Monday, December 31, 2007

W00t! Last post (of 2007)!

The year started with a bang, and is ending with a thud. I'm just starting to get over a nasty cold, one that's affected me and Alastair, and that started the day after Christmas.

I haven't been a very useful person for the last week. Yuck.

I had to work today, even though I was sick. Double yuck.

We missed all of our favorite year-end festivities (Carytown ball-drop, eggnog walk) because I've been sick.

Here's hoping that 2008 will be a healthier one! (*hack* *wheeze*)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Old & Busted: Sleep; New Hotness: Screaming!

This Christmas, as with last Christmas, saw Alastair awake in the middle of the night.

But, unlike last Christmas, this isn't due to Daddy sneaking into his room in the middle of the night. Last year, we put him to bed and then realized we'd failed to turn on his little space-heater (it gets pretty cold in his room). I tried to creep in and turn it on, but Lucy (our black cat) thought that it was pretty funny to see me crawling, and wanted to talk about it. A lot. Her wailing in his room woke him up while I was crawling out, and we listened to him scream for an hour before we realized it wasn't going to stop. We repeated the bedtime ritual, and Christmas was saved.

On Monday night, though (Christmas Eve, in case anyone's reading this in 2042 and doesn't know that Christmas was on Tuesday), we didn't interfere. We put him to bed, ensured the heater was on, and crept out like any other night.

90 minutes later he started crying. I went and sat with him for a few minutes; we got him some water to drink; and we talked about why he was up. I asked him if he'd had a bad dream, and he said yes. So we cuddled for a bit, and then I asked him if he was ready to lay back down with his babies (stuffed animals). Again he said yes, and so we put him back to bed.

He pretty much made it through the night, with one little fit at around 3am that he got himself through, but was up at 6:57am. Christmas started a bit earlier than Mommy & Daddy could have wished.

Last night, though, was a chore.

We put him down as usual (a touch late at ~8:30pm), went downstairs and watched TV. We heard him shuffle about for a while, and then at 11:40pm he just started wailing. I heard him say "no!" at the beginning of his fit, so I thought maybe he'd had another bad dream. Boy had he ever. He was trembling, nearly inconsolable, and we had to completely repeat the bedtime ritual, from diaper to story to bed.

A few minutes later he started again. This time he told Amanda that it was too dark in his room. We installed a nightlight, he said that was better, and we left.

5 minutes after that we learned that the light was too bright: it was in his eyes. So I moved his space-heater in front of it.

10 minutes later it was too dark and too bright. I told him he had nothing to be afraid of and offered to leave the door open. He thought that sounded marvelous, so we tried it.

3 minutes later he wanted the door closed, and it was still too dark/bright.

Finally, I went and told him that the light was appropriate, not in his eyes, and that he needed to lay back down and go to sleep. Now.

That was around 1:15am. We didn't hear anything else until ~7am.

So I have 3 theories, all of which will remain plausible until I hear from Amanda:

1. He's sick. On Sunday we went to Foley Christmas where he ran around like a lunatic with his 5-year-old cousin Catherine. There were about 15 people in the house, any of whom might have been ill. Then on Monday morning, he threw up half of his breakfast. Then his right eye started watering profusely, as often happens when he's sick. Oh yeah, and he's been coughing a bit.

2. Christmas rush. This can be such an exciting sensory time of the year. I used to have nightmares a lot during the Christmas season, so it's possible he's having nightmares / night-terrors.

3. Sugar-high. We ate dinner with my in-laws, and pie was served around 7:30pm. He ate a fair amount of pie, then sucked down a cup of juice right before we left at 8:pm.

Oh, and Christmas? It was wonderful, thanks for asking! We each got lots of neat little goodies, including a new camera that saw lots of duty yesterday. My mom brought Alastair a stuffed horse that he can actually "ride" (it doesn't move, but will support the weight of an adult). He loves it. His maternal grandparents got him a trash truck (one of his favorite work-trucks), a leather bomber-jacket, and myriad toys & clothes. He collected almost half of the cast of Cars (Mater, Lightning McQueen, a cow-tractor, Lizzie, and Sheriff), rocked out in his bilibo, and made a fabulous mess of wrapping paper.

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas. But I hope this sleeping crap comes to an end pretty soon.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nerdfest Freakout

Put on your seatbelt: this is gonna be rough.

I've been musing on time-travel. Or more specifically, the ramifications of time-travel and possible paradoxes.

And frankly, I don't believe there are any possible paradoxes. I have two reasons, and they're polar opposites.

1. Time Travel Prevents Paradoxes - This theory works on the notion that time is directly linear. Objects are simply inserted into the stream of time, and "now" is always the sum total of that linear progression.

