Friday, June 30, 2006

Idle Thoughts From The Men's Room

  • Don't piss on the toilet seat. Why are you pissing in the stall anyway?
  • Please don't fart repeatedly while standing at the urinal. If anything's coming out of your ass at all, go sit on the porcelain.
  • If your cell phone rings, ignore it.
  • Wash your hands afterwards. This goes double if you're a Vice President.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Lest Any Of You Conclude Otherwise ...

... I really do love Emma. Truly. She can be an enormous pain in the ass, but I treasure her. I'd have killed her long ago otherwise.

(The knee feels much better, Ali; thanks. Must've just pulled something; today it's feeling pretty much as it did before the camping trip.)


Pimped myself a little to Cory Doctorow and got a mention on BoingBoing.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Did I Forget To Mention ...

... the mosquitos? Yowza. It was like those old commercials for Off! or some other insect repellant, where the guy sticks his arm in a clear tank full of mosquitos and they just swarm his flesh. They bit us all up pretty good. Emma and I have lots of visible welts. Kristi has very few.

Her conclusion: it's all Emma's and my fault; the mosquitos can't help it if we react badly to them.

My conclusion: it's professional courtesy; the mosquitos recognize a fellow bloodsucker.

Camping Out

Camping trips with Emma are a joy.

We drove up to Charles A. Lindbergh State Park on Friday with Emma and her buddy Meghan. Stopped for dinner in St. Cloud, because we knew trying to feed them camp food would be a nightmare; they're both vegetarian and picky. So, Perkins for dinner. Got our site set up, started a fire, roasted marshmallows for S'mores (yeah, they're vegetarian, but not that vegetarian), sacked out, went to sleep. Everything was good.

Saturday morning, at around 5:00 am, Emma wakes up to the sound of thunder. (Kristi later reports that it's been raining and thundering since much earlier, but I slept through it.) We kept trying to get Emma to go back to sleep, but she was wired, antic, and bound and determined to wake up not only Meghan, but the entire campground. She'd only had about 6 hours sleep, and we knew this was not going to be a good day.

Finally, the rain let up at around 8 am. We took care of essentials, then took a walk back out to the ranger station -- or, as Emma called it, the gift shop. That's how she saw the whole trip, really -- an opportunity to acquire stuff. Amazingly, it needn't be cute, useful, or in any way desireable stuff; she just needed to get something. I think she's part Ferenghi (and yes, Scooter, go have fun with that one on your blog; I don't care).

After a hearty breakfast (well, okay, supermarket donuts; gimme a break), we were ready to rent a canoe. We walked back to the "gift shop" (Emma was by now complaining bitterly about all of the walking involved in camping trips), got paddles and lifejackets and a key to unlock our canoe, then walked down to the creek where the canoes were racked. Emma and Meghan selected our canoe based on color (orange, to match Emma's outfit); Kristi and I unlocked it and carried it to the water. There's no beach to board at; we have to put the canoe in the water and drag it back to a rocky terrace a foot or so above the water level, and step in from there. We boarded. And all hell broke loose.

Picture me standing with one leg in the canoe and one on the rocks, holding onto a tree limb over my head and trying to keep the canoe steady and close to land for fully seven or eight minutes, while Emma stands in the middle and screams bloody murder because there are Daddy Long-Legs in the canoe, lots of them, and there's no way I'm going anywhere in this canoe let me off now now now now now!!!!! The rest of us attempt to talk sense to Emma, and Kristi evacuates enough of the spiders that Emma will now sit down and let us paddle to somewhere where we can beach the canoe and continue the evaculation.

This could have been somewhat amusing, but for the sudden shooting pain in my knee about halfway through. It was above the joint, meaning it wasn't my previous problem -- and as it turns out, it's feeling somewhat better this morning. But yesterday, I swear, I thought my dream of playing in the major leagues was crushed.

We paddled down the creek to a lagoon which opens out on the Mississippi. There's a boat ramp there, and we beached and finished the spider evacuation. There was a posted notice to fishermen advising that muskies shorter than 40" must be thrown back; I thought briefly about telling Emma about the size of the fish in these waters, and wisely reconsidered.

We paddled up the Mississippi for 45 minutes or so, then back. We didn't capsize, so I suppose, on balance, this was a successful outing.

Back to camp, and lunch: crackers/cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, fruit.

