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February 01, 2005

Jim - 1, Spam Meisters - 0

If there is anything that can take the joy of a blog it's spam. Not in email that I receive but in the things posted in the comments sections of the individual entries.

A few weeks ago I threw the switch that has me approve all comments before they get posted. The result? I can ban the IP addresses of the spammers and zap the messages before they ever get posted. It does take the joy out of seeing your comments posted immediately but hopefully the lack of advertising for Nigerian banks, products to enhance your *ahem* size and other products makes up for it.

I still have the occasional bad day. (100+ spam comments that I have to delete.) The good news is that your enjoyment of the site isn't impacted and that's more than enough cause to celebrate.

Woo hoo!

Posted by Jim at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

Home again.

Ugh.

Back from a trip. The actual trip wasn't too bad but time away from Fabulous Babe and Jack hurts in a way that is hard to describe. About the only thing that kept me from going insane was the iPod. That and playing a lottery ticket on a whim and winning $220. (W00T!)

While I was away Fabulous Babe hosted two parties. If I wasn't so thick I might be troubled by the fact that her social life dramatically increases when I'm absent. Ah well.

The first was her "We call it a "Book Club" but it's really just a great excuse to drink a lot of Wine!" club. The event Thursday night doubled as a surprise baby shower for one of the ladies whose due soon.

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Here we see the Mother to Be opening another one of her gifts. (Am I the only one that thinks she looks a little like Carly Simon?) Fabulous Babe is lurking in the background making a list of who gave what. (It's either that or Fabulous Babe's on her third glass and she thinks she can make a Spirograph drawing without using any of the little plastic cogs.) Judging by the pictures the Mother to Be did pretty well.

On Saturday night Fabulous Babe had some of the neighborhood moms over to hang out. (Sans husbands.) I get the impression it was a "feet up" party with all the moms taking a break. (Considering that between 4 women they have 9 kids I don't blame them.) If they don't deserve a time out I'm not sure who does.

When I got home Sunday night and walked through the door I started talking to Jack. As I got closer to him he recognized me and went nuts shaking his arms, trying to jump and jabbering excitedly. No offense on my wife but I didn't hear a word she said as I picked Jack up and he tried to hug me while he was bouncing with happiness.

It's simply the best feeling in the entire universe.

Posted by Jim at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

"Wake up sleepy head!"

In waking Jack up in the morning I always try to ease him into the day. Usually I?ll start singing to him before I open the door and give him a minute or two before I turn on the overhead light.

(Later on we?ll be hiring single, scantily clad, attractive young women who will dance about his bed while playing soft music. Mark your calendars, the auditions are in about 9 years.)

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This is what I usually see. He?s just started stirring and is raising his feet and legs up and down. Soggy Froggy lays discarded from the night and his teething ring is completely thawed. (We?re up to three of them budding right now.)

Once the Lord and Master is awake I sit him up while I lay out the clothes and assess the diaper situation. Usually Jack offers coaching and encouragement as I stumble around and generally fumble through the whole mess.

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Here you can see Jack?s mullet in all its glory. Yes it really does reach below his collar line. I?m so ashamed. At this rate he?ll be driving a rusty Trans-Am and yelling ?FREEBIRD? at concerts in no time. Despite numerous pleadings Fabulous Babe still refuses the trip to the barber.

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What? I interrupted your nap? Tough.

This is Jack after I?ve gotten him dressed. With the winter weather it?s always a dual layer: a onesie and a layer of clothes. You can see Jack is looking quite stylish but I have some words for those guys at Roots. Just wait.

Posted by Jim at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

Roots rant.

When you say "McDonalds" the odds are the country you think of is the U.S. (After you think that their new slogan "I'm Lovin' it!" should really be "We're killing you slowly!") My point is that all countries have iconic brands that are unique to their country and their culture. In Canada the brand probably most recognized after Tim Hortons is Roots.

Roots was started by two Americans in 1973 in Toronto. Don Green and Michael Budman managed to capture the spirit of the outdoors from their summers spent at camps in the Tamakwa-Algonquin Provincial park. The company began selling shoes and has since grown into a company that employs over 2000 people across the globe and may be among the world's most recognized international brands.