Huh? Basically, if you went back in time, then according to History (big H), you've already been in that moment of time, and anything you do will have already been woven into the fabric of our "now". Thus, you cannot go back and shoot your parents or kill John Connor because it never happened.

That's not to say you can't go back in time. It just means that whatever you did will not create a paradox, because now is never changed. If it were, that would mean there would have to be multiple separate "nows", each slightly different from the other, and all occurring simultaneously.

Consider: you go back in time and kill your parents. If you manage to accomplish this (and I don't think you could), you would never have been created. But if somehow you did manage to do it, it would mean that the universe fractured the moment you went back in time, creating 2 separate instances, each diverging from that moment. In one, you kill them, and never exist. In the other, you are born, grow up, and decide to go back in time.

Realizing that Occam's Razor is tough to apply to an already-metaphysical discussion, I think the multiple-universe theory gets a quick slash.

2. Time Travel is Not Actually Time Travel Because "Time" Does Not Exist - This is more of a development of what I say can't happen in 1, but it's intriguing, nonetheless.

Instead of the universe or time or whatever fracturing, what if we don't move through time in a linear progression? What if time doesn't exist? If time doesn't exist, then all moments in time are actually occurring right now. The future, the past, and the present are all right now. If that's somehow possible (say multiple planes of existence, a multiverse, or whatever else you can dream up), then travelling "back in time" is really just moving from one point to another on the fabric.

I think that's more how time worked in Dune, with the folding of space, and with warp-speed in Star Trek.

If you consider that accelerating beyond the speed of light allows you to look back in time, then finding a way to fold space (or abstracting the fabric of the multiverse to traverse it non-linearly) would accomplish the exact same thing: you'd get to a point in time before its time would normally reach you.

It makes my brain hurt to think about it, but it makes sense to me.

Personally, I'm a bigger fan of Option 1, but it too depends on something dear old Occam would frown at: time-intelligence.

For Option 1 to work, time would need to be consciously aware of its linear nature to prevent you from killing your parents. Perhaps you would be unable to gain access to them, or perhaps you would die in transit. I don't know, but if you killed them, not only would you not exist, but everything they ever did after your birth would also cease to have occurred.

A better option overall is to simply assume that time travel is incompatible with Newtonian physics and abandon it. But Newtonian physics is incompatible with quantum physics, where the rudiments of time-travel and teleportation have been proven and demonstrated.

I had more to say, but this has been a rough day, and people keep interrupting me. I'll (try to) expound later on my theory that time can be represented as an enormous sphere.

Monday, December 10, 2007

MINI v. Windshields

So far it's MINI: 3, windshields: 0.

Friday morning, while backing out of my driveway, I heard a gut-wrenching crunch sound. I knew the car had flexed, and that the sound had come from the windshield. I couldn't find any cracks, though, so I forgot about it.

Until this morning, that is, when the crack peered out from behind the inspection sticker (ironic placement, no?).

So far, I've lost a windshield each of the last 3 years. That's hot.

The next reasonably warm stretch of days will find me with a host of tools pulling all the after-market suspension stuff out of the car. I don't know that they're the ultimate source of the stress, but I'm just tired of this crap. I'd just trade it in, but the MINI I want is hard to find, and while I keep eyeing a Mazda(speed) 3, the range of options just isn't very inspiring.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hide & Seek

Old & Busted: Mommy or daddy hides, baby seeks.
New Hotness: Baby hides items from himself and has full conversations while looking for them.

Example: Alastair recently discovered that his bath spout-protector (a duck with an openable fireman's helmet) is a perfect hiding spot for his little PlayMobil 1-2-3 girl. Last night he put the little girl in the helmet and said, "Where'd the little girl go?" It's worth noting that he shrugged, too.

Then he proceeded to lift each item in the bathtub, searching underneath them for the missing girl. "Is she under the duck? No.... Is she under cock-dile? No... Is she under washcloth? No..."

Seriously. He enunciated everything clearly. He knew exactly where she was, but now he's moved into practicing the word-game.

This morning he repeated the ritual with his Curious George sticker-sheet.

He's also been working on enunciating words like "yes" (which had been "yeah") and "excavator" (which had been "ekhvay"), and late last week, when Vivienne was climbing into a bag she didn't belong in, Alastair walked over to her, put his hand in front of her and said, "No maam! Get down."

On Sunday night, we drove around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Chris Isaak's Christmas CD. There's one song where he repeats "Merry Christmas from one million miles away" several times. At the end of the song, Alastair looked at me and said "Merry Christmas." He'd only heard it in the song, but now we have him using it as a greeting, complete with "Merry Christmas to you" as a reply.

Kid's got some vocabulary skills. Rock on!