Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

yes i expected it

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

I’m sitting in the sandwich ago with Toby before his swimming class. Outside there is a small retail space for rent with a sign advertising the leasing company and the slogan “when you lease expect it…” [emphasis and ellipsis not mine]

No details on what you might not be expecting or why you might not be expecting it. Possibly worst slogan ever?

cutest, apparently

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

We had a baby photo competition at work a couple of weeks ago, where we were asked to bring in baby/child pictures of ourselves. There were two categories – age 0-4 and 5-8, and prizes were awarded for the easiest and hardest to guess, and also for the cutest in each category. And so it came about that to my surprise I won for the cutest 0-4 picture. Very flattering, except perhaps for the thought that I peaked at around 8 months. Oh well.

i have a camera

Monday, April 21st, 2008

A new camera, at last! I’ve been very happy with our Canon Powershot for a few years now, but it’s beginning to show its age. Two major things were less than optimal: the slowness (time to start up and shutter lag), and the color and brightness balancing – you may notice in the last set of pictures I posted the foreground is nice and bright but the background is very dark. Also the pictures were a little fuzzy sometimes.

I read a review a few months ago about the Panasonic Lumix point and shoot cameras, in particular the higher end ones with Lecia lenses. So a couple of weeks ago armed with a few Amazon vouchers from kind relatives, I ordered the latest model – the niftily named Lumix DMC-TZ5K. It arrived this evening and so far it’s completely fantastic. I’ve been walking around the house taking pictures using the intelligent mode, which instantaneously adjusts the settings based on what you’re photographing. So when taking pictures of the cats, it adjusts for if they are moving fast, and even does automatic digital red-eye fixing. Pictures taken in dark rooms had enough flash and image stabilization that they looked like the sun was out, and great color too on the very large LCD. The zoom is powerful enough that a picture of one of Dara’s toys taken from across the room had incredible detail and clarity, and a self-portrait I took had alarming and slightly terrifying detail of my facial flaws. Well, we can’t all be perfect. It’s also super-fast to start up and the shutter lag is less than a second even with the flash. It also takes high capacity (and very fast) SD memory cards, so with the 8Gb card I got it will hold over 1700 9megapixel shots.

Anyway, expect lots more pictures to be posted over the coming months – I for one can’t wait.

most unwanted

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

I ran across this at boingboing: the world’s most unwanted song. The link describes the methodology, but in summary some people worked out what kinds of music (cowboy, holiday, elevator, jingles etc) and what instruments (bagpipes, accordions, sopranos) people least like to listen to, and jammed it together into a 25 minute epic. It’s strangely not quite as bad as you would expect, but even so I challenge you to make it through the whole thing.

Here’s the song.

Update: This American Life has an old episode about this here.

education news

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Big congratulations to both Emma and Toby today. Emma because she just found out the grade from her most recent class in her Masters program at the College of St. Catherine – yet another A. This means that in each of the eight classes she’s taken so far, it’s been straight As. Pretty impressive. And as you’ll see from the course description, it’s not easy-looking.

Congratulations to Toby too – we found out today that he has been accepted to our excellent local school – Whittier International – when he starts kindergarten in September. We had applied a couple of months ago, but there are no guarantees for which one you get. Whittier is apparently a very good place, so we’re excited for him and a little relieved. Although it drives it home to us that he’s growing up.

As for Dara – doing great. Sitting, using her hands, lots of laughter and more and more copying other people. At her 6 month checkup a couple of weeks ago she was 15 pounds 12 ounces (50th percentile) and 26 inches tall (75th percentile), and her first tooth popped through last week. She’s a lot of fun, although she forced me into a moral quandary today. I was doing an online opinion survey, and during the profile questions at the end there were questions about the people in the household, including some about illnesses and infirmities. One of the questions asked if there was anyone who has trouble getting up and down stairs, and another asked if there was anyone who has difficulty concentrating. I think that Dara probably falls into both of those categories, but I said no because I knew that babies didn’t count.

no posts

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Sorry about lack of posts lately – just working really hard. It’s good but doesn’t leave much time for frippery during the day.

fun at five

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

I wasn’t sure how today was going to work out. Emma had to be at college all day and I had offered to have Toby’s friend Patrick over for a play date and although they get on great together I was concerned that looking after two five year olds and Dara too would be a bit of a handful.

I need not have worried though – we had a totally great day. The boys played with cars and lego and pirate toys all day and Dara got to hang out with me or watch them which was loads of fun for her. Most of the games were so engrossing that I was able to leave them to it for half hour stretches or more so Dara and I could do productive things like test out the new roomba robot vacuum cleaner. The four of us went for a walk to pick up lunch at Common Roots, a local cafe and bagel shop, which on entering the boys started singing bagel bagel bagel to the Jewish dredel song to the amusement of everyone nearby.

Patrick’s parents and two year old sister came over for dinner and we had a great little evening. We’re all pretty wiped out after a long day but hopefully we’ll do it again soon.

reproduction news

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

It’s been a busy week this week for our friends and their new offspring. At the weekend we happened to see our neighbors G and J depart for the hospital to have a baby girl. Hopefully a fun little friend for Dara, and right across the road.

Last night we heard news that our friends M and C were off to hospital too to have their baby. They had a wee boy this morning and all are doing well. They live only a couple of blocks away so Dara will also have the chance for a boy to play with.

As for Miss Dara herself, she turned 6 months old last week and remains a very happy little person. She has pretty much mastered sitting up unaided which means she’s able to do much more interesting things like play musical instruments with Toby (pics to follow when I have time). Next step I think is getting mobile – she is already beginning to start to try to reach beyond her immediate radius and is paying a lot of attention to the kids at Daycare who are crawling. She moves up to the Infant II class on Monday so I am expecting her to be on the move soon. Look out world, or at least Toby’s toys.

le weekend

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

It’s ten in the morning on Saturday and after a slow start hanging out with Dara it was time for strong coffee and breakfast. Out of the window cars and people are going by, the former grimy from snow and road salt, the latter bundled and hunched against the cold – both as they have been for over three months now. There are still large snow banks on the sidewalk from the big snowfalls back in December and have melted since. Some are still five feet high.

It’s going to be a fun weekend I think – hanging around this morning, then Emma has a class this afternoon. She and I are going out to the Minnesota Opera tonight for the first time in a couple of years which we’re both really looking forward to, and the kids have one of Dara’s teachers from Daycare coming to babysit. Tomorrow is Toby’s swimming class in the afternoon and our neighbors are coming over for dinner, maybe the last time before they have their first baby which is due in just a couple of weeks.

jeff healey

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Sad news today – guitarist Jeff Healey died at age 41. He was an impressive songwriter and musician, more impressive due to the fact that he was blind, and played his guitar across his lap. I saw a show of his in Glasgow probably over 10 years ago – it was a lot of fun. I remember at one point he got carried away in a blues jam, he jumped up and started bopping around on the stage while playing his guitar. You got the feeling that this was something he regularly did, but even so his band seemed to be keeping close watch that he wouldn’t hurtle off the front of the stage.