Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post before the New Year

The kids managed to stay up, waiting to watch the fireworks on the TV. Of course, having chocolate fondue at 10 at night sure does help keep one awake. We had some pretzel rods, some bananas, and some pound cake and we didn't chip more than a couple of inches of chocolate off the ceramic. There's about 4 more inches of chocolate that we'll save for tomorrow...

Anyway, Happy New Year to all.

I stole a PS3.

This blows my mind.

In a paragraph, "Sony's second-generation PS3 features a 35 percent total cost reduction from the first-generation model. In dollars and cents, today's PS3 costs Sony about $448.73 to produce, compared to the old model's $690.23 price tag. That said, the lower cost doesn't include software, box contents, and royalty expenses."

And it retails for $399. So it's actually a steal, really.

6 hours to the New Year

We don't have much planned, we're not really "Ring in the New Year" type of people or just folks looking for a reason, any reason, to booze up and act like retards. We act like retards without the aid of spirits, thank you very much. We will likely break into the fondue set that Elaine got for Christmas, melt us a couple bags of chocolate chips, and go into a dipping stupor until midnight, and then drown ourselves in sparkling apple cider. Because that's how we roll.

I'm glad that Christmas and all its shenanigans are over though, because unlike my good friend Kenneth who celebrates Christmas for its true meaning, I'm one of those bastards who use the holiday as a reason to buy people stuff. And myself. Which I'm glad I did, by the way, I came out of Christmas a little lackluster, so I'm glad I took care of myself and got crap I wanted. I got some fairly generous offerings here and there, but I dunno, I think I made a couple people pretty happy. Like we gave the gift of Rock Band to one of Elaine's daughter and her family of four. The kids came out like bandits for sure, ironically, their cool gifts came from other people and not us, and Zoe went from one hand me down Barbie to practically an army of bimbos with a wide array of clothing. Like a vet with a skirt that will always guarantee repeat business from men and their never sick dog, and a few princesses with undoubtedly high self esteem. Alex got a cool cyclops magnifying toy that I'm wanting to play with, along with some other rather envious toys that I'm sure if I had as a kid, I'd be a more fully developed adult.

Well, time for dinner. My hand was shaking just now and I showed it to my wife, and instead of, "Are you tired?", or "Are you hungry?", or the fail-safe, "Are you ok?", she asked, "Do you have Parkinsons?"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Well, after this crazy week of wild arctic weather followed immediately by massive raining, which no one minds because it melts the dreaded snow, I'm happy that everything going back to normal. In between there, I did manage to catch some kind of cootie, possibly from Alex, and go into a sick, cloggy, headachy brain sit that resulted in me looking glassy eyed and having a "stinky tougue", as my wife so sensitively put it. I was so messed up that pretty much all I could do was rest or just sit in some sort of fetal position and vegetate.

Oh the bright side though, I had a rather cool dose of awesomeness when I hooked up with Kenneth on my PS3, and we did a bit of driving and Little Big Planet together, 18 hours and some oceans apart. I bought a Playstation Eye so he could see me but even though I couldn't see him, he relayed to me that I was in his bedroom on a 42 inch hdtv, looking directly at him and his wife in bed. Classic. Anyway, although we do keep in contact, I haven't really gamed much with him, and I think it really bought out the kids in us because all we were doing were crashing into each other with no real objective and then smacking each other with our sackfists and saucepans. It was an awesome time to be had.

When I walked out this afternoon, all I could hear were sounds of melting snow, dripping down buildings, rooftops, into drains and such. It was sorta weird becuase it felt like everything was deconstructing before me, one drop at a time. Glad to finally see the snow go though. Don't want to spend another day trapped inside the house.

---

Just talked to Kenneth online just now, he got a Playstation Eye too. I think we're both in trouble because now we'll both be gaming together and matching our games. Uh oh.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Watched "Waitress" yesterday because I heard it was a fesitval fav about a year back, but it was one of those movies that I put on the back burner because it was which I perceived to be a chick flick, which it pretty much was. But all and all, it was a cute little movie except it had a sad undertone since the director and costar Adrienne Shelly was murdered shortly after the film was finished. So it was partially curiousity and tribute for us to watch her last film, I suppose.

This morning the snow was falling again, and the novelty of having snow around is wearing thin. The roads in Redmond are stil bumpy and generally undriveable, but once we got to the freeway it was a pretty smooth trip.

So now just sitting at my mother-in-laws trying not to fall asleep. Its warm in here and not much going on, so the tendency to just shut my eyes and pass out are fairly strong. I could just keep eating and drinking but I doubt that would have any positive outcome stemming from that gluttony.

I'm having a bit of a bum streak because I'm either hurting myself with sneezing myself into stomach cramping, scratching my hand and drawing blood with my own belt buckle, and just failing at Rock Band because the guitar - both guitars, have inexplicably stopped working well.

Weel, too bad there no cell reception around these neck of the woods, I could use a bit of mobile surfing otherwise.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Even though I'm a complete whore when it comes to having time to myself, the snow is actually extending my vacation by almost five days because with the day off today and possibly tomorrow, it would be a like 2 and a half weeks of doing absolutely nothing.

On top of that, either the weather or just some cooties have made their way to poor Alex, who I saw just tucking himself into Zoe's bed, with teary eyes and a quiet exclamation that he was sick. With a temp of 102, I'm feeling rather bad for the boy. Just read him a couple stories and now I'm just cuddling with him and keeping him company. In a little while we will probably put on something for him to watch.

Anyway, judging from the days that my wife has off and the time frame I have to possibly do a movie, I'm not sure if its feasible to put a movie together. With all the visiting we have to do, the snow, and the holidayness of this season, I doubt I could do anything super productive.

Well, that's about what the dealy-o is. Going to do a bit of grocery shopping when I drive the wife to work but not taking the kids anywhere. If I took Zoe and not Alex that wouldn't be nice. Watched Hancock and Chaos Theory. Both aint bad.

You know, for a writer I can be drastically short of descriptive prose. It snowed and drastically changed the landscape and I didn't really go too much into detail about it.

Anyhow, the snow out there is no longer the serene blanket of purity it was, compared to even last night. Now its just dirty, lumpy, suspension breaking snow that makes me carsick faster than a drunk person driving on a dime. Drove the wife to her work and the usual 1o min drive took over half an hour staring at people's bumpers and waiting for lights. At least it was better than last night, when the weight sensor for the lights didn't work, and I had to go through a couple red lights.

Well, turns out I'm working tomorrow which is good I suppose. I can't afford to take so much time off. Might turn into a bum.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Trapped in a Snowglobe

Well, not really trapped. Fact is, it's far too crazy out there for me to venture to. Last night's windstorm drove snow everywhere, including the front door and the inside of the back porch. The white stuff is everywhere, and the novelty of snow is outwearing its welcome for a lot of people. As for me, I guess it doesn't bother me much. I'm driving the wife to work still and I'm more of a homebody anyway, so it's not like it's impeding my life much. I do have two more days of work before my "vacation", but I'm not sure if the factory is even open. Last Thursday it was open, but being how I work on a production line, when other people don't show up for work, it affects how much work you have. So we just killed a bunch of time on Thursday, went home early, and then that was it. There was work to be done but nobody there to do it.

It's supposed to snow more today, but you know, whatever. The snow last night eliminated a lot of terrain, evened it out so that it looks as if there was no curb anymore, just a flat surface between the road and the sidewalk. It's kinda cool, until you realize there's a couple inches below the stuff that fell last night, and you start to wonder if all Christmas activities are off.

Was watching a Steve Miller clip and the kids asked, "How can babies rock?" since Miller kept repeating, "Keep on Rockin' me, baby."

Hmm, would love to watch a movie, like Hancock or just play video games all day, but the kids are glued to the screen whenever I do it, so I have to do something else. Like productive. Maybe since I claim to be a writer, I should get some of that out. Ahhh.

Friday, December 19, 2008


DSC_5126.JPG, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.


DSC_5129.JPG, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.


DSC_5130.JPG, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.


DSC_5158.JPG, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Snow Day

We weren't really affected by the 5-6 inches of snow, really. I got to work fine, did come home early because work thought it would be better if we went home, but otherwise we've just been having fun with the snow. The kids enjoy eating it, smushing it, and just doing anything with it. We did head out to do some more shopping today, and even though the roads were iced over and slippery, people were still out about, doing their thing.

Well, Rock Band on the brain and I'm not concentrating anyway. Later.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frosty Friday

Despite only having to work 2 hours today and getting paid for 4, and also waking up at 7am instead of the dreaded 4:30am, I'm still a little funky and tired.

While I'm typing this on the laptop in the living room, the kids are playing Duck Duck Goose. The both of them.

Anyway, I just wanted to get this incident down on the blog, because it's not everyday we face this kind of crisis.

We were putting groceries away after grocery shopping, when my wife and I heard a weird hiss. The dishwasher was running, but it was coming from the opposite direction. My wife suddenly got panicky.

