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X Random things about me, where X is ≥ 20…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about potentially embarrassing trivia and personal history.

I’ve been “tagged” by no less than three people on FaceBook to list random facts about me. Some people demanded 20, others demanded 25. I’m going to start a list and see how far I get before it just gets stupid. I will warn you right now, some may fall into the “TMI” category or even be “NSFW.” I’m also not tagging anyone back as pretty much everyone who I would tag has either already been tagged or are included in those who tagged me in the first place. If you’re feeling left out, however, feel free to consider yourself tagged and play along.

And away we go:

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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So Much Time, So Little Blogging…

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the past three weeks in brief.

I feel really bad I haven’t blogged in a while, I meant to just write and write and write over break, but I think I enjoyed the break a little too much. I am still not back up to speed yet. I had two full weeks off for the holiday, and so far three days back at work hasn’t changed my mindset, yet.

This was the first really long break since Heather quit her job and I realized how much I missed her and Ansel now that I’m the only one working. It was so nice to just be home, or even out, with Ansel and Heather during the break; to see them at will, rather than at regular prescribed hours. ScreenshotThese days, the best I can do is to glance up at the corner of my screen and see a smallish photo of Ansel and/or Heather to remind me why I’m here, why I’m working so hard. So, as you can imagine, it was really nice to just be home with them for 16 days in a row. I didn’t do much during that time, nothing really productive anyway. We didn’t complete any home projects, we didn’t do any real yard work, we didn’t break ground on any new accomplishments, but I thought it was important just to be, and to be relaxed, and to be a family.

Things we did do:

  • We went to Pampa for Christmas: I, like most other people who have only ever visited the panhandle of Texas, have no desire to return. There’s nothing out there, so when we go, I try to make it for as short a trip as possible. We go only to see Heather’s family, and while that may make the trip worth while, I still try to get up there, visit, and get back as quickly as possible. We stayed for three days and that, I felt, was perfect. We would have liked to have had some snow so Ansel could see it and experience it, but aside from a few flakes the morning we left, it was just cold and windy. We all had a good Christmas, but it was still just Pampa.
  • We (I) played a lot of games: I love to play games, from board and card games to role playing and video games. I’d say that gaming of nearly all capacity is my obsessive hobby (I don’t play games of chance, and I don’t enjoy games of sport, sorry). Heather got me Fluxx v4.0 for Christmas (so did Angela, actually) which was great because I had forgotten to take Fluxx with me and I wanted to play with Heather’s niece and nephew over Christmas. I was so glad when I pulled it out of the stocking because I had been dying for a game. I also learned how to play (and subsequently bought) Phase 10 and Munchkin (specifically I bought The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin), and played an interesting game called Murder City. There was also a lot of Xbox (picking up at least two new games) and a bit of Wii in all of that, as well. I seriously indulged my gamer side this break.
  • Movies, Movies, Movies: It was the holidays, so there was nothing on TV, so we watched a ton of movies. Between network TV, Netflix streaming & rentals, and newly acquired DVD’s, we pretty much watched a movie for each day we were off (though not one a day, some days we’d watch one or two, while other days we didn’t watch any at all).
  • New Year’s Eve Party: I spent too much on a Second Hand suit jacket and a salmon tuxedo shirt just to go to a New Year’s Eve party with friends that I see on a weekly (if not nearly daily) basis. It was totally worth it, and for being a second hand, off the rack, jacket, it fit me better than almost any suit jacket I’ve ever worn. The Tux shirt didn’t fit too badly either, though it was a bit short in the sleeves.

Ansel’s been coming along quite well, too. He’s getting better at sleeping alone in his crib, his vocabulary is advancing pretty quick (though sometimes you have to be very observant to tell what he’s saying – cat and that are almost identical except that he sticks his tongue out when he says cat), he’s practically running around, and his stacking skills are getting really good. He spent an awful lot of time around Connor this break and I think that really gave him the courage to get up and move! He also lost his first shoe two days before we were to leave for Christmas. I know he’s going to lose a lot more shoes in the future, but it was just really bad timing for him to lose one right then.

(funny story, when I went to buy his new shoes, I also bought some milk and beer and had Ansel with me. when I was in the checkout line, the guy behind me asked Ansel if the beer was for him. I turned around and said “yeah, the milk is for me.” I explained that I was really there to get shoes because Ansel had just lost one and he said his fifteen year old kid still loses shoes and has no idea where they are or how they lost them, you’d think someday they’d learn to keep up with their own clothes)

But anyway, that kind of sums up the last three weeks. Now I’m back at work and having a hard time focusing on the task at hand. I have a hard time not just looking up at the photo of Ansel and wishing I was at home, playing with, or next to, him and just enjoying that other part of my life a little bit more often.

