Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Monday, November 15, 2004

The Laughing Buddha Turns 0.25 Years Old

Eli is three months today! I won't say that it seems to have gone by fast, as one is tempted to say in these situations, because actually it's felt like a very full three months. [Insert Steve Martin explaining: "The first month was like a year; and then the second month was like six months; and then the third month was like a year again...."] I can hardly believe it was only a quarter year ago that we were in the hospital getting that little miracle out. So much has changed. Physically, he's about twice as big, and he's growing his new hair and holding his head up well. Mentally, Eli is a little man: he knows who Mom and Dad are, his best friends are two colorful stuffed bug toys which have printed smiles that he just can't resist, and there's a definite pattern to his moods and preferences. He dislikes the car seat as much as ever, but he loves it when Amy and I make him laugh, which we like to do as often as he has energy for it.

I think Amy's relationship to Eli has changed less than mine in this time. You see, Amy was profoundly in love the instant he was born (if not before). It was like she had been re-joined with her ... well, I can't even think of an equivalent. Whereas for me it was more abstract at first, because I didn't feel that I knew him even though he was also, suddenly, the new center of my life. When he was born it was almost shocking that I didn't recognize him, and yet he was already my son. That's an odd mix of facts. Now I feel like I know him really well and he's a part of me. It helps that we can look eachother in the eyes and have cooing and tongue-sticking-out conversations.

To my first attempts at fatherly advice: "Eli, don't laugh!" he always responds with giggles. I guess we can predict at this point that he's going to be silly like us.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Secret of Our Success

Marines seem to be taking Fallujah back from the enemy with the kind of inevitability that you'd expect given the difference between the capabilities of these two military forces. Why is this battle going better than the last failed attempt to take the city, which ended in a demoralizing retreat? The press is burying the essential point deep in their reports, shown here with emphasis added:

"U.S. Marines called in an airstrike, and an F-18 dropped a 500-pound bomb on the mosque, destroying both minarets."

Translation: the Marines aren't providing the enemy with sanctuary this time. Thank Allah.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Le Monde declares: "We Are All Parents Now"

Amy and I have been discussing our schedules for the next two days. When does she need to be somewhere sans Eli, so when do I need to be home with him, and when should I work from home, and when can I leave for and come home from work.

It has occurred to me that this is the kind of conversation parents have.

This is like the freshman's realization during the first few weeks of classes: "Wow, I'm going to college."

The Worst National DSL Provider

To save some money, I attempted to switch our local phone and DSL service from Qwest to McCleod USA, starting in September. I say "attempt" because after being without DSL for six weeks now (when there should have been no downtime), the McCleod DSL was finally activated a few days ago. I called them the next day:

Me: "So what's my static IP address, as you promised in your original sales call?"

McCleod customer service: "Oh, we don't give static IP's to residential customers. The salesperson told you wrong."

Me: "Wow."

I put down the phone, picked it back up, and dialed Qwest to switch back. I can put up with temporary incompetence to save a few bucks, but I can't go without a static IP address.

McLeod called today and they're having UPS pick up the two (did someone say incompetent?) DSL modems they sent me tomorrow. This means we'll be without DSL for another week until Qwest can get it turned back on. Even better is that the domain I host at home, with mail and web servers, will have been down for nearly two months. Since I had only started my switch to gmail, I wonder how many important emails to me bounced during that time?

I actually got several laughs throughout the whole experience. It's been years since I dealt with a sizable organization that grossly incompetent. If McCleod USA is a public company, it might be worth shorting.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Lack of Boundaries

We've become painfully aware of the idiotic cultural norm that says babies are public property. Nothing else can explain why strangers (e.g. friends of friends, etc.) will touch Eli's hand or face the first time they meet us, without asking, or even extend their arms as if we're supposed to just hand him over like a puppy for them to enjoy.

Would you let a "friend-of-a-friend" hold your freshly minted $10,000 bill to appreciate its unique design? I don't think so. At the same time, my newborn son is a million times more important than that to me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Post-mortem Introspection

What's more interesting to me than that Bush won is how I feel about it: not good. In 2000, I wrote-in George Washington just as I did this time, but back then I actually felt apprehensive on election night when it looked for a while like Gore, a committed environmentalist (read: enemy of civilization), would win. This time I'm genuinely more afraid of Bush's ability to stack the supreme court with pro-religion justices than of Kerry's ability to push some lefty agenda. This is mainly because Kerry would have been a pretty ineffective lefty given his own lack of integrity and due to the stonewalling that the Republican congress would have surely given him. Now, with Bush back in and presiding alongside an even stronger Republican congress, it's looking like Christian irrationality enjoys the balance of power throughout our federal government. "Not good" is an understatement. Hopefully Rehnquist will be the only supreme court justice replaced by Bush.

Perhaps my strategy in the future will be this: when both candidates are irrational statists (as they always are), prefer the less principled man -- on the expectation that he will be able to accomplish less. Or ... maybe the people that vote for a stalemate between executive and legistlative branches have the best strategy in a world of irrational politicians.