It had now sunk in with Emma that her behavior (particularly the refusal to let everyone sleep in the morning) was going to cost her. We'd told her at the start that she could pick out something from the "gift shop" if she did a good job, and clearly she wasn't. She plaintively asked if she could make it up to us, but after the canoe incident, and with my knee still throbbing, I told her she'd have to save somebody's life or the equivalent. Kristi and the girls took a short hike while I rolled the sleeping bags and took the rainfly off the tent and such; the knee was sore, but functional. After they got back there was some discussion of playing games, but I heard thunder, and insisted that we strike camp first. Good thing; it started raining just as we were folding the tent. We threw everything in the car and drove down to the "gift shop," where Meghan -- but not Emma -- got to pick out a treasure to take home. We then headed for home through heavy rain -- punctuated by a stop for dinner at a Sbarro's in Coon Rapids, where everybody could at least find something they'd eat, if not thoroughly enjoy.

Such is camping with Emma. The morning bike ride I'd planned for today didn't happen; I'm hoping that another day or so and the knee will be back where it was. But I don't know.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

If you're a dad, or even if you only think you might be a dad but the DNA testing hasn't come back yet, happy Father's Day.

Emma took me to breakfast as promised -- though Kristi had to raid my wallet last night to secure enough cash for Emma to pay for me, so I'm not sure I didn't actually take myself to breakfast. Oh well. Later we took a 10-mile bike ride to Minnihaha Falls and back with Bob, Sarah, Luke and Grace across the street. Emma actually completed that ride with only one or two minor meltdowns. The major meltdown, she considerately saved for back in the privacy of our own home. She was overheated and exhausted, so I suppose it was excusable.

Now we're off to dinner to celebrate Dad's Day and Kristi's birthday, which also was today. Later!

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Haiku

Thunder rolling in
I'm sticky-hot and sweaty
And we're out of beer

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Pretty much says it all. Feeling crappy; I haven't been getting near enough sleep lately, so I'm getting sent to bed early.

Elsewhere in the world, our department at work has reorganized, in a way that moves Ming off of the project we've shared for some years now. I'm very happy for him -- he's got a great opportunity. But it's funny; Kristi and I were talking the other day about what we like best about our jobs. She figures it's the people she works with. I think that too , at least when I'm happy at work -- but I'm getting tired of losing my favorite people, whether due to quitting, reorganization or what have you. Maybe it's time to make a move of my own.

I'm sure there's something good going on somewhere in my world, but right now I can't point my finger at it. Sunday is Kristi's birthday and Father's Day, and Kristi will be working, which means that for the second year in a row, we can't enjoy our traditional Father's Day "Ride To Downtown Minneapolis and Destroy Kristi's Knee" outing. Not that I feel much like it anyway. Maybe Emma will take me to breakfast again; that'd be nice.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dapper Drake

I upgraded my Ubuntu Linux install to the Dapper Drake release. Now it can no longer get past the router. Heck, it can't even see the router, as far as I can tell. I have no idea why, though my best guess is that the DHCP stuff isn't working. Sean! Help!

Monday, June 12, 2006


Lots of old stuff to blog about.

The fish rescue. We're now down to a single survivor, the others having succumbed to various afflictions presumably -- or at least, hopefully -- caused by their previous environment, rather than their latest one. Though Emma desperately wants to purchase a companion for him (or her), even Kristi is now in teetering on the brink of "no more fish".

My knee. It's much better, thanks. It's actually so much better that yesterday, while climbing up and down my dad's old extension ladder to repair our rain gutter, it started hurting in an entirely new place. You can't get much better than that. Seriously, I think I'll be good to go in the Classic this year. I owe it all to my physical therapist, Allison Trombley. If you're ever diagnosed with a torn meniscus, see her first.

  • "Pride and Prejudice" -- Kristi feels it was more unabashedly romantic than the definitive A&E adaptation (and gains from it); she cites the fact that Lizzie doesn't make the sly joke to Jane that she dates her falling in love "from my first seeing [Darcy's] beautiful grounds at Pemberley." I counter that the joke clearly is a joke, that it's pure Lizzie, and that Austen wrote it that way, so who is Kristi to quibble? Her sense of humor is what makes Lizzie so appealing; her wit was plainly attractive to Darcy, and neutering her at the end this way is untrue to the character. I won't be going out of my way to see this version again, but we own the A&E version. Enough said.
  • "The Interpreter" -- nice performances by Kidman and Penn; I'd go well out of my way to watch either ("Bewitched" notwithstanding).
  • "Crash" -- some wonderful moments. The interlocking structure, though, is just impossible to accept at face value; it's like Los Angeles has a population of 25 or 30. Plus, the filmmakers seemed to work very hard to give nearly everybody a moment of unlikeability (or, in Sandra Bullock's case, a truckload of unlikeability), but managed to forget the locksmith and his daughter, who thus end up the most likeable characters in the film. I haven't yet figured out why they were left to stand out as The Good People.
  • "Max" -- I liked this more than Kristi did. Maybe it's because I like John Cusack more than Kristi does. In any event, it leaves you with a fair amount to think about, even though it's fictional.
  • "Junebug" -- you know, I enjoyed this at the time, but I'm having trouble remembering exactly why. That's never a good sign, is it?

