Thursday, January 26, 2006

To call in sick,or not to call in sick, that is the question

I rarely call into work sick; since I started with my new company I have had ½ a sick day in the last 13 months.  There are a number of reasons for this. I would like to believe that I am more constitutionally fit than other co-workers, but the reality is as a working parent I am often required to miss work for the kids, whether that be because of Dr appt’s, school functions, or their own illnesses.   Another reason is that with kids that stay home, being sick at home is more work than being sick at work.

So as you might have guessed I am sick this week. Sinus cold, snotty nose, headache etc… For the first half of the week I have been coming into work, even though I wake in the morning feeling like death.  Why you may ask, because modern pharmaceuticals do wonders to mask the symptoms of a head cold.  Pseudo ephedrine hydrochloride is my new most favorite substance in the world; because it makes my icky head-stuffed feelings go away for a couple of hours.  Well that and I really like the buzz it gives me.

So here is the question I have been pondering this morning, mostly because I forgot the meds at home this morning and more poor melon cannot focus on anything work related.

If modern drugs can mask the symptoms of a head cold, at least enough to make you functional, should you take time off work anyways? Are you entitled to take that time off?

There is one argument that suggests staying at home would lessen the chance of you infecting co-workers.

The other is that if I feel good enough not to be laying around in bed I should be at work.

Yet a third is, if staying at home and resting will not improve things then I might as well come in to work.

I dunno what do you think?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Balancing Fun and Parent Time.

I feel much guilt.

How do you balance fun? Lately I have had the opportunity to spend some time doing fun things with Liam. First the hockey tourney, then the Sen’s game… and now we are having a Company Fun Day at a local ski hill. We are allowed to take our kids. The problem is I don’t think Aiden has the stamina to do a whole day event (I am not sure that Liam does either) including some lessons I was going to put him in.

And this does not even factor in the youngest.

So how do you balance the fact that one is older than the other, and is able to do more, but the younger seems to be getting the short end of the stick?

p.s. Yvonne is going to take Aiden and a friend to the 67’s game this Friday night.

Sex-Ed in Germany

One of the nice aspects of blogging as a family is that we are able to keep in contact with each other on a daily basis. With my sister and her family living in Germany we only get to spend time together a couple of times a year. Their blogs; sister’s blog or Brother in law’s blog give us glimpses into their daily lives. We also get to see a little bit about the culture and challenges of living in a foreign country.

For example takes this post by my Brother in law about sex-ed in Germany. Well I stumbled across this on the net and felt that maybe he had not captured the whole story.

For those of you at work these cartoon images may be considered Not Safe For Work (NSFW)

And now I present a German book on how babies are made.

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey

Can there ever be too much hockey? Why wait till mid-February for a 67’s game when we can head back to the Corel Centre, uhhm I mean ScotiaBank Place this weekend for the

Insert drum roll….

Senator’s Super Skills competition!!!

With the Winter Olympics this year causing a 2 week NHL suspension ,there will be no All-Star break and hence no All-Star Skills competition. The Senators decided to host their own, and surprisingly to be completely reasonable about the tickets. $7.50 per person. At that price we are hauling out the whole famn damily, and meeting Uncle P and his girls.

Mind you I bet by the time we are done we will be several hundred dollars in the whole. Add $7.00 hot dogs and $5.00 popcorn and three boys and well you get expensive. Oh that and the wife really wants to get the boys Sen’s jerseys, which are probably in the 80.00-100.00 range (we’re still discussing that).

p.s. I also managed to find some shots of how I want to landscape the backyard.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Girl's Guide to Geek Guys

This was shamelessly ripped from here. Though it is a guide for the capture of a geek, I think there is some good info on the care of a geek for any of you ladies who might already own one. I also noted that there is no section on the mating habits of the geek. Perhaps I will add that in myself at some later point.