"What's that sound? Where is that coming from?"

She starts getting wide-eyed and backs out of the kitchen.

"Why is it doing that? What's making that sound?"

I found out that she had put a box on top of the non-stick cooking spray, and it was spraying my orange creme ice cream with a healthy coat of oil as it pooled at the bottom. Oh, she got teased about that. That I knew she didn't like my Orange Creme but that was certainly not nice of her to douse it in synthetic aerosol grease.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Post Before Dinner

The kids are playing Little Big Planet which is fine and dandy, except they would accidently select "Play Online" and some unwittingly guy would want to play with the kids, expecting some skill on my kids part. The kids do okay, but they couldn't complete a level or do more complex stuff. So I take pity on the online pairings, although I had to mute the other guy first.

"Home" became open beta today, but the servers are so swarmed and I couldn't even get on there. After a few days of feeling special, the closed beta is now open for the entire PS3 community. Oh well.

I'll have to go into work tomorrow for a couple hours to finish up a big order, which I don't mind much since I can start 3 and a half hours later than usual, which is 8am. So I can actually stay up a little and be a normal human being. Probably do a little more Call of Duty and then watch a movie or something. I started watching "Volver" a little, so maybe I'll finish that, or watch something else. I put "The Dark Knight" on my Blockbuster queue, and would really love to watch that. Like now. But I'll wait.

Woke up late this morning, slapped on a cap, and made it to work in 15 mins. So now as I sit at home, my hair looking atrocious and I'm dying for a shower. Today wasn't too bad, managed to stay busy one way or another through real work or work created by myself.

Thinking of doing a short film during my impromtu vacation. I've thunked up a story idea, just got to flesh it out to be a longer short. It would a comedy with a female lead, who is given 15 minutes after her death to visit whoever because she was taken 15 minutes by the reaper before her time. So, yeah. It's an idea.

Well, time to cook dinner for the kids.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Checked my email and got psyched that I got the code for the Home Beta for the PS3. Basically, it's a limited beta that I've been wishing to get into, it's like Second Life without a little more control and probably less weirdness. I'm fairly impressed by it, it's usable enough to not be too off putting, and there's enough customization to keep one interested. I'll probably talk more about it on next week's Pizza Bento.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Alex was bugging me to get a toy "for Christmas."

"No. We're done for Christmas."

"What about next Christmas?" he inquires.

"Ask me next year," I say, and he says ok, thinking he's struck up a pretty good deal for himself.

Christmas isn't hurting quite as much this year, probably because I had this nice overtime check from way back in November. There's a couple more odds and ends to take care of, but we're keeping stuff in check for a little until my next paycheck. Then we should be all done.

This afternoon Alex had a sealed christmas bag that he was carrying, and he said, "watch this..."

He dropped the bag on the ground and some growling and mutterings came from within. They were his Hulk fists.

"Be careful, you're going to make him angry," I advised.

Alex bounced the bag on the floor again.

"You're making me angry! You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!" said Hulk hands, as if on cue.
That was awesome.

---

Just finished "Grave of the Fireflies", an anime from 1988. I've had it for a while but Filmspotting mentioned it and got me interested. What a tragic tale told so artfully and without punches pulled. Man. The film is so haunting that I'm still thinking about it. Highly recommend it, although be warned that its a tragedy, albeit a touching one.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

There's been a bunch of stuff happening lately but due to general sloth-like behavior and just plain busy-ness, I've been putting it off. But you know, better late than never I suppose.

We had some meeting at work and without hashing out the whole scenerio, I basically won fifty bucks that day which caused a bit of passive aggressive envy at work, since everyone had the opportunity to win it but I got it first. And later on, I figured with all the Christmas and New Years days off, if I took 4 PTO days off in between Christmas and New Years, I would essentially have almost two weeks off. So I asked and it was approved. I don't have any plans for my unplanned vacation, but maybe that's a good thing. I'm quite pleased with myself with all those days off. But when I got home, I found out that my traffic ticket was deferred, but my fine was still a buck fifty. Merry Christmas to me.

Yesterday we were at Costco for Diet Coke and Batteries (for our coke-soaked batteries on our tougue habits) and we reached a fever pitch frenzy HDTV lust. We were actually pretty damn close to getting one, probably what stopped us were car seats and the inkling of common sense that my wife had I had left. The more we thought about it though, the more problems came up. Can we afford it? Even if we could get hd programming, how does it affect the other two analog TVs in our home? What do we do with the 34 inch we already have? Do I move my PS3 to the living room? Can we afford the HDMI cables, the entertainment center and the assortment switchers? How can I find a job that lets me what TV the whole day? Honestly, the best thing to do is just to wait another year, and we will inevitably get more bang for the buck. You can get a 47 inch for about a grand, but next year it could easily be the 60 inch for the same price. Maybe.

Oh yeah, I received and installed my new 320 gig hard drive in my PS3 and it is sweetness. No longer do I have to worry about demos sucking up too much space, and I actually have all my home videos on the ps3 now. They are of a low ipod quality, but it serves its purpose just fine. I'm currently downloading more HD content and sticking it on the PS3. Dork utopia.

Well, there should be some kid related news now but I can't think of any. I'll post when some comes to mind. Middle of Target in the toy aisle right now and my sensory nodes are smoking.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post Turkey Assessment

The dust has almost settled from the turkey consuming, Rock Band playing, and online shopping. I decided to skip the crowds this year, mostly because it was a hassle but also to avoid the frenzy of capitalism. What with store employees being trampled to death at Walmart, I think shopping at home is a pretty damn good alternative.

So I popped online and got a few things off Amazon, including a 320 Gig hard drive for the PS3. About 70 bucks with free shipping, which is pretty good. Then I won't have to be shy about placing media on the PS3. I have the extra stuff on an external HD, but I hardly switch that on. Besides, most of the stuff isn't media, but save files, games, and what have yous.

Well, at Target now and got myself more stuff, but at a very good price. Lego Batman for my PSP and Guitar Hero 3, both for 20 each. Nice. But also got 2 leapster games for 15 each, which is also good. Target is actually quite busy for the day after Black Friday.

So Thanksgiving day itself was pretty good, lots of hours of Rock Band and the kids cycled through Mario Brawl and Mario Kart and just acting generally wacko. Alex had a major meltdown toward the end of the night regarding apple pie, especially after he dropped a single slice of apple on the ground. Boy was so tired.

Yesterday though, Alex had a curious streak when he asked what plastic looks like. Then he asked if Zoe was made of plastic. I told Alex I was made of rubber which he found amusing, but when I told him that he was made out of butterflies, you could literally see the joke travel from his ears to his brain to his funny bone. He just busted out laughing. Then dinner was useless after that because he just wanted to goof off more.

But anyway, having a four day weekend is kinda nice, probably will be the longest stretch of vay-cay i'll get this holiday season, though I won't put it past me to pad my christmas holiday a little with a bit of the PTO.

Well, still got three hours of driving to go. So I better get to it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dead Space is epic.

I'm not a huge fan of Horror Survival games, let alone horror movies. But after 5 chapters of Dead Space, I'll have to place it up there next to Resident Evil 4, and one of my favs of all times. I played it for two nights for hours at end, with the volume slightly lower than normal, and some pop music playing in the background for levity. There are just so many things that are done with such detail and care, with the right amount of creepy moments that'll just make you just stare at the screen and go, "Did that just happen?"

Spoiler alert, but there's like a couple of times when these necromorphs will run past the door, or head into a vent in front of you, but when you go look for them, they're gone. You never encounter that specific one. Also, there are moments whereby members of the ravaged crew will show up, but they ain't quite right in a big way, and the least graphic instance is when a crew member is just crying over an empty sickbed, hysterical and obilvious to you being there. The other big thing about the game is the FPS aspect. The weapons, which are mining tools, are just plain awesome.

So with Black Friday coming up, the idea has come up that maybe a HDTV might be in our oversized stocking. With 42inch LCDs coming down to about 800 bucks, it's been a little more negotiable, as far as expensive ass TV sets go. But the pros of having a nice LCD (nice picture quality) vs. the cons (extra costs in HDMI cables, new entertainment center, HD programming, Blu-Ray, getting rid of our 34 inch regular TV), it's hard to justify. Plus, I've gotten kinda fond of having the PS3 in the other room, so when I play Dead Space in one room, my wife isn't stuck without having a TV to go to when I'm on the PS3. It keeps them separated.

Spongebob and Patrick were just walking around all wobbly asking, "I don't know what do you want to do today?" back and forth, and it just cracked me up. It's like me and my wife. Complete with wobbles.

Jimmy Macs for lunch today. Yeah, boyeee.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The blog has been a little silent lately mostly because I've just been exhausted and scattered. My week has been a little different but I think a part of me is wanting the same, while the other part of me wants to find a different profession altogether. How come there's no job that just pays you to be you?

