Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stardate 61828.57 - Little Miss Sunshine

Over Saturday and Sunday evenings we watched Little Miss Sunshine. Essentially, a dysfunctional family is brought together while working towards a common and worthwhile goal. And, it should be added, overcoming significant obstacles along the way. I laughed out loud a few times throughout the movie, but the ending was pretty amazing (in terms of humor). Cheryl and I were both rolling on the floor, laughing for the final 15 minutes of the film. At the conclusion of the movie Cheryl said, "I can see why audiences loved it and critics didn't."

Two thumbs up.


Stardate 61828.46 - Message Received?

I think my boss is a little behind on his e-mail. I received this e-mail today, along with about 6 other, similar messages (first three lines are edited to protect the guilty, but the rest of the message reads as I received it):

Your message

To: X; Y; Z
Cc: Boss
Subject: ABC
Sent: 5/11/2005 18:08

was deleted without being read on 10/30/2007 08:33.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stardate 61824.18 - Sunday in NJ

"Cool" Uncle Andy and "Cool" Aunt Jen were passing through Newark Airport on their return trip from a week in China so we went to Cheryl's parents' place Sunday morning to visit. After lunch Andy and Jen headed back via car to the metro-DC area and Cheryl, Loren, and I went to "Bobby's House!" to visit with her grandmother. It was too cold to go out to the beach, so instead we went to Twin Lights and also Mt. Mitchill Scenic Overlook. Since Loren only napped in the car between Cheryl's parents' place and Bobby's House, she was pretty tired by the time we walked around Mt. Mitchill so after a quick and early dinner at Bobby's we returned home, with only about 30 minutes worth of delays.

Loren just won't pose with other people! She wants the photos all to herself!

Loren says, "Don't mess with me - I have a cannon!"

View back to NYC from Mt. Mitchill.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Stardate 61820.6 - I Like the Museum

Today we went to the American Museum of Natural History for Loren to see the dinosaurs. She had as much fun climbing the stairs and hopping from sticker to sticker on the floor as she did actually looking at the dinosaurs. But in the elevator on the way back up to the apartment she said, "I like the museum!"


Friday, October 26, 2007

Stardate 61817.38 - Digital Ethnography

Jessica Stover posted this video on her blog. As a parent of a very young child, I often wonder how different things will be for her in college than they were for me. As an example, when I was in school only Engineers and Computer Scientists had computers - the Apple Macintosh 2 for CS majors, and the IBM PS/2 (XT) for Engineers. I didn't have an e-mail account until my senior year, and that was on a mainframe and required special formatting to get out onto the Internet. I had a 1200 baud modem to visit bulletin boards and to get hints for games. Professors handed out everything hardcopy, and used blackboards or overhead projectors. No-one had a cell phone. Things have changed so much in just 15 years. How much more will they change in another 15?


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stardate 61814.75 - Cousin's New Baby

My cousin Mandy had her baby this week and named him William (for her grandfather on her Mother's side). Here her (and my) grandmother Ma-Maw holds her great-grandson.

Congratulations to the family!!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stardate 61812.56 - Quick Story

Since I haven't posted in a couple of days, here is a quick story to keep you entertained. One day a couple of weeks ago I was in the living room waiting for Cheryl and Loren to come home and I hear a light knocking at the front door. Thinking maybe Cheryl forgot her keys or cannot find her keys in a timely fashion, I go over and open the door.

And there, standing in front of the door with a huge smile on her face is Loren.


So I say, "Did you walk all the way home from daycare by yourself?" And she just smiles and comes inside and says, "Shoes off?" and starts to take her shoes off.

So I look down the hall and half-way to the elevators I see Cheryl talking to one of our neighbors.

I guess Loren just couldn't wait to come inside!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stardate 61804.7 - Sunday Playground

This morning we went by the new place to check on progress and we then went to the playground nearby for Loren to get some fresh air. The playground is one of my favorites because it is not crowded, and one of Loren's favorites because she can play on the big kid part without being crowded out by bigger kids (which I guess is sort of the same basic reason).