A Girl's Guide to Geek Guys
By Mikki Halpin and Victoria Maat

So, your crush on the bass player from Vibrating Sandbox has finally died a whimpering death and you're wondering where to go from here. All the sinister dudes are either dating a series of interchangeable high-school riot girls in baby doll dresses and an overdose of manic panic, or permanently shacked up with some bitter old lady who pays all the bills. Which will it be, a wifely prison or a humiliating one night stand? Into this void of potential mates comes a man you may not have considered before, a man of substance, quietude and stability, a cerebral creature with a culture all his own. In short, a geek.

Why Geek Dudes Rule
They are generally available. Other women will tend not to steal them. They can fix things. Your parents will love them. They're smart.

Where The Geek Dude Lurks
While they are often into alternative music, geek dudes tend not to go to shows too often. Instead you'll find them hanging out with their friends, discussing the latest hardware revolution or perfecting their Bill Gates impressions. You know how some people wear t-shirts with their favorite bands on them, thus showing that they went to certain shows? Well, geek dudes wear t-shirts with the logos of different software companies on them, thus showing that they are up on the latest, um, releases. A small, though convivial, rivalry may be detected here amongst the geek dudes. Try wearing one yourself and see if he strikes up a conversation. Of course the best way to meet a geek dude is through the Internet. All geeks harbor a secret fantasy about meeting some girl in cyberspace, carrying on an e-mail romance in which he has the chance to combine an activity he is comfortable with, computing, with one he is very uncomfortable with, socializing. To many geek dudes, cyberdating is just an advanced form of some kind of video game, but they are frustrated by a lack of players. Their lack is your strength.

You might notice that these men harbor some strange ideas about how the world works and some particularly strange ideas about women. There is a reason for this. Because they've had limited interpersonal experience, geek dudes must look elsewhere for behavior models. Lacking a real world social milieu, geeks often go through a transference stage withsuch narratives, and try to model their interactions on them. Thus, certain media images and themes come to have an overly cathected, metaphorized reality to them, while the rest of us view such programming as mere entertainment. Case in point, our next topic...

The Trek factor
If you're not up on your Star Trek, you can forget about getting or keeping a geek dude. And I'm not just talking vintage-era Captain Kirk and Spock either. You've got to be up on your The Next Generation, your Deep Space Nine, your Babylon 5. Armed with your own knowledge of Federation policies, you can better gauge when and how to act. The sexual politics of Star Trek are pretty blunt: the men run the technology and the ship, and the women are caretakers (a doctor and a counselor). Note the sexual tensions on the bridge of the Enterprise: the women, in skin tight uniforms, and with luxuriant, flowing hair. The men, often balding, and sporting some sort of permanently attached computer auxiliary.This world metaphorizes the fantasies of the geek dude, who sees himself in the geeky - but - heroic male officers and who secretly desires a sexy, smart, Deanna or Bev to come along and deferentially accept him for who he is. If you are willing to accept that this is his starting point for reality, you are ready for a geek relationship.
(Editors note: Battle Star Galactica and Serenity are the new Star Trek! )

Once You've Nabbed Him
Of course, catching that geek guy is only half the battle. Keeping him by your side is another story altogether. I was privileged to speak with Miss Victoria Maat, who not only got herself a geek guy but was also clever enough to marry him just a few short months ago. She interrupted her newlywed bliss to give us a few tips on the care and feeding of a geek man: Geeks are sensitive and caring lovers and husbands. If you can hang with the techno-lifestyle, they make the best mates. They are the most attractive people, not flashy or hunky, but the kind who get cuter and more alluring over time (I told you she was a newlywed). Definitely give geeks a chance.

Geek Cuisine
Geeks tend towards packaged, junk foods since they prefer to work and think and aren't all that into cooking for themselves. Make sure that your geek understands that you are not merely a replicator, and provide him with home cooked food. A batch of chocolate chip cookies will let him know that you love him. You do have to monitor your geek for weight gain; however, remember that most of their days are spent sitting and staring at a monitor.

