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September 01, 2004

Well, Crap.

Our trusty Digital Camera gave up the ghost this morning. We've had it since May of 2001 and it's served us well. I took some pictures of Fabulous Babe and Jack last night and was getting ready to load them up on my desktop at work today and...


When I got home tonight I tore our filing cabnet apart looking for that scrap of paper: The Best Buy Extended Warranty.

Usually I avoid these things like the plague. However, what I remembered today, was that I had made an exception with our camera. After 20 minutes I found it and sure enough it was a 4 year warranty. Hooray!

It will be two weeks with Best Buy before they will tell us what happens: repair, credit, etc. Until then it's a photo dry spell.

I suppose now might be a time I point over to the left and mutter *tip jar* under my breath.

Posted by Jim at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks 4 years of wedded bliss to Fabulous Babe. I know it’s not the 60 year anniversary that my maternal grandparents just celebrated but we’re still early in the process.

Our wedding day went pretty well for being planned from over 1200 miles away. (We were living in Seattle and got married in Illinois.) Our only “hitch” was the 6 hours that we thought we didn’t have the church reserved after the invitations were ordered. The only “non-traditional” thing at our wedding was that instead of a best man Fabulous Babe let the Best Woman handle the duties. (She did great. I highly recommend her.)

Some of the more humorous memories from that weekend:
My cousin, Goolia, brought a date from Italy named Max who won the prize for having traveled the farthest for the wedding. This annoyed my Auntie Dearest who groused for the rest of the rehearsal dinner.

After the rehearsal dinner the Best Woman took us out for beer and cigars. At the appropriate moment she ducked aside for my requisite trip to the nudie bar. Alas the experience was horrific as one of my friends paid for me to be mauled by a VERY large woman wearing a red tarp. *ugh* We left soon afterwards.

Early in the morning of the wedding day I was hanging out in the hotel lobby when Fabulous Babe came downstairs to go get her hair done. Her friends, spotting me, quickly whisked her off sideways to a closet sized bathroom so I wouldn’t see her. This led to me teasing her through the door for a few minutes before finally going upstairs and letting her leave.

Just before we had to walk in to the sanctuary my friend Archaeon looks at me and, in the time honored tradition, says, “It’s time. Since I’m the first man after the Best Woman I have to ask: If you don’t want to go through with this we can still get you out of here. You just need to tell me now.” I assured him that I was fine as My Brother laughed remembering when I had phrased the exact same question to him during his wedding.

At the reception Fabulous Babe’s parents danced to Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” for what may have been one of the most surreal experiences of the evening.

There's more but I have to save it for future anniversary posts.

So four years ago today I’m standing at the end of a long aisle. The organ music starts to play and then, after what seems to be a non-stop parade of my fiancé’s niece and friends there she was.

I remember the tunnel vision effect when everything to the sides dropped away as I looked at her. I remember thinking the veil over her face did nothing to hide the fact that she was starting to cry. I remember how she fussed over how she looked in the dress and how I couldn’t see the last 2-3 pounds she had been complaining about. All I could think was that I was about to become the luckiest man in the world.

I took her hand from her father and then we turned to face the minister. I also vaguely remember we whispered to reassure each other but whatever we said is lost to time. Pretty soon after that we were into the ceremony.

When we got to the vows I remember wanting to shout them so everyone in the world would be able to hear my responses. FB’s responses weren’t nearly as loud by comparison but every time she spoke my heart seemed to stop.

It’s funny how you kiss your wife for the first time. Not funny in a “Lets see if we can embarrass our family!” sort of way. It’s funny because the two of you are so awestruck with the moment that it’s almost impossible to function properly. You’ve just finished making the most powerful vows of your life and you’re still woozy. Someone long ago figured out that kissing is the best way to break the spell of that moment.

When I leaned forward, lifted the veil, and kissed FB it was like lightning struck. There’s eagerness and hunger to the moment that bares some similarity to those furtive moments as teenagers when you’re first trying to figure it all out. There’s also tenderness and passion that comes with time and experience as you’ve aged. It’s a release for all the stress you’ve had piled on you during the planning and organizing. Best of all it’s a moment that can be described but never shared with anyone else.

We had both had our share of hardship and heartache, struggles and moves but all of that fell away with a simple ceremony, a few spoken words and, finally, a kiss. In a few simple moments my life changed completely. After everything I was finally able to say the following words that I count as one of the greatest blessings of my life:

Fabulous Babe became my wife.

Posted by Jim at 12:21 AM

September 06, 2004

The Big Concert

Remember Sarah?


That's her again in the same pose as Fabulous Babe when she's overdue for some quality time with the breast pump. (Maybe it's a mom thing.)

