Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Marty Traded

So much for not wanting them to trade Marty. Last night, we talked a little bit about the trade, but mostly, about the fact that Nanny and Granddad were visiting. They stayed over because they are on their way to Florida today. And you care because..., you're wondering.

I'm actually posting to just keep things moving. It feels like, lately, at work, I don't have a minute to myself. This is my minute. Autumn is doing great. We're loving life. Our curling party is on March 11th. That's all.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Trade deadline

Today is the trade deadline in Hockey. It's actually at 3:00PM. The Hames family are official Sabres fans, and only want what's best for the Sabres. In my opinion, what's best for the Sabres is doing nothing. Admitteldy, I had momentary visions of Gary Roberts on the Sabres. He'll go to the Penguins where he'll play with Crosby who was 3 years old when Roberts last won the Stanley Cup.

Don't trade Marty Biron for the sake of trading Marty Biron. Keep him on the bench as insurance. Don't panic. Most of the guys who are injured will come back before or during the playoffs.

Last year, at the start of the playoffs, Derek Roy, Jason Pomenville, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek were rookies in the league. They had zero playoff games under their belt. Now, they are grizzled veterans with a game 7 in the eastern conference under their belts. True, they don't have Stanley Cup Final experience, but I'll take the experience they have and bet the farm on them.

And, I will take Tim Connelly on the power play, anytime he's ready. Because in the playoffs, the power plays are that much more important. That said, I'll post trades as soon as i hear them.

Monday, February 26, 2007

When Pam came to sit

We told you about being Sabres fans, and going to the game on Thursday night. What we didn't tell you was that Pam, Jessica and Jacob babysat Autumn. Here is a picture. They are cute together.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A bruise

Here you go. Her first real mark on her head. A bruise she got on Friday. This was taken Saturday. She still has some purple skin. And Dad has to take her to day care in the morning. Great.

This American Life

One of the best hours of broadcast each week is This American Life, on the radio. Stories that are touching, funny, moving, always entertaining, each week a theme is brought to us, and each week our family listens. Last night, Rhona and I went to see Ira Glass speak at UB. It was a great performance. It was funny, and inspiring. But it was also interesting. Ira thinks that we need learn how to tell stories better. And the way to tell stories is life this:

Something happens. Something happens. Something happens. Something happens. And then you reflect. That's the key to a good story.

Moving forward on this blog, I will try to tell stories in the manner Ira Glass suggested. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sabres Fans

At our little house, we're huge Sabres Fans. We have our Sabres gear, we listen to the games, and occasionally, we get to go. Last night was one of those chances. And what a night to pick.

We watched Marty Biron fight the Ray Emery, the Ottawa goalie, who is a former Gold Golver, outweighs Marty by 50 pounds and have a picture of Mike Tyson painted on his mask. We saw a fight that ended with 100 penalty minutes for the Sabres, resulting from a questionable hit on co-captain Chris Drury. It was a high-energy, mental game.

And they won. And that's what makes these guys so much fun. Here are the highlights of the game. I swear, it was mental.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Here we go again, again

This is another post about how the US seems about to go to war with Iran.

Why is this relevant in a blog about Autumn? Because a war with Iran will effect her much more dramatically than the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war in Iraq has been strange, annoying, unnecessary and will have a long term effect on the US. But it really isn't hurting us. A war in Iran? In my opinion, is a few ticks past escalation.

Let's recap:

The US already invaded Afghanistan. They did so because the Taliban was harboring Osama bin Laden and wouldn't turn him over. That's close to right. They wouldn't turn him over to the US, but they wanted to turn him in. There were problems with the offer, but in hindsight, it seems like a good starting point. Still, there was a somewhat popular invasion. The war there is still going on. And the drug trade is benefiting immensely on the war.

The US then invaded Iraq. It was because of WMD's, they said. It was against the wishes of just about every country on earth, with the exception of Britain and Australia. Italy and Poland were there two, but they're out. I could go on and on about this one, but the news is sort of already.

