Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hong Kong, China

According to the text on the postcard, sent from Shane while on a business trip to China, this is "the world's longest combined road and rail suspension bridge". He describes Hong Kong as "really modern".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Bug update

I just realized that it's been a while since I've given an update on the Bug... So here are a few highlights at 13 months:

  • Seven teeth.
  • Walking. No, I mean running. Everywhere.
  • Eats like a monster. Except for fruit. Can't seem to expand beyond grapes and bananas.
  • Enjoys music and dancing, though exhibits a frustrating reluctance to do it on camera. (This has resulted in grand stretches of video of Mommy and Daddy trying to encourage on-screen dancing, which can only be described as utterly ridiculous.)
  • Follows/chases Buffy and Sirius everywhere. Buffy will not be caught. Tolerant Sirius is thus the recipient of many Bug hugs.
  • Loves to stack nesting toys.
  • Even better: removing tupperware from the cupboard and spreading it around the kitchen floor.
  • Really into putting things away (i.e., phones and clothes in drawers, phones and dishes in kitchen cupboards), though does a more thorough of getting things out (see 'tupperware' bullet above).
  • New fun activity: take an empty bucket down to the little park downstairs. Walk around collecting interesting things (rocks, flower petals, sticks, pine needles) into the bucket. Dump contents of bucket onto the ground. Repeat.
I think that parents always say this, but she is at a GREAT age right now - we have fun all the time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dr. Horrible is coming soon

Have I mentioned that I'm a big fan of Joss Whedon? Yeah, I am pretty sure that I have. In addition to his current involvement in the Buffy and Angel comics, he's working on a show called Dollhouse that will air on FOX this fall. And during the writers' strike a few months ago, he embarked on a new project with two of my favorite actors: Doogie Howser and Malcolm Reynolds. The project is called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and it's a musical that will debut online. I'm pretty psyched. The teaser trailer was released today.

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iron Man

Iron Man came out over a month ago, but I only just went to see it this weekend. It is unbelievably awesome! It just may be the best super hero movie ever... definitely up there with X-Men 2 and Batman Begins, and better than the first Spider-Man. When you go, make sure you stay through the credits - there is a hidden scene that you'll be disappointed to miss!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Upcoming Buffy comic

This won't mean a damn thing to most of you, but I absolutely cannot wait for the next Buffy comic arc: the Fray crossover!

Alive at five

I'd intended to write today about how Blues Traveler is either (a) totally awesome again, or (b) shockingly lame with skinny ole John Popper. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no clue. We took the Bug to downtown Stamford yesterday evening, to see Blues Traveler play as the first band in this year's Alive at Five concert series. We had an outside table with some friends at Bobby Valentine's sports bar, right across the street from the park where the concert was held. While we had a really nice time, and the Bug enjoyed flirting with everyone at the surrounding tables, we could not hear a thing. I'm not sure where you need to be to actually hear the band, but we were definitely not there. Alas! You'll have to get your 2008 Blues Traveler review elsewhere.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

McCain's economic policy

As much as I really hope he does not win the Presidential election, I do not hate John McCain. He has said and done things in his career that I do believe are smart and admirable. His economic policies, however, do not fall into that category.

McCain has been quite vocal in his support of standard Republican economic policy, including a variety of proposals to lower taxes. He's said he would abolish the alternative minimum tax, lower corporate taxes, and provide a simplified alternative calculation for individual income tax. It was with great interest, then, that I read David Leonhardt's piece about the recent report from the Tax Policy Center in the Times yesterday.

Suffice it to say, McCain's fine print and his bold rhetoric are inconsistent. He says one thing during a public speech, but the details paint an entirely different picture. His tax cuts would primarily benefit the very wealthy. He utilizes the same "sunset provisions" that Bush has used to mask the true long-term cost of his proposals. His policies would take our already unmanageable deficit to an entirely new level of irresponsibility. Please, read this article, check out the source documents, and come to your own conclusion about whether this is the kind of leader you'd like to see in the White House.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A wee power outage

We've had several brief but violent thundershowers in the past week or two. During the outbreak last night, we lost power for a couple of hours. As the Bug was going to bed, it started to get dark. We lit a bunch of candles, and it became quickly apparent how reliant we are on electricity! Joker and I ordered delivery (no cooking; we have electric appliances), and then practiced the luckily not-yet-forgotten Art of Conversation. When the electricity came back on, we turned all the lights off again, left the television off, and just enjoyed each other's company. What a pleasant evening!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Classic lit, one snippet at a time

I'm trying out a service called DailyLit, which has been around for about a year. They send a short, easily consumable segment of a book to your email each day, so that you can read it on your computer or PDA. I'm one of those people who still buys CDs because I like the cover art and having a physical CD, so I'm not sure how I'll feel about this. I like the feel of a book in my hands, and I like being able to flip back and find passages that I particularly enjoyed. On the other hand, there are discussion forums for you to chat online with other readers, which could be fun. Plus, even though I read more than the average person, it's no where near as much as I'd like. So until I finish my 51 installments of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the jury is still out. I'll let you know what I think.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Microwave instructions

I find it a little hard to believe, but a new blog-worthy sign appeared at work yesterday. This one was taped to the front of the microwave in our pantry.