Fabulous Babe and Mrs. Racetrack headed off to the concert Saturday night. I managed to keep the seat location a secret from FB all week so she had no idea where they were sitting. All she knew was that she needed to pick them up at the "will call" booth.

About 7:10 I get the call:


"So you got the tickets?"

"Are these right! They're row 1! In the center! On the floor!"

"Call me back when you're at the seats."

*joyously happy wife hangs up*

10 minutes later.




Now I have an image of Sarah McLachlan spitting while singing that isn't very nice. Time to just move away from that mental picture.

"So they're good seats?"

"Jim! I'm on the left of the microphone and Mrs. Racetrack is on the right! We can't get anymore center! They're amazing!"

"Have fun!"

(She may regret that deal we made.)

So here's some pictures to give you an idea of how close they were. I'll apologize in advance for the quality. Since the digital pooped out FB was forced to make do with a crappy disposable camera.


Here's our favorite former Halifax native strumming away. You can almost imagine her trudging up the hill towards one of the pubs after having a snack at Pita Boys. I don't envy her the climb with the guitar over a shoulder.

*Sigh* I REALLY need to get back to Halifax sometime.


Sarah getting her groove thing on.


The band taking a bow.

Fabulous Babe said that the show was a humdinger. The material that McLachlan sang were all the favorites from over her entire career. For FB it was, forgetting the seats for a moment, exactly what she wanted to hear: old and new favorites with no filler.

For the encore Sarah came out in something neat. The Excel Center people gave Sarah and her daughter personalized Wild Jerseys which I thought was a nice touch.

So you might be wondering: how did I get the tickets?

I wish I could say I know people who know people but truth be told Sarah McLachlan donated a pair from every show to www.feminist.org to help raise money. I found them online and, realizing I had a chance to make FB really, really happy, bought them.

Fabulous Babe was on cloud nine Saturday night. If there was going to be a soundtrack to her life a huge chunk of the music would be Sarah McLachlan. It's that very reason I spent the money and sent her on her way with Mrs. Racetrack in tow. Sometimes you just need some girly time away from the men.


That's FB on the left, Mrs. Racetrack on the right. They're holding their tickets while someone was kind enough to photograph them in front of the stage before the show started.

Those smiles are worth any price.

Happy anniversary hon. Jack and I love you.


P.S. If you've found your way here from somewhere else this site is usually more concerned with our newborn son than it is Sarah McLachlan. If you want to catch up and read along you're more than welcome. Just start here: The Beginning.

P.P.S. I apologize for the obnoxious yellow type on the photos. If you would like copies of the pictures without the obnoxious yellow type drop me an email. I'll zip them up and shoot them over to you full sized and glorious.

Posted by Jim at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

School Bus daze

Leaving this morning I saw the pile of neighborhood kids bunched together waiting for the bus to school. The kids were laughing and carrying on as I drove past and generally goofing around. I spotted at least one parent, the Garage Master, keeping watch with a mug of hot joe from his driveway.

I waved as I drove past which got me a couple of waves back. Once I reached the main street I began thinking, "That's going to be me in 5 years."

Over the weekend Fabulous Babe dressed Jack up in his first "real" outfit. He looked like a model from Abercrombie & Fitch. (Unlike their catalogs he wasn't surrounded by underfed, half naked young women who needed to be draped across him.) He just looked like a little boy.

As I drove into work all I could think about was Jack standing at the bus stop, laughing and giggling, waiting for school. I thought about him getting dressed and waving good bye before trudging to the corner. I pictured him giving Fabulous Babe a hug good bye and telling mom that he loves her before running across our front yard.

That moment is going to come way too soon. Fabulous Babe was already lamenting tonight how he's not our little baby anymore.

Posted by Jim at 11:08 AM

Ok. One more story about our Wedding...

I know I said I was done last Thursday but just one more.

After the wedding we trudged around outside for almost a half an hour in the 105 degree heat and 100% humidity taking black and white pictures. (So the photos would have "atmosphere" of all things.)

Before we started I told our photographer that I had an idea for a picture that I thought would be nice. I sketched it out and he agreed. The plan was that when I saw a good spot I would tip him off and he would take the picture.

As we were walking across the Illinois campus I noticed a streetlamp behind me and stopped Fabulous Babe. I yelled to the photographer that was this was the spot. He gave me the high sign and FB had just enough time to ask me "What are you doing?" when I dipped her and smooched her.


It's one my favorite pictures from the wedding. The folks at Illini Studio were kind enough to give me permission to share it with you so here it is. Who says I'm all bad ideas?

That's it. I'm done until next year. I promise.

Posted by Jim at 09:29 PM

Camera Woes resolved!

Fabulous Babe called today and said that Best Buy had given us a ring. Seems that Kodak doesn't keep a plentiful supply of 3 year old camera parts laying around. (Shocked! I'm shocked!)

