Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks for the congrats, who the hell are you?

So I got a call last night as I was driving to pick Kiernan up from daycare.

"I want Zatar Bread." the demanding plea came.

So after grabbing Kiernan, we drove up to the Lebanese place to buy spiced bread for the the twin-laden lady.

As I walked up to the cash, the owner/chef in the back called out "Hello there! Congratulations!"

"Thanks!" I auto-replied, then thought Do I know this guy?

The cashier bagged up my order and asked, rather excitedly, "Did you just have a baby?"

"No, we're expecting twins!" Does Lara secretly come here often? Would it have been mentioned while scouting store locations? That doesn't make sense...

"Oh, wow! I just found out I was pregnant and we get to go find out the details next week. Wow, twins. Are there twins in your wife's family?"

"Congratulations!" Does the owner shop at Lara's store? If so, how would he know who I am? "No, there aren't twins on either side, it just came out of nowhere."

"Oh..." she looked mildly panicked, "I hope I'm only having one... if it's twins it would be great, I'd be happy, but right now..."

"Yeah, it'll definitely be an experience!" He kind of looks like the guy who used to live in the house my grandmother rented... why would an Italian guy be running a Lebanese place? I suppose the local Vietnamese place is run by a Lebanese family, so maybe...

As my purchase was rung up, the owner came out and explained that when I had come in the door, the cashier had rushed to the cash so fast that he had assumed I was her husband, who she had mentioned was coming in for dinner. He congratulated me on the twins anyway.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Weekly Wednesday #37

Weekly Link
Nanotech clothing that doesn't get wet. It's the future of self-cleaning clothes! Which is awesome, really, because "it didn't survive an everyday washing machine cycle."

Weekly Image:
I never thought about it this way, but in retrospect it's kind of true...

(from Joe Loves Crappy Movies)

Weekly Kiernan:
Bundled up and strapped into his car seat, Kiernan called out "Daddy I'm a pirate!"
I glanced back to see he had pulled the ear flap of his winter hat over his eye. "Oh! Nice pirate!"
The next thing I heard was "Daddy I'm TWO pirates!" and sure enough, he now had each earpiece over an eye.

Weekly Drum Song:
Kiernan is okay with the first two Rilo Kiley CDs I own, but is entranced with the videos for songs from their third album, especially the following, for which he calls out the names of the animals the taxidermists are working on...

Weekly Workplace:
Conversations at lunch tend to begin asking how we're doing, pregnancy-wise, and soon morph into discussions of the TV show John and Kate Plus Eight...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I've implemented a comment system from IntenseDebate. You don't need an IntenseDebate account to sign in, you should be able to post using OpenID or anonymously... And you can respond to individual comments, whee!

All old comments are hidden until the IntenseDebate team fixes their comment importer. Let me know if there are any problems, and feel free to unlurk to test it out!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breakfast memories

Perkins, the breakfast-options-served-all-day family restaurant, used to have a menu item that I used to regularly order years ago, and I just don't know why it's gone.

French. Toasted. Cinnamon Rolls.

That's right, two cinnamon rolls, sliced edgewise, egg battered, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

After one of the slices, you couldn't wait for more.

After two, your belly felt almost full, but the taste drew you onward.

After the third, your stomach cried no more! no more! oh, wait, there's only one more? okay, that's not so bad! while your arteries screamed either in shock or joy.

After the fourth you swore you'd stick to the normal breakfasts next time, knowing full well that wasn't going to happen.

Okay, I can understand why it's gone from the Canadian menu, but I can't believe the US hasn't got them any longer... ah well, I guess I could always make my own next time we buy a dozen Cinnabons..

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yup, still having twins.

So Lara woke up this morning, came downstairs all groggy, and I said "So, should I meet you at the ultrasound today or at my mom's?"... she didn't fall for the attempt at "Yesterday was only a dream". She also didn't kill me, so that's a plus.

My coworker commented "Twins are just like having one baby, they just eat more!"

She's recently married.

With no kids.

Before I could blink, two women were out in the halls, a mother of two and a mother of four, screaming "Did I just hear you say...?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weekly Wednesday #36 continues...

