Archive for February, 2005

chew ewww

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

OK, so two horrible headlines in one day. But I feel I’m justified in this one. There’s a feature today in the Guardian about how local councils in the UK are pushing to have a penny tax added to each pack of gum to help pay for the cost of cleaning up the gum which gets spat out on to the local pavements/sidewalks. Certainly many pavements in beautiful Edinburgh are horribly marred and scarred by white circles all over the place as louts think they can spoil it for the rest of us.

The writer, however, notes that just the act of chewing gum in the first place is the more repulsive act, and I have to agree. Seeing someone chewing away is something I find highly irritating, although I’m not sure why. Maybe I get jealous that I’m not eating or something. I believe in days of yore it was seen as an incredibly ungentlemanly act to eat in the street. What’s more gross of course is when the chewing is done noisily – a horrible invasion of my peace and privacy, almost worse than when someone listens to music too loudly through leaky headphones – at least then I get the satisfaction of knowing that they’re destroying their hearing. But with me it’s not just gum. When someone is eating crunchy food it hits something in me which makes me kind of cringe, but also just want to get out of the room as soon as possible. I’m not sure if it is again the jealousy that someone is eating something while I’m not, or just the weird echoey crunch as you hear the potato chip/crisp/nacho/celery/whatever get acoustically resonated and broadcast through the eater’s jaw and skull. It just turns my stomach and I wish I knew why. Maybe I should get help and/or a life.


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Longtime viewers (like Emma) of The Price Is Right will know that the host, Bob Barker, is an outspoken proponent of having pets sterilised to help keep the population of unwanted cats and dogs down. In fact I believe that if you want to apply for tickets you have to have used a postage stamp for a national pet sterilisation charity on your application.

I wonder how he would feel about this, where a clinic to sterilise cats (they fixed about 500 in two days) was held in a school cafeteria over the weekend. Parents, needless to say (and I assume diners also) are up in arms, with cleanup estimated to cost $5,000 to $10,000. Quote of the day from An Organizer: “It probably was not the best place to carry out that service in hindsight”


Thursday, February 10th, 2005

If you’re interested, it looks like Amazon are doing a rebate on Apple iBooks, so they’re a pretty good deal. A bit out of my range, but maybe one day.

personally touched

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

I heard recently that the founder of Habitat For Humanity, Millard Fuller, who is a pretty amazing guy in many respects, has been asked to step aside by the Habitat Board. Apparently there were charges raised in March 2004 by a former Habitat employee who alleged that Fuller engaged in inappropriate conversation and touched her arm. This allegation has been strongly denied and right now the Board has concluded that there was “insufficient proof” in the allegations. However Fuller was still asked to resign, along with his wife.

Needless to say this has sent shockwaves through the organization. And a campaign has been launched to get Fuller reinstated. No idea whether this will work, but the point of this post is that there is one glaring problem with their website. On the A Call to Action page there seems to be a lack of thought in the choice of wording. If you scroll most of the way down to the second-last full paragraph you will find the fantastically inappropriate sentence:

There are few people in Habitat who have not been touched personally by Millard

You couldn’t make it up. Here’s the proof:


Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

I mentioned in the previous post that we’d had a great trip to the zoo, but forgot to mention the coolest thing for me, if I may be a sap for a moment. When we were walking out to the outdoor part of the zoo, Toby said, “I want to hold my daddy’s hand”. It was the first time he’d said “my daddy” rather than just daddy, and it was a pretty cool feeling for me.

great weekend

Monday, February 7th, 2005

the weather was wonderful this weekend – over 50F which is way warmer than the average mid-20s for this time of year. We went to the zoo early-ish on Saturday morning so that we would all get the chance to run around outside and get fresh air. The animals all seemed very active and we got close to the camels and moose. Even though he lives in an indoor enclosure even the aardvark woke up when we came by, and we got to see him snuffling around. Bizarre looking animal, part pig, part elephant, part kangaroo. He seemed a pretty friendly sort of guy, for all his oddness.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Harris house to watch the Superbowl, or more accurately to sit around watching the kids race around the house at top speed and volume. It was a whole lot of fun and seemed to wear Toby out considerably.

This morning he was really excited about going to school – while we were going down to the garage he was saying “Toby loves big toddlers”, which sounds a bit odd out of context, but he really is loving being in the big toddler class. He’s been way better at saying goodbye to us in the mornings too. This morning when we arrived with him a couple of the kids said, “Yay! Toby’s here!”, and he zoomed off to join them, not looking back at us. Em went over to let him know that we were leaving, and he gave the impression of being, “Yeah, whatever, bye, I’m busy now”


Friday, February 4th, 2005

So I’ve been using Trillian as an instant messenger client for a while now, because it lets me use both MSN and AOL on the same client, without having all the AOL crap installed on my machine. The new version is kind of neat because words are linked to their definitions on Wikipedia. Due to a spelling mistake today I typed the word “bacon” in, and in its definition I found out that a side of unsliced bacon is called a flitch. So your assignment of the day is to use both “flitch” and “flense” in the same sentence. Comment away with your results please.

at the dinner table

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Toby was pretty funny last night at dinner – Emma helped him get some baked beans on his spoon, and he casually said, “Thanks”. For some reason it was very amusing, more so than when he politely and sincerely says, “Thank you”. It’s nice that he’s getting more relaxed with his language, and interesting how naturally it comes to him.

Also at mealtimes lately we’ve been having an ongoing game which started when he was refusing to eat some veggies (a rare occurrence). Emma had the inspiration of asking him what kind of animals eat broccoli, because he could be that animal and eat some more. He confidently shouted “Rhino!”. So he was a rhino and ate some broccoli. It turns out that in fact rhinos eat most foods that Toby likes, with the exception of beans and fish fingers/fish sticks, which are favorite of polar bears, and pea soup, which is typically eaten by birds, and I’m sure you’ve seen giraffes grazing on toast. It’s a very serious business in Toby’s world.


Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Something both Emma and I have been finding tricky lately is getting Toby off to sleep successfully on nights when I’m out. He’s been pretty good at going off to sleep when we’re both home, no matter which one of us takes him upstairs, or if Emma’s out, but about 70% of the time if I’ve had to be out I’ll get home and he’s still up. This makes for a rather stressful time for Emma, who would have been looking forward to some time to herself, and for me, as I’ll be looking forward to quiet time with Em. Plus it’s not like I’ve been out enjoying myself particularly – usually it’s after choir rehearsal or like last night, search committee at the Cathedral – I’m chairing the new committee which is working on filling a new priest position. We’re not quite sure what Toby’s deal is with this – he doesn’t seem upset when I go out, and he didn’t have a problem last Friday when both Em and I were out and his babysitter put him to bed. I’m sure it’s just a phase.

He did fine in his new class at school yesterday by all accounts. He seemed quite happy when he got home, and his teacher, Joe, was saying how smart Toby is – he seems to be keeping up with the older kids in pretty much everything. I was there to drop him off this morning, and noticed how much younger Toby seems – it was a bit strange. Toby himself did just fine, he walked in confidently and found his chair for breakfast. He wasn’t bothered when Emma and I had to go, in fact he pretty much pushed me away.