Saturday, September 30, 2006

Detention and Torture in the US

I thought long and hard about this post. But the point of this blog is to give Autumn a snapshot of life in her early years. And this is a good snapshot. It's been 5 years since America was attacked. One can argue about the response (Iraq, the Patriot Act, etc), but this, to me, will one of the defining moments of this era.

By a vote of 253 to 168, Congress has passed a bill that gives the President of the United States the authority to detain any person indefinitely. It’s now perfectly legal to detain someone and said person doesn’t have the right to hear the charges, or challenge the charges. Habeas Corpus has been phased out.

The argument for giving the President these broad powers comes courtesy of the flip-side of the traditional capital punishment debate. In the capital punishment debate, it’s argued that it’s better to set nine people free than execute one innocent man. It’s the checks and balances argument. A state will do everything in its power to ensure that an innocent person isn’t killed.

In current war on terror, the argument is neatly flipped. It’s better to incarcerate ten innocent men to avoid letting one commit an act of terror. Often, at this part of the argument, images of towers coming down are invoked. This is the pre-emptive strike theory of protection. A pre-emptive strike on thought crimes.

his bill is the result of Moderate Republicans scaling it back. So bascially, Democrats had no choice to go a long with it. Admittedly, many didn’t sit quietly while the debate went on. But overall, the party sat quiet. There wasn’t an attempt to get Democrats to say no to this: My congressman, a democrat, voted for it!

So is it legal to simply ignore Habeas Corpus? You might be suprised to learn the term is actually in the US Constitution. Section One, Article Nine of the Constituation of the US states:

privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

"Public safety may require it". The framers left this vauge ending. Meaning, President Bush, the War President, has asked congress to ignore Section one, Article nine because he wants to protect the 'homeland'. Thus, this legislation is constitutional because it's positioned as being about public safety.

To be clear: Nothing about this so far is really a problem. Of course we want the government to do everything to protect us from Enemy Combatents. Of course there's a chance that in times of war, innocent people get caught up in it. One can be fundamentally opposed to war, and still concede that offering Habeas Corpus rights to enemy combatents on the battle field is ridiculous.

Where this legislation gets scary is in the wording of an enemy combatent. Because the President is now allowed to define who is an enemy combatent. And he is able to define them based on the following: People on the battlefield, and people who purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.

Again, nothing crazy about the first one, really. If soldiers catch a guy who is shooting at them, then it's fairly clear they are an enemy combatent.

But it's the second category that puts the slippery into slippery slope. If someone is thought to be supporting hostilities, and they are detained, they don’t have the right to prove that aren’t supporting hostilities. A person has already been charged with 'aiding terrorists' for selling a satellite dish that included the Hezbollah network.

This is the war on terror. This is Freedom isn’t Free. This is you're for it, or you're for helping the terrorists. And these days, if you're given the 'helping the terrorists' label, the US Government is legally allowed to detain you. Oh, and torture you.

Did you just get a chill?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Last night

Last night, Autumn, Mom and Dad loaded up in the car and drove to Brampton, Ontario to be there for Nanny Hames' election launch party. People made speeches, and then the cadidate spoke. She introduced the whole family and asked that we come up to the podium. It was a touching moment, and I am glad we were able to be there for it. Plus, Autumn was on again last night. She was awake, aware, and she smiled at just about everyone. She was a great little grand child.

I know that my mom works hard at her job. This campaign, we will work as often as possible to help her get elected again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Does Autumn have a cold?

It appears Autumn might have her first cold. She's a bit sneezy, a little congested, and she's sleeping a lot. Various places have advice, some even suggest she'll eat more today (feed a cold, starve a fever?). But they all seem to agree that she'll sleep a little more. Which she did this morning, I understand, for most of the morning.

For a while now, I've taken into bed with me in the morning. We snuggle together, and for the most part, she slept while I worried about her. Not this morning. She slept, and I slept. In fact, she slept so well I had to wake her up. When she snuggles up to me, we create a lot of body heat together. Like I've said before, there's nothing like having your daughter snuggle up to you. I suspect there will be a day when we would prefer if she stayed in bed: but that day isn't upon me now. It's awesome when she snuggles up to me and goes to sleep.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some belly time

autumn belly, originally uploaded by MRHames.

