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March 28, 2006

They're big kids now (sort of)

Apologies for the derailing of this blog this past week. So much for my hopes to get back in the saddle and get it recharged. (How's that for mixing metaphors?) I'm not sure where all the time is going these days, but I suspect it has something to do with the two raging ids that inhabit this house with me. Blogging seems very inconsequential compared to spending time with them. They're quite marvelous little people. I think I already mentioned this.

They've officially grown into big kids now: they no longer sleep in cribs but in Swedish-designed, Russian-manufactured discount beds. Last week I took them to Ikea to pick them up.

I quite like Ikea. The styles are simple, but with enough flair to make them interesting. And they're cheap. And I appreciate not having to pay for services I can provide myself, like transporting the stuff home and assembling it. But the retail experience still needs a bit of work.

It was almost lunch time when we got there -- as I had planned -- so I first took the kids to the restaurant to get some inexpensive food. I thought they would like the Swedish meatballs, but they both opted for the hot dogs and fries. That was fine, more meatballs for me. Now if we could just attract the attention of one of the staff behind the counter, we could order. Instead, the guy who was supposed to be serving the hot meals was futzing around arranging the food in the steam trays. He aggressively ignored us as he continued to do this for some time. Finally, as the line behind me started snaking into the housewares department, he greeted me with a cheery, "How are you today?" I should have replied, "Annoyed", but instead I just ignored the question and gave him our order. We got our meals, picked up three milks and proceeded to the checkout. That's where I got really annoyed.

The lady gave each of my kids a coupon for a free frozen yogurt cone that they could pick up at the exit to the store. I've got nothing against my kids eating this kind of stuff, but I kind of like to keep the control over it to myself. They had big grins on their faces and said, "Look Papa! Ice cream!" The coupons were now their most prized possession. Now I faced either screaming toddlers or a delay leaving so they could have their treat. Oh well, I resolved to have a coffee while they made the inevitable mess on their clothes.

After eating (all they ate was their fries), we returned to the front of the store to pick up a cart to hold our loot. Also at the front of the store is the 'ball room', which they remember fondly from their younger days a couple of months ago. They pleaded to go in, and I thought, Why not? I can do the shopping much quicker without them, and perhaps they'll forget about the 'ice cream'. I got them out of their coats and boots and attempted to sign them in, but I got a not so fast, buddy look from the ball room guardian. He directed Talia to a 'you must be this tall to enter' ruler on the side -- and Talia was half a centimeter too short. I gave the guy a Oh c'mon! look, but it didn't work -- the ball room was barred to my petite little girl. Nazi. The tears luckily didn't last too long, and we began our shopping experience.

"Can we have our ice cream now?"

"Where is our ice cream?"

"Let's go get our ice cream!"

"Papa! Is this where the ice cream is?"

"Can we have our ice cream now?"

Luckily for them, we were in a public place. I endured thirty minutes of questioning about the 'ice cream' until we finally made it through the checkout ($800 dollars poorer) and could pick up their treats. The woman working the 'Bistro' counter was extremely efficient and ran through the line quickly. I handed her the coupons and ordered a coffee. Before I could stop her she handed me two small cones topped with an enormous mass of teetering, melting yellow goop -- and a coffee. Great.

They were too big to set down, and I couldn't give them to the kids here (though they had their hands out in anticipation). I could just barely hold them in one hand and had the coffee in the other. Ripping open the sugars and cream was out of the question so I just put them in my pocket, along with some napkins. A lot of napkins.

Now, I needed somewhere for them to eat this crap. I saw a small bench near the returns counter and hoped I could get there before someone took it. In the cart were Max and Talia, mattresses, sheets and pillows. It was pretty heavy. I had no hands to steer the cart so was forced to nudge it forward with my hips. And, what do you know? The cart pulled to the right. I would push it from behind until it was hopelessly off course, then stop and use my hips on the front of the cart to adjust the direction again. It must have been a very amusing sight to see me steering this lopsided cart using nothing but my ass for the hundred feet to that solitary threatened bench. But I made it.

Toddlers do not know how to eat ice cream cones. They just don't. Left alone, they will just stick their faces in and eat until the ice cream falls off the cone. And then they'll cry. I resolved to not let this happen, so after they finally got the cones they had been whining about, I would periodically grab them away from them for 'rebalancing'. Max was somewhat resentful of my help, but Talia was very cooperative. She even called me over to fix her cone when nothing was wrong.

Even with my help, it took twenty minutes to finish off these damn cones. Max in particular was determined to get as much into himself as he could. I'm not really sure why, they tasted vile. But once he was done we finally got out of that place, loaded the extremely heavy boxes for the bed in the Improbabus, and made it home.

I learned from the last time I assembled highly desired items in front of them that doing it again was not a good idea. I put them together when they were out of the house.

And so ends for foray into Lileksian writing. A pale imitation, I know, but you get what you pay for. Expect a follow up in about six months.

March 22, 2006

Chavez insanity watch II

The latest diplomatic overture from Chavez to Bush:

You are demented and a coward. You're a donkey, Mr. Danger, a coward and an alcoholic. You are the worst thing that has happened to this planet. God free the world from this threat because psychologically you're sick. Seventy percent of Americans are against the war and you. You're killing children that aren't to blame for your sickness.
Do you think he might be envious of all that attention the Iranians are getting?

Pull up! Pull up!

Whoa! That was a close one! I just nodded off for a few moments and woke up to find my blog in a tailspin! I think I have it back under control now.

