Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category

perfect weekend, almost

Monday, June 21st, 2004

Just had a completely great weekend. Started, as weekends sometimes do, on Friday evening with a barbecue at the home of our friends Jill and James. There were quite a few of us there and it was a very pleasant evening, good food too. One of the nice things for me was that Toby went off to play with Steve and Laurie’s niece Sierra, who is almost five and was just great about looking after him. So it meant that Em and I could relax a bit over dinner and let him do his own thing, which he also seemed to enjoy.

Saturday included more lardiness – we went to the Black Forest Inn our friends from St Mark’s, Terry and Annelise – her parents actually own the place and it was nice that they came over to say hi. As the weather was perfect – not too warm, not too cold – we sat out in the courtyard, it was very mellow.

The afternoon saw us continuing with Project Napalm, which started ages ago when we realized we needed to rip everything out of the front garden which was a mess when we moved in. It’s really coming on now, I think we’ve pretty much taken care of the nasty shrubs and their roots, and we’ve started planting some things round the edge so we have something to show for it. It’s been quite heavy going sometimes, but Emma’s been great at keeping us on the path to success. For the central part of the garden we’ve decided to use weed-blocking fabric covered in gravel, and by a stroke of luck it turns out that our neighbors over the road are doing some landscaping work for someone in a couple of weeks who wants 21 tons of gravel removed from her yard. I’m sure we won’t need all that, but they’ve offered to drop it off at our place so that’s going to save us a fortune. I wish we’d taken photos before we started, but hopefully I’ll have some pics in a couple of weeks when we’re done.

On Sunday morning the Cathedral was packed, as we had a special guest – Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was confirmed to his position in quite a media storm last year at the Episcopal General Convention here in Minneapolis. For those who don’t remember, the fuss is because he’s openly gay and in a committed relationship, and more conservative parts of our church threatened to split away, but as far as I know they haven’t yet. Anyway, he preached an excellent sermon and seemed to be a very nice man – I imagine he’s been through a lot in the last couple of years and there was a real strong peacefulness about him. I was actually standing next to him for most of the service – my place in the choirstalls means that I’m usually next to the priest – and it was good to shake his hand during the Peace.

So the “almost” part of the title to this post refers to our son’s behavior last night – he woke up at 3:30 am and didn’t get back to sleep till about 5:30 after lost of grief. No idea what was up with him and it was a huge pain to have such a lot of hassle, and a shame to be so wiped today after such a great relaxing weekend. But there we go, what can you do?

crazy people

Thursday, June 17th, 2004

Erk – Emma told me about Christian Exodus which is a movement to get Christian Conservative nuts to move to South Carolina (which according to them was once a nation in its own right, so it’s OK to move there and the have it secede from the rest of the U.S. Erm – “One nation, indivisible”, anyone?) and frankly they’re welcome to move there. They of course have lots of nutty, bigoted and poorly argued ideas, such as:

“ recognizes that homosexuality is an unhealthy, unsafe, detrimental behavior that affects all citizens in a community, not just the participants. Additionally, sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage is not a God-given right. Therefore, homosexual activity is a behavior that a state may regulate and legislate against.”

Not sure how it affects all citizens. And if sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage isn’t a God-given right, should the government legislate against adultery?

“Our schools continue to teach the discredited theory of Darwinian evolution”

Discredited how, exactly?

Sheesh, I could go on but to be honest I can’t be bothered. If you’re a nutty Christian fundamentalist with half-baked phobias and unpleasant hate-filled ideas I implore you to move as far away from me as you can. Go on – shoo!

new blog link

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

I am a new fan of fafblog which has lots of amusing stuff, including various interviews (Rumsfeld, Bin Laden, Christ, a pumpkin), and reviews of pies. Here is an in-depth interview with Dr Frank Dobson, head of the scarily conservative Focus on the Family. The man has focus, that’s for sure.

mobile office

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

If you’re like me and use MS Office 2000 at work and also have to move from computer to computer, then you’ll probably find the Office 2000 Profile Wizard a very handy tool. Basically it allows you to export and import your Office settings from machine to machine. For example I’ve just moved into a new lab at work, as I’m heading up a new project, and have a new machine. Rather than have to recreate all my Office settings such as email sigs, Word templates etc I was able to export all of that from the PC in my cube, and then import it onto the lab machine. So in just over a minute they were totally synced – very nice.


Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

I’d need to update this American Apology Shirt to read “I couldn’t vote for or against him”. But you get the idea.

mmm, pizza

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

We lazily phoned for pizza last night, and ended up getting the new 4 for all from Pizza Hut. We like their pizzas anyway, one bonus is that they do fresh chopped tomato as a topping which is great. And the 4 for all thing meant that we could have our toppings of choice – Emma doesn’t like mushroom or pineapple on pizzas. Unfortunately they got one of the toppings wrong, no big deal, but I called them back to let them know. Less than half an hour later they came over with a replacement, so we also have pizza for lunch today. Good service, don’t you think?

new gmail accounts again

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

I have two new gmail accounts going – there were three but I had promised the first to Fiona. So mail me or leave a comment if you’d like one. Of course if nobody contacts me I’m going to look like a true Billy No-Mates, aren’t I?

ah, home

Monday, June 14th, 2004

This does quite a good job of relating Brits on holiday at the beach, and makes me strangely homesick, kind of. Once you’ve read the article, bear in mind that on the beach in the north-east of Scotland we used to get enormous amounts of sun and sunburn.


Monday, June 14th, 2004

a week or so ago, Paul alerted me to this tricycle on the REI outlet website, and we agreed it would be just the thing for young Toby, especially as he’s currently very interested in bikes and trikes, and transport generally. So I ordered it and opted for store pickup, which meant free shipping. It arrived yesterday so we zoomed down to the store to collect it – great store generally, and Em and I discussed how nice it would be to have time to do more outdoor stuff, and to be able to do it in a climate which is neither too hot nor too cold or infested with mosquitos. Toby got very excited in the bike department at the sheer profusion of bikes, but was a little shy when the assistant wheeled the shiny red trike out for him. They’d even assembled it for us, which was really cool of them, so we were all set to go. We did quickly realize the one flaw, which is that currently Toby can’t reach the pedals, but he was extremely happy to sit on the saddle and hold the handlebars with his feet dangling down while I pushed him along, guiding the handlebars as we went. He had a bit of a goofy smile on his face all the way back to the car, but it was apparently the end of the whole world when he had to get off, as we had to put him in the car to get home. It’s now hidden in the workshop in the basement but hopefully he’ll get the chance to ride around the block tonight a couple of times.

more weirdness

Saturday, June 12th, 2004

OK, now this is just odd too. They go from selling books to this??