So on Monday, I received an email that said that I was to be part of a Kaizen event, in a nutshell, it is a team consisting of one engineer, a production worker from each affected section, coming together to implement a new system of moving product from one location to another. Its sold to us as a team effort, but really its 95 percent engineer, and us grunt who know the stuff to build and implement it.

So the first two days I was being a slight lump in the testicle, challenging his ideas and questioning the quality of data collected. I was keep throwing wrenches in his presentation because I was truly curious and wanted to understand why it is that way. But after the second day, I scaled it back a bit. Anyway, after 4 eight hour days we finally finished it, and on the last day I did a process diagram on Microsoft Visio, something I've never done before, and also make a video showing the entire process. I got all weird and director-y on them, blocking the action and being meticulous. Because we had a time limit, I explained that we had to shoot in sequence without cuts, and then insert the voiceovers after the presentation, and then noticed that my coworkers eyes were glazed and a small residue of drool had formed at the corners of their mouths.

Anyway, it was a good experience except it brought up the feeling of dissatisfaction about my place in the world, that I wasn't quite good enough to work on the important company changing stuff, but I was really too valuable to be shipping. I hate that feeling because I'm all about practicality, and I feel like the 52 inch HDTV and I'm showing Standard Def infommercials. Sigh. Or like people who buy 120 gig iPods and they have 5 albums on it playing through some cheap Walgreen's 20 dollar speakers.

But shooting the video yesterday did make me realize how much I miss doing shit like that, even though it was with people who don't act, and about an activity that's work-centric. Perhaps I should get back into shorts. To keep sanity at bay. Like I told a co-worker at work, I don't have to be a working filmmaker, just a active one. It just keeps the mind from going to dark places.

The other drawback about being in a week long event was that I wasn't listening to any podcasts all week, which actually messed me up a little more than I anticipated. Not getting my podcasts was akin to living in some sort of a cave, devoid of any information and being a little left behind. So in a big way, I'm looking forward to going back to my regular gig, even if it's a gig that doesn't pay so well and requires very little of me mentally, but drains me physically.

We came back from the doctors and the good news is that he doesn't have any Auditory Processing Disorder, nor does the doctor think he has any clear indication of ADD or ADHD. What she does see is that he's got a big gob of anxiety, some expressive obstacles, and does have problems remembering things unless it is hinted at heavily. So the next step is for us to try to get him into some occupational therapy, which sounds like something I might be interested in myself. I need therapy for my occupation.

Finally returned Far Cry 2 to the store and rented out Dead Space. Far Cry is pretty good but it's such a long ass game that it would be worth buying. I thought that maybe I'd just give it up for now and just buy it when it gets cheaper. About a year from now. So going in, I had the option to rent Bioshock 2, Dead Space, Fallout 3, and COD: World at War. It was a very tough choice. I'm not a big horror survival fan, but Dead Space looks awesome. Heard nothing but raves about Dead Space.

Well, next week is a short week, plus we get Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday. Always a bonus.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Landscapers outside are scrambling my brain.

So I'm just sitting here and feeling like my laptop is looking at me funny. "Write something", it nags at me. It's a blog, not a flippin' will that you visit whenever you like. So here I am. Writing out of guilt. Awesome.

Really not much going on, except today we're just sitting around waiting for the insurance guy to show up to assess the water damaged ceiling in our place. Somehow our tub or pipe upstairs in the bathroom has produced a leak, and it's made a nasty hole on the downstairs ceiling. So maybe after the guy shows up, we'll go to a playground or maybe Renton, since Renton seems to be the bomb when we're bored.

I think the biggest worry I'm having isn't really the recession and the major companies cutting so many jobs, but it's Christmas. Although I'm not really strapped for money, it's a combination of listening to the headlines and acting with caution and also the fact that we simply have more people to buy for this year. People we know procreating and what not. So perhaps this year, we're trying to adhere to some sort of budget. I did a quickie budget that if we spent 50 bucks for everyone we knew, it would be somewhere in the 700 dollar park. Which freaked me out. So we'll have to trim it, or spend a little more wisely in order to make Christmas not be such a dreaded pocketbook event.

We watched "Kung Fu Panda" last night on DVD, and my two thoughts were "I need a better TV" and "This is actually a pretty good movie." The fighting was pretty good as was the action, and the comedy was also not as forced as I expected it to be. Jack Black seems to me to be one of those celebrities who people point at and say, "Laugh at him, he's funny," rather than being naturally funny. Will Ferrell is halfway like that, whereby half the time I think he's murdering a concept to make it funny, but he is naturally funny as well. But Jack Black did enhance the character instead of overwhelm it, so I recommend it as a fun watch. But tonight, I think I'm going to take my wife to "Zack and Miri make a Porno." I've become a bit of a Kevin Smith fan, although I would say more of the person than the filmmaker. His Smodcasts really showcase his comedic nature, but also his skills as a storyteller and his brutal openness with his life is just refreshing in this world of spin. But the thing that motivated me to watch the movie was a review by the folks at Filmspotting, a podcast based in Chicago which I'm growing to really like. Their review of "Zack and Miri" really created this urge to catch the film and support Kevin Smith.

Alright, enough blogging. There's a bunch of chores I need to do now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reason #768 Why Alex is So Cool.


DSC_4980.JPG, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The kids are Mommy are upstairs doing an duck ghost exorcism. Seriously.

Being 33 and seeing the Duck Ghost

Alex either doesn't know how old he is or is always just wanting to be slightly older then he is. I sometimes suspect the latter as he really really wants to attend kindergarten. So this week when I took him to yet another doctor appointment I told him the lady there was going to have him practice homework to see if he could go to kindergarten yet. He was quite excited to show the lady that he was ready for kindergarten. As the doctor came into the meeting room and asked Alex if he was ready to go in, Alex was quick to jump up. The doctor had stopped to talk to me for a brief moment as Alex stood paused in the doorway, leaning against the wall, hands in his pockets with the most serious look on his face waiting patiently. The doctor then kneeled down to his level and asked Alex how old he was. In a serious James Dean sort of expression came Alex's reply "ahh... thirty ..three" Usually he is only 6 or once in a while maybe twenty one. But this week he has spent three entire days being in his thirties because as he explains to me. "I growed up more."

So as the week continues and I am doing housework I get called into my bedroom by Ms. Zoe. She is telling me that "It is really the truth I saw it. It's not made up, it's real Mommy." Just as serious as she can be. The she pauses as I say "ohh" and she continues hand behind her back standing on my bed "It's true I saw it. It's the Duck Ghost." "Ok," I say and continue on with my Mommy life and walk downstairs to do some computer stuff.

A moment later, Zoe comes downstairs in tears with Alex lagging behind her. She is scared because why? Alex told her the Duck Ghost is invisible and right behind her about to eat her. I guess it's no fun being a thirty three year old brother if you can't sometimes scare your little sister with stories of the Great Duck Ghost. And he IS REAL too according to Zoe who believes and even when she needs more information now she ask Alex what color he is. And if you ask Alex what the Duck Ghost eats of course the answer is "People's ears."

Posted by Mommy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Living in an Obama World, Day 1

Last night as my wife and I watched the election coverage, I felt waves of emotion sweep over me. My eyes welled because it felt as if finally, enough Americans like me had banded together to change the system. Enough of us had placed our trust in the electoral voting process to elect one of us, a politician who was from modest means, had not been treading in the tainted waters of the system, and who seemed humble and burdened when he stepped up on stage to make his speech. I felt as if we had finally taken a look at where we were, and decided that after all, we needed to do something drastic to survive. We couldn't drown in the moat that we had dug.

Watching the newscasts, I wasn't sure if it was intentional or just the fact of the matter, that McCain supporters were primarily white, whereas Obama supporters were decidedly mixed. Everytime they cut to an African American supporter, I wondered if the press was making a concious judgment call. I had been listening to a lot of NPR election coverage, and this election has really brought racial relations and prejudice front and center. People started to wear their prejudices on their sleeves. Some were honest about it, others hid it under the labels of inexperience, religion, and even loose associations with terrorism. I didn't really want to look at it that way, figured it was just those middle states, whereby they were mostly Republican and not progressive thinking.

But this morning when I went to work, I witnessed the kind of bitterness in McCain supporters that I honestly didn't expect. They were almost spiteful in their attitudes. I didn't flare up when Gore lost, but I was upset when Bush got his second term because it seemed evident that America was heading in a terrible direction. But Obama really doesn't have the history to signify that he was going to lead the country in a bad direction. He didn't seem to have any radical ideas or overt promises that would lead us astray.

So to be upfront, most of the people I work with are Asian immigrants, mostly Southeast Asians, and some from the African nations. They are also mostly at most high school educated also. So in the morning, one of the more vocal assemblers, a 20 some year veteran, was sarcastically cheering for Obama. Then as work progressed, my immediate co-workers, some of which didn't even vote, starting talking about Obama.

"4 years of hell."
"He's going to give tax breaks to hip-hop artists."
"What does Michelle Obama do? Freebase."