I haven't been on the web for a few days as I worked on a few things around the house. And in that time I received 700 spam emails in my inbox. Many are to notify me that I've won another European lottery or are from some financial institution wishing me to 'update my account information', but most are notifications of new spam comments or trackbacks to the blog. It's such a chore to wipe this stuff off the site. One of the major deterents for me to sit down and blog is facing this vile stuff and scrubbing it off. I'm going to have to try to upgrade my blog software again. *sigh*

Okay. Now that I've regained level flight, where should I go? Well, first I've got some cleaning to do. Then maybe I can produce some Lileksian drivel about how I'm spending my days with the kids lately. My horizon has moved much closer in the past few weeks, so I don't care to write about anything beyond my little world, though that may soon change.

I've delayed enough. Now it's time to hold my nose and face the muck...

March 13, 2006

All of a sudden, they're little people!

One day it just hits you; no longer do you just have little whining, eating and pooping machines, but you have new people, living in your house! They are individuals, with dreams of their own, special interests and passions, fears, loves, memories and prized possessions. You can converse with them; you can ask them questions and get surprising and detailed responses. They listen to you and repeat your own words back to you, weeks after you said them. They make up games that you can't understand. They tell you about their dreams. They're not just especially cute pets anymore; they're people.

It caught me by surprise, I have to say. They say the early years go by so fast, but it seems like it's been a lifetime to me. And in that time I grew accustomed to looking at Max and Talia as entities that had to be cared for. They were little creatures that had to be tended to -- they had to be fed, changed, entertained, washed, protected and taught. But now that they've become little people, everything feels different.

And it's good. They're very nice little people and I'm glad to have them living in my house.

March 09, 2006

Bad to worse

In the future, when children start coming down with some new illness developed at the biological weapons development lab otherwise known as 'daycare', parents will be able to take a sample of the bug, drop it in their personal pharmaceutical lab and have a preventative medicine prepared right away. But those days are a long way off. I could only wait helplessly for Max and Talia's latest cold to come for me.

And what a monster it was. I haven't been this miserably sick since... well, since the last cold they gave me, back at the end of January. My wife never seems to get them. I think doctors have some secret medicine that they keep for themselves. They can't let it get into the hands of the public or they would lose their power.

Anyways, that's why there's been no posts. I'm just too miserable to care. But I'll be back, lemme just have another nap...

March 02, 2006

A schizophrenic reviews the movies

I was cruising through Imdb, looking into whether I should take my kids to that new monkey movie (I will) when I came across a strange review. It started out normal, but then lurched into some very strange territory:

After I previously talked about a message from my artificial intelligence computer on a real Moon in the Creators Moonfleet involving Foreigners on a moon ramp there was a staged meeting involving me on a highway on ramp with a possible pretend foreigner. When my television shows the words for the show Star Daily the words Star David are heard. This is after three different cable guy/internet visits to the wiring in my backyard. The Canadian dirty tricks guys were used when the Liberals were in power and they are still being used now that the Conservatives are in power. Let me sum up. I really am the American Shadow Vice President. The American Shadow President Jack Kennedy is my boss. I really am the full nephew of Queen Elizabeth 2 Windsor that is why I am not in jail for allegedly making false statements. In 1945 President Franklin Roosevelt sent the following message to Earths moon. "A pal Moon? Know You Boone? Whos your Friend? Back again?" I am the Daniel Boone relative made the American Shadow Vice President due to contact with the Creators of Humans. President Jack Kennedy is the American Shadow President because he was always having trouble with his back after football and the sinking of PT 109. I am the 8th Highest ranking Human in the Universe representing Love (through offspring reproduction) to the Creator Ki Aliens while my Daughter Julia is the 19th highest ranking Human in the Universe representing Peace (through conquest of the Universe) to the Creator Ki Aliens. God will notice and probably be displeased if there are continued assassination attempts on His/Her Love and Peace namely Julia and me Brad.
I thought this was pretty funny, but assumed it would be deleted pretty quickly. I'm sure Imdb doesn't want people adding to their reviews with completely off-topic jibberish.

But I was wrong. Checking his user history, I see there are 98 other reviews by him on the site, most of them trailing off into stories from a bizarre alternate reality. Many of the reviews are for obscure war films that have specific meaning for himself, but others are on mainstream flicks. Some of them even seem almost normal. But others reach heights of strangeness I haven't seen outside William S. Burroughs or Philip K. Dick. My wife and I have been trying to figure out if he's a real looney or just doing a pretty good impression. We're leaning towards real.

Oh, and he claims to have once been in the Canadian Military and lives in St Catharines, Ontario. Watch out for him at the theatre if you live nearby.

March 01, 2006

Under a spell

Blogging is limited this week, as the organic and holistic daycare I subject my children to twice a week is closed to celebrate an ancient pagan festival known as 'spring break'. As a result, my two brief periods of serene contemplation in the week have been interrupted by squabbling, random demands, and occasional cuddle sessions from Max and Talia. Add the fact that they're sick and their mother has a busier than average week and you have a recipe for partial loss of sanity. But luckily I invested thirty bucks to buy a TV antenna a few weeks ago, and now can drop Thing One and Thing Two in front of the annoying and peppy hosts of CBC kids for a few hours in the morning. Here's what they look like as they absorb the preachy moralizing and squishy nationalism pouring out of our idiot box:

Sad, I know. But I figure: which will they value more in their adult life? A dozen IQ points or a father not in an insane asylum? Seems a pretty simple choice to me.

UPDATE: It's not all bad. Right now they're singing tunelessly along with Mr Dressup to 'Wheels on the Bus'. Adorable little guys.