Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's our video of Christmas morning. We decided that instead of going out and buying a bunch of new toys, we would just wrap a bunch of toys that Norah already has. It was just as fun as if we'd gone on a huge shopping trip! Anyway, here's the video.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Visitors!

So, we recently had a few visitors come and spend some time with us. Jay, Wendy and Sarah came down for the weekend, and I must say, I was absolutely trembling with excitement about their pending visit.

On their way here, I kept looking at the clock hoping that they were driving through some kind of time warp and would get here in a half an hour or so. But, they took the normal amount of time. Branden managed to beat them here by a few minutes, and we got to hang out with him for a few minutes before Sarah, Jay, and Wendy arrived.

When they got here and I was in such a rush to get down to see them that I left without my cell phone, my keys, or my shoes. Oops. So, I barred the door with a newspaper, and ran out on the frozen ground in my stocking feet to hug Sarah and Wendy. They went inside to tell Rachel and Branden that I would be helping Jay park his car. (Fortunately he had another pair of shoes in the trunk.)

So, we unloaded, and had a big sleep over. The next morning, I had a few friends from U of C stop by and we made crepes. (It's becoming one of my favorite morning meals.) After a slow breakfast, we left for a day on the town. We saw as much of Downtown as we could, but ended up missing most of it. But we did get to see the Bean and the Cultural Center, and the Marshal Fields Building, as well as the tree in Daley Plaza and a few other things.

The reason we didn't get to see a ton was because while Rachel showed Wendy and Sarah around the cultural center and Marshal Fields, Jay, Branden and I were catching a train to the North Side where we stopped at the Double Door and picked up tickets to an Over the Rhine Concert! It was a surprise for Rachel so we had to do it all ninja-like.

We got back, ate lunch and walked around a bit more. Then, we caught a bus back home, made some stir fry, and then Annette came over to watch Norah while we all left for the concert.

It was simply amazing.

I love this band so much, and I never remember how good they are in concert until I'm standing in some old beat up old dive bar watching them play. Karin's voice is pitch perfect, and Linford's song writing is constantly changing. This isn't one of those bands where you go and hear the same stuff over and over. I say their folksy, but really they're whatever they want to be that night. They play folk-type music, and then they play some jazzy songs and some punchy songs. They never rock out, and they never get into any rap, but they walk dangerously close to Reagee at times. They're just an amazing band.

Then, we came back home and crashed. I got up in time to play at church on Sunday, and then we went to Campus for a blitzkrieg tour through Hyde Park followed by lunch at Medici's. (I wrote on the table.)

They left, and Rachel and I came home and crashed. We woke up from our respective naps in time to head over to Annette's house for pizza and The Muppets Christmas. (Which Norah loved.)

So, you can bet we had an amazing weekend. BUT WAIT!!!! THERE'S MORE!!!

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Ben and Annie Wershing came over for a visit on Monday! When they arrived on Monday, they were exhausted (and so was I) so we basically just hung out and caught up. Then, on Tuesday I walked them around campus (and even showed them the Oriental Institute... because Rachel wasn't there.) And then we ate lunch at Hogwarts... er I mean Subway.

We went back home hoping to get downtown to catch some of the free museums, but by the time we were halfway home, Norah was pretty much completely covered in snow. She didn't seem to mind, which was wierd, but we decided it would be best to not expose her to hypothermia this early in the winter. So, we came home and I made pizza and we hung out the rest of the night.

Ben and Annie bought us this great new game called Last Word which we played about fourteen hundred times this weekend. (And I won ever time. Not really.)

Then, on Wednesday, we went downtown. We saw a lot of stuff down there, and even managed to get up to the Signature Room (at the 95th floor of the Hancock building) for lunch! Before you say "Whoa! You guys are loaded!" Keep in mind that lunch at the signature room is about 27.00 per couple, tip included. If we went to the observation deck of the Hancock... it would cost us 24.00 per person. So, we basically got a kick-awesome view, and lunch for the same price as just the kick-awesome view. Yeah, we milked it.

Then, we went back down to the street level, took a bus to Old Navy, and walked past the Sears tower to Union Station, where we caught another bus home. We were pretty bushed when we got home so we ate some pizza and played Last Word and Skip Bo until Amy Garrington came over. She had to pick up a friend at Midway and just stopped by for a little while before leaving. It was really nice to see her, even if I was stupid enough to not offer her any ice cream. (Sorry... those new fun cards threw me totally off.)