Sunday Morning Kix


Originally posted at K. Close III
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Archiving the Past…

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the ultimate mix tape (er, CD).

The Black SideMix tapes, who among us that grew up in the 80’s (or ealier) hasn’t made at least one mix tape for a friend, platonic or otherwise. I used to make mix tapes for all of my friends simply because I had a more eclectic taste in music than most of my peers and I love to introduce people to new things. About seven years ago, my wife’s nephew was young, impressionable, and very interested in my tastes in music, so I made what can only be called the ultimate mix CD. It was the culmination of all of my musical history and design sensibilities. In an effort to keep this project alive years after it’s disappearance (as I have no idea where it lives at this time), I am going to repost the track listing as accurately as possible.

As a part of this immense collection, I created a full packaging ensemble for it. The BookI bough two six-disk cases and created art for all visible surfaces and even wrote a book detailing why each song was chosen in the collection. The book was composed while listening to the music, and thus has a kind of stream of consciousness feel. It was intended to be read as you listened to the music. The book, of course, was no simple matter either, being laid out with graphics and even hand bound. Finally, I wrapped the entire thing in a slip case to hold it all, again with full artwork. All the artwork, I will admit, was appropriated from various anime resources, but re-colored, re-composed, or re-edited to work with the new layout.

This is not what I would call a traditional blog entry, but it’s something I want to share and remember. Be forewarned, this was a twelve disk collection. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of the track listing for a surprise…

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Originally posted at K. Close III
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Another Grand Family Trip…

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about our recent trip up to Arkansas for Thanksgiving.

Yet another grand adventure with the family transpired last week. We were so excited to take Ansel up to see his grandparents, great-grandparents, and other family, since he’s been walking, babbling, and just all around loaded to the gills with cuteness. We left out of Denton on Wednesday and made the 8+ hour drive up to West Memphis. Ansel didn’t do as well as he as in the past. He hardly slept at all on the way up, and for the most part grumped and fussed. He was simply not in the mood to be in his car seat for that long. On the occasions where we stopped and were able to get out for a bit, he was even more resistant to go back in. I felt sorry for the little guy, but he was just not happy about the trip.

We did, however, get there safely but unfortunately ran into our first snag almost immediately. We called Jeremy and Christy to check on their status and found out that there was a problem at our regular hotel. When we arrived, it turned out that the reservation that Christy had made a month in advance had been lost and they had no free rooms. We bitched, complained, and basically made a protest in the lobby before finally going out to find another hotel. I used my internet phone to search around and find some other hotels with names we recognized and the first one that came up was a Holiday Inn. I called and they said they could give us the adjoined rooms. We suspected, rightfully, that the price would be really high and were prepared to walk out and find another place if it was too much (even though my dad was paying for it all, we didn’t want to break the bank on the hotel).

When we got over there, they told us the rooms were $120 a night, each. We nearly choked, apologized for wasting their time and started walking out when I decided I’d at least ask about any discounts. I explained that we were visiting for the holidays and that the Red Roof Inn had lost our reservation and we were pretty much without a place to stay for the weekend. To my surprise, the clerk offered us the military rate (which wasn’t completely inappropriate, we were visiting my grandfather who has a solid military background) which turned out to be only a little bit more than we had originally planned to spend. Since we were desperate, we decided the slight overage was fine and we took the rooms. While we thanked her and filled out paperwork, she explained the amenities. Jeremy and I admitted to the girls later that we weren’t even paying attention because we’re not used to having amenities.

Upon getting to the rooms, however, we realized that this was a much nicer place than we’d ever stayed in before. The flat screen TVs were the first real sign that we were in a more expensive hotel, let alone the comfortable beds, the down comforters, and the overall cleanliness of the rooms and baths. We got all of our stuff out of the cars, packed everyone back in Jeremy and Christy’s new seven-seater and headed out to the house, with a slight detour by Kroger for beer and coffee creamer (since the rooms even had coffee makers). At the house, we greeted everyone, had some dinner, showed off the babies, and visited for a while before finally heading back to the hotel for the night.


