Monday, March 31, 2003

Changing gears

Saturday's trick: forward crawling. It's still a little unsteady - but he goes forward 5-6 paces at a time now. After that, if he still isn't where he's headed, he'll pause, regroup, and go forward again. Once he gets just short of his destination, he lunges for it.

We bought him a 4-key xylophone-type-thingy with colored piano keys the other day. He loves to bang on it.

However, there's one minor drawback to his new activity levels - we really can't take him out for any sort of sit-down dinner anymore. He's just too active to sit in a highchair at a restaurant for an extended period of time. We picked up this insight when we went to the Beerworks in Salem for dinner Saturday night.

I think that phase will last at least a few more months. We can probably still do quicker-serve restaurants if we need to. And he's usually OK at lunches.

Friday, March 28, 2003

New skill of the week

In a week or so full of new activities, skills, and discoveries, he's gotten the hang of one that really makes me happy. Happier than any of them so far.

He's just learned to hug.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Yawn

We celebrated his "birthday" yesterday (10 months old - my, how time flies...). We introduced one more treat at dinnertime - his own spoon. He was fascinated by it. He stared at it, tasted it, waved it around in the air, and generally got all excited and wide-eved over it. It's amazing how much something like a spoon means to an infant - or any new object, for that matter.

We didn't let him try and use it, though - not yet. Jane fed him while he waved the spoon around. The idea is to get him accustomed to the spoon first, then gradually get him using it so mommy and daddy can just plop the bowl in front of him and let him chow.

However, we now realize that peas will not be the best food to start doing that with.

The latter portions of the night were interesting. He had way too much energy to go to sleep at the usual time (oh, we tried...), so I wound up sitting with him until about 10. It still took him a while to fade out after I put him to bed.

Then he woke up shrieking at 3 AM. First time in quite a while. Jane tried for a long time to settle him down - first the diaper check and change, then the nostril check (sometimes a big ol' booger will set him off), then the teething check (some of the teething painkiller on his gum). Nothing worked. Finally, in desperation, she gave him the bottle we had in reserve for the morning.

He guzzled it, and conked right out. He was still solidly out cold when I left for work this morning.

You see, Jane takes care of him during the night should he need it. The theory we have is that I can therefore sleep for work. In practice, I'm a much lighter sleeper than she is, so I'm generally up anyway - though I try and go back to sleep.

Fortunately, I bought a nice Braun coffeemaker with a timer last week. I did this after actually realizing how much of my money goes to Dunkin' Donuts every year (around $450!) for a morning coffee. Buying the coffeemaker lets me have it waiting fresh in the morning for me, while lowering my per-cup costs substantially.

Anyhow, the point here is that I can brew it as strong or as weak as I want. Normally I brew with five scoops of ground - three decaf scoops and two regular scoops (the decaf comes drom Dunkin' Donuts, the regular comes from Coffee Time). Today I reversed it and then some. It's helping, but I'm going to have a long day.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Chomp

Today, we experimented with real food. When I went to the supermarket tonight, I bought some starter foods. What I snagged were little corn puffs that look like the old Honeycomb cereal. They're for babies learning to chew and eat finger foods.

So after I got home, we gave him one. At first, he waved it around in the air. Then he sniffed it. Then he gummed it. Then he bit off a little piece and chewed it.

He continued with that for a while - gagged a little bit at one point but got past it pretty easily. He ate most of the puff.

Yum. The next trick will be getting him to use a spoon on his own, and introducing some finely chopped non-baby foods. Expect the serious messes to ensue.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

So. That's that, then.

We have a war. I'm still not sure it's a good or bad idea, and I know Hussein's too dangerous to be left in charge of Iraq. But I'm not willing to just run off the cliff in support of this war, either. I just can't trust that GWB is acting in the best interests of the nation and the world here.

I hope that the war is short and successful, with minimal loss of life on both sides. I hope that the world doesn't erupt into chaos in the meantime. I'm afraid that the world outside our borders isn't going to be a very pleasant place to be if you're an American, and I think it's going to stay that way for quite a while to come.

And though Iraq needs a new regime, I think there's another country that needs one as well. Ours. But unlike Iraq, we'll have an opportunity to do one peacefully, at the ballot box.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Beep, beep

He's still backwards-only - but after a couple of days his speed is up. We went out and bought one of those folding fences (I think it's called a "superyard") to put in our second living room so we can fance him in safely. He likes it so far - we got a couple of expansion panels to make it as big as possible.