Geek Lifestyle
The geek dude has long work habits and tends to bring his work home with him. He seems permanently connected to his hard disk. You must at least appear interested in his work. Generally, a solid understanding of the computer is a must; if you cannot master this, you should at least be able to talk the talk. Remember most geeks are anal and they get stressed about details which appear insignificant. Be understanding, put on your best Deanna Troi face (see above) and empathize. To relax, geeks love to play the latest computer games. Let him play Myst or Chuck Yeager's Air Combat for hours if hewants to. Act concerned if he's stuck or has just been ambushed by three MiGs. My geek loves to try to help people on the Internet who say that they are stuck in Myst. He comes up with clever riddles instead of directing them point blank. Geeks also like to go to sci-fi and Japanese animated movies, again, a basically harmless vent for your man.
(Editors note: Myth and Chuck Yeager... how 90's, try BF2 and WoW right Jon... err random geek guy )

Geek Buddies

Many geeks extend their work friendships into what they jokingly refer to as RL (Real Life, also known as "that big room with the ceiling that is sometimes blue and sometimes black with little lights"). The greatest thing about your geek's buddies is that you can feel secure in setting them up with your girlfriends. They may feel awkward around females at first, so don't overwhelm them. In time they will come out of their shell and realize that you are into the same things they are.

Post-It Note
I thank Victoria for the above advice. I must say that when she read my draft of the piece, before writing her section, she asked her husband which one he thought she was more like, Deanna or Beverly. Howard, the devil, immediately replied that he had always thought Victoria was actually most like Ensign Ro Laren, a cute character with a slight authorityproblem who is always had trouble (this is fairly apt). This exchange is interesting for several reasons: 1.Howard had already thought about who she was most like. 2.He could summon up characters from seasons past with ease. 3.Victoria actually knew who he meant. 4.Folks, I think this marriage will last.

One Last Thing
Because they have been so abused and ignored by society, many geeks have gone underground. You may actually know some and just haven't noticed them. They often feel resentful, and misunderstood, and it is important to realize this as you grow closer to them. Don't ever try to force the issue, or make crazy demands that he choose between his computer and you. Remember, his computer has been there for him his whole life; you are a new interloper he hasn't quite grasped yet Geek dudes thrive on mystery and love challenges and intellectual puzzles. Don't you consider yourself one? Wouldn't youlike a little intellectual stimulation or your own? We thought so.

Big League

My boy's gonna play in the Big League
My boy's gonna turn some heads
My boy's gonna play in the Big League
My boy's gonna knock 'em dead
The Big League

-Tom Cochrane

Well ok he’s not going to play in the big leagues, but he did get to watch. What is the best way for a 7 year old to end an exhausting hockey weekend? With a trip to see the Ottawa Senators play a game of course.

My company was generous enough to give me some awesome 100 level tickets to the Sens vs. the Leafs last night. Liam and I went and had a blast. It was a good solid game, unlike Saturday night’s blowout, last night the Leafs actually showed up and decided to play a hockey game (sorry Grandpapa). I picked up a Senators pennant for Liam and he spent the night screaming and waving it and getting into good-natured “discussions” with the “elderly Grandfather” beside him, who was decked out in full Leaf swag. I taught him that every time the Leaf’s fans started with “Go Leafs Go”, to reply with “Golf, Leafs, Golf”.

By mid-second period the effects of his weekend were starting to show and his head kept leaning up against my arm, however the lights, sounds and screams of the fans kept pumping him up every time he started to loose the fight.

By the time we pulled into the driveway he was sound asleep and I had to wrestle my young bull moose out of the car and up the stair. That boy is starting to get too big to haul around. It is not that I can’t carry the weight, but all those dangling legs and arms get caught on things.

This morning I let him sleep in as long as I could then I had to prod him awake, He was still very tired but managed to be good-natured about it.

Next on the list we have an Ottawa 67’s game coming up. Though Liam will be attending I am focusing this one on Aiden having some “dad time”.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Road Trip-extended report

In Metropolitan area, like Ottawa, hockey teams are divided into 3 categories. A, B and C.  Generally the A level is the competitive level, B is considered house league and C is a developmental level.  This is easy to accomplish in larger area because they have a population base of players to support the different levels.  In the Nepean Minor Hockey Association there are at least 20 Novice teams. 6 A, 8 B and 6 C.

