Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Tale of Two Women

Many moons ago, I promised Emily that I would never fill this blog with political rantings. Nevertheless, two of my experiences this last week were political in nature and merit mention here.

For most Seattleites, the pleasure of seeing Senator Clinton in person last week cost $2000. For Microsoft employees willing to walk 10 minutes across campus, the privilege was free. Regardless of what you think about politics (and I expect the readership to be evenly divided), Hillary is an impressive presidential candidate. As wiser men than me have said, "the 50 states are hers to lose."

On the opposite side of the political spectrum (in scope, that is), Vicki Edwards knocked on my door this afternoon. Vicki is running for city council position in our town of 6000 people. Although Emily and I already had visitors over, I invited her in for a chat. Since a buddy of mine is running her campaign, I was already familiar with her stance on a variety of issues. I did, however, express my concern about the lack of sidewalks in our supposedly pedestrian scale community. My concern was duly noted and we parted ways amicably.

Photo Credits:
Clinton -- Jeff Maurone
Edwards -- King County

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the name game

after months and months of spreadsheets, algorithms, baby books, and a few heated discussions, bryan and i have finally decided on a baby name. although according to many of my high school, college and early marriage journal entries, i had already chosen names for all my children, it turns out that such whimsies become obsolete when dealing with an actual person who will have to live with the consequences of this decision for the rest of their lives.

early on, we came up with the perfect trifecta of conditions our baby’s nombre would have to meet: easy to spell and say, not too common, and (of course) liked by the both of us. it only took us the ensuing eight months to reach our verdict. and yet, for some reason, i can still here regis in the back of my mind asking, “is that your final answer?”

we have chosen not to reveal said name until little baby’s debut, but instead, as competition runs deep in both our hearts, to encourage our adoring public (yeah susanne!) to vie for a chance to win one of three amazing prizes by being the first to guess the moniker we have selected.

here are the rules:

  1. anyone we know can play (sorry random guy from flickr)

  2. each individual may submit up to one guess per week

  3. submissions may be made via our blog comments section or can be emailed directly to either bryan or myself (though we encourage using the blog so that all players can see the names that have already been guessed)

  4. the winner will be announced shortly after we bring the little one home (middle of november-ish)

  5. in the event that this name eludes all who participate, we will hold a random drawing to distribute the prize

here are the prizes:

most importantly, respect as the winner AND (bonus!) a choice of one of the following gift certificates--a few of our favorite things:

  1. cold stone

  2. itunes

  3. netflix

here are the clues:

  1. begins with the letter “s”

  2. 6-8 letters

  3. one baby book had this to say about it: “sweet but not silly, and can sound sophisticated when required”

  4. no real nicknames can be derived

  5. (additional clues will be posted every week)

this is a great way to utilize those 2.5 hours a day the average american worker spends schluffing off at work.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

alice in pumpkinland

Seeking to repent of my role in the Candy Massacre of 2007 (see previous post), I was more than happy to spend the last sunny day until next summer with Emily at a local pumpkin festival. Although most children did not attend in utero, our child was still able to convince Emily to buy something we really didn't need (a giant pumpkin sugar cookie for $2.25). I was reminded of my father's sentiment that "festival" is just a fancy way of saying "a place to buy things."

After getting lost in the corn maze and relying on Emily to guide us to safety, I decided to make myself useful by trekking deep into the pumpkin patch and retrieving the largest pumpkin I could find. Soon thereafter, I discovered that my plan was a little rash for someone who spends most of his waking hours in front of a computer. I did, however, find a nice, squatty pumpkin that was more manageable.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

taffy pull

it is a relatively recent aspiration of mine to make candy. i purchased a book. i read it. and then i was ready to be (and, as is my nature, fully expected to be) the next willy wonka.

unfortunately, i decided to turn my virgin confectioner pursuits into a family affair, and for fhe this week, bryan and i made taffy. or at least that was the goal.

yet it soon became obvious to me from his ensuing sabotage that it was bryan's alternative goal to dash my candy making dreams to pieces. realistically, though, i can only blame myself for thinking it a good idea to put him in charge of the thermometer (uh, isn't he an engineer?)

due to his ever-watchful eye and precision (please read with oozing sarcasm), the candy mixture was overcooked--for those of you unfamiliar with the art of candy, this is a very, very bad thing. not knowing what else to do, we decided to press forward with the "taffy." i was able to salvage some of the concoction to make hard candies (hopes of actual taffy had long ago been abandoned). and who knows what bryan was doing; please note the difference between our end results. again, i can only blame this on myself, as i should have been supervising him more closely.

to make taffy, one must pull the glassy mixture until it changes color and becomes opaque, roll it into a rope, and then cut it into pieces. bryan just fiddled around with the goo until it hardened and moved on to another piece. thus ruining most of the batch.

he is ever preparing me for motherhood.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Occam's razor

Conference weekend

Next time going to church for an hour seems like a drag, consider this: twice yearly, faithful Mormons around the world spend 10 hours over the course of a single weekend watching live satellite broadcasts in an event called "General Conference." I highly recommend the proceedings to interested readers, and I'm always ready to discuss, but that's not the reason you're still reading.

Despite our increasing numbers (13+ million) and an increasing number of high profile members (ever heard of Mitt Romney or Harry Reid?), Mormons remain a bit of a mystery to the populace at large. I recall an anecdote recounted to me by the son of a BYU anthropology professor. The professor, who we'll refer to as JP, frequently worked with other anthropologists who were trying to unravel a bit of the Mormon mystery.

One particular colleague of JP had a theory that speakers at General Conference used special vocal techniques to lull listeners into a catatonic state. In this state, the helpless individuals would be more susceptible to moral persuasion. Ever the scientist, JP invited his colleague to experience a couple of sessions of General Conference firsthand. Needless to say, after awaking from a rather normal nap midway through one of the sessions, he promptly discarded the theory.

On a more personal note, I did rather well this go around in terms of not dozing off. Not something to brag about, but I did want to establish a solid baseline of my behaviour before I can start blaming my napping propensities on late night interruptions from the baby.

Photo credit: cuibel