Now, they are thinking about Iran. And, to add a scary thought, there's talk of using bunker busters. Which are little nukes. Let me repeat, the US is contemplating dropping nukes on Iran.

Now, if you look at the middle east, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan are pretty much it. Meaning, the US will be at war with the entire region.

True biblical believers think the second coming will occur after a world war in the Middle East. George Bush counts himself among the true believers. I'm not saying we're all in serious trouble. But I am saying that I've been scared for my adopted country for a while now. And I'm getting more scared, because now I have a little girl.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

She's a stand up girl

There isn't much Autumn likes more than standing. She does like walking along with our help, but standing is the best.

So it wasn't too much of a shock to come into her crib and see her standing there, trying to eat the top bar. Seems somewhat expected, don't you think?

To recap: She can stand on her own. She crawls around the living room without much problem. She's growing up.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Curling, originally uploaded by MRHames.

After mom and dad curled, Autumn got to eat. Note the empty beer bottle to the right, and the Chief Head painted on the ice.

Autumn at the Curling Club

This past weekend, Autumn got to see where it all started for her dad. She was at the Chinguacousy Curling Club, being shown off by nanny. We have pictures. And when Dad gets off his butt and stops posting about politics, you'll see them. I did show Autumn her dad's banners, if you were wondering. If you're wondering what banners, you can ask.

Anyway, I like it that the first Curling Club Autumn entered was also the first one her dad ever entered. And the first one her mom ever entered. It won't be the last.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Circular logic, and here we go again

In 2002, The Bush Administration made it's case for invading Iraq. It said that Iraq and al-Qaida were collaborating. Colin Powell says this on Feb 5, 2003:
"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al-Qaida."
He's referring to al-Libi, who provided information under torture and recants everything. That is one of the mis-truths you can read about in this excellent piece by Mother Jones Magazine called Lie by Lie.

Well, we're off again. Now, the White House is proclaiming that Iran is arming insurgents in Iraq. The New York Times and the Washington Post are quoting unnamed sources who say they have evidence of this link. I wonder if this is the same level of evidence that lead then Donald Rumsfeld to say, of Iraq's purported WMD:
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
As you may have read, they weren't anywhere. And eventually, Donald Rumsfeld resigned, forever to be remembered as the guy who said stuff, on camera, and then denied he ever said it.

Anyway, lets say for a moment they are right. Lets give them the benefit of the doubt and say that Iran, a predominantly Shia state is in fact arming the insurgents in Iraq who are primarily Sunni. Lets say, even though this administration has been wrong on almost every turn, (greeted as liberators, won't take a lot of troops, won't cost more than 50 million, WMD, link to 911, etc), lets say they are right this time.

The question becomes, of a state arms someone, is it a reason to declare war one them? The answer, of course, is no. If it's yes, so many countries in the world would have the justification to attack the US. Look, at times it was politically expedient to arm Saddam and Iraq in the war against Iran. It was also expedient to arm anyone battling the soviets.

But think about it. Even if some of the people in Iran are supporting insurgents, that isn't a reason to invade. It just isn't.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Autumn crawled

Yesterday at daycare, Autumn took four crawl steps on her own. Rhona and I met at her daycare for a little family Valentine's day lunch. We all went to the little gym at the daycare and played. It was there that Autumn officially crawled. She had been getting a little frustrated by the lack of movement. She would try hard to move, but it wouldn't go well, and she would complain. But yesterday, it all worked out. She crawled.

Life is going to get completely interesting.

Some quotes that made me go hmmm

"Here is the message that an imaginary 'intelligent design theorist' might broadcast to scientists: 'If you don't understand how something works, never mind: just give up and say God did it. You don't know how the nerve impulse works? Good! You don't understand how memories are laid down in the brain? Excellent! Is photosynthesis a bafflingly complex process? Wonderful! Please don't go to work on the problem, just give up, and appeal to God. Dear scientist, don't work on your mysteries. Bring us your mysteries, for we can use them. Don't squander precious ignorance by researching it away. We need those glorious gaps as a last refuge for God."