This is the picture on my desktop. So I stare at all day on the big screen I have. So anyway, when the picture is really big, she looks big. And then when I go home and see her, she seems so small. It's weird. But holy, is she cute in this shot.

About Dad, for fun

About Dad:
1. First name? Mathew
2. Were you named after anyone? No idea, but note the one 't'.
3. Last cry? Watching the Ryder Cup when Darren Clarke won his match (his wife died six weeks prior)
4. Do you like your handwriting? Yes
5. What is your favorite lunchmeat? Turkey
6. Kids? Yep, one. This is her blog.
7. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Probably.
8. Do you have a journal? This is it.
9. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Far too often.
10. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
11. Would you bungee jump? Sure.
12. What is your favorite cereal? Does Oatmeal count?
13. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Usually one shoe, the other is almost always tied.
14. Do you think you are strong? Yes, but smell isn't everything.
15. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Vanilla.
16. Shoe size? 9US on one foot, 9.5 on the other.
17. What is the least favorite thing about yourself? I can never remember people’s names.
18. Who do you miss the most? Curling at a high level
19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Blue jeans, brown slip on shoes that I don’t have to tie or untie.
20.What are you listening to right now? Flashback Alternatives on iTunes Radio (it’s playing Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – the Smiths).
21. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Aqua-marine blue.
22. Favorite smell? Fresh roasted coffee.
23. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My wife, Rhona
24. The first thing you notice in a person you're attracted to. The way they think.
25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Never met him, he told me to steal it
26. Favorite drink? Vodka Martini, stirred (shaken is for spies who need to be alert and thus water-down the Vodka)
27. Favorite sport? Curling.
28. Eye color? Brown
29. Hat size? They have those?
30. Do you wear contacts? No
31. Favorite food? Thai inspired curries.
32. Scary movies or happy endings? Scary movies can have happy endings.
33. Last movie you watched at the theater? Hollywoodland. We took Autumn. It will forever be known as her first movie.
34. What color shirt are you wearing? Green.
35. Summer or winter? Winter with a heaping dose of Fall.
36. Hugs or kisses? Hugs.
37. Favorite dessert? Crème Brulee.
38. What books are you reading? Alice in Wonderland to Autumn. She's three months, so I'm not sure she's getting it.
39. What's on your mouse pad? An older EMA pad with “Think Ahead”.
40. What did you watch last night on TV? House, the previous night’s Daily Show.
41. What are your favorite sounds? People laughing.
42. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles.
43. The furthest you've been from home? Istanbul, Turkey.
44. Where were you born? Weston, Ontario, Canada, a town that no longer exists as it’s now just Toronto.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flickr organization

I can't organize my closet, but I did some organizing on Flickr today. Then I took a little look around other blogs and entered Autumn's pictures into blogging baby photo contests and the like. I tell ya, our little girl likes to Ham it up for the camera. But as I like to say, the largest part of Hames is Ham, so it's not like this is out of character. We Hames' are somewhat comfortable in crowds. Alright, back to work.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Discarded butts

For three straight days, I've noticed someone tossing a cigarette butt out of their car window. Now, I've never smoked. But I sorta get the desire to get rid of the butt. Afterall, they are quite stinky. Who wants an ashtray full of dog ends?

But here's the thing. The butt dropped by someone has a good chance of seeping into the water table. True, one little butt won't do a lot to the environment: but what about billions of little butts? In 2005, there were 378 billion cigarettes sold in the US. Whether you smoke or not, you don't need me to go over all the things in a typical cigarette. So when someone tosses it, that stuff is unleashed on the world. Specifically, into the water table through rain.

Clearly, as this interesting Japanese sign suggests, it's a problem in Japan as well. Here are some more of the ads. If you're reading this in Buffalo, please stop throwing your butts on the ground.

Autumn in Video

For your viewing pleasure.

Interactive banner ads

This is cool. Across the US, people will see banner ads for the new Saturn Aura. Clicking on the banner ad will launch a spot that uses Google Earth to take them to their nearest Saturn Dealer and meet the manager. Obviously the banner ads will be strategically purchased, and it apparently works on the IP address of the computer. It's all very cool. Take a look here. That's interesting stuff for a monday morning.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

love bites.

mom says

remember the days of wearing turtle necks to hide the marks of overzealous teenage boys/girls. Ahh Yes- the circles of passion left on the neck- or other random places on the body. It has been a long time since i had to pull out a garment to cover up a love bite- and if you read any of the other posts here you might think that as it was our anniversary last night i might be talking about a mark left by my betrothed... you would be wrong.

yesterday i got my first hickey- from my daughter.

the time- 5ish am.
the place- just a bit to the right of her target.
the reason- i was just so damn tired i didn't notice she missed.