It's one of the moments when I get absolutely disappointed with humankind, our potential to hate without reason, to judge with extreme prejudice. It's a crushing feeling because it's human nature at it's ugliest. It's like someone scraped the bottoms of our dark souls and stuck it on the tip of our tongues. I may not be able to state Obama's stance on healthcare, education, or his policies, but I simply refuse to talk to anyone who cannot look past the color of his skin. I'm not saying that I'm impervious to casual prejudices and generalizations, but outright bile like the shit I hear at work makes me angry. Not because they are mocking my candidate and our future president, but because they are expelling hate toward an individual who has not warranted any of that aggression past the color of his skin.

Obama has a tremendous burden to bear, to live up to the expectations of Democrats, Republicans, African-Americans, and world leaders. It is a bittersweet victory to see Obama get elected, and at the same time see all the racism that's been simmering in so many souls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elation

Today is a great day to be an American, when one of our own is elected to be the next President. We were peeking at the news when Obama had 207 to McCain's 147 and I was getting nervous, then we switched to the Backyardigans for the kids. Halfway through my mother in law called, we checked the telly, and sure enough, he had gained 90 more votes to secure the election. A lot of welling up of tears, but I go to bed feeling hope and pride.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Throughly Exhausted in a Good Way

I had to work yesterday because it was the end of the 2nd quarter and we hadn't shipped more than a handful of orders, so all of yesterday was overtime. Thing was, I've heard rumors of late night overtime, but seriously, the whole day yesterday from 5:30 AM, I worked till 10:15pm. Basically 18 hours of overtime plus 2 hours of double time. Not that it didn't possibly take some years of my life. Actually, I did pretty well the whole day, up until 8 something in the evening when I started to feel numbness in my body parts, around the same time when my iPod decided that it didn't want to entertain me after all. But for the whole day, it was pretty good to me.

Actually, I spent a good amount of time listening to Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier on their Smodcast, and I actually appreciate their podcast a lot. Kevin's a pretty funny guy in nature, but he also has the natural gift of storytelling, whereby he can make a rather simple story sound nothing short of an adventure. Peppered in are some celebrity stories, but really nothing to rub in your face - his celebrity encounters are either matter of factly friendships, such as with Affleck and his stars in his movies, or he is just as enamored as all the rest of us are. He also has a line of logic that is intellectually stimulating and idiotic at the same time, but not in a bad way. Really, I think he is so honest in his access to his life that you can't help but like the guy.

So even though I had a full night's of sleep, I'm still a little tired from yesterday. Was pretty much on my feet the whole time, but luckily the sucky portion of the crew either called in sick or just worked somewhere else, so I had a pretty good crew. One of my co-workers, Sam, is really not compatible with me personality wise, but he has work ethics as strong as I have, which is really something. I think even I goof off more than he does.

Today we're just taking it easy. Played a bit of Rock Band with my wife, who is mastering Medium as I do okay on Hard on the Guitar before I tire out. Was in the store and I saw Bioshock and Dead Space. Seriously got to finish my rental and try to get a hold of that. I want me some FPS goodness.

Well, now I'm just yammering for the hell of it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

End of the quarter, so they've got me working overtime, possibly a 12 hour stretch. It's okay though, since it has been a long time since some OT money has come my way. Blogging from work as it were, since I'm trying to conserve my ipod battery for the rest of the day.

Well, my time management experiment seems to be making me a slighty better father. I sat on the couch away from the computer last night and came pretty damn close to plunging into a fatigue coma, but through watery eyes and a foggy mind managed to witness my kids reenacting the famous Gene Kelly sequence from Singing in the Rain. It was as cute as you'd imagine. I still got some Rock Band in though, you just gotta.

Speaking of which, the game of which I seem to revolve my life around continues to discriminate my taste in music, whereby I'm slowly moving away from techno and rap back to rock and alt rock. RB2 has introduced me to a few new songs that are kinda cool, like Float On from Modest Mouse, Pump It Out from Elvis Costello, and some other ones which I've forgotten the titles of. I'm a much better drummer than when I started RB, jumping right into hard and skipping the medium setting. I do like the new featues quite a bit, although I still think the tour mode is a little crazy sometimes, trying to figure out what path is the best way to go.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I had a bittersweet victory tonight, and sure, its not really something to be proud about, but it happened and here I am, hopefully wiser. Ever since I got Rock Band 2 on Sunday, I've spent a lot of time on it everyday trying to play "Rock N Me" by Steve Miller. Because RB2 is structured like a tour, you have to play different songs to unlock more song, and with a 80 something playlist, I wasn't quite sure which end of it it is.

Well, I finally spotted it in the middle of a 7 song Classic Rock playlist, so I started on it while the kids were watching. But during "American Woman", a somewhat weird song to play through, the kids were so noisy and boisterious that it distracted me and I bombed out. So I put the kids to bed a little cranky, played on a bit and cooled down, then went up again to apologize to Zoe at least, since Alex was fast asleep. Went down, played one of my all time favorite songs ever, and felt a little bad nonetheless for spoiling an otherwise good evening with the family.

Next week I think I'm going to try a limited tech access week. Like just an hour of any tech a day so that I can focus on people again. Its gotten probably a little too invasive in my life whereby I just bury myself in the computer or ps3. Sigh. That and a no sugar diet I think. I'm starting to look ridiculous.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Week in Me

Seriously, like all week I do have interesting things that go on in my life, but I just can't find the time or don't have the energy to put anything to keyboard. But after my funky nap this afternoon, I'm now blogging on my PS3 on a big 22 inch LCD. I think each individual letter is as big as a Cheeto, because as we all know, the Cheeto is now an international standard of measurement.

Work's been slow, so I did take the afternoon off to have a fake long weekend, like a 3 and a half day weekend. It's not that great on the paycheck, and considering my unofficial plan to take the family to Disneyland next year, likely a bad move. Yes, I thought about it after listening to Kevin Smith talking about how sick of Disneyland he was on the Smodcast, and then I remembered how happy it made my wife and how much fun it would be to see the kids enjoying that vacation. I enjoyed Disneyland myself, mostly because it's a vacation, but my wife really just ate it all up. It was like she was 9 and a kid again. When we went I believe she was more impressed than Jael was at the time, and she was like 12.
Maybe younger. So I would imagine 4 and 5 is a pretty good age for the kids, since they still get a kick out of giant cartoon characters.

I'm really digging the PS3, and will probably love it more later this week. They finally implemented Flash 9 into the browser, which improves the viewing pleasure of certain video sites like blip.tv where you can find PIZZA BENTO and on hulu, which is where I watched the Simpsons yesterday. It's stupid they even took so long to do the damn thing, but better late than never. Also, this Sunday means Rock Band 2, and later in the week Little Big Planet. I still don't know how I feel about the game, I feel like I should get it because there's all this hype and it might be appealing for the kids, even though I'd rather go all adult and wander into Far Cry 2, Dead Space, or Bioshock. Damn. Crazy shooters. I dunno, I suppose in the long run, LBP might have more mileage because of the infinite possibilities.

The absentee ballots came in the mail today, which was a bit of a relief because I wasn't completely sure if I was still in the system. I voted earlier this year, but I was a little foggy about whether or not they'd forget me. But that's cool. This is going to be a big year. And I wish I had Spike Lee's complete committment to his belief. I heard a couple interviews whereby he says, "No, not if Obama gets elected. When he is elected, he'll be...." And even Obama himself is reminding people that no matter what the polls say, don't get complacent and then it's all cinched up. You gotta go out there and place that vote and not expect that it'll go that way.

Well, kids' show is over. Gotta go take care of stuff.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Autopilot

Part of being a Dad sometimes has me lapsing into autopilot mode, whereby my eyes glaze over and I look like a functioning human being, but my mind's actually in stasis. It's not wishing to be somewhere else, it's just taking a nap of sorts.

So we were looking at Halloween decor at Target, when I hear Alex ask me a question, I just said, "Uh huh." My wife reacts, asking Alex to ask Daddy the same question again. I turn to look at my son, and he's wearing a worrisome look on his face.

He's pointing to a box where there's a skeleton laying in an open coffin, prying the lid open. "Is that where bad kids go?"

No, I answered, and awkwardly proceeded to cover my tracks by explaining what was on the boxart, and that bad kids didn't go into coffins.

So when do they give out Father of the Year Awards again?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rock Band, Gene Kelly, George Clooney

We were taking it pretty easy today, just hanging around the house and doing some decorating for Halloween. My mother in law came over to help decorate, and like a real man, I simply stood and took pictures. But turns out that my wife wouldn't have wanted me to help anyway, since she had a Halloween vision and I wasn't wise to it. But we had a pretty relaxing day, and then I got really caught up playing Rock Band online with strangers. For some reason, if other people are playing with me, I tend to play better because I don't want to be the one that fails the band.