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Wasted a perfectly good 90 minutes or so last night watching "Bewitched". If it had a single redeeming feature after Stephen Colbert mysteriously vanished 10 minutes in, I missed it. Concensus opinion at the Mustard house: utter waste of potentially creative idea.

Our previous Netflix movie had been "The Interpreter," also with Nicole Kidman, but much, much better.

Today I'm wiped out for no clear reason. I'm going to blame it on the dumb movie.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Spermicidal Tendencies

So, a few weekends back, my friend Paul (father of Emma's friend Claire) invited me and Emma to join him and Claire on a trip to the Science Museum. Since Kristi was working and we were looking for something to do, it seemed ideal. Plus, we're members, so admission was free. And Paul was driving. And Paul wanted to take Claire to see "The Human Body" at the museum's Omnitheatre, and admission to that would be free for members too. You really can't do much better, can you?

So. The movie was fun and educational -- x-ray-like images of a boy riding a bicycle, thermograph-like images of heat dissipating from a person after exercise, etc. Good CGI graphics, and informative.

And then ... the sperm.

I had no idea this was coming (pardon the expression), and neither did Paul. They didn't show us how the sperm got into the woman's body -- just the swim up the Fallopian tube to the egg. But the sperm were rendered with every bit of colorful, attention-grabbing CGI goodness as the rest of the film. And they swam to the strains of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," which was, you know, funny and memorable -- even for an 8-year-old.

Neither Emma nor Claire asked any questions after we left the movie, and I figured we'd dodged a bullet. Naturally, I figured wrong.

It seems that one of Emma's classmates, "S", also saw the movie. The two of them talked about the movie, and decided that sperm were cool -- cool enough that they each started an illustrated "science journal" about sperm (Emma's features a glow-in-the-dark sperm on the cover). The focus of their scientific inquiry: how do the sperm get into the woman's body?

This is exactly what you want your second-grader thinking about. I can't wait for next year's science fair.

All of this has caused Kristi no small amount of angst. She's intent on not letting Emma grow up too fast, which is challenging enough at the most sperm-free of times. And while not answering the question for now is certainly doable, "S"''s mom is planning on giving her The Talk, and once "S" knows she's certain to share it with Emma, her sperm study partner -- who is likely to share it with Elli and Meghan and Claire, none of whose mothers thinks her little girl is ready for the information.

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Pics

Emma creates the world's smallest and dirtiest snowman. (Mr. Potato Head wants his eyes back.)

Grandma Shirley and Emma enjoy a meal together.

Emma enjoys a meal alone -- oh, wait, no she doesn't either.

Emma's new glasses.

The Last Ten Months In A Nutshell

Dumped a whole mess of pics off of the Canon last weekend. Here are some random bits. I'll probably do another one of these soon.

Bob, our across-the-street neighbor, demonstrates why they called him "Smooth Dude" in high school. Or maybe they called him "nerd". I mean, far be it from me to point fingers, but I never owned a life-sized Deanna Troi, either. Or Star Trek fonts. Or Star Trek jigsaw puzzles. Bob's a nerd's nerd.

Although Deanna was easily the most obvious thing Bob was selling at the neighborhood yard sale last year, someone still managed to walk off with her without paying.

My last picture of Rambis, taken two days before the end. I miss her still.


Emma and her cousin Melissa, at Grand Slam in Eagan. The whole concept of "indoor mini-golf" was foreign to me until I moved to Minnesota. Actually, "mini-golf" was foreign to me; we always called it "miniature golf" in California.

Kristi gives Emma her first driving lesson: never, ever yield to anybody.

A scene from the previously-mentioned fish rescue.

The not-very-visible-yet Shirley Pope iris. Not many can brag that there's an iris named for their mother-in-law.

Toot and Puddle in the Grand Old Day parade -- just because.