Archive for September, 2007

30 September, 2007

More from Oxford book of Gothic Tales (Chris Baldick, ed.)

It also seems to me, that a lot of these stories have to do with the wealthy. Were the authors trying to tell their readers that the rich have their own problems, and they are paranormal? Or was it simply that the rich were interesting, and to hook the reader, need to have a story about the rich. Much like today, the famous are interesting? Do authors try to change the world with their stories? (I think the question I’m asking is about sub-text…but it has been almost 20 years since I was in an English class.) Or, are they just telling a story? Or maybe these ghost stories are about the wealthy because they aren’t smart enough to leave. Let’s say you have a ghost in your cardboard shack. No problem, just go get some more cardboard and sticks. However, if there is a haunted room, in your castle…well, just wall off that particular room and tell your children to tell their children not to go in there. (I am reminded of the comedian that said something like, “you white folk are stupid. Take for instance ____ (horror movie), if a black family moved into a house, and then heard a voice saying “LEAVE” they would get the [bleep] out.”)

“The Vindictive Monk or the Fatal Ring” (1802) Isaac Crookenden

Lots of passive tense, the hero finds out he was adopted.
Key dialogue “If the had done their duty, and restrained, by due correction, the impetuosity of my natural temper, I should not have been a prey to those destructive passions of my nature, which have since acted as gourds to prick me forward down the slippery path of vice.” Did people actually talk like that? Do we want art to be realistic? Especially with dialogue? Hardly ever do we read the “uh’s” that so often punctuate speech.

And once again with this old style, the author writes, “But we must take leave of Calini a little while to look after the lovely persecuted Alexa.” When I read that I feel as if the writer is an infomerical narrator.

“The Astrologer’s Prediction or the Maniac’s Fate” (1826) anonymous

Boy, raised alone in a mansion, father went insane. Yes, that doesn’t sound like a good start to life. And then he gets told his terrible future. He doesn’t try to change his fate, perhaps he read enough Oedipus Rex to realize you can’t change fate. He just tries to forget about it, and goes on with his life.
Quote: “She was amiable, accomplished, and endowed with every requisite to ensure permanent felicity.” Awwww….sounds like MyBetterHalf. “Reginald was charmed with her beauty, and infatuated with the excelling qualities of her mind.” Awwww…sound like me. “He confessed his attachment, and was informed with a blush that the affection was mutual.” Alright now, the similarity is getting to creepy.

The twist…
Spoilers follow

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Henry Rollins on gaming

29 September, 2007

The other night I saw Mr. Henry Rollins ranting about gaming. He played a computer games once – and then said, “that was a waste of time.” He never to played again, but instead to “lived life.” He then insinuated insults at those who play Dungeons & Dragons, as using fantasy escapism. We like to call it “collaborative story telling – With MATH!!”

Rollins seems to think that playing games is not living life to the fullest. That instead of pretending to fight monsters, we should be doing something useful. Which brings me to, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. I mean, one person’s waste-of-time is another person’s relaxation, is another person’s enjoying life.

A co-worker told me, that when they were expecting their child, he removed all games from his computer, so that he would never say, “wait a minute Junior, Daddy’s playing a game.” I liked that. I removed Age Of Empires and Diablo. There’s plenty of proof that I can be easily distracted, I think Tetris was very helpful in me flunking out of college the first time.

Mr. Rollins seems to be one of the more intelligent members to come out of the punk rock community. I agree with him. One should live life. So I didn’t watch his show.

To his credit…he did end by saying “All things in moderation.”

“Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise – why destroy yourself? Do not be over wicked, and do not be a fool – why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”
Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 (NIV)

Paternity Leave day 5

29 September, 2007

I was very happy that the garbage man took away our trash. I was a bit worried that it was too heavy, still dealing with the garbage from a birthday party and a brother-in-law moving out. So I was singing “The trash, the traaaash, the trash got taken a-waaaay-ay” and the childrens enjoyed that song and smiled big for me. What Miss Squeaky doesn’t like is when I sustain a note for a long time, she got a very worried look, and was about to cry.

On the plus side, I wasn’t holding a baby, I didn’t scream profanity, and I didn’t step in a super-poopy diaper. On the minus side, only the childrens were witness my stepping in the trash can, ripping off a toe-nail, tripping and falling.

Hey, the mobiles that Kelita got for the childrens really work. They were fussy. On a lark I cranked the mobiles, and my childrens were relaxing to rotating bears & Brahm’s Lullaby.

They didn’t like Tummy Time today.

We went for a walk to the store. That was relaxing for them. They got lots of complements.