Weekly Link:
More xmas gift ideas: Only $15K for an authentic 19th century vampire hunting kit. It really should include sunglasses for encountering Twilight Vampires during the day though...

Weekly Image: (updated)

Weekly Kiernan (aka Weekly New Drum Song):
I thought it would be too noisy for him, but Kiernan enjoyed the first few tracks off the now-defunct Toronto band, Controller Controller. Watch this video and imagine the guitar intro being echoed by hysterical giggling to get a sense of his reaction.

Weekly Workplace:
I walked into the Admin Coordinator's office to let her know I was back from the ultrasound appointment, and couldn't help blurting about the twins revelation. Then I was instructed to tell the receptionist, and the Committee Secretary, the latter of who is the "mom" of the entire office. No one was in the lunch room, of course, so I headed to the front desk. As I announced about it at reception, the news was overheard by one of the Research Associates (who was initially introduced to me with the nickname of "No Filter") who ran down the hall ahead of me, pushing into the boardroom where a Project Leads meeting was going on, yelled "Eric's having twins!", then ran into the offices next door yelling "Eric's having twins!". Luckily she missed one office (the one across from her own) so I was able to break the news myself to at least two people.

Weekly WTF:
What, another one? Well, it would be appropriate.

Weekly Wednesday #36

Weekly WTF:
Ultrasound Technician: "Congratulations, you're having twins!"

... :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oops, thanks for doubling me up, seeya!

So I plop $10 onto the virtual table for a cash game of Limit Omaha Poker, and in my first hand I win a big pot. I lose a small hand, then win another big hand, then win a small hand. It is then that I notice I have $20 after five minutes of play, which is strange for a 10¢/25¢ game. I double checked, and yes, I had accidentally sat down at a 50¢/$1 table, and the big hands I'd won weren't all that big in comparison. I quickly left the game before my luck spiraled downward.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Indie Rock Kiernan

When in the car, there is a high chance that music will be requested by Kiernan. Because there are two vehicles, the CDs he wants are always in the other car. Luckily, one CD is never moved, because it's not a kids' CD and it's not always the number one request.

Requested CDs:

A) "Baa Baa Blap Sheep?" - A CD of Farmyard songs that came with a book. I hate it because there are about 7 songs and each of them last about 2 minutes. One verse, one chorus, repeat chorus. That is, except for the Little Boy Blue song, which is sung mournfully by a soprano dude for about 64 minutes. At least I assume that's how long the song is because we always skip past it, and because who the hell fills a CD with 15 minutes of songs?! People who hate parents, that's who.

B) "Wiggles!" - This CD was given to Kiernan by a friend. Said friend is under 3 years old and so can get away with illegally burning the 47 tracks on it. Quite the improvement over the farm songs if it weren't for the fact the Kiernan requests specific songs by name and we have to remember what the song number is. (Henry the Octopus is #25!)

C) "Drum song!" AKA "Meeta Lane" AKA Daddy's Magneta Lane CD. This is a CD he'll listen all the way through, and then listen to it all the way through again. He's even picked up some of the lyrics, which is awesome when he starts singing along (except to mommy, who isn't fond of the band)... It's especially fun because he's been bopping along to their music since he was 11 months old (crappy sound quality courtesy my point n shoot camera):

So of course, today while I cleaned the shed he and mommy took a drive to Gramma and Grandpapa's, and when they returned mommy made him tell me all about how he loved the "NEW drum song daddy!" ... she's apparently countered my indie rock chicks with celtic music. I'll have to find a suitable rebuttal CD in the morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekly Wednesday #35

Weekly Link:
My wife wants a roomba vacuum for xmas... I think this would be much more useful.