I have a passionate, up and down, roller coaster like relationship with Roots. I'll sum it up this way: Sometimes itís like dating a woman whose very presence causes the hair on your arms to stand up when sheís near you from the sheer physical heat she generates inside of you. Other times Roots is like a harsh mistress whose sleek, wanton and cruel ways cut you to the quick but whose sensuality draws you back every time despite the fact that you know exactly whatís going to happen. All of it is heady and intoxicating and when you realize that Root's first store actually employed Dan Akroyd as a shoe salesman for a while it almost makes sense. Not completely but almost.

I discovered Roots shortly before moving to Canada. (It came up as a part of my research into where I was going to be living.) Fabulous Babe on the other hand was years ahead of me and her closet had more than a few pieces including the very first Olympic black beret. Itís testimony to how good a brand it is when I can tell you that it was only after her first Roots t-shirt had a gaping hole in the underarm that she considered getting rid of it.

Jack has a pile of Roots gear. Mrs. Canadian Hotness, my Canadian Sister, El Jefe, Miss Thing and all the rest have contributed Roots products to his wardrobe. You only have to go through the archives and youíll see half the boyís attire probably came from one of their stores. (Here's a great one.) Their clothes are that good and thatís the great part of the relationship. Thatís the part that draws you back to their line again and again. Roots clothes and products are well thought out and well made.

The downside of Roots? Some might rightfully point out that Roots saves all the really great looking Olympic outfits for Canada but I canít really blame them for that. *chuckle* How about the exclusive agreement with Sears.ca that prevents them from shipping anything to the U.S.? (Thatís a biscuit burner for sure.) That last one does seem to go hand in hand with the Roots website being a little slow on updates. (ďHey the new line is up but wait! Itís sold out already!Ē) Alas that isnít even it.

No gentle readers my currently stinging cheek comes from the slap I received because of the Roots line of licensed Toronto Maple Leaf products that a Roots store employee referred me to the website to purchase. That's when I discovered that the Roots Toronto Maple Leaf line doesnít appear on the Roots website. Anywhere. *sigh*

I've managed to secure a long sleeve t-shirt for Fabulous Babe, and a fleece top for us to share. Jack on the other hand will be shivering in the cold as I have yet to see the entire line. It's rumored to include a great pair of sweat pants with "Leafs" over the backside and a childs sweater with a huge Maple Leafs logo.

I realize Iím not as saavy as those Pets.com fellows were but in my various professional experiences with all things .com Iíve come to understand that to make more money you should try to have fewer obstacles in your customerís path to your door. In theory something that actually shows me whatís available might be to the companies benefit as well. (Perhaps I should stay away from the obvious since such scary and uncharted territory could unsettle small children.) A current selection of products would also strike me as a plus.

See that picture of my son from the morning? Can you honestly explain why it should be difficult for me to get him Roots TML attire? I donít have an explanation. The harsh mistress is back and now sheís got a riding crop. Ugh.

Hey Don and Mike, do me a favor. Walk into one of your stores and then compare the experience to your website. Itís clever and uses Flash and it's trendy as can be. If someone wants to spend money and contribute to your bottom line itís about as useful as one of those vapid, blonde, 20 something clerks at Whistler that couldnít manage to count out our change. Open the full Roots catalog to the world and our wallets will follow. Honest! Heck I'll even give you a link over on the left. (For a reasonable price.)

*grumble*

The sometimes loved, sometimes mistreated, always love the product, Roots wearing Jim

Posted by Jim at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)

Congratulations to Fabulous Babe!

"February 1, 2005

To: Division That Cannot Be Named Employees

From: Fabulous Babe's New Boss

Subject: Leadership Announcement

I am pleased to announce the following changes within the Division That Cannot Be Named leadership team. All people will report to me.

*skip to the relevant bit*

Fabulous Babe has been promoted to Director, Strategery. Fabulous Babe will lead various processes involving strategery, evaluate strategery, work lots of strategic hours and participate in more strategic strategery of a strategic nature as called for by strategic need.

