Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why the Internet is cool

This is why the Internet is so cool. I’m listening to an online radio station called Flashback Alternatives. The last couple of sets were an obscure Tears For Fears song and a Tom Waits song called “Innocent When You Dream”. Those two songs sandwiched “Snow Miser”, from the Animated show called A Year Without Santa Claus. Easily my favorite show. I actually used to think one of my old bosses looked like the Snow Miser. But I digress, because it gets better.

I looked up A Year without Santa Claus to see who did the voice for the Snow Miser. Turns out, it was done by Buffalo, NY native Dick Shawn, who according to his bio in IMDB, was "Way ahead of his time most say, it was extremely difficult indeed to know how to properly tap into this man's eclectic talents."

The song Snow Miser was an example, in my opinion.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cool Music site

This is called Musicovery. It's an online radio station that lets you pick your mood and your music. Then it picks a playlist. Very cool.

Flying to Florida

Yesterday, my wife and daughter got on a plane bound for sunny Florida. And while i think this will be a great trip, I was struck by how sad I was watching them leave. As Rhona went through customs, carrying Autumn, I was struck by how tiny and vulnerable the situation made Autumn. Rhona was holding her and Autumn was just looking around at all the machinery of the Department of Homeland Security. I can't really describe it, but I was struck by how tiny she looked.

Anyway, mom reports that Autumn was near perfect on the plane. She slept, played, and generally had a good time on her first flight. Actually, when Rhona called me, as the plane landed, I could hear another baby screeching in the background. Autumn was apparently just looking around.

Last night, I slept like crap. I kept waking up expecting to hear Autumn or Rhona. Perhaps I'll get used to the quiet in a couple of days. But right now, I miss the girls.

Monday, November 27, 2006


If you get a chance, take a look at these shots. They are from the aftermath of Katrina. He uses this neat technique that makes thing appear to be toy-like. It's such a thought-provoking thing.


We were pretty quiet on the holidays. The family came over. We ate a lot of food. Had a great night. This was Autumn's first US Thanksgiving. She'd already had the Canadian Version, so she was a bit of a Turkey veteran.

Anyway, the night went off without a hitch. The food, in my humble opinion, was great. When you can cook potatoes in the turkey juices, you get a potato that is truly outstanding.

So, happy belated US thanksgiving to the Americans who read this, and hope you had a good weekend, to the Canadians.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Drugs? Maybe

I wonder about ads like this, if, at any point in the process, people were on drugs. Or, if this was designed to be zipped around on YouTube.

Good though.

happy birthday to me

I am sick today, a cold , fluish symptoms that make me want to get out of bed in the wee hours and soak in a hot tub. This morning I got up at 4am and started running a bath, I had just gotten settled when the alarm bells went off. She was up and wanted some sort of attention. I dried myself off and headed into her room and got my morning smile. As I looked down at her I thought to myself that she may in fact be the best birthday present ever... and the great thing is that I will get the same gift each year (although hopefully not always at 4.10am).

happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Truly hilarious

"#292- "Well, I love the general feel but I rather expected to have photos instead of these scribbles."
(Client, on showing hand-visualised mock-up of brochure)"

This is a website of the collection of some of the things that get said in Advertising agencies. Life is often funnier than anything people can think of.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Late night feedings

So here's the new plan. We're feeding Autumn cereal. It's messy, but fun. Then we feed her from the bottle. Then, we put her down to bed. but then, we're trying something new. Specifically, feeding her more from the bottle in her sleep.

It's fun. She's sound asleep, so she's sort of a like a rag doll. Sound asleep. I pick her up, and she's still sound asleep. I place the bottle to her lips, and while still sound asleep, she begins to eat. It's the neatest thing in the world. If you have little babies around, you have to try it. I wonder if, at that moment, she's dreaming of food?

Anyway, when she's done, and that usually happens after about 2 oz., I then place her really gently on my shoulder and burp her. It isn't an actual burp -- apparently one has to be awake to let one rip -- it's just the exhaling of air. But the only thing cuter is her sound asleep face sucking on her bottle.

Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Autumn in Artvoice

Our little girl makes her debut in Artvoice today in an ad for Terrapin Station. There's a long story on how she got there, but the short story is they needed a cute little baby, and she currently fits the bill. This isn't the picture they used in the ad in Artvoice. For that, you'll have to get one yourself. But this is a shot from the photo shoot. The headline in the ad is: "For all the colorful people on your list". The guy is obviously meant to be a contrast. I love this picture.