Worst part of day…was changing diapers…thought I heard Sophie-kitty, whom I hadn’t seen in a while and was worried she got locked in a closet. Went looking for Sophie. Couldn’t find her. Checked work email…you know, just in case Sophie went to my work to shuffle some paperwork for me. Heard Miss Squeaky cough and went to go check on her. Went into the bedroom. There was Mr. Grunty. Where was Miss Squeaky?!??!!! OMG did she fall on the floor? But she wasn’t on the floor or under the bed. OMG Sophie took Miss Squeaky!!!! Wait a minute…then I ran to living room. Yes, Miss Squeaky was in the swing where I put her before looking for Sophie. [slap forehead] I suspect this lesson is best learned now, than before they learn how to roll over, or move with any speed.

27 September, 2007

Time flies when you’re having fun. The first week is almost over. Sad.

Mr. Grunty ate breakfast while his mommy was pumping; good they got to hang out before she left.

Early this morning, we me, Mr. Grunty & Miss Squeaky took a nap. Miss Squeaky didn’t let me sleep for too long.

I should really learn. Do not lie underneath a baby, especially one that likes to drool, especially without a burp-towel. Yes, I got slimed. By a super-viscous, runny warm slime that seemed to be dropping on me in slow motion. That is until it hit my neck, and then it was very fluid and covered my chest in goo. Yup…happened twice this morning.

I wrapped up Miss Squeaky in a Velcro-powered baby wrap for her mid-day nap. And she slept for almost 2 hours. Usually she will take catnaps during the day. We’ll see how she does tonight.

I wonder if I am talking to them enough. My mom, when she’s here will constantly talk to them, describing everything that they can see, repeating why we do certain things, non-stop verbal stimulation. I’ve heard that babies need to hear 3 million words by their third year so they will be ready to learn the language. I forget my source. But I don’t talk to them nearly enough, I feel. Sometimes I do read journal articles to them. But I fall out of reading it like a children’s book, and kind of drone on.

I do sing to them a lot. I want my childrens to be musical. And by starting early with singing, I hope that they sing, and are comfortable with their voices, because I think half the battle of singing is having confidence. I make up silly songs with horrible melodies, or I’ll even leave out the words and sing bass-lines. The other day I was “singing” a drumbeat, and Miss Squeaky was very amused. (Oliver-kitty was not. We were disturbing his rest.)

Grammar Question:

I feel that “We will feed you” is way better than “we won’t let you starve.”
Why?
I think it’s because it’s shorter, and because affirmative is a better way to communicate. Also, I think some sort of psychologist type says that if you say a negative statement, they might not hear the “won’t” and will only focus on the action “starve.”
For some reason this has been bothering me, so, all you SportsFans that know a thing or two about communication…

Which is better:
“I’ll be faithful” or “I won’t cheat on you”?
“We won’t let them score” or “We will stop them”?
“Don’t hit your sibling” or “play nice”?

Yay! US Women’s Basketball destroyed Jamaica by 58 points in their second game of FIBA Americas Women’s Championship. What? Sue Bird had only two assists, and three turnovers! I had to find something to complain about…well besides I have to have stoopid NBATV to watch the game.

Finally…we are sorry to say that US Women’s Soccer has been booted from the world cup the Team Brazil.

Paternity Leave day 3

26 September, 2007

Hey sports fans! Hats off to USA women’s basketball for defeating Cuba in the first game of the FIBA Women’s Americas Championship. Sorry, I didn’t watch it, because it wasn’t broadcast on a channel I get!!! I can just see the market geniuses now…we can’t put it on our station, no one will watch it, and since it’s not on any station….ugh. Is it impossible to break a new sport into television? Wait…it’s not. NASCAR now makes money on TV. Grassroots campaign, networks see fans, smell the money…oh no, does this mean I’ll have to actually go to WNBA games? I don’t like to go out. I’m to curmudgeonly…crowds, costs, cars.

Today started at 4:45 AM, Mr. Grunty was hungry. He slept for a good while last night. Rumor has his mommy went to get him at 3AM, but I don’t remember it. After he was fed, and put back to sleep. Miss Squeaky woke up. After she was fed and put back to sleep, me & the Mrs had a nice 30 seconds of quality quiet time together before she left for work.

I contemplated going back to sleep, but didn’t know when my mom was gonna arrive, so instead I did dishes. It has been very great for my mom visiting on Wednesdays.

Today, on the mat, I saw Mr Grunty have a long conversation with a giraffe toy that was hanging above him. Miss Squeaky was playing catch and release with some plastic rings, and talking with a stuffed rhino. Once, she got the rhino in her mouth, but was not what she expected and screamed. Poor girl.

I got a chance to see them smile at each other. J

We went for a walk through the park.
I came home and fixed dinner.
I am currently, very sleepy.

25 September, 2007

When my wife left, Mr. Grunty was crying “Mommm!!”
At 6:45, no sleeping in for us, we started the food, diaper, burping…. except papa didn’t prep enough food. The childrens yelled at me for that mistake.

