Monthly Archives: August 2007

Personal Stories – little man has eye surgery

My little man is perfect. His eyes are not.  He has been wearing glasses since March to correct his farsightedness and misaligned eyes. We had hoped that the glasses would re-align his eyes over time. They helped, but his eyes still are not perfect. The only other option . . . is surgery!

What could be more gruesome than surgery around the eyes. Eyes are so fragile, I am reluctant to even touch them much less get surgical instruments near them. Vision is my favorite sense: I am frightened to think that little man might lose his. Taking the risks for what they are, very low in fact, we chose surgery.

My wife tried to explain to him what would happen the morning of the surgery. He had no idea. All he knew was this: we woke up early, he couldn't eat or drink anything, we took a car ride, and he got to play with two new trucks (that the hospital gave him). After he was all comfortable in his hospital jammies and hanging with the nurse, the surgical nurse whisked him away.

We waited. In my head, I could see the doctor telling me that the surgery went great and little man was fine. My wife's imagine was more pessimistic. The surgery takes a half hour and we both thought it would seem like an eternity. Strangely, it seemed like no sooner than we sat down, the doctor was ready to give us the news. Just like I imagined, everything went great and little man was fine. Whew! We had to wait another ten minutes for the nurse to get little guy ready, but those ten minutes went by like the blink of an eye (no pun intended, eye blinking is just really fast!).

Little man was completely limp. His head, arms, and legs were dangling down like he was a sock monkey. His eyes were covered in shiny, goopy stuff. He had an IV taped to his arm. They weren't taking any chances, the tape covered almost his entire arm and hand. A really flat thermometer was stuck to his forehead, and the rest of his face was red from where they secured him for the operation. His eyes had bloody spots on them and a trickle of blood flowed from his tear duct. It was great to see him!

My wife nursed him and when he started to perk up, we went home. Little man is indestructible. Though his eyes were swollen and he was slow and woozy from the anesthesia, he still went after his "butaa" (blue truck) and "schoo bu" (school bus). First he tried to walk. He fell to his knees. Then he crawled. Finally, after an hour of all the movement he could muster, he was just too tired and laid in our arms. That was two days ago. His eyes are still swollen and he hates his eye drops, but he is mending. My wife can now add "nurse" to her resume. Someday, many, many years from now, little man may not need glasses anymore.

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Unpaid Advertising – Halo 3

September 25, 2007, is a day that will be coveted by millions, including me. It is the day that all will be able to purchase and play the video game "Halo 3". This game has already set records for pre-orders; more people have committed to buying this game than any game in history. I personally plan on spending the $60 for the game and another $350 for an Xbox 360 console to play it?

Why would a 33 year old cheapskate, with a loving wife and entertaining child, want to spend his time and money on a game? Let me bulletpoint the ways:

  • Men of my generation and the ones who followed were raised on games; Halo is like crack to us.
  • The original Halo was a ground breaking game that revolutionized the genre of first person shooters.
  • I secretly lust for violence and combat.
  • Halo 2 improved upon Halo, but the story of Halo 2 only ends . . . with Halo 3.
  • Halo 2 came out three years ago, I have been waiting three years to "finish the fight"!
  • My wife is letting me buy it.
  • I never feel bad killing aliens, especially aliens that reanimate the dead.
  • The whole world is at stake, dagnabit!
  • Halo is a cultural tour de force.
  • For all I know, I could be Master Chief.
  • Red vs. Blue.
  • There are no stupid power-ups to look for.
  • My brother is going to buy Halo 3 and I can't live knowing that he is playing Halo 3 and I'm not.
  • The music of Halo is just friggin' awesome.

  • I have been saving up for two years to buy an Xbox 360 and Halo 3.
  • Legendary mode.
  • When I finish Halo 3, I will be one step closer to Nirvana.

Huzaa to Halo 3!

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just silly – hawk photo

My wife snagged this sweet shot of a hawk on our front deck. It flies around our neighborhood excoriating mice and prompting good folks to grab their cameras. Pretty sweet, huh?

Huzaa to my wife for her quick camera work!

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Personal Stories – little man’s first haircut

Imagine going without a haircut for 19 months? It was easy for little guy, he had never had his haircut before – today! My lovely wife took our son to a child haircut specialist. He apparently started to cry when the put the smock around his neck. He got over it, but my wife says that he never did get comfortable. Fortunately, the stylist works very fast; little man was out of the car shaped barber chair in 15 minutes.

He looks so clean cut now that we could break child labor laws and get him an office job. Gone are the "whispies" that so defined his adorable head.
My wife and are both looking forward to his natural look returning.

The important thing is that his bangs no longer fall into his eyes and the hair on the back of his head no longer gets stuck in his bib. Plus, we got a cool certificate and some hair for his scrap book. (We edited the photo of the certificate to maintain little man's privacy).