Today is the big day

When I worked for Viatran Corporation, I got to travel around a little bit. I always tried to find a Sushi joint. Of the places I tried, none compared to our hometown gem, Kuni's.

Well, today, it reopens. Across the road from our house.

The menu looks close to the same. The Sashimi platter being an excellent option. However, I was partial to the Hot, Hot, Hot Salad. And Rhona loved the gyoza, mostly for the sauce. I suspect Kuni's will evolve into the place he wants.

More importantly, this is great for our little area. The stores on the corner of Lexington and Ashland have most likely struggled since the coop left. The coop was a magnet store, attracting people to the corner. Now Kuni's to go will be that magnet. People will come, order, and then look around. I think the little corner store will do a lot better (get some Sushi, go in there for some fresh baked cookies for desert.)

I feel really good about the location. now if only the place could reinvent itself and open up as a coffee/martini/good soup /dinner joint. Or something. Baby steps though.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More pictures of Autumn

The other night, while Rhona and Autumn were sleeping, I put together some images of Autumn in a Tabblo. It's called from now to then, and it shows her throughout her short little life. She's really becoming vocal. And she's getting to be an expert at eating cereal. She has personality, and her smile makes me warm and fuzzy. Anyway, here's the tabblo. If you click on this, then click on pictures, you can see them bigger.

Tabblo: Autumn from now to then

These are just some of the best ones. In my opinion.
... See my Tabblo>

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dad to Daycare

So, this morning I took Autumn to daycare. The people were wonderful. The place was warm, caring, inviting. And I almost lost it when I walked out the door. It's hard to put into words what I felt. Nervous? Not really, I trust that she's in good hands. Guilty? Again, no. She'll learn a lot about socializing. She'll be engaged. What then?

I think if you look at these pictures, you might realize it a bit. She's my little baby. I think I'm just in for a lifetime of worrying about her for no good reason.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Autumn and I

Weekends are about Dad time. I miss the chances to put her down for a nap. To change poopy diapers. To do the things you might think aren't all that fun, but really are awesome.

Lately, Autumn has been giving me face hugs. Like in this picture. I hold her, and she pushes her face into mine. Remember I said earlier that snuggling was the best thing in the world? The simple fact is, it's hard to pick one thing that's the best thing in the world. Her laugh. Her smile. Watching Rhona and Autumn laughing together. She's a perfect little treat. A perfect little treat.

Right now, mommy is running in the park. Lucy is laying at my feet. Autumn is napping in her crib. I'm listening to a story on the Vinyl Cafe that sounds touching enough to make me cry. But every part of this morning means they will be tears of joy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

God's will

"In the late 1700s some people wanted democratic rule. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that the king ruled by God's will.

In the mid 1800s some people wanted to end slavery. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that God approved of slavery.

In the early 1900s some people wanted to give women the vote. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved that God made women inferior to men.

In the mid 1900s some people wanted to end segregation. Conservative elements of the church pointed to the Bible and said it proved God wanted to keep the races separate.

When you look back at how your parents and grandparents dealt with these things, are you ashamed or proud?

Now some people want to allow gay marriage. Conservative elements of the church are pointing to the Bible and saying it proves God hates homosexuality.

When your children and grandchildren look back at how you deal with this, will they be ashamed or proud?"

From here:

I think the religious people should have this explained to them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Such a well-written ad

After watching some of the worst political ads ever made, this one somehow makes it all better. This one tells me that somewhere, someone is using smart people to do their ads.

Amazing. Thanks to Claudinho.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My little heater

Autumn is well into her crib days. But in the mornings, I have to confess that I love it when she fusses. Sometimes I'll grab her and bring her into bed with me. She snuggles up beside me and goes to sleep. I can also sleep. Together we make a lot of heat, keep each other warm. Her little cooing sounds helping me sleep.

There's really nothing better that having my daughter snuggle up to me and fall asleep. The feeling I get is incredible, like I can take on the world because my little girl finds comfort in snuggling up to me.

She's a joy, and when I'm at work, I find myself looking through this blog, at flickr or tabblo, because I miss her. I now that she's at home with her mom, making raspberry sounds and laughing when she stands up, and staring at the dog. And I know Rhona is doing an awesome job at being a mom.

