Archive for July, 2006

six years

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Yesterday was Emma’s and my sixth wedding anniversary, and I think it was one of the better anniversaries we’ve had. Nice lazy morning, then we took Toby to the zoo for a long time to wear him out – he loved it. Back home we just mooched around until a babysitter came over and we could wander over to Auriga for dinner. It’s a very nice place indeed – not perhaps somewhere you could afford to go every week, or if you’re going for a big meal every month – but great for this occaision where it was worth pushing the boat out. The food was very well done, perfectly cooked and seasoned, the wine was good too. Our server was great, with just the right balance of friendliness and formality – not TGI Friday’s in-your-face but not stuffy either – and he coped very well with the fact that his parents happened to be sitting at the table next to us. They were quite charming and we had a great few conversations about the food and trips to England and Scotland – they seemed to be keen golfers so their Scotland stories generally centered around that. I hope that the waiter wasn’t too mortified, and it was the first time I think I’ve heard someone in a restaurant like that call their waiter “honey”.


Thursday, July 20th, 2006

My brother works for the Scottish Government in Edinburgh, and recently sent me a link to the Scottish Parliament’s website. But! Not just the regular, comprehensible homepage – the homepage translated into a comedy Scottish accent. It appears not to be a hoax, which means that the good people of Scotland pay taxes which pays someone to make up words like “wabsite”. The Scottish word for bewildered disbelief is “Crivvens”.

just … weird

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

The whole thing about the President giving an impromtu neck/shoulder massage to the German Chancellor at the G-8 summit is just so very strange as to defy belief. The Daily Show had a bit on it last night – Emma asked firstly whether Bush would have done this to a male head of state, and secondly whether there’s a White House or kind of World Leader HR rep Chancellor Merkel could have called.

Merkel’s reaction is quite a sight too, and I just saw a photo which likens Bush’s action and her reaction to another famous neck maneouver. Also I wonder if Bush was tempted to say “Whoa, this kitten’s got claws!”

five glorious years

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

It’s been almost exactly five years since I started this blog – by something of a coincidence today I got a call from a reporter at the local daily paper to interview me about my blog. He was basically trying to ask in the nicest possible way why I would keep doing this when not many people read it (about 70 visitors a day on average) and a fair number of the entries aren’t that interesting – his example being my post from Austin, TX where I thrillingly reported that I was quite tired after a busy day so just had a bowl of soup and watched a movie in my hotel room. I explained that it’s really mostly a diary which other people can see, and that it’s about 50% for me, 35% for family and friends, and 15% for people to stumble on – I think I’ve noted here that each month about 10 people find it by googling “toddler stammer” for example.

So if he likes what I said it should be in the paper on Sunday or Monday. I’ll have to alert the web hosting people in anticipation of the literally tens more people who might visit this page.


Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

Toby’s been somewhat obsessed with babies lately – a few of his friends at school have baby siblings so I think there’s been a fair bit of chat. And on Friday night we went for dinner at my friend Kyle’s – his wife is expecting their first baby in a week or so, so it was quite the topic of conversation. In fact after dinner, Toby said “What’s that bump there on the lady?” We told him it was a baby in her tummy, to which he replied “Can I see? Can you open it so I can see?”

On the way home from school in the car tonight he had a conversation with Emma about the whole thing – he thought that we should have (actually that we should get) a baby (and we’re not planning to any time soon by the way). Emma asked him how you got a baby, and Toby’s response was “Well, you go to a store and you collect one and it is very very small and you put it in your mouth and it goes down to your tummy and it grows until it is big and then it jumps out and lives with you in your house.” There was some discussion about what we would do with a baby, and where it would sleep. Toby said that it could sleep in his bed with him and he would keep it warm with his warm hands, and in the morning they would jump out of bed together and bounce down the stairs to have breakfast.

what really happens

Monday, July 17th, 2006

I’ve been subscribing to the Chicago Tribune’s news blog, the Swamp, for a few months now. It’s often an interesting read because it does pretty good analysis of the stories behind the news, including what it’s like to be a reporter in an overseas trip. Here’s a dispatch from the G-8 summit with some cool photos of where the press corps are stationed.

One eyebrow-raising event is captured here – a discussion between Bush and Blair where we’re not sure if they knew the microphone was live. The chat is a bit halting but it’s quite a revealing view into the back and forth.

i think i’m going to…

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Just stumbled across a series of pictures on the BBC about a guy on a mission to find the least edible food. The pictures are quite well presented, but the actual food… well, just don’t read it while you’re eating.

christian behavior

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Kent Hovind is a fairly well-known evangelist and slightly rabid denier of evolution, to the extent that he founded a theme park, Dinosaur Adventure Land, where rides and exhibitions apparently prove that the biblical story of creation is 100% true etc etc.

Pity the morals part of the bible didn’t take root – it appears that he has been arrested on federal charges of tax evasion and other things, including impteding an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation. The article is well worth reading for the guy’s sheer brass neck, and my favorite lines are:

Over Kent Hovind’s protests, the judge took away his passport and guns Hovind claimed belonged to his church.

Hovind argued that he needs his passport to continue his evangelism work. He said “thousands and thousands” are waiting to hear him preach in South Africa next month.

As for the guns, Davis said “ownership was not the issue.”

empty house

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Yesterday morning we said a rather rushed goodbye to the Harris family, who had been staying with us for about four weeks before moving back to the UK after seven years in Minnesota. We’re feeling a bit strange because they were very close to us here, a bit like a second family. Having them stay with us worked out better than any of us expected and was a lot of fun; however I’m sure they won’t mind when I say that it’s kind of nice to realize how spacious our house is when there’s just three of us.


Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

I had an 8am meeting this morning – kind of harsh – and Emma also had an early start so it was a bit of a dazed rush out of the house. We made it though. In the car at one point Toby said “Hey, Daddy, look!” “What is it, Toby?” “I found a finger booger!” “What’s a finger booger?” “It’s just something you .. discover”.

We’re also particularly glad that we have air conditioning at home now because it’s going to be a hot and humid weekend with a forecast high around 100F (39ish C) with lots of humidity. Eugh.