Fabulous Babe brings over 12 years of financial and business analyst experience including time spent with The Large Accounting Firm Whose Name You Would Know. Fabulous Babe joined The Company through the *censored* joint venture in 1998 where she was employed in a province in Canada that may or may not resemble Ontario. She transferred to our slightly soggy, Seattle based West Coast Operations as a Muckity Muck and later to the frozen tundra we call the Twin Cities as a Higher Muckity Muck for the Division That Cannot Be Named. Fabulous Babe, her husband, Jim, who thinks she is hot, and infant son, Jack, who considers her his "Mom", reside in A Little House on the Prairie.

Please join me in welcoming these new members of the Division That Cannot Be Named leadership team."

Except for some editing here and there it's a direct quote. (I'm sure you can pick out the bits I added or changed.) The official title is Director of Strategy. We've known for a while but had to wait for the formal announcement. Now that it's out I can finally say:

Congratulations hon!

Love,
Jack and Jim

Posted by Jim at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

Sick, sick, sick...

Well I've somehow managed to dodge the bullet.

Jack has had a cold that has lingered for well over a couple of weeks. On Thursday we took him to get checked out by the doctor and that led to some medicine he doesn't like to drink. He's got a wheeze in his chest but just a minor one.

Friday night Fabulous Babe didn't feel good. Eventually this manifested itself as vomiting and, um, Montezuma's revenge. It was so bad that at one point she just lay down on our bathroom rug because she was too weak to try to get back to bed.

Most of the weekend was then spent keeping Jack happy but out of germ distance with his mom while trying to keep her happy to boot. By Sunday both of them were feeling better but still not 100%.

Me? I've got dry hands from washing them with antibacterial soap about every 15 minutes but otherwise I seem to be ok.

*Cross fingers*

Posted by Jim at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

"Arise, Serpentor! Arise!"

What's a day without a great GI Joe line?

I managed to get some good pictures this weekend despite everyone being sick. Enjoy!

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That?s Ol? Stumpy, the biggest catfish in the pond, next to his new train. It?s a Standard Gauge reproduction of a train from the 1920?s by the Ives corporation. Jack didn?t really know what to make of it at first but then he decided that the shiny brass, lights and enamel paint were ok by him. I missed getting the full smile but this is pretty close.

Jack?s outfit is from either my Aunt Betty or my Stepmom. Since my beloved is sleeping off being ill I?ll just say that BOTH have great taste and hope I do ok.

The next three are sort of an Apollo lift off sequence. Brace yourselves. All I need is Gene Kranz in one of his vests to stop by to make sure it all goes well.

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Here we see Jack crouching with intent. (Actually he?s sitting with intent.) This was after Fabulous Babe?s fever broke and I was pretty sure she wasn?t contagious anymore.

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Here we see Jack in the ?boost? phase of the lift off. The afterburners are engaged as indicated by the silly grin across his face. Mother is assisting with additional smiles.

(Mrs. Canadian Hotness that?s the Roots fleece you sent that he is wearing.)

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Ta da! There you go. Look how well Jack's balancing. Jack's able to hold for about 20 seconds before everything goes to heck. At this rate Jack's not going to crawl, Jack's just going straight to walking. Ugh. I'm doomed. I'll have to childproof the house overnight.

Part of the joys of parenthood is that you literally watch your child develop in front of your eyes. They start to figure out what their hands are for. They start to interact with you. You can literally chart all of this out.

A few days ago Jack discovered he has facial muscles. Up to then his facial reactions were all instinctual. That was before this:

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This isn?t even his full ?angry? face. In full blown ?scrunch? mode it?s like the backside of a cat. None the less, there he is. That?s my boy!

Posted by Jim at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

"This is your wakeup call."

The last two nights Jack has awoken us with a bloodcurdling cry around 2:30 in the morning. Both nights it's only a fresh bottle that will settle his royal highness.

The best guess is that we're on the cusp of another growth spurt. The growth engine is fuelled by massive quantities of food which seems to immediately lead to Jack outgrowing my favorite outfits of his.

We're dragging in the morning as a result. The usual cheery greeting of "Turn off the alarm" has now been replaced by "Graaaaah" which is hard to type and relay the appropriate amount of disdain, contempt and frustration that we can't stay in the bed any longer.

Jack on the other hand has been a barrel of fun in the morning. The other morning I was trying to put some socks on him and it was like wrestling two pythons. Jack contributed to the effort with hearty laughter. It's a madness I wouldn't trade for anything.