I love my job, but sometimes I wish I could just hang out with both of my amazing girls all day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

DayCare (part2)

A new day. Another try at daycare. We waited until after our morning nap and then we headed out in the car with positive feelings and optimistic thoughts. We arrived at the center and entered the Infant room. Autumn was still in her carseat with binky firmly planted between her lips. I put her down in the center of the room and walked away to start unloading all the 'stuff' the center handout had told me to bring.

I placed her change of clothing in her little cubbyhole (labeled with her name), I placed her diapers and wipes under the changing table in her little basket, I unloaded her own personal breast milk into the freezer... and as I glanced over I noticed that a small (very small) crowd had formed around Autumn who was still in her carseat. (inside my head- WHY is she still in her carseat?!, WHY hasn't one of the teachers taken her out to let her play, WHY is she still just sitting there?!) Her big eyes were scanning the crowd of onlookers- three kids and one teacher sat right next to her carseat and let her have time to get used to things, but interacted and talked with her (inside my head- i guess it is not so bad that they let her sit in her carseat afterall).

After a moment- the head teacher, Donna, went over to Autumn and lifted her slowly out of her seat. She let her stand up and look around... and I don't know if it was planned (unlikely), but right at that moment the other teacher saddled up to me and started talking to me about her childcare experiences and my emotional display on Monday. She laughed when she told me that I was "funny" the other day and that each day it will get easier. To make myself feel better, I joked with her "Well, surely with all your years of experience, I did not have the worst reaction to bringing in my child -smirk, smirk, chuckle, chuckle "... she said," Oh, Rhona- I wouldn't say you had the worst reaction in my twenty years, but maybe the worst in the past five years!!! hahahahaha....". Hmmmm - the worst reaction in five years... well maybe that just means that I love my daughter the most... right?

Occasionally during my conversation with this teacher, I looked over at Autumn and suddenly my tears started flowing again ... there she was- standing and having a good time.... with someone other than me. Donna was smiling at her and she was smiling back..... no doubt about it- I was jealous. So, now I was not only crying because she was sad, I was crying because she was happy.... good lord. It was clearly time for mom to head out... I looked at the teachers and said I am going to leave for awhile.... I will be back soon... they laughed and truly didn't expect me to make it out the door... but I did- I left the premises. I went for a drive, got a latte and walked around a grocery store for a little while.

The number of mothers and children at the grocery store was staggering... was it always like this ??@!#!! Every aisle I walked was filled with mothers smiling lovingly at their kids... I couldn't even hear the musak because of the baby sounds coming from everywhere... I was surrounded by kids, yet not my own. I walked around until I ended up staring at the diapers and thought it might be time to head back. I left Autumn alone for 45 minutes.

When I came back, she was sitting on Donna's lap having just finished a bottle (of my breast milk thank you very much!)... Donna was working at burping her, but I noticed that she still had her binky in her mouth. I said- "She sometimes burps a bit better without her binky in her mouth (who doesn't know that?!)- and as Donna pulled the binky out, my dear sweet baby let out a whale of a belch. While Donna congratulated her for her burp , I smiled to myself thinking she still needs me.

Friday is another day and we will see if we can last just a little longer. Today was a good day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


For most of my adult life, I've been a habitual voter. For the last 4 years, I've gone cold turkey when it comes to voting. As a legal alien, I cannot vote in today's election. In fact, I can't vote in any of them. I'll tell you this though: were I able to vote, I wouldn't be for a Republican. I personally feel like Republicans in the House and Senate have essentially given up their oversight duties and allowed a blank slate to President Bush. And while I personally feel like history will record Bush as one of this nation's worst Presidents, much fault rests on the Congress and Senate for their partisan desire to sit back and let him call the shots.

That said, our own elected member of congress, South Buffalo's own Brian Higgins voted for legislation that repeals Habeas Corpus. I won't bore you with the details, just know Higgins, a Democrat, voted for legislation that gives Bush the power to detain anyone he wants to, for as long as he wants to. The rule of law is replaced by the rule of Bush, and a democrat rubber stamped it.

I wonder for Autumn's sake if there will be more choices when she turns 18 and can vote. I hope so.

Anyway, go vote.

Before I forget....