Big reason why most airlines are doomed: The frequent flyer system is screwed up hopelessly. If I accumulate enough miles for travel, I should get a ticket, right? Well, according to Delta that may not be the case. They have a certain allocation of seats for frequent flyers, period. Well, I either flew or took advantage of offers in order to accumulate those miles. They should be just as valid as cash as long as there are unsold seats on the plane.

Because they're treated as a lesser grade of money, we get "wait-listed" for our tickets - with the further risk being that if we get our seats at all, we may not be able to buy a regular-priced seat for our son if those sell out in the meantime. Ridiculous.

Essentially, I hope airlines like Southwest wind up sucking the marrow from the bones of the old-school airlines. Delta first.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Updates, updates, updates

As of today - he now crawls. Only he does it backwards. I've had to fight the impulse to say "beep, beep, beep" every time he goes into reverse. It's pretty cool, though.

Still holding at 2 teeth, with no immediate breakthrus imminent as far as we can tell.

One new thing that's starting to happen is the tantrum. He's reached the phase when if he doesn't want something, or if he has something taken from him that he wants to keep, he'll flip a breaker and go batty. It can last up to 10 minutes, until we either cave or he burns out.

For instance: try to take a toy from him that he's playing with, and he may wig out. Path of least resistance - give in and hand the toy back. But a few minutes ago we decided to put him down for a nap. He was obviously acting tired, and he'd just been calmed down after dropping a heavy toy on his mouth. So I put him down for a nap. He screamed for about the last 10 minutes, and finally conked out. It's been a very active day today, in particular. We were at a birthday party, then I took him to Lowe's while Jane got a haircut.

Which brings me to one other thought: I wonder what we should do with him in the car seat, given his height? He's too tall for the rear-facing position, but he's not old enough or heavy enough for front-facing. It's a bit of a dilemma, but until we're told otherwise we're sticking with rear-facing even though it's not fitting him too well.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Also in the news today

I posted a photo update of David a couple of days ago - it took me a day, but I found the Smartmedia reader and grabbed a new driver for it. Gosh, he's cute.

Last night I was thinking out loud while Jane and I were talking - it's wonderful that they found the Smart girl in Utah. Too many of these stories end badly, so it's good that this one turned out OK. The one thing that's depressing about it, though, is that this may have been the first headline of the year that was good news, instead of bad news.

We need more good news.

I probably shouldn't post this, but...

Normally, I'd just point a link to Maureen Dowd's column from yesterday's NY Times. But they expire the link after a few weeks, and a blog is forever. So I've posted the column here, and I'm also posting a link to it as well: use the link until it goes away. Please.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/12/opinion/12DOWD.h tml

I Vant to Be Alone
By MAUREEN DOWD

      WASHINGTON

It will go down as a great mystery of history how Mr. Popularity at Yale metamorphosed into President Persona Non Grata of the world.

The genial cheerleader and stickball commissioner with the gregarious parents, the frat president who had little nicknames and jokes for everyone, fell in with a rough crowd.

Just when you thought it couldn't get more Strangelovian, it does. The Bush bullies, having driven off all the other kids in the international schoolyard, are now resorting to imaginary friends.

Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars here yesterday and reassured the group that America would have "a formidable coalition" to attack Iraq. "The number of countries involved will be in the substantial double digits," he boasted. Unfortunately, he could not actually name one of the supposed allies. "Some of them would prefer not to be named now," he said coyly, "but they will be known with pride in due time."

Perhaps the hawks' fixation on being the messiahs of the Middle East has unhinged them. I could just picture Wolfy sauntering down the road to Baghdad with our new ally Harvey, his very own pooka, a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit that the U.S. wants to put on the U.N. Security Council.

Ari Fleischer upped the ante, conjuring up an entire international forum filled with imaginary allies.

He suggested that if the U.N. remained recalcitrant, we would replace it with "another international body" to disarm Saddam Hussein. It wasn't clear what he was talking about. What other international body? Salma Hayek? The World Bank? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association?

The not-so-splendid isolation of the White House got worse this afternoon when Donald Rumsfeld suggested the unthinkable at his Pentagon briefing: we might have to go to war without Britain.

Even though Tony Blair said he was working "night and day" to get us international support (and beating back a revolt in his own party), Mr. Rumsfeld dismissively remarked that it was "unclear" just what the British role would be in a war.

