sab39

... indistinguishable from magic
effing the ineffable since 1977

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O noes, somebody I don't like did something I agree with!

11/8/2007

I'm not sure what the psychology behind this is, but it seems to be a fairly common reaction. I noticed it today on MJ Ray's blog where - as far as I can tell - he's upset that the Conservative party, whom he doesn't support, are advocating Co-ops, which he does support. (I know that's an oversimplification of mjr's position, but hopefully it's not an outright misrepresentation of it. UPDATE: Ok, yes, I did have his position wrong - see the comments).

I can only presume that it's the same thing that ensures that every time Microsoft does something pro Open Source / Free Software, there'll be a furious post on Groklaw about it.

Or why people who for years have hated the way the MPAA and RIAA treat their creative talent are now annoyed that the Writers Guild of America is standing up to them, because the WGA is a union and unions are baaaad.

I suspect that the temptation to react this way is similar to the temptation to flip the bozo bit on people. Instead of deciding that the person is an idiot and therefore can't possibly have anything useful to contribute - and so can be ignored - we decide that the person (or group) is evil and anything they do must be outright harmful and must be opposed.

In reality not even a single person is ever completely useless or completely "evil"; everyone will at some point have an idea that's worth considering or an opinion you agree with. And that goes double if there's more than one person involved - any large organization, in particular, will probably have some subgroups that you agree with more often than not. Recognize when you have common ground even with people you normally disagree with. That's a vindication of your ideas, not something to be upset about, surely?

 


 

You're a circle!

9/28/2007
Usually, Alexa and Luke come over every weekend, alternating between just Saturday morning and the whole weekend from Friday night to Sunday. They really seem to enjoy their trips to "Daddy house" which of course makes me very happy. Here are some random bits of cuteness from the past few months.


Luke threw a bowl of chili on the floor when he was done eating it and got it all over the carpet. So I was rather annoyed and being all stern mean Daddy, and told him he had to sit in the chair until I was done cleaning it up, and THEN he'd go in timeout. So after ten minutes of me grumpily going over the large area of carpet that was splattered in chili, trying to get it clean, muttering under my breath (and still not close to finished) he looks at me and says in the sweetest innocentest voice - "Hey! Daddy house! Watcha doin?"

(Yes, he still went in timeout as promised. But I was a little less grumpy after that)

***

After Alexa gets done in the bath I get her big fluffy yellow towel and start drying her off. When I get to her face I make a big show of drying her face off all energetically, especially her nose. Then I start drying off the rest of her. But every 5 seconds during the process she giggles and says "Nose, please!". And I have to dry her nose again.

Or sometimes I'll just grab it and hold it until she wriggles free, just for fun :)

***

Luke was still taking a bottle at night up until a few months ago, and it got to the point where that particular battle needed to be fought. So during the day I explained to him he was a big boy and didn't need a bottle any more, and asked him to put his bottles in the trashcan, which he dutifully and happily did. Then bedtime came around and as soon as he was put into bed he started crying for a bottle. The conversation went something like this:

Luke: "Want bottle!"
Me: "You can't have a bottle, Luke, you threw them away because you're a big boy, remember?"
Luke: "No! Tiny baby!"
Me: "But tiny babies don't get to ride on the choo choo trains, do they?"
Luke: "No"
Me: "And tiny babies don't go to the playground, do they?"
Luke: "No"
Me: "And tiny babies don't get to play with cars do they?"
Luke: "No"
Me: "So you're a big boy, right?"
Luke: "Right"
Me: "And you don't need a bottle, right?"
Luke (crying again): "Want bottle!"
Me: "You don't need a bottle, cos you're a big boy!"
Luke: "No, tiny baby!"
Me: "I think this conversation is going in circles."
Luke (uber whiny): "YOU'RE a circle!"
Me (leaving the room while valiantly trying not to crack up): "Goodnight, Luke, I love you."

***

Alexa has learnt that if she hurts herself she'll get a kiss better. Of course if she ASKED for a kiss she'd also get a kiss, but she prefers to come up to you like this:
Alexa: "Hurtcha elbow"
Me: "Awww" *kiss*
Alexa: "Hurtcha leg"
Me: "You hurt your leg too? Awww" *kiss*
Alexa: "Hurtcha nose!"
Me: "I don't think you really hurt your nose, you just want kisses" *kiss*
Alexa: "Hurtcha fingers! Hurtcha feet! Hurtcha cheeks!"
Me: "Now you're just being silly." *kiss* *kiss* *kiss*

***

Me: "Luke, drink your juice."
Luke: "I can't WANT to drinka juice!" ("can't want to", I love that, as if he'd really LIKE to want to, but just can't)
Me: "Why not?" (this was one of Luke's favorite phrases at the time, I thought I might outsmart him by turning it around on him)
Luke: "Cuz... NO!"