She has been climbing up these chain ladder things for some time now without assistance, but this is the first time I caught her mid-climb with the camera.

Loren never seems to enjoy the swings for more than about a minute. Then she gets an unhappy expression on her face for another few swings and then she declares that she is done and ready to get out.

And here is a nice shot of the tram moving overhead--the one we were on yesterday to get over to our play date.


Stardate 61803.69 - SherryBaby

Somehow we were caught up on television shows by Saturday, so we took one of our NetFlix movies that has been sitting in the coffee table drawer for at least 2 months and watched it. I wasn't really in the mood for a downer, but our choices were a musical (not really in the mood for that either), or a movie we already watched and had forgotten to mail back to NetFlix.

SherryBaby was a good movie, although I felt it was a little slow in parts. However, I was a bit distracted during the movie as I was trying to put a post up and Blogger's image upload ability was malfunctioning. The lead character, "Sherry Swanson returns home to New Jersey after serving a three year prison sentence, eager to reestablish a relationship with her young daughter" is the IMDB plot summary. You can tell pretty early on that it isn't going to end well, but it was less depressing than I thought it was going to be. Sherry is a very sympathetic character, which was an impressive bit of movie-making because I tend to personally have a very, very negative view of drug-users (lets just either legalize it and tax the crap out of it, or come down like a hammer with no mercy but not continue the current half-assed war on drugs strategy). But this isn't a political rant, so I'll move on...

"I give it a thumbs up if you want to get depressed," was Cheryl's review. I also give it a thumbs up, with the warning that it is not a "feel-good" movie. It is not one for the kids to watch, due to strong sexual content (including incest), drug use, and profanity.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stardate 61802.47 - Loren on the Tram

Today Loren took her first ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway over to Roosevelt Island for a play date. Of course, play dates at this age normally consist of one parent from each family running after his or her respective child while the other two adults chat. This play date was with the child of some co-workers of Cheryl's who live on Roosevelt Island, so we met over there at a playground. Afterwards, we were invited for a nice lunch and had a great time hanging out in their neat apartment with a great view of the East River.

I took these pictures while on the tram.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Stardate 61789.81 - Sunday Fun in the Park

On Sunday I took Loren to the playground by the new place for 2 hours so Cheryl could get some work done. That afternoon she returned the favor by taking Loren to Central Park for some more exercise.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Stardate 61788.09 - All Good Things...

I own the entire 7-series run of both Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, these are the only 2 television series I own on DVD.

For the record, ST:DS9 remains my favorite of all the series, but ST:TNG as the first of the modern (post-1960s) Star Trek television shows holds a special place in my heart. Especially since it was on from 1987-1994, and I was in college from 1987-1992, it evokes strong nostalgic feelings in me.

About 5 or so years ago I worked my way through all of the DS9 episodes, start to finish. It took a couple of years because I only really watched them when I had spare time (and/or when television was in re-runs or I was stuck on a plane). A few years ago I started my way through TNG again and finally watched the finale, All Good Things... I will say that the series holds up remarkably well, even the special effects, considering that the first episode was on television 20 years ago.

It is hard for me to wrap my head around that fact - that the first episode of TNG was on television for the first time 20 years ago, and even the finale premiered 13 years ago. As I close in on 40 years of age, I tend to think about these things. Maybe that is why I keep maintaining the crew roster and my USS Excalibur pages, because I am trying to keep hold on a part of my younger days.

Whenever something ends, it always makes me a bit sad. Cheryl jokes that I always need a "what happened to them afterwards" part of any movie I watch, so that during the credits I find out how everything ends years later. Maybe why that is why I liked the last chapter of the final Harry Potter book when no-one else seems to have liked it.

And that is why I liked that Star Trek kept going - the timeline kept marching on with DS9 and then Star Trek: Voyager and the movies. Star Trek: Enterprise jumped back in time, but in a way things were still moving forward. But the movies ended, Enterprise ended, and there was a lot of nothing. Yes, there is a new movie due out at the end of 2008, but it also jumps back into the past and won't actually advance the time line. So still, for now, Star Trek has ended.

