Friday, August 29, 2003

Vital Statistics

At the 15 month appointment:

Height - 33.75 inches
Weight - 25 pounds, 10 ounces

Our son is a moose.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Today's productive events

I bought a new suit. Navy blue, 3-button. 48 Regular. I may add one more this week to that and the one I already have that's in good shape. 3 suits should be enough for any combination of interviews, and I can always get more if I need them down the road.

Otherwise, we haven't done much today. We did search some for a smaller coffee table for our living room (the one we have is huge and overwhelms the room), but no luck. We put off David's nap as long as we could, but by 3:30 he really had to get home and get to sleep. We took advantage of the nap to read the Sunday paper, but didn't do much else. After David goes to bed in about an hour, we plan to tidy up our basement again now that all the yard sale clutter is gone. David could really use it as a playspace. After all, that's one of the original reasons we finished it off...

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Now he's really a toddler!

Tonight, about an hour or so ago, David was holding onto the TV. He let go of it, and walked over to the nearby sofa where i was sitting. A few minutes later, he did it again.

At 14 months and 30 days.

This is the first Post-Holyoke milestone that he's hit. And you know what? Other than having him in the first place, it's the best.

So for all my peeps back in the big brick building (you all know who you are) - yes, Virginia, there is life afterwards. And a darn good one, too. Because this reminds me that there are Other Things That Matter besides the business model of an old insurance company, and who it does or does not include. And the Other Things matter even more.

Oh, yeah - our second yard sale was today, too. We got rid of a lot of junk, and took the rest to the Salvation Army thrift store here in town. We've emptied the house of a lot of clutter over the last few months, which is definitely a bright side of the whole abortive house move. And my Geek Room looks great so far - the new paint job we're going to do in the next week or two will help even more.

Thursday, August 21, 2003


This entry is not for the squeamish. However, it is kinda funny.

David is fascinated by bodily functions, now that he's a toddler of sorts (he only takes a step or two, but it's enough). He makes burps, clears his throat, coughs, and snorts, and he giggles uncontrollably after a good noise. He likes to smear food everywhere, too.

Today, though, he was sitting on the kitchen floor watching Jane work, and he stuck his finger in his mouth so far he threw up. He thought it was hysterical.

We, on the other hand, did not share that view. So I brought him upstairs, changed his outfit, and put him down for a nap. He didn't seem to mind.

There's nothing like a bulimic 15-month-old. Although at 25-plus pounds, he's in no danger of wasting away.

Some early promise

Yes, it's late, but I've been working on a project for the city (I'm leading an effort to modernize the city's IT infrastructure), and I've been sufficiently busy that I only have time this late in the evening.

That, and we watched "Shallow Hal" after we put the boy to bed around 9:30. It was a funny trifle of a film.

I did some work on the project earlier today, too - but I was also tugged to do a lot of prep for our upcoming yard sale this Saturday. We're trying to clean out all the junk we didn't get rid of the first time back in June.

Yard sales are interesting. Our original motivation in having one back in June was to get rid of stuff we didn't want to move to the new house with us. Now we're just trying to get rid of stuff, period. Hopefully, though, this will be the last one. They're tiring.

I've turned up a few interesting job leads thus far in the search, including one I came across Monday that looks like it actually might be a pretty appropriate fit. We'll see if the employer agrees, of course. One problem I see already is that there are still a decent amount of jobs out there to be had, but the competition is stiffer than it used to be. I know some good people that are out of work right now as well. Some of them for a while.

I'm still quite optimistic overall, though. I've seen more leads to date than I expected to, even if I wash up against the companies' HR filters. I even saw a few that weren't for me, but were well-suited to people I knew. I forwarded those along to the right places. The Internet has made searching easier, but only a nice suit, a solid resume, and good interview skills will get you the job.

As opposed to the go-go days, when all you had to do is breathe. Hopefully I'll nail something down within a month or two, which'll let me keep some of my severance in the bank.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten everyone

I've just been too busy enjoying myself. This weekend's big project was dismantling the Big Ugly Rack in my nerd room, and moving the house server down to the basement. Unfortunately, it cost me my 161 days of uptime when I turned it off for the move, but oh well.

