Monday, April 30, 2007

Times most influential people

Some interesting names in there. I'll check back to see who the masses thinks are influential based on their list. Vote if you get a chance -- even if it's just for Stephen Colbert.

You are what you eat

I've talked a lot about the food we eat. I've been keenly aware of it actually. As we embark on a time of cost-cutting at our house, we need to think harder about food. The thing is, a lot of our food comes from all over the world. The average American meal travels 1,500 miles. That's farther than it is from Buffalo to New Orleans (1,100 miles as the crow flies). That's across the country.

So clearly, we're getting food from elsewhere. And that's fine. Except they don't have the same standards as we do. And we're not really checking that hard into the standards. Consider this from the Toronto Star.
ZHANGQIU, China–As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the U.S. and Canada, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.
Indeed. If we are what we eat, then we're also a little bit about where the food we eat comes from. So keep your eyes open. And eat well.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

night-time routine

Generally each night for Autumn ends in a rocking chair in her room. Tonight she had a bath with dad and then a story with her final bottle. Right now Matt is reading to her in funny voices, i think in fact a different voice for each page. I am sitting downstairs about to send this out there to all the people who may or may not care.

the stereo next to me is playing America by Simon and Garfunkel which in the past few years has become one of my top ten songs. It is beautiful and takes me back to having all the time in the world and good friends close by.

I miss Jen Lester right now. I would like very little more than to sit with her and listen to her laugh at something silly. We would likely have a beer and i would no doubt feel like I should be filling the silence and she would just look at me and tell me to stop worrying.

I love my life, but i miss my friend jen tonight. a lot.

Friday, April 27, 2007

#322 as requested

street exchange

a smiling homeless man greeted me this morning as i was walking the dog.

he said "Hello Again"
I said "Hello Again"

He said " are you only on this planet- or all the other ones too?"
I thought for a second and said "I think only this one?"

He said "Alright, I'll see you again soon"
I said "See ya"

and we walked on...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From Syracuse

I haven't posted all week. It's been a whirlwind in Syracuse, working, learning, jumping from hotels. Thanks to some strange occurrences, my four days in syracuse have been spent in three different hotels. This morning was the first one that I didn't have to check out.

Tomorrow, I get to get home to the girls. Autumn, Rhona and Lucy. The little boy, our crusty old cat will be happy to see me as well...although he'll ignore me for a bit to let me know I shouldn't have left.

Most of the new people in my agency are out at one of Rhona's favorite bars. Me, I have work that's due, so I high-tailed it back to the hotel. It's now done, and I'll shut er. I miss the fam.

Monday, April 23, 2007

dad left home.

dad just left. he went to syracuse for five days for training, I won't lie I am a little curious about what the week will be like without him here. There are things I know; I know that I likely won't laugh quite as much or eat as well as I usually do. I will hope even more than normal that Autumn will sleep through the night. I will watch the Sabre's game without dad on Wednesday and hope that the hockey gods won't get upset by this as we embark on round two vs. the NY rangers.

The thing to remember is that dad will likely be sad without all the girls around (and romeo). He will probably miss singing and dancing with Autumn and me and although we hope he will bathe without us- it just won't be the same as it is when attempting to hold a squirming wet baby.

we will miss dad- but we will be excited to see him when he gets back.

till friday, matt. i love you and appreciate all you add to our days.

did i mention how much i am really hoping she sleeps through the night?! here is a little #991 for you.

The other shoe

Warning: politics. (We've had a lot of pictures lately)

The rule of law. It's the thing that other countries in the world look at the US and admire. The constitution and the bill of rights were documents that revolutionized the manner in which people enjoy rights. For point of reference, Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into being in 1982. I'm older than written rights in Canada.

That being said, the so-called war on terror is changing the renowned status of the US. As stated earlier on this blog, thanks to a bill the President signed, US citizens no longer have Habeas Corpus rights. The US asserts the right to capture and hold any person on the planet, if the US thinks they might cause a crime. It's the whole, wouldn't it have been better to stop Hitler before he became Hitler argument.

Only, it's contrary, in some ways, to everything the US stands for.

When you have a congressman of the US asserting the right and obligation of the US to grab and hold suspects, and then dismiss any accidental arrests as the cost of doing war, then you can see why in the eyes of the world, the US model might not be the one to aspire to anymore. But it isn't just that this congressman advocated for the arrest of suspects. It's that when people groaned at his logic, he shot back a line that really is somewhat jarring. Watch this. It's boring, but we should all see what the government says in our name.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A day at the park

Tabblo: day at the park.