Posted by Jim at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

We have a plan...

Carly Fiorina's departure led to a brief discussion yesterday:

"Hon, if a few years from now you're offered a $21 million early retirement plan, not counting stock options, you may want to take it."

"If I'm offered a $21 million early retirement plan, not counting stock options, the terms can include my running naked around the building."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Fabulous Babe is the Director of Strategery.

Posted by Jim at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2005

Happy Birthday! (Your warranty has now expired.)

Saturday was Mr. Racetrack's 30th birthday.

Where Mrs. Racetrack had tried to have all of his friends fly in to surprise him. Alas, there was a lack of operational secrecy and he found out.

None the less he seemed to have an amazing weekend. They all arrived Friday and there was much drinking, poker playing and hijinks galore. The topper was a massive and rollicking dinner at Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul.

We gave Mr. Racetrack a gift card to a bookstore and a copy of one of my favorite books of all time: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart. (Amazon link here.)

Saturday night was also a big test for Fabulous Babe. It was the first night we left Jack with a new sitter. (Kate as well.) Her name is Brittney and she's as sweet as can be. She came recommended by Mrs. Dawn, our daycare wrangler, who has three kids. Figuring anyone who had babysat three kids on multiple occasions would do ok we had few fears. She turned out to be just great and hopefully I tipped her enough to get her to come back.

Today was errand and shopping trips. I made my usual Sunday morning run to Target and then, after Jack's morning nap, we made our way to the Mall of America for a few things.

Fabulous Babe was looking for facial scrub and new shoes. (Scoring well on both counts.) I wanted to find a new belt but had no luck. I did break down and buy a new pair of sunglasses. My old pair of Oakleys, found on the bottom of the Pacific ocean off the coast of Maui on our honeymoon, just look beat to death. A trip to the Oakley store and 20 minutes of great customer service and nods of approval and disapproval from the wife and I'm all set.

Jack's awesome to take to someplace like the mall. He smiles, laughs and engages with people everywhere we go. Only after our late lunch did he start to tire and even then he didn't fuss or cry. It's pretty easy raising someone who just seems to be happy all the time.

It's snowing now. This after a couple of 50+ degree days here this past week. Bizarre.

Posted by Jim at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Comments error

Some of you may have noticed an error message when you tried to post a comment to the website.

Thanks to some kind tips from Mr. Quad and My brother I seem to have it fixed.

That being said I heartily encourage you to post comments to the site. That way I know what you're thinking.

Thanks!

Jim

Posted by Jim at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

One sick buckeroo

Jack's cough is worse. The medicine from the last trip to the doctor didn't really seem to nip this like we were hoping. He's not sleeping well at night and is very out of sorts.

Early on this morning we decided that he needed to go back to visit the doctor. Fabulous Babe made the appointment and, after comparing schedules, I drew the straw to pick him up and take him.

The whole experience can best be summed up by one moment that struck me this afternoon. I was seated in a chair in the waiting room with my arm around Jack who was seated in my lap. Jack was wheezing and rubbing his eyes with exhaustion as the visit was going long. I leaned over and placed my head on his and started talking to him in those wordless whispers where you hope that just the tone carries the tone of love that you are trying to convey. Woozy and out of sorts Jack reached up with one hand and placed his hand on my hair at the same time he leaned towards me. We sat there like that with my arm around him, his hand reaching up to hold on to me, for almost 10 minutes. Jack's only sound was his wheezing and rasping and yet he was better just knowing I was there with him.

He's now loaded with medicine and tossing fitfully in his crib right now. Tomorrow starts a new routine of medicine that will hopefully lick this terrible virus/flu/cold he has. It's no fun knowing how miserable he is and not being able to "fix" it.

Posted by Jim at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

It's a wheeze worse than Vader.

Jackís still under the weather. The last few nights have been long and grim. Tonight he screamed bloody murder and just could not get comfortable. His bottle didnít interest him very much and he half heartedly drank some of it. We tried the bouncy chair, we tried lying down next to mom, we tried the crib and nothing worked. It finally just took closing the door and letting him tucker himself out. Iím literally typing this through a headache of migraine like proportions that has be seeing spots and swaying.