Thanksgiving day, we rolled out of bed in a leisurely manner and headed out to the house with no great haste. We knew that breakfast would be sparse and that dinner would be in the early afternoon, so we felt no need to rush. Of course, when we showed up and started eating breakfast scraps at 11am, we were interrogated and accused of eating too close to dinner. What are we, twelve?

Ansel took a solid nap and we actually had to wake him up for Thanksgiving dinner. I was so looking forward to him getting to try everything and seeing how he liked the big meal. I got him a little bit of everything and he was really enjoying his food. I missed out on some of the goods because I chose to feed him first and some things ran out. I thank Jeremy for the bite of molasses ginger salmon that my uncle, the gourmet, brought. I almost missed out on the Jello salad as well because for some reason, instead of being out on the buffet with all the other food, it was on the “adults” table. Yes, there was an “adult” table and a “kids” table… Though to be fair, the “kids” are all getting old enough that it should just be called the “third and fourth generation” table. I didn’t think it was quite fair, however, to put all the food on the kitchen counter as a buffet, except for the rolls and the Jello. I didn’t even realize I’d missed them until I noticed someone else was eating rolls and had to ask where they were. They were both almost gone by the time I got to them. Good thing I fed my baby first, right? If I had wanted to eat, I should have left him alone and grumpy. Gripes aside, however, the food was excellent and I ate so much that I couldn’t even think of dessert. I’m not sure I even ate any, that day.

IMG_8702
We finished up the evening with a viewing of our new extended cut of Hancock. I have to say, I think I liked the theatrical version better because there’s a whole sequence with a prostitute that feels out of place and completely unnecessary. I’m not sure why the put it back in, but its there and we can’t really avoid it, so we’ll have to live to accept it. Honestly, though, its just an attempt at adding some toilet humor and kind of takes you away from the pace of the movie.


Friday, after a big pancake breakfast provided by my aunt, we wanted to give my grandparents a bit of a break from all the chaos so we decided to go to the Memphis Zoo. Dad kind of invited himself, but we understood how he was feeling (about the same as the rest of us) and had no problem with him coming along. We tried to pay for the tickets to get in, but he wouldn’t let us. We couldn’t complain about it too much, though, he saved us $26 per couple and was already paying for the hotel.

Changing Table/Dresser
I had planned ahead of time to make sure that Ansel saw the lions, tigers, elephants and giraffe… the things with which his room is decorated. Fortunately, the cat habitat is right by the entrance, so the animal we knew Ansel would recognize best was the first thing we got to see. The lions were a bit tough to see, but even still, ever cat he could lay eyes on, he would point to excitedly and say “Tat!” He’s been working on saying tiger at home, but I think he was just too overwhelmed to say anything more specific. You could tell he loved seeing the big cats all roaming around and acting like house cats.

Ansel and the Offending Sheep
We were also excited to see Ansel enjoy petting the animals in the farm area. He’s grown so accustomed to the dog and cats at our house, and even the pets at other people’s houses, that we thought he’d just love the farm animals. We started at the sheep pen and he was having a great time just leaning against the slated fence staring at the sheep. A curious lamb came trotting up to Ansel and sniffed his nose. This, unfortunately, freaked his shit out! From that point on, he would have nothing to do with any of the farm animals. We couldn’t put him down, we couldn’t let the animals get anywhere near hem, he wouldn’t touch them, pet them, and would hardly even look at them. We felt sorry for him, but it was pretty hilarious. All the while, however, Isaac is over there petting, pulling, and picking the noses of every animal that gets near him.

Eventually, he fell asleep, but we woke him up again for the Elephants. They were pretty active, but he didn’t seem to really pay them any attention. He did, however seem to perk up when we got to the giraffe. All in all, the zoo was fun, but it did start out warm and got noticeably colder over the few hours that we were there, and even though I thought to bring a sweatshirt, Heather did not, and she ended up wearing mine the whole time. We drove back to the house with two babies happily napping.

That evening, we actually got to go out to dinner while the babies stayed home with the grandparents, great-grandparents, and a great-aunt. We had no idea where we were going to go, but we had a cunning plan. We wanted to go to a kind of bar and grill, but didn’t want to go to some national chain. I decided that they never put an Applebees in a crappy part of town, so I started by browsing on Google Maps a little ways into Memphis and did a search for Applebees. Then, once I found one, I did a second search for “bar and grill” in the same location. We found a couple and decided to go check them out. The first one was closed, but the second one looked really nice. It was a place called Boscoe’s, which didn’t really strike a chord until we were walking up to it and Christy says, “I think we’ve been here before, not last time, but the time before that!” We all kind of paused and realized that, yes, in fact we had been there before, back in 2004. Fortunately, we all remembered it being really good, so we went on and got seated not at the same table, but at a table directly diagonal from the table we sat at last time. We had some beers (and wine), ate some great food, had an unnecessary desert, and generally made a great night of it. It was good that we did so, because it turns out that Ansel pretty much cried for the entire time we were gone. I was sad for Ansel and felt sorry for everyone who had to deal with it… but hey, what’s family for.