So dinner was a little late, and after dinner we were listening to my iPod when "Dancing in the Rain" came on. I stopped the song much to the kids protest, since they really like that song. For the longest time they thought it was a Winnie the Pooh song, probably because of the orchestration behind it. I pulled up the clip online and they watched with awe, and Zoe recognized it as tap dancing right away. So they were so in awe that we ended up watching Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry the Mouse, and Zoe was the cutest when she asked, "Why is the room gray?" I had to explain that a long time ago, movies didn't have color. "Oh." she replied. I wondered if she thought that people were gray as well.

After the kids went to bed, I watched a bit of "Doomsday" but stopped when the wife came home, since "Doomsday" was pretty much a boy movie. Then we watched "Leatherheads" with Clooney and it was a pretty fun movie. Clooney doing comedy is always worth a watch, since he really has a knack for it. It wasn't quite as screwball as I'd like it, but it was pretty good. Funny thing was, when I looked it up, the core audience turned out to be 50 to 80 year olds. I guess I do like older movies sometimes.

I've been using blip.tv to upload videos of Pizza Bento, and it's been a really good experience. It auto-links so that when it posts on my blog, it also creates a link for iTunes to reference. So, goodbye to Vimeo and even Revver. Blip.tv is my new friend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spent a whole afternoon trying to not be bothered by insane children, and trying not to lose my mind trying to find the right setting for visualhub for the Pizza Bento podcast. I think I may finally have a solution. Of course, I would have to retro convert all the previous episodes. Holy crap, why am I spending so much time on this anyway? Even then, not even sure if it'll fix the problem on Vimeo on audio resyncing. Sigh.

The kids are being a little loco right now. Not quite sure what the deal is, just that they're just hyper, not listening, and flirting with bedroom imprisonment. Alex had a whine fest just now while doing homework, and has been about the same way all week. Double sigh.

Just stepping away from the computer for right now. All that video conversion is enough to make one lose his gourd.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Late All Encompassing Post

This is what happens when I don't blog for a while, all my memories become a mass of information that's difficult to digest.

First off, I'll just start off with the kids, so my wife can just read the first part and skip the rest. I know she loves me a lot, but for the most part, my tech and geek rambles probably bore her to death.

So I guess Alex has been a bit of a bear this week, whereby he likes to find something to be upset about. He'll laser focus on one thing that he knows is out of his reach, demand it, and when we can't offer it, he'll pout and repeat over and over again how much he really likes it. He had a one-two punch yesterday when I ran into the video store while the family waited in the car - he wanted to go in with me and when my wife said no, he got really sad about it and also complained that he couldn't see out his window because it was raining.

Actually, on my birthday eve when we were eating at a Chinese restaurant, he noticed that it was getting dark and he said that he didn't like it when it was dark, and acted panicky. I probably dismissed it. He's been going through a few fears, like going to another part of the house during the day by himself, and yesterday being in the bathroom with the automatic flush. After the toilet auto flushed, he clung onto me and told me he was afraid and I had to explain to him that there was only one possible outcome when he comes into a stall. After he pees, the toilet flushes. That's it. If he expects it to flush, he can just prepare for it.

I'd like to give props to Hulu.com. What I thought was a rather silly venture for the networks has actually been a godsend. We caught episodes of Life and Heroes when we missed the initial airings, and despite having to sit through repeated commercials of "Eagle Eye" over and over, the streaming is pretty nice, even on a older computer like mine. Nothing to download, easily searchable. And the content is actually pretty strong, with some clips, and a pretty respectably library of movies, including uncensored R rated movies. Whereas youtube is like sifting through the trash for some good stuff, Hulu is probably more like going to a really good public library. In fact, when I missed the VP debate, I caught part of it on Hulu until I was so creeped out but Palin winking at me I had to stop.

This holiday season is going to be tough for me namely because I don't have that much money to indulge in all the great games that will be coming out. For sure, Rock Band 2 and Little Big Planet, the latter because it's something creative and the kids could sorta get into it, and the former, well, because it's raped my brain and it's all I ever think about. But I played the Bioshock demo and it is sick good. I'm not a big survival horror guy but I appreciate the really good games like RE4, Bioshock, and even Dead Space, which looks like fun even though I'll likely be playing with the volume at a subdued level.

Oh, another geeky thing. For a moment I was considering getting an external battery for my iPod nano because unlike most normal human beings, when I use my iPod daily, I use it for almost 11 1/2 hours, the moment I start work and listening to music and podcasts, to my breaks when I watch game trailers or diggnation or the news. It is always on. Anyway, it wasn't lasting the whole day during my regular use, dying during the last stretch of my shift. But after some experimentation, I'm getting it to last the whole day by doing the following.

1) Turning off the EQ, which I guess is actually a battery suck when it has to correct your original track by adding more oomph.

2) Turning off the preview panel and the cover art.

3) Turning off the backlight.

Oh yes, #3 is a last resort, because although the screen is still visible, without any overhead light it is close to impossible to see. But even when I had it on 2 second backlight, it was still draining the iPod. So I operate it without the backlight while listening to music, and during my breaks when I watch the video, the backlight would be at half the brightness and that would be just fine.

Geek geek geek.

Rented Lego Batman. Alex is real happy about that. I'll have to see what we can do today, it's my wife's last day of vacation, so we should probably do something.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Dark Side


The Dark Side, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Double the Dork


Scan20002-2, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Super Scanning Post

Early high school photo, possibly freshman year? I look really Chinese here. For some reason, I don't like photos like these, the backdrop with the distant stare. The only time I see them is on the news when people go missing and that's the photo they choose to use.

Daddy and Zoe


Scan20002, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

I couldn't get the scanner to get all the photo, but that was her drawing of us. Something about the way she draws eyes are interesting. Just huge circles that seem outerworldly.

Octopus


Scan10002, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

This is one of my favorite drawings that Zoe made. It's so simple and cute, without anything extra to clutter it up.

Levitating Cap


DSC_4245, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Zoe was pretty proud that she accidently drew a cap so she drew someone below it.

Gun


Scan10001, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Dug up this drawing I did for Japanese class in high school and my wife didn't believe that I drew it. Of course, nowadays the teacher would've flunked me immediately since there's no tolerance for this sort of thing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yikes

I was looking at how many posts I've done for this blog as compared to my old American Babies post and I'm barely halfway to what I used to do. But I suppose a few years and a couple infants is a lot of material to work with, whereby me working a lot and being a cranky ass isn't really blog worthy.

So far, I'm having a pretty good weekend. The bosses at work didn't call me in today even though they technically could, so I basically have a 4 day birthday weekend. I didn't really do much yesterday, my present was my iPod from a couple weeks ago, so there were no toys to speak of. My mom did give me a bit of cash, but alas, the three games that I really want don't come out till later.

Rock Band 2, Bioshock and Little Big Planet, FYI.

So being 32 didn't really mean a whole lot, but I did like it more than 31 simply because it rolled off the tongue a little better. We ate at Dairy Queen, and I watched Alex act a little too wacky for his first soccer lesson. And I played a buttload of PS3, including earning a lot of trophies for Burnout Paradise, which received a nice little patch yesterday. It meant me deleting my save file, but I wasn't really that far in the game so I didn't mind much. Also finally made a rather stumbly transition to Rock Band Hard, but I do well enough to stay in the game. For now anyway. It's interesting because the songs that were too easy on medium is just perfect for me in Hard. The songs that were fun in Medium are now melting my brain in Hard. But man, Rock Band 2 will make me a happy little clam because of a couple new things. Freestyle mode means I don't have to hook it up to the Mac anymore, and Steve Miller on Rock Band is a good thing for me.

Was going through the garage looking for the soccer ball and I sorted through some of my old junk and came across a lot of stupid things I should've thrown out a long time ago. But I did find some interesting things that I'll share later, including a drawing that my wife didn't believe that I drew. More later. Soccer now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stalling

Mostly stalling while Vimeo convert my stop motion project with the kids. I wanna put it on there so that they could watch it online tomorrow.

Anyhow, we decided to go to the playground earlier today and Zoe was just having a really tough time. At first there was a cute little girl named Emma, whom I suspect is an only child who thinks other children are somehow invincible or at least enjoyed being manhandled, was being a little pushy with Zoe. Zoe was polite, but then Emma at one point walked over with a handful of sand and placed it on Zoe's head. Then she threw some sand after the parents calmly told her it wasn't nice. So off she went. Zoe was pretty okay about the whole thing, which I was glad.

But then later, a nearby place just finished up a birthday party and gave the two kids balloons, which they were pretty happy about. But Zoe's flew away and boy, when that little girl walked toward me sobbing it broke my manly heart. I felt so bad for her that her brother and her had a strawberry creme Frappacino with chicken nuggets for dinner.

So yeah, I'm either the best or worst father in the world.

Anyway, video's done. Here you go.


Sunday Stop Motion Project. from diegomcnamara on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet Garnette


DSC_4577, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

The new granddaughter!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Opted not to do anything at all today, patterns seems to be if I do something with the family during the day, I expect to have time alone at night, which never pans out. So I figure I might as well spend the whole day doing nothing, expecting nothing, and I'm just well rested for the whole day. Besides, they're talking a 60 hour week this week, so the rest will do me good.