We hit the sack pretty early, and I just got back from dropping Ben and Annie off at the Green Line before coming home. So, now I'm going to sleep for the next forty hours or so until my Brother and Sister-in-law stop over for the night on their way to Cleveland!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

This has been the best week in a LONG time. I can't wait to see Tim and Marisa and Bailey...

The pictures are all on my camera still. I'll post a link once I've put them up on Flickr.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I know, it's been forever. I'm sorry. Please, stop looking at me that way.

A lot has happened since my last post, and I'm not going to do it all justice, so here's a link to photos from most of it. (I forgot to post up the Malone Thanksgiving pictures, and I'm sad about that. I'll do it soon and post a link when I do. A special thank you to everyone who contributed to fly Rachel and I out to Canton and then drove us all around. You guys are seriously amazing. I can't believe what good friends I have. I'm not going to do my gratitude justice by talking about it, but you all know how grateful I am.)

Anyway, because Rachel posted on ThanXmas at the McCowins, I'll leave her blog and the pictures to talk about it. Suffice it to say, as always, I enjoyed my time with Rachel's family. It really is fun getting to mix about with all those kids, and I never get sick of making robot noises.

After celebrating Norah's birthday in Canton, and again in Beaver Falls, we decided to celebrate at home on Norah's actual birthday as well. Before I get into it, let me start by saying that I've always thought it was pointless to sit around baking some elaborately decorated super awesome cake for a one-year-old baby who can't tell a slice of Castle Grayskull from a dried up toenail stuck in the carpet.

Instead of doing that, I left school early on Wednesday, came home and spent all day baking a cake, making eight cups of frosting, coloring different portions of the frosting, and elaborately decorating a super awesome Dora the Explorer cake. I guess things change when you finally have one of those little buggers...

Here are some pictures:

Here's a close up of the cake. It's no Castle Grayskull, but I still think it was pretty sweet.

Clearly, Norah is super freaking excited to eat the cake I spent all day baking and decorating.

The beginning...

The middle...

The end.

Yeah. that was good.

Okay, so Norah didn't seem to care if it was a bowl of rice or a super awesome cake. But I had fun making it.

The day after Norah's birthday, Rachel and I decided to decorate the apartment for Christmas. Now, our Christmas decorations amount to a ton of crap to put on a tree, and a six inch snow man figurine or something. So, there's not a ton in the apartment now, but once we get that tree up, it'll be awesome. Expect more pictures later.

Though we didn't change the feel a bunch with Christmas Decorations, we did move the furniture around and HOLY COW! It's like we have a new apartment. I don't know what we were thinking with our old layout.

Here's the old layout that some big stupid dummy head came up with.

And here's the new layout that Rachel came up with:
Yeah, we totally have room for a Transformers Vs. Deceptagons wrestling match in there now.

That's pretty much everything. (Oh, my first quarter of gradschool is over in a week. That's cool.) To close, I'll post some of my favorites from the pictures I just uploaded to Flickr for all of you who don't have the thirteen days it takes to look at pictures on Flickr.

I just liked the lighting on this one.

Here's our new place for the wine butler. Norah's excited about it.

Oh yeah! Norah's riding facing front now! It was a blast to change the seat, she really enjoys looking forward instead of at the back of the seat like she used to.

Here's a shot of my bald spot hanging out with my nephew Caleb.


I'm not all about princess stuff... but this could persuade me.

Here's Norah's cousin Emmet (probably the sweetest human being alive) giving Norah a kiss on the cheek.

Quickly followed by Norah looking very excited.

And then, well I guess she doesn't know quite how she feels.

Here she is playing in a laundry basket with her cousin Ellie.

And here she is trying to stare her down.

And what would ThanXmas be without everyone getting in the tub together? I'm pretty sure Norah's unlces and I will do this the next time we get together for a holiday. I can't wait. I'm totally packing a duck.

And finally, some pictures I took of campus the day after a pretty snow:




That last one is Swift Hall, where most of my classes are.

Okay. That's enough for now. I have to go buy a Christmas Tree!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Secret to a Good Marriage

They say the secret to a good marriage is communication. I'm kind of hoping they're all dead wrong.

Rachel and I have this problem that I would like to take a moment to put out there for the rest of the world to read about. It's summed up quite nicely in the conversation Rachel and I just had.

We got "The Bucket List" in the mail from Netflix today. So, as the Biggest Loser came to a close, we had the following conversation. The conversation is a very clear example of the exact type of miscommunication Rachel and I excel at. The conversation went like this:

Joshua: "Are we going to watch the Bucket List tonight?"

