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December 01, 2003

Terms of use...

By reading, linking to, quoting, printing out, or in any way making use of my weblog's content in any means, place, or forum, you agree to the following:

1. All original content of The Special Project is copyrighted by The Special Project's owner, and is not to be used without permission except as provided herein. The Special Project, The Special, are trademarks belonging to the owner of this website. In using The Special Project you recognize that The Special Project is primarily a guide to content on the internet by the owner, that all content is provided on an as-is basis, and that no factual statement on this site should be relied upon without further investigation on your part sufficient to satisfy you in your independent judgment that it is true. These terms of use are subject to change, and should be reviewed regularly.

2. Permission is granted to read, quote, cite, link to, print out or otherwise use The Special Project content, so long as you comply with the terms below.

A. All quotations from The Special Project will include credit to The Special Project or to the owner of this website, "Jim", and, wherever practicable, a hyperlink of the form ... to the site.

B. In exchange for the access to The Special Project content described above, you agree not to sue The Special Project for its content, whether original or linked or quoted from another source, in any court, on any grounds whatsoever in law or equity. Should you violate this agreement by filing such a lawsuit, you agree to pay The Special Project's owner or owners the sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) as liquidated damages, in addition to all attorney's fees, court costs, and other expenses associated with this litigation, and to indemnify and save harmless The Special Project and its owners from any damage award made against them in such an action. Should this agreement not to sue be held unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, you agree to binding arbitration, with all arbitration expenses to be paid by you. The arbitration panel shall be composed of three (3) weblog operators selected by The Special Project's owners or operators from those in the links list on the The Special Project site. The award in such arbitration shall be limited to (1) a monetary sum not to exceed $10; and (2) the publication of a retraction on the The Special Project site. Should this arbitration provision be held uneforceable in a court of competent jurisdiction, you agree to accept as liquidated damages in any lawsuit against The Special Project the sum of ten dollars ($10), and you agree that you will be entitled to no other relief of any kind in law or equity. You agree that all disputes concerning these terms of use or the content of are to be resolved in the courts of Washington County, Minnesota, under the laws of Minnesota and the United States of America.

C. You agree that efforts to obtain The Special Project content in violation or circumvention of these terms of use constitute a violation of The Special Project's copyright and you understand and agree that (1) by virtue of this agreement you are estopped from arguing otherwise: and (2) such violations may lead to civil or criminal penalties.

D. If you are a corporation, you agree to provide, upon the filing of any lawsuit or the mailing of any letter threatening legal action, a bond in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) as security against the liquidated damages provided for in paragraph 2.B. above. If you are an attorney or law firm representing a party filing such lawsuit or causing such a letter to be sent, you agree to provide a bond in the same amount as security against the liquidated damages provided for in paragraph 2.B. above unless you have never accessed, viewed, read, or otherwise made use of The Special Project content in any form.

3. If you do not agree to these terms of use, exit the site immediately, destroy all copies of The Special Project content remaining in any form on your computer, any other computer or network device under your control, in print form, or on any information storage or retrieval device that you possess or control. Then execute the following affidavit and send it by certified mail to The Special Project.Com, Legal Department, P.O. Box 164, Cottage Grove, MN 55016-0164:

I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that I possess no copies of the The Special Project website in any form whatsoever; that neither I nor any employee or associate will access that site in the future in any form whatsoever; that I will immediately destroy any copies of The Special Project content that happen to come into my possession. I understand that action contrary to these statements constitutes both perjury and a violation of the The Special Project Terms of Use, subjecting me to possible civil and criminal liability.

Signed (include date)

Witnessed (notary)

Notary Seal:
My commission expires: ______________

Posted by Jim at 11:58 PM

December 26, 2003

Work in progress...

Aloha all,

I'm tinkering with the software so it should only be a few more days.

I have about 5 months worth of material to fill in so bare with me.

Until then thanks for checking!


Posted by Jim at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2003

"So I thought you weren't going to have any kids?"

Funny, so did I.

Of the two of us I had always been the one that wanted kids. Fabulous babe, having spent considerable amounts of time concentrating on her career, didn't. Or so I thought.

One day Fabulous Babe looked over at me and asked:

"What do you think about us having a baby?"

I weighed my response carefully before answering...

"Who are you and what have you done with my wife?"

That was the beginning of a two month conversation weighing the pros and cons of our having a baby. Since we weren't sure where all this would lead we decided to keep the whole thing under our hat until we reached some sort of decision.