Saturday was pretty much our lazy day. Other than eating too much, too often, and watching the old home movies of my grandparents and all their crazy adventures, nothing really remarkable transpired. IT was mostly just a day for visiting. I’d seen all the home movies before, but watching them again and having everyone talk about the people, places, and events was really nice and having Heather and Ansel there to experience it made it even better.


Finally, on Sunday, we were ready to head home. We packed everything up and left the room keys behind. True to their word, the hotel gave us a wickedly good rate and we left happy with our stay. We made one last visit to the house to grab some breakfast and say our final goodbyes. We had already planned to meet up with Matt and Angela in the Little Rock, Hot Springs, Malvern area, so we called to finalize our plans and things got a bit complicated. Heather and I were ready for lunch (or would be by the time we met up) and Matt and Angela were more in a breakfast mode, so we had to find some place to eat brunch. After much deliberating about local favorites, we finally decided a good old Cracker Barrel was the solution. It’s always interesting to meet up with friends miles and miles from home. After lunch, and a bit of stressful fuel-up, we were on the road and headed home.


All in all, it was a good trip. Now that Ansel’s getting so much older and more active, he’s a thrill to show off. He’s getting so smart and interesting, that’s he’s just a joy to take places, show off, and watch him experience things. We’re really looking forward to Christmas for the same reason. I’m hoping he understands gifts a little more this time around. He’s not much older than he was for his birthday, but he’s so much more curious, he may do a little better at opening gifts. Regardless, it should be another good trip and I’m excited to share his wonder.

Three days of writing, and I’m finally done…


Originally posted at K. Close III
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We Now Return You To Our Regularly Scheduled Broadcast, Already in Progress…

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my own current affairs and the regularity of my blogging.

I feel bad because it shouldn’t be all that hard to post one blog a week. Every friday I all of a sudden realize that I haven’t posted anything and that I should write something up “right now” or another week will go by. Then, on Monday, I realize that I’ve missed that week. Maybe I need a weekly blogging night, or something. I frequently have ideas that I want to write about, issues that bother me, thoughts that I ponder; you know, regular blogging topics, but I often forget them before I get a chance to write about them. To this end, I think I’m going to buy myself yet another blank journal and start a blogging notebook… kind of a “writer’s blog defense book.” I almost bought one this weekend (for free with a coupon), but they were all so cheap looking I didn’t think they’d hold up to the abuse I was sure to pile on them. I’m low on funds right now, but I may still go out and see what I can find in the bookstore, later.

I’m glad the election is over, I was getting really tired of all the political talk, both national and local. More-so, I was getting really sick of the ads that months ago started out clean and unscathing, but more recently turned to muckraking and borderline slander. Someday, I’d love to live in a world where we simply sell ourselves on our own merit, rather than on how much better we are then our peers. Every time I am all but forced to promote myself by comparative arguments, I feel disgusted with myself. Yes, I understand that to get ahead, we have to make ourselves look like the best choice, but I’d certainly rather do that by making myself look good, not by making others look bad. Our society has put so much stress on contrast and competition, I feel like we, as a “modern” society, are far more adept at finding the bad in things than finding the good. I like to think of myself as a radical in such that whenever I watch a movie, or read a book, I manage to find some redeemable quality that made my experience worth while, rather than focus on the flaws so much that it ruins the entire event.

I’ve also noticed in the past, that I have been able to change people’s overall opinion of a “bad” movie, simply by talking about the good parts and helping them to remember what they actually enjoyed. Its not that I’m trying to be an advocate against negative opinions, but I just feel like the world today doesn’t foster an environment for a fair analysis. When we find a flaw in something, we pick at it interminably until the entire whole of the thing is infected and crusted over with whatever turned us against it in the first place, even if that initial inkling was minor at its inception. We are predisposed to hate something, and need to be convinced that we like it, rather than the other way around. We’re constantly prepared for disappointment, and have to be surprised when we’re not disappointed. So often, people critique something by saying it was “surprisingly good,” as if there was no way that they were going to be entertained. But then again, if you expected such a massive letdown, why did you even give it a chance. Maybe we’re constantly on the lookout for surprise, and as such, continue to expose ourselves to potential disaster, in hopes that the titanic will finally miss the iceberg.