"It is a tedious cliché (and, unlike many clichés, it isn't even true) that science concerns itself with how questions, but only theology is equipped to answer why questions. What on earth is a why question? Not every English sentence beginning with the word 'why' is a legitimate question. Why are unicorns hollow? Some questions simply do not deserve an answer. What is the color of abstraction? What is the smell of hope? The fact that a question can be phrased in a grammatically correct English sentence doesn't make it meaningful, or entitle it to our serious attention. Nor, even if the question is a real one, does the fact that science cannot answer it imply that religion can."

- Both by Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion -

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day

They say this: Snow will start around 5:00PM. The snow warning will end tomorrow morning, sometime. We had a snow storm back in October, and since then, not much. But, take a look at this.

All that white stuff on the map, is snow. That's what's coming. Who knows, maybe Valentine's Day will be a snow day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

China and the environment

We all buy a lot of stuff that's made in China. It's life. It's hard to find things that aren't made in China. However, when we think of things made in China, it's worth considering, for a second, what buying those things does to the economy. Think about this: 2 out of every 5 people on the planet are from China or India. China has 1.3 billion people. And they are getting hungry for energy. According to Spiegal Online, China is really polluting the planet.
"In order to feed its appetite for energy, China is building coal-fired power plants as fast as it can. Every seven to ten days a new plant begins spewing smoke into the sky. The amount by which China increased its power production last year alone is greater than Britain's entire capacity."
Every seven to ten days? Here's the article that talks about China and the environment.

What does this mean to your $1.95 made in China shirt from Wal-Mart? Well, it means each purchase helps a country continually rape the environment. And since we live in the environment, it's not so good long-term. I know it's hard to not buy things made in China. It's hard to pass on the a $2.00 shirt, or a $5.00 kid's toy. I don't expect people who read this to stop buying things made in China.

But after reading this article, I'm thinking the planet could use us all thinking a little harder about the country of origin of our stuff. This is the planet we're leaving to Autumn and her generation. Lets at least think about telling China to quit screwing with it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

montage collage (click for more)

Busy Weekend

Here's Autumn taking a crack at crawling. This was Sunday morning, while Dad and Autumn were alone. How cute is that ending? Feel free to comment.

As promised, Autumn Walking 2

This then, is some more 'tape' of Autumn walking. Still with the help of Dad, but still cuter than ever.

Wait till she walks. Crikey, we'll be uploading video every hour.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Autumn walking

With dad's help. But still. I love how it starts with Lucy staring down her stuffed Christmas Tree. The little stuffed tree is supposed to play "We wish you a merry Christmas", but it's more like a sad little whine. Anyway, here's some of Autumn walking.

She's a walker. And soon, she'll be moving around like crazy. Coming soon, walking part 2. The end of this, with Go Sabres, is fun.

virtual scrapbook entry

so, she is now 7.25 months old and if i had a scrapbook, i would likely have a page that talks about what she does now that she didn't used to do (right Pam?).

So, let's consider this a scrapbook page:

  • she stands up whenever given the opportunity- she will use the couch, the table, your leg, your face, a strand of your hair- basically anything as a climbing tool. She has serious leg strength. As we speak she is ROF -rolling on the floor (but not laughing).
  • she walks with help from your hands. When my friend Jody babysat last week she told me the day afterwards her back was killing her and couldn't figure out why? Although Autumn weighs about 16.5 lbs. now- it was the leaning over and walking with Autumn that resulted in back pain.
  • she loves lampshades. if she gets a chance she will reach out and try to touch it and will giggle the whole time.
  • eating is getting interesting these days- rice cereal and oatmeal, mixed fruits and vegetables, the occasional corner of bread with cream cheese, cantelope... we are slowly moving into solids- i am nervous about her choking- she just keeps eyeing my dinner with lust in her eyes. I will try harder
  • she loves apple juice - white grape is next on the agenda .
  • she is moments away from crawling. She gets into the hands and knees position- and by the looks of things she might skip crawling completely and move right into walking.
  • if mom is wearing a necklace- there is no need for other toys. she loves mom's necklaces.
  • she doesn't like her feet to be covered when she is falling asleep (neither do i for the record)
  • lucy is still her favorite friend to roll around on the floor with. romeo is a close second, although her love for him thus far is unrequited.
  • favorite toys are things like- plastic spoons, mirrors, balls, chewable blocks, the alphabet letters and numbers used in the tub, remote control, anything left on the floor (scary moment this morning- she had a pig ear in her hand when i walked into the living room- note to self: don't leave doggy treats on the floor-- E-YUCK!!!)
  • she looks super cute in denim
  • her hair is coming in and seems to be coming in at all different angles- it sticks up on the top of her head and somewhat out near her ears. She looks adorable - but i can see some people telling me she might need a haircut soon... i will ignore them, i think.
  • she has a personality and she seems to be pretty mellow, easy to amuse, full of laughter, energetic, fun to be with and social. So far- so good.
As of Saturday morning, February 10th- all is well and the girl is perfect. She is currently reaching for my toes - so back to business :)

