molars, and the tips of at least 3 canines. Fortunately he still uses all of this munching power predominantly for food, and occasionally toys--not mommy or daddy.

And, he's getting his first hair cut next week. The kid looks like a white trash disaster right now. But it's oh-so-cute.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


So far, the class has been pretty interesting. Including me, there are 3 students, so we're moving through the course-material faster than the trainer is accustomed to.

Dining alone is weird. There's no point to buying groceries for cooking, as few things scale down to the appetite of one, but going out for every meal is depressing (nothing worse than eating alone at a restaurant). Tonight I tried to obviate the issue by going downstairs and having tacos and wine at the hotel's happy hour (it's free!!), but that ends so early that I was starving by 9pm. So out I went.

Last night I walked over to the closest sit-down restaurant and listened to the guy next to me complain on his cell phone for over an hour about his housekeeper. Apparently he pays her $20/hour and isn't satisfied. She marks his walls and his coffee table with the vacuum; she doesn't clean ceilings; there's dust on top of the refrigerator and along the base-boards; she doesn't clean his mother-in-law suite above the garage. His wife's name is Darnece (sp?), I think the housekeeper's name was Avalene (the accent is a bit tough down here, so it could have been Evelyn or Abilene), and he's Eddie. Now, Eddie is rich, but not as rich as Terry, who also employs Avalene, but Terry's more laid-back. Eddie is a huge pain in the ass. And I'm not sure, but I think Eddie might not realize that he's gay. That's just my take.

And evidently Eddie spends so much time at this restaurant that he has never-ending wine service. Eddie needs a life.

But the class, so far, has been pretty cool. It's already given me some ideas on what we might implement in the future, and shown me that our current SAN configuration is horribly out-dated.

And I miss my family terribly!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Business Trip

Parting is such sweet sorrow... No, it just sucks.

Today I packed up my stuff and came down to Cary, NC to attend a week-long SAN training class. When it's done, I'll know everything there is to know about SANs (note the little 's' at the end, it's not capitalized, dammit). But in the meantime, I'll be deprived my daily dose of baby and my rock: Amanda. Oh, and furry purry companions, too.

I had such trouble leaving the house. I just kept finding more and more excuses to come back into the kitchen, where Little Man was having his dinner.

The pang is all the more bitter because I spent the day at an autocross, when I could have spent it with my family.

I suck. But enough grousing, I'm here to learn!

BTW- It was really f'ing hot today. And I spent all of it outside, most of it in the sun. You should see the sexy tan-lines on my back.... ooh, sexy....