Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in Review no. 2

I started paying more attention to my physical health in 2006. I managed to lose 15 pounds or so during the year, mostly after our cruise in May. I ended the year with a bit of a scare. A couple of life insurance physicals in October and November suggested that I may be susceptible to kidney disorders. I went to a specialist a few days ago, and I'll be submitting some more blood and pee next week. I don't have high blood pressure or diabetes, which are the usual culprits in kidney disorders. Who knows? Anyhow, I've been on the eliptical on a very regular basis, and I was doing Pilates when my back muscles allowed for it. I sprained or tore some muscles when I was repairing my fence early in the year, and they've never healed. I get massages every few weeks, but the muscles scrunch right back up again. I suppose I should just get going with the Pilates and let things take care of themselves.

I think my psychological health improved a tiny bit during the year. I'm much more comfortable in my skin--an overused phrase, but one that seems to fit.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cartoon of the Year

I saw this shortly after Halloween, and it still makes me bust a gut.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another title sequence

Someone finally uploaded this one to youtube. It features one of the Beach Boys' best tunes, which fits nicely with the show:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy birthday to me

I turned 44 today. Holy crap!

Christmas 2006

A little water never stopped my kids. I really need to watch my mouth, however, especially when I'm tired and grumpy. The boys woke me up around 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve, and T didn't want to get out of the car on this park run because there was a guy in a particular area of the park with a metal detector. "Look," I blurted out, "just because there's some idiot looking for buried treasure under the swingset doesn't mean you don't get out of the car." I don't know whether the guy heard me, but I really need to be a little nicer sometimes.

A was incredibly happy all weekend long. T was paying attention to him, which is something A has wanted his entire life. T was extremely grumpy during our Christmas Eve car ride to the city, but otherwise he did just fine. He also desparately wanted a solo outing with me, something that would have hurt A emotionally more than it would have helped T, so it didn't happen. He'll get plenty of one-on-one time on his next trip home. Posted by Picasa

T took several long looks at this toy over the past few months, and now it's his. Alas, he took to filling the backhoe bucket with water and dumping it on the kitchen floor. It's so much easier than picking up the plastic rocks that come with the toy.  Posted by Picasa

The stockings were laid on a table with care. Posted by Picasa

The family Christmas tree. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

Just when you thought you'd seen it all

Today is Global Orgasm for Peace Day. So grab your signifcant other and hop to it! Geez, I hope these people don't need to make up an event for every orgasm they have.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Foggy days

The fog has been very thick in the mornings and evenings the past several days around here. It was eerie this morning as I rounded the Superdome--the stadium was blanketed in a dark fog, while the Sun was shining through a break in the fog just to the east (over the west bank of the river).

Today is the office holiday lunch. I can't put my finger on it, but I've never particularly enjoyed those events. I may have a touch of seasonal depression; I don't know. For several years, I just didn't go. That started when my best office friend boycotted the lunches in protest because our old boss overruled the democratic procedural mechanism we were using to determine whether to do our seasonal event in the office or at a restaurant. I took the opportunity to skip the event too, in favor of taking the afternoon off and going to see a movie. That year, and the following year, things came up at home on the day of the office lunch that made me drop everything and run home anyway. One year I cut out of the event because I had been passed over for a promotion a couple of weeks before, and I was still pissed off at the then-boss. Just skipping the office party made me feel all better about that situation; however, the facial hair I grew shortly thereafter was viewed as some sort of protest (I kid you not, my Gentle Readers). Anyhow, this is the second or third year in a row that I will have made the event; I suppose that's a good thing. It would be fun to have an office party like they had on "The Office" last week--I could see myself as the fat, middle-aged man leading the karaoke/sing-along to Alanis Morissette's "You Ought to Know." That was hysterical.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