So, a note to breastfeeding mothers everywhere- i know you might be sleep-deprived, but watch your child to ensure they hit their mark or you too may be the victim of a a love bite.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

If First Year= Paper then Fourth Year = Ketchup?

mom says-

Talk about creative.... how many women can tell you they got (and loved) ketchup for their anniversary? As you read, today is our anniversary , #4, and I followed my nose downstairs this morning and found Matt's famous roasted potatoes. Now, I love potatoes and in addition to being kind, sensitive, intelligent, passionate and wonderful- my husband roasts a mean potato- absolutely delicious! As I reached for my favorite Heinz ketchup and wiped the sleep from my eye I noticed something unusual about the ketchup. Thanks Matt for a wonderful start to my day and for the last four years. I feel we are getting better and closer everyday. Can't wait for Hutch's!

Happy Anniversary

The reason I am posting this is because this is our fourth wedding anniversary. Tonight we'll go to Hutch's, by far the best restaurant in Buffalo -- and possibly the best restaurant I have ever been to. And I get out. Anyway, to my lovely wife, thanks for the last four years. I feel like our adventure together is getting better every day. I love you Rhona.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


So, I was doing some research on user-created media this aftertoon when I came up on a new ad for the Sony Bravia HDTV. Here's the deal:

The ads will run on regular TV, but people with DVR's (TiVo-like machines) will be able to pick the ending of the ad, based on whether they are a man or a woman. Sounds interesting, until you watch them. Which you can do here.

I'll give this some more thought. But immediately it bugged me that the men's color is blue and the women's is pink. And when the women began singing and dancing about shoes, I almost cried.

This is 2006. does it really come down to the guy is the gangster or the ninja and the gal loves shoes and an over-the-top love story?

Maybe they meant everything to be big and over the top because that's what they are going for in the brand. They are the ones, after-all, who painted a building.

Or maybe it turned out that they couldn't settle on the ending for a guy and a gal that were sufficiently different, so they decided to go to the extreme. Boys kill things, girls buy shoes and fall in love.

Somehow though, as the dad of a 13 week old little girl, their execution just made me sad.

The guy nod

The other day I was walking Autumn and Lucy down a street in Buffalo. I had her in the baby carriage and Lucy on her leash. I like to take the girls out of the house and leave Rhona some time to sleep, shower, or simply be without both of them for a bit.

So there I am, walking down the street when I pass this guy. It's at this point that I give and receive something I am basically powerless to prevent. I make eye contact and nod my head once, often furrowing my brow a little at the same time. This is the guy nod (my added variation is the furrowed brow). It's always a nod accompanied by a smirk, a frown, a furrowed brow, or simply a knowing look. When I give it, I get it back. When I get one, I send it back without even knowing why.

In the natural world, ie, in the scary place called the wild, before humans planted seeds in the ground, laid down roads and began voting republican, homo sapiens survived because we hung out in groups. We're pack animals. Consider the yawn and my theory about why it's contagious: because we hunted in packs and thus depended on every member of the team for survival, one yawn meant weakness in the pack. Thus, we've evolved to yawn when we see a yawn to ensure we all don't go out and hunt. Admittedly, we're passed the point of needing yawns, but evolution moves a lot slower than civilization.

But back to the guy nod. As pack animals, we need to acknowledge the other animals around us. Especially the guy ones.

The guy nod is a throwback to times when we didn't have language. If you're a guy, think about how much is communicated in the guy nod, and its accompanying frown, smirk or look. It's the equivalent of: I recognize you, and I recognize what you are doing. In the cases where I get a guy nod when walking Autumn and Lucy, then an additional paternal recognition might be found in the nod as well.

That's a lot of stuff communicated in a gesture. Fact is, we could speculate on what else might be communicated, at different times, with a guy nod. But the important thing is, it's virtually impossible, if you're a guy, to not do a guy nod. And that's the really interesting thing. We can choose to say hello, shake hands, flip the bird and make gestures. However, if a guy nods to us, we're basically powerless. We have to nod back.