Rachel: "It's a hundred and forty-five minutes."

Yeah, so... that's all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Absent Minded: Food Bag

My brother Tim has been bugging me to blog a little bit about a part of me that I don't mention to often on the blog, and last week, something happened that fell into that category. See, Tim says that I'm a very smart person, and for the most part I agree with him. But he thinks it is very funny how absent minded I am, and I agree with him there as well. So, to honor Tim's request, I'll be writing these down from time to time and when I do, they'll be titled Absent Minded. These will all be in the vein of the Free Air post I wrote a while back about when I wanted to save fifty cents and I totalled my car.

Here's the first, er... second, of the Absent Minded posts.

Last Tuesday I was on my way out of the house, I got everything packed, grabbed my keys, stuck Norah in her stroller, and pushed her out the door. I went out in the hall, shut the door and when I went to lock it I realized I couldn't find my keys. So I pushed Norah back inside, checked all around the apartment, checked my pockets, checked the counters, flipped the couch cushions over, everything. I couldn't find my keys. So, there I was rooting around through Norah's pajama drawer when I felt something on my butt. I checked my back pocket and there were my keys.

Well, I was glad to have my keys, so I went to the door, pushed Norah out into the hall and started walking down the hall thinking "Why in the $%##@ did you put your keys in your back pocket? Who puts their keys in their back pocket?"

Then, we went outside. I pushed Norah in her stroller down to 53rd Street and talked with the homeless guy Liam outside of Dunkin Donuts for a while. We walked the eight or nine blocks down to Maya's house, I went inside, took Norah out of the stroller, and carried her up the stairs. Just as I knocked on the door, I thought to myself "Every time Maya takes Norah, I fumble around with Norah's stupid food bag that is strapped around my shoulders. I always look stupid trying to bring it up over my head and it knocks my hat off, so I'm just going to take it off before Maya comes to the door today." So there I am standing in the hall waiting for Maya came to the door, patting my chest where the food bag strap usually is thinking, "food bag... food bag... hmmm......" Maya opened the door just as it occurred to me that I did not have the food bag.

So I handed Norah off to Maya, and walked the eight or nine blocks back home. I stopped to talk to the homeless guy Liam outside of Dunkin Donuts, turned up Kenwood, and went into our building to get the food bag. I got to the door, and pulled out my keys and they wouldn't turn the lock. Sometimes, our lock sticks, so there I am in the hall pushing on the keys trying my darndest to not swear very loudly because the key is digging into my thumb and the stupid lock won't budge. Finally I give up and try turning the key the other way. You guessed it.

I hadn't locked the door.

So, I went inside and looked all over the house and couldn't find the food bag anywhere. Again, I'm walking around the apartment looking on the counter, looking in the fridge, looking in the hamper (you never know), looking everywhere I can think to look. Then, I remembered that sometimes I leave the food bag in the pouch in the back of Norah's stroller. Which is at Maya's. I hadn't checked there before I left, and at that point I was pretty sure that I left the food bag in the back of the stroller at Maya's. Needless to say I was pretty uspest with myself for having walked all the way home when the food bag was at Maya's all along. But, since I was in Norah's room, I thought to check her room real quickly before leaving for Maya's. So, I opened he closet and looked in her crib, and as I turned to leave her room, I saw her pajama drawer was still open, and the food bag was sitting right there. While I was somewhat annoyed that I had left it at home, I was also somewhat glad that I had not left it in the back of the stroller at Maya's and walked all the way home to look for the stupid thing.

So, I grabbed the food bag, walked to 53rd, talked to the homeless guy Liam outside of Dunkin Donuts, walked the eight or nine blocks back to Maya's apartment, went up the stairs, knocked on the door and dropped off the food bag with Maya.

So that's my story about the food bag last week. I know what you're thinking. "That's not that crazy. Everyone leaves the house every now and then and forgets to bring the very thing their children rely on for sustenance and survival throughout the day." Well, yeah. But let me confess: When I dropped Norah off at Maya's and realized I didn't have the food bag, my exact words to Maya were: "I forgot the food bag... again."

Yeah. That was the second time.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Some of you may have noticed a pretty long running debate between a blogger named Ryan and myself. If you haven't you can pretty much ignore this post. If you have noticed it, I just wanted to take a minute to apologize for my part of that dialogue.