After I got home today we went to the store. After what seemed like 10 minutes of typing the Geek Squad guy behind the counter handed us our marching orders. We were supposed to go to cameras, hand the paperwork to someone there, find a replacement camera and bring it back to be rung out.

"What if we want to upgrade the camera? Can we spend a little more?"


"How much is the credit? The purchase price of the original camera?"


*stunned blinking*

That's right. Best Buy let us use our trusty Kodak 3.2 Megapixel camera until it gave up the ghost and then, due to my having bought the service plan, gave us full return credit. No depreciation. They didn't even try to make us stick with a camera that had roughly similar features.

We walked over to the camera section where, despite looking slightly different in person, we encountered the stoned out former Dell salesman.

"Hi. We had a camera under PSP that they junked. We're supposed to get full return credit and need to get a new camera and we wanted to upgrade a bit."

"Yeah! Sure thing!"

"What would you recommend?"

"This! Yeah! It's got a higher MP than the Sony that is $200 more. Yeah!"

I'll save you the time and just spare you the next 150 exclamations of "Yeah!" that we went through. He was genuinely helpful and by the time we were done we had one sorted out: a Nikon Coolpix 8700.

I'm still trying to sort out the math. By my best guess between the current $200 rebate and the purchase price of our original camera from May of 2001 we might actually have made money. Hmm, better hand this to the accountant.

Anyway here's my first shot of Jack with the new camera:


Proof that we finally got a camera so good that now I really have to work at screwing up the pictures. Don't worry though. I already have two blurry shots of Aida.

Oh, if you're wondering, I did go ahead and buy the service plan for the new camera.

Posted by Jim at 09:54 PM

September 08, 2004

"Miss Moneypenny?"

Picture 008.jpg

"Have you seen my hat?"

Sorry. Jack looks vaguely Sean Connery-ish in the photo and I'm re-reading "From Russia with Love" during the late night feedings.

Posted by Jim at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

Mail Call...

Time for another edition of Mail Call. This is where your’s truly tries to answer some of the recent questions posed by gentle readers.

"What kind of traffic do you get?"
The original purpose was simply to keep our family and friends updated on what was going on with our pregnancy. As word got out the traffic increased. It took us 2 months to hit a thousand visitors. I now average that in a little less than a week.

Currently we receive anywhere from 100-200 hits a day. Many of these are regulars who check for daily updates. (About a third by the IP addresses I log.) The rest wind up here from the usual suspects: links to us, random searches, recommendations, etc. In the end it doesn't really matter how you got here. All are welcome. (Except those spam guys.)

FYI: I have the ability to see where people come from and sometimes this is great laugh. For a while the site turned up on a Google search of “Paige Davis Babe Hot” which grouped me with some interesting things. *yuck*

“Your site isn’t very fancy. Have you thought about changing it?”
I realize that our website isn’t as flashy as some and I apologize to those looking for more of a spectacle. The layout is actually driven by a few key factors:

Dial up internet access. A number of our family and friends reside in areas without high speed connections. Quick to load = happy friends and family.

The other is that it’s really pretty easy to navigate. It doesn’t depend on Flash. It doesn’t have awkward button bars. It doesn’t require a map of the stars homes to navigate. I’ve seen no shortage of awful websites in my lifetime. It might be humble but hopefully it’s the content, not the style that offers you a good time here.

“Isn’t Fabulous Babe embarrassed by what you post?”
I try to walk a fine line in that regard. So far I haven’t really crossed a line that has landed me a night in the spare bedroom so that’s good. Fabulous Babe has full veto rights but so far has never had to exercise them.

“Have you thought about publishing this as a book?”
If there is an audience for it and it would sell reasonably the answer is “Yes.”. If it means that I wind up with 8 pallets of returned books in my garage the answer is “No.”

“Why don’t you update more?”
I work during the day and then try to spend quality time with my wife and son in the evening. I am trying to be regular so bear with me.

“What are you going to do with all of this?”
At this point I’m not sure. I think the seed of a call in show on parenting lays here somewhere but that might be me really wanting to do radio again. Maybe I’ll do a monologue at a theatre one night: A Beatnik version of The Special Project. A musical is out of the picture because I refuse to have anyone but Howard Keel sing my part. (If you’ve not seen “Showboat” or “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” just go rent them.) Hmmm.

I do know I’ll archive all of it and Jack can read it at some point when he’s old enough to “get” it.



Posted by Jim at 11:31 PM

September 11, 2004

9/11 2004

I'm ashamed to admit that when I woke up this morning I had completely forgetten it was the anniversary of 9/11.