Spending an hour at Delaware Park on Earth Day 2007. Our first day with truly SPRING weather, we kept our sweatshirt on and the hat to avoid too much sun on our fair skin. We touched the grass, played with a stick and experimented with leaves today. After the park we headed to Grandma and Grandpa's for a visit and some more playing.

What a wonderful day.
... See my Tabblo>

Going to sleep

We're lucky. We have a happy baby. At ten months old, we can pass her around to people, and she'll smile and laugh, and maybe even make raspberry noises. You could be so lucky.

However, there is a moment where she gets grumpy. I suspect it's the same with all kids. She gets grumpy when it's time to shut 'er down. Rhona and I both have our separate moves for getting her down. Mine is the left arm lock. I sit on the rocking chair, and lock her left arm under my right arm. That leaves her right arm to flail, but I can hold that down. She arches her back, locks her legs, and then wails.

It's really kinda cute.

On some levels, I don't want her to be upset. However in this case, I have to bear down and stay with it. Eventually, she'll do face wipes (a sort of rubbing of the eyes in which she misses and hots her whole face), and she'll slow down.

Then, a huge last ditch effort to stay awake. This is the loudest and fiercest complaint. And in our early parenting, we might have thrown in the towel and brought her back down. For us though, we now know what it is. We know she's ready.

About 15 minutes ago, she went down. Giving me a chance to post this. When she wakes up, we'll go and enjoy what appears to be spring out there.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sabres Win

The Sabres just won game 5 to win the series. We were there. And we got to see something that makes hockey special. The teams shake hands. After basically killing each other, when the game ends, they shake hands. And hug. And that's great. It's one of many things that makes hockey great. In this cup run, I'll try to let you know some of the other things.

Go Sabres.


Fast Food nation

I've been to some photoshoots that involved food. And when a photographer shoots food, they don't actually use food. Real food (or in the case, fast food), doesn't hold up well under photographer lights. Thus, it's often plastic. And it often looks better than the real thing (or in this case, the fast food real thing.) Here's a site that compares food ad shots with the real thing. And surprise, the real thing doesn't add up.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

We have over 1000 pictures

Of Autumn, and us, taken with our Mac computer. So here's the deal. Give us a number, and we'll post the picture. Pick any number between 1 and 1195, and we'll post it. Any number. Go ahead.

Sometimes I just keep hitting picture

These were taken on my work mac. I'm up to 300+ pictures of Autumn. Sometimes, I like looking back to the earlier times.

A bit later.

Even later
I have so many to choose from.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Acura 1.6 EL RIP

Certain times in life deserve a moment of reflection. Just the other day, I surrendered the plates to my car. My car was sold. At the time I bought ‘my car’, I was a single guy living in Toronto. My car was the most expensive thing I’d ever bought in my life. Almost as much, for a used car, as we paid for our new cars.

It was my ride. Smooth, with leather seats, a sun-roof, a cd player, my car was fully loaded. It was more than I needed at the time. I lived in Toronto. I worked in Toronto. I used my car to drive to Brampton to curl with my dad. Then of course, I met a woman. And my nice new car turned out to be an effective way to hatch a long-distance, international love affair.

When I moved here, I brought my car. And it became a pain in the ass. It didn’t exist in the US, so getting it fixed meant going to St. Catherines. It was called a 1.6 EL. The 1.6 stood for litres, and they just don’t have them in the US. Thus, the car didn’t exist.

Still. Getting rid of my car, is a moment. It’s a throwback to nights on the porch on Cambridge. To living in a house with three other guys – no picnic in a 1700 square foot house.

This isn’t meant to be a lament. I love my life right now. I love the interaction in the morning with Rhona and Autumn. I love looking at them smiling together.

This is just a moment in my life. And, the point of this blog is mark them. So, bye car. I’ll miss ya. FYI, this is the last picture we have of it. A nice way to remember it, I think.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

tonight's family walk.

some images from tonight's walk. someday she won't have to wear her snowsuit to go outside.


New widget

Check out the new widget on the bottom left of our blog. It offers some Tabblos we've done. The Yahoo owned flickr is in our dog house right now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Splish, splash

Last night, Autumn and dad were in the tub. Mostly, mom takes a bath with her. But last night, it was dad. And she decided she was gonna splash like crazy.

