Sunday, June 30, 2002

World Cup - whatsupwiddat?

I understand the game of soccer just fine. Heck, it can be fun to watch. When I was younger, I enjoyed playing it, though I was no good at all (I was OK in the couple of years I goofed around at club-level rugby, so maybe it was just that I'm better when I can use my hands). And I fully understand that other nations don't get into the sports we prefer here the same way they do soccer.

What I don't quite understand, though, is why World Cup causes such national passions to erupt worldwide. Is it something about soccer that encourages herd behavior? Or is it that this is the _only_ sport many of these nations really participate in? I dunno. I just know that no matter how big soccer is in the rest of the world, I just won't ever feel the same passion for the game.

Does that make me a classless unsophisticated imperialist American? No. It just means that I have other priorities. I don't expect people in the rest of the world to necessarily be as passionate about baseball or (American) football as I can be. Don't expect me to care that much about your game.

One pleasant side note to the now-concluded World Cup - I live in a city with a large Latino population. So Brazil's triumph is noteworthy for one good reason - there are right now a lot of stunning Brazilian women riding around in convertibles celebrating. And they've all been gorgeous so far.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Freakin' awesome - the Zaurus 5500

I picked up a Sharp Zaurus 5500 a few weeks ago - what a great device! Granted, it has a few shortcomings, which I'll list to start out with:

- A little bit on the big side

- Battery life is so-so (but you can swap in a fresh pack, which helps)

- The CF slot protector is too easy to knock out

- The built-in apps still need some polish - in particular, one-touch appointments should be possible. The address book and calendar replacements from The Kompany are nicer-looking with a few more goodies, but slow to load and suffering from some glitches. They also don't uninstall right.

- No Mac sync.

- No speaker.

Sounds like it sucks, right? Well, it doesn't. here's why. This is not "just an organizer". It's a full-out, Linux-based PC that happens to run on a tiny battery and fit in a pocket. The networking features are great - my D-Link wireless card Just Worked when I popped it in - now I can surf using either my home AirPort (it works great with it) or any public Wi-Fi network out there. I have a batch of standard Linux scanning/troubleshooting tools loaded on it, which I can use to replace my big klunky Fluke LANmeter for some uses. It has an SD slot as well, so I've got an extra 128MB of storage available. The navigation disc is well-thought out, the screen is bright and clear, and the sliding built-in keyboard is awesome, if a little klunkier than the one on my Blackberry.

It makes my PocketPC (an iPaq 3765) look like a piece of junk in comparison, and the iPaq uses almost identical StrongARM-based hardware. The Zaurus is far more rugged than the iPaq (discovered the hard way, when one of my cats knocked it off my desk), and though it's a little bigger it fits my hand better.

Essentially, here's how I see it. If you live exclusively in a Windows world (brrr...) then maybe a PocketPC will be to your liking. If you can get one cheap enough. If you want either a cheap organizer, a tiny organizer, or the simplest thing around, then you want a Palm.

But if you live in a multiplatform world, are comfortable playing on a command line, and want a computer that's so powerful and expandable as to make carrying a laptop almost redundant, then you want a Sharp Zaurus. It's that cool.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Sleep? Ahh, it's over-rated.

At least, I wish it were the case. Right now the sleep is working out like this:

1 night per week - he sleeps real soundly, and only wakes up once for feeding and changing.

4-5 nights per week - a little tougher to get to sleep, and he may wake up a couple of times.

1-2 nights per week - hell on earth. He doesn't pass out until well after 1 AM, and he's up multiple times during the night. Ususally with explosive gas.

Last night was one of those nights. Uggh. The redeeming factor is that we're now getting him out of the house on occasion - yesterday evening we took him to see a couple of the girls at Jane's old work, and then we went down to the Salem Willows for dinner with him. He was pretty good. It should be 2-3 months from now, but we're inching our way towards more regular sleep patterns for him.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

He's freaking me out a little

More David observations from the last day or so:

- We haven't weighed him since last week, but he's growing real fast. He's already too big for the Huggies. I'd estimate he's a little over seven pounds now. At this rate, by next week he'll have outgrown all the preemie clothes he's been wearing so far - then we have to break out all the 0-3 stuff.

- He can roll most of the way over already. And he can hold his head up for a few minutes at a time. From what I understand, that's pretty darned early.

- Also, if he's put on his stomach at all he'll scoot with his elbows and knees. I lie on the sofa to watch TV with him on my stomach, and before I know it he's up against my chin. He scoots all the way up.

- His cord stump fell off yesterday, so he can now get full baths instead of sponge baths.

Basically, it's kind of freaky how quickly he seems to be developing so far. His appetite has gone way up, he's developed motor skills that I wasn't figuring on seeing for a while, and he's sleeping for longer intervals than I expected. And he's still two weeks from what his due date was supposed to be.

I think at this rate we'll be filling out college applications by the end of the year. Wow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Last night

Last night was an "errands" night for me. First off, I had to go to the photo shop to get dupes made of a couple of prints that Jane is using as framed gifts for friends. Fine - and when I called them, they told me that if I threw some other ones we wanted to print onto a CD, they could output them for me.

So I burned a disc with a few photos from my Olympus digicam, and went over. Turned out the Kodak photo stations (heavily modified Sparcs) couldn't read an ISO disc with JPEG files on it - only PhotoCD discs. Plus the prints would have cost like $10 each.

So I went over to the nearby Staples, and bought an Epson Stylus Photo 785EPX instead. At the rate we're making prints for friends, I'll be ahead in a few weeks.

Then, after dinner, I went out with Jane's shopping list - we needed batteries (for the monitor), conditioner, cat litter, thank-you cards, and a couple of frames. I started with the mall items and then my last stop was the litter - I get that at the Petsmart in Danvers (we use the silica crystals, and their house brand tracks less than the others and is cheaper to boot).

So I went down 114 into Danvers, and on complete mental autopilot I made my left turn...

Right into the Babies 'R' Us parking lot. About a half a mile short of my actual destination.

I've been spending _way_ too much time there.

After realizing my error, I was able to continue on my way just fine. No further glaring mental lapses followed. So far.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Who needs sleep?

For the record, David Turiel (our new son) weighed in at 5 lb, 15 oz when he was born on 5/24. He was five weeks early (well, four weeks and five days, to be exact). I brought him home from the hospital on 5/28, along with his mother.


-When he was released from the hospital, David had dropped to 5 lb, 5 oz. A normal weight loss - all babies shrink a bit in the first week or so.

-At birth, David was 17.25 inches long. At his first appointment with the pediatrician the following Wednesday, they measured him at 18 inches.

-As of yesterday's visit, he now weighs 6 lb, 1 oz. So he's passed his birth weight and will only rocket upwards from there.

-For the next few weeks, he'll still be wearing the smallest Huggies (newborn size) - Huggies run a little smaller and he's still tiny. We've got a ton of Pampers waiting for him.

-His due date was 6/26. He has his one-month appontment that day, ironically.

-David is on formula part-time (about 50/50). In the week and a half since he's come home, he's gone from 1 oz. at a feeding to 3 oz. per feeding. He'll sleep for about 3-4 hours after that big a feed.

-He's got a very strong grip for a baby his size. Also, from the size of his hands and feet, there is some serious size potential in this baby. Given normal weight gain in utero, he would have likely been around 9 pounds had he gone to term.

I'm writing this in the wee hours immediately after a feeding. I do the late night and early morning, my wife does the middle-of-the night feeding. She went to bed a couple of hours ago. I'm exhausted, needless to say. By the way, it was definitely worth it.