I find the illustration of the microwave to be particularly helpful, in the event that you weren't quite sure to which appliance this sign applied. The list of metal items is also useful, although it excludes many metal items, such as golf clubs or dump trucks.

However, the message of the sign is what I find to be truly inspired. Are there really people who don't know that you shouldn't microwave metal? I actually remember the first time we used a microwave, to defrost strawberries at my Grandma D's house. We kept putting the strawberries on "defrost" for 1 or 2 seconds, opening the microwave cautiously, and temperature-testing the still-frozen strawberries. Even then, inexperienced as we clearly were, we knew that metal was taboo... and that was more than 25 years ago!

A little respect for poor Pluto

I have to admit that when Pluto lost its planet status in 2006, I was bummed. Learning the order of the planets in our solar system was a cornerstone of my early interest in science. I'd always loved Venus (dreamy) and Saturn (cool rings), kinda dug Neptune (blue), and really didn't think much about Pluto if truth be told. But it WAS a planet. And then, unceremoniously, it wasn't.

So a small thumbs up to the International Astronomical Union, which decreed on Wednesday that the term "plutoid" would now apply to dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune. There's only one other, Eris, for which I now coin the nickname "The Plutoid Formerly Known as Xena." Because that's what it is.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm gettin' old

Years ago I read in a Dave Barry column something to the effect of "one of life's universal truths is that once you're over the age of seven, no one else cares about your birthday." I reflect on the accuracy of that statement a couple of times of year, either when someone else is making a big hoo-ha out of their own birthday, or when it is mine. I don't personally get all worked up about my own birthday. Once you pass 30, it's not much of an event. I just hope to have a nice day, preferably with some wine. So thanks to all of you who sent a card, called or emailed to wish me a happy birthday. You made me smile. It really feels good to know that you're thinking of me!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hiking with the Bug

Since spending every Sunday on the golf course is really not in the cards for us these days, Joker and I had been talking about hiking as a way to get some weekend outdoor exercise while spending time with the Bug. To this end, we'd been looking forward to test driving the new hiking baby-pack we just received as a gift. So despite the temperatures soaring into the 90s this weekend, we went to nearby Devil's Den Preserve for our first family hike.

I'd highly recommend our pack: it is very substantial, but is surprisingly light. The Bug, however, tips the scales over 21 pounds... so Joker wore the pack. We hiked about 3 1/2 miles of the 20-mile trail system, and it was a great outing! The park is beautiful, and can provide a challenging enough hike for us to get a good workout. The trails wind through a beautiful hardwood forest, and we ended up near a picturesque little pond. The Bug was all grins with her high-up perspective on the world, and she even fell asleep near the end. We're definitely planning on more of these outings in the weekends to come!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Finally, a candidate

As everyone knows by now, Hillary Clinton's 2008 bid for the Presidency is over. I am disappointed, but as I stated before, I will energetically throw my support behind Obama. I actually find it a bit puzzling that McCain is even suggesting that Clinton's supporters should come to his side. While he is called a "maverick", all of his positions are either far right or moving in that direction. By contrast, Obama's positions are virtually identical to Clinton's. I am looking forward to the Democratic party uniting behind Obama, and allowing the debate to become one of substance rather than style. Reading the news today only reinforced the profound need we have for change. The Bush administration deliberately misled the public about the situation leading up to our invasion of Iraq; the unemployment rate had its largest spike in over 20 years last month... Can November come soon enough?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No more formula!

The Bug reached another milestone yesterday, one that brings far more joy to Joker and myself than it does to her. She switched over to milk!! No more mixing formula! Yippee!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Joining the NARAL Board

I just got word that I'm approved as a new board member for NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut. I have been looking forward to joining the board for a couple of reasons. My primary reason is that I have been committed to the pro-choice movement for a long time, but haven't done much more than send money. While that is admittedly important, I believe that committing time is more difficult than committing money, and I truly hope that my time will prove to be the more valuable to NARAL. An ancillary reason I'm looking forward to it is that I have not yet sat on the board of a non-profit, and I think that the experience will be quite beneficial to me. I look forward to learning how these boards work, and to understanding how my skills and experiences can be brought to bear. I hope that in time I can become more involved on this board, and that I will ultimately be in a position to join other boards that are interesting and worthwhile. My first meeting is in July; I am sure there will be more to report soon!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Officially a toddler

For the past week or so, the Bug's been trying to walk. She had even succeeded in walking, getting all the way across the room a couple of times. While this was far superior to the usual Step-Step-Splat that she'd been doing, I wouldn't have said that she "was walking" as recently as yesterday afternoon. But as of last night, she's walking. In a rather shocking development, which happened while we were doing a video chat with my parents, she went from having walked to actually walking. She can pick herself up in the middle of the floor, and head unaided in the direction of her own choosing. The Bug is on the move.