Thursday, January 31, 2008


My friend in New Jersey sends me a clip from a Toronto radio station about a caller from Texas. It's hilarious.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some more about Florida

I think that you've never lived until you've changed a poopy diaper at 30,000 feet.

On the ride there, in the plane, we sat beside a guy who appeared to be about a hundred years old. He had the aisle seat, we had the window and middle. And Autumn.

She was good though. She loved the tray table, she enjoyed watching a video on the computer of her feeding Lucy. And she liked that people keep bringing her apple juice with a straw.

On the way home, not so much. Now, here was the first problem. Our flight left at 3:15. We had to be at the airport at 1:30. The problem is that Autumn normally naps from noonish to about 3:00. Meaning, no nap.

If you've ever experienced an over-tired child, try it with her on your lap at 30,000 feet. The old woman sitting beside us wasn't that personable. I swear on this trip I sat beside more old people, in restaurants, on planes, than at any time in my life.

Autumn was tossing her binky, the straws from her cups. She had a couple of full on mayday-inducing meltdowns. In total, the almost 3 hour flight was 3 hours with a tired toddler who had no place to nap.

We learned something though. Never fly close to noon. Early morning flights are our new plan.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

The state of the 4th amendment

Tonight is not just the State of the Union. It’s the state of the 4th amendment. We almost lost it today. And, to break party ranks for a minute, every single Republican (except Arlen Specter) is for this, along with Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid. Senator’s Clinton and Obama are also for it, but will actually leave the campaign trail to vote for a filibuster in which Senator Chris Dodd (keep reading for a thank-you video) is Filibustering a bill written by a Democrat and endorsed by the Democratic leader the aforementioned Harry Reid.

Thus, to recap. Jay Rockefeller and Dick Cheney’s office wrote a bill that squashes the 4th amendment to the constitution that they all swore to uphold when they got into office.

Not just that, but Rockefeller wrote into the bill amnesty to the phone companies that have been secretly helping them break the 4th amendment.

It gets better. Guess who are the two leading democratic recipients of contributions from phone companies? If you said Jay Rockefeller and Hillary Clinton, you’re right! Note: ALL Republican senators are for this already — they already got paid off.

But, as the State of the Union comes off, it will be the top of the news cycle. So there's nothing to see here. Just a Senate that’s about to squash the 4th amendment, and offer immunity to companies that pay them off. They need immunity because they broke the law when Bush told them to.

As Glenn Greenwald writes
Of all the creepy post-9/11 phrases to which we've been subjected ("The Patriot Act" - "Protecting the Homeland" - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - "Department of Homeland Security"), I think the creepiest and most Orwellian is the phrase "good patriotic corporate citizen," used to describe companies which broke our laws because the President told them to. It's now apparently a Patriotic Duty to obey the President even if he tells you to violate the law. The accompanying claim that companies should never "second-guess" the "judgment of the President regarding what's legal" -- which I just heard from John Cornyn and Saxby Chambliss -- is equally creepy, and is the crux of the authoritarian case for telecom immunity.
So much for a nation of laws.

That’s the state of the union. Last year, Habeas Corpus. This year, the 4th amendment. Enjoy the speech. BTW, this is the thank-you to Chris Dodd for getting us even this far.

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We all hate our contractor

I think it's no secret that I hate my contractor. He's been part of our lives since the beginning of December. I should have parted ways with him when he didn't know the job. I didn't.

Anyway. He told Rhona that he would be done by the time we got back.

Clearly, we have a different definition of done. We have no banister upstairs. Just a big hole. He took out our old one, but didn't put in a new one.

We have a toddler who runs around. And a big hole in the floor going down the stairs. How on earth did he think that was a good thing?

I wish we had a picture to show you what the house looked like when we left, and what it looked like when we got back. Because not much has changed.

We're suckers. That's it.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vacation suprises

On the plane

The first couple of days were a bit chilly.

It warmed up


From the porch

In the pool

On the pirate ship. Yes, the pirate ship.

See, a pirate ship.

Thanks Granddad

Thanks Nanny

Bonus shot:

We had an awesome time in Florida.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

I hate my contractor

There, I said it. I haven't done an update on the renovations because it's been too painful. It really has.

We managed to, after getting bids from other people, pick the dumbest, slowest, most annoying (to me mostly) contractor in the known universe.

He's not done. This started, of, last year! We began on Dec 18. This post is being written on Jan 18th.