I have the bad habit of taking my opinions very personally. In the case of my discussion with Ryan, this is exactly what has happened. My responses have hurt his feelings on many occasions and I need to own the responsibility for that.

I will not comment on how I perceive the things that Ryan has said about me, because this post is really just me trying to make up for the way I have behaved and I ask that no one comment regarding his behavior. I have not been a loving person in the entirety of my dialogue with him, and if you have read those posts, I apologize.

I wish I could be more loving. I wish I could be more patient and accept everyone's opinions. Hopefully I will get better at this as I get older.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Surf 2 Turf

My friend Branden just showed me a documentary ESPN did on a Surf 2 Turf camp run by one of his friends from Santa Barbara. I met Manny a few years ago while I was out in Santa Barbara visiting Branden and Scott Schuller, he's a pretty amazing guy, and what he's doing out there is (in Manny's words) pretty f***ing sick.

You can go here to see the video.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

I went to school this morning, and Norah was "walking" as you may have seen in the video on Rachel's blog.

I stayed late at school working on a paper and some Hebrew homework in the Library. I took the bus home because it was dark already, and made a stop at CVS for some Tylenol and some Mentos (and a pack of M&Ms for Rach) and walked home. When I got to our apartment and opened the door, imagine my surprise to hear Rachel say "Walk to papa!"

Yeah. Right.

Then, I turned the corner, and Norah was WALKING TO PAPA. Whoa.

I seriously left this morning and she couldn't take more than a few steps. When I got home, she was straight up walking to me. (Now, she still plops down quite a bit, but the difference is remarkable.)

So, of course, we took a video. Unfortunately neither Rachel nor I thought about how irritating it would be to listen to two people whistling for five minutes... you just don't quite realize how annoying something is until you record it. Oh well.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Reaction to the Results and the Results of the Results

Of course, I am exceedingly excited about the results from last night. And, I am very impressed by McCain's speech. I would like to applaud John McCain for that speech, and I hope that his supporters will be able to get fully behind the country under a candidate they did not want in the White House. I understand how McCain's supporters must feel, and am glad to see that the majority of those supporters are taking the loss with a measure of patriotism that accepts when Americans disagree. Let me say very quickly how disgusted I was to see the response on one conservative blog which featured a photo of a nuclear explosion. I won't mention the blogger by name, and won't link to the site. But I am dismayed to see such a disappointing reaction. Disagree, that's fine. But... disgusting. Hopefully, some of us will get better at being able to disagree without such gross measures of vilification.

The vast majority of conservatives I have talked to or listened to have responded gracefully, and I am confident that the graceful reaction is the majority response by McCain's supporters.

At any rate, I'm glad and sad that the election is over. I'm glad because it was stressful for me. I was very emotionally involved in this election, and put a lot of energy into concerning myself with the election. I'm glad the stress of waiting for the outcome is over. And, I'm sad because, I'll be honest, I enjoyed the campaign. Part of me really enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen, and talking about the election with people on the internet and in class and outside of class. I enjoyed being a part of the Great American Peaceful Revolution, and I'm very pleased with our country right now.

Now that the election is over, I wanted to put a post out there to bring you to a website that I think is funny.

It's called Jake and Amir Dot Com, and well, I just think it's funny. Careful though, the one guy tends to swear a lot. If that bothers you, don't go. If it doesn't, I thought Vote! was funny, and so was Ballgame. Hope you enjoy it. If you think it's stupid, then... yeah. You're right. It's kinda stupid.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Best Picture Ever

So, if you find a baby who is cuter than this, I'll eat my hat. And I just got a new hat, so you know I mean it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Monkey Outfit and First Steps

Head over to Rachel's Blog to check out Norah in her Halloween costume. If you do, you'll see a video of Norah taking some of her first steps!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Lion's Market?

I saw this today in class. I did not know, but apparently on Oct. 29th, some Christians gathered to pray for the economy. Now, I'm not against praying for the economy, but I can't believe someone decided it would be good idea to symbolize that prayer by laying hands on a bronze bull. Remind you of anything? I have so many things to say about this, but really, I think the image speaks for itself. Here's a link to the full story straight from the... uh... horse's? mouth.

It's not technically a golden calf, but...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update coming soon!

I have an update coming soon... there is a ton to write about, so it's going to take me a while to get it posted. While I'm workin on uploading it, you can enjoy this long boring video of Norah and I. This is a little glimpse into what mornings are like in the Elek house. We finish breakfast, and Norah and her dad sit at the kitchen table for a few minutes before we walk out the door and head to day care. Just like my dad I and I used to do in the mornings... it's pretty much the best thing ever.

