Monday, December 29, 2008

The Most Awesome Parent Ever

I need a set of these flashcards, stat. Also, watch until the end of the video for ultimate cuteness.



I swear, this is not a home movie. That said, I think my kids could probably ace it.

On a related topic, Garrett got a cheapy Transformer 'iPod' for Christmas that picks up radio stations. I realized how many podcasts I must listen to with my iPod when he asked me if my iPod played music like his. Sigh.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bountiful Boxing Day!

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas yesterday and, if you were so inclined, got a good deal on some high-end electronics today.

Alas, I did neither. Well, Christmas was ok, given that I am home alone. Unfortunately, I got stuck working a double as I'd neglected to schedule anyone to cover the overnight shift. Go me!

So today was pretty much a write-off. I just slept until 2:30 this afternoon and then have been packing, cleaning and checking my e-mail. I was going to try to go home this afternoon but the Weather Network has been calling for freezing rain through London and Kitchener and I'd rather just wait until tomorrow when it's going to be 11 degrees and wet.

Well, time to go finish tidying up in the kitchen and make myself some food before I get the last of the stuff packed for tomorrow's sojourn to the Greater Sarnia Area!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Keeping Dry(wall)

Here are a few more pictures of our basement. It's not terribly exciting, but you'll see that there are walls. The next batch of pictures should be of our completed basement!





I might take a video of the basement as it is now and post it. That will give a better sense of what the basement looks like.

Ho Ho Ho!

Hey, don't forget to follow Santa before he gets shot down again this year.

Looks like NORAD is using Google Maps this year. Woo!

Bachelor Daze

Julie gave me the nicest Christmas present ever... an empty house for a few days. I'm stuck working Christmas and Boxing Day, so she took the kids to Corunna on Monday and I've been left to my own devices ever since. Today was the first real 'home alone' day though, as I slept through most of yesterday and then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening driving around, doing grocery shopping with some friends and having all-you-can-eat Japanese food at that Fuji place in Guelph (which was amazing... thanks for the recommendation, Jenn & Doug!)

Unfortunately, I was also driving all over the countryside in the blizzard that smacked into town late last night and it wasn't enjoyable. I think I might be cured of my yearly apprehension of driving in the snow though. I'll just take it slow and somehow I'll make it through.

I was also able to show off our nearly completed basement to my friends who raved about it. It was nice to have someone come in and see the place who hasn't seen it in progress. I think this basement might be a good move :) It looks like we'll have a completed basement ready for us when we come home from the holidays next week. Woo!

'Tis The Season

I had a nice experience today. I was out stocking up on coffees for the next day or two while Tim Hortons is closed for Christmas and when I got to the drive-through window, the girl at the window handed me my coffees and then said, "You don't have to pay. The lady in front of you paid for your order. Merry Christmas!"

I was flabbergasted. I'll have to do something nice for someone now. Crap...

Monday, December 22, 2008

OEYC Christmas Party

We had the annual Christmas party at the local Early Years Centre last week and were finally able to snag a good picture of Garrett & Kara with Santa.



I also got a rare shot of the two of them engaging in somewhat constructive behaviour. Marvel as they each work peacefully to build something rather than destroy things.

What A Couple Of Bums

Friday, December 19, 2008

Automated Response

So I got through to someone who could help me with that card problem I had.
But they got it backwards. They transferred the $0.78 I have (had) on the card that actually exists onto the card that was destroyed. Now it has $18 or so on it and the card I hold in my hand RIGHT NOW is empty.

Sigh.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Hate Automation

Grr...

You know how Tim Horton's has those Quickpay cards? I have had one for the year and love it to death, though I spend far too much on coffee and tea biscuits with it.

Anyway, when I was at the Acton Timmies yesterday, they swiped my Tim's Card and it snapped in half. No real biggie. They just transferred the balance over to a new card and that was that.

I had my Tim's Card set up to automatically reload when the balance drops below $5. It tops the card up to $20. Now, when my card snapped, it had $2 or so left on it, so it was slated for refill. Since it hadn't refilled at the time of snappage and we could still see it sitting there with $2 on it on the website, I just deactivated the card yesterday morning with the intention of setting up my new card with the reload.

Here's where the GRR comes in. Mid-afternoon, we get an e-mail saying that the OLD card has been refilled. Of course, we don't have the old card information (well, we do, but the last 4 digits are X'ed out on all of the documentation we have) and when I called the Tim Horton's Help Desk to see if they could just look in their records and transfer the money, they were less than helpful. Now I have to go back to the local Tim's, have them dig through their records from yesterday and hopefully not be out $15 or so. So help me if they tell me to call the help desk...

Only 7 Days Till Christmas!

It's frightening how accurate this is... only I don't use Twitter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Rock!