Been playing around with my Nano, except it'll serve me better in active duty. I'll do without my PSP for a few days and see how I dig the video on the Nano. Discovered through the Harmonix website that they made Phase for the iPod, which is basically a Rock Band/Beats/rhythum based game for the iPod. It can use songs from your own playlist as well, but the app seems a tad buggy for now, and the Nano is small to look at, and small to play on. Time waster no doubt.

Dug up the bubble gun and they seem to be having a ball with it, though Zoe usually gets way less mileage out of toys. She wants to indulge in the social side of playing whereas Alex is like his Daddy, all about the tech.

So last night despite my wife's advice, I stuck both kids in the same bath while I spaced out on my iPod outside the bathroom. During dimsum Zoe told on me, and then tell my wife that she was playing with Alex's "peanut". Then he said that it tickled. Then immediately I felt like the worst parent in the whole galaxy. Nothing like treading the waters of sexual innocence in your own gene pool.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh Yeah

That song from Kid Rock, "All Summer Long", that borrows the medley from "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alambama"? That song irritates every fiber of my being.

A Friday Post

My wife decided to make a couple signs of thumbs extended, with "do not" circle pasted on top of it. Her idea is that it would curb some of the thumb sucking, since he's already 5 and she's 4, and he's going to have to rid himself of that habit before school anyway. So Alex saw the signs this morning, took our some paper and drew a rudimentary thumb, and then told us that his sign says that thumb sucking is allowed according to his sign. It was pretty cute.

So my iPod arrived yesterday, a day earlier than expected, from Shenzhen, CN, which I found out wasn't Connecticut. It is kinda interesting that the product is so hot that it's shipping directly from China. I guess I seldom get that sense of newness from other companies. My impressions are mostly good - Glad they got rid of the split screen business with the menus and the cover art. You could either have it on the bottom or not at all. Also, it is really slim and light. I had it in my pocket and couldn't even tell it was there. I think the headphone jack is placed in an odd place at the bottom, which means my iPod is virtually upside down when it's in a pocket. The screen is really tiny for video, probably fine for talking head podcasts but just plain ridiculous for any movie or TV shows. I'm probably going to have the toughest time with that alone. The 8 gig storage is nice, since I have about 4 gigs of songs I use and the rest can go to podcasts, audio and video. The shake to shuffle feature is cute, don't know how functional that would be in real life. Looking forward to the road test on Monday when I work. I think the size of the video will be negligible when I use it for work, since I'm only watching video for 15-30 minutes at a time. But just in case, I encoded some movies for the PSP. The other thing that I found a little annoying was that my old charger and speaker doesn't charge the new iPod. What's up with that? Oh well.

The interesting footnote to my iPod story is that my mom spotted it this morning and asked me how much I got mine for. I was a little worried that she might talk to me about my spending, but when I told her 150, she asked me if it came in any different colors. I showed her the colors and she said, "I'd like the purple one." So I stored that into my mental Xmas shopping list. But then she handed me her debit card and wanted me to order it right then. It's extremely rare to witness my Mom having technolust, but it was kinda cool at the same time. So I went to the mall and picked up a purple one (which looks blue under sunlight) along with an annoying expensive USB/adapter charger. I might wait on opening it and see if a certified alternative pops up.

This afternoon a coyote just wanders up the backyard and sits down in front of our yard. Wilbur just simmered with a whimper while the coyote sits about, looking at us, watching me take photos of it. The coyote is injured and mangy, but I think still afraid of people. It walked off after some time.

Anyway, got a lot of iTunes management to do. Acquiring of new songs, playlist management, and now also for my Mom.

Silver Gadgets


DSC_4559, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

Although I'd rather just bring my iPod with video to work, I'm a little too spoilt with the PSP's stellar screen.

My new friend.


DSC_4553, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

It looks pretty darn cool!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tired

Waiting for this to load, I closed my eyes and just about fell asleep. So yeah, ordered a nano today, hopefully will be here the next couple days. Funny though, I know the interface fine, just can't wait to use the functionality and some of that storage. Finally to have a ipod for podcasts without conversions is just dandy.

I'm feeling really fatigued, but I should have a 40 hour week this week looks like. Thank god. Simply exhausted. Such a busy week overall.

Righto. My eyes are weeping. That means they're ready to retire.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Short Thingy

Because I totally would like to go to bed on time tonight. Feeling a bit worn out as Mondays tend to do that.

Anyway, yesterday's trip to the Puyallup Fair was pretty nice. Alex had a pretty good birthday I think. There are tons of pretty good photos but I'll get to those later on. One of the things my wife and I really enjoyed was Alex during the clown acts. He was so naturally happy and joyful during the whole performance it was just really cute.

Dansen and I tried to do an episode of Pizza Bento tonight but it just totally failed. His iMovie crashed on him and so that was that. Last week we redid the episode but this week we were well into the halfway point, and we couldn't even locate the source file so that we could splice in the second half. Rather interesting since whenever we do the podcast, I'm getting tired because it's the end of my day and Dansen's tired because he either went to bed late or was tired from his unspeakable partying. Bachelor.

So it's just about 12 more hours and I'll be able to make a decision on which iPod will be my salvation at work! A lot of factors to balance but I'm sure I'll figure something out. Hopefully I'll be able to get one tomorrow night, assuming it's the one that I want.

Anyway, more later, as stated. Bedtime for me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A couple new toys

I have to be somewhat obsessed with Rock Band, despite being hopelessly incapable to operating the foot pedal up to par at the "Hard" mode, I'm still pretty hooked on the drums. Anyway, I invested in some drum pad silencers for my drum kit - which sounds odd, but if you've ever played the original drum kit, there's a "thok thok thok" sound when you strike the surface, which actually can get a little loud and distracting after some time. Especially while playing guitar with someones drum, one can barely hear the music sometimes. The new pads are pretty sweet, definitely masking the sound quite a bit, and also making it slightly bounicer.

The other toy finally arrived in the mail today, my 4 disc Blu Ray of BBC's Planet Earth. That's 550 minutes of hi-def beauty, effectively turning me into mashed potatoes whenever I look at it. You could actually just run the series and leave it on for the worlds more beautiful screensaver. I've skimmed through some bits, and man it looks freaking awesome. Gonna have to resist just sitting there and watching the whole damn thing.

So this is on top of some pretty big things coming up, including Alex having a semi celebration tomorrow with a family gathering, followed by Sunday at the Puyallup Fair, and then on Tuesday, i'll resist checking the web for updates and just watch the keynote when I get home.

So here are the factors to consider. The nano will likely either get a memory boost to 8 gigs for the core model, or a price drop in order to create some interest in it which might wane because of the iPhone. In either case, its a strong contender for me. For a second and less likely option, if the touch drops to 199, it might have to be considered. The app store essentially turns the touch into more than just an ipod, but the price is still hefty. I dunno, will have to be patient and wait it out. My 512mb mp3 player is really not cutting it.

Struggling to stay awake. Gotta clean up a little before I watch 10,000 BC. Don't know why, since I've heard terrible reviews about it. Oh good, Snoopy just ended.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This week bad, next week should be better

Seriously, this week needs to soak their feet in quick dry cement, crawl its pathetic self to the pier, shoot itself in the head, and throw itself into a watery grave. Not much to salvage from this week really. Started off unofficially last Friday after the expensive car bill, and then elevated itself into a traffic ticket on Labor Day after the family spend the day at the zoo. Later that evening, I had some serious dizzy spells and headache and went to bed where I napped for about 3 hours. Unfortunately, I missed the kids bedtime, woke up at 10:30, then wandered about rather aimlessly unable to really go back to bed. The next day was a similar experience. Feeling sick, went to bed really early.

On the kids side, Alex pooped his pants two days in a roll, the regression which we don't really understand. Ever since he's been potty trained, this hasn't been a problem at all. Hopefully it's a real quick phase.

Anyway, next week will be better. Especially Tuesday. Tuesday will be the best.

Okay, it's late.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

How Stephen Chow Destroyed My Little Girl

I'm a big fan of Stephen Chow, his absurdist comedies have always ranked high on my favorites when it comes to movies, so when he directed a little family movie in between his big budget ones, I thought it might be a good little intro for my kids. So I popped in CJ7, and then slowly my expectations began to peel away little by little. So, one of the things I forget sometimes is the cultural differences between Eastern and Western movies. As nonsensical as his movies are, Chow tends to infuse a lot of spiky and mean humor, bordering on cruelty. At the same time, it's not that it's just mean to be mean, but rather it's stuff we don't see in Western movies. Basically, the movie is about a destitute father and son, the father being a rather clueless construction worker and the son being picked on especially since his father enrolls him in a private school full of snobby rich kids. In a couple scenes, the cute little alien is being chased and stomped on by kids, even by the protagonist of the story. While this is jarring for most of us, like Zoe, it's pretty much what kids would do. So Zoe is baring the whole movie except when the little alien is being squished and twisted and abused - she would vocally shout, "That's not nice!" and get a little worked up. She was definitely making me a little worried because the movie does take it a notch further then what we're used to as Disney-fed audiences.