Fabulous Babe was already in the shower so half awake I wandered into the bathroom and we talked while she was finishing up. After I got in and started to come around with the hot water spraying into my face we talked more about having some people over for dinner, my running errands this morning and what are we going to do when she goes out of town in the next month or so for work.

All normal things that anyone would normally do.

As I was emptying the Diaper Genie FB called up about hanging the flag at half mast and it all came crashing down to me.

Anyone with two brain cells to rub against each other can go out and find plenty of well done memorials to that horrible day. I'll see if I'm up to writing about our experiences later. (Odds are I'll need a beer or two first.)

Remembering 9/11 should be about remembering two things:

The things that made you angry when you realized what was happening that morning. The horror of the impacts and the fires. The realization that innocent people who had done nothing more than show up for work were about to face choices that no one should ever have to face. Nothing really sums it up better for me emotionally than this picture:


The other is the bravery that day and the rise to the occasion of so many of our countrymen and fellow human beings. Flight 94 over PA is one example, the self sacrifice of so many brave New York emergency responders is another.

Hang your flag today and celebrate your life. (If you don't have a flag go get one.) Remember the ones that you hold dear and what you would do to keep them safe from harm. Know that we aren't alone in facing these sorts of things. The countless parents of Belsan are still coming to grips with something no parent should face: the untold horror of being mothers and fathers who have outlived their children due to the actions of truly evil men and women.

Evil walks the face of this earth and it's monstrous nature would spare no man, woman or child. 2749 lives were taken three years ago as testimony to this horrible truth. Would that all of us could demonstrate the courage and bravery shown by so many on that fateful day.

Posted by Jim at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

Photo time

Awful day at work so I'm keeping it brief...

How do I know he is his mother's child?


Easy. I've seen her nap with the same expression.


Saturday we got a call from Mr. Racetrack. His parents were in town and with Mrs. Racetrack and Kate away for the weekend they needed a baby fix. We were glad to oblige. That's Grandma Racetrack holding Jack with his usual hairdoo.


Who can make Jack smile like that? Two words: Fabulous Babe.


This is a practice shot for later in life when Kate and Jack are in a police line up. If the judge catches that look from either of them they're done. "Guilty as charged!"

Posted by Jim at 11:08 PM

Time out!

Ok. I took a quick look at the server logs tonight.

I can see stopping by once a day. Maybe even twice a day.

7 times a day?

Who has time to sit around and surf the internet all day? What about work? Who is watching your kids? When do you eat? Who cleans your house?

Here's some advice: Turn off the monitor! Go walk the dog or go for a bike ride. Plant some flowers. Read your children a book or two. Take meals to the elderly. Build a deck. Do something!

Don't worry. This site will still be here when you get back. I promise.

All things in moderation. Including recreational website reading.

Posted by Jim at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

Back to work...

Yesterday Fabulous Babe was preparing to return to work. She is working half days today, tomorrow and Friday. After that she's back full time next week.

I can tell FB is torn between the two worlds. Tuesday was her last full day with Jack and you can tell she's trying not to be upset. At the same time she's anxious to get back to grips with her job. Welcome to the high driving world of a career woman having a baby.

While I realize the upset feelings of not having mom around will be brief I still hate to upset Jack's apple cart. We were playing with him this morning in the wee hours and he was as happy as could be, all smiles and coos. He'll have a good time at daycare but FB is facing some serious withdrawal.

As I left yesterday FB was settled in the "nest" of her favorite chair. I asked her if I needed to proceed with the 12 step program to see her through her cutting back on the Today Show, Oprah and Doctor Phil. This got me the usual sign language and unprintable reply.

She did have a great line yesterday. She pointed out that cows are only milked twice a day where as she's been having to hook up to the Uddermaster 9000 6-7 times a day due to over production.

My honey. She excels in everything she does.

Posted by Jim at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)

Bath Time!

Jack's Bath is a nightly adventure. Every night around 8:00 we try to settle him down and get through the process.

It usually starts looking something like this:


That's Jack laying our our bed waiting for the ceremonial undressing. This tends to leave Jack wearing nothing but a diaper and his socks. (White not dark.) After a scrub of the face, ears and neck I dunk the boys head and we wash his curly mane.

After that? Spa Jack welcomes it's best customer:


If you listen carefully you can hear Jack:

"Hey! Be careful how you han mandle the goods! Do you want grandchildren?"

The Jack Bath experience is never complete without Jack noticing his best friend who frequently makes appearances at the spa:


Seeing himself in the mirror usually calms Jack down. He's always curious when he sees his reflection and it distracts him from what is usually going on.

By the time we're done we wind up with a clean Jack and a pretty damp mom and dad. Jack has yet to sit in water he doesn't want to splash around it.

Posted by Jim at 06:29 AM

September 21, 2004

Daycare blues...