Sometimes, however, no matter how high your expectations are, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the inevitable meltdown that’s waiting for you in the near future.

Max Brooks Signing my copy of World War ZI went to Wizard World Texas, yesterday, and while I’m not going to go into details about it, things were not good on the trip back. I got to spend time with Derek, which was good, and I got to meet Max Brooks, which was great, but pretty much everything else was trumped by some unfortunate events on the way home. I’m working very hard to focus on the highlights, and am making light, in my head, of the tragedies, but its hard. I’m concerned for the future of some really good friends and hope that, despite the awkwardness and unfortunate circumstances of this weekend, things will improve. In my retelling of this weekend’s events, I’ve admitted that the last thing I want to be is the straw on the camel’s back. Also, I found out this past weekend, that a peer, and passing acquaintance is no longer together with her spouse. I don’t know her all that well and rarely socialize with her, I’ve never met her spouse to my knowledge, but the news of her name change and breakup was remarkably saddening to me.

I grew up lucky, I’d say. My parents rarely fought, were always supportive of each other and my brother and I, and had decent relationships with all of their parents and grandparents. Divorce is extraordinarily rare in my family, and I’ve never had to deal with it first person. Mother and ChildEven when Heather and I were having some serious relationship problems, years back, I don’t think either of us could picture ourselves not with each other. Its like we just understood that we would work it out and move forward. Now, six years later, I’ve never loved Heather more, and to know that we have Ansel as a result of, not only our love, but our sordid experiences as well, makes me realize that a marriage does not have to be eternal bliss. In fact, I would argue, that a marriage, or any relationship for that matter, cannot exist solely on rapture and euphoria. If you cannot experience all of your emotions with your closest relationships, then you’re obviously not completely open to them. Every now and then, you have to spit a little venom.

This isn’t at all where I intended to go with this post, and to be honest, I don’t even know where I expected to go when I started writing, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t good enough.


Originally posted at K. Close III
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One Year Ago…

Saturday, September 20th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I make a quick note about Ansel’s Birthday.

IMG_8351Yesterday was Ansel’s first birthday. There was no great hoopla, not riotous celebration, just a day out shopping and dinner at home. We went out to Frisco to go to Ikea to buy a gift for Ansel, but it turns out that the item is no longer available at Ikea. We’ll have t get a slightly more expensive one at Target, now.

Either way, we had a pretty good day out shopping with my Mom and Dad. We ate a late lunch at Ikea and then headed back home. There really was no great celebration, that comes tomorrow at Ansel’s big birthday party.


And on another note, I finally picked up my Rock Band 2 guitar at Best Buy. I got tired of waiting for GameStop to ship it and found out Best Buy had 12 in stock. I can honestly say, its fantastic. Its such a nice improvement over the old guitar. The fact that its wireless is great, but the sturmmer is the real improvement. Its a lot more responsive wiht a much shorter throw. My only concern is that the orange key is a little sluggish on the bounce back. I’ll have to keep an eye on it and see if it needs replacing. I haven’t noticed and gameplay issues, it just feels mushy under my finger. Actually, if all the keys felt the same, I wouldn’t even notice or care, but that one key just feels out of place.

Anyway, we have a relaxing day at home before the big party tomorrow. We’re looking forward to it and hope Ansel has a great day!


Originally posted at K. Close III
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Terror Comes to Tiny Town…

Friday, September 5th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about my poor, poor little baby and his horrible, terrible, no good, very bad night.

So, Wednesday was not a good day for baby Ansel. He was dripping snot all day, didn’t sleep well the night before, and didn’t nap well all day. He was grumpy (which was reiterated by his “GRUMPY” onesie) and we were pretty sure that Wednesday night would not go very well either, but we had no idea how bad it could be.

For those of you who have not met our Ansel, he is a super-champ. He’s very laid back, almost always cheerful, and just an all around happy baby. He hardly cries, and when he does, it takes almost nothing to soothe him again. Heather and I consider ourselves very lucky with him, and accept the fact that this may change as he gets older and are not taking his relaxed nature for granted. We appreciate every second of it.