There are a thousand things i could write here to solidify how bad he's been. From the very beginning, when he didn't know the job, you could tell it was going to go bad.

I would love to talk to you about it more. But lets leave it at this: we're going to Florida tomorrow. We're on vacation. when we get back, it will be done. We'll be rested. And we'll have our house back.

P.S. Before you hire a contractor, call me. I'll tell you what not to look for.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A picture

If you're wondering, I'm not actually drunk or hungover in this shot.

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Vocab List

So much is happening these days with Autumn. She is growing and laughing and talking all the time. As a mother I believe I will remember all these wonderful details, but as a Rhona I should know better - Matt chides me relentlessly that I don't even remember the year we got married (he is sometimes right-2002 for the record). So, equipped with the knowledge that my memory is simply not what it once was I thought I would take a moment to share a listing of her current words that she says either in response to a request or when she actually wants to say something... some of these you would recognize, other times you would need me or dad there to tell you what she just said :)

banana (pronounced ba-na-na-na-na)
noodle (pronounced noo-noo)
mama, mommy, mom, often screamed or cried or laughed
binky (generally screamed in serious panic, even if there is already one in her mouth or hands)
dada, daddy, da , see mama for pronunciationnose
mouth (pronounced map)
bye-bye (accompanied by a wave)
hello (often said when holding a phone)
nee-nee (in response to what does a horse say)
dog (pronounced god... interesting)
Lucy (pronounced Woo-Cy especially after she drops her food on the ground)
Aadi (name of a boy in her class)
coffee (said when reaching for my mug)
Tea (see above)

I am sure I am forgetting some, but the hope is that in the future I won't forget the majority. Currently my favorite is Noo-Noo, but Woo-Cy is in serious contention. There is nothing better than watching her stop what she is doing, look up and yell "Woo-Cy? Woo-Cy?"... I should say now that she has also learned the word "No" and as we expected- she will soon know "No Lucy!", an essential phrase for survival in this house.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brian Campbell

I am so tired of people calling up and telling us that it’s management’s fault that they didn’t get it done with Campbell.

These must be the same people who yell shoot at the games on the power play. These people think they are smarter than the player, and thus they and only they know when to shoot.

Likewise, these people like to tell us all that Campbell is cheaper if he signed in the summer (or even now). And what these people forget is that Brian Campbell also knows that he's cheaper now. And he would be more expensive if he waits. He’s waiting for that very reason.

The Sabres could pull a Brinks truck up to Brian Campbell’s front door and tell him that they’ll pay him what he wants, but that isn’t good business. There’s a $ figure on the table in the early goings that EVERYONE knows is a discount dollar figure (even the guys who yell shoot know that an offer now is less than he might get on the open market).

This is the time, in every player’s career, where they get to pick. Prior to this time, they HAD to play where they were told. And they pretty much had to play for what they were told to play for. In Campbell’s case, he worked hard to get better to get this choice. There’s power in getting to choose.

Now, he has a chance to see what all that hard work is worth. And the longer he waits, the more he’ll get paid. So for all the people who claim that the Sabres should have gotten in done last summer for cheaper seem to forget that Brian Campbell also has to make a decision on waiting.

Oh, and Campbell knows when to shoot as well. But only recently.

Hockey is a business. And in my opinion, Campbell isn’t even the #1 defenseman. Tallinder and Lydman are the #1 team. They go up against the top lines. Can you pay your not #1 guy #1 guy money?

Look, every team could use a guy like Campbell (we can!), and it would be good if he would stay here. But not at 7 million a season. And maybe not even at 5 million. But there are teams all over the league that would make him a big offer (see, McKee St. Louis) and make him their go-to guy.

He’ll get more money on the open market because he’s an all-star who brings big hits, spin-oramas, and big plays that put people in the seats. In some US markets, he’s a premium for that very reason. Unfortunately, the Sabres don’t need that premium. They don’t need more puck-handling entertainers (see Connolly, Max, Vanek, Roy), they need players.

I hate to see him go, but really, he’s deciding to wait to see what’s out there. That’s his choice. And we should point it out.

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Try curling

This morning, the Y guy from WGRZ News came to our curling club to try curling. Since they start their broadcast at 5:00AM, we had to be there at 5:00AM. Today is gonna be a long day.

This is the link to see the video. It's not working for me though.