Take a look. She's cute.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Facebook and finding people

The Social Networking site facebook started as a place for high school and/or college kids to meet and greet. It was myspace without allowing the planet to join. For a while, this worked well. Marketers drool over lists of college kids. College kids, the theory goes, aren't as brand loyal. They haven't picked their beer, or the shops they'll be loyal to. They haven't picked their laundry detergent (it's likely they'll pick the one their parent's used).


However intersting the business model of facebook seemed to be, they changed their minds about a year ago and opened the doors to anyone. It was a risk. Because it was both a way to expand, but also an admittance that the idea didn't work.

When Autumn is older, she'll be part of niche social networking groups. Myspace and Facebook may or may not be around, but I know this: something will be around. It might be about favorite books, favorite pictures, or just finding people.

For now, Facebook is a cool tool for finding people you haven't seen in a long time. Which is a cool thing about the net.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sabres Game 1

Tabblo: Sabres Game 1

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Buffalo Sabres vs. The New York Islanders
... See my Tabblo>

Autumn's at work


the boys.

well. game one is finished and we were lucky enough to have been there for the excitement. during the game matt turned to me and asked who my favorite player was- i used to just say "brian campbell", but last night i continued with "and ryan miller, danius zubrus, maybe even vanek"... i love this team and even if i haven't been a hockey fan my whole life... i am now and i can't wait until saturday night.

go sabres.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I'll admit it, I hate it. Especially proofing something I write (as regular readers of this blog know, there are often typas typos on the posts).

Anyway, usually mistakes are found on longer pieces. Which is why this is funny. Even I could have proofed this.

found on adfreak

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Her tongue

She likes her tongue. She likes to stick it out. If you stick your tongue out, chances are good she'll copy you. But take a closer look at something funny she does. She actually rolls her tongue. Look in this shot. She rolls her tongue sideways.

It's really cute.

We'll see what happens as we move forward. Maybe she'll loose the ability to roll her tongue. I hope not. It's really cute.

Monday, April 09, 2007

This was just before a walk, about 20 minutes ago. Yes, it's winter still, but we had family walk-time.

warmed up

warmed up, originally uploaded by MRHames.

It's a cold spell. Really cold. And it snowed, in April. I guess that seems fitting as it snowed in October and then didn't really snow. The weather seems a little on the wacky side, but I don't want to make too much of it. This post was a blatant excuse to post this picture, taken in February.

Let's go Buffalo

I remember a time, living in a house full of guys, when the Hockey Playoffs ruled. We set up three TVs, two 27 inchers, and one 13 inch in the living room. The two TVs were the same brand, so the clicker worked on both. Thus, we would watch one TV with the sound on, the other two with the sound off. Pressing last channel on the clicker would toggle the games between sound on and sound off. We felt like McGyver for coming up with this idea.

Anyway, as a hockey fan, I love the playoffs for the intensity, the speed and the drive the players have. This is the time of year where forwards throw themselves on the ice to block shots. Where every moment of every game matters. Fighting is out. Skating and good goal tending is in.

And speaking of in, the Sabres have home ice advantage for the entire playoffs. We'll be at game one. And we'll bring the camera. For a while this weekend, it seemed possible that the Sabres would start against Toronto. But the scrappy New York Islanders rode a third string goalie to the playoffs to face the high-scoring Sabres.

Hopefully, the Sabres will handle them easily. I'm ready for a long run. But wither way, I'm ready for some playoff hockey.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flickr, the Sabres, the net

IMGP8286_crrd, originally uploaded by MJ².

This photo was taken by MJ (click on the photo to see many other great photos.)

We found MJ because he mentioned that he liked this picture by Rhona:

sidewalk art

Also, in less than a week, we enter Sabres playoff craziness. The Sabres currently have a shot at the President's Trophy, as the leagues best team. That will guarantee home ice advantage all the way through the playoffs. Which means more playoff games that we'll get to go to (We can go to every other one).

Here's hoping the ride is as wild as the picture MJ took.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Watch out for 'life in your peanut butter'

There's a Museum opening in Cincinnati, of all places, that's dedicated to the notion that the world is almost 6,000 years old and created by god.

More of them will pop up all over the US and push creationism onto young people. Less you think this is political, this is relevant because Autumn happens to be young people.

And here's the thing: I'll listen to people of faith tell me that the world is 6,000 years old that Noah gathered baby dinosaurs and collected all 350,000 sets of beetles, the ants, and all the rest and made a huge ark. It's really not a problem that this is their faith. Unless you get to wonder what their point is?

That is, they want religion taught in school.