Weekly Video:
I like finding obscure web series on youtube such as Life is Short. This three-part series is amusing, and also introduced me to the bizarre split-screen music videos of the tall blonde girl in the opening scene, Riki Lindholme, whose songs in the duo "Garfunkel and Oates" are HILARIOUS. Anyhoo, Life is short, also answering the question "Just what has Rory Gilmore been up to these days?":

Episode 2 is here
Episode 3 is here

Weekly Kiernan:
Insisting I sing along with Wiggles tunes is annoying, but what's worse is singing "Wiggle / and learn / dance to the rhythm of mu-u-sic" and being stopped by a temper-like screech of "NO DADDY! It's! AND! LOW!". And you know singing "and low" gets him going about how it's supposed to be "and learn." Ah, testing daddy's limits is fun...

Weekly Workplace:
In case you were wondering, in addition to the sunhat I received a pair of sunglasses, a beach bag and towel, and the CD "Enchanted Journey" from my coworkers. They were not waiting in my office first thing Monday morning as expected, but were instead brought downstairs by the entire staff, who hung around the door of my office about five minutes after I received notice that the latest edition of Ante Up Magazine was available for download, and about five minutes before I realized that Ante Up Magazine had finished downloading and popping up on my monitor sometime during the presentation of my "vacation gear".

Weekly WTF:
The average cellphone user (without a text messaging plan) pays 20 cents a message. The amount of data used to transfer such a message is the same, 160 characters, whether you fill the entire texting space or just send "ok". The cost of text messaging is about $1400 per megabyte. To put things into perspective, at that rate it would cost you just under $6000 to download a single MP3 to your phone.

Apparently a US Senator has written the major US carriers asking why their rates have increased by 100% in the past few years. Not only have they increased, but the price structures have increased similarly in competing cell companies, implying collusion. That's even less reason for me to ever want to send another text message...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thank you CBC!

I've been trying to explain to people how CNN's "3 dimensional holograms" during election night weren't actually holograms, but merely synchronized camera communication and chroma-keying, and that Wolf Blitzer was talking to empty space. For some reason people weren't getting it when I tried explaining that a hologram would mean Blitzer was looking at the person as we saw them and not at empty space...

Thankfully, CBC has written this article:
CNN's holograms not really holograms

They likely even added Star Wars effects, downgrading the quality of the HD camera feeds to make it look more like a hologram. Idiots.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Weekly Wednesday #34

Weekly Link:
Dork or Coolest Kid Ever?
(Highlight for answer: Huuuuuuuuge Dork.)

Weekly Video:
The scene: Disney Production Offices for "Kids Incorporated", circa mid-80s.
Music Director: Okay boss, I have a list of songs for approval here and-
Producer: Forget those. I've got your answer right here.
Music Director: Uh, okay..
Producer: That wholesome Sandy girl in Grease. Came out with that exercising song on the MTV a few years back.
Music Director: Olivia Newton J- Uh, wait, that song's not really abo-
Producer: It'll be great - get the kids on stage doing jumping jacks, lifting weights, really get the viewers at home off the couch.
Music Director: But the lyrics aren't ab-
Producer: Done! Let's get it wrapped by Tuesday. (pushing a button on his desk) Lydia, send in my next appointment. I'm in a firing mood.

Weekly Kiernan:

"Go to the next door now?"

Weekly Worst Halloween Candy:
Family's Best Potato Chips. (not to be confused with Family's Best Organic Chips)
Really, these are the best you can do? Well good luck with that, Family.

Weekly Workplace:
I'm in training all of next week, but since it is virtual I'll just be learning through shared desktops and teleconferencing. To let my coworkers know I'm not to be bothered while in training, I sent a mass email stating "You may ask what luxurious locale the Centre is sending me to in order to learn the ins and outs of Java Web Server Programming, and the answer to that is definitely fabulous and sun-soaked: my office."

Mass replies came my way reminding me not to forget my sunscreen... and yesterday I caught someone suspiciously sneaking a large straw sunhat away from view as I came around the corner. I wish I could sneak a a deck chair and margarita maker in here in an attempt to out-funny them when they inevitably break into my office after I leave for the weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Truth About Sterilization

The following excerpts are from Chapter 6 of The Manual of Hygiene - Father and Son by M.A. Horn.

(sadly, chapter 5, "The Age-Old Custom of Circumcision", was too fact-laden to wring any humour from it)

The Truth About Sterilization

(Ignore the lies you've been told up until now - M.A. Horn is here to set things straight for you!)

