Sunday, February 26, 2006

Loving the 80's

Kristen over at Motherhood Uncensored was nice enough to rent some space out this past week, and she also promoted my blog, and sent some people over to this little corner. She also added the proviso that I complete some 80’s meme. I’m not even sure was meme is, but it has “me” in it twice, so it must be important.

From what I could determine, you were supposed to determine your 80’s likeness. I don’t know if that really exists for me, since my 80’s attire alternated between skinny ties, Hawaiian shirts, and sweatpants (that would be the college years).

Instead, I figured I would just grab an 80’s alter-ego, or at least an aspirational alter-ego.

Here’s the 80’s character I wish I was:

That’s right – Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. The only guy I know who could get away with wearing a t-shirt and a vest…on his day off from school. Also note those socks, I believe they’re argyle. I didn’t pick Ferris for his fashion choices, but for his mad skillz (as the kids say today). After all, who else can call in sick, get a whole town to rally around him (don’t forget the “Save Ferris” graffiti on the water tower), and still have time to take in a Cubs game.

Of course, in reality, I was more like another John Hughes character:

No, not Kelly LeBrock, Anthony Michael Hall. Unfortunately, not the Dead Zone “I have powers beyond your wildest dreams” AMH, but the geeky, Blues Fakin’, Weird Science makin’ AMH. Why AMH? He always seemed to think he was way cooler than we was, and there was little redemption for him throughout the whole movie (except, of course, towards the end).

There you go, Kristen. All in the name of finding my inner 80’s.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Miffy is a Communist!

I was watching Miffy the other day (just checking out what Sophie watches), and after seeing a few episodes, I came to the inevitable conclusion – Miffy is nothing more than a shill for communism! Before you laugh, let me explain:

In one episode, Miffy is speaking to her father – she would like to have a doghouse for her dog Snuffy. I guess Snuffy has been sleeping down in Miffy’s basement, and now needs a place of her own. To get this space built, father will need some wood. Miffy suggests visiting Boris Bear (even the name drips with symbolism). She says that Boris has a lot of wood, and should have plenty to spare for the Miffy family. Father agrees, saying it’s a good idea.

Miffy goes to visit Boris Bear, who not only is more than happy to give them all the lumber they need, free of charge, he also offers to cut the wood so that all they have to do is simply put it together. They take the wood home, build Snuffy’s house, and all is right with the world.

Put it all together – Boris (the Russian Bear) is happy to give away his lumber. After all, he follows the tenet that those with the greatest ability should provide for those with the greatest need. Who has a greater need than a rabbit without opposing thumbs?

In the next episode, Miffy needs a dollhouse for her doll. Once again, Boris is the source for their supplies. Once again, Boris is happy to provide them with all their needs without thought of any remuneration. This time, however, there is a wrinkle. Along the ride home, Miffy’s doll somehow gets thrown from the car and is lost in the deep dark forest. The forest where only the strongest survive; the forest of Capitalism.

What can they do? Is the doll lost forever? Will she become just another prol in the service of the bourgeoisie? Don’t worry, all is not lost. Snuffy, who is now a full-blown Marxist, leaps down, and runs off into the forest. He returns shortly with the doll, saving yet another soul from the evils of big industry.

Don’t believe me yet? A few minutes later, there is another scene, this time a little game that the narrator plays with Miffy and Poppy Pig. What is the name of the game? “The Same Game” – that’s right, the goal of the game is to have both players with the same number of items. If that doesn’t scream redistribution of wealth, I don’t know what does!

After watching this display of the New Social Order, I was amazed. How could this be shown on TV in the greatest capitalist nation on earth? I realized that it was being shown on the only kids channel without commercials, “Noggin”. How can television exist without any advertising? Impossible. Unless, of course, it’s yet another way to separate us from our capitalist roots.

My solution? I did what I had to do. Now Sophie only watches a steady diet of “Wall $treet Week” and CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. I think we can still save her.

UPDATE: Due to a request from the fine folks at Van Doorne (lawyers for Mr Miffy), I have removed the drawing of Miffy.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Sophie and I went out at the height of the blizzard this morning - two hearty souls going for a ride out in the snow. Well, Sophie got to ride, Dad just got to pull. We saw three people out there, and two were out with their dogs, so they weren't out by choice. The third had a couple cups of Dunkin Donuts, so I'll bet he wasn't out by choice either.

We started down by Main Street, and walked all the way to the Monument, and Sophie was a trooper.

Once we got to the top, though, it got a little tough. The wind really picked up by the Monument, and we had to turn around and head back home.

Sophie tried her best to stick it out, but once the wind whipped for a few minutes, she had enough. Of course, the walk home was not fun, since she pretty quickly went from being uncomfortable to downright upset.

But, we made it back, and just like all big adventures, it will grow until it becomes a quest that approaches the achievments of Edmund Hillary.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hacking is soooo 1983

There’s a newish website called “Parent Hacks”, which is dedicated to ways to make parenting easier. The nice thing about that site is that most of the ideas aren’t “big” ideas or changes you need to make to your life – they are small changes (or “hacks”) that can make all the difference.

In that vein, here are a few of our own “hacks”, based on over 800 days of experience:

  1. The Night Feeding/Beating: If you read a powdered formula canister, it’s easier to assemble stereo equipment than to make a bottle of formula. It requires boiling water twice, letting it cool, mixing, and feeding. We moved pretty quickly to the bottle warmer, which meant less boiling and mixing, but the warmer was incredibly sensitive. If you added 1 ml too much water, it turned a tepid bottle into a molten lava of formula, sending you back to the beginning. In addition, it usually takes about 30 seconds to a minute to heat up. In nighttime feeding baby screaming time, that’s about 25 years. The next answer was to use hot water from the tap (I’m sure that will cause some evil consequence), which reduced the risk of 3rd degree burns, but still took too much time. Finally, we hit upon the solution: A thermos, right next to the formula container, filled with water at just the right temperature. We would put that in the thermos right before bedtime, and when the call of duty came in the middle of the night, the water was nice and warm.

  2. Two hands for kids, none for lights: Betsy loves timers. Everything is on a timer. I think she would put me on one if she could. The benefit (which I have slowly realized) is that when you’re running around after two kids, the last thing that is watched is your electric bill.

  3. Diaper Chump: We have the Diaper Champ, which is the lowbrow version of the Diaper Genie. No need to buy sausage casing to wrap the diapers, but the stink level can get pretty high. Once Sophie started eating solids, the stink increased by a factor of 10. We now add an extra step when changing the diaper after #2: we shake the diaper a little into the toilet to get rid of any “solids” which can be removed. It has the additional benefit of teaching Sophie of where the “poo” ultimately goes – in the toilet. That has reduced the stink level by about 90%. Of course, if it’s a heinous/wet poo, the diaper goes into a HazMat bag and disposed of immediately.

Now it’s off to the Parent Hacks site, to see if there are any new ideas to make my life easier.

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