Huzaa to first haircuts!


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Untimely reviews – Little Miss Sunshine

"Little Miss Sunshine" is a fantastic movie. Nearing my mid thirties, I am constantly amazed at how much I like movies that are considerably small and seemingly simple. For instance, in my teen years, my favorite movie, hands down, was "Robocop". This movie had robo-heat and robo-action: Peter Weller's hand was shot off, Robocop takes out ED209, and we get to see the insane commercials of the a future late 1990s. But eventually "Robocop" was over-taken by "Forrest Gump". There were some 'splosions, tricky manipulation of real news footage, and a story that spanned decades. Yet, "Forrest Gump" was about a man, and not a cyborg. Then enlightenment. A friend in graduate school lent me a few Kevin Smith movies. These movies were cheaply made, had no special effects, and were populated by a cadre of amateurs. Yet I loved Kevin Smith's early movies. Now, today, after a youth of worshiping "Star Wars" and Spielberg, I find the small movies to be the most entertaining and likely the most fulfilling.

I didn't just get more cerebral or snooty about movies. My reviews of two stars movies tells of a man still interested in wholesale destruction. The enticing eye candy of special effects triumphs belies the truth of why we watch movies: it is in our nature to connect with other people. Just as we enjoy being with others, we like watching them and knowing their stories. Those movies that capitalize on this human nature are the movies that leave the most lasting impression. "Little Miss Sunshine" oozes humanity to the degree that I ended up feeling like a part of it

From the very beginning of "Little Miss Sunshine" to its very end, it is a movie about six members of a family, their lives, their feelings, and their connections to each other. Sure, all but the little girl were annoying in some way. Yet they were not some polarizing force. Everyone of them could be like someone you know. Heck, had I not known that every member of the cast was an actor, I would have pegged them all as real people. Ever member of the cast deserves an Oscar for the work they did. The ending also has a unifying theme and a morale that is quite uplifting.
Although only the 51st highest grossing film of 2006, it is likely the best.

If you do see "Little Miss Sunshine" and like the feeling it gives you, I recommend the minuscule budget movie "Pieces of April". It was outstanding in its timely showing and because it was filmed with a regular video camera, it probably looks even better on television.

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Personal Stories – the death defying elm

A few years ago, my wife and I planted an elm we bought at Lowe's for $10. Mother nature must abhor a bargain. First a winter storm smashes the little elm with a big branch of doom.  Our poor elm survived that brush with death.

The summer has been no more kind than winter. As we sat inside watching the weather channel, that b*** Mother nature was dropping another tremendous branch on our elm. Just look at that monster.  I bought a new saw just to tear it apart for pickup by the city. Our little elm once again survived: what a scrappy little guy!

Sans branches dropping from our neighbor's tree o' death, our little elm is in fact flourishing. We water it now and then, when the weather is dry (and free of arboreal projectiles). Hopefully, this tree will rise above the threats from above and rain down revenge on the earth that has troubled it so.

It could be worse, though. Another tree fell down on someone's car across the street. He just drove it away and found it to be damage free. But still, I think it is a clear sign that he should consider using his garage. Mother nature is relentless in her branch dropping fury.

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Personal Stories – going after the ants


They had invaded our house, set up camp in our yard, and were likely spreading disease to all living things. I must stop them. I spread corn meal around the nests. This first try failed and I likely enlarged the ant population with my free food. Next, I tried spraying the yard with a weak solution of a weak pesticide. The second try failed and I have perhaps poisoned my family. Then I spread a barrier of cinnamon around the house. The third try failed and the house smells like a cookie.

I am done trying to kill them. My latest means of doom is laundry soap and maple syrup. No, this isn't a laundry day/pankcake breakfast gone awry. In researching people safe ant poisons, I came across several recipes using borax. The general recipe is as follows:

  • some amount of borax
  • something sweet

Borax is supposed to be indigestible to ants and cuts up their insides. The sweet stuff attracts the ants and entices them to eat the borax. I hope it leads to a painful death for those little bastards _/

I used 20 Mule Team Borax laundry soap and organic maple syrup from Costco. Yeah, I could have used corn syrup, but I'm not going to make a trip to the store just to buy a treat for ants. I poured some borax into old baby food jars. Then I heated up some syrup and poured it over the borax. This is a saturated solution, so not all of the borax dissolved. That's o.k. because the borax laden syrup will float on top, where the ants will be.

To entice the ants into the jars but keep the bigger prey out, I hammered in some holes using a large nail. I strategically placed the jars around the house and on likely nests. After a week, we no longer saw ants in the house. The jars are also filled with dead ants, so I know they took the bait. I'm calling this a success.

Huzaa to borax!

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