Spoilers now, so watch out.

Anyway, the father falls off a building at work. That was a little traumatic as it is. But the alien, possessing regenerative powers, revive him but ends up draining his own life whereby a little bead falls out of his head, and he shrivels up and becomes a stuffed animal. At this point, Zoe is just sobbing and I'm feeling like I just took a sledgehammer to her heart by showing her this movie. The movie ends a little ambiguously, but is enough for me to tell her that everything turned up alright. But still. We had to watch a couple episodes of Curious George and have some fruit snacks just to take her mind off the movie, and just when I was putting her to bed, she was hopping in excitement and she hit her hit on the second tier of the bunk bed. Crying recommenced.

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Not doing a whole lot today, just some space and data management. I cleaned up the desk a little and labeled some of the many USB cables I have laying around. I can't even tell half the time what the hell I'm plugging in anymore. So I got a load of that junk sorted out. Stayed home pretty much all day. Feeling drained today, coming down with something that dehydrates me a little.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We're going through a phase with the kids right now whereby their manners seemed to have gone completely out the window, and they are now acting like cave children who were raised by grizzlies. This morning, while we were sleeping, Alex came in, climbed into bed, and shouted, "WAKE UP!" That was followed by Zoe demanding, "Where's my show?" I think their manners have lapsed because although we correct them constantly, they haven't been enforced with time outs. Just a talking to that they just say, "Ok....ok...." to. So while the kids are playing today, Mom and Dad are defusing their crankiness from being yelled at.

My four day weekend has been very expensive so far - we took the Kia in because of a check engine light, and after the scheduled maintenance that it was overdue, replacement of brakes, and some other work, we are almost 800 bucks poorer. Then Blockbuster pissed me off a little because their stupid in-store exchange seems to have its own calendar, so my trade ins were actually rentals.

But I did make a couple purchases that I was pretty happy about. One is the 550 minute Blu-Ray edition of BBC's Planet Earth. Eye freaking candy, if you ask me. I remember seeing it at Fry's for 165 bucks, but I got it off Amazon for around 50 bucks. Even if it turns out being used, I'm good with that. I can't usually find a lot of content for my HD monitor, so this is cool. I have to say though, I've gotten so used to my PS3 and my monitor that when I watched "21" on a standard tv last night, it seemed like I was squinting to compensate for the letterbox. So spoilt. The other purchase was more tangible, and more delicious.

Yesterday I couldn't decide what to do with the family, and after ruling out the aquarium, the zoo, and everywhere else, I foolishly craved for Krispy Kreme donuts. So we hung out at Gilman village in Issaquah for a little bit, and then went to Krispy Kreme. I'm the funny sort who doesn't like donuts, stemming from getting sick from a donut stand in Singapore at the World Trade Center. I got like super sick from that, and so now it comes back to me whenever I stick one in my mouth. For some reason, Krispy Kremes don't have that effect on me. Anyway, we got there and once I got out of the car, the wind picked up an outdoor umbrella and blew it off the stand, and slowly hurtled it toward the car like a runaway kite. My wife told Alex to stay in the car, and Alex, having seen this thing that was 3 times his size tumbling toward him, starting going, "AHHHH! AHHHH!" But I just stopped it and held it, but it was quite amusing. Then the kids were just having an absolute ball seeing the production of said donuts. Alex kept saying, "That's so cool!" And when I took a bite of the plain donut, it was like biting into a cloud. It felt almost invisible, but for a hint of sugary goodness. Unlike others, we only made off with a couple dozen. People were walking out of there with 8 dozen or so.

So anyway, just chilling out today, probably do some gallivanting later on today. The day seems to be taking its time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trying to impose a non-desk evening for a while, whereby my back is turned to the world and my face is buried in a laptop or my PS3. So I'm sitting with Alex while he's exploring his new pre-school learning program. He certainly has a little problem comprehending some concepts like finding the letter between 2 letters even though the entire alphabet is listed above the problems. But overall he can get the solution if he gets the problem reexplained to him.

Well, I mentioned this on the podcast of "Pizza Bento", but i'll restate it since there's no shortage on ways to further embarass myself. But I've decided after hours of Rock Band and an episode of "This American Life" whereby a heartbroken reporter decided to write a love song after her break-up, that I will attempt to write and sing an original song for funsies. It will be composed in Garageband since I have little musical talent, and it will likely be a traditional pop song.

I came up with a hook, and had to record it immediately because I would forget if I didn't. Now the next step would be to find the notes that correspond and build it around that. This will be interesting...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New iPods need to come out quick, my musical needs are cycling through my devices faster than Apple's timeline. The mini adapter that I had for my phone to listen to music got lost somewhere, and I'm reluctant to replace the 10 dollar thingie because I'm sure it'll turn up sometime in the future. So I'm old schooling it, using a 512mb iRiver mp3 player that I used for my weddings to record vows. Its a tiny ful featured player, with radio, line in, and mic in features, through the UI is complex beyond belief. Its like 5 buttons to do sixty things. So hopefully a cheaper 199 iPod touch or a nicer and cheaper Nano will make me happy.

But now when I go to work, i'll have a ton of gadgets again.
New iPods need to come out quick, my musical needs are cycling through my devices faster than Apple's timeline. The mini adapter that I had for my phone to listen to music got lost somewhere, and I'm reluctant to replace the 10 dollar thingie because I'm sure it'll turn up sometime in the future. So I'm old schooling it, using a 512mb iRiver mp3 player that I used for my weddings to record vows. Its a tiny ful featured player, with radio, line in, and mic in features, through the UI is complex beyond belief. Its like 5 buttons to do sixty things. So hopefully a cheaper 199 iPod touch or a nicer and cheaper Nano will make me happy.

But now when I go to work, i'll have a ton of gadgets again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waiting here in the doctor's office with the kids while the wife is having an "adult" conversation with the doctor is driving me crazy. Alex was initially getting on my nerves because he was climbing all over the furniture, and making demands like, "I'm thirsty" because he just wanted to try the water cooler. Honestly, the first thing that tempered my bitchiness was when we first stepped into the office. There's no reception, just a waiting area and a bunch of rooms. Its basically like a house that was converted for office use, so the waiting room is also the living room, and the bedrooms are offices. Anyway, stepping in, and the aroma of burnt coffee and a weightlifter's sweaty belt comes to mind. It isn't a pleasant whiff whatsoever. Now I've became horridly accustomed to the smell, but the freezing temp is inching me closer to irrational irritation. We've been waiting for 35 minutes now. I just broke out the handheld games for them are the batteries are also dead for both of them. Nice.

Anyhow, after this freezing debacle, we're going to my first company picnic. There was one last year but I didn't go.

As for the rest of the day, I'm planning to watch "Predator" on Blu Ray later tonight, and continue with Battlefield Bad Company, I was really starting to enjoy myself with that game. Its got a nice sandbox feel to it, minimal loading, and very destructible enviroments. I was grenading a house to obilivion wall by wall yesterday. Next gen games sure are juicy.

Firefox is hot.

Couldn't think of anything witty, so the immortal words of Paris Hilton came to mind. Anyway.

The other day, my wife saw Alex crawling over to another boy in Martial Arts class and spanked the boy on his butt, so she brought that up to him in the car. He denied it, saying that he didn't do it. Since we're his parents, we can usually tell if he's just denying to just get out of trouble or he's denying it because it simply isn't the truth to him. In this case it seemed to be the latter.

"But I didn't hit him," he said.

"Then how come I saw you go over there and spank him?" inquired Mommy.

"Maybe your glasses were dirty," offered the boy.

We thought it was pretty funny. But he sincerely didn't think he did anything wrong, so there might be more to that. I was going to twitter or blog about something else he said, but it fell out of my head.

Which leads me to wonder if Twitter archives all my posts permanently, like Google does? It would be nice, though archiving the Tweets will be a bit more challenging than Blogger. I think all the posts are somewhat disposable reading anyway, really.

My newest toy is something I've been waiting for a while, a laptop lap companion, or whatever the hell it's supposed to be. Basically it's a contoured type dealy you place between your laptop and your lap so that your balls don't cook under the building heat from the battery. The iBook does get a little toasty and usually I just put a kids' hardcover book for that. But I was at Costco and for about 20 bucks, there was a Belkin one with a USB fan built it, so despite my horrible luck with the brand (Belkin 2, Me 0), I got it anyway. Figured even if the fan broke, all I really neat is that hunk of plastic and that shouldn't break. Knock knock. But I was feeling around under the thing to get the hinge to pop up and stuck my finger in the fan. All my swearing did was make my wife laugh harder.

