Monthly Archives: July 2006


One afternoon this past week I was sitting on the couch reading a book while Eli watched Sesame Street. He walked over to me and patted my leg and said, “I’m proud of you, Mom.”

I don’t know if he knows what proud means. I wasn’t shocked that he knew the word. We’ve certainly said, “I’m proud of you, Eli” to him often enough. What I was shocked by was how incredibly glad I was that he had this kind of positive thought floating around in his head to draw on.

My Secret Obsession

So you might be wondering what I do with my tv time in the summer since nothing is on network tv. Well I watch Project Runway of course. I know it’s a guilty pleasure but I love to see what they make and how they get it done and I love hearing Tim actually give good criticism to try and help them. I am constantly shouting at people to listen to Tim because he knows what he’s talking about.

So I say to all of you now, if you are doing something creative, listen to Tim Gunn because he knows what he is talking about.

Blogathon 2006

Our friend Geof is doing Blogathon this year. Go check his site and leave him snarky comments so he’ll stay awake.

Seriously, he’s blogging for Blood:Water Mission so after you’re finished pestering him leave some $$$ for a great cause.

Update #2: Limbo

I have previously talked about my grandmother’s illness here and here.

I haven’t given an update on my grandmother in a while simply because there hasn’t been much to tell. I visited her while we were in Arkansas both before and after our trip to Chicago but she didn’t seem know who I was. Whether that was due to the stroke or medication, I don’t know.

While we were there, I realized that she wouldn’t be the same again and consequently the structure of my mom’s family was bound to undergo some fairly drastic changes. This caused me to spend time in mourning and I wasn’t sure how to say some of the things I wanted to say although I knew that I would get around to it eventually.

I have good news to report, however. This afternoon I got a call from my mom. She was at the hospital with my grandmother and she put my grandmother on the phone and we talked for a very brief couple of minutes. She got tired very quickly and seemed depressed about the length of her still-to-come recovery process but those few words from her are nothing short of a miracle in my mind.

So rejoice with me tonight for both large steps and small ones. I again thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and comments here. Know that I have felt you out there and appreciated your support.

Friday Night Videos: Atari 2600 Edition

Wintergreen: When I Wake Up (2006)

They barely have a record, but Wintergreen already has a video. The song features guitarwork reminiscent of The Smiths. However, rather than having mopey-looking kids wandering around London, this video features E.T. and the Atari 2600. The video takes the real story of Atari dumping E.T. cartridges in a landfill and adds a codicil of the band going to the landfill and digging them up. Pity it couldn’t actually happen, but it makes for an entertaining video.

Junior Senior: Move Your Feet (2003)

While we’re on the subject of old-school pixelated computer games, here’s the Junior Senior video that looks like it came from a drug-addled Atari 2600. Coupled with the frenetic beat of the song, the video makes for fascinating watching.

Parenting the Easy Way

Misty’s and my parenting style can best be summarized as, “Enh, let’s not go to too much trouble.” For instance, Eli has a habit of dropping his pacifiers between the crib and the wall, so that they’re incredibly hard to reach. Fortunately, he has many binkies, but after a few days I start running out of pacifiers to give him at night. So the other morning, after I freed him from his crib, I told him, “Eli! Go under your bed and get your binkies!” Quick as a flash, he crawled under his bed and liberated all of the lost pacifiers. He dropped them in my hands and said, “You put my binkies up and you go get me orange juice.” It’s a fair trade, and far below minimum wage. Do minimum wage laws apply to child labor?

Through no planning on our part we’ve trained him to play happily in his crib until we come in to get him. He often talks to himself while we doze. We’ll hear him over the monitor, but as long as he sounds okay, we’ll sleep in. The monitor is old and muffled, with the kind of sound quality associated with cheap Radio Shack walkie-talkies. This morning we lay in bed listening to him, unable to understand a word over the monitor. It was as if we were receiving a radio talk show from outer space, and it was strangely soothing.

I like this approach of letting him fend for himself and making him help out around the house. Next summer I’ll put wooden blocks on his feet like those Short Round wore in that Indiana Jones movie and see how he does with the mower.

Jonathan Coulton Makes Great Music

It’s clear that you come to this blog in order to substitute my own tastes and opinions for yours. (Well, that and cute Eli movies.) So I want to point you towards Jonathan Coulton. He’s a musician and songwriter who’s seeing if he can make a living as a fully independent musician. There’s no label, there’s just him and his website. He writes one new song a week, a forced-march experiment in having deadlines.

I like his approach of licensing all of his music under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license, which means you can take it and share it as long as you give him the credit for writing it. What’s far more important, I love love love his music. It is crazy mad awesome. I find myself hard-pressed to pick just one favorite, or even ten favorites, but I have restrained myself because I know you all are busy people with lives who just happen to like taking a break from those lives to read blogs. Some suggested tunes:

Skullcrusher Mountain
A lot of Jonathan’s songs are about messed-up people looking for love. In this case the messed-up person is a mad scientist in his lair on Skullcrusher Mountain. How can you not love a song whose lyrics include, “Isn’t it enough to know I ruined a pony making a gift for you?”

Re Your Brains
The lead zombie who wants to eat your brains is your annoying co-worker who is still talking about F.Y.I.s and tabling discussions.

Soft Rocked By Me
It’s a love song by a guy who likes to rock out to Bread.

Not About You
Several of Jonathan’s songs are sad ones about the loss of love (like When You Go and So Far So Good). This is a funny one involving complete and total denial.

A Talk With George
A touching song about the ghost of George Plimpton visiting and giving you advice.

That’s five (or seven, depending on how uncharitable you’re being with your counting), and I haven’t yet gotten to Code Monkey (the one song you may have heard about before since it was on Slashdot), Chiron Beta Prime (a Christmas song from humans imprisoned by robots), The Presidents (a single fact about every US President), or Mandelbrot Set (the happiest math song I know next to Math Prof Rock Star). So go! Go listen! And if you like, give the man some money.

Eli Reads a Book

We are bravely leaping into the world of YouTube and Google Video with this, our first Flash movie of Eli reading a book.

The book he’s reading is “Snappy Sounds Vroom!” which, indeed, makes many snappy sounds. You can hear Eli identifying the bus and the scooter in the book.

When I say Giant, I Mean Giant House of Cards

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I got the bright idea to go to a few thrift stores to find some new-to-her furnishings for her new apartment. So at our last stop I found a box that said, “Giant House of Cards.” It looked cool so I bought it for 54¢. Turns out it is a reprint of a set designed by Charles Eames. It was made by Neenah Paper, one of my favorite paper companies that I can’t afford to buy paper from. Also, turns out that Stephen’s dad played with a set just like it when he was a kid.