In smaller communities there is not as a large a base of players so they often only have 1 level.  This was the case at the Petawawa tournament.  The local teams were slotted as B level teams, in reality they were equivalent to the Nepean A level teams, and in some cases an AA level competitive team.  In other words the local rural teams out-classed all the metropolitan teams.  There were some amazingly skilled players out of the Pembroke/Petawawa clubs. Keep the name Turner In the back of your mind for the next 10 years.  I will guarantee that at some point on the future you will see that name at the OHL and maybe the NHL level. This 8-year-old kid was a natural hockey player and showed a level of talent I have never scene before.

Now as to the weekend itself.  Liam and I were originally scheduled to drive up the Saturday morning for the first game, but with the forecast calling for snow the Friday night/Sat morning we went up a night early.  Boy am I ever glad we did because the snow hit hard.  As it turned out many other players and families came up Friday night as well.  They boys all congregated at the hotel pool on Friday night. They went from the pool to the hot tub to the ping-pong table and back.  At one point all 8 of them were crowded into the hot tub playing a symphony using armpits and other bodily parts as musical instruments.  The howls of laughter as each one took turns elevating the skill of armpit farts into a fine art was well worth the price of admission.  It was 10:00 pm before we got the boys rounded up and settled into bed.

Saturday started with an 8:00 am game; we returned back to the hotel for more swimming and some hot Nintendo Game Cube action in the coach’s room.  After our afternoon game we all went over to East Side Mario’s for a team dinner (30 of us) and to watch the Senators pummel the Maple Leafs. One of the dads is a die-hard Leafs fan and was decked out in his full fan outfit.  At one point he went over to the kids table to talk to his son, the boys seeing his outfit started booing and jeering him so loudly that he could not get a word in edgewise, he retreated with his tail between his legs. The restaurant manager actually had to come over and quiet the boys (we later found out he was a Leafs fan as well).  After dinner we went back to the hotel for more swimming.

Sunday we started the day with another 8:00 am game, since we were playing the game at the arena located on CFB Petawawa base, we headed over to the “Army Mess” hall for breakfast. Driving through the base the boys were pumped by the vehicles in the Mechanized Brigade Compound and the “army guys” eating breakfast in the mess hall.

By the time I got Liam home last night, he was about as exhausted as I have ever seen him before, but exhausted in a good way.   And even though I was “well behaved” over the weekend I came home exhausted as well.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Road Trip: End Results

I will follow this up with a full post later explaning the results and the whys, but for them moment a quick recap.

The boys got pummeled, trounced, pounded, slammed, abused, beaten and stomped. All 3 games were blow outs.

On the plus side, I have never seen a pack of 15 seven year old boys have as much fun or be as exhausted at the end of a weekend.

Maybe there is some truth to the story, Winning isn't everything.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Turned my Back and Walked Out

You know what, I was finished with you. You had changed, maybe I had changed, I don’t know what it was but the last couple of times it did nothing for me. In fact it was more an annoyance than anything else. After a while I actively started to avoid you.

But Dani had to keep talking about you. She kept reminding me of all the good times we had together. So I got curious about what you were up to. I wanted to see how you were doing.

I looked in on you and in just under 3 minutes you had me again. I still love you Gordie

The New Maybe
The Tragically Hip-Yer Favorites

You could write, you could think, you could have sex
You could leave your jewelry in a bowl beside the bed
Stare out the window, down the lawn, to the lake
For as long as it takes

Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe, love is the new maybe

I know what winter's about
Too many nights, not enough days
I watched the birds fly south
And no, I don't wait
The last words out of my mouth
Stay out of my way
And I'm in a wrong place

Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe it's the things we don't say
Maybe, love is the new maybe
Maybe, love is the new maybe
Maybe, love is the new maybe

It has been a very long time since I heard a Hip song for the first time and just loved it. There has been nothing from the last 2 albums that I can honestly say that I liked. Even the couple of albums previous had required a little “listening to” before I acquired a taste for it. This new song, include as a bonus track to the Hipeponymous boxed set, is awesome.

And for the record, Dani I blame you fully and completely for this. If you had not gone on and on about it on your blog I could have stayed away from it.

