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Apr. 10th, 2006 @ 10:45 pm the great thing about kids...
Is when they think up something completely new and surprise you.

Eliot made these paintings a year or so ago and they have been hanging on her wall for a long time. The other night when we were getting ready for bed, out of the blue she said "a crying little girl, a play area, and a castle". I asked her what she was talking about and she started pointing out which one was which (in that order, left to right). I asked if she had talked about that with Mommy and she said no (but she did say we should tell Mommy in the morning). Then she said she just made it up. I said "right now?" and she said "no, but just yesterday or something".
I asked her again in the morning what they were and she said it exactly the same way "a crying little girl, a play area, and a castle... did you remember that Daddy?"

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Feb. 28th, 2006 @ 12:10 am thought for the day
Out of the mouths of babes... or rather, out of the mouth of ln(1), who is nobody's baby anymore...

"At the South Pole you can see your gas."

Phenomenal, i say! Wisdom to live by. Now that i think about it, i wonder if it was her cousin sqrt(c^2 - b^2) that told her that. He was over here the other day and they were talking about polar bears.
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Dec. 25th, 2005 @ 11:00 pm unGoogleable neologous mood recap
The 27th entry in my journal... the reason i know this is because of my "alphabetical non-googlable moods" project. Starting with my first entry back in November 2004, i used the following words, in order, to fill in the "mood" field. At the time that i used them, the words were created by me based on the following criteria:
a) sounds (scans?) like a real word
b) Google search returns zero results

I just went back and checked and two of the words now appear in a Google search, albeit with only one hit apiece. Here are those words, along with the dates they were created:
2004/11/12: amphibulated
2004/11/21: friotic

So the "project" draws to a close. I haven't decided yet if this means i will post more (without the barrier of having to think up a new word) or if i should consider this entire LiveJournal foray complete and move on to something different. If the latter, i'm hope my vast (what are we up to now, 3 people?) audience will not be too disappointed.

PS. I don't know if i've used this icon before. It's my old front license plate from my car. I made it with spray paint and thin masking tape. I guess i was sick of the Darwin/Jesus/Evolve/Jesus-eating-darwin etc. fish battles and thought i should start another fish war with a different type of religion. Too bad i never saw a Windows fish or a Mac fish on anyone else's car. Guess my trend didn't catch on.
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Dec. 25th, 2005 @ 10:36 pm the end of the world
Current Mood: zygolevopodic
My 3 year old daughter's description of the end of the world:
"When the sun gets hot. nothing else is alive. the only thing left is the sun, nothing else in the whole world"

Sounds a little more poetic than the way i explained it to her. She is fairly dramatic and we often say to her, "it's not the end of the world". At some point she asked "what is the end of the world?" I thought i said something like "well, the sun will eventually burn out, but that will be a long long time from now and none of us will be around by then". I threw this off casually about 3 weeks ago, and then last week, she tells my wife exactly what is written above. It's amazing what kids remember.
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Nov. 18th, 2005 @ 01:19 pm What animal eats chap-stick?
Current Mood: yovanous
That's what my daughter asked the other day as she was eating lunch. Then she wanted us to peel the skin down around a grape so it would be "pushed up". I think she thought the bitten-in-half grape looked like chap-stick. The other day we were driving to the hospital to see her new baby sister and i told her it might take a while because there was a lot of traffic from people going to a football game. She asked if i wanted to know the "funny way" that all those cars would go to the game and i said yes. Then she launched into a story about "gigantic" football helmets on top of the cars, and they were "attached" to the cars, so if they all hit each other and fell down on top of each other they would be ok. I can't remember how it got to this next part, but then there was something about a "bone person that died and all of their skin came off" (i guess she means a skeleton!) I love listening to all of the stories she makes up. Sometimes she gets on a roll and gives a wide-ranging and very inventive story. Other times she just incorporates things she can see, in different combinations, or returns to previous successes, such as variations on "elephants stacked on top of each other." (sometimes it's donkeys, giraffes, etc.)
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Oct. 19th, 2005 @ 11:51 pm The War Criminal Rises and Speaks
Current Mood: xxyyzzysh
A new band i have been listening to on recommendation from a friend... Okkervil River. Actually i've just been listening to the MP3s they have available on their web site. "The War Criminal Rises and Speaks" has to be one of the best songs i've heard in a long time. This is the kind of song that made me give up on writing songs. It's the kind of song i wanted to write, but finally realized i would never be able to. Not that i don't find any value in my own songs, it's just that eventually i had to realize that i was playing at the crude form of an art which others had truly mastered.

Some of the rest of their stuff is too (dark/honest/disturbing, i'm not sure which) for me, but this song takes you to the edge and brings you back. It's the bringing you back that seems to be missing in some of the others, which is why i haven't brought myself to buy an album yet. Musically and lyrically, they are amazing, so it probably will happen.