Fabulous Babe is back to work this week on a full time basis. Her first day was pretty much what she expected. (With a bit of dusting.) I imagine that by the end of the week things will be at the pace they were before Jack arrived.

Our morning routine is now well defined: I drop off Jack and she picks him up. This way I get to deal with the unhappy "I don't want you to leave!" tears and she gets the "You're here! I love you!" smile.


I'm making it out to be worse than it actually is. Jack's not really fussed much in the morning and he smiles as soon as he sees the Queen of Daycare. It just feels like a punch in the gut leaving him in the morning even though I know he is going to have a great day.

I try to style him up in the morning before the drop off. He laughs and carries on when I am dressing him and gives me very serious looks when I am changing the diapers. I always pick two outfits, hold them in front of him and then dress him in the one that catches his eye first. (The other goes into the bag as a backup for a level 10 poop emergency.) Socks are a given.

I just realized: At this point I am more a Valet than a Father. Go figure.

Posted by Jim at 06:24 AM

All for Tiki related goods chime in with an "Aye!"

So my big update on Sunday night was hijacked by Mr. Needs Attention.

Jack was a royal pill on Sunday night. From 8:30 to 12:30 he fussed, wiggled and generally refused to go to sleep under any circumstances. Finally I latched on to an idea.

We're having a Hawaiian themed party at work in a week or so. Falling prey to my love of all things Tiki I purchased a Tiki Head lava lamp on Saturday for my desk at work. ($7.48 at Target on blowout.) I thought it might be just the thing.

I staggered into the garage Sunday night and set the lamp up on the table next to the rocker in Jack's room. Within 20 minutes the lamp had heated up enough for the lava to do it's bit.

Jack was awestruck.

Eventually the hypnotic motion of the lava lamp worked its voodoo on my sleepy son. The soothing motion of the red lava dried the tears and put Jack to sleep.

Praise the Volcano God!

Posted by Jim at 06:33 AM

Of parenting...

When we were still debating having a baby I once pointed out that if the people on Jerry Springer were managing to succeed in raising children how badly could we screw it up? I'm not saying closed the deal but it certainly drove home the point.

Neither of us are experts on this stuff. We're certainly still getting the hang of things. We're also more than willing to learn from more experienced hands. It's not like either of us is consciously making a decision to raise Jack badly. ("That, son, is a hornet nest. Go over and swat it with this tennis racket while I wait inside.") Both Fabulous Babe and I, as like most new parents, are just trying to get things right.

It's that previously mentioned desire to do right by Jack that pains me when I see bad parenting. When I say that I don't mean a difference of parental opinions on when you should feed your child or which diaper brand is the one to use. I mean the sort of things that make you feel like someone has taken fingernails down a chalkboard. The sort of things you simply know are wrong.

Classic example: Out and about the other day I see a mom "disciplining" a 2 year old by loudly shouting, from a couple of feet away, "You know better!" This was followed by a hard yank of the childs arm to whip it around for emphasis. (The kids head snapped back so hard it was difficult to watch.) When everyone within ear shot turned to see what was going on the mom, realizing she was being watched, made a fast retreat from the situation while avoiding eye contact, muttering under her breath to the child how it still didn't know better.

Maybe it's me. It certainly may be that I am understimating the average 2 year old's abilities to stay within operating instructions. It may be that with time passing I discover that Jack, at age 2, will be capable of handling a number of a number of things, among them: walking beside me, staying on the front porch, running a nuclear reactor, leading other 2 year olds in construction projects, etc. It may also be that I'm old fashioned in thinking that parents should try to supervise their children.


Perhaps you can tell how much it bothered me.

Here's the deal folks. If you see me, as a parent, do something really stupid you have the Special Project granted right to stop me. All you have to do is say, "Jim I think your parenting skills are lacking sound judgement because of ________." At the very least I'll pause and weigh your words which should buy Jack enough time to get away.

Oh. One more thing. If you ever see me yelling in a red faced rage at my 2 year old son that he "knows better" please just shoot me. It will save me the time of dying of embarassment later.

Posted by Jim at 09:14 PM

Meanwhile, in the background...

I once said that the key to your life is recognizing that it has a soundtrack and that you really should know the lyrics.

I know, it sounds goofy but you get what you pay for around here.

Over the weekend I began a massive undertaking: digitizing our CD collection. This has been brewing in the back of my mind for a few months and I finally decided just to break down and get started. The end goal is to simply have things in an easier format for casual listening and pack some of the stranger material away to make some room.

I'm using iTunes for most of the work. The interface is fairly easy and things take care of themselves in the background while I type away on the website. That way I can be productive and creative. I also mark the CD's so that if they get lost they stand a better chance of finding their way home.

