Mar 022014

I realized today that I’ve moved into the ranks of “decidedly adult.” As opposed to “can skirt by with self-identifying as ‘young adult’ ” or even “early 30s.” What caused me to realize this? It wasn’t turning 35; that happened a few weeks back. It wasn’t finding out I have another child on the way; that happened several weeks before that.

No, it was having a few minutes to do housework in peace, with D taking T out of the house for an hour or two to play elsewhere. And deciding to listen to some music. And recalling, well, I dig on Regina Spektor and, well, the boy decidedly does not (going so far as to attempt to smash the computer to get the piano and vocals to stop). And put on “Far.” Which I was thinking of as “Regina Spektor’s new album, which I’ve been meaning to listen to more.” When I discovered the damned thing is almost five years old, and Regina’s got at least one subsequent studio album. A subsequent studio album I actually bought back in 2012, and which I haven’t yet gotten around to listening to. Me = old.

 Posted by at 10:10 am
Feb 242014

I was discussing just how big Africa is with the wiff the other day, and how the standard map projections get proportions all wrong, making Africa appear to be roughly the size of, say, South America, which it is of course not (with Africa clocking in at over 30 million square kilometers and South America at under 18 million). And I was also thinking about how little land shows up in the Southern Hemisphere, and what portion of that land was African. You know, idle geography question. The sort that in my salad days I used to argue about incessantly and pointlessly with anyone who would engage. You know, for fun. And the sort that the Internet excels at answering before a lamb can manage to shake his tail twice, which has ruined my fun. Or changed it, at any rate.

However this question doesn’t appear to be easily answered through search engines. So I have to do some of my own calculations. Earth has just shy of 150 million square kilometers of land. Now, turning to possibly disreputable sources, apparently 32.71% of Earth’s land is found in the Southern Hemisphere. Which means approximately 49 million square kilometers of land is found in the Southern Hemisphere. Africa has, as noted before, north of 30 million square kilometers. And “approximately one third” is found in the Southern Hemisphere, so apparently we’ve got about 10 million square kilometers of Africa in the Southern Hemisphere. Which represents a little more than 20%.

Where’s the rest, you ask? About 90% of South America’s 17.8 million square kilometers (or approximately 16 million), all of Antarctica (clocking in a 14 million), and all of Australia (at 8.6 million). Which leaves less than a million square kilometers as yet unaccounted for. Chalk it up to various islands. [Although, oddly, the second-largest island in the world, New Guinea, as well as Timor and a number of other large islands, were already included in the Australian continental area. Australia really is pretty small, isn’t it?] Or parts of islands. Think Indonesia-occupied (wholly or partly) islands. Approximately half of Borneo (or 372K km^2) and half of Sumatra (237K) are located in the Southern, along with all of Java (139K), most of Sulawesi (160K), and a whole host of other, smaller islands. Or think New Zealand‘s island chain (268K). Or Fiji (18K). Or any other smallish South Pacific island.

Problem solved.

 Posted by at 10:22 am
Jan 192014

So I watched Frances Ha the other day. There’s something about Greta Gerwig that keeps making me go back to the well, even though her starring dramatic roles almost invariably leave me cold. I prefer my Greta as a supporting or ensemble player in genre pictures. Like in The House of the Devil or Baghead. I thought with Frances, perhaps she’d finally been offered the opportunity to make the film she wanted. After all, she’s got a writing credit.

Well, Frances isn’t a particularly good movie. Sort of a mid-period Woody Allen imitator, with a dash of Lena Dunham and Whit Stillman thrown in for good measure. It’s okay, and it’s definitely an improvement over her virtually unwatchable collaborations with Joe Swanberg (at least Hannah and Nights). But it still is at its core a non-Wes Anderson Noah Baumbach picture, which for me is always prone to disappointment.

Will I rush out to see any forthcoming GG features? Likely I’m just as cautious as I had been before, so no. But I can’t help thinking there’s a spark there that is really appealing. And if she would only get a more strong-armed agent, she might make better career choices overall.

 Posted by at 10:02 am
Jan 182014

Opened a bottle of white that came in a gift basket we received within the past month. Windwhistle moscato. Powerful nose, with asparagus and celery. A great deal of residual sugar. Virtually no flavor profile. D took a sip, made a “yuck” face, and said it reminded her of a wine her mother used to like. So I’m stuck finishing the bottle.

I can’t say I’d buy it, but it’s starting to grow on me. I started thinking that if someone just took this wine and made it sparkling, it might bear an uncanny resemblance to Cel-Ray. And would be at home in a Jewish delicatessen.

 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Jan 142014

I have a routine. Well, I attempt to have a routine, that usually falls apart sometime mid-morning, and sometime falls apart before I even wake up. One aspect of this routine involves a couple of cups of coffee–aside: why is it a cup of coffee, not a mug of coffee–to get the ol’ brain working. And to get the ol’ bowels moving. These cups of coffee are made at home with an old school Mr. Coffee drip machine. What happens, though, when I don’t quite get around to going to Freddy’s or TJ’s for beans? Well, I end up purchasing an espresso drink from Bar Francis.

What does all this have to do with Gavin Rossdale, the former front-man of the popular, if somewhat critically reviled, 90s British guitar band Bush? The not-brewed-at-home coffee doesn’t make an appearance until after I’m at work. A couple of hours after I wake. And well after I ordinarily see some movement downstairs. Absent the early-morning cuppa, I’m stuck with decidedly non-loose stool. And so I have to force it. Here comes Mr. Rossdale. His singing style (at least on the popular hits) seems to be motivated primarily by constipation, and so, at least for this limited purpose, acts as motivational singing.