My retelling of this may be a bit off, seeing as how I was pretty solidly asleep and I’m putting it together based on what I could discern from Heather. We struggled to get him to even go to sleep Wednesday night, and finally, with Heather sleeping on the floor in his room by his crib, he fall asleep. This was a short lived solace because after a short while, he all of a sudden awoke screaming, uncontrollably. I don’t know how long he screamed before I woke up in the next room, past a closed door, but I know Heather was crying trying to console him. After my head cleared and I realized this was no dream or hallucination, I got up to go check on them. When I found them, Ansel was in his crib screaming like his toes had been eaten in the middle of the night, and Heather was looking for something – anything – to soothe him. I rescued her and took him a way to try and calm him down myself.

Now, like I said, Ansel is usually pretty easy to calm back down. For the most part, if he’s crying, you can just pick him up, carry him around for a little bit and bounce him in your arms and he’ll eventually downgrade his crying to sniffles and rest his head on your shoulder. This was not the case! No amount of waking, carrying, or bouncing was going to stop his wails. He was crying so hard that his body was shuddering. I went to the kitchen to try to find a solution. My first thought was that his teeth were in serious pain. He’s been teething again, and I’ve heard tell that the further back the teeth are, the more they hurt when they come out. So I tried cold water and Tylenol. Neither of which helped, in fact, he almost just poured the Tylenol back out of his mouth with his relentless crying. So after what felt like an eternity, between Heather and I both trying to make him feel better, I decided I’d get him a cold teething ring and opened the refrigerator. As I reached in, he started to quiet down. In my half-asleep, completely frustrated, stupor, I had to stop and think about why the refrigerator was calming him down. Was it the cold? Was it the glow of American consumerism? Was it something in the refrigerator, specifically? It finally occurred to me that in an effort to keep the mood calming, neither Heather nor I had turned on any lights. To test this theory, I went in to the living room, flipped the lights on full blast and started poking all of Ansel’s music toys.

He immediately stopped crying and started showing interest in his toys so we sat down on the floor and played for a bit. Heather came in and kind of calmed herself down, as well. We sat there for a while before I admitted that I needed to go to bed or I’d be useless the next day at work. However, when I got to bed, I found that the two hours of sleep I’d already had, plus the excitement and fear from Ansel’s crying fit had worked me up too much to sleep, so I ended up just reading for another 45 minutes or so. Needless to say, I ended up snoozing my alarm far more than I should, and then dragging myself through the morning to the point that I was an hour late to work on Thursday.

Fortunately, Thursday was a much better day for Ansel, and Friday is shaping up to be better still. Whatever scared him so bad Wednesday night seems to have passed and he looks to be getting over his cold. Unfortunately, Heather and I both seem to be fighting off a little bit of a cold ourselves. What goes around comes around.


Originally posted at K. Close III
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What day is it…

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about how crazy busy I’ve been and how that stress is not healthy.

Holy shit, where did the last two weeks go? Its been a mad house up in here and I’ve not only lost complete track of time, but pretty much any semblance of order and reason as well. I can’t even effectively recall everything thats been going on the last two weeks, but I guess I’ll try.

On Ansel

If child development was an Xbox game, Ansel would have opened up a ton of new achievements in the last couple of weeks. He’s a crawler (50 points). He’s cruising one handed (10 points). He’s feeding himself chunks of food (15 points). He’s identifying common objects (25 points). He’s figured out push-toys (10 points). He’s sleeping nights in his crib (100 points). That is a gain of 210 points over last time! He made some progress on Mobility acquiring 2 achievements, Self Sufficiency acquiring 2 achievements, 1 more achievement each in Playing and Communication and oh… man was it ever sweet!

On Home Life

I think Heather is getting used to being at home. Its a little tough to tell at the moment because we just finished our monstrous garage sale and things still haven’t quite settled back to “normal” yet. We spend the majority of last week setting up the garage sale, then all of the weekend running it, and this week is still recovering. I feel like I missed my weekend completely, because of it. We made some good money, as did those who participated in it with us. Heather also said that we could use the money from the garage sale to buy me Rock Band 2 when it comes out next month. She’s so awesome.

Aside from the sale, though, there hasn’t been that much going on. I’m so exhausted from work every day that I pretty much go home, play some xbox, watch some tv, and go to bed. Its so sad that I see Heather and Ansel so little every day, and yet I can’t hardy gather the energy to really enjoy my time with them. I’m totally turning in to the husband that works all day, comes home, sits on the couch, passes out and then slides off to bed. All I need is some slippers and a pipe.