Health Care for Autumn?

To begin:
47 million or so Americans have no health insurance in the US. According to this page (it's a PDF), half of them are children.
America spends more per person on health care than any country in the world. According to this page (another PDF), in 1998, the US spent $4,178 per capita on health care. The next highest was Switzerland, which spent $2,794 (knowing that, see point #1 again.)
Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the US.
Wal-Mart wants you to have health insurance.

Here’s the deal. In order to keep costs down, Wal-Mart doesn’t pay their associates very much money. This was an okay strategy, except when employees get sick. So, Wal-Mart offered their associates documents for obtaining free health care from the state they lived in. Well, the states noticed, and they took steps to stop Wal-Mart.

On a different timeline, other people noticed that Wal-Mart’s low prices had a high cost to municipalities – both from the aforementioned cost to give them health insurance, and the closing of stores in small towns.

Anyway, this bad PR has an impact on Wal-Mart’s business. The stock suffers. Wal-Mart even attempts to recast itself as a fashion retailer, taking out ads in Vogue.

None of it seems to work. Thus, here they are: big business getting together with labor unions to pressure the government into offering health care. The point is this: the US Health care system is employer driven. Big companies are responsible for health care. When they don't fulfill their responsibility, it hurts their business. Thus, they wonder how to fix it. Bingo. A state sponsored health care system. Large corporations that already offer health care could save billions if the government simply picked up the tab. Of course, the massive insurance companies and HMO's who currently call the health care shots will have something to say about all this. But they're fighting he largest company in the world. And Wal-mart doesn't lose.

Meaning, I predict, before Autumn is old enough for it to matter, this country will have health care.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Stock photos, a love story

Here's what you need to know about advertising: many of the 'people' you see in ads come from "stock photos".

Meaning, an Art Director (the people responsible for the pictures and the look of Advertising) looks at stock photo websites (getty, corbis, istock, etc), and picks a person who might best represent the brand. It's not the best way to do advertising, but it's useful on brochures, collateral, and regional ad campaigns. (On bigger campaigns, you hire talent, take their picture, and use that likeness).

The stock photo images are royalty-free, meaning you pay for them once and you can use them over and over. Rights managed photos cost money depending on usage -- one never owns a rights managed photos.

Are you still with me?

Well, the issue with royalty-free shots is that anyone can buy a royalty free image. Even the one you're using. And with so much low-cost advertising in the world, more and more people are using these cheap, royalty free images. There's a good chance that the royalty-free picture you pick will be picked by someone in Utah or something.

Which brings us to a fun little website called It's a fun website offering all kinds of neat information, but the best is this, a love story based on the use of a woman's stock photo. She goes from shopping, to dating, to single, to Christian, to married, to pregnant.

Readers help chart the life of this woman based on ads companies do with her likeness. I wonder if Yahoo wanted to be ridiculed this way when they set out to advertise? No, probably not. So be careful of the stock photo choices you art directors. Your ad might end up being parodied.

Just so you know, this isn't a royalty free image.

a jump a jump

a jump a jump, originally uploaded by MRHames.