I might have made a pretty good call with an upcoming gadget. I was going to purchase a used iPod touch from a co-worker of my good friend Kenneth in Singapore, along with a book explaining how to avoid unnecessarily long run on sentences. It was a fair enough price, but the rumor mill on the web is ablaze with possibly a vast iPod refresh for the Nano as well as a cheaper iPod touch, so I'm holding out for that. Should be in the next few weeks, which is just as well because I'm seeing a lot of overtime for the next few weeks. If everything goes accordingly.

Am using Firefox now and I'm liking it. Although none of my bookmarks are really set up, having the Twitter on the address bar and the Piclens is really handy, and it does RSS feeds as well, which is something Camino doesn't. Oh well, maybe I'll just mosey on over slowly.

Someone at work remarked, "You keep a blog?" and I've been wondering why I do. This overwhelming need to share my personal life on the web, even though I'm really not interesting enough to do so. I'm not sure, really. It's an outlet I suppose. Sometimes I feel as if it spoils what little social life I have, since people generally already know new news before I get to talk to them personally. Good thing my posts aren't that regular then, eh?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Zoe!



I had wanted to blog about things before Zoe's birthday, but I'll just mash it all together and make a super post. Anyway, today was a day of purples, pinks, and princesses when Zoe's presents and cakes just overtook everything in the house. Abby Cadabby, who was previously unknown in this household, became a minor theme, along with Disney princesses, Barbie, and a whole lot of artsy tools. We had a family type gathering, with my brother and his family and my mother in law here to wish the Z a Happy Birthday. Zoe was pretty happy, seeing all these toys but the excitement value was carried mostly by Alex, who seemed more happy about the presents than Zoe did. Nonetheless, I think she had a ball. Now we just gotta figure out where to put all the new toys.

It's a little odd to think that it's been four years since Zoe was born. For some reason Alex always seems like he should be younger and Zoe should be older. Somewhere between their births they must've been some type of time distortion rip of some sort. The little girl sure does have some sass on her, she's always telling her brother what and what not to do, but she's also got some heart on her as well. Last night after I tucked her in, she told me she "was going to give me something special" and it was a hug and kiss. Somehow presenting that in that package made it something more than ordinary.

Zoe is something special for me, as well as my family. It's odd, since my mom's never had daughters, and my brother's never had a sister, so nobody knows how to shop for a girl. Luckily, though we were heavy on the artsy gifts and some princess stuff, there wasn't really anything to steer her into gender specific crap. Girls toys can be so oppressive sometimes, forcing little girls to concentrate on nothing but improving their looks and vanity-related tomfoolery. While boys are busy making war, girls are busy doing make up.

I'll get some photos up soon. Man, feel like this weekend I've done nothing much, and I think after this weekend I'll be okay to do some OT again. We've done a bit of overspending and I need to make up for it bad.

I lured yet another person into Rock Band, although I was expecting my brother to be into the drumming portion of the game. My sister in law ended up really digging the game, starting with the drums and then really digging the guitar. My brother tried it but didn't get much out of it. That, including Jay who was inquiring about purchasing a PS3 after I got him hooked on the drums, and my wife and it looks like we might have a band. Now I just have to figure out how to make Harmonix pay me for my efforts.

Watched "Hot Fuzz" yesterday and it was hilarious. I can see how it might've flown over the American audience, especially if they didn't quite gather that it was a dry spoof of sorts. It was a homage of buddy movies, and it was just a lot of fun to watch.

In other news, I did get my glasses fixed after a rather uninteresting snap early morning while I was cleaning my glasses. At first I thought my lens had just popped out, but then the sickening discovery that the frame had actually snapped. Lousy monkeys. Thankfully, the stupid Lenscrafters guy was too dismissive to sell my wife a replacement duplicate frame, and instead gave her a card for eyeglass repair shop in Bellevue. So instead of spending a couple C's on new frames, I got a weld job for about 50 bucks. However, due to some sketchy park job in some sketchy lot, they issued me a 25 dollar parking ticket which I intend to shove it up their lot. Those tossers issuing tickets to an empty lot. That's just annoying. Spoilt my day a little.

Well, that's about all that's about the Diego. I think Zoe's Princess Stories are about to end soon. Then I gotta get my hair cut and maybe a costume change, since I saw the worst photo ever taken of me by my wife. The WORST.



What the hell is wrong with my body? I had the budding chest of a 13 year old girl, the heightened gut of a fat guy falling from space, and it looks like the features of my face are trying to centralize themselves where my nose is. Damnit.

But here's prove that I'm not that hideous all the time. Different photo, same day.

Coyote


DSC_3905, originally uploaded by diegomcnamara.

The kids were having breakfast and I was talking to Alex while my wife was telling Zoe that something she said was rude, when she looked outside the patio window and said, "Whoa."

There it was, a coyote just strolling past at 10 in the morning. I grabbed my camera and walked after it, and managed to snap 2 bursts before it took off and ran.

So, this was significant because we suspected that our cat, Franklin, was taken by coyotes, and seeing how these nocturnal creatures are out in the daylight is something else, especially in a urban city.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Belated BBQ post

It was like three days ago, but it was such an action packed day, it would be injustice for me not to notate it in some way.

I came home from work and from the street I could hear a kid crying. Turns out that Zoe was stung by possibly a hornet, and had been crying for the past 30 minutes. So my wife opted to take her to the ER, and I stayed home with Alex and later took him to his martial arts class. But while at the ER, Zoe ran into a male nurse who told her that there was no crying at the hospital, and she quit. She was sent home with just a prescription for OTC ibuprofen.

While Alex was at class, we went to Tully's to experiment with overpriced laxatives. My wife and I had a milkshake each, while Zoe had a 2 dollar fifty ice cream cone. It wasn't even a normal sized portion. This milkshake would not only ruin our appetite for BBQ, it would also cleanse our internals later on. After we picked up Alex with a smoothie, we went to the annual neighborhood BBQ.

There really isn't anything great about the BBQ, except my taste for ribs subsided a bit. The fact that it was still a little bleedy and might've mooed a bit when I bit down into it didn't help. The interesting thing was that there was quite a bit of public service employees there. There was a fire engine, a couple police cars and an ambulance there, and I'm sure it wasn't just because of the BBQ. They partaked (partook?) in the free food and then decided to turn their vehicles into impromptu things for the kids, just letting them look around in the vehicles and even spray the fire hose. But that was fun for the kids.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Update

It is nice after having 2 long work weeks to have a 3 day weekend, and since we didn't pack our schedules full of activities, its been a uber relaxing weekend. We celebrated my nephew's second birthday on Saturday, and he's like one Lightning McQueen short of a toy museum. He seemed to have lots of fun as my kids did, so its all good.

I also spent some time getting the bikes all rigged up and changed over, but i'll have to revisit them because the tandem rig was getting wonky. My bike is now the length of two, and it doesn't work out so well in my stuffed garage, especially since I purchased that freezer for all the bodies.

Rock Band continues to rock my world, and even though I finished the easy mode, medium is still a little too challenging for me. I can do the drumming fair enough, but the foot pedal gets me all special needs because my foot is incapable of too many ranges of motion. I do okay, from 3 to 4 stars, but I'm certainly struggling on medium more than I expected. Baby steps. My guitar skills are still a little behind, and my vocal career is a closeted affair. That only happens when no one else is around, and the room lit only by dim candlelight, with a bottle of lotion nearby.

Zoe's being cute with her new hair obsession - she asked me for a ponytail yesterday and since I couldn't form one out of her short hair in the back, I made one of the side of her hair. She then located another matching rubber band and request symmetry to her tuft of hair. Then this morning, after my wife commented about how nice her ponytails looked, I could hear her practically skip all the way upstairs to the bathroom, and then skip back downstairs. Technically I couldn't even call them ponytails. Pony wings?

Just had a very late lunch with our new BBQ. We had burgers and I realized how much I missed doing the grilling. Something primally satisfying about cooking over gas fueled fire, and having a lot of smoke pouring out of your cooking. It was a good lunch, even if my grilling skills slipped a little.

Well, back at work tomorrow with my newbie boobie crew. I'm down to one and he's gifted in skills I have yet to uncover. Perhaps I'm being a little impatient with my expectations and I hope to be proven wrong in short order. Otherwise i'll just ship him somewhere.

I was going to do a podcast about this, but I doubt anyone watches them at Pizza Bento so i'll just harp about it here. My brother showed me Piclens which is a handy little free app that works within one's browser, like Firefox and Safari and Explorer, if you're into that sort of thing. The app allows you to sift through tons of Flickr, youtube, and Google sites amongst others in a snazzy surfy interface, looking only at videos and photos without any clutter. Its really good and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for faster browsing of said media.

Well, my alertness is fading and I gotta do some homework for Pizza Bento, so I don't look like Dansen who's often unprepared and horny when we do the podcast. The unprepared I don't mind but I'm often glad we can't webcam and record the show at the same time. Too much sexual tension for the both of us.

Hah hah.