The task isn't quite as bad as Hercules cleaning the stables but I am going to be at it for a while. We have a lot of CD's and since I started glancing around I realized they're a bit more spread out than I like.

So where am I?

At this point I would say I'm, maybe, 10% of the way through. Total stands right now at 6.7 GB and 1600 songs. Sunday I took care of the Ultra Lounge collection, Martin Denny and Les Baxter. Tonight it is Box set night with Enya, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton and my beloved Cowabunga Surf collection.

What's to come? I have an embarassing collection of Ska. (100+ cds.) The Movie Soundtracks lie in wait sometime after that. There are other sections that are equally massive. All in all I'll be doing this at night for many nights to come.

In the end I'll have a definitive list of what we have. (You only have to be robbed once to see the need for this.) It will also allow Fabulous Babe the ability to load her iPod with whatever she wants.

Posted by Jim at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

Ok. No more hiding. Who are you?

Ok folks. Time for some introductions.

In peeking at the server logs tonight I began thinking about the people who visit a lot. It's a pretty broad spectrum of people. Here are a few of the people responsible for some of my traffic:

My old friend the Artist has several family members who visit here on a regular basis. His Mom has sent a lot of traffic this way. His cousin Natasha scores a number of points as being the only site in Qatar that links to me. (By the way the photos of her recent wedding are stunning.) My other friend Mr. Quads has also sent some old friends my way.

Another example: This past week I mentioned the site at one of my regular model train haunts which brought more than a few O-gauge rail enthusiasts this way.

A few other parental blogs have made some links to me. You can check them out here, here and here.

This doesn't answer some of the questions I have. Where are you from? What's your story? How did you find your way here?

The scope is incredible: I see traffic from companies like Motorola, Global Crossing and Cap Gemini. (Does this mean Jack qualifies for Angel funding?) I have a list in front of me of colleges and universities as long as my arm. State and local government offices and even the Pentagon.

Let's hear your story in the comments. It doesn't have to be long. Just a quick sentence or two about yourself.


Posted by Jim at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

Photo Fun Friday

In the midst of your workday take a few moments to embrace a big dose of Jackness...


This is Jack looking all sporting in his new Baby Car shirt. The Best Woman had a couple of these made with the Miata on them and they're too cool for school. Since Jack can't ride in the Baby car yet it's as close as he is going to get for a awhile.

Meanwhile he is practicing his hypnotic gaze.

"You are getting sleepy. Sleepy!"



We have a lot of poses during the morning clothes change. It must have been the Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love soundtrack in the background.


Jack's editorial comment on my taking too many pictures. Buggly Bug flits nearby to help in administering a smack down. As with all treks with dad the roll bar on the Apollo Launch Chair is in "lift off" position.

Posted by Jim at 12:13 PM

September 25, 2004

Into every blog a troll must fall...

For the last few days I've been dealing with a troll trying to stir up trouble in one of the comments areas.

It started after I posted the story the other day about the woman I saw while I was out the other day who was screaming at her child and yanking it around. The troll started posting with this:

"Extending your hand to help someone during an obviously stressful time would be the Christ-like thing to do. That is if your a Christ-filled person!"

It's "you are" but that's fine. I get the point.

In the email that bounced back to me, since Trolls are cowardly and never post their real email addresses, I pointed out that it was my understanding in the church I grew up in that children should be protected and showered with love, not physical or verbal abuse. (Which I'm pretty sure everyone who saw the incident would agree it was.)

How exactly I'm supposed to lend a helping hand the the situation is beyond me. Yell at the child for the mother? Take a shot at swinging the kid around by the other arm? I didn't realize the Stretch Armstrong potential of small children. The stressful situation I saw wasn't the child's fault, it was parent who let things go too far.

When the email bounced back I assumed it was a crank and deleted the post.

Alas the Troll came back out from under the bridge:

"Why do you keep erasing my comment? Are you feeling the pressure? Or, could it be that your really NOT a "Christ-Filled Person", oh well!"

(I'm still trying to figure out the "Christ Filled" part. I guess it's my Methodist upbringing that is throwing me a curve. Anyone got a clue?)

Do me a favor. If you know the Troll sitting under the bridge at IP Address or tell them to move on. We have a very clear policy:

We don't pay tolls to Trolls at the Special Project.

It seems the trolls are travelling in packs. I've had to delete a few more comments from various IP addresses. (I'll update the list tonight.) I've filed appropriate complaint letters with service providers. In a few cases someone's been dumb enough to post from their place of work so I've filed complaints with their places of business. (I can't imagine their IT departments will be thrilled.)

Posted by Jim at 02:54 PM

September 26, 2004

Death is NOT optional

Despite what some people in California may believe death isn't optional. (No amount of New Age mumbo jumbo keeps the Grim Reaper at bay.) When your time is up you're done.