Autumn loves to jump. We put her in the little jumper, and she's smiling and laughing th whole time. It gives us a break as well.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More than a boatload of money

You've heard the term, "a boatload of money' right? Well, how about the term "a plane load of money". The US Government sent 363 tons of cash to Iraq between December 12, 2003 and June 22, 2004. 363 tons of cash is over 4 billion. Just to give you an idea of how much that is, to count to 1 billion, saying one number every second, would take 37 years.

That's a lot.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Frankie Laine

Flashback 20 years to a Saturday morning at the Hames household. Breakfast has been eaten, papers have been delivered, and in the background Frankie Laine croons to songs like Jezebel, I Believe, When You See Me Coming, Lucky Old Sun, and My Way.

My dad, Autumn's granddad was and still is a big fan of the deep-voiced singer. So much so, that he would throw on two records, and play them all the way through. Then he would flip them, and play the back. Or sometimes, he would yell from upstairs or downstairs for me to flip the records. My sister Tracey and I can, to this day, sing the songs mentioned above all the way through. Anyway, Frankie Laine died yesterday at 93. He was a big part of my life growing up.

"St. Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I'm home today with a little sick girl. She's still coughing like a long-time smoker, so we're off to the doctor today. We'll keep you posted.

But because I have to do some work, I pulled out the pack and play. It's better containment. Of course, she sort of looks like she's in jail.

Anyway, I'm listening to the radio and I hear two things this morning that sort of bug me. The first, I think, is an Americanism. Tuna Fish Sandwich. Why the word fish? Is it because people weren't sure? If it was just Tuna Sandwich, would they find themselves slapping their heads when they find out Tuna is a fish? Or is it because of the people nicknamed Tuna. Would they think they were eating Bill Parcells sandwiches?

The second is when in hockey, a player commits the offense of going offside, and Buffalonians say he went offsides. It's singular. If he continues to be called offside, it's perfectly find to say, wow, Danny Briere has committed a lot of offsides in this game. But when it happens once, it's singular. That was offside. That's it.

Google Earth

If you've ever played with Google Earth, you'll get what I'm saying in this post. If you haven't, then you really should look into it. It's that cool. For the last couple of days, I've been exploring the earth, looking at people's pictures. Anyone can post an image up to google earth, and I think I'll be doing so in the future.

But last night, after listening to a story on This American Life about the guys who guard the border between Mexico and the US, I decided to check out the border.

I think it's so neat that there are buildings on the border. Now, admittedly, this is the same on the North side of the border. Check out this guy's place. His driveway begins in the US, and ends in Canada. This is North Dakota and Manitoba.

But that's just me being weird. Because if you want, you can look at small towns in the coast of Spain, which some people would say is more fun. This is a turned on it's side view of Malaga, Spain. Look at the mountains in the back. And the beach in the front. Wow.

Anyway, here's the link to Autumn. Because of a link up with Wikipedia, and images built right in to Google Earth, we plan to do a country every night before bed time, when she gets a little more aware. Spain. Iceland. New Zealand. Cameroon. Where would you like to visit? We plan to explore the world with Google Earth and gain an appreciation for it. Then, maybe we'll hit places we really love. Like that beach in the above shot. Check this out:


Monday, February 05, 2007

home sick

Autumn is home sick (again). You might remember last Monday we got the call from daycare. Well, today we made the call. Saturday she was vomiting, Sunday she was sneezing and coughing and today she is just still a bit off. She is not eating , but rather drinking juice and formula. She is getting better, but today is another sick day for her (and thus for me). Tomorrow if she needs to stay home it is dad's day. Hopefully though she will feel better. The good news is- even if she is sad part of the day- as soon as she sees her reflection- she smiles and laughs.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

State of the Union

A few weeks ago, after the State of the Union , I wrote a post about it. But recently, I saw this, a word cloud on the State of the Union Speeches. A word cloud is this: it takes all the words used in the speech, and gives a size to them based on the amount they are used. The biggest word was the most used word.

Here then, is the word cloud for Ronald Reagan's 1987 State of the Union Speech, his last.