Asked whether the U.S. would go to war without "our closest ally," he replied, "That is an issue that the president will be addressing in the days ahead, one would assume."

The Brits covered up their fury with typical understatement, calling Rummy's comment "curious." But behind the scene, Downing Street went nuts and began ringing Pennsylvania Avenue, demanding an explanation. How could Rummy be so callous about "the special relationship" after Mr. Blair had stuck his neck out for President Bush and courageously put his career on the line, and after he had sent one-quarter of the British military to the Persian Gulf?

Even though Mr. Rumsfeld scrambled later to mollify the British, one BBC commentator drily said that perhaps he was trying to be sensitive, but "as we all know, Donald Rumsfeld doesn't do sensitive very well."

Now we've managed to alienate our last best friend. We are making the rest of the world recoil. But that may be part of the Bush hawks' master plan. Maybe they have really always wanted to go it alone.

Maybe it has been their strategy all along to sideline the U.N., deflate Colin Powell and cut the restraining cords of traditional coalitions. Their decision last summer to get rid of Saddam was driven by their desire to display raw, naked American power. This time, they don't want Colin Powell or pesky allies counseling restraint in Baghdad.

Rummy was unfazed by Turkey's decision not to let our troops in, and he seemed just as unruffled about the prospect of the Brits' falling out of the war effort. And in a well-timed display of American military might, the Air Force tested a huge new bomb called MOAB in Florida. Tremors traveled through the ground, and the scary dust cloud could be seen for miles.

"These guys at the Pentagon -- Wolfowitz, Perle, Doug Feith -- when they lie in bed at night, they imagine a new book written by one of them or about them called, `Present at the Recreation,' " an American diplomat said. "They want to banish the wimpy Europeanist traditional balance of power, and use the Iraq seedbed of democracy to impose America's will on the world."

The more America goes it alone, the more "robust," as the Pentagon likes to say, the win will be.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

I'll post more pictures soon

I have more pictures of David that I'm planing to post soon. I would already have done it, but I'm having a problem with my camera - it works fine, but it's suddenly having problems talking via USB. Unfortunately, that means I have to find an alternate way to get the pictures in, and that will probably be via a Smartmedia reader.

But first I have to find it. That hasn't been easy.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Speaking of steroids

Look at pictures of Hulk Hogan in the '80s, versus now. He's a small fraction of the size he used to be, but still in obviously good condition, without a heck of a lot of fat.

The difference: he was on the juice back then, and he's not anymore. He's still a big guy, but I'd say he's a good 50+ pounds smaller than he used to be.

As for "real" pro athletes like baseball players - I don't think there's as many people juicing as some say. Steroids build muscle mass, but baseball players really don't benefit from muscle mass as much as they do from speed and hand-eye coordination. I suspect there are a decent amount of ballplayers on them, as there are in all sports. But I think the biggest thing causing the injury bug to strike so much in baseball is overtraining. Offseason workouts have become much more rigorous for the typical ballplayer, and their bodies don't really get downtime anymore.

I think even pro athletes need to take some time off to let their bodies heal and rest.

Football is a joke. Yes, training techniques have improved, and yes, they have a steroid prohibition, but the stakes are so high that the monster linemen (especially) have mastered ways to fake out the screening procedures.

I don't think steroids are a big problem in the NBA (though it seems other drugs are), and hockey players are mainly a bunch of smallish, pasty-looking white guys from Canada who booze it up. A lot of them seem to smoke, too, but there doesn't seem to be a big problem with steroids.

Forget about track, cycling, and weightlifting - those sports are ridiculous on the international level. Lance Armstrong may well be the only athlete in any of those sports who _isn't_ doped up.

One more comment for the benefit of faithful reader Mark: I bet you chess and backgammon players are probably on whatever the "performance-enhancing" drug of choice is for them.

It's probably a mix of caffeine, Sudafed, and ephedra - or some similar combo.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Random thoughts from a random man

That would be me.

My token political thought: I'm not anti-war. I'm not pro-war, either. But there's something about this brewing war with Iraq that just doesn't pass the smell test to me. I can't pinpoint what it is. I'm afraid we're looking at a giant "Wag the Dog" scenario, but nothing seems to stick to Dubya. When Clinton lobbed a couple of cruise missles into the Sudan, the nation erupted in outrage and accused him of staging it as a distraction from the Lewinsky scandal. Go figure.