And that makes me a little sad.


Stardate 61787.38 - Time and Temperature, Part Two

What a difference a week makes! Last week I was complaining about how hot it was in the apartment, and how I almost turned on the A/C as it topped out in the low 80s inside the apartment.

Well, no more! Fall has officially arrived!

At 0930 this morning it is 56 outside and 66 inside. Suddenly both cats really want to sit in my lap.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Stardate 61784.6 - Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday Cheryl, Loren, and I went out to NJ and met Grandma and Grandpop at Dearborn Farms to attend their Harvest Hayride to their pumpkin patch (Grandma and Grandpop came straight from the gym). Here I am with Loren and Grandpop on the hayride.

Here Loren and I navigate the corn maze.

Here Loren runs around the pumpkin patch.

I like this picture because it looks like I just made an incredible leap up onto the haystack.

Here we pose for a family picture by the haystack.

We then drove back home that evening, but hit a huge backup at the Lincoln Tunnel which cost us almost an entire extra hour. At one point in the car Loren said "Go potty? Go potty?" I told her she could go in her diaper.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stardate 61783.24 - Bathroom Tile (Minus Grout)

Here are some pictures of the bathroom tile, but they have not put the grout up yet so it looks a little funny - especially the border. Obviously, the fixtures are not in yet either.

And I got what I really wanted - an indentation in the shower wall to put the shampoo and stuff! and the contractors are already using it!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Stardate 61779.54 - Loren's Day of Firsts

This is Cheryl writing (still no Blogger ID of my own). First, to all of our Muslim readers (we probably do not have any Muslim readers other than my coworker Saba, and she is not so much a reader as someone to whom I occasionally show the blog so she can see the renovation pictures), happy Eid. How do I know that it is Eid al-Fitr? First, Saba has been fasting for Ramadan, so I know she is happy for that to be over. Second, I am one of what must be a miniscule percentage of the US population (or any population outside of a majority Muslim country) whose employer has added Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to the official list of holidays. The upshot is, while I don't get off any of the mid-level US holidays like Columbus Day, I get a day in October and one in December that for everyone else in NYC is a regular working day.

Loren's day care was also closed for the holiday and we spent the day together. It turned out to be a day of more "firsts" than I would have expected.

Loren and I took advantage of the free weekday to head up to the Stride-Rite store at 84th and Lex to shop for some fall boots for her. On weekends, this store is pretty much hell on earth, unless you get there right at 9:30. But at 11 on a Friday it was nearly empty.

On the way there, I realized we were passing Cozy's Cuts for Kids. I've been waffling for a month or so on getting Loren's first haircut. I had wanted to get at least some length to it before cutting it (bad memories of my 70s bowl haircuts). But it was getting pretty scraggly. I decided to stop in and let her check the place out, and maybe make an appointment for the weekend. Long story short, the place was empty, she loved sitting in the car and I decided to just go ahead and have them cut her hair. Since it was a spur-of-the-moment stop, I did not have the camera with me. I'm sure this is a major sin in the age of constant photo documentation of childhood, and Loren will spend long years in therapy because of my failure to get good pictures of this milestone. But I at least got a couple of lousy ones with my cell phone. And, they gave her a certificate for her first haircut and stapled a little baggie to it with a lock of her hair (and rolled the whole thing up and tied it with a ribbon like a diploma...)