Despite having been the one to bring up the idea my wife decided that we couldn't actually say out loud what we were contemplating. This left me both confused and perplexed. How the heck we were going to discuss this out if we couldn't actually talk about it?

After some quick thinking I realized that these sorts of things always have codenames in spy movies or corporate takeovers. For my own sanity, it seemed, I had best come up with something quickly. After a few suggestions that were rejected, which I'll just spare you, I finally hit on the one that was approved: "The Special Project."

Posted by Jim at 09:51 PM | Comments (1)

FAQ (of sorts)


Welcome to The Special Project. This is a website that began when my wife and I were expecting our son, Jack.

When we first started talking about having a baby I began to write a few things down here and there. With all of our friends and family a bit spread out this seemed the easiest way to keep people in touch with what was going on. After we went from impending arrival to Jack's birth what began as a blog about our pregnancy has evolved into a bit of a virtual window into Jack's journey through childhood with my somewhat off topic comments from time to time.

There are far too many painful and tedious family sites already out there on the internet. Hopefully regular reading of the site won't be like that awful Christmas letter you're loathe to receive every year from your least favorite cousins. The easiest thing to do is just let me know if this starts to read like a long, slow, root canal and I'll see what I can do.

With friends and family all over the world there's quite a cast of characters. To that end as I reference people in entries they'll wind up here. In respect to people's privacy I'm going to the effort of keeping real names off of the website. (I've had problems with some unsavory types.) To that end the only person mentioned by name here so everyone else has to be content with the nicknames I stick them with.

That being said here's a bit of a "Who's Who".

That's me. I'm sole owner, operator and proprietor. (A bit like a bartender actually.) Most of the authoring duties fall to me.

My direct line for comments, suggestions and criticisms is so feel free to write. Offers of "business opportunities" or physical "enhancements" are encouraged to jump off cliffs.

Fabulous Babe
That's my wife. She's commonly abbreviated to FB for short here on the website. She had the starring role in the saga of impending parenthood and now shares duties raising our son.

Our son who was born in July of 2004. (I suggest reading from the beginning to catch up but it's completely up to you.) Jack's the whole reason for this website. He's silly and fun and, at the risk of sounding like an obnoxiously proud parent, an amazingly sweet little boy.

Family: We're blessed (or some would say cursed) with loads of family.

Dad & Mom
My dad and stepmother. The first time Fabulous Babe met my dad she declared afterwards that "nature vs. nurturing thing is crap" because we are so similar. I also hit the jackpot in getting an awesome stepmother instead of one of the wicked variety.

My mom. An accomplished watercolor artist who's won awards for her work.

Auntie Dearest
My mom's sister. She used to live in California but has recently moved back to Kentucky.

Farmer Dad & Mom
My wife's parents. They're, surprise surprise, farmers in Illinois. (Corn and Soybeans.) He is a man of few words and she's a closet gearhead who's active in the local Home Extension coven. (His joke, not mine.)

Granddaddy and Grammer
My mom's parents that raised me. He's easily one of the most good hearted people on the face of the earth and she's as shrewd as the day is long.

Grand Ma Ma
FB's sole surviving grandmother. (Her mom's mom.) I hope and pray I'm as active as Grand Ma Ma when I'm her age. Before you ask, no, she looks nothing like Marie Blake, the original Grandmama.

My dad's mom. She's the wife of Jack's namesake, my grandfather, who passed away in 2000. She's a favorite with everyone and at 95 is brighter and sharper than 90% of the people you meet every day.

Mary Jane and Peter Parker
My wife's twin sister and her husband. (He's a huge classic Marvel Comics fan so that's where the names come from.) They have two girls: Tall Princess and #2 Billy Goat. Mary Jane is Jack's godmother.

One of my most beloved cousins. Goolia is who I life to refer to as my world travelling cousin. After her trip to Italy, which left a trail of broken hearted Italian men in her wake, one of my other cousins, her sister, dubbed her "Goolia" which has stuck ever since.

The Opera Divas
Our cats. The woman that fostered them as kittens named them Tosca and Aida. Tosca is the laid back and easier going of the pair. Aida is Satan is feline form.

Friends: which we are loaded to the gills with. If you're not here yet don't worry, you will be. *grin*

The Best Woman
This is my best friend from Chicago. When we got engaged I told Fabulous Babe she could have anything she wanted for the wedding but I had one request: I asked if I could have a Best Woman. She agreed and it was perfect. The Best Woman did a great job and comes highly recommended. (Check availability before booking.)