See here to get it for real.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

A weekend of puking

This weekend didn't go smoothly. Take friday night. We put Autumn to bed at her normal time. Not long after, she wakes up crying. I go into her room to find vomit in her crib, and her in mid-vomit. I take some vomit-shrapnel in the shirt, and some goes on her carpet as I grab her and rush her to the tub.

The tub seems like the best and worst place to take her. It contains the next round of vomit pretty well, but it needs to be cleaned.

As you can imagine, she was pretty upset. We stripped her, changed her diaper, put on some new clothes, and them mom and her just sort of hung out together while I went through the chore of cleaning up the vomit (Lucy, come here). Lucy didn't help.

Later, after she was much happier, we put her back to bed. The time was about 9:00PM. We had no other incidents in the night, and the next day went smoothly.

Until nighttime. We put her to bed normally. A bath, some reading, nothing to see here. But then, she began crying again. So I went in again to see how she was doing. I picker her up to hug her, and vomit.

Rush to tub, vomit shrapnel every where. Clean up, new clothes, mom and baby hug. It's a repeat of the entire night before. It's deja puke all over again.

This time though, we take her to our bed. She's not interested in laying in her crib. She wants to law with us. So we're in our bed. Relaxing. She's miserable, and we're not sure why.

I pick her up. (Are you noticing a trend). And she vomits again. Thankfully, I take the entire thing, and none of it goes on a bed. But from our room to the tub, there's a trail of vomit that thankfully Lucy follows like Hansel -- or I guess Gretel.

After another soak in the tub, more hugging, consoling, relaxing, and reading, Autumn goes down again. We're freaked out, but she's asleep. One more vomit incident and we're going to the hospital. But she has no fever, and she's otherwise fine. She has some puffy eyes, but who doesn't after two good pukes?

Now, we're on Sunday night. We've had a good day eating. We're happy reading books. She goes to bed, and starts crying. Instead of letting her get herself worked up, I try the tried, tested and true trick of taking a car ride. 20 minutes later, she's sound asleep and other than the occasional Mommy, Mommy, she sleeps through the night and doesn't vomit.

But holy. What a weekend.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Buffalo gets the Star treatment

I know, I know. Corny.

Here's the Toronto Star's take on my adopted home town. My brother-in-law sent it to me.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yahoo Mail for Autumn

Rhona and I both use Yahoo Mail as our primary e-mail addresses. Indeed, the occasional comment to this blog gets e-mailed to me via yahoo mail. i have a good feeling that I will always use Yahoo mail as my primary e-mail address. it's synched up to this, Facebook, YouTube, and all the other social networks out there. Plus, it's where most of my non-work mail goes.

Which has me thinking: should I get Autumn a yahoo address now? I have my name. So I looked. Turns out that her name is taken (Yahoo Mail has 200 million users). A version is available on gmail. Which makes me wonder. Should I get it?

There's an argument to be made that we should let her pick her e-mail address. However, we picked her name. If there's no problem with us picking her name (and her middle name), why is there a problem with us picking her e-mail address and password? She can always change her password down the road when she wants privacy from us.

What do people think? Should I get her an e-mail address? Should we send her little notes now that she can read later?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

an unproduct idea

A DVD rental website.

eBay. Buy the movie you want to see, used. For a couple of dollars. Watch it, then sell it again. Use the same envelope even.

Maybe you lose a buck, but then you watched a movie, for as long as you wanted, for a buck.

You have to give up the immediacy of getting the movie you want when you want it. And you have to watch used DVD's.

I read this from here, a blog I check often. He calls it an 'unproduct idea'.

This fits into our desire to reuse on so many levels.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

bologna gum

bologna gum, originally uploaded by turncoat tendrils.

In Canada, we call bologna 'Newfie Steak'. Ergo, this is Newfie Steak gum.

Ew. On a lot of levels.

A spring walk

I just went for a walk in a short-sleeved shirt. On Jan 8th, in Buffalo, NY.

Good thing we're going to Florida in two weeks to get to warm weather.

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More on eating

Eating. A plan.

The other day, Rhona and I talked about food. At a recent party, we saw a tray of about 10 steaks. The total cost of these steaks was, apparently, $32 at BJ's. We were talking about giving up meat.

I didn't have one of those steaks. And I rarely eat 29 cent per pound Chicken. I don't want my meat to cost so little. It's actually kinda frightening. So we buy food with long descriptions, each one there because it justifies the cost: free-range, no-hormones, didn't eat it's own poo...