Road Trip!

The plan was supposed to be that we would get up Saturday morning around 5:30 am and hit the road, but Mother Nature has decided to get pissy and dump 1- 15cm of snow overnight.  Like I am going to try driving in that at 5:30 in the morning.  Instead Liam and I are going to pack out bags and hit the road tonight.  

Booyeah we’re heading to Liam’s first out of town Hockey Tourney.  Look out Petawawa here we come, hide your women and X-Box games cause the Robinson men are hitting the town.  

The Tournament starts for the Nepean Ice Wolves tomorrow morning at 8:30 am.  We have already arranged for the cd player and a copy of AC/DC Thunderstruck to be in the dressing room.  I have been practicing my wolf howl and cheers.  If I can rummage up a cowbell I will take that along as well.  

I am also going to bring a good book for that 9:00 –11:00 pm quiet time while I am sitting in the hotel room watching Liam sleep.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

If a man protests

And nobody is around to hear him is it still a protest?

My wife and I have the same discussion about every 4-5 years; funny how it comes up at election time. I am of the opinion that there is no real fundamental difference between the political parties in Canada. Regardless of the election platforms and the political rhetoric they spew, the reality of the situation is that running a country requires some fundamental processes, and these are handled by the bureaucrats. Above and beyond that minority groups, financially powered corporate lobby groups and good old-fashioned patronage rule the day. For the average Joe Shmuck like me, do you really think the liberals are that different from the Conservatives.

Earlier today Y and I were discussing whom we should vote for. I replied that I was going to protest the lack of an honest party and real leadership by spoiling my ballot. Her reply was “Why waste your time by even going?”

I have always felt that if I did spoil my ballot it would be a protest sign that I did not favour the current crop of politicians, Yvonne’s claim is that nobody cares if the ballot was spoiled and it is not a protest of any measure.

I think she may have a point there. Of course I feel that not voting is a worse crime than spoiling a ballot, so how do you not-vote and vote at the same time?

Gifts From the Past

I had already started the day and left Liam to his own devices in the shower.  One of the perks of having an almost 8 year old, they can sanitize their own crevices.  I went downstairs and started the morning ritual of making coffee, packing lunches and tidying up left over laundry an over-night dishes.

After a while I noticed that the shower had stopped and it was very, very quiet upstairs. In fact it was so quiet that my parental spidey senses started to tingle. I trudged upstairs to find Liam sitting naked on his bed reading; and it was not just any book.

As my wife will attest I am something of a book packrat, and unlike her, routinely re-read my books. Once purchased a book is held on to for all time.  It is my goal in life that at some point I will own a proper den with walls completely covered with shelf upon shelf of books.  I have managed to hold onto a collection of books that I owned and cherished as a child. These books spent a number of years boxed under my mother’s stairs, and then eventually moved into my basement.  It was only about a year ago that I unpacked them and set them up in Liam’s room.  

They sat there for almost 18 months.  I have tried several times to try and interest Liam in having me read them to him but he declined. I tried never to push them on him (very much), but have mentioned them on occasion.  To me these books were not just good literature, but the ability to re-live a part of my childhood vicariously through Liam.  The earliest memories of reading start with these books.  My mind awakened to the vast possibilities of reading, to the immense worlds of imagination that would mentally fuel me for decades to come.

As I walked into Liam’s room he looked up from the book and asked if he could bring it to school for reading time. The book he was holding: The Hardy Boys book 1 The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon.

To my Aunt Sue,
     Though the years have caused us to drift apart and I do not make the effort to keep in touch like I should. I want to thank you for that first book.  I understand that my love of literature began in my mother’s lap, but at some point your gift of that first Hardy Boy book, my first copy of the Hobbit and my initial foray into Dungeons and Dragons was the breath of wind that ignited my literary spark into the passionate flame it is today.

And now your gift of so many years ago has now been handed off to a new generation.