Heís got two medicines in the morning and a mist treatment every 4 to 6 hours where the vapors blow out of the pipe for 10 minutes and heís supposed to breathe it. Sounds easy but for as often as he grabs the pipe and inhales Jackís just as likely to try and squirm away from it. Things were much easier to administer before improved motor control came along.

Fabulous Babe stayed home with Jack today. I came home at lunch to relieve her and let her get her haircut. When I got there Jack was a dripping wet wreck. Between the sinus drainage, his cough and the occasional sopping wet sneeze he looked miserable. Figuring I could kill a few birds with one stone I opted to give Jack a bath.

Baths always seem to put Fabulous Babe in a better mood. Figuring that at the very least I would be removing some of the germs I drew a bath and plopped Sir Knucklehead right in. After a few moments of fussing Jack began to enjoy his new environment and was soon ďtalkingĒ to the assortment of plastic animals floating around him.

Clean, dry and dressed Jack was like a new little boy. We went downstairs and were playing on the floor when Mom got back from ďSpa Pay Out The NoseĒ. After the debrief I headed back to work.

Other news in general:

Jackís great grandmother, Louise, turned 94 last week. Iím sending Louise an envelope with some pictures when Iím confident it wonít be swimming in germs.

My friend Squirrel Bottom that posts here occasionally is now officially a part of the club. His wife gave birth last week to a bouncing baby boy. Now he gets to play the home game version of this website. Heís not posted any pictures yet and so deserves a virtual raspberry. *insert raspberry noise here*

Speaking of playing the home game Wonder Woman and her husband are due to deliver any day now. Their impending arrival dropped over the last week and is gearing up for eviction. We thought that over the weekend they might have gone into labor but no such luck. They donít know what sex of the baby is which is driving Fabulous Babe nuts. (Sheís having to buy neutral colors.)

Someone named Jo posted a nice comment about how my writing here has accelerated her(?) biological clock. Iím not sure if that means that sheís looking for a date or if her significant other should beware. Either way I appreciate the kind sentiments.

Posted by Jim at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

It's a Girl!

Hat's off to Wonder Woman and her Husband:

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Sophia Ellen came roaring into the world Wednesday afternoon. 7lbs and 6 ounces and 20 inches long. (Actually longer than Jack when he was born.) Mom and daughter are fine. Dad's eyes are a little bloodshot.

True to form when Wonder Woman's water broke at 2:30 in the morning she got up, sent some emails to co-workers to let them know she wouldn't be in, and THEN went to the hospital. (LOL)

Hip Hip Hooray!

Posted by Jim at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2005

Squirrel Bottom's New Arrival

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Let's all welcome Vincent Steven into the world. (Feb. 10th. 19.5 inches long, 6 pounds, 12.2 ounces.)

Go ahead.

"Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww."

Great work Steve.

Posted by Jim at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Snow Day!

Eskimos have 60 different words for snow. I have a few choice ones but none are repeatable here.

Over the weekend we got smacked with about 6-8 inches of snow. By Sunday yours truly had to get out the snowblower and cut a path to the street. Since Jack was feeling better we decided he needed some fresh air.

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Here's Sir Reginald Poopypants in the stroller watching the action. He's wearing the hat that Fabulous Babe bought him a couple of weeks ago. The problem is that she bought it thinking his head was still the size it was when he was born. As a result trying to squeeze it on his noggin in next to impossible. The result? He looks like Beldar.

I got most of the drive done pretty quickly. Jack had a good time watching the spectacle. Fabulous Babe came along behind me with a shovel to clear up what the blower missed.

Sunday morning I made what I thought was a reasonable offer to Fabulous Babe that was soundly rejected. Fabulous Babe cited overwhelming amounts of work that needed to be done around the house and, by the way, any other future offers of a similar nature would not be scheduled for consideration by the committee for the foreseeable future. So there!

Thinking of the resounding decision the committee made Sunday morning I lined up the snowblower, hit a very small patch of snow, and let Fabulous Babe experience the snow throwing capacity of our Snowchucker 6000. In about 2 seconds my snookums honey boo boo?s backside was coated with snow, I was paralyzed with mirth and Fabulous Babe was indignant. That then led to this:

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That?s Fabulous Babe at the controls sizing me up for retribution. Strangely enough the committee has yet to thaw on the key issue from Sunday morning and the embargo remains ?On? for the foreseeable future. Big surprise.

