Weiner Man Returns!

Oct 24, 2005

For those of you who were worried about the breaking news that concerned my hometown from about a week ago, I wanted to put your fears to rest. Weiner man is indeed safe and sound. Shew. I know I’ll sleep better tonight.

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Open House

Oct 24, 2005

The Wootton Home

The idea of opening my home to bunch of strange folks — not strangers,
mind you; just strange — is not something that comes natural to me.
This may be apparent if you examine the facts. The wife and I now live in our second
home and we just hosted our first open house. The math isn’t
especially difficult.

In a way, I’m surprised it happened at all. In the past, I’ve
thought of an open house as something you postpone until your home is too
old to show off. After all, a new homeowner is incredibly busy after the
big move. We were no exception. Who wants to clean? Who wants to clean
right now?

This was certainly the case the first time around. My
desire to name the delayed party (“Housecooling”, “Houselukewarming”,
“House not quite warm, not quite cold, but somewhere in the middle”)
didn’t help remove the sting of that missed opportunity from my wife.

This time, however, the wife wasn’t about to let me wiggle out of it and,
to tell the truth, my agreement in the matter was more than passive.
Hell, I wanted to show off my new home. I’ll admit it.
Two months later, I’m still incredibly excited about it. I get giddy
when I peer out the front door. I smile when the garage door opens
from a simple button press. I wanted to share. I wanted to show folks what
I’ve been blathering about for the past 4 months. I almost didn’t
mind the cleaning.

It didn’t hurt that an open house was a great excuse to convince the Baltimore natives that we call our friends and family to visit us across state lines. The wife and I are cognizant that we now “far away” in both a geographical (somewhat true) and phycological (more true) sence. Our neck of the woods now includes trees. It was great to see people under them.

I want to thank everyone who came (and sent us yummy gifts — you know who you are). This precious opportunity to show folks our new little world was a lot of fun for us, but ultimately imcomplete. I hope to see folks make a return trip. I need help drinking all the leftover beer.

The Wootton Home

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Small Town Paper

Oct 19, 2005

Here are two interesting facts about my hometown paper:

1) They were able to acquire the URL eveningsun.com. They might be small but they were forward-thinking.

2) I found this story just below the fold last Friday. Yep, small is definitely a good description.

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Hurricane Economics

Sep 28, 2005

A short while ago, I had threatened to send a friend a bunch of interesting articles on the economics of Hurricane Katrina.  The articles I spoke of took an interesting look at the disaster, focusing on relief and other things a bit closer to home for most
folks, like gas.

Much like any promised updates to update this space lately, I forgot to do so. Or didn’t get to it. Or pushed it into the black hole that occasionally forms near the middle of my priority list. Let’s see if I can hit two birds with one stone for once.

Steven E. Landsburg, an author I’ve mentioned before, asks a couple of intriguing questions in his Everyday Economics gig. How much should we help the victims of Katrina’s wrath and how would these folks really like to spend all that relief money heading their way?

On the gas front, Austan Goolsbee points out just how price insensitive we are when we visit the gas pump and that we need not worry too much about price gouging right now, at least.

It’s no coincidence that all of these articles come from the Slate, one of my long lived RSS feeds. Sometimes I have to refer my local paper (sorry, no direct link) for economic tidbits like fuel efficient cars do not lead decreased gas use but the Slate isn’t a bad source for this type of stuff at all. I highly recommend it.

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According to the On-Demand menu of my digital cable box, the going rate for porn is $11.99 for just a six hour window. Wives worldwide may be pleased to know that their presence alone may actually be adding pennies to the piggy bank.

As for why I was browsing that particular listing, I have no particular excuse. I am simply interested in economics.

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Finding Home

Jul 8, 2005

I’ve been thinking about moving. Actually, I’ve been thinking about moving for a long, long time. It’s difficult to describe the reasons. I talk about my preference for trees and rolling hillsides. I speak unfavorably about the ragged streets and cramped surroundings of Baltimore, my current city of residence. But these things don’t really catch my wants and desires. What may come closer is my personal feeling of belonging.

I don’t belong here. I belong over there.

“Here” is easy to describe. My little suburb of Glen Burnie isn’t bad. It’s relatively clean. My neighborhood is quaint and workable for my purposes. You can, quite literally, get to anything in 5 minutes from my current home. That includes 4 parks, 3 movie theaters, probably 10 shopping centers, 3 malls, and bajillion restaurants. If you are looking for any of those things, my current home is definitely the place to be.

Still, it pains me to say that the best thing about my current abode is that it is reasonably close to the place I work. My 1/2 hour commute is convenient, and that convenience was and is a driving factor in the location of my current house. I’d add that my home is also close to family, if that were as true as it was 5 years ago. My sister recently moved to Virginia and one of my brothers has been West of the Mississippi for a long, long time. My wife’s family has spent the past couple of years migrating West and North, to the foothills of Pennslyvania. There are a couple of exceptions — both my wife and I have a set of parents and a single sibling close by — but our families just aren’t as close by as they used to be.