To the average layman, the subject of sterilization is one about which he knows little. It is surrounded with an aura of mystery, sounds very complicated and the average man is likely to dismiss it from his mind as something of no interest to him.

(Sterilization = no babies; verrrry mysterious. It's no wonder those stupid laymen can't grasp the concept!)

In a man, the operation is a minor on and it is practically painless. It takes only a short time, may be performed in a physician's office and requires no hospitalization. It is done under a local anaesthetic and is so simple and easily accomplished that the man need not remain away from his employment for a period longer than it takes to have the operation performed - a period of a half to one hour perhaps.

(A vasectomy has been described to me as similar to being kicked extremely hard in the crotch for 24 hours straight. But men in 1948 had been through a war, so I suppose they had to grin and bear it)

There is no stigma or humiliation attached to it. It is a protection to the person and to society - not a punishment - as many people suppose.

(Protection... from... whom exactly? Neighborhood bullies who point and laugh at your obvious sterility?)

In the matter of sterilization of the unfit, California has taken a decided lead over other states in its use - as a legal protective measure for the health and happiness of its citizens.

(...protecting them from...)

The Human Betterment Foundation was established in this state and on its statute books will be found many laws governing the sterilization of persons committed to its state institutions. The Foundation has made an intensive study of all the facts regarding sterilization.

(okay, protection from institutionalized people. Well, as long as all the facts are in order, way to go, California!)

California has sterilized thousands of persons in its various institutions and has enabled these persons to return to their homes and become useful citizens. The operation has prevented the breaking up of many homes and has saved many marriages. It has prevented the birth of children to those with bad hereditary traits, such as feeble mindedness, so that such children may not come into the world only to endanger other persons and to eventually become state charges.

(Wait wait wait California.. this sounds a little.. um... you know... wrong...)

It has been estimated that there are about 6,500,000 mentally deficient persons in the United States - that is persons with less than seventy percent of average intelligence. The Human Betterment Foundation has shown that this situation can not only be controlled, but that the number of mentally deficient as well as feeble-minded, can be greatly reduced over a period of years if the principle of eugenic sterilization is applied generally.

(oh my god... Bad Human Betterment Foundation... bad California! Bad!)

Sterilization receives the greatest amount of praise from those who have actually had the operation performed - the patients themselves. For it is patients, as well as their families, state officials, social workers and others, who best realize its great benefits to society.

Aside from the great good which has been accomplished by the sterilization of the feeble minded, of heads of families perpetually on public charity, of sexual delinquents, etc., the operation is becoming increasingly popular as a protection of happiness for normal people. As an instance let us take the hypothetical case of a man and wife in poor circumstances, with a family of perhaps eight or nine children. Due to lack of adequate finances or to the poor health of one parent or the other, this couple feels they should have no more children, both in justice to themselves and to their children.

(With 8 or 9 children, that one extra mouth to feed is such to a burden. Good thing they thought of slowing down on the childbearing before it was too late!)

In thousands of situations like this, instead of resorting to sterilization of the male, they have either abstained from marriage relations altogether - and so grew away from each other - or the wife has resorted to strong contraceptives, abortions even, and wrecked herself physically. In either case the home was eventually broken up and left one parent faced with the problem of rearing the children alone - often causing them to be public charges.

(M.A. Horn seems quite optimistic for once, so I'm sure this is a best case scenario.)

After World War II, during which mass sterilization was practiced by the Nazis, means whereby sterilized persons might again become fertile occupied the interest of the medical profession.

(Except in California. That sort of thing doesn't interest them at all.)

Recently, Dr. Vincent J. O'Conor of Northwestern University medical school, revealed that he had performed successful restorative operations on nine out of 14 patients who had been surgically sterilized. Questionnaires were sent to 1,240 recognized specialists, 750 of whom replied, disclosing that out of 420 operations, 239 were failures, 180 were successful and 31 were said to be successful in that the wives of the men became pregnant although the men operated upon were not examined after the operation.

(No comment...)