Monday, January 16, 2006

Pavlovian Conditioning Failure

As a younger man in University I took an introductory psychology course. As part of the lab requirements for the course we did an experiment to prove or disprove Pavlov’s conditioning theory. The experiment consisted in shocking a mealworm to cause it to curl into a fetal-esque position while at the same time turning on a bright light source. The theory was that doing this enough times would cause the mealworm to shrink back in terror when just the light was turned on. As it turned out my lab slot was at the end of the day, and while my mealworm was still alive, having spent a day being exposed to electrical currents and first-year students, he was not prepared to be conditioned into doing anything. Perhaps it was the first case of mealworm electro-shock lobotomy. My final synopsis of the experiment suggested that the mealworm had been over-stimulated. Perhaps I should have examined the possibility of fatigue.

Last Saturday we had a diner party at our house, as a result I did not crawl into bed till midnight. I woke up at 5:15am to take Liam to a hockey game the following morning. To say the least I was a little tired Sunday afternoon. This will be known as The Official Excuse.

It was then, in a sleep-deprived haze that I decided to make some chili for the week. As I was chopping the vegetables with my butcher knife (a knife I have owned for at least 15 years)

I managed to cut myself. It was just a little cut, more of a knick than anything else. It was the manner that I cut myself that is pertinent; see after I scooped the red peppers into the pot I ran my hand down the side of the blade to scrape of the extra clingy bits. No not the knife’s edge, just the sides. Something I might add I do quite often without cutting myself. This time I was not so lucky.

I then moved onto chopping the onions, scoop them up, drop them in the pot, and clean the blade using the technique mentioned above. This time I sliced my finger open, not deep enough for stitches, but deep enough to make me look twice.

Having just cut my fingers twice in a span of 5 minutes my wife very concerned that perhaps I am too tired to wield a knife she should finish making the chili.

HA!!!!, chili is my specialty, so I decline and continue cooking, at this point, informs me that I am an idiot.

I finish bandaging my fingers and back to the pot I go. I look down and see a bit of blood on the knife and so I wipe it off with my hand, by running it down the blade, cut 3. I really tried to keep this one to myself, it’s not like she could see what I had done, but the sharp in-take of breath, and the sudden clasp of the hand was enough to clue her in. Again I decline her stronger suggestions that she take over, to which she replies that my “stupid stubborn attitude is starting to really frustrate her”. I am not being stubborn; I just want to finish my job.

By now, the chili is done and on the stove simmering and I start to clean up. I take up the butcher knife to wash it. No sense in cluttering up the dishwasher since I had a few items I am going to wash by hand. I put the knife in the water and then grab some soap…. (can you guess) , slide my finger down the blade to clean it and… voila, cut number four.

Four cuts to two fingers in the span of 30 minutes. Apparently Pavlovian conditioning does not work for everyone, or perhaps I just needed someone to ring a bell every time I cut myself. Idiot

Friday, January 13, 2006

Reality Shattered

Just when I was floating on cload nine basking in the glory of the coolness that only Larry( I can call him that because we are so hip) and I can share. I get this email from my wife.

"I cannot believe that you posted that shot. It grosses me right out."


I am sooo cool, Morpheus cool

My good friend Dani mentioned on her blog a site called my Heritage that allows you to upload a picture of yourself. It then matches you against famous celebrities to see who you most look like.

Dani was very pumped to see that her highest match was 54% with Isabella Rossellini.

I decided to take a crack at that and I am proud to announce my first match came back with Laurence Fishburne (65%).

Of course it was followed up with Vladimir Lenin(62%), Chet Baker(58%), Albert Einstein(45%).

Of course I must admit that I did it in Garrad-Stlye.

Here was the pic I used.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Technology part 3

After I get my new Dell 20.1 inch wide screen LCD, this is next on the list....

Sexy little keyboard

But really is it all that special? Oh yeah, each key can have a programmable image attached to it.

Imagine this tweaked for World of Warcraft. Each button a custom image associated with the attack that I am going to execute.

I think I will go and spend some quiet time alone with these pictures while I ponder the February 1st release date

A Tale of Married Gamers

Playing video games, especially Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) is a time consuming pastime.  First it takes a certain commitment of time to advance in the game. Secondly having a guild of friends that relies on your presence in game to help them advance also requires time commitments.