These days, Mr. Grunty is fascinated by his right fist. He’ll stare at it for a while, rotating it around. Then if he gets to excited, he forgets that he actually can control it and the fist goes flailing around. Another thing he does is he’ll rub his hands together, as if he has a cunning plan.

These days, Miss Squeaky chews on her hand. Sometimes she’ll try to chew on both hands at the same time. If a burp towel or blanket is handy, she’ll shove that in her mouth.

Mr. Grunty took more naptime today than Miss Squeaky.
We hardly had any tummy time.

Miss Squeaky was making strange screechy noises, I rushed over to see. She was having conversation with the dangling butterfly on the swing.

A friend from last year’s chemistry class visited.

I didn’t have dinner on the table when my better half showed up.

We all took a short walk (it is getting cold, and the parents were hungry), carrying the babies in “Bjorns”.

Warning…gross stuff follows.

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24 September, 2007

We woke up about 8:15…mommy had already left, and we went back to sleep. Mr. Grunty had a big smile on his face. Miss Squeaky was not happy and very fussy. Mr. Grunty didn’t even seem to mind when a flailing hand of Miss Squeaky smacked him in the face.

8:30 we got out of bed and went to play on the play mats. They were lying on their back for a while. Later I flipped them over for tummy-time. As some of you may know, there is a huge “back-to-sleep” campaign. Put babies on their backs for sleeping, and it has cut the incidence of SIDS in half. However, with such a reduction in SIDS – which is a fantastic thing – there have been a few other issues. There is more incidence of back of babies’ head being flat – thus more babies are wearing helmets to round out their skulls. And the babies are having a tougher time learning to crawl, because their shoulder & arm muscles aren’t getting the normal work out. Thus “Tummy Time” a supervised playtime when children are on their tummies, and hopefully lifting up their heads, and working out their arms. Well, Mr. Grunty was not happy with Tummy Time. And after a bit, he had convinced Miss Squeaky that Tummy Time wasn’t fun and she was fussing too. After a few minutes of fussing, Sophie-kitty went over to ‘vestigate, and see what all the ruckus was about. She sniffed their feet, deduced they were OK and left.

I am using a crock-pot today for some verde-pork concoction. Bitterkat suggests that slow cooking is good when you are very bu

9:30 I asked the childrens if they wanted (second) breakfast. Miss Squeaky raised an eyebrow and looked at her brother…. after I fed them, and burped them, and cleaned up spit-up, and changed diapers and put them down for a nap…I got some breakfast. Then I did the dishes, which I should have done last night.

Around 11 am they woke up. I asked which they would prefer, “the play-mat, the bouncy seat, the swing…” Miss Squeaky smiled at the swing. She likes the swing, because there is an orange plastic fish on there she likes to chat with. Mr. Grunty picked the mat.

About this time Sophie-kitty was following me around, meowing…I pet her a couple of times, but that wasn’t enough. Finally when she got my attention she plopped on her back so I could rub her tummy. (The kitties aren’t getting enough attention these days.)

I fixed myself a lunch, and finally got out of my PJs. By noon we were back to the feed-change diaper-burp routine.

Then they took a 90-minute nap. Well, Mr. Grunty could have gone a bit more, but I moved him to a bouncy seat to slowly wake him up. (Hey, it’s not as bad as it sounds; it only bounces when he bounces.) And I played guitar for them. They liked Blub’s “Not Picasso” and AC/DC “Thunderstruck”.

Here’s why I woke up my boy. These days, Miss Squeaky is usually sleeping through the night, around 10 hours. Mr. Grunty is waking up once or twice. Maybe it’s because he wakes himself up because he’s not swaddled. (We got this new Velcro wrap thing that seriously turns them into a mummy.) Maybe because he takes too long of naps during the day. Maybe because he’s not eating big enough before bed. Maybe he just not ready to sleep through the night. We don’t want to go through the Ferber method at this juncture, but maybe explore some options to encourage him to sleep for 8 hours at night. Ferber method, I think it is something like you train your child to sooth themselves back to sleep. Which entails a lot of agony for parents as the child screams during the first week of trying to get the parents attention. I think Ferber also believes “12 hours at 12 weeks”.

Which reminds me of a funny story. Last week, our boy was screaming, he was hungry and wanted food. This was 30 minutes before my alarm. Slowly I got up, fixed the boy a bottle, and by the time I got back, Mr. Grunty was peacefully asleep.

Well, by 3:15 they were back on the mat. We even had a bit of tummy time.
3:30 diapers & feeding.
Short naps for them, while I fixed dinner for my better half.

They were happy to see her, and told her all about the fun we had. And how slow papa was at getting food ready.

23 September, 2007

From the Oxford Book of Gothic Tales

The early gothic tales seem to have been like ghost stories, but a specific type as they seem to occur within castles, deal with sex, and evil clergy. A few of the early ones the author would write, as if he had heard the story from someone else. This I found annoying. It might have been a technique to let the reader know, that the author didn’t make up this outlandish tale, but he is only recording what the witnesses saw.