Women in various stages of motherhood often experience a memory loss. For example, even though you grunted, swore and screamed your way through labor when someone asks you months later what the experience was like you may find yourself saying something like "It was amazing, beautiful and incredible.... the pain was minimal". It is this memory loss coupled with the advice giving that makes talking with mothers who have 'been there done that' sometimes difficult and uncomfortable.

There is absolutely nothing worse than someone patronizing you with advice on motherhood. I am officially a member of the club now and although I have a lot of new experiences ahead, there are certain things that I am aware of.

This post is meant to remind me to watch how I talk to pregnant women or women with babies younger than mine. I vow not to come of like a no-it-all and to appreciate that there are times when no advice is requested or required. Sometimes people just want to talk about how hard it is to be a mother, or how painful recovery from a c-section is. I promise to sit back and listen to stories about horrible daycare emotions, formula guilt, arguments with spouses. I swear to never say " you need to do this... or you need to do that..." I will try to share in your pain and offer suggestions (if you ask) based solely on my experience.

I will try desperately not to offer too much advice or to forget along the way how difficult it is to become a mother. Wouldn't it be great if we all could try to remember.

Monday, November 06, 2006

trial run at day care

we knew it would be a tough transition which is why we only intended to stay for a halfday or a half of a halfday... but in the end we stayed for about a half an hour! It should also be noted that when we arrived- Autumn was sleeping so really we were only there AWAKE for roughly 20 minutes. There was maybe only 2 minutes of that 20 when neither of us was crying. I tried to keep away and let the professionals take care of her needs, but as i sat on the comfy couch in one corner I just found myself shaking uncontrollably. I heard the lead-teacher say "i think mommy needs a kleenex" and I was thinking- I think mommy needs a sedative! Once I got a bit of a grip on my emotions- Autumn completely lost hers. She started sobbing and she just started wailing. Now, if you haven't had the pleasure- you should know that Autumn's face turns bright red when she starts crying. The skin near her eyebrows is especially sensitive and turns red... couldn't stop crying and screaming. We did the diaper thing, we tried (oh yeah- at this point i was now fully involved, no more sitting back)- we nursed and even that didn't work. Now that she had awakened the other three kids who had been sleeping and showed no signs of letting up- we pulled our stuff together and left.

i tried to be positive and said to the teacher- well- " Hey, maybe next time we will stay for a bit longer"... but what i was thinking was " Hey, well maybe I will just quit my fucking job and we will never see you again!".

I don't know what to say about it.... it sucked, it was awful, i felt like a horrible mother who couldn't soothe her child.... in addition to the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, i had to write them a check for $391.40. This I was informed covers the $35 deposit, the 2week deposit and the first week. So far she has been there for a grand total of 30 minutes. On Friday apparently there is another $270 due. Really?@!@@@

So, Wednesday we are supposed to try again and I will try to be well rested and try to last at least an hour. I don't think I can handle many more visits like today's. The teachers just looked at me with understanding eyes and told me how hard "it is" and I thought- Well, why is it so fucking hard. Why can't we live in a country like Denmark where most mothers are given two years off with FULL PAY for maternity leave. Why does it have to be so hard- why can't we value motherhood in this country and provide opportunities for mother's to stay with their children until they can at least express their frustrations verbally... why am I sitting on the floor of a daycare facility surrounded by babies who are all younger than five months of age? "It is really hard"- NO SHIT it is hard, that is why I am sitting here shaking like a leaf of a tree, trying to get my head around the fact that my beautiful little girl is looking over her shoulder at me wondering why I am not there holding onto her? She is trying to figure out why there is a new face (albeit one with twenty years of experience) telling her it will be alright... why is it not me there speaking in our special mother/daughter raspberry code.... it is really hard is right.

wednesday is a new day and maybe it will be a day where she will like the new toys and the new faces, but i have a feeling I won't like it there for a long time.

Monday morning peeping

Wanna look into the world for a minute? Not a detailed look at someone you know, but a macro look at the world. A good way is to look, real-time, at what people are searching for right now. Here's a snippet:

Supreme leader of Iran.
Kindergarten games recess.

It's so random.
Here's the link. This is unfiltered, so it might contain gross words. You can read the filtered searches as well. Less porn.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Leafs win

Mom and Dad went to the Leaf's Sabres game. Aunt Tracey and Mitz came to watch Autumn.