For what it is worth Jack laughed when he saw his mom disappear in a cloud of snow.

Posted by Jim at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

Poop happens.

Fabulous Babe was fairly active with an online community of Moms to Be during the pregnancy. They posted on a message board pretty regularly, went through all the trials and tribulations together and now share their stories since their various blessed arrivals.

Last night Fabulous Babe mentioned that several of the moms in the group have mentioned that their kids are filling their pants pretty quickly. I won't say they're complaining but I think some of them were taken buy surprise. (Ladies, Hello! Eating solids!) *chuckle*

Jack's up to two fairly hideous poops a day now. The slot machine that is his backside never fails to surprise me. Sometimes you hit three lemons and get quantity. Sometimes you hit three cabbages and get a smell like a possum has died somewhere in your HVAC system. Other times you hit three Bars and, well, itís what we lovingly refer to as a Level 10 Poop Emergency. A word of advice to you parents of newborns: you thought the merconium was bad? Just wait.

Jackís somehow figured out how to time things so that he does something horrible in his pants just after I dress him in the morning, something so horrible it requires an outfit change. Sometimes itís just easier not to shower until after heís dressed.

Posted by Jim at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

"We're getting better all the time..."

Jack's wheeze is down to a minimum and he's sleeping though the night again. His general disposition has improved greatly and that?s made things easier.

One of the things that we?ve had to do is give Jack a nebulizer treatment 3-4 times a day of Albuterol. This helps his wheezing but sometimes the effect is like letting him chug a cup of Mountain Dew. He?ll get wound up and laying him down to sleep isn?t going to happen anytime soon.

Giving Jack the treatments is an adventure unto itself. Sometimes he sits still and just watches the mist. Other times he tries to eat the mouthpiece. The worst is when things dissolve into a game of ?Mongoose and Cobra? where he tries to lunge at the pipe while I try to keep it away and yet still hold it where it will do some good.

Here?s a nice short of Jack on Fabulous Babe?s lap:

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The boy?s hair is getting completely out of control. Wife-O Deluxe-O claims that in getting his first haircut he?ll no longer be her ?Baby Boy? and she?s holding out until he?s at least one. Mrs. Dawn, our daycare provider, said that she?s going to braid his rat tail in back and put a topknot on his head for my wife to realize it?s time for a trim. I offered to clipper cut him but no go. I sense resolution soon however. Fabulous Babe wants to take some more pictures soon.

Posted by Jim at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

I Blog, therefore I am.

There?s a lot of press about Blogs these days in the media. (Papers, TV, etc.) A lot of it seems hopelessly out of touch with the subject or format. Some seems written by reporters off of their regular beats, "Candy! Drop your usual column on high fashion and whip me out something about these "Blog" thingies!" Some liken bloggers to some sort of affliction or rash that will just go away with enough time. Others seem to grasp the fundamentals but aren?t sure what the role is going forward.

I?m amused at all of this for a number of reasons. I went to an accredited Journalism School and some of what I am reading from some of the most revered newspapers in the country is embarrassing in comparison to some of the blogs I regularly follow. That being said any crank with some time and basic HTML skills can create their own spot of weirdness here on the internet. (Lord knows you?re reading one right now.) I never compared the 4 page fanzines I saw growing up to the New York Times but those differences seem lost on people trying to lump all blogs together under a single ?BLOG? label.

Human beings drift towards things that attract us. Odds are that if you regularly follow my writing here you?re a.) interested in Jack, b.) interested in my wife or I, c.) interested in parenting or raising children or d.) something I haven?t thought of. Realizing that the first three are probably your main motivation I try to keep the subject to one of those topics. It doesn?t mean I won?t digress occasionally but the unwritten compact that you as readers and I as the writer share is that my ravings won?t be too far off of the mark.

In the last 6 months the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press have written several articles on local Minnesota bloggers. Most of the articles or comments were on a local trio who were featured in Time last month or discussed political blogs. There was one centered on parents of newborns who blog but, alas, they didn?t get in touch with me due to a lack of awareness. I suppose I need a better press agent to get the word out.