On Cycling

So, after a week long drama of trying to get my bike tuned and subsequently repaired, I finally got it back just in time for a week long downpour. When I finally was able to ride it again yesterday, the shifter started locking up and gears started slipping. I took it in to have them look at it and apparently my shifter is broken. I should write an entire post just on my experiences with The Bicycle Path because its a rant and a half, and as soon as I get my bike back, I’ll probably never go there again. At the very least, they are willing to replace the shifter for free because they don’t know if it was broken before, during or after the tune-up. Either way, I was unable to ride my bike for a week due to repairs, another week for rain, and now half a week for more repairs. Is it so wrong that I want very badly to ride my bike daily, not on the rare occasion that its not at the shop?

On Work

We have a huge server migration coming up, and we’re way behind. I don’t know nearly enough to handle my end of things, some of the things I need to handle can’t be handled until the servers are all configured correctly. We’re all trying to get things together as quickly as possible which is stressful enough by itself, but then on top of that, the semester has started and that’s always its own little adventure. Add to that the fact that we’re doing a new website, and everyone has grand designs for its potential and I’ve got upwards of 20 new computers coming in any day now… is it any surprise I drink a beer or two as soon as I get home? Then again, maybe that’s why I fall asleep on the couch every day. Its an endless, vicious, cycle.


Originally posted at K. Close III
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Where did the Weekend go…

Monday, August 4th, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about the loss of time

So this weekend, like most, flew by almost imperceptibly. I know I did something this weekend, but nothing that would be considered a responsible thing. I had wanted to do things like change out heather’s license plates, put up a clothesline, fix the toilet. You know, grown up, homeowner, husband, father type things.

Instead, I pretty much watched movies, played games, and wasted time with my Xbox. I know the responsible part of me is locked inside somewhere, I’ve seen it before. It usually surfaces with a flurry of activity, then drinks a beer and hibernates for several months, but lately, its been wracking at the bars and trying to get out, but I somehow keep distracting it and just waste time. Sunday, it almost won, but fortunately, Jason and Stephanie came over and showed it some little plastic figures and it ran in the corner and played army men.


We did, however, spend nearly two hours at Lowes on Sunday not only buying a deep freeze so that Heather can really devote some effort to the Grocery Game , but also meandering back and forth and back again between the fencing, plumbing, and hardware departments trying to figure out how to make a removable post for the retractable clothesline I’m going to put up for Heather. After much deliberating, I think I finally found the right combination of items to create a ground socket within which to install a fence post that can then be removed in the event that we want to have people over on the patio. I’m going to begin construction on it tonight if I can keep the Xbox from grabbing my attention.


Speaking of the Xbox, my addiction to it must be worse than I thought. Not only does the enticement of downloading and watching old TV shows almost completely disable my fatherly productivity (I’ve watched three seasons of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place almost completely back to back), but games that just make me mad for two hours at a time will keep me hooked even in misery. I played Culdcept Saga for several hours this weekend, and hated almost all of it. Why can I not stop playing when I’m enjoying it so little? I think it is, in part, due to the fact that Culdcept is a combination of a board game and a collectible card game, both of which are weaknesses of mine, but at the same time, the rules eluded me and I didn’t understand why certain things were happening from time to time, so it just made me mad when I thought I understood and found out that I was wrong. This happened quite a bit. I finally determined that the root of the problem, was that in a live game where you are playing with other people, if something happens and its not what you expected, you can go back and figure out what’s actually going on. In a video game, events happen, and then the cards are wiped off the table and you’re on to another round before you even know what you miscalculated. You can’t go back and see what you mixed up.

Also, the game loved to surprise you with abilities that you’d never seen and didn’t know what they did, so you wouldn’t know how to prepare for them.


And finally, I’m now on my second day at work without Heather around and its still awkward. I got to ride my bike in to work today (it took a leisurely 16 minutes and I was actually not completely exhausted or sweat soaked), which is something I’ve been really looking forward to doing again. Today’s ride makes me confident that I can do that almost every day, depending on the weather. Its still unusually, however, to be going off to fix a computer problem (and usually the most asinine problem) and not be able to stop by Heather’s office and rant about it first. Heather and Angela were my biggest confessionals and while Angela is still here, she’s not on the way to most of the computers I deal with. Every time I go out to work on a computer, if I pass by Heather’s office, I look in expectantly, knowing that she’s not there. I know she’s home and happy with Ansel, but its going to take some adjusting for me. Heather and I have worked in the same building for 10 years, and its just not the same to not have her here anymore.