As a copywriter, the guy nod means something more to me, and this might be a leap, but I'll make it. If you don't want to come along for the leap, go play a game. The guy nod is throwback proof that certain communications are inherent in our DNA. Also inherent in our DNA is also the notion that we're a social, pack animal. As any marketer knows, we humans can be moved by invitations to belong. Deep down, we want and need someone to exchange guy nods.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hanging at the crib.

Da Crib.
Originally uploaded by MRHames.

mom says:

I wouldn't say Autumn is on a 'schedule' per se, but we are trying to move in that general direction... Yesterday was step one... I put her down in her crib for a nap. If i review that last sentence there were actually two firsts, let me break that down.

a) ...i put her down

I have a tendency to hold Autumn A LOT, if she falls asleep in my arms I generally let her stay there and i use the opportunity to really look at her. Now, I know there will be parents, grandparents, friends, strangers who read that and think that is terrible and she will grow up to be spoiled and unable to self-soothe. I have been told on more than one occasion that I NEED to put her down. Obviously there are times when she is not attached to me- she hangs with her dad, she sits in her swing, she plays on the floor, she watches her mobile...but yes- she spends time in my arms. i am off work for six months and i am here to spend time with this precious baby... So yes- i hold her. I hold her tightly, i sing to her, i rock her, i squeeze her and if the truth be told, i snack on her perfect little toes until she giggles... so for me to put her down was sort-of a first.

b)... in her crib

Up to this point the crib has just kind of been a big piece of furniture in her room... a home for stuffed animals, a source of total bewilderment (how the hell does a crib bumper go on?!), a dumping ground for blankies, binkies, boppies and anything else that begins with a B and ends with an EE sound. But,yesterday it was a place for Baby (see) - she fell asleep and napped for 45 mintues. I will admit I had hoped for something longer- but it was a good start. The baby monitor caught any and all sounds, whimpers, giggles, snorts and I walked around the house with it on my waistband (still maternity sized ?@#$!!!) like an IT person waiting for the next server-crash. But we did it.

a good start- naptime. But, now it is the next day and at 8am she is already 'napping' in her swing ... this very well may take some time. But, look- she is not in my arms so that must count for something :)

Waking up for the new job

If you read the last post, then you should know she was good all night for dad's first day of work. She went to the board meeting of the Niagara Falls curling Club last night, and was perfect. She slept through the whole meeting. This morning, dad took her in the shower, alone, and washed her hair. She loved it. The warm water on her little body. It was a fun morning made better by the fact that it took 10 minutes to get to work. We love that.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Last night

Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Dear Autumn,

I've been off work for two weeks. In that time, you had your first laugh. We had our first shower and bath together. You've been great. It's now 8:48 PM on Sunday night, and I have to go to work tomorrow. So, please sleep tonight. Through the night. If you do, I promise to consider letting you stay up late when you're old enough to care.

Love, Dad.
P.S. It's been a great two weeks.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Okay. So it almost killed us, but we painted the room. This is the room Autumn will learn to crawl and walk in. This is the room with the TV. With the computer I am currently typing on. It's not done. But it's livable. And for us, that's a big step.

Anyway, this was accomplished because I have enjoyed two weeks off between jobs. Usually, I've advocated for starting a job mid week. I've never been a fan of Monday starts. Monday's are stress days. They are start the week days, usually the busiest -- or more importantly, they usually feel the busiest because the week of work looms ahead. If you start work on a Thursday, then you come into a less pressure-filled situation. I've started my last three jobs on a Wednesday or a Thursday. All that being said, I start Monday.

Finally this: on Thursday of last week, we took Autumn to her first movie. We went to see Holloywoodland. It was rather boring. But it was fun to watch Autumn watch. She was totally into it. think about it: it's a moving wall. She was engaged. Even during the parts of over-acting. Forever and ever, Hollywoodland will be Autumn's first movie.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Autumn starts laughing

Here it is then. A milestone. Rhona is giving raspberries to Autumn and she suddenly laughs. Just like that. Then she laughs again. A bunch. Makes me want to sing and dance.