I think there's something seriously wrong in the WWE. There's been a huge rash of neck injuries, starting with Austin a couple of years ago. Since then, they've lost Lita, Chris Benoit, Scotty 2 Hotty, Rhyno, Edge, and now Kurt Angle to fusion surgery. Lloyd Youngblood (the surgeon in Texas who has been fixing them) should be giving a bulk discount. Add to that Aich and Kevin Nash's quad tears (both knocking them out for around 9 months each), Bradshaw and Kane's biceps tears, a whole mess of bad backs, Randy Orton's shoulder (and now his foot), Dave Batista's tricep, concussions for half the roster, Jazz's knee (Victoria's is screwed up, too, but she's trying to gut it out with a brace), Bubba Ray's back, Rey Mysterio's knee, Hogan's cracked ribs, and Angle's knee surgery back in December, and it's been a horrible injury run.

Either there's too many "special" vitamins being used (which helps explain some of the muscle tears - you can't tell me Batista and Aich got those builds through weights alone), or too rough a style, or too much high-risk stuff going on, or just crappy luck - any which way, this has been a horrible run of injury luck. It's been hell on the storylines. Hopefully things will stabilize, but I don't hold out much hope. Ironically, the two guys who arguably put themselves most on the line every time out - Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy - have remained injury-free so far.

The minivan doesn't suck so far.

I have become Bluetooth's biggest fan. My PowerBook, Palm Tungsten T, Sony T68i, and Jabra headset all work together, wirelessly. Now I'm looking for things that can be done with Bluetooth. I have some cool ideas.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Ironic DSL story

For those of you who followed DSLquest, I am still hooked up after several days. But there was an amusing and ironic moment yesterday. In mid-afternoon, we lost our DSL service.

We also lost phone service entirely.

My wife called me on her cell to report the problem - I verified it, noticed the network was also down, and called Verizon to report the outage. They verified it, too, and dispatched repair - the phone line was fixed about an hour later, with the DSL back up.

I don't know if the problem was on the pole, or a loose connection at the NID, or elsewhere - I just know it was before the DSL splitter on the side of my house. Jane didn't see a Verizon truck anywhere nearby, but she wasn't really paying attention.

We now have DSL (and phone) service again. Given my track record, I probably shouldn't say this, but in the words of James Lovell (as played by Tom Hanks), "Looks like we just had our glitch for this mission."

Monday, March 03, 2003

Oh yeah - here's the Dude update

With all the travel fuss, I forgot to post the Dude's latest measurements. Sorry...

His 9-month appointment was on Friday. He weighed exactly 20 pounds, and was 30.25 inches long. Those percentiles, for those of you keeping score at home, are 50th on weight, and 90th on height. He'll be back next on his birthday in May. One shot this time, plus bloodwork - they were very happy with his hemoglobin count, but I have no idea what it was.

Basically, the way his growth appears to work is kind of like this. He alternates between growing up and growing out - so he'll put on a few extra pounds for a couple of months, then he'll shoot up a few inches while his weight stays pretty stable. It's kind of neat. Right now he's tall and on the skinny side, unlike his dad (who is tall and not so skinny).

Foodwise, he's transitioned his diet to three solid feedings per day (spoonfed), with cups of water to drink, plus three bottles of formula. By later in the month we'll be experimenting with self-feeding. He's really started progressing pretty fast in this area.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Knock on wood...

It appears that DSLquest 2003 is finally over. I'm now on a Speakeasy/Worldcom circuit at 768/768, and all is well so far. It turned out to be easier to set up another Worldcom (the infrastructure FKA rhythms) circuit than it was to reconnect Covad, and I really didn't care a whit which one I used, so long as I had my static IP.

They did the work to turn up the circuit Friday, but we went away to visit my folks for the weekend - so I just hooked it up and switched the DNS this afternoon after I got home. Props again to ZoneEdit for making DNS easy to manage.

The other thing of note about this trip is that we made it in our new vehicle - a magnificent babe magnet of a car. Not.

It's a Chevy Venture.

Yeah, I don't love minivans, but I am also practical enough to be willing to drive one, regardless of ego. It proved to be very useful on this trip for starters, and should be really handy as we start making more long trips with the little guy. It drives pretty comfortably, too. Not quite as many bells and whistles as the Olds had, but a lot more space in about the same road footprint. And it also has AWD, but gets way better mileage. So I'm not bitter.

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