Archive for June, 2005


Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

A little dazed this morning as last night was only the second time in about four months that Toby didn’t come to our room in the night – I’m not used to sleeping uninterrupted for 7 hours straight.

This morning there was a bit of a panic – Emma dropped me and Toby at school and then had to drive off to a meeting. I realized almost immediately that she had not given us the bag of Toby’s spare underwear and shorts, in case of accidents while he’s potty training. He’s doing really well but has about one mishap per day. So I went out to Target to get more pants and shorts for him and took them round to school (where he was having tons of fun and didn’t notice me). It turns out that he has lots of spare stuff there after all, I was looking in the wrong place, but Emma says I’m a good dad for trying.


Sunday, June 12th, 2005

It was my birthday on Friday, and very nice it was too. I took both Thursday and Friday off work, so it’s been a great long weekend. Emma and I sent Toby to school on Friday and then went out for brunch, it was great to just hang out together all day. I also got some very nice things, including some good books and CDs, the complete DVD set of Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, plus from Emma a pair of Birkenstock sandals and a really good guitar. She’d worked with my brother Richard to find a nice one on Amazon and I’m really pleased with what they found, which you can see here. It even came with a very nice solid case, so a great deal too.

Also very cool was her consideration that Toby might be a little upset that I had a guitar and he didn’t, so she also found a little Toby-sized guitar really cheap on Amazon. It’s not really playable in that it doesn’t hold its tuning and the frets are way off – what do you expect for $20? – but he LOVES it with a passion, and it’s great for him to learn to hold an instrument properly and learn to respect and look after something. He sits and strums away very happily, often singing too. Here’s a bunch of pictures of him with it.

toby’s bad dream

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

Toby woke up from his afternoon nap yesterday in a terrible state – really agitated and wide-eyed scared. It turned out that he’d had a dream in which he was taken away by a character in one of his books – On the Day You Were Born. One minor detail is that this book (you can see if you click on the Look Inside link in the Amazon page) doesn’t actually have any characters – there’s a picture of a person dancing through parts of the world, like on beaches, through forests etc, and Toby thinks this character is called Dayyouwereborn. So he was very upset that Dayyouwereborn had taken him away in his dream, and of course he was worried about it last night when he had to go to bed. We had a long discussion about how Dayyouwereborn only lives in the book and wouldn’t get into his bed, and certainly wouldn’t take him away. He believed me enough to go to sleep but when he came to our bed in the night we saw that he had taken all his stuffed toys through with him too, so that they wouldn’t be taken away either.

intelligent discussion

Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

Here’s a great series of comments from scientists where the San Diego Union-Tribune asked a few questions about Intelligent Design. The responses are slightly sneery but grounded in science and reason. Not that it’s likely to persuade the ID nuts but it clearly states what is science and what is faith.


Wednesday, June 8th, 2005

Next in an occasional series of me catching up with two-year-old technologies: I have just discovered the site Bloglines, which is like an online RSS reader, aggregating all the blogs (or any site with an RSS feed) into one place. A couple of benefits over an RSS reader application: you can sign in from any machine and see your blogs, and if you are so inclined, you can share your list of favorite blogs (here is my list). It even has a couple of neat software downloads, so that you can have a notifier on your desktop when new articles are posted, and a plugin for Firefox which makes it extra-easy to add a site to your list. They also offer a list of tips on cool ways to use Bloglines, such as adding weather feeds (although if you’re using Firefox you should be using ForecastFox for weather).

Speaking of weather, lots of storms last night, seemingly all night. It was so humid during the day – it felt like we were overdue. Toby ended up coming through to us, although I think it was just his problems sleeping rather than because of the storms. He’s being really bizarre about going to sleep lately, taking ages. It’s quite frustrating as it feels like Emma and I haven’t been able to spend an evening just hanging out in way too long.