(oh, and this also seems like the best place to mention what he says when he really DOES want to drink what he's been given. "This is very thirsty!")

***

I was reading them "Love you forever" and on one of the pages the little boy in the story has left a dirty handprint. Luke pointed at it and said "A clue!"

***

One more. Luke again (Alexa is just as adorable, but since Luke's language development has now clearly surpassed hers, she's adorable in less verbal ways, that are less bloggable). I'd been watching some Thomas the Tank Engine (or "Thomas the train!") videos with them on Youtube and then we had lunch. While I was making lunch I merrily sang the Thomas theme music.

Luke: "Stop singing!"
Me: "I can't sing? Why not?"
Luke: "Cuz... no singing!"
Me: "But I want to sing!"
Luke: "No singing Thomas the Train song!"
Me: "Ok, what can I sing? Can I sing this?" *starts singing one of the songs from OMWF*
Luke: "No singing Buffies!"
Me: "How about, can I sing this?" *starts singing some Ben Folds*
Luke: "No singing!"
Me: "Ok then, what can I sing, Luke?"
Luke (thinking hard): "Hmm... sing... Thomas the Train song!"

 

Dawn, the Alpha Dog

8/16/2007

One of the men I admire most in this world is my friend, Adam Dean. Despite being born with cerebral palsy, resulting in a speech impediment that limits the number of words he can actually physically say to almost single digits and a right arm he's entirely unable to use at all, Adam never thinks of himself as "disabled" and has achieved more than many "able-bodied" people even aspire to. He lives alone, doing all the day-to-day chores he needs to do for himself (just imagine doing all your chores one-handed). He has a very successful career as a lawyer, using a speech synthesis device (think Stephen Hawking) to communicate. On a personal note he's a loyal and generous friend. And now he's also a published author.

Adam's first book, "Dawn, the Alpha Dog... and Related Stories", is now available. The book is billed as a collection of short stories, but for the most part it reads as one coherent story told as a series of moment-in-time snapshots over the course of a relationship. It's well written and an engaging read, with characters that you can believe in and root for - or sometimes against.

The stories are written in the first person, and Adam gave the protagonist the same disability he has. One of my favorite aspects of the book was the inclusion of little asides that give insight into what it's really like interacting with other people when something as "simple" as speech is a significant effort. But at the same time the story is universal; the real communication issues in the story are the same ones anybody would face in Adam's character's situation.

I found the book to be strongest when it was telling a continuing story, and weaker in the occasional moments it lived up to the "collection of short stories" billing. One of the stories doesn't feature Dawn at all; it was a good story in its own right but felt out of place in the context of the book. Another focuses primarily on the protagonist's struggle against a (perceived) vice, with only a tangential connection to the relationship with Dawn. It's perhaps not fair to fault the book for the times it's exactly what it claims to be, but I can't help feeling that those pages would have been better spent fleshing out the main storyline.

My only other complaint about the book is that it's too short - I'm just greedy :)

One more thing: don't buy the book if you're going to be offended by discussion of sex. It's not by any means explicit or pornographic but it doesn't shy away from the subject, either.

Adam will be doing a signing of the book at Empire Books in Pullman Square, Huntington, WV, at 4pm on Saturday August 25th. I don't think my blog has many readers who happen to be in the Huntington area that don't already know Adam, but just in case...


 

Let us think the unthinkable

8/6/2007
"Come," he said, sweeping through the door to where Miss Janice Pearce sat glaring at a pencil, "let us go. Let us leave this festering hellhole. Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not in fact eff it after all."
-- "Dirk Gently", "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", by Douglas Adams.

One of my favorite Adams quotes, and the reason for the new tagline on my homepage. According to Google I'm about the 14,101st person to use the phrase, but I don't think Mr. Adams will mind.


 

Humor

11/8/2006
f(x) = 6x walks into a bar and asks for a sandwich. "Sorry," says the barman, "we don't cater for functions."

This isn't quite plagiarized from marnanel, but its derivative, I admit.

 
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