Some people, like my grandfather, have long lives before they pass away. Others have a life whose time is far too brief. Some, like a childhood friend of mine, died under the influence of alcohol and pharmaceuticals while driving in the wrong lane of a two lane road before coming to an abrupt stop after colliding with a semi. (His fiancé was in the passenger seat. It was a dual closed casket funeral.)


With Jack’s impending arrival Fabulous Babe and I had to start thinking about the things you never want to have happen. When it was just the two of us the level of import was far less than what it is now. The big “R” word, Responsibility, now looms like that big monolith in 2001. (Hopefully without the monkey and the jawbone.)

When someone dies you have to think about what’s left after the funeral: Mortgages. Car payments. Daycare expenses. Then you go out a little farther: College expenses. Wedding expenses.

Most single income families in the US don’t carry enough insurance in case of the loss of the main breadwinner. They tend to think along the lines of “I’m insured for one years worth of salary through work. That will be enough.”

Yeah. Right. I got a bridge in Brooklyn for you as well.

Sit down and play this game with your spouse: “Zap! You’re dead!” Now figure out what would happen. Make sure you ask the following questions:

“How will the surviving spouse meet the monthly bills?” (Make sure to reverse this and figure out what a nanny costs to replace the spouse that stays at home.)

“How will I pay for the kids _______?” (College, sports, ballet, etc.)

“Would our familes help if one or both of us died?” (Don’t assume anything. My grandparents didn’t expect to raise me when they were getting ready to retire.)

I’m trying to make you think about the things that you don’t want to. (Lord knows I didn’t.) They’re grim. They give you heartburn. However…

Most people don’t buy insurance until, God forbid, something is wrong. At that point it’s too late. Those #$%^@! underwriters are, for some reason, usually not willing to write you an insurance policy when you’ve been diagnosed with terminal flatulence or something equally fatal. (“What? You’re about to die in 10 days? Of course we’ll insure you!”)

I’m not saying you have to buy whole life insurance. (Term is ridiculously cheap these days via the internet.) The better and healthier lifestyle you have the lower the cost. The type isn’t the important part. It’s the amount you carry on each other.

Brace yourself.

Odds are, if you want your family to keep your present lifestyle you’re looking at 10 times the main earners salary. 10 times at a minimum. Sound ridiculous? Run the numbers yourself and make sure you run the worst case scenario. For your own sake.

I don’t have any stake in this. It's your choice. I do know that I get more than my fare share of new parents who visit this place and if someone isn’t acting as your voice of conscious then I’ll take the time to give you the lecture my dad gave me. (He got it from his father.)

Play the “Zap you’re dead!” game. At the very least it is an eye opener. At the best it tips you off to things that you would rather know sooner than later.

Posted by Jim at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

Best Friends

A bit of history before I get to my point so tag along. It will be worth it.

I had a long call with my good friend Archaeon tonight. He’s had a bad spot of luck the last couple of weeks: He hurt his back on September 11th and is now, for all intensive purposes, flat on same back.

His current situation is as grim as mine was this time two years ago. (I had broken my leg helping Gear Daddy build a platform for his hot tub.) Your ability to move is limited. Your dependence on your spouse brings you to new depths of guilt. The physical therapy progress seems glacial.

We met in August of 1994; I think 1994, at the huge summer trade show I always used to have to go to for work. In a sea of weirdness, a miasma of the unusual, he and his friend Dave stuck out like sore thumbs: they were normal. Needing a break from, I kid you not, the unwashed masses, I asked them if they wanted to go to lunch.

I’ve always believed that when you really need friends the ones that count the most aren’t the ones that will bail you out of jail, it’s the ones that will help you hide the body that count for far more. Over a great Italian lunch in 1994 I discovered one of those sorts of friendships.

We also spent one evening the next year tormenting Goths: “You can’t see me! HA!” Many Goths were left dazed and confused that night as a beer fueled, aloha shirt clad stranger beat them at their own game. *bleah*

When Archaeon broke down and came to work at my old company he lived with me for a while. (Where he claims my steady diet of pizza added 10 pounds.) He helped me host my Widows and Orphans Christmas dinner for employees that couldn’t get back to family for the holidays.

6 years ago I had gone to the doctor to see about doing something for the headaches I was getting. (This is in that time I refer to as BFB: Before Fabulous Babe.) After eliminating the obvious she put me in for a CAT scan and MRI. A day or so after my 30th birthday I’m sitting in the machine, holding as still as can be, while my head is being examined by two or three doctors.

“Well there’s something there. We’re not sure what it is. It could be benign.”

Swell. I turn 30 and low and behold the warranty runs out.