Happy Parents

Rhona and Matt
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
mom says:

I think it is so important for a child to see happy parents... not just happy parents separately, but to remember times when her parents laughed together, danced together, sang together, and yes- showed affection toward one another. I look forward to the day when Autumn sees this photo and recognizes how much mom and dad care for one another.

happy parents make for a happy baby.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Painting the room

This week, while dad is off on a 'between two jobs' holiday, we're painting the front room. The room we spend all of our time in. The room that contains the computer, the TV, and the fireplace. Admittedly, the fireplace hasn't been used, but still -- the point is the same. This will impact our lives for the next few days. We'll probaby not post much. Needless to say, when we paint, we make a statement. The wall around the fireplace is Tango Red. And yes, it's the kind of dark red that is exactly the tango. The rest of the room is a Gayla Cream, a nice cream color that will warm up the room.

Right now, Autumn is fascinated with color. She has a mobile in her crib with a red, blue and yellow parts. Every time the yellow part passes her, she smiles a deep smile. At this point, I think her favorite color is yellow. We'll see.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How is the dog with her?

How is the dog with her?
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
Mom says:

We get asked all the time how our dog behaves with Autumn, and as you can see.... she is wonderful. Lucy has really taken to Autumn- she kisses her, she rushes to the carseat to take a sniff after we have been out... and today Lucy gave her a hug (with our help).

two good girls.

Our Diets

Look at the word diet. These days, diet means what you don't eat. If you're on a diet, it generally means you're not eating something.

Amazing. Because the word diet actually means what you eat. Your 'diet' consists of whart you eat every day, not, like the marketing people would have you beleive, what you don't eat. there isn't such a thing as 'diet' food. It's all diet food.

Even more, the diet of the food you eat is faily important as well. What did the cow eat that made your steaks? What about the chicken?

With Autumn, food choices seem that much more critical because nowadays, there's almost no avoidoing the industrial food chain. When Rhona and I were little, a tomato was most likely a tomato. They came right about now in the season, and the rest of the time, you bought canned tomatoes.

Now, take a look in a can tomatoes. You'll have a hard time finding one with only tomatoes as the ingendients. And you can get tomatoes at any time of the year. Some might say that's progress. Perhaps. But is it a GM tomoto? We don't know. Will it matter? We don't know.

My point is this: we have to be even more aware of what went into making the tomato now. Because Autumn is going to eat them for the rest of her life. Likewise all the food she eats.

Soon Autumn will go off her mom's breast milk. At that point, she'll enter the industrial food chain. People joke to me that I should be scared of when boys start calling. Honestly, her entering the industrial food chain under this government, a government that just cancelled the whistleblower protection in the EPA, is way more scary than any boy calling.

Friday, September 08, 2006

little girls in dresses

mom says:

yesterday i bought autumn a dress that i wish i could wear- but i don't fit into size 0-3 months! The greatest thing about buying her clothes is that i haven't had to spend a great deal of money (yet). Not only have friends given us a ton of hand-me-downs- but we also live right around the corner from a great children's consignment shop (Rumpelstilskin's). This little corduroy number (lined) cost us $5.75.

she is just so adorable- please note the similarity to dad's ear (left).


Autumn in Brampton

Autumn in Brampton
Originally uploaded by MRHames.
So, it was a whirlwind weekend/week away in Brampton for Nanny's 65th birthday, some drinking, some golfing, some poopy diapers. And that was just Dad!

Time off between jobs is a unique thing. Here's why: Vacations can sometimes be stressful near the end as one contemplates the many millions of messages, both e-mail and phone, and the things that have backed up, and the things one needs to do to catch up.

Not so for me. No one has sent me an e-mail. There is nothing in the back of my mind to complete. No job coming. No thoughts about what to do next year for the campaign for one of the biggest clients. Nothing. Just a blank slate, time to reload, and relaxing. As I type this, the girls are all asleep and it's 8:00AM. And things are good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labour Day in Brampton

Yes, I said Labour day. Not Labor day. We're in Brampton, Ontario, so it's our.

Anyway, we arrived on Friday and it's Monday and even though we have a dog and a baby, everyone is relatively well-rested. We have some serious baby-showing-off to do today, and then tomorrow we take Autumn to Toronto. Now she's becoming more aware of her surroundings, Toronto will offer her a lot of distractions. It will be an adventure.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Nanny!

They say it's your birthday! Well happy birthday. Last night, we took a family portrait on the iMac. I wonder what Autumn is thinking? Wish nanny a happy birthday here if you want. Have a great day. Today is also my last day of work!