So thank you, Mr. Rossdale. You’re not as tasty or pleasant as coffee, but you get the job done.

 Posted by at 6:25 am
Dec 222013

So I’ve probably read “Little Bear’s Little Boat” dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Partly because the boy seems to like it pretty well, partly because it’s not overlong or overshort for his age (20 months), and partly because I don’t want to set fire to my head at the thought of having to read it again. But I did notice something recently (on read number fifty or so): Big Bear chats with Otter at one point. But during that conversation, Otter appears to be eating saltwater shellfish. And appears to be a sea otter, not a river otter. So I ask: what in blazes is he doing in Huckleberry Lake?

 Posted by at 11:38 am
Dec 022013

When we went to Bellingham for Thanksgiving this year, we weren’t entirely certain the hosts–my aunt and uncle, who’s grandchildren are now between seven and seventeen years of age–would have much in the way of age appropriate toys for T. So we thought to bring some of T’s toys along for the ride. Only thing was, we were driving D’s Impreza, which isn’t exactly the largest vehicle in the world, and we had an assortment of other, somewhat more necessary things to bring along. Like a portable crib. And a booster seat. And my brother. So we had to be choosy.

[As it turns out, this was patently unnecessary, because somehow there was a collection of toddler-appropriate toys and books that had collected in my aunt and uncle's house over the years.]

D’s solution was to purchase a Fisher Price Little People bus. Which, it turns out, actually comes with batteries. Which made it quite a bit more annoying than I was hoping. But it seemed to occupy him pretty well for a few minutes. Success.

Thing is, when I hear the word “bus” now, my brain immediately starts playing 50 Cent’s “21 Questions.” As in, “could you love me on a bus?” Fucking earworm-recording motherfucker ruined another Thanksgiving. But it dovetailed nicely with the copy of “Green Eggs and Ham” we brought along.

 Posted by at 1:06 pm
Nov 252013

So one of T’s favorite books is Little Blue Truck. Which is all well and good, because it is a wonderful book with great cadence and lovely pictures. However. I’ve been bothered by its moral ever since we brought it into the house a year or so ago. Because on the surface it is met by Dump’s “now I see a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends” line. Yet there’s more going on than is apparent at first blush.

For the uninitiated, the book has title character moseying around an agrarian region, beeping in friendly tones to various animals. The animals respond in kind. They have a rapport. Then a dump truck comes along. And almost runs a duck off the road. Generally unpleasant fellow. But he gets stuck in the mud. Because in this particular rural region, they don’t have a robust transportation budget. So when Dump asks for help, none of the animals respond. Then Blue comes to the rescue. Because he’s a good-natured truck that gets along with animals, but he’s also willing to go above and beyond for strangers. At least ones that also happen to be fellow trucks.

Only thing is, Blue gets stuck as well. And he has enough of a relationship with the animals that when he calls for help, they come. The Horse, Goat, Sheep, Duck, Hen, Chick, Cow, and Pig all come and push. Only Blue isn’t just soliciting their assistance for himself–with whom the animals are presumably on friendly terms–but also to help Dump, who these animals already declined to assist. And moreover, these animals cannot get Blue and Dump out. Until the appearance of a particularly burly toad, who adds enough umph to get everyone out.

So here’s my issue: if Toad hadn’t come along, would the animals have tried to rescue Blue and abandoned Dump to his fate? Moreover, did Blue think he could get Dump unstuck when he entered the mud, or was he planning on soliciting assistance from the animals the whole time? I ask because this seems like a weird set-up, whereby Blue endears himself to a group of people to later exploit them into assisting, well, The Man (as represented by Dump). And although Dump does express gratitude, it is Blue that provides the “ride” reward.

One reading certainly concerns the benefits of teamwork and helping strangers, which is a good lesson. But another, more cynical reading concerns the ways in which exploitation occurs by way of consent. The powers-that-be, knowing they’ve screwed over most people sufficiently that a direct appeal will likely fall on deaf ears, instead utilize plants (or at least the few steadfast sympathetics) to act as go-betweens when assistance is required.

So fuck you Blue for conning your animal friends into helping Dump-the-asshole over their better judgment.

 Posted by at 5:01 am
Nov 232013

So for a few months, I’ve inexplicably had a mashup of “Look Down” from Les Miserables (where Gavroche talks about his unposh patch) and “Tip and Ty” (the 1840 campaign song that booted Martin Van Buren from the White House, as recorded in 2004 by they They Might Be Giants, where it failed to boot George W. Bush from the White House) running through my head. Anyone have any suggestions for booting the Whigs and the Beggars from my skull?

 Posted by at 5:10 pm
Nov 172013

So I’ve been down for approximately 19 months. How do I know? Because I tried to live blog my son’s life (born April 13 of 2012)…for about a week days…before, well, 1 & 1 and WordPress decided to discontinue support for MySQL 4. Well, that and papahood is time consuming.

Upshot is not only that I haven’t blogged for over a year, but I seem to have lost all my old posts. Anyone know if there’s a way of recovering from the Wayback Machine?

So, welcome back. And hopefully there’ll actually be some ongoing content in the coming days and months.

 Posted by at 9:46 pm