When a good friend of mine first convinced me to start playing these games a number of years ago there were some discussions between my wife and I about the amount of time played.

My greatest gaming moment came when I convinced here to join me in the epic battles of Dark Age of Camelot.  From there things only got better as we spent quality time hunting and defeating the forces of evil.

For a while after the birth of child 3, she had backed out of the games, but in the last year she has rejoined me with full enthusiasm.  Things were balanced in the force and we moved forward in the golden state of marital bliss.

Or so I thought.  Sadly in recent months things have not gone as I expected.  Please note, this is her singing to me.

Married Gamers

Monday, January 09, 2006

Battle of the Sexes

Music.  My wife and I have very different tastes in music.  She calls me a hard rocker and I call her a WUSS.  I like my music to have, at the very least, a guitar, a set of drums and a nice bass. She likes her music developed on a keyboard and performed by gang-criminals with a Dr. Seussian vocabulary.  In all the years that we were together it never really bothered us all that much.  She listened to her stuff; I listened to my stuff and the only cross-over came when some scantily clad female wiggled some skin on MTV.

That was until we had children.

Then a very quiet, very silent began.  I was determined that my big strong strapping boys would not grow up to the sounds of generic boy band x. Blessed with my sense of rhythm I figured there was no future in them listening to dance music.  While my wife was a stay at home mom, she plied them with 80‘s dance music, daily disco parties in the living room.  I tried to balance that was some solid rock.

Early on I lost quite a few battles, the war looked to be a lost cause…  and then some-where along the line St Jimmy stepped in.  I am not sure what prompted it, but I have a vague recollection of Liam having a discussion at school about who was the best guitarist.  Later that day he asked me and I rhymed off a few.  Peter Frampton I told him can make his guitar talk, Eric Clapton can make his cry, but perhaps the best might be Jimmy Hendrix.  And thus the war turned.  A small victory came when a “Best of Jimmy Hendrix” cd was found in the bargain bin and made it’s way into the house, before long Purple Haze was a daily requirement. It moved from there to Nickleback, some Greenday.

While I had some victories, the war was not complete as the Rick Astley still garnered some playtime for dancing.  It was not until the earlier morning of a hockey tournament that my victory was assured.  The boys, who were still trying to sleep in the dressing room as parents struggled to get them dressed, were blasted into wide eyed wonder when a father walked into the room, ghetto blaster on shoulder, Quiet Riot blasting a full volume.

We’re not going to take it, no we ain’t going to take it

Soon it moved to Thunfderstruck by AC/DC.  I wept in joy as Liam’s head started to rock back and forth.

Yesterday we went out on a family outing. After loading all the boys into the van, I handed Liam the MP3 fm broadcaster and showed him how to plug it in.  He set it all up, we tuned into the station and he selected a song on his MP3 player.  

And the guitar started, Angus Young of AC/DC started his vocals and “Back in Black” started blaring from my suburban mini-van.

I glanced in the rear view window to see the eyes of my 2-year-old glaze up as he started to rock his head back and forth.  The 2 big boys in the rear seats started wail on air guitars, and my wife. Well he just rolled her eyes and started to whimper.

I have won mwaaa haaaa haaaa.

(not that our parenting is a competition or anything… really  it’s not )

Friday, January 06, 2006

20 minute Ice Cream Headache

In the category of “Things not to try and do in your lifetime”.

At lunch today I was chewing on some ice from my Diet Coke.  I tried talking at the same time and the ice cube slipped down the back of my throat. I figured rather than trying to choke it back up in a public place and possible take the chance of asphyxiating I would swallow it.

However I think it got lodged in my esophagus.  

Do you know you can get ice cream headaches from ice cubes lodged in your throat? Do you know that these tend to be even more severe than a traditional ice cream headache?  
Do you know it takes between 15-20 minutes for an ice cube lodged in your esophagus to melt?


Technology Part 2

In and around Christmas my sister and I were talking about MP3 players. She had mentioned how she had wanted one, and how she also wanted the FM broadcast attachment. I had never heard of such a beast before so I asked here what is was.
It seems you can buy a doo-hickey that attaches to your MP3 player and broadcasts the music on a low power FM frequency. You can then tune any FM radio into that frequency and hear the music.

