Monthly Archives: May 2008

Emotive Eli Emotes Emotions

The past couple of weeks we’ve been dealing with an new onslaught of what seem like extreme emotions from Eli:

Anger when we tell him “no”, usually about treats or tv. The anger comes with stamping feet and a yell that makes me duck my head in shame, because the boy is starting to sound like me.

Sadness over every activity’s end, whether it be computer time or play time with a buddy. The sadness is complete, vocal and seemingly unending. After about three times in the past week of wailing and gnashing of teeth that rivals a funeral procession, I threatened not to plan any future playtime with his friends if every session was going to end with so much grief.

Monday topped it all, though. He requested to watch Elmo in Grouchland, a movie we own but haven’t watched recently. It had rained here most of the night and morning and we weren’t going outside anytime soon, so I said yes to Elmo.

Fifteen minutes into it, Eli came to me on the verge of tears because Elmo had had a fight with Zoey, lost his blankie, was lost himself, Grouchland was scary and Huxley was scary. I promised him that all would turn out well and I finally got him to go back and watch some more. He was back again quickly because the animals Elmo was meeting on his journey were scary. I promised him again that if he would keep watching, all would end well.

We paused for lunch just after my favorite song: Huxley (Mandy Patinkin) singing “Mine!” After lunch, I sat down with him to finish the movie so he wouldn’t be scared. He had some last questions and reservations afterwards though.

“Why did Huxley sing ‘Mine!’?”

“Because he was greedy.”

“What’s greedy?”

“That’s when you don’t want to share with anyone and you want to keep all of your stuff to yourself. Huxley was lonely because he was greedy. No one wanted to be around him because he didn’t know how to share.”

Big tears were welling in Eli’s eyes.

“But that makes me so, so sad that he would be lonely!” he wailed.

With Eli, everything goes back to the human element. Loneliness in Eli’s mind is the equivalent of being shot by a firing squad after being set on fire.

Don’t even get me started on what happens when we have to smash a bug around here.

New Photos

This past Memorial Day weekend, we drove to Nashville to visit with my a couple of my college roommates and their families. We had a blast even though we were outnumbered by the kids.


This morning we went to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and played in the water because we hadn’t had enough water in the past two days. Liza got to put a variety of things in her mouth and Eli got to hang with his buddies.


Indiana Jones and the Halls of Academe

Two notes on Indiana Jones, teacher and archaeologist. One, via Andrew, McSweeney’s looks at why Dr. Jones was denied tenure.

Two, something I didn’t realize until last night. At the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, the government agents tell Indy that top men are examining the ark. “What are their names?” he demands. “Top men,” the agent replies. I always thought he was demanding their names so he could track them down. Instead, he probably wanted their names because he’d know the names of all the top researchers in his field.

See Our Robots Invade Other Planets

I’m late to the party with this one, but it’s still worth talking about: NASA’s Phoenix probe, sent to Mars to examine the history of water on Mars, landed safely on May 25th. Not only have we successfully sent another probe to the red planet, we got a picture of it as it deployed its chute. Normally we have to make do with NASA-generated images, but not this time.

Phil Plait has a whole lot of Phoenix information over at Bad Astronomy. Note especially this entry, where he notes, “Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.”

Or, if you are all about tiny bite-sized parcels of information, you can follow Phoenix on Twitter.

Second Day of Continuous Rain

And you know what that means? My very best secret weapon for being trapped in the house:


Eli shows Liza how to play inside the fort.

Liza’s verdict: Fort is awesome!

Memes for Saturday

Remember how I went to a conference that wanted to bring a bunch of internet memes together in one place? Ever wonder what that would look like set to music?

Ladies and gentlemen, Weezer’s video for “Pork and Beans”.

Prog Rock Friday, Part 2

I didn’t plan on making this a repeat feature, but then this came along: Jon Anderson of Yes singing lead while the students of New Jersey’s Paul Green School of Rock Omega All-Stars play “Close to the Edge”.

In my misspent youth, I wanted to play keyboards like Rick Wakeman. When I see the keyboardist getting to play “Close to the Edge” while wearing a Wakeman-like cape and while Jon Anderson sings lead…. If I ever meet the kid, I’ll be torn between shaking his hand like a madman and killing him out of envy.

I can’t believe Jon Anderson did this. How unutterably cool.

Part the first:

Part the second:

At about 3 minutes into the first video, one of the audience members claps excitedly along with the staccato music, then stands up and cheers. I know how he feels.

(From Bob Rossney, by way of Patrick Nielsen Hayden)