Today I took the cables that were dangling from holes all through the back wall of the nerd room behind the old rack, and organized them into a couple of raceways down the wall to a central patch box. It now has the Ethernet connection from the bedroom, the connection to the server area in the cellar, and the CATV connection for my room at a single, floor-level box. Much neater. I'm in the process of spackling all the various holes and dings in that wall section, after which we'll probably paint the room a new color.

Total project cost to date; about $80. That covers the new wall-mounted box, the RJ45 connectors, the plastic raceways, and a new 8-port 10/100 switch for the cellar. I already had the spackle and some of the other parts I needed in-house.

Then this afternoon we went up to Russell Orchard in Ipswich - missed the end of the Peach Festival by a little while, but we wandered around the barn area so David could look at the ducks. He was too impressed by seeing real ones to shout "Duck!" like he does when he sees them in books or on TV. But he did cry when we walked away, and he sulked at me in the car for a while afterwards.

Jane got giggles out of him, though.

Tonight, after dinner, we went down to the Willows for a stroll and some popcorn (for Jane, from Hobbs' - the best popcorn in the Universe). We got to dodge some skunks on the way back from our stroll. Successfully, I might add.

Tomorrow we may head up to the waterfront festival in Gloucester, weather permitting.

For now, I'm actually enjoying this brief interlude of having a life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

A few days later, here we are...

Well, today is essentially my first actual day out of work. I was originally going to work a half-day Friday before heading down to Connecticut for a party my sister and brother-in-law were having to celebrate their wedding back in January (they eloped to Fiji). So I simply slept in and got some stuff done around the house before leaving a little earlier for the trip. The party was a blast, and the three of us had a lot of fun. David was a hit with all the relations who hadn't yet met him.

Then Monday was spent at a golf tournament sponsored by my friend Steve's company. I'd planned that ahead of time as a day off. My team came in third, which was cool, and I birdied one of the holes.

Today, on the other hand, is different. Jane let me sleep in until I got a call at around 9, which was good since I'd gotten up at 5:30 yesterday to drive to the golf tournament. Since then, I've been mostly working on some childproofing around the house and chasing after a few job leads. Job hunting is pretty high on the "things I do everyday" list, but not a job unto itself yet these first few weeks. I'm pretty good at what I do, so I expect if there is a suitable job out there for me then I'll be the one who gets it.

Until then, I'm also going to try and enjoy my first real extended period of not working since high school.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Oh well...

A few months ago, I commented on the way job security doesn't really exist anymore. I was ahead of myself, it turns out. My employer changed it's business model entirely, and it'll require a lot of shrinking before it grows again. So I was the one in my area whose number came up.

And now I'm home, posting notes in my blog.

Anyhow, if any of you folks who enjoy reading the continuing adventures of David are looking for a really good network manager, I'm now available.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Hyphenated Americans

I think one of the worst things that has happened to racial relations in this country is the "Hyphenated-American" trend. The simple action of trying to acknowledge one's ethnic background when referring to them has contributed to more division than it's worth. Why? Simple. White people (European-Americans, I guess...) are the majority in this country. That's a basic fact, though minority groups are growing at a faster clip nowadays. However, it's normally the minorities that get hyphenated designations.

And I think that serves to only highlight "otherness", drawing attention to a difference between them and the majority ethnic group.

For instance - "African-American", the most common PC term for black people. Well, a large proportion of people referred to that way have little (if any) traceable African descent. A large portion of this ethnic group is of primarily Carribean descent (going back many generations) - do we call them "Carribean-Americans"? Of course not.

Or the term "Asian-American". I'd say that's downright insulting. There are tremendous visible differences between the various Asian ethnic groups, and to lump them all together is at least as insulting as I'd think it would be to lump every person with dark skin together as "African-American".

Same thing with "Latin-American". Does that mean Spanish (half of my ancestry), or Mexican? Are Brazilians Latin-American? They don't speak Spanish - their language is mainly taken from Portugese. But people from the countries surrounding Brazil are considered Latin-American, so I guess they count too.

