santa scares

December 12th, 2008

In previous years we have tried to encourage Toby to want to get his picture taken with a Mall Santa – most of the malls here have a great big Santa’s Grotto, outside which lines of parents, grandparents and children stand for hours to get a picture with Santa. However (and probably fortunately) Toby seemed to be very suspicious of the whole thing, and especially Santa himself. Last year we met a Santa who was on break from his perch – he was a very large man wearing a quite ornate Santa outfit, with lots of extra fur trim and even knickerbockers with stripy green and white socks. I found him intimidating, and of course Toby would have nothing to do with him.

Well it turns out that Toby is not alone among his peers for being Santaphobic. Our local paper recently sent out a request for readers’ photos of their kids crying in Santa’s lap, and got loads of fantastic examples. Here’s a video compilation.

economic stimulus package solution

December 8th, 2008

There’s a lot of talk in the news and government about the economy of course – employment and credit seem to be tanking, retail is suffering, and the main three car manufacturers in the US are begging for money from Congress. President-elect Obama had his weekly address over the weekend, and is talking about a huge stimulus package which would help America with education and infrastructure, also creating about 2.5 million jobs, if it goes the right way. However I think he’s kind of missing the point, and here’s my solution.

It starts with the fact that Emma is a bit addicted to the TV show What Not To Wear, where people with terrible fashion sense, or who are just stuck in a clothing/hairstyle rut, are given an intervention, shown how to choose clothing which flatters them, and styled to help them look and feel better about themselves. In almost all cases they say that they can’t believe how good they feel, and are amazed by the results. And that’s exactly what America needs – a new, better looking, more positive outlook where they can literally and metaphorically get rid of the old wardrobe and bad hair, and learn to be fabulous again.

So my stimulus package would be very much along the lines of What Not To Wear: $5000 per person to spend on a new wardrobe, as long as it is under the supervision of trained stylists, followed by a hair re-style (and makeup for the ladies). This would clearly help the economy, but would also get everyone looking and feeling much better, which would add pep to the step and make everyone feel much more likely to go out shopping, to see and be seen.

Case solved. You’re welcome.


December 2nd, 2008

Local paper blog reports a visit to the excellent Minneapolis Institute for the Arts, which is only a few blocks from my house. And in the post, one of my favorite bizarre pictures:

Sarah Allen portrait

Sarah Allen portrait

Text: “With no attempt at idealization, Mrs. Allen is presented as a masculine-looking middle aged woman, appearing sturdy and confident as she daintily pulls on her glove.”

Hmmm. If someone painted a picture of my wife looking like a 22-year old dude in a dress, I would be having serious words with them. Certainly I wouldn’t want the picture being in an art gallery for all to wonder at.


November 28th, 2008

Over the last couple of days we’ve been hearing and reading about the terrible news from India – the terror and hostage attacks on various locations in Mumbai. It’s not pleasant to read about, and seems quite immediate, especially considering that the first time I went to India I stayed in the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, so I can picture the locations where at least some of this is happening.


November 20th, 2008

Last weekend, Toby asked Emma if she would knit him a new sweater: “Could you please knit me a rainbow sweater? But with no pink.”


November 17th, 2008

In the car yesterday, Toby was asking why he has to go to school so much. Not totally sure why he would be complaining, because he loves it, to the extent that a few weeks ago he asked if he could live there. But anyway.

Emma’s reasoning for him was was “The President says that you have to go to school so that you can keep learning and get smarter,” to which Toby responded, “Well, the President called me and said that I’m already quite smart, so I don’t have to go to school every day.” Which I think sort of proves his case.

stand back, ladies

November 14th, 2008

Further to my recent post about the Finnish disco dancers, here are some pictures of Swedish dance bands (as linked to from BoingBoing). A few samples:

Note the clogs. And strange swimming-pool juxtaposition. I bet they\'re all wearing Speedos

Note the clogs. And strange swimming-pool juxtaposition. I bet they're all wearing Speedos

\'Scandinavians\'. Really? You surprise me.

'Scandinavians'. Really? You surprise me.

You\'d have thought that with a name like this they\'d be a punk band. Clearly not.

You'd have thought that with a name like this they'd be a punk band. Clearly not.

Who is the hick? You decide!

Who is the hick? You decide!

basement upgrade update

November 13th, 2008

I haven’t posted pics of the basement in a while. Work has been going on, but with the drywall going up and getting finished, it hasn’t looked too different. However we got to the point where the painting could start this week, so tonight I took a few photos, and here they are. I can’t believe how much cleaner the whole place looks – we have to keep looking at the “before” pictures to remind ourselves.

So the plan for tomorrow is that the guys will finish spray painting the ceiling, and hopefully put in some of the new flooring. Over the weekend I’m going to paint the wall on which the laundry tub is going to go, then early next week the plumbers will be in to finish the laundry, and also reset the bathroom. Then it’s pretty much just a matter of a bit of door framing, and I’ll have time to paint the rest of the walls. Finally we’ll have a nice, dry, clean basement, and get our laundry and garage back too!

new toby and dara pics

November 8th, 2008

I haven’t posted pictures of the kids in absolutely ages. We have been taking photos, I just haven’t gotten around to posting. Tonight, however, I thought I should just get on with it and posted up the pics I took at dinner time (having a speeeeeeedy new machine certainly helps too). Anyway, here are the photos – enjoy. And here’s a bonus preview:

Dara at dinner time Nov 7, 2008

Dara at dinner time Nov 7, 2008

our new first family

November 7th, 2008

An amazing set of backstage pictures as the Obama family experience election night. Fascinating, real and moving.

Also I’m enjoying hearing newscasters say “President-Elect Obama”