All-American Jihad

I'm one of apparently very few people who watches Showtime's "Sleeper Cell," if last season's ratings are any indication. That's a shame, as this season is darker and sharper than the first go-round was. The show is about an American Muslim FBI agent who infiltrates and stops Al Qaeda cells before they can achieve their objectives, and about his nemesis, an Al Qaeda leader who was arrested last season, then this season was extradited to Saudi Arabia and tortured before he escaped. There are some interesting subtexts, most notably the distinctions between moderate Muslims (particularly in the U.S.) and the radicals in the terror cells. Last season the contrast was there, but this year the writers--some of whom are Islamic themselves--are being more aggressive than last year (for instance, one Muslim woman called a member of this year's cell a "fucking nut" when he kept obsessing on some obsolete Shi'ite practice or other). Also, one member of the cell is getting himself some man-luvin', which appears to be making him rethink the whole radical Muslim thing just a little. The show doesn't go easy on U.S. foreign policy, and takes a hard line against torture, but it also shows militant Islam as an assortment of violent, fanatical true believers and oddball malcontents. It's pretty good television.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hey, youse guys

People occasionally ask me why I don't speak with a Southern accent. I don't know; I just don't. I just took a quiz, and it could be that I'm taking on a bit of a New Orleans accent--a unique sounding speech that is vaguely similar to New York-speak:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Holocaust Denial

The wacky President of Iran evidently is hosting a conference on Holocaust denial. It would be easy enough to write these people off as a bunch of nuts--which they are--but their host is openly trying to develop nuclear weapons capacity. Nuts with nukes can't be a good thing. Moreover, one has to wonder about the motivations of people to deny something that has been proven about as conclusively as any event in human history. The Iranians doubtless are cynically furthering an anti-Israeli political agenda, whether any of them actually believe this piffle or not. My guess is that some of the others simply hate Jews, and if they succeed in rewriting history (and thank goodness they won't), then they can justify whatever pogroms they have in their tiny little minds.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Creepy Christmas Carol

Miami's fictional Ice Truck Killer sings "Deck the Halls."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Combating Autism Act

I may have overreacted a bit the other day when I heard the NPR story about the interplay of the Combating Autism Act and Congressman Barton's plan to overhaul the National Institutes of Health. I just read over the amendments Barton made to the CAA, and I don't see any dramatic substantive changes that set off any alarm bells in my own head. The law will not require NIH to investigate any particular theory of autism causation--something wanted by advocates of theories that federal health agencies have historically been unfriendly towards--but it does speak in terms of biomedical and environmental research. The Senate bill, if I read it correctly, would have established and funded research centers devoted solely to the study of possible environmental causes of autism, meaning the mercury in old vaccines. I believe that my own kids' disorders have a genetic cause that may or may not have been triggered by an environmental insult, and I've yet to be convinced by the arguments put forth by advocates of a link between vaccines and autism, but I would like to see the vaccine theory investigated and either confirmed or debunked. If there are too many holes in that theory, then reasonable minds will put it to bed and move on to other, more promising theories.

Incidentally, radio talk-show host Don Imus deserves some credit here. He was relentless in attacking Congressman Barton for holding up the CAA. Imus, like numerous autism bloggers, is unhappy with the mainstream autism organizations for negotiating a compromise on the issue, but he allows that there's more good than bad in the legislation.

I really need to plunge back into autism-related issues. I got so burned out a few years ago by the day-to-day grind of parenting and advocating for my kids with various systems that I backed off to pay some attention to other issues like my own health.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Creepy but brilliant

I've become totally addicted to Showtime's "Dexter," and not only because I appreciate dark humor and can identify with the main character's emotional detachment. It's a well-written show chock full of interesting characters and excellent acting. And those blood-spatter scenes look like a Jackson Pollack painting. Also, the show is incredibly well constructed--with two eps to go, I can't think of any wasted or gratuitous scenes. Few shows are as economical and tightly written as this one. I realize that the storyline is in a very dark corner of a very gray area (a serial killer who only kills other serial killers), and that there is a major creepiness factor, but this is a show people might want to check out.