Freedom really stands out, as does families. Soviet is big, because they hadn't yet collapsed, even though when he died, Reagan was given credit for their collapse.

Next we have Bill Clinton in 1997. The budget is balanced. The country is essentially in peaceful times, so Families are the most important. Freedom is small. Education is bigger. Welfare is interestingly large.

Jump another 10 years, and you get this:

Foreign policy dominates this word could. Iraq. Terrorists. And the complete lack of the word education. A tiny families. Freedom much smaller.

If you actually go back to the source, it's neat to see the words that come in and out of the State of the Union Speeches. I think that next year, Iran will be the biggest word.

Friday, February 02, 2007

a young woman emerging

can't you just look at her and imagine her older and beautiful.

Willow passes.... enter Tavish.

Willow is gone...a cat my parents loved and cared for for the past 15 years. A few words about Willow... they would tell you that Willow was 'my' cat, but truthfully once I came home from college and left again for Colorado, the cat became theirs. They like to tell me that i left Willow with them which is true for a couple of years, but when i returned east and wanted to take Willow with me to my new apartment- they couldn't part with Willow... which was fine. If you have a pet you know how much love they bring to a home and love in my parents home is a good thing. The cat was given fresh ham from my dad and babyfood from my mom. I got Willow when i was in college, my friend Melissa and I went to a farm and picked out kittens. She got CLYDE, and I selected Willow. A pussycat named for the white tip on her tail making her officially a pussy-willow, or Willow for short. Willow had thumbs on both front paws and although she wasn't the traditional loveydovey cat, she loved and was loved to distraction by my parents for the better part of her life. They were both absolutely devastated when she left the world, but they have wonderful memories and took great care of her until her last moment.

After enough time had passed, grandma and grandpa realized how much they missed Willow. So, they went together to the SPCA and found TAVISH, a new cat to love and care for. Tavish is a tiger cat (like Willow) who was in a bad fight and was hurt. Tavish has a little bite out of one of her ears and his front leg is still healing. He is very very friendly and can jump from the floor to the counter and then up to the top of a refrigerator! Tavish likes to sit in the window and watch the sunshine and the people go by. He comes when you call him and lets you pick him up and pet him. He is lovey and he is dovey and he is just the perfect cat for grandma and grandpa!!! Welcome Tavish.

Major Freakout

Freakouts are things we'll most likely have a lot more of in our life. So last night, we went to a friends house to watch the hockey game. The Sabres won, and Autumn went to sleep at their house. We piled her up and took her home. Nothing weird so far. She was in her crib, I was in bed. Fast forward to 11:00PM.

She started wailing. Now, she's done this before, there's nothing new here. Sometimes she gets worked up because she's on her belly, her binky is somewhere else. It usually just means going in, putting the binky in her mouth and rocking her a bit. No problem. Only, and this is the weird part, when I looked in her crib, she wasn't there.

Cue freakout.

It turns out, our little roller managed to kick the crib wall, the part that slides up and down, off just enough for her to squeeze through. Meaning, last night, Autumn fell to the floor from about a foot and half off the ground. If I seem somewhat clinical in my description right now, it's because she's okay. In fact, last night, she went back to sleep within a few minutes.

Tonight, when I get home, I will take a serious look at the crib. Suffice it to say, we may need a new crib. Hopefully we simply need a few patches to the existing crib. We'll see.

And, she's okay. It's our job to come to her rescue, and we did. As soon as I said "oh my god", Rhona was there. She could tell by the tone that things weren't savvy. But, in the end, they were. This morning, Autumn was zipping around the house in her little walker, and things were normal.

Still, a moment of pretty intense fear.

My first.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Autumn has socks that say Baby Hanes

They say it's hard to pick a name. But it wasn't hard for us. We were walking down a gorgeous Buffalo street in the fall, a little bit after we knew we were pregnant. (I get to say we, even though Rhona did all the work.)

It was Autumn, the season we were married, and the leaves were showing off shades of red that were mind-blowingly dazzling. We thought, if we have a little girl, we'll call her Autumn. We never deviated.

We were right; her smile and laugh are also colorful and dazzling.