quick update

August 25th, 2008

Sorry, not ignoring you – just busy busy and busy and I keep forgetting to post updates.

So here, very quickly, is how things are standing. Busy at work – all excellent, but just a lot to do. Really enjoying it though.

Toby and Dara are doing great. Dara is now 11 months, and doing loads. She loves playing with her big brother and he’s great with her. She’s doing a lot of standing, not quite ready for walking yet although she’s taken a couple of steps a few times. She seems to be pretty happy zooming around crawling, so who knows how long it’ll take. She’s still very chatty – all sounding very meaningful and important but mostly incomprehensible, in a very charming way. She’s starting to be able to do a few words though – ball and bear are quite definite, and last night she said her name very clearly a few times when she saw herself in the mirror. Toby is still “babaa”.

Toby himself is doing very well too. He’s just started his last week of daycare, in preparation for starting kindergarten next week. He’s extremely excited, we’ll see how he handles the anticipation and a bit of nervousness. He’s still zooming around – swimming really well and also a master of Wii tennis. He has lots of plans and schemes floating around in his head, and now that he’s getting older he doesn’t have so many amusing verbal mistakes, although yesterday he was telling us how to get somewhere and he said “first you need to find a case of stairs”.

that’s all right then

August 12th, 2008

Interesting point from the US Representative from near where I live (one Michelle Bachmann) – we don’t need to worry about saving the planet because that was all taken care of 2,000 years ago. Ideal.

I think I need a “What is wrong with people?” category in my blog.

not manly, parts 1 and 2

August 8th, 2008

Part 1: While I was driving Toby home from daycare a couple of days ago, a cyclist went past us, causing the following conversation:

Toby: That man on the bike looks like one of your brothers
Me: Which one?
Toby: One of the London brothers
Me: You mean Uncle Richard?
Toby: Yes. But a little bit different. That man’s bag isn’t like Uncle Richard’s. His was brown and big, Uncle Richard’s is more like a green manbag.

Part 2: We got a Nintendo Wii last weekend, and it’s a ton of fun. Because the controllers work by motion you end up moving a lot – pitching in the baseball game, for example, you do a faster pitch if you swipe the controller faster. On Wednesday night I was playing for a while and doing really hard pitches, and as a result my shoulder, sides and leg muscles are still hurting two days later.

night out

August 6th, 2008

Yesterday was the annual National Night Out, and for the third year running our neighbors organized a street party for our block. We closed off the street and set up tables and barbecues, and a whole load of us basically hung out, got to meet new neighbors and ate good food. The weather was perfect, and we got to meet some really nice folks. One of the guys who I hadn’t met before is Brazilian, and he somewhat lived up to national stereotype (in the best way) by having the biggest barbecue, and grilling huge hunks of meat which he had skewered on swords. He also did some little things – smoked sausages and marinated chicken hearts, which were surprisingly delicious. But the rib-eye was completely phenomenal. There were quite a few kids there too, as well as friendly dogs, so Toby and Dara had plenty to do and see.

how to lose a sale

August 2nd, 2008

We’ve had a fantastic Denon home theater box for a few years now – the sound quality and everything else is just great, and it has a nice interface to the iPod. The problem with an all-in-one system is that if/when one component breaks down, the whole thing could be rendered useless. So last week the DVD drive seemed to stop working – it wouldn’t read anything, and even the cleaning disc wouldn’t work. Fortunately new DVD players are really cheap these days, and because the Denon has so many spare inputs I shopped around for a cheap but good player. The bonus is that newer DVD models are upconverting, meaning that while standard DVD quality is not high-definition, the player alters the signal to make it appear to be almost high-def.

I got a good deal on a Phillips player from Circuit City – bought online and went to the store to pickup. A nice service so far. At the store they said that I would get 10% off accessories, and seeing as I need an extra HDMI cable I thought I’d take a look. Unfortunately that’s where their customer service started to fall down.

I asked a sales guy where their cables were, and he immediately started to say “So is your TV 720 or 1080?” – basically trying to get me with somewhat technical jargon. If you follow the link above you’ll see the whole picture about HDMI – it’s a standard to carry a digital signal from one device to another – and because it’s digital the signal is all or nothing. If you’re buying analog cables, the cable quality is important – interference can cause distortion of signal – but for digital it makes no difference whatsoever. Circuit City had a variety of HDMI cables, including the Monster brand, whose cables were well over $100. The cable I got to hook up our HD TiVo to the TV was about $7 online, and it works fine – as I said a digital signal is either going to work or it is not.

I told the sales guy I just wanted the cheapest cable they had. He said “they’re over there, but they are only $5 less, so these ones here, it’s going to be better quality”. Not so, I said – it’s a digital signal, so I just need cheap. He kept on about signal quality – he either had no idea himself or he thought he could patronize me into paying loads more than I need to, so end result: poor customer service, and no sale.

donut not

July 24th, 2008

On the day of Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin, with apparently the staggering figure of 200,000 in attendance, here’s some information on JFK’s infamous ‘Ich Bin ein Berliner’ line.

creation nation

July 21st, 2008

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

A couple of my friends went to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky last week. I think they thought it was kind of funny, although I only saw them briefly and didn’t really get the chance to talk it through with them – I think that also the fault may have been with me because this kind of nonsense just gets me really mad. Then today I saw a link to a piece on the museum: Creation Nation in n+1 magazine. The museum seems like everything you would expect, and more.

baby syrup

July 18th, 2008

We probably won’t need these for Dara – she seems to have a fair bit more hair than Toby did at her age. Even at 17 months old he was fairly bald, which lead us to take matters into our own hands:

Toby with wig That’s actually fur from our cat, but I don’t think Toby was impressed.

Now, however someone has come up with a solution: baby toupees:

Baby toupees

this can’t be good

July 18th, 2008

From Talking Points Memo: Obama Struggling with Older Women. Can’t he be done for assault? Maybe it’s like mudfighting or something. Are younger women easier to fight?

folkestone photos

July 12th, 2008

We got back from vacation on Thursday night and I got the pictures together here. A whopping 4 pages – hope you like them. I’m continuing to be very pleased with my new camera!