The “over there” part of the equation is more difficult to explain and requires a little bit of history to understand. While I’m fond of saying that I grew up in Westminister, a town found a bit to the left of Baltimore on a map, that statement is only partially true. I did a bit of growing up in both Westminster and Baltimore. I made it to fourth grade before heading towards the suburbs in the East. I spent my young childhood in Westminister. I did a whole lot of actual growing near the city that the Orioles call home. My roots feel a little bit country but my branches have city written all over them.

It’s an interesting dichotomy that I wrestle with. While it feels that I’ve lived in Baltimore nearly all my life, sometimes I don’t really feel at home. I feel at home when I chase my dog around the yard of my father in Westminister. I feel at home when I’m hunting rats from a perch in second story of my brother-in-law’s barn in Hanover.

Home, apparently, is truly where the heart is and, more than occasionally, I have trouble finding that feeling on my own front doorstep.

Suddenly, my wife and I have resolved to fix that little problem.

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One Step on Humanity

May 11, 2005

I capped my night off tonight by playing a demo of soon to be released game Destroy All Humans, an eye catching title if I’ve ever seen one. Since no one asked, I’ve decided to share some quick comments on the preview:

Any demo that begins by tossing cows automatically gets an A+ from me. I intend to keep this rule in place for the foreseeable future.

The demo is rather short. It comes in at about 10 minutes. While you get to do some rather fun stuff (did I mention cows?), the demo doesn’t give you enough time to draw too many conclusions.

The destructible buildings remind me of Mercenaries. This is a good thing. This is also unsurprising.

The ability to throw farm equipment around, like the random truck or tractor, reminds me of my childhood.

“And I’m not green!”

What I saw looks good. I want to see more.

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What Up with the Kids?

May 10, 2005

I’m glad you asked. During the massive gaps in both time and space between my postings over the last couple months, a lot has been going on with the kids.

For example, Chase is rolling over. He’s actually been doing it for a couple of weeks now. As of two Sundays ago, the date of his dedication, he’s been rolling over with a passion, using it as a means of transportation that we’ve termed log rolling. An ability that weeks ago simply worried dad and mom whilst he twisted and turned in his bed is now a source of freedom and a means of escape. That twinkle in his eye as he raises his head and gets his knees under him is his way of telling me that crawling won’t be far behind.

Cambell, on the other hand, is singing, a lot. He started in earnest when the wife decided to place a CD of children’s Christian tunes in the truck. He absolutely loves this music, and finds the time to carry the tune Jesus Loves Me or The Lord’s Army along with him wherever he goes. The only problem is that this particular CD hasn’t left its new home since. I’m starting to get concerned that the truck won’t start without little children singing in the background.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly proud that my kid loves to sing and, even better, loves to sing songs about God. It’s a little startling, in that you just don’t expect him to be able to do something like this at such an early age, and — it must be said — it’s absolutely adorable. But, there’s only so many times you can hear the Christian version of If You’re Happy and You Know It before you want to jump from a moving vehicle. I don’t know how many more times I’ll survive the current play list.

Not to be left out, Chase has begun to speak. I’m very proud that he has chosen his first word in this world to be the nickname of his old man. “Dada” is pure music to my ears. It’d be even better if it wasn’t often part of one demand or another. “Dada, pick me up! Dada, I’m hungry!” I’m, of course, doing just a little bit baby to English translation here.

I don’t know how it happened but Cam has taken a sudden liking to Barney. He’s oblivious to my objections, which are thickly concealed and almost surely a result of how far this particular purple dinosaur was pushed down my throat when I was doing my babysitting more than ten years or so ago (Yikes! Has it been that long?). I don’t really have a problem with this, even though my subconscious has always considered the child’s carnivore to be just a tad evil. The fact that I’m often the recipient of “a kiss from me to you” helps. It helps a lot.

That’s the quick rundown and, as I’m sure will always be the case, it skips a lot of stuff — from irrational fears of the drain to carrots between the toes. There’s only so much time in the day to fill this area with wonderful stories of my kids. The rest of it I’ll likely try to spend sleeping.

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May 5, 2005

GamerDad, one of my frequent stops along the information superhighway, has just relanched. As a reasonably recent gamer dad, I’ve found it to be a great resource and one that I highly recommend.

I’m a big fan of their review system as they take the time to discuss both whether or not the game is good and whether or not the game is good for kids. These are completely different concepts. I’m happy to see them treated as such.

The discussion of each game’s “kid factor” is especially nice. While they do provide an age appropriate rating system to each game that goes above and beyond the standard system in place by the ESRB, I’m happier that they take the time to write some actual text on the subject. For the most part, these decisions need to made on a per child basis. I don’t need the government or a review board to tell me what my kid can do. I can make that decision. Help me make a good one.

My enthusiasm for the site is undoubtably colored by the fact that I know some of the main folks behind the site — they often find themselves on the competing end of an Xbox live matchup or two — but don’t let that stop you from visiting. If your kid plays games — and if you have a kid, the second part is essentially a given — it’s great that the internet is around to help you make good decisions about what they play when they’re playing.

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May 5, 2005

In the swirling world of links we call the internet, the opportunity to share humour is rife. Allow me to share a quick chuckle.

I can’t dance would make Phil Collins proud.

This woman is likely looking for work.

Is this the true purpose of the internet? Maybe so.

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