When I got back to work that day my boss at the time, Dead Freddy, looked up from his desk where he was working out his latest coded cell phone message from his girlfriend and let me know that if I needed to leave early that day it was fine with him. He then returned to working out which letter the number 3 stood for so that he could decode what amounted to "I wuv you!".

I can’t remember what Archaeon specifically said that day but I do know he was the one that told me everything would be ok and that to hold off from shooting Dead Freddy until the results indicated I was terminal.

Fast forward a few weeks. I’m home from the hospital. My head is swathed in bandages. I have plastic tubes through my nose and down my throat. To get to where they needed to go inside my head they went through my nose. They then rebuilt my nose by using tissue from beneath the skin behind my ear. (From then on my “I need a haircut!” indicator is when I can’t see the scar behind my ear.) As I lay on my couch in a painkiller filled haze, periodically throwing up in a bucket, I get a phone call, from Archaeon.

“He said you could have the afternoon off. Not a week.”

After I figured out what he said I started to laugh and it hurt so much that I almost passed out.

You can never “pick” your best friends. They come into your life with little fanfare, no warning and one of their best qualities is that they will take the piss out of you and keep you humble. They’ll make you angry at times and will cause you to laugh so loud you know that you are going to bring the roof down on your heads. Good friends are more valuable than anything in this world. The bonds of friendship transcend property and commerce and bring joy in a measure that no material goods can ever offer.

I’m lucky enough to count the number of friends I have like Archaeon on two hands. I hope that at my age Jack fares just as well.

Posted by Jim at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

Monday Nights

Men in North America experienced something unusual about two weeks ago. It happened around 9:00 EST and then later in the Mountain and Western time zones. The area of effect was most of North America.

It was the inhale of air by millions of women when this guy appeared on their television sets:


This is Josh Duhamel. He's the up and coming star on "Las Vegas" on NBC Monday nights. Like millions of other women two weeks ago Fabulous Babe was right there when "Danny" walked on screen. She even let loose with a comment like "That's an entrance" or something similar. All I remember was almost slipping in the puddle of drool.

If you haven't seen "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" rent it. You'll score Estrogen Cinema points and Duhamel is perfectly cast in his first major role. It's a very funny and very cute little film. Duhamel lives it up as the self absorbed actor Tad Hamilton and has a lot of fun with the role. His first scene in the car and his agent's comments afterwards are worth the price of renting the movie.

Hold on. What? I'm sorry hon what did you say?

Oh. Sorry folks. Fabulous Babe says we have to go downstairs and fire up the Tivo. Something about having to Duhamel running in slow motion without a shirt or something.


Posted by Jim at 11:55 PM

September 28, 2004

"How was Jack this morning?"

Fabulous Babe called a little while ago. She asked how Jack was this morning when I dropped him off for daycare.


I think it's safe to say he was fine.

Posted by Jim at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

Oh phoo.

When I got home tonight Fabulous Babe gave me the needle.

If you look in the picture from this morning you can spot the tags where I put Jack in his outfit backwards.

Oh well. At least it was easy getting all the snaps.

Posted by Jim at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

"Pimp my ride!"

Last Tuesday Fabulous Babe came home in a bad mood. Trying to get Jack out of the rear seat in her sporty 1999 2 Door Accord was royal pain in the ass. It was awkward, made her incision hurt and generally annoyed and provoked her.

"I think we need to look at getting a new car."


I started kicking things into gear the next day. Had a chat with our personal banker. Started knocking around the internet at lunch. By dinner we had some ideas and drove off for some test drives and a look at the lay of the land.

What are we thinking? (Beyond 4 doors of course.)

Well we started with a Volvo S40. After driving one we were both left with the impression that the car was a bit more cramped than we wanted. It's nice but smaller than what Fabulous Babe has been driving.

So we drove an S60.

Wow. Big difference. Much more in line with what Fabulous Babe has in mind. (It's going to be her daily ride so she has the majority vote here.) The difference was night and day.

We escaped the lot that night without buying a new car. Then we launched into search mode to find some better deals.

I should have some news by the end of the week. At this point we're down to fiddling details. In the end Fabulous Babe will get her 4 doors and some extra safety and comfort to boot.

Posted by Jim at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

CD Progress

I'm 33 CD's into the "Ska" shelves so far. A lot of memories and the occasional curse as I remember CD's that the thieves in Mississauga took that can never be replaced.

My love for all forms of music is something I hope to impart to Jack. It doesn't mean that I don't have some limits but anyone who knows me can tell you that my collection is just as deep as it is wide. Here's hoping Jack follows in the same footsteps.

The song count? 2470 at 9.6 GB so far.

Posted by Jim at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Jack and Tosca


I took this just as Tosca had finished helping strap Jack into the Apollo Launch Chair. She did a pretty good job for a lack of thumbs.

Posted by Jim at 11:24 PM