Monday, June 6th, 2005

Very mellow weekend, mostly. Emma had classes on Friday night so Toby and I hung out. We also had time to ourselves on Saturday morning when Emma had a work thing, so we rode the bus to downtown, then caught the train out to the Mall of America. We were going to stop at a park but it was pouring with rain, and to be honest Toby was having so much fun on the train I thought he’d like to ride to the end of the line. It’s a nice service too and was nice and busy. We had a good time in the mall – he drove a kiddy fire truck and we played in Lego world for a long time. In the evening we got a video of The Land before Time – a kids’ thing with animated talking dinosaurs. Not the most riveting thing ever for adults but Toby loved it. Nothing too scary, although challenging enough for him – just right.

On Sunday we had the final meeting of the search committee I’ve been chairing at St. Mark’s – we’re looking to hire a third priest. It was quite an experience – the first time I’d chaired a committee there, and it’s very high profile. We were making our final decision and it was an excellent meeting – open and honest with a great conclusion, where we all felt very happy about the outcome. Quite a relief to get it done and out of the way.

at last

Saturday, June 4th, 2005

Something which has perplexed me for a while in Mac OS X is that there is no default support for uploading files to FTP servers. You can download in Finder (the Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer) but not upload. Who knows why? Anyway I was using the Interarchy application to do this, but I wasn’t really getting to grips with it, so today I hunted around for something better, and had success (so far) with Transmit which works just the way you want it to: looks like Finder, easy to learn and you can even edit html files directly on your server. Nice and easy, just they way they promised the mac would be, even if that turned out not to be true in this case.


Friday, June 3rd, 2005

I don’t know if this rises to the level of a Bushism, but I noticed the following quote from President Bush at his May 31 press conference:

It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth.

In fact as you well know, he meant that they have been trained to dissemble, which means not tell the truth or to disguise. It appears that our President is concerned about turrists who have been trained to dismantle our furniture.

UPDATE June 7 – I had emailed Slate magazine about this because I thought they’d like it for the Bushisms. And here it is.

one more time

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

We saw a bizarrely horrifying and fascinating show last night – Hit Me Baby One More Time on NBC. Its format is that stars/bands from the 80s or early 90s come on stage and perform their greatest hit, then in the second half do a cover of a hit from today. One of the neat things was that at least the singing was live, so you get a good feel about whether they still have it or not. Another odd aspect was how British it all felt – including the fact that hosted by Vernon Kay, who it turns out also hosted the British version on ITV, and in fact the whole thing was produced by Granada America. Another “great” export, following on the heels of Millionaire, Weakest Link and American/Pop Idol. I’m so proud. I hope the Americans were able to understand his Northern accent – sample question to Cee Cee Peniston (still the only top ten singer to have a male-specific body part in her name) was “Ow did it feel to sing for the President of the Yoonydit Steuhts?”

Anyway, a couple of the turns were pretty horrible, especially Tiffanny and A Flock Of Seagulls (which was like watching a train crash in slow motion). The winners of the night were Arrested Development who were extremely impressive – very fresh and interactive both in their hit and their cover verstion.

For the now semi-obligatory comedy Toby moment of last night: he and I were playing catch on the porch last night – he’s got a good throw these days – quite powerful and accurate too. I threw the ball to him, which he missed catching and hit a green box which lives on the porch. Toby said, “You did hit the green bock”, which to him is apparently the singular of box.

personal comments

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Toby’s gotten to the adorable/alarming phase of passing personal comments on people he sees. For example both on the bus yesterday morning and at the grocery store last night he loudly commented on men who had big beards. I don’t think that’s too much of a problem, in that I doubt someone would take offense. However he was talking about someone who happens to be African American, and told me that he was brown. It was in no way a judgemental thing, it was just a comment, the same as Scout, our cat, is orange, or Thomas the Tank Engine is blue. But I did feel a little concerned that someone could be upset at hearing it (if they were sensitive, but who am I to judge?). I pointed out to him that yes they were (no point in denying it) and isn’t it nice to live where people are different colors? He seemed to like that, and I hope it was an appropriate thing to say. Let me know if you feel otherwise.

Another thing about the beard – while he was in the bath Toby was putting bubbles on his chin and saying that he had a beard. I asked him what color it was – “White” – and what it was made of “it is made of bubbles, Daddy”. I asked him what color my beard is: “It is made of hair, daddy, it did jump down from your head”.

Also today is Toby’s first attempt at wearing big-kid underpants, rather than diapers, at school. Good luck to him.