Anyway, if you're family or a close friend, you might enjoy the movie. If you're anyone else, it'll probably bore you to tears. Sorry... hopefully the upcoming, and probably very long, update won't suck.

Oh, and Norah has a post on her blog... she's pretty bad at updating, I know. She's been grounded as punishment.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The System is Down

My computer is down right now. Something about a busted back-dimmer or some other such nonsense. The guys at the Genius bar seem to think it's my battery, even though I've told them on three separate visits that I only use the computer when it's plugged in. Thankfully however, some very nice Indian gentleman assured me that it's a problem with the backlight-dimmer thingamajig, and as a result, it's in the mail. As soon as I have it back, I'll post an update with pictures from the wedding etc.

Till then!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Browns V. Giants

The above statement is from the power rankings of week 6. See what it says? "It will take more than the Browns to knock this team off course." *sigh* Now, sports critics and Cleveland-haters at ESPN, eat your words:

454 total yards of offense.
Zero Turnovers.
Zero Punts.
35 Points.

That's like the best Haiku ever written. Except it's not a Haiku. Oh well. Either way, I sat on my couch tonight and tried as hard as I could not to scream my lungs out while Norah and Rachel slept down the hall because my boys, the Cleveland Browns straight up POUNDED the Undefeated Returning NFL Champions the New York Football Giants. Did I say POUNDED? I meant:


I'm going to bark in my sleep tonight. It's going to take more than the Giants to knock the Browns off course...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Road Trip Picture

We are home this weekend for my brother Jeremy's wedding. My brother Tim snapped these photos our way to Cleveland and I really liked them for whatever reason. I'll post a full update as soon as I can after I get home. Until then you'll have to look at these pictures of us at a rest stop in Indiana. (I'm really just trying to store them somewhere so I don't forget to print them off later.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Best Candies EVER!

I was buying a Coke in the Bookstore today to go with my healthy lunch (consisting of left-over Veggie Stir-fry and a bag of Cheetos), when I stumbled on this FANDANGTASTICABULOUS box of candies. I did not know what was inside, and did not care what was inside. I just had to have them because of the box they were in. (Oh, I think you'll understand.) Below is a recreation of what I looked like when I saw the candies in line:

And the picture below that is the look that was on my face when I opened the candies in the Div. School lounge and found Mints inside. The perfect compliment to my Coke, Cheetos and Stir-fry lunch.

Yeah. That's right.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Maggie's Long Walks

We used to have an Airedale Terrier named Maggie. She passed away a while back, but I'll never forget her long forays into the wild unknown. On a regular basis, we would let her out to "do her business" and something would take over. Rather than wandering around the yard, picking a spot and doing the usual circle routine, she would tear out of the yard like a bullet out of a gun and go crashing into the woods. No amount of yelling, or shaking a box of biscuits would help, she was gone. She was on a journey. We're not sure what happened on those journeys, but she would inevitably show up a few days later looking like some prodigal puppy, or she would crawl into someone's yard and wait for them to read her collar and give us a call. That was Maggie.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw this video on CNN today. It appears as though we aren't the only ones who had an Airedale with a penchant for adventure.

Till next time!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Prediction

I just saw a page on CNN where you can predict how the election will come out. Here's my prediction:

Go here to make your own prediction.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Goodspeed Collection at U Chicago

I have told a few people about this in person, but thought I'd blog about it now that I found the website.

A few weeks ago, we got to go to the special collections library at the University and actually put our hands on a few of the manuscripts in the collection. One of the manuscripts was a copy of Archaic Mark, which might be a 14th century copy of the gospel of mark, or a 20th century forgery. (They're testing right now.)

Standing next to that book was a strange and surreal thing for me. Sure, it might be a forgery, but if it's not, then my fingers were touching what I would consider a very sacred text. It's just staggering to look at something like that and see the amount of effort that went into a book back then. Everything from skinning the animal and stretching the vellum pages to the gold painted images and the painstaking penmanship. (Though the penmanship in Greek is generally nothing compared to the detailed work of a Hebrew scribe.)

This is from the first page of text in Archaic Mark

Margaret Mitchell, the professor of New Testament Studies here at U of C said that Manuscripts are to the Biblical Scholar what Test Tubes and Bunson Burners are to the Scientist. She wanted us to see these things, to touch them, to interact with them. It was an amazing experience for me. I'm sure most of the people reading this aren't getting as geeked out as I did, but man did I ever enjoy getting my actual fingers on those manuscripts.