And they don't want it taught in classes on religion or philosophy, they want it taught in science class. Science is, at its core, a study in being skeptical. It's meant to make you wonder about the world, and ask questions. Science is about looking at the sky or looking in the dirt for one of the 350,000 kinds of beetles.

Creationists take this wonderful trait in science and exploit it: We should be skeptical, they say, and include as many 'theories' as possible. that's their argument to include creationism in science. Even President Bush said he's open to different theories of evolution.

But he's not. The people who are pushing Creationism aren't open to different theories, they are open to their one theory. And that's dangerous.

My own personal belief system goes like this: don't believe everything you believe. That means be open to things. Be open to new ideas. New possibilities. Religion and faith might be great, I saw check them out. Look up Janism. Read the bible. Check out Buddism. But you'll notice that most of the major religions aren't that open to different interpretations. Indeed, Jewish people have a different 10 commandments to Catholics. Both agree the same guy, Moses brought them down the mountain, they just maintain they were different. And the other guy is wrong.

Religion doesn't ask you to ask questions, it asks that one only has faith in its answers. God did it. End of story. Imagine if we all believed 100% in God's will and the creation museum was the science museum. Disease would be God's will, so there would be no incentive to coming up with cures.

Does that sound like a stretch? Perhaps. But on the creationism side, this is what they are saying. A jar of peanut butter disproves evolution.

To me, this is evidence of how dumb we just might be getting. The theory of evolution says nothing about the origin of life. It's called the origin of species, and it explains why there are billions of different life-forms on the planet. And while there are theories about the actual origin of life, mocking them with peanut butter is quite possibly insane.

Sleep through the night

This morning, I turned to mom and asked, "Did you get up last night?". She was sleep-foggy, but she relied that she didn't think she had. I didn't think I did either. Turns out, Autumn slept through the night.

We're this happy:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Little lady in red

IMG_0108_2, originally uploaded by MRHames.

Love this shot. Love the way she's looking. And love the background. Click on the picture to see a note.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Shakespeare’s plays were never meant to be written down. They were written for the actors, but not for people. William would never have anticipated people would ‘study’ his plays.

I tell you this because the first conversation between Romeo and Juliet is a Shakespearian, or an English sonnet.

A sonnet is rhymed verse that is 14 lines long. It is impossible to identify a sonnet inside of rhymed verse because one would never know when it started. You have to see a sonnet to know it’s there.

So, it’s my opinion that this was placed in there purely for art’s sake. The actors would have known, assuming that they got a script that didn’t just have their parts on it. But the patrons would never have known. You've heard of Art for Art's sake. To me, this is a shining example.

Sleep, cough, sniffle, sleep

At the Hames residence, sleep has become somewhat elusive. The peanut, the one we call Autumn, has what I like to refer to as a smoker's cough. At 9 months, I fear she has my snooter.

For most of my young life, I would get this cough. My sister will most likely comment on it -- it used ot keep her up at night. Much later in life, I got surgery on my nose, and things were better for a while. It seems the old septum might have re-deviated though, as I've been struck with a cough for a almost two weeks.

Back to Autumn. I can get her to sleep now, at will, with the old over the shoulder hold. Her little head plops on my shoulder and her right hand holds my hand, and she's out. Like a light. No rolling in the crib, or waking back up. She's out.

Until she coughs. It knocks out the binky, which confuses her, and she cries. Which wakes her up. And us.

Last night, she was up almost every other hour. Which means her cough is getting much better, but it also means that sleep isn't coming in vast quantities. We're trying to help in any way. Currently, there are two humidifiers humidifying her room. One is a Vick's jobby that comes with smelly Vick's stuff that just smells like getting better. I know 'getting better' isn't a smell, but that's what I think when I smell it.

So, she's back at day care this morning. The doctor said it would be okay, as the cough isn't contagious. Her nose is a little runny, but that's because her septum is most likely deviated. My mum and I are not blessed with good snooters -- and it appears the snooter apple stayed near my tree. Ah well.

We'll keep you posted about today. It might be another day away from day care. One day I might have to rant about the US and day care. But today, I'm too tired.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Read me elsewhere

Occasionally, I write for the Curling News Magazine. My newest article is on their site as a web-extra. Meaning, it never made the issue. Lately I've been having a hard time writing for it. I'm farther removed from curling than I've ever been. Anyway, here it is.

This isn't a lament. When I look at Autumn, and her laugh, I wouldn't trade anything for it. She's awesome. We took a nap together today.