“Sir Betrand: A fragment” (1773) Anna Laetitia Aikin
Yes, a fragment…how about an incomplete story!

“The Poisoner of Montremos” (1791) Richard Cumberland
A tale of incest and murder.

“The Friar’s Tale” (1792) Anonymous
The author tells story, that he heard from a monk, that the monk heard at his abbey. Complete with “at this point, the monk had to attend to his duties” just to remind you that you are reading a story.

“Raymond: A fragment” (1799) ‘Juvenis’
Finally, a story in the third person.

“Parricide Punished” (1799) Anonymous
An eyewitness account of the confession form someone in chains that he saw in a castle.
Quote: “How, my friend, is it possible that humanity can produce wickedness so intolerable and unnatural.”

“The Ruins of the Abbey of Fritz-Marin” (1801) Anonymous
The first half of the story is guy gets creepy haunted castle. His servants are afraid. A while later his wife is wandering around, and finds this letter in a crypt…and the reading of the letter (complete with “Here many lines became defaced, as the ink had rotted through the vellum, and all traces of writing were totally lost in mildew and obscurity.” Or “Here again the papers were totally useless” Yup…they don’t write stories like they used to. Wow, that gimmick bothers me.)
Story about girl raised alone by father, with little contact with others.
Good quote, “Despair and horror now seized the suffering victim of bigotry and paternal tyranny.”

The twist.
It seems that short stories either a) paint a scene, b) hero learns something, or c) there is a twist. What follows are the twists. These could probably be guessed by an astute 21st century reader, which I’m not. I like to get caught up in the story, not figure out what is going to happen next. (Remember how grumpy I got when I correctly predicted what was going to happen on V-Mars?) I suspect these were all shockers when the came out.

Any way…spoilers follow.

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Talking

23 September, 2007

Miss Squeaky got me nervous the other day. I was in the other room and I swear I heard her say “uh-oh.” Mr. Grunty has learned how to cry out “mommmm” when he is angry/sad/crying/fussy/HUNGRY. It makes my better half so sad to hear him cry out for her by name.

Tomorrow is the first day of my paternity leave. I’ll be at home with the childrens until November 1st. I am excited about it, but as always, please remember us in your prayers. My boss asked if finances weren’t an issue if I would stay home with them, yes, probably would.

Today, while watching the football game, Mr G was leaning against me while I was slouching on the couch. He burped. He thought that was funny and giggled. Oh my goodness his laugh was so cute, that I laughed. That elicited more laughter from him, which in turn…his laugh is so wonderful sounding, it brought tears to my eyes.

A co-worker said it is important to listen to your children when they talk. He said that when his daughter first started school, the teacher pointed out that the girl expected adults to listen to her, as opposed to most children that either have to make a big scene for attention, or they don’t even try to talk to adults. The co-worker said as an example, once, when getting into the car, his daughter pointed out it wasn’t fair for her to sit in the back all alone. From that point on, either he or his wife would sit in the back with the daughter.
I suspect that most parents would say that they listen to their children, but, according to the teacher, most don’t. I wonder which camp I’ll fall into. Currently, it is fascinating and fantastic when they are talking. But, when they ask “why?” for the hundredth time…will I be so enthused?

18 September, 2007

That’s the advice someone from work told me. Unfortunately, I think he also told the children this advice. Why else were they both screaming at us from 3 AM – 5 AM Monday morning? Oh man, the next day at work was rough.

Maybe it was the day before we had a party, and that threw off their schedule. They didn’t get their normal afternoon nap, and then when the finally went to bed at bed time, they thought it was only a nap, and then when they woke up, they were ready to start the day.

OK, I’ve learned my lesson. Serves me right for making fun of parents that are sticklers for their children’s schedules.

Tonight, we have started the process of moving them to their own bedroom. They are quickly approaching the weight limit for the co-sleeper. Thirty pounds gives you plenty of time for one baby. But two, not so much. They’re out of the 4th trimester, so time for them to grow up and act their age.

The other day at work, found out someone is expecting twins. I hope that my response is always, “That’s fantastic, children are wonderful. One piece of advice, lift weights.” The advice of get sleep now, is not helpful for sleep cannot be stored. The comments of ‘your life is really gonna change’ and ‘you have no idea what you’re in for’, are kinda obvious and tainted with mean. I hope that my comments are uplifting. (If not, please tell me. ‘cuz I’m getting the feeling these days that I’m a poor communicator.)

This guitarist I found on YouTube.
I really like this solo.

AND congrats to US Women’s Soccer Team for winning group B and advancing to Quarterfinals of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. (No, I didn’t watch it.)

Only 8 days until the FIBA Women’s America’s Championship. Yay! more basketball!