Or in my case, as I just mentioned, my ancestry is roughly half Spanish. But my paternal grandfather actually came from Rhodes (which is currently Greek) with an Italian passport (letting me join the Sons of Italy, I guess). But the Italians had Rhodes at the time because they'd picked it up off the Ottoman Empire after World War I. So maybe that makes me a Turkish-American.

On the other hand, my mother is from rural Maine, but she was actually born in Canada (that's where the hospital was). Thus, my mom can't ever be President, and I could be a Canadian-American.

You see a bit of my point? If someone's parents are both from a particular nation, and they're immigrants here, then referring to yourself as, for instance, Jamaican-American" can be a source of ethnic pride. And that's fine. But to use it in a generic fashion is divisive and potentially insulting.

The best way we can refer to a resident of this nation? How about "American". Or maybe just "human". Because race and ethnicity are mainly artificial constructs that describe tiny physical differences in humans that are mainly alike. With my mixed ancestry, there are nonetheless miniscule genetic differences between myself and people from other races. We have much more in common than otherwise.

In the end, we're all human. And that's what matters far more than anything else.

Monday, August 04, 2003

On balance and coordination

Something interesting that I noticed yesterday while watching the boy play - the casual observer would think that his balance has gotten worse, since he's toppling over more often right now.

But it's not. What really seems to be happening is a combination of two things. One is another small growth spurt. We know this because he's getting visibly skinnier again, and he's also outgrown the last of his 12-month outfits. Quick change in center of gravity = temporarily worse balance.

The other underlying cause is a big increase in the spped he travels at, and a lot more willingness to take chances. He tries to do more than he used to - he crawls and climbs faster, reaches farther, and tries to go higher than he used to. And he does most of it with no regard to his own safety. Thank goodness for childproofing aids.

Fortunately, toddlers are resilient. Saturday morning, while I was at the car dealership for an oil change, David was playing and he "pitched a header". Jane told me he fell straight on his face and hit the floor chin-first. He bled a little, she thinks from biting his lip, and he has a hellacious bruise right at the cleft of his chin. However, he recovered from it in seconds.

On the other hand, now he'll stand on his own for a short time, basically until the "Wile E. Coyote" factor kicks in. When he looks down and realizes he's standing unsupported, down he goes.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Vocabulary of a toddler

I decided to perform a mental inventory of David's vocabulary to date. Sometime in the last few weeks, he went from babble (with an occasional word mixed in) to actually expressing himself on occasion. It's such a gradual shift, you hardly even realize it's coming.

The current words are:

Dada - me, of course. But any tall, bearded male will suffice for using the word.

Mama - Jane. He doesn't mix that one up as often.

Baba - his bottle. He'll use it now to clearly tell us he wants one.

That - anything other than a bottle that he wants. He'll point to the object and say "that".

Some kind of shrieking noise that means "Gracie". We know that because he uses the shriek to address the cat, and only for that purpose.

Duck - one of his favorite animals. He points to them in his board books when he says it.

Quack - because that's what ducks say, of course...

No - usually he parrots it back to us when we try and tell him not to do something.

There's a few more words that he understands, but doesn't say. Clap, for instance. If you say it to him, he starts clapping. He also knows many of his foods by name.

I have no idea how that compares with other kids, but it's real cool to see.

In other news, a mouse paid us a visit this evening - Jane saw it in the cellar when she was down there earlier. It scampered along the burlap in the ceiling, then popped out and ran away along a pipe. We've had them drop in a few times over the years - they don't stay long and generally do no harm. I laid a couple of peanut-butter baited traps out just in case this one gets any ideas about staying.

A neighborhood cat killed one and left it in our backyard the other day. This was probably one of it's littermates.

The (current) world's best band

After last night, I'd say it's most probably Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. We went to the show down in Foxboro last night, and it was terrific. The entire band (plus a bonus violinist) was at the top of their game - and when Springsteen is good, he's really good.

They played for just under 3 hours - we got out at aroung 11:15 and arrived back home a little after 1 AM. It might have been shorter, but we parked about a mile up the road to make the getaway easier. Of course, we'd never been to the new stadium, so neither of us realized that the parking system was much improved. But it was a healthy walk, at least.

The show was worth it, regardless. And I'd never had club seating for anything before this show. I don't think I ever want to see an event the old way again. Wow.