So that was the first "first." Next, we continued on to Stride-rite. We went to the infant/toddler section and picked out a pair of boots to try. The salesgirl measured her and announced "The shoes in her size are on the other side". That would be the big girl section -- the second "first". Turns out she's measuring an 8, so they recommend an 8 1/2, and that's where the big girl sizes start. She's always had big feet but I think now they are officially immense. Luckily the boots I liked were also available in the bigger sizes. Loren knew we were going to shop for boots and while we waited for the she picked out a tall brown pair with a bunny face on the side and pink fake fur around the top... a little over the top (I couldn't find them on the StrideRite website to show you her fashion sense) but cute enough that I might have considered them... until I turned them over and saw that they were $100 (!!). No way was I spending that much on a pair of kids shoes, let alone a pair it's not cold enough for yet and that she'll probably outgrow before it is! I may check and see if they go on sale later on. I will confess that I buy her the $40-$60 shoes because my experience with cheaper ones for her from e.g. Payless or Old Navy, is that they are complete pieces of crap and wind up looking trashy or falling apart before she outgrows them.

OK, you probably thought that paragraph was way too long and are wondering when I'll get to the third "first" already. We actually put up the pictures for this post thinking there were only two firsts to talk about. But before I could get around to writing it was time for Loren's bath. After I put her in the tub, she asked to get out and pee in the potty. We've had the potty chair for a few months and she has shown minimal interest. She has sat on it a few times, but only once that I can remember without a diaper. I got her out of the tub and it took a couple tries before she sat still rather than running out into the hallway--but then she sat for a minute and peed. Yay Loren!! Of course it was also my first time to clean the potty, which I was not at all set up for.

One other thing. Curt sent me this comic yesterday and it made me laugh out loud in my office. Those of you who have not spent extensive time with Curt outdoors may not know he has a phobia about bugs flying around his head. It has made for some really...endearing...moments on some of our hikes (one in Washington State in 1999 was particularly memorable and a lot like this comic). Curt has given me permission to poke some fun at him about this and call your attention to the comic.

Tomorrow we are off to NJ to take some things to my parents' attic, and maybe go pumpkin picking. And we wish a very happy birthday tomorrow to Loren's Aunt -R.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stardate 61779.70 - More of Loren

Here are some more pictures from the weekend at my Mom's, taken with my Mom's camera...


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stardate 61770.96 - Time and Temperature

For the record, it is 0937 on October 9th and it is currently 81.5 degrees in our apartment. Um, isn't it supposed to be Fall or something?

And look at the dramatic temperature drop we are supposed to have this week - down 10 degrees tomorrow, another 10 degrees by Friday, and into the 50s by Saturday.

And a lot of rain. And I know rain makes it a hassle for Cheryl to get Loren down to daycare but I think the entire east coast could really use some rain right now.

And I'm still waiting to get some photos from my classmates' cameras to post here from the reunion on Saturday, since I was a moron and never took a picture all day Saturday.


Stardate 61770.72 - Loren Drives

In this video, Loren drives her cousin's "jeep" in Nanna and Kraker's driveway.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Stardate 61769.27 - Weekend in VA

This weekend was my 20th High School Reunion event in Virginia. I cannot believe it has already been 20 years since I graduated from Buffalo Gap High School. We drove down Friday morning and the event kicked off with a tour of the much-renovated school. Here Loren and I sit in some desks in one of the classrooms.

After the tour we watched some of the football game (Gap won) but Loren was so tired from the drive and the long day that we left before it was over and went back to "Nanna and Kraker's house. Saturday consisted of a picnic and then an "adult's only" event at a bar/restaurant downtown. Apparently I never took a single picture of either of those events, so I'm hoping people e-mail me some that I can post later.

Loren had a great time. Here she plays with Kraker at the river.

Here she drives her cousin Zach's "Jeep" around the driveway (video to follow soon).

Mom and Judy had some friends in town, and there son Josh drove the car for a while and Loren went along for the ride.

Here Loren visits with Nanna shortly before we left on Sunday to come back to NYC.

Here are Nanna, Kraker, Loren, me, and Cheryl. I'm wearing a Buffalo Gap Alumni hat Cheryl purchased for me at the football game.

Cheryl got the short end of the stick on the return trip and had to drive in an hour of stop-and-go traffic on I-78 in PA. We left Mom's at 2 PM and didn't get home until 10PM.

Here is Loren in her car seat - a place she got to enjoy for a long time on Sunday! You will notice that Dora is beside her, keeping her company.