This song is also the source of another "liked it better the way i first heard it than the way it really is". It says "paperbacks and back U.S. News". I thought it said "vacuous news" which anyone who has read their local paper recently should find fairly appropriate. One day in our paper there was a whole story about how a local high school girls (sport i forget) team has a team spaghetti dinner one night a week. And another day there was a story about how girl/women soccer players like to take their shoes off immediately after the game is over. First it went into how as soon as they get off the field they are tearing at their feet to get their shoes off, etc. etc. Then they had interviews with members of the team (teams?) and it seemed like it was half and half whether they liked to keep their shoes on or off after the game. So not only was the article completely frivolous, but they weren't even making the pointless point they were trying to make.
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Oct. 17th, 2005 @ 12:14 am library adult wing science fiction
Current Mood: wistolic
An entry in jamahu's log made me think of this little snippet of a song i wrote long ago...

Making fun of me
comes naturally
to almost everyone i know
When my face is hot
from stares so cold
there's one place i can go
Where i'm Keill Randor, the Last Legionary
not the kid with corrective boots
I've got a robot friend, i'm the Speaker for the Dead,
i'm the leader of the rebels on Arndak 2
en route to sector K-17-C
Yeah, library adult wing, science fiction, that's where you'll find me.

Half of the things in there are made up, but the funniest thing to me now is that the two references to real books are to "young adult" books (Douglas Hill's Last Legionary / Keill Randor series and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and sequels). The second funniest thing is how i went to such lengths ("making fun of me...", "corrective boots", etc) to sell the idea of the library as a refuge (which it was for me as a child and young adult, but not in that way).

But having re-read as an adult some of the books that meant so much to me as a teenager, i have decided that these two funniest things add a whole new layer of meaning to the lyrics. Because in reading these books as an adult, i think the same things about them: 1) they are written in such a way as to make the reader feel "grown-up", or like he is reading adult fiction, while in fact the storylines are simplified and perhaps overdramatized compared to real adult fiction and 2) they tend to be overly "angsty" (apparently to resonate with the state of the typical teenager brain). The two specific "re-read" series i have in mind at the moment are the Patricia McKillip "Riddle Master of Hed" series and the aforementioned Keill Randor series.

So how to classify the song-snippet? Semi-autobiographical self-referential treatise on young-adult fiction? Crude and hubritic youthful attempt to create something meaningful? Perhaps it's a bit of both.
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Oct. 1st, 2005 @ 09:59 pm A taste of his own Persimmon
Current Mood: viadelarosable
Friends, romans, and assorted rubberneckers, i apologize for this final little fender bender. It appears that accidents (or at least accidental updates) do come in threes today. Never fear, the payoff will doubtless be a long stretch of, if not smooth commuting, then at least the normal garden variety traffic jams.

Now that that's out of the way... how about the real reason for this update?

You have to go a little ways back to get to the beginning. When i was younger, we used to walk all around the hills behind our house. At the top of one hill, at the edge of the powerlines, was a persimmon tree. I don't know if you've ever had a persimmon. When ripe it is a fine fruit. Somewhere between a mango and a peach, maybe, although i'm sure that's a poor way to describe it. But the point of this story is not how it tastes when it is ripe. When it is unripe, the best way to describe a persimmon is that it will turn your mouth inside out. Put a spoonful of baking soda on your tongue and you'll get an idea. But it's more foul than that. If you live near Durham, NC and want to try one out, i'll be glad to point you to a tree that's between a highway and a walking/bike path.

My father is a very gentle and kind man, but from his mother he got a little bit of a mischievous streak. One of the ways in which this manifested itself in those days was with the persimmon tree. In my memory, it seems like this happened very often, although it was probably more like 2 or 3 times. When someone new was hiking with us, he would persuade them to try out the persimmon. To demonstrate that there was no harm, he would eat one.... a ripe one. When the other person was ready to try one, he would hand them an unripe one and then either we would all laugh at the person trying to spit the foulness out of their mouth, or he would take another bite of a ripe one and say "what? what's wrong with it?" with his green eyes twinkling.

Fast forward to me and my peppers. I have these purple peppers. They are purple when a normal pepper would be green, so from purple they go to yellowish, then orangish, and finally to red. For 5 or more years now i have had these peppers. I don't eat them because they are too hot and don't have much flavor. I took one of these things in to work one time, to a guy who said he loved hot peppers. He took a bite and ran for some water, later commenting on how powerful it was. But for some reason i like to grow them, so every year i pick the red peppers, save them up and.... well and then what? That is always the question. I ground a bunch of them up in a blender with the intention of mixing the flakes in with my birdfood to keep the squirrels out of it. But i think that bag is still out there in the garage somewhere and we don't have enough squirrels at this house to really care about how much bird food they eat. The one thing i always do with the old red peppers is pull a few out in the spring, crack out the seeds, and sprout some new peppers! This year i planted some around the mailbox with the annuals that i usually put there. I think they look quite nice (the foliage is kind of purpley-green) and my daughter loves to pick the red ones. She is always bringing me one and asking me to eat it. I will usually bite off the tip and eat it and throw the rest away, then exclaim to her how good it is in a half-serious, half-pretend tone.