At least now I’m getting tons of comp time again, now that I’m not longer taking lunches. Eating at my desk, FTW!


Originally posted at K. Close III
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I didn’t blog last week…

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 | LiveJournal Archives | No Comments

…in which I talk about stuff, trying to make up for missing a week.

I’ve got three computers installing software on my desk right now, so I’m going to take a moment to just ramble mindlessly.

On Grad School:

I’ve pretty much decided I’m not going to continue in Grad School next year. I was thinking I could juggle it all, but I’ve been so much happier lately not thinking about photo. I love photo, don’t get me wrong, but I have to drop something and its the biggest stress relief of all the non-necessary things in my life. I can’t quit work, I can’t quit parenting, so that leaves gaming and school. Grad school is really expensive, not as expensive as it would be if I wasn’t a University employee, but still, its a good chunk of change, not only for tuition, but also supplies and incidental fees. With Heather quitting her job, our pockets are going to be tight enough as it is, so we really don’t need me to be spending $1000-$2000 a semester on school. We were barely covering the cost as it is. Also, its a huge stressor when I get behind or get “photo blocked.” I just don’t need that kind of stress right now. I can keep photographing without getting my MFA. An MFA gives me a sense of achievement and the capacity to teach at a Collegiate level, but I’m not sure I ever really wanted to be a teacher. I don’t mind giving demos, or doing workshops, but I’ve never been driven to be a teacher. I’ll be dropping the program with two Incompletes, but I’ve been informed that at the graduate level, they don’t revert back to the earned grade (which would be F’s in my case), but rather, just stay as an I. I’m fine with that. I may pick it up again when things get more sane, but I’ve pretty much gotten out of the program what I wanted. I wanted to get a renewed sense of artistry and to start photographing again. I wanted to shake my life up and get out of my rut. I wanted to feel more academic and intellectual. I wanted to take my life more seriously. Between the work I’ve put in to the program, and the arrival of Ansel, I’ve achieved all of those things, and made some good friends as a result. I do not regret my choice to enter the program, nor do I regret my choice to leave the program. The entire experience has been a joy and a success to me. I am thankful to everyone who supported me and helped me along the way, and wish to see only the best happen to everyone who is still working at it.

On Baby:

Ansel is developing so fast, he seems super-human. He’s started officially “cruising” lately. He’s still a little shaky around corners (he can walk the length of the coffee table, but stops at the corner and often turns back) and last night was learning how to use the “rungs” on the bed foot-board to walk back and forth. He can also transition from object to object, like from the coffee table to his music table to the couch (this is actually how he takes corners). He’s figuring out what he can pull himself up on, and how to get around once he’s done so. For example, he can pull himself up on his music table, but not the coffee table, so if the two are close enough, he pulls himself up on the music table and turns around to get to the coffee table. He’s also shown signs of obvious trust in us. I realize this is a weird concept for those of you without children, but since a baby’s emotions and dialog are so rudimentary, its tough to understand what a baby is thinking, even what he thinks about you. Lately, when he comes to the edge of something that he’s cruising along, if there’s nothing to continue on to, and I’m sitting with him, he looks back at me and grabs my hand so that I can guide him to something else. What’s so amazing about it is that there’s no crying or insistence, he knows full well that I’ll take his hand and we’ll waddle to another piece of furniture. In addition to this, he’s started hugging us, or at least wrapping his arms tighter around us, and grabbing our shirts to hold on when we’re carrying him. He also rests his head on our chests more, which is something he did when he was too little to pick his head up, but ever since he developed his neck muscles, never did afterwards. Now its more heartwarming because we know he’s doing it by choice. Lastly, he’s gotten his third tooth and is about to get the fourth. We know they’re hurting him, and there’s so little you can do but try to comfort him. As a result, his sleep’s been really off. Heather staying home with him next month (and beyond) should hopefully help his sleep, though.

Miscellaneous:

We got new carpet in our living room, its gorgeous but still a little scratchy on your bare ass. Our internet was out for four days last week, that shit pisses me off especially since I know they’re not going to reimburse me for my outage. I can’t wait to start biking to work, I need the exercise and I miss riding my bike. Someday I want to be able to ride my bike to Frisco, not because I want to go to Frisco, just to know I can. Thanks to wonderful friends of ours we get to go to two movies this week, thats more than we usually went to even before we had Ansel. I’m trying to think of more one line announcements, but I think I’ve said all I need to for the week.


Originally posted at K. Close III
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