I have since found the digitized manuscripts online, and figured I'd let you see what I'm talking about, though I don't think it's the same as actually touching the pages. You can go here to see all of Archaic Mark. (I start you off on the gold painted image that the book was open to when I saw it. The next page is the title page of the gospel.)

And here is a photo of a Hebrew manuscript as well so you can see how painstaking the Hebrew scribes were. This isn't quite as detailed as the copy I saw of Exodus, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Graduate Course Completed

Norah hanging out in her box.

Six years ago I graduated from college and said I would take a year off, earn some money, and go back to school. Yesterday, I finished my first graduate course, so you can imagine I feel pretty excited right now.

It was a class in Biblical Hebrew, and it's hard to believe that just three weeks ago I was working very hard to remember which Hebrew letters made which sounds, and now I'm able to read some simple Hebrew sentences. Here's my favorite sentence from the class exercises:

יֵשׁ ק֗ול מִלְכָמָה בּרוּהַ - (Yesh qol milkhamah beruakh.) Which means "The thunder of war is in the wind." I just thought it was a poetic sounding sentence, and our teacher seemed to like it as well. When I finished translating it the first time I actually looked at the paper in my mom and dad's office and said "Cool!" I'm just amazed that I've gone from not knowing anything about the language at all to being able to read simple sentences. It's really rather remarkable.

I think the most amazing thing is just how much information the human mind is able to hold. In these three weeks, I memorized just over 200 vocab words, and each word had at least two, (some has six) different possible spellings. Tack on the possible pronominal suffixes etc... and the amount of variance you can expect when seeing a hebrew word is remarkable. A three letter word might end up being a two letter word in a sentence, or it might be a seven letter word with a prepositional prefix and a pluaral suffix... it's crazy.

Anyway, we took the final yesterday and I think I did okay. I'm not sure I did as well on the final as I've been doing on the quizzes, but I feel confident that I got at least an 80 on the final. Hopefully I did better than that. We'll see.

That's it for now really. I'm home with Norah this week, and I'm reading a book for my next class (An Intro to the Hebrew Bible) and I'm trying to visit as many of the museums as I can. A friend from school has some paper explaining when each museum is free, and we're going to try to hit as many free ones as we can. Yesterday we went to the Planetarium, and today we go to the Field Musuem. I'm hoping to jump on one of the dinosaur skeletons and ride it like a pony.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Large Hadron Collider - We're all going to die

Kiss your kids, we're all going to die.

I'm not trying to be that crazy homeless guy on the street with a board on his chest or anything, but the world is going to end. We're all going to die. Tomorrow.

Either that, or we're about to get some visitors from the future.

I'm talking of course about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) built under Switzerland and France. It's basically a huge empty tunnel with some really big magnets that will fire two atoms at each other. They've successfully fired this puppy up and ran a particle in one direction. Now they need to fire another particle in the other direction, just to make sure there aren't any cookie crumbs or fingernails in there. If everything works, they'll send two particles in opposite directions toward each other at the same time at an insanely fast speed and when the two particles meet, the whole world will end.

Here's the pseudo-science behind it: the faster something goes, the more energy you need to speed it up. Think about an apple. To make an apple go 10 miles an hour, you just have to drop it. To make that same apple go 20 miles an hour, you have to throw it pretty hard. To get it to go 90 miles an hour, you have to throw really, really hard. To get that same apple to go 200 miles an hour, forget it. You're talking bazookas and rocket juice. This means that if we want a particle or two to go almost the speed of light we need an insane amount of power.

Turns out, that's exactly what scientists want to do. They want to get two particles to go really fast, and run into each other. So, they built the LHC which will use an insane amount of power to get two particles to go almost the speed of light, and then hit each other. When they hit each other, they'll rip apart. And what comes spilling out of the two little fellas will be sugary-sweet magical physics juice. There will be electrons, and protons, and some wierd little guys like quarks and bosons and maybe even, the holy grail of particle physics himself, the Higgs Boson. If all goes right, and our cameras are tuned in correctly, we could be seeing the very things that make up matter itself.

Of course, this doesn't come without it's risks. To get the risks, you have to think about a bag of peas. If you open the bag, and pour the peas out on a pillow, they'll just roll around. If you don't open the bag however, and put the unopened bag on the pillow, they'll make a dent in the pillow. The reason is that when you condense the