I dropped my business card–naively, it turns out–in a fishbowl at COSI, looking for that gift cert for a free lunch. Turns out I have to go to a financial planning seminar to get it. Damn! There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Discovering the world

Now that Avery has begun noticing the world and watching the things around her, she’s hooked on the mobile over her crib. She stares in wonder at it. Having some quiet time today, she started to get fussy when the mobile stopped. I went in and wound it up, and the moment the music started again, she cracked a huge smile and stuck her hand back in her mouth.

Stereotypes (not) overturned

Jenny and I are connoisseurs of made-for-tv mystery movies. Last night we watched Hallmark’s most recent McBride mystery—a Perry Mason clone about a defense attorney. While the show makes for some entertaining moments, it also has some really bad moments. In particular, the show follows many of the cheesiest TV formulae, particularly with regard to stereotypes. Here’s an example, along with a conversation Jenny and I had. Dialogue and descriptions from the show are indented.


Late twenty-something pretty hispanic woman walks into the McBride office. Phil, McBride’s assistant who lives on a trust-fund, warmly greets her.

PHIL: Maree! It’s been a long time!

MAREE: It’s good to see you Phil.

[ Maree reveals that her brother was the hispanic kid
arrested for the murder. A wrong place wrong time plotline that doesn’t hold up to even the barest scrutiny. ]

MCBRIDE: You two know each other?

PHIL: Yes, we have been friends since we were kids. We practically grew up together.

[ Pause ] (Jenny and I often pause the show to make snarky comments about it.)

JENNY: What? How did they hang out when he was a kid? He’s got a trust fund. I bet her mom was his housekeeper.

BRENDAN: Come on, Jenny. I know these shows operate on stereotypes, but that’s pretty bad. Her family could have been wealthy next-door neighbors or something.

JENNY: If they were wealthy, why was the brother trying to pawn the watch? A rich kid wouldn’t do that.

BRENDAN: He might.

JENNY: Okay, sheesh.

[ Play ].

McBride: So how did you two know each other?

PHIL: Maree’s mom was our housekeeper.



At home on a Sunday afternoon. Dog is sleeping. Cat is sleeping. Baby is sleeping. Wife’s away. Have a pile of grading as high as my digital eye.



Avery is now regularly sleeping through the night. One of our tomes of baby info says that child psychologists and doctors qualify ‘through the night’ as midnight to 5am. If that’s the case, Avery’s an overachiever. Starting about two weeks ago, she began sleeping most nights for 6-9 hours. Whoo ha! For example, last night she went to bed around 10 and is still asleep now (5.31am).

Because of this shift, I’ve begun getting up early to work in the mornings again. Here are some of the albums that I’ve loaded into iTunes as part of my get-up-and-go routine:

  • They Might Be Giants, Apollo 18, Factory Showroom, Severe Tire Damage, and miscellaneous singles
  • Weezer, Maladroit and Green Album
  • Five for Fighting, The Battle for Everything
  • Faith No More, The Real Thing and Angel Dust
  • David Grey, White Ladder
  • Great Big Sea, Road Rage
  • IMPACT, songs from Cryptic Caustic and Catchy
  • Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Hubba Hubba
  • Hootie and the Blowfish, Cracked Rear View
  • Juliana Hatfield, Only Everything
  • The Juliana Hatfield Three, Become What You Are
  • Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant

I hope you appreciate my honesty, dear reader. By including Hootie in the list, I’m opening myself up to plenty of ridicule. I can only hope that the They Might Be Giants, Faith No More, Juliana Hatfield, and Arlo Guthrie show my eclecticism enough to forgive sugary pop rock.

45 minutes

Reading my students’ game journals, I got a hankering for some Half-Life 2. I had about 45 minutes free, so I thought I’d try out Lost Coast, the free extra level that Valve distributed a while back. So I go to start it up and learn that the driver for my video card is out of date. I go to the ATi website and download the new driver package, but learn that before I install that, I need to make sure my .net install is up to date. To Windows Update, where I find several updates under “custom” options that will be useful and necessary for the ATi driver installation.

I download and install the Windows Updates. Restart. I download and install the driver updates. Restart. I start up Half-Life 2: Lost Coast and watch the creepy Valve logo guy (who has a valve sticking out of his eye) during the loading screen. Jenny arrives home from work. Time for dinner.

Where are my damn flying cars?

ComEd sent me this notice today:

…Because your electric rates have been frozen since 1997, rates will increase in 2007. Quite simply, the cost of electricity has increased during the nine-year freeze, as have our costs to deliver that power.

I understand the latter. You have to buy new trucks and new hardhats for the meter-readers. I don’t even begrudge your workers their COL increases and a little extra, even. What I’m grumpy about is that the cost of electricity has increased. Why? Because the energy producers have no motivation not to increase it. We need a NASA program for energy, one devoted to the common good (not the business good). While delivery costs should be going up, electricity should be getting cheaper. I want my techno-utopia, with energy so cheap it won’t be worth metering.

A Year’s worth of movies

The ease with which you can click “ADD” leads to travesties like this. My personal queue (does not include Jenny’s movies or our Joint queue) is now unbelievably long. The chances that I’ll get to see Jackie Brown: Collector’s edition, the current bottom-of-the-queue movie, in 2006 are so slim as to be laughable.

TV intake and commentary

NOTE: since I TiVo and get behind, some of these observations are late in coming.

  • I don’t know why I’m obsessed with The Office. My cousins visited last week and we watched a couple episodes (of the British one). I had to fight the urge to re-watch the entire series again. Tim’s resigned depression is so brilliant. My favorite line from this watch-through is when he’s talking about a themed nightclub called Henry the Eighth’s. He says “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that club.”
  • Boston Legal had more metatextual shenanigans:

    Denny: I’m tired of my Mad Cow being a storyline.

    Allan: This isn’t your story, Denny.

    What’s next, Gary Shandling-esque glimpses of the camera?

  • Smallville: They killed his dad? Come ON! I’m so tired of the Clark/Lana/Lex love triangle. Come ON! Chloe is right there! CHLOE!
    On the bright side, Lionel continues to be a total badass.
  • Lost season one disc four sits smoldering by our DVD player, waiting in its Netflix envelope. We hesitate to play one episode because that’s committing to playing all four.
  • I already miss Arrested Development. The Judge Reinhold show was inspired, as was the house band: Hung Jury. Brilliant.