Monthly Archives: June 2008

Gardening Weekend

This weekend Stephen decided to get started finishing our front flower beds. This is what they looked like before:

This is what two of the three look like now:

Yes, Mom, we did use that black edging stuff that you don’t like. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything else that go around the curvy bits as well as that stuff. The good news is that the lamb’s ear and firewitch will cover it up in oh, say, about 10 years.

Most of the plants seem to be doing well despite the heat but there are three that don’t want to snap out of the shock. So I got up early to water them this morning and also watered the kids:

Prog Rock Friday: Porcupine Tree

Well, neo-prog, really, as Steven Wilson was around six years old during the heyday of prog rock. Caution: overheated lyrics ahead!

And if “Gravity Eyelids” is too noodly dreamy for you, how about “Blackest Eyes”?

How We Wake Up These Days

Left to our own devices, Misty and I tend to sleep late. Even after having Eli and Liza — and isn’t that a lovely phrase, “having Eli and Liza”? As if we invited them over for dinner one night and they never left — we still occasionally got to sleep until 7 or 7:30.

That’s all over now. Eli gets up with the sun, often at 5:45, or as I call it, “oh, c’mon, kid, we stayed up late watching episodes of Angel”. As soon as he’s up he wanders in and starts talking to Misty.

Even if we could convince him to stay in his room and play without coming and telling us that he’s going to stay in his room and play, we’d be foiled by his colon. Eli has taken to pooping every morning at 6:15. It’s like he’s only eating a mix of beans and bran cereal topped with Metamucil, when in fact he’s only devouring crackers and our patience. So every morning at 6:15 I get to wake up and help him.

Even that wouldn’t be so bad if we could keep him quiet. Liza often wakes up around 6:30, but if undisturbed will go back to sleep for a while. This morning, I heard Eli’s high, piping voice as he excitedly told Misty about Zack and Wiki or Word Girl. Over the monitor, I could hear Liza stirring. Please go back to sleep, I thought. Please go back to sleep.

Then Liza said, loudly and clearly, “hewwoooo!”

Hey, friends who aren’t parents, don’t you want to have kids now? I have two I could loan you.

Stephen Belatedly Gets Into Transformative Remixes

I’ve never listened to a lot of mashups. I appreciate a lot of vs. songs, like most of Party Ben’s, more than I enjoy them. That’s especially true of the Evolution Control Committee’s “Pwn Monkey”, which layers the vocals from Jonathan Coulton’s “Code Monkey” over thirty different songs, all chosen to match the vocals’ chord progressions. The song reminds me of constrained writing like a lipogram or a Yngwie Malmsteen solo: technically proficient but not a lot of fun. Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album would be much better if I enjoyed Jay-Z, and Sgt. Petsound’s Lonely Hearts Club Band left me cold.

Why, then, can I not stop listening to Girl Talk’s “Feed the Animals”? In a lot of ways it’s like “Pwn Monkey” in that it uses a tremendous number of samples and provides the cheap entertainment of “hey, I recognize that sample!” Yet in this case the songs make me happy as songs above and beyond any nostalgia encoded in them. Give a listen to “Hands in the Air” on Girl Talk’s MySpace page and see if you can sit still.

If you want mp3s of the album, Girl Talk will sell them to you for any price, including $0. So, really, why not give them a listen?

There’s Always Farther to Go

I’ve been editing videos for some three or four years now. When I look back at my early efforts, I can see how far I’ve come.

Then I see something like this and am reminded of what I have left to learn.

Watch especially how Jamin Winans cut setting up and tearing down the turntables, and how that sequence gets shorter and shorter, both because he can summarize what you’ve already seen and because it serves as a joke and indicator of the main character’s emotions.


Liza loves her some butterflies almost as much as our nephew Sam loves trucks. How much does Sam love trucks, you ask? When they get car inserts in their newspaper, Andrew or Joy has to sit with Sam and read the insert cover to cover many, many times and even after that, Sam saves it for reading later.

Liza never gets tired of pointing and shouting frantically, “Buh-Fie! Buh-Fie!” Taking her to the botanical garden butterfly house is like taking an addict to a dealer.

So after I made Eli’s robot I thought I’d attempt to make Liza a Buh-Fie.

Here are my supplies or I should say, prospective supplies. I radically paired down what I used after I started. The beautiful butterfly silhouette I adapted for this pattern can be found at Preschool Express Pattern Station.

Pinned pattern on two colors of pink and the body in black.

I had originally thought to do beading on the wings but it looked bad and I was afraid to give Liza so many beads to pull off and eat. Bad nutrition.

A change to felt dots worked much better.

Stuffed and getting attached to the body. I shouldn’t have segmented the wings like I did. If I had done each wing in a whole piece of felt, I think the whole butterfly would have been much more stable.

Liza admires the finished product. I took it in after her nap this afternoon and before I even handed it to her, she was shouting, “Buh-Fie!”

Liza still inspecting. She seemed to like the feel of the beads on its face.

The nice thing about the segmented wings is it flaps really nicely, which Liza discovers here.

Finished ‘fly.

My next project are some birds. Made with a sewing machine. Send the Gen-X police, Martha Stewart ate my brain.

Picture Week Continues! Now with Swimming Eli!

Yesterday was the end of Eli’s two weeks of swimming lessons. He completely loved it and I think he did pretty well for never having had any instruction whatsoever. The best part is he isn’t afraid of the water, which can only mean he’ll grow up to be an Olympic swimmer.