Doctor Molotov
Our doctor. She was the one that was supposed to be wearing the catchers mask and holding the glove on June 29th. (That was Jack's due date. Ha ha.) Her personal experience was having twins and then shortly there after another daughter. (The proverbial set of Irish Triplets.) Despite her way cool mad scientist nickname I'm sorry to say she lacks a Volcano lair. She does, however, have a secret passion for Dark Chocolate M&M's.

My Brother
Not my blood brother. This is my best friend from high school. To whose parents I was the son they never wanted but got stuck with anyway from my hanging out at his house. I was best man when he married Lillypad. They have two daughters, Blossom and Rose.

The Ex-Neighbors
These are our old neighbors who had a baby in May of 2003. Based on pictures of the boy it looks like they just cloned the father. Mrs. Ex-neighbor was part of my wife's "Oh my God I'm pregnant!" support network. Mr. Ex-Neighbor is funnier than any human being has a right to be.

The Racetracks
Our current neighbors across the street. When we first talked with them about having a baby over dinner one night they went home and decided to beat us to the punch. ("We can't let them beat us!" is a direct quote.) Their due date was one week ahead of ours so their efforts obviously succeeded. With my wife being an over achiever we hoped we might yet close the gap but we didn't, Jack had other plans. They beat us by a month with a beautiful daughter named Kate whom Jack is now forbidden to date. (It's a running joke.)

Mr. and Mrs. Archaeon
Like Moose (see below) he's a former co-worker. He blames the time he lived with me for the extra 10 lbs. he carried. (I know that my "better living through Domino's pizza" diet had NOTHING to do with it.) He one of my groomsmen and remains a very close friend.

Moose and Mrs. Moose
Good friends from Baltimore that have two kids, Ms. Moose and Moose Jr. Moose Jr. has mystical powers that I think caused Jack to come into being. (There is an entry that explains this.) Moose was also a groomsman.

Slim and Selma
This is the Kentucky Philosopher and his beloved wife. Few men can say that have actually fought another man for the hand of their wife. However Slim can honestly claim that he won the right to ask Selma out by winning 2 out of 3 wrestling matches. Slim doesn't bleed University of Kentucky blue so much as he hurls it as venom in the directions of Indiana and Duke.

Mr. and Mrs. Lost Control.
Mrs. Lost Control grew up with FB and moved to the Twin Cities with her husband over a decade ago. Having her childhood friend close has been a big boon to FB. She's also the one that coined the phrase "If you want to lose complete control over your life have three children."

Spirtual Train Brother and Pearl of Love and Patience.
Spirtual Train Brother is my friend in Seattle who is also a model railroader. Pearl of Love and Patience is his wife. They have three boys, Smiles and Ox and We're Quitting With This One.

Gear Daddy and June
These are our neighbors with 3 kids: 2 Boys and a girl. Poor June dodged the "twin" bullet three times and after number three mandated that Gear Daddy have some things "fixed" for lack of a better word.

My Canadian Sister
My wife's best friend in Canada. According to her mother I'm her American brother. Her mom also likes Midori sours which I introduced her to at our wedding reception so that might have had something to do with it.

Malibu Barbie and Rodeo
FB's fabulous friend and cooking pal in Seattle. She looks like a certain well known Mattel doll. (At least enough for me to make the joke.) Recently married to Rodeo. (Lord knows he had to hogtie her she's such a handful.) Currently planning their own "Special Project" of their own.

The Silver Fox
A long time friend of my wife. He too was an American who lived in Canada for a while while working with my wife. His home theatre makes mine look like a tinkertoy.

El Jefe
Our good friend that lives in the Pacific Northwest. His title is Director of Clever New Things. I met El Jefe through work and we've been fast friends ever since. El Jefe is Jack's godfather. He is also, strangely enough, another Canadian. We say prayers nightly for him as he's recovering from both a Tim Hortons and Old Dutch potato chip addiction.

The Astronomer
My friend from Baltimore who used to work at the STSCI which translated into English is the Hubble Space Telescope Laboratory. He's finally free of his wretched ex-wife, a horrid and thoroughly unpleasant woman, which means he's now available. If you're in the greater Boston area and looking to meet a nice guy let me know. I'm currently helping him with his profile.