Thus, we don't eat a lot of meat, because we're not rich. And meat that seems worthy of being eaten costs a lot. (We've paid $15 for one steak).

And in the veggie department, we buy 'organic' which is code for 'didn't get sprayed with poison that is tested on rats in order to determine acceptable levels thereof'.

So, we talk about food. Because we have to feed it to Autumn. And we're often at a loss for what to feed her. But we're working on it.

We'll keep you posted. in the meantime, we're going to try to be better at being 'locavores'. Meaning, we try to eat local.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

"I put power tools in the hands of second graders"

I love TED talks. They are so good. This quote comes from the presenter.

His talk is called "Five dangerous things you should let your kids do". Simple things to do to raise kids to be confident, creative, and in control of life.

1. Play with Fire.

Take a look for the rest.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Winter classic #2

When I was ten, we played hockey on an ice rink in my backyard. My parent's backyard is on a little hill, so it wasn't flat. But it was awesome.

Then, some of the parent's got together and build a rink in front of the school that is right near our house. You could see it.

Each day, we would walk over with our stick and a shovel and shovel the ice and shoot around a puck. A puck.


I think that's maybe why I loved the game so much. Maybe that's why I sat there looking at the ice, looking up at the snow, looking at 73,000 people, and saying wow.

There is talk about doing this every year in a city somewhere. We'll see. Every year might make it lose the magic. But I'm not sure of that. I think if it came back to Buffalo next year, it would still be magic.

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An endorsement for a person who can speak

This is the end of Obama's speak from last night. Holy crap, we're due a person who can speak like this:

"This was the moment when we tore down barriers that have divided us for too long; when we rallied people of all parties and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who have never participated in politics a reason to stand up and to do so," Obama said. "This was the moment when we finally beat back the policies of fear and doubts and cynicism, the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up.

"Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope. For many months, we've been teased, even derided for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.

"It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it.

"Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the young woman in Cedar Rapids who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill. A young woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance to live out her dreams.

"Hope is what I heard in the voice of the New Hampshire woman who told me that she hasn't been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq. Who still goes to bed each night praying for his safe return.

"Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire. What led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation. What led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.

"Hope -- hope is what led me here today. With a father from Kenya, a mother from Kansas and a story that could only happen in the United States of America.

"Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.

"That is what we started here in Iowa and that is the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond.

"The same message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that can save this country, brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand -- that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

"Because we are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America. And in this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again."

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

What's buggin us

We're all a little sick to start the new year at the Hames household. For me, it started a week ago. I thought it was something I ate (Autumn ate it too and threw up), but maybe it was a stomach flu. There's one zipping around the planet, apparently.

Anyway, I finally beat it on Monday, New Year's eve, only to watch Rhona come down with it. Even Jen seems to have gotten it from me before she left our house.

Stomach bugs suck.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The winter classic

For now, let's talk Winter Classic.

It began, as all events at a football stadium do, with tailgating.

Then, we went into the stadium to watch the game with 73,000 other fans.

First came the national anthems. Or, the Canadian national anthem followed by God Bless America. Now, I'm not a citizen of this country yet. But, there is a national anthem, not national anthems. God Bless America is a nice song, but it's not an anthem. We were at the end with the Canadian Flag. Here's the American one.

Then the Sabres came out to flames. As did the mighty penguins in their equally mighty baby blue. Those were the uniforms they originally enter the league in. Sports teams tend to use names that either have meaning to the city (New Orleans Jazz) and/or invoke attack (Sabres, Predators, Sharks). Pittsburgh picked penguins and baby blue. No wonder Mario Lemiuex didn't want to go there.

It snowed. Interestingly, three different kinds of snows fell. In the first period, the snow was sorta blowy, but with little flakes. It was warmish out, so it melted immediately on us. On ice though, it sat. Meaning, even though the Penguins scored in 20 seconds, it was tough sledding out there.

They decided to zamboni the ice every 10 minutes, so each period was this drawn out affair. Still, it looked like hockey, it felt like hockey, and it was outside. It was cool.

The pile of snow in front of the Zamboni is what they were getting off the ice. Remember, this is just one of them. They use two Zamboni's in the NHL. And this was period #2.

If you click on this picture, you can see a bigger version. And in the version, you will see how much snow was falling. It was wild.

Overall, who cares if they lost? In this post I linked to a story from the New York Times, the Toronto Star and the Guardian Unlimited UK. This was a truly international event, and well worth some cold toes.

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