The kindergarten classes at Garrett's school put on their Christmas Concert tonight. It was pretty cute except for one thing. Garrett is either in training to be a ninja or the girl who stood in front him was bound and determined not to let him get his picture taken. No matter what angle I tried to film/shoot him from, he was always behind this other kid. It was driving me batty, esp. since he's so freaking tall.

I'll put some pictures up tomorrow after work. I've got to go work the overnight shift tonight (nothing like putting in 20 hours or so at work over a 24 hour period) so I'm going to try to catch a little shut-eye before I go in at 11!

Reno News!

Just so that everyone knows, the renovations are going along at a pretty brisk pace now. Of course they had to wait until just before Christmas to actually gain momentum. Sigh.

We've got walls and ceilings down there now. There's a good chance this could be finished before Christmas, if not shortly thereafter. We basically just need the electrician to come back and finish wiring a few potlights and plugs, the walls to be plastered, the floor to be laid down and everything painted and installed. Otherwise, we're in the home stretch.

WOO!

January will be "Clean Out The Storage Unit" month. Expect many great deals!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, Bush...

I saw this over at Extralife and it made me laugh. No wonder all of the comedians are going to miss the guy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Need More Sleep

You know you're a (tired) parent when:

You find a big brown spotch on the ground, stick your finger in it, sniff it and then taste it to make sure it actually is chocolate.

Not my proudest moment, but hey, free chocolate is free chocolate.

Brrrrr....

While the temperature dips ever lower, take a look at what is in store for us.

Behold: The Ghost Towns (and boats, and such) Of Antarctica!

Our Parent-Sense Was Tingling

So Julie and I woke up at 4:45 this morning. I don't know why... Julie said she heard Garrett cough. Then we heard the puking.

Suffice it to say, we've been up since around 5 this morning and Garrett was puking until at least 9ish. No matter what went into him, it came right back out. Oh, and there's nowhere to buy Children's Gravol in Acton at 6am.

Now that he's had some Gravol, some sleep and some tiny dribs and drabs of toast and ginger ale, Garrett seems to be on the mend.

At least Julie was home (sick) from work today. She and Garrett vegged this morning while Kara and I hit the town.

Garrett hasn't had a good last couple of days. Today was, well, you just read about it and yesterday morning, his best friend threw a giant chunk of ice and hit Garrett in the eye just before the bus came. Amazingly, he didn't really get a bruise or black eye, though he might need a new best friend :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Have An 8-Bit Christmas

This Christmas, why not warm up to a few classic carols, NES-style?

There are a couple of cool Christmas 'albums' out there this year that use the NES chipset to crank out some pretty cool tunes. Check out 8-Bit Jesus and The 8 Bits Of Christmas. Sure, they're nerdy, but it beats listening to Mariah Carey yowl for the umpteenth time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No Pants Tuesday

Kara is really taking NPT to heart.

During the night, she had managed to take off her pyjama pants and diaper and wet the crib. Julie remedied the situation and put her back to bed.

When I got her up this, there she was, naked from the waist down and grinning ear to ear.

After I got her dressed and gave her breakfast, she spent a chunk of the morning taking her pants off, to the point that I had to put her snow pants on to ensure that she couldn't disrobe.

This evening when she came home from the sitter's house, I was sitting in my chair when she walked next to me, gave me a sly grin and proceeded to pull down her pants. This resulted in a 5 minute Keystone Kops-esque chase around the kitchen with her laughing her head off while I tried to corner her and get the pants back on before the diaper came off...

Ah, good times. As long as she gets it out of her system now as opposed to in college, I'm happy.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

You Know You're A Parent When...

Your kid gets a new game/toy and you have absolutely NO idea about the first thing about it.

Garrett has recently been yammering about Bakugan toys. Being the otaku that I am, I know that there is an anime about these toys but I have never watched it and have not the slightest clue about what it is or how you play with them.

We picked up a Bakugan toy for Garrett today while we were out and while it's kind of cool (it's like a little plastic marble with a magnet that will make it pop open if you roll it on metal) I still haven't any idea about how the game is supposed to work.

I decided to take a look on the Bakugan website tonight to see if it made any sense. I challenge anyone to read these rules and explain them in a way that an adult can understand. Yeesh. If a 6 year old can master that minutae, they can probably find a way to balance the budget and make chocolate fall from the sky.

SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

Is this a real demolition derby or an awesome stop-motion video? The answer might surprise you!


Metal Heart from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

8-Bit Prognostication

This is a nifty thing I've found.



Someone is doing a deck of Tarot cards but in the style of 8-bit videogames. It's worth a look just for the aesthetics, though they MIGHT be able to tell you if you will beat that game you're working on too.