I thought that was kinda cool and wanted to see if the MP3 player I had bought for my wife had such an accessory available. A few clicks later and there I am at the web page looking at this.

This version allows you to stream the music to your car radio, which makes sense since in Canada it is illegal to drive with headphones on. I also noted that the website was having a boxing week sale and the accessories were all 60% off making it about $20.00 to buy. What a deal… clickety-click Internet trick and the purchase was on the way. I figured it would make a nice anniversary/valentines day/I love you gift at some time in the future.

What I didn’t count on was for someone to open the package before I got home last Tuesday, even though it was clearly addressed to me :-(

Since it was no longer a surprise gift I decide to test it this morning. It is way cool. It was dirt-simple to use and worked flawlessly out of the box.

I am really impressed. I dial the frequency I want up on the transmitter, match it on the radio, hit play and badda-boom instant streaming audio.

Technology rocks.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Lust, Consumerism and Electronics

Lately I have become obsessed with acquiring more technology; little home electronic devices to make my life more enjoyable.  Actually I think I am just more interested in spending money.  Maybe spending is an addiction, and having spent before Christmas I am still on a spending high.

The unfortunate part about me spending is that both the wife and I are trying to have 2006 be the year the mortgage disappears.  This is very ambitious for us, while technically possible I am not sure it is feasible, but we are going to make a dedicated effort to beat it to a pulp. We have also talked about having a pool installed in the next year or two; a pool that comes with a landscaped back yard and a lovely interlocked patio. This is something we will not borrow for, but rather save until we can pay cash for it.

So spending money and our goals for the year are contradictory. This does not mean I cannot dream about it.  So here is my list of expenditures I would make in 2006 if I had unlimited money

1) DELL 20.1-inch wide screen LCD
Of all the things I want my new Dell LCD is still on the top of the list. Technically I have a beautiful high quality 19 inch CRT at home. There is nothing wrong with it and replacing it is not required. I do have to say the widescreen LCD is a sexy as hell.  It usually retails in the 750.00 range, but over the Christmas holiday it is around $500 – $550.00. I have even considered just ordering and facing the wrath at home later.  How long can she really stay mad at me?

2) PVR
For some reason I have become obsessed with the Idea of owning a Personal Video Recorder.  The weirdest part, I don’t even watch TV more than and hour or 2 a week. I would not use this and my technology-angsty wife would never use it.

3) Digital Receiver and TV
With Santa bringing the boys an Xbox for Christmas this year, I have officially run out of component inputs on my Digital Receiver. If you can believe this I have to run the Xbox through the component input on the VCR and then pipe it into the receiver. How archaic is that.  Besides our existing digital receiver does not support High Def and the Xbox does.  Of course does one really need to play Lego Star Wars in hi-def?

4) MP3 Player
I blame this on my brother-in-law. In the days before Christmas he became a little obsessed dropping hints about wanting a new I-Pod.  Based on his idea I picked up a low-end mp3 player for my eldest son and a better one for my wife.  Now I don’t have one and I would like one; not just any one but a nice shiny 30gig iPod.  Mind you I sit at my computer desk at work all day. All my music is already in mp3 format on my computer, and I have headphones… so the mp3player is for what?

5) Computer upgrade part 1
My wife’s home PC just does not cut the mustard anymore. It needs to be upgraded. She refuses to accept my old one, so she really needs a new one of her own.

6) Computer upgrade part 2.
All my gaming friends are updating their video cards.  This is making me twitchy.  My system could use another gig of ram; it could also use a new high end AGP video card so that I can run 3 million polygons at 60 frames per second. Really I need that.

7) Satellite or digital TV.
Yeah like I need 182 channels to watch 2 hours of TV a week.

So much lust for things I don’t need.  I think I will just concentrate on the new Dell monitor.  My Birthday is only a couple of months away so any relatives thinking about buying me a gift it sure would be nice if you coordinated it with each other ;-)