Blogging is here to stay. (As is this website.) It?s won?t go away for a lack of interest, despite the predictions of some, and its appeal, due to its variety, will remain universal.

There are Blogs for just about every interest imaginable. All you have to do is go to Google, type in a few keywords and the word ?Blog? and the odds are favorable you?ll find something right up your alley. (It may take you a few tries but you?ve been warned.)

As soon as I can get the module installed I'm intending to begin experimenting with podcasting. (Essentially audio blogging.) I'm not certain of what I'll offer up in an audio format but we'll see. It may just be me reading Jack bedtime stories. It's already an evolutionary step for the medium and it's a natural extension of what I've enjoyed so far. We'll see if it sinks or swims.

As always thanks for your time and your indulgence.

Jim

Posted by Jim at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2005

Barf, Barf, Barf.

Got the call a little while ago from Mrs. Dawn's Spa for the Small & Troublesome: Vomiting.

Not just vomiting but projectile vomiting.

*sigh*

Both of us mobilized but I beat Fabulous Babe to the Spa. When I got there Jack was seated on the changing table screaming bloody murder wearing nothing but a diaper. He had managed to exhaust his supply of clothes, both the ones he wore and the spares Mrs. Dawn keeps on hand. He was as pale as a sheet and very obviously didn't feel good. Fabulous Babe arrived as I was calling the doctor for an appointment.

We got Snickle Britches home and within minutes he barfed again. Jack doesn't have a fever so we're not sure what the root cause is.

Doctor Molotov is out this week so we're going to go meet with Doctor September at 5:45. Right now we're hanging out in the living room waiting to head out. Jack is laying on the floor and smiling so hopefully he's feeling better.

Update when we get back.

Posted by Jim at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

Feeling much better with some help from the Cavalry

By the time we got to the doctor Jack had started to get some of his color back. Doctor September checked him out and the theory is that he ate something that didn't sit right in his tummy.

*big sigh of relief*

When we got home tonight Jack just wanted to sit around. Flipping around the channels I found "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" which, like any good John Ford movie, stops me dead in my tracks. Pretty soon I was whispering the plot line to Jack while he was playing with his Brainy Baby toys. I think most of it went in one ear and out the other but I did get a smile when I started hummming "Gary Owen" to him.

Soon enough our little buckeroo started to nod off. As I type this the sound of his snoring is gently pouring out of the baby monitor. All right with his little world.

Maybe as he dreams he'll hear the tune..

Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
But join with me, each jovial blade
Come, drink and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus:

chorus:
Instead of spa, we'll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.

We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
We'll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin.

chorus

Our hearts so stout have got no fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.

chorus

There are most certainly worse lullabies...

Posted by Jim at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2005

Mission Impossible Kentucky Style

A couple of weeks ago I opened our mailbox and found my weekly Messenger from the church I grew up in. In it was a notice that the church was going to have a surprise for my Grandmother during the Sunday service in honor of her retirement from the church office.

Sitting on the living room floor that night I started thinking out loud about how it would be nice to fly down and surprise her. Fabulous Babe agreed and after a few minutes of poking around on Expedia I found cheap round trip tickets. The next day I spoke to the office manager at the church about the idea. She thought it was good fun and after consulting with the Minister we were set. I bought the tickets and finished up the plans.

Friday after work I headed to the airport. The local airport near Ashland, Kentucky has irregular jet service so it wasn?t an option. (That leads to my joke that a lack of regular jet service now makes it a third world country.) Flying to Lexington would mean a shorter drive but would have been two flights through Detroit. Instead I opted for Cincinnati which was a 75 minute flight with a longer drive.

I violated my own rule of hotels this trip: Stay with what I know. The hotel we?ve always stayed at previously, a Hampton Inn, is one of the nicest in the area but a little out of the way. This time I decided to try the hotel they built while I was in high school that was going to be the hallmark of ?NEW THINGS? in the downtown. Call me old fashioned but I prefer my hotel to have hot water. That and safe parking. Clean sheets would be nice too. As soon as I get my review written up I?ll link to it.

Saturday I ran errands and met with my Brother and his wife. He?s the IT director for a regional bank that was recently bought out and he?s overseeing the migration from Novell to Windows right now. Saturday was a crunch time for him so all minutes spared was greatly appreciated.