Emulsification For The Nation

Sooo....

Somehow Kara was able to get a bottle of baby oil into her crib and proceed to pour it over EVERYTHING, yet somehow avoid getting any on herself. Gah.

I feel so slimy now. I just spent about 15 minutes wiping half of her room and the contents of her crib and now I can't get the oily sheen off of me.

Blech.

Friday, December 05, 2008

He's Got A Point

Let me just point you in the direction of Andrew Coyne's essay about how things have played out with Parliament prorogued until January. I don't always agree with everything he says, but I think this sums up the current situation nicely. Oh, and I called it.

But don’t take my word for it. Two polls out today show that the coalition has backfired on its two main participants — hugely. Ekos has the Tories ahead by twenty points, 44-24, while Ipsos Reid puts the margin at an astounding 46-23. This is after the Tories had supposedly disgraced themselves by the “provocation” of cutting the political parties off the public teat, and by failing to provide adequate “stimulus.”

Ipsos numbers show, further, that 60% of the public opposes the coalition, 62% are “angry” with it for trying to take power, while 68% support the Governor General’s decision. The Grits can read the numbers as well as I can. There is no way they will return to this well.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ottawa, Shmwattawa

Tim had a short but sweet little post about the shenanigans in Ottawa today that I felt the need to rebut. So rebut I shall.

Ahem.

If the Opposition parties are going to bring down the government and try to snag power, I'd rather it be over something worthwhile, like, oh, THE BUDGET, than whatever has stuck in their craw. Yes, Harper stirred up the hornets nest by trying to pass that funding cut, but the Opposition fell right into his trap by reacting the way they did. Hell, the fact that the funding cut was yanked so fast just shows that it was the bait.

Beyond bailing out the auto industry, which I've already said I'm against, please tell me what this slap-dash coalition would do to benefit the country (as opposed to the political parties involved) and why, after only TWO WEEKS back in parliament, the minority party in power is the evil which must be destroyed.

I think that we need the break until Parliament is resumed in January for the MPs to a) cool their jets a bit and b) go out and see if their constituents, WHO JUST WENT THROUGH AN ELECTION, think that these machinations are what they really want. I didn't vote Conservative. Hell, I've voted Green and NDP over the past two federal elections. That said, I'm a fan of some governmental stability. I know that minority governments can fall and don't last long. This is not the way to go about it.

If the government falls in January over something legitimate, like a budget or Harper growing a tail, fine. But by pursuing the course of action that they have, the Opposition is setting themselves up for a major drubbing at the next election and they have nobody to blame but themselves. Dion and Layton might finally get a brief taste of power and keys to the PMO, but it will be a bitter pill for their party faithful to have to swallow over the long term.

What I've Been Up To

I mentioned a little while ago that I was doing an ACTUAL GAME REVIEW with an ACTUAL GAME from an ACTUAL COMPANY on an ACTUAL WEBSITE!

Well, I finished the game the other day and got the review up on the site. If you're interested to see where some of the game related yammering I used to dump on here has vanished to, go check out Buttonmashing.com and Colony Of Gamers. I've written a few reviews over at Buttonmashing, truth be told, but Mirror's Edge is the first one I've done with an actual review copy of the game as opposed to just renting/buying my own copy and writing something.

I also write a weekly column at Colony Of Gamers about overlooked and obscure games that deserve their time in the sun. I just realized that I've done 28 of them already. That's over 6 months! Yeesh. Not too shabby for something I started on whim.

The 80/20 Rule

Just a quick little request for any prayer and/or hard liquor you could send our way. Work has been rough for the past little while and we (as a team) could use any prayer you feel you could spare us.

I'll keep the hard liquor for when I get home :)

In the words of a wise man, 80% of the time we can't believe we're getting paid to do what we do and 20% of the time there is no way we're getting paid enough to do what we're doing.

Suffice it to say, we're in the 20% right now. We'll get through it, of course, but if I have a few more wrinkles in my brow and a lot of gray hairs, you'll know why.

Oh, and while you're tossing up the odd prayer or three, I'm applying for a promotion and could always use a little divine intervention!

Ka-Zap

Just a little reno update: We've had the electrician in for most of this week and he's pretty much finished downstairs with all the wiring and so forth. I think he has a tiny bit left to do tomorrow and then we'll be able to get going with the drywalling and flooring part of the reno, which means we could conceivably have a usable basement in as little as 1-2 weeks!

Just having switches and lights downstairs right now is going a long way to making me feel like this is worth it. Julie's not quite as magnanimous, but we keep chanting the mantra: "It'll be worth it when it's done..."

Monday, December 01, 2008

How Much Snow Can You Blow?


That's the view from our front porch at 1am on Dec. 1, 2008.