The other day my dad was up and we were out in the yard. I was winding up a hose reel so i didn't get to see the events unfolding and the first thing i heard was my dad choking and spluttering. My daughter was sort of looking at him concernedly as if wondering what she had done. Someone must have asked if he wanted a drink because he said "i don't think water is going to help this!" Then my wife said "you asked if they were hot and i said that they were!" I don't recall him ever liking anything more spicy that mild salsa, so i can only imagine it was the sweet face of my daughter, innocently expecting him to have a bite like i do and say how good it was, that convinced him to try the pepper. Of course my comment was "i guess that's payback for all those unripe persimmons!"
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Oct. 1st, 2005 @ 09:42 pm Can i see that frog?
Current Mood: unululatic
We were at Lowe's and there was no race-car shopping cart. This was a minor calamity but we were trying to adjust. After pondering shower doors for 30 minutes or so, making our order, etc. we had just put our daughter back in the cart seat so we could continue on to the outside garden department. As she was getting in, she was looking back into the big part of the cart and, once seated, she sort of turned around and said "Can i see that frog?". I looked down and thought at first that some kid had left a toy frog in there. But it didn't take long to realize, probably because it winked at me, that it was a real frog. This was a green tree frog about 2 inches from noes to tail. They look kind of bizarre and tropical when they are all huddled up, but we took him out to the pools in the garden department (i didn't know what else to do with it) and when i picked him up to let him go, he stretched out his legs and looked more like a normal frog. Of course this whole thing was highly exciting for our daughter and we let her touch him and maybe hold him, although i don't think it lasted long enough to really call it "holding". I don't think she thought it the least bit unusual that the frog was in the cart, but it's not every day you get to touch one! The last i saw the little fellow, it had hopped across the water (which was cool in itself) and onto some tall, grasslike plant, on which it was sitting very still and eluding the eyes of two boys and their dad as i attempted to point it out to them. I hope it either likes it in there or finds its way out!
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Oct. 1st, 2005 @ 09:17 pm tooth and nail
Current Mood: teleoless
WARNING: There is no philosophical or even pseudo-philosophical content in this update. Furthermore, it may contain descriptions of the human body in states which some people may not care to read about. If that made you think you're going to get some pornography, keep dreaming.

It has been a weird month. First i broke a tooth. It was a molar that had been filled and the inside edge broke off, so until i could get into the dentists office (of course it happened on Thursday of the Labor Day weekend and they were closed Friday) i got the pleasure of running my tongue over the bare filling. Oddly enough (or perhaps not oddly, when you think about it), on the last checkup they had told me i needed to have some fillings replaced soon and this was one of those teeth. So we already had the insurance stuff worked out for replacing it with ceramic.
I'm sure this is old hat to some people who have lots of dental work done, but i was quite fascinated with the process for these new kinds of tooth repairs. They scanned the tooth (after cleaning out the old filling), and then designed the reconstruction material on a CAD program while i was watching. Then i had to wait 30 minutes or so while i heard their milling machine grinding out the tooth part. Finally, they basically super glued it in (i'm sure it wasn't exactly super glue, but it smelled like it). Part of the cement was light cured and apparently they shone the light too long and hardened some in the space between my teeth. So for the next 20 minutes they attempted (with various saws and even wedges) to get the cement out of there so i could actually floss my teeth. But they finally got it and the tooth now feels like new. I even lost the slight cold-sensitivity that i had with the old amalgam filling!

Now for the nail bit. My right pinky toenail already had some problems which i won't go into, but i am always jamming it on things because i am basically not very careful and i walk around the house barefoot. The other day i was chasing my daughter around the dining room (or was it the other way... actually it was both... first one would chase and the other would run, then the chasee would turn around and the chaser would act super scared and run the other way. repeat ad infinitum since my daughter is 3 years old) and caught my toe on a little bit of trim at the bottom of the stairs. It felt like any other time, but the nail ripped completely off and left a bloody mess. To make matters worse, the chasing game was initiated in the last few minutes of waiting for my friend to arrive so we could go hiking and geocaching. I don't like to let things like this get in the way of real fun so i bound it up and put on my "wide" sneakers (as opposed to the tighter trail shoes i usually use for things like this) and went on. After about 30 minutes of hiking it stopped hurting and we found the geocache as well as some very nice trails along the Eno River. I won't go into detail about what my sock looked like when i came home, but at least my shoes have not changed their appearance. My wife, who lost many toenails in her soccer-playing days (although none so traumatically) assures me that it will grow back just like normal. And i have to believe her, since hers all look perfectly normal.
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