Sunday came and I got to the church early for the service. The office staff hid me upstairs and out of the way until my grandmother had been through with her envelopes and paperwork. After she was on her way to the sanctuary I then worked my way around to the entrances behind the choir loft.

At the start of the service the Associate Minister read some announcements and then handed things back over to the Senior Minister, Dale. Dale stepped up to the microphone and said something along the lines of ?Sometimes when you have really big announcements you call in heavy hitters. We have some news that is so big we got the heaviest hitter we could find.? On that I then walked out.

Here?s a picture for some perspective: That?s Dale working the crowd with the doors concealed in the panel directly behind him.

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In theory they have audio of my comments. Here?s the text as I had it written:

Good Morning! I?m Jim, Ruth?s grandson. I received my special copy of the Church Messenger a week ago and seeing the cunning plan that Dale and Jeanie had cooked up I made a call the next day to see if it was possible for me to speak today. As a testimony to my grandmother?s good deeds, and certainly not mine, they agreed. From the look on her face you can tell that Ruth?s a bit surprised.

From Sunday School to Vacation Bible School my grandmother has been involved with almost every aspect of our life here that you can think of. This has created problems along the way. It was only through great adversity that I was finally able to find out what it was like to ride the dumbwaiter. (She still almost caught me.)

Many of you know my grandmother from the office across from the Choir room on Sunday mornings where she has tallied attendance and offerings for over 40 years.

Being related to my grandmother brings with it a special responsibility as well. Since many of you have asked I?ll just go ahead and tell you her secret: It really was her natural hair color. (She washes it with Dial.) The grey you see now I take full credit for.

For almost a decade my grandmother has worked in the church office. One of the side effects was that no matter where I lived, Baltimore, Toronto, Seattle, St. Paul, the Church Messenger always found me soon after I moved. Always.

At this point I read some scripture and then invited everyone to stand and give my grandmother a round of applause. The look of stunned surprise on her face was just wonderful. I went down to sit with my grandparents for the rest of the service. The whole time she just kept smiling.

After the service everyone went down to the Fellowship haul for punch and cake. I spent the next hour passing photos of Jack around and having people say how they didn?t recognize me. Few people realize that Methodists are just as good as Locusts at leaving a plate bare.

Here's a picture of my grandmother with Dale:

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Good fun.

Posted by Jim at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

"A Tim Hortons where?"

I've mentioned it before but here's proof:

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An honest to gosh Tim Hortons in my old hometown. How bizarre.

For the record it's the only one in Kentucky and the furthest most Tim Hortons in North America. One of my high school classmates was on the little league baseball team they sponsor called the "Tim Bits".

While it's not proof of global warming it's most certainly proof that there is life after Arby's. (Which is what the location used to be.) With the demise of the local Krispy Kreme franchise a decade ago the donut business had been left to the wretched Jolly Pirate near the 911 emergency services building. I'm curious what Ashland's finest prefer: the products of scurvy dogs or great hockey players.

Posted by Jim at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

"At least it's not on Judd Plaza..."

Family history time.

My recent stay at the hotel afforded me a nice view of this building:

DSCN0722.jpg

That's the old 2nd National Bank building in my hometown. It's the bank my family used to own. It's also where Jack's namesake, his great grandfather, had an office for years. (Third floor in the front, between the columns.) It's empty and deserted now. The person who bought the building from the family holding company hasn't done much with it except to rip away the awful 1960's paneling that once sheathed the 1st floor.

Sometimes I get wistful and think I want to own the building once more. I suppose if I hit the lottery and win a gazillion dollars I would. (I would turn the entire 4th floor into our residence when we were in town.) Otherwise it sits as a testimony to properity that seems to have left the town behind.

When I was little and my grandmother was dragging me around we would stop to visit Grandpa Jack from time to time. I can remember staring out the windows of his office and thinking how high up we were.

Lions ring the top of the building. (They're the small dots you can see if you look closely.) That's really the heart of what is wrong with new construction these days: a lack of ferocious wildlife as ornate symbols.

As my business fortune increases and I require an edifice to house the operation I can assure you that my building will have all manner of carvings and statuary to signify the inherit power of the company.

I'm thinking elephants. That way I would never lack for a coat hook.

Posted by Jim at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)