Here are three happy people.

Autumn's really a Sabre's fan - HAAAA - does she look like a Sabre's fan in this pic - I think not!!! She loves her new Leaf soother and will make sure she has it for every Leaf game!! Thanks for helping the Leafs win Autum! Love Aunt Tracey and Mitz.

Right now

Love the computer.
Love hanging with my girls on a weekend.
Life is grand.

For the record, this is picture 554.
That's what the file is called.

Many have been of Autumn.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dennis Miller, what have you done?

Dennis Miller made Saturday Night Live's weekend update must-see TV before the term was coined. His rapid-fire delivery of the most obscure references was both angry and funny. In his stand up, his rants were made better when you understood the reference, but they didn’t depend on it. In an era that predated the ability to google his references, if you got it, it added another level of comedy to the rant. If you didn't get it (and most people didn't get them all), his points were still valid, thoughtful and funny.

In recent times, Dennis Miller has hitched his stardom to the republican machine. An admitted libertarian with conservative opinions, he early on hitched onto president Bush and decided to ride it all out on Fox news as a commentator.

I could care less about his politics. If he wants to stand up and rant about democrats, I’ll listen. Because again, his delivery is his own. His references are so arcane and clever that i would be in. In fact, he's such a smart comic that I would have thought I would learn something.

So I recently watched one of his rants on the web. And boy was I disappointed.

Watch this. It’s on a website called media matters, often called a left-wing site. Whatever. The topic is the supposed intelligent, or lack thereof of Nancy Pelosi. I don't mind a rant on that. But I would think it at least bears mentioning, fomr a comedic angle, that his President isn't gifted in the intellectual arena, and the president's dad had Dan Quayle as his VEEP.

To heap on the ironies, in a rant about the intelligence of the minority leader, Fox places pop ups to help describe the references for viewers. Thus, a rant about the intelligence of someone has to be dumbed down so people can better follow it.

I just can’t imagine that Dennis Miller missed that irony. If he did, then he's losing his touch. If he didn't, then he's losing something more.

Because I would have loved to hear him angrily say the dumbness of the minority leader isn't a unique thing. There are countless examples on both sides of the dumbness of politicians. But focusing entirely on Pelosi makes the argument partisan and weak. Plus, calling her a nimrod seems so anti-Dennis Miller. I would have preferred to hear how dumb she was using some arcane reference of dumb, like Alice in the Brady Bunch during the episode where Bobby gets hurt – or something.

I don’t agree with Mr. Miller’s politics, but I was happy to listen. But now, not so much. It seems he’s reduced himself to the level of prop comic, with post-production images and effects. And really, that stinks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scary stuff for Halloween

Just so you know, Autumn was a chicken. We have pictures. We gave away a lot of chocolate, and pretended that everything in the world is hunky dory. There is nothing even remotely scary about anything.

Except maybe these three things done in during the daylight by the US government:

1. Indefinite detainment is legal. No one is allowed to file a writ of Habeas Corpus to hear charges against them. An American Citizen can be legally arrested and detained forever and they no longer have the right to hear the charges. The key thing here is that the President is allowed to determine if you're an enemy combatant. It's his call. This law has been applied to a satellite dish salesman in NJ who sold Satellite Dishes that could pick up Al Jazeera. To further confuse the issue, if the Vice President suggests that an opinion on policy aids the terrorist, under this new law, the person who holds that opinion can be locked up.

2. Torture is okay. Even though the President says the US doesn't torture. That tortured logic makes sense when you realize that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 allows the President to define torture. If he says it isn't torture, it isn't.

3. Bush signed the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (H.R.5122). Here's some more mumbo jumbo, for fun: The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) and the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385). Confused? Here's the point: the H.R.5122 allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder." The new law overrides the other two laws I cited that prevented the President from being able to declare martial law in America.

So, to recap. If a group of people protest the president, it's now legal to send troops in to stop the protest. The troops are allowed to pick up and detain American Citizens if the president says their opinions are aiding the terrorists. And, for good measure, they are allowed to torture American Citizens as long as the president says it isn't torture. Keep in mind, even in light of pictures of troops torturing detainees, Bush has consistently claimed the US doesn't torture. According to the new law, he's right.

Of course, just because all this stuff is legal, doesn't mean he'll do it. Not in America. But it makes you wonder, why make all these laws?