FB's Gym Partner
This is FB's "locker buddy" at the gym that works in the same building as I do. She and El Jefe are good friends as well. Very good. *chuckle*

Mrs. Canadian Hotness and Five-O
Another of my wife's best friends who lives in Ontario and her husband, one of Ontario's finest. She used to teach speed skating so when Jack needs lessons we're drafting her.

The Artist and Jenny
A la Prince his name should be "The Artist who founded a game company, worked among wretched excess at another game company, never sold out and is now required to make Pirate noises for a living." I've known him for over a decade and his creative output is astounding. Jenny is his main squeeze. They are marrying soon and I couldn't be happier.

Mr. and Mrs. Quads.
Another friend of mine from the game industry. He and his wife spent 2 and a half years having their first son. They tried fertility drugs to help with their 2nd. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams by having a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. I'm fairly certain they're done.

Rapmaster Ray and Mrs. Ray.
The only person whose resume reads like a pipe dream: Backup singer for the Beastie Boys, Game Designer, and now a visionary who regularly meets with Bill Gates. A really great guy.

Mr. Urban Blight
My good friend in Plymouth. He's one of my model railroading buddies who knows that with model trains must come beer. His wife is a patient O-gauge model railroading widow.

Mr. and Mrs. Minnesota
They are the storybook Minnesota couple: He skates, plays hockey, they have a cabin on a lake, etc. Their son is a couple of years older than Jack.

Miss Thing
Another of my wife's good friends from Canada. They met in a cooking class and went to France together. She flits between Hong Kong and Toronto and all points in between with grace and style.

Wonder Woman and the Rickmeister
One of FB's ex-co-workers who like Fabulous Babe is a dynamo / spitfire in the office. She and Rickmeister now have joined the "we have one too" club with a beautiful little girl named Sofia.

Garage Master and the Poker Widow
Another couple in our neighborhood. (His garage is nicer than most of the apartments I have ever lived in.) She's the suffering widow to his occasional poker games.

Mrs. Dawn
This is our daycare provider. She runs a fabulous daycare out of her home: Mrs. Dawn's Day Spa for the Small & Troublesome.

Posted by Jim at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003

Boy or girl?

Hmmm. Not sure yet.

The most often asked question tends to be "are you going to find out what sex it is?"

Fabulous Babe isn't really game to find out.

To quote Mrs. Ex-Neighbor "it's the last real mystery in life, don't spoil it!" For a type "A" planning super genius FB's stance came as a big surprise to me.


I'm a firm believer in the practical application of medical science. I would also be content to avoid a sea of yellow and green baby outfits. As yours truly will be the one painting the nursery the sooner I have a heads up the better.

Odds are that during an ultrasound we'll discover it's an exhibitionist. :)

Boy or Girl isn't very important at this point. A girl was what FB was originally looking for. (Figuring out how to comply with this directive was a bit daunting early on.) Mercifully she's now just hoping for a healthy whatever.

I'm game either way.

Posted by Jim at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

The mystic powers of Moose Junior.

I can tell you the exact day that Fabulous Babe began thinking about having a baby:

April 10th, 2003.

That's the night that we had dinner at the Moose Lodge in Baltimore.

We were in Baltimore for another friends wedding. The night before the wedding we spent a quiet evening having dinner with Moose and Mrs. Moose, Ms. Moose and Moose Jr.

Moose and I walked over to pick up dinner from their local carryout Thai place and the wives stayed behind. When we got back we found them playing and generally carrying on.

I held Moose Jr. and made silly faces that he seemed to enjoy. (At 5 months old he probably just liked bonking my noggin with his forehead.) Then I handed Moose Jr. to Fabulous Babe.


The strangest look appeared on my wife's face. She had a look of amazement and wonder. I remember getting a chill seeing it. I remember asking her about it later in the hotel room but she didn't have an answer then.

The Moose family dragged out a video camera that night. They taped most of that pre-dinner frolicking. Mr. Moose mentioned that he noticed a weird expression on Fabulous Babe's face as well.

I hope Mr. Moose doesn't erase that tape anytime soon. It wasn't two weeks after that night that we had our first discussion about having a baby.

I'm convinced that Moose Jr. has a mystical power that causes women to want to have children. A strange power that causes drastic changes in the lives he touches. A powerful force that cannot be harnessed.

I owe that kid a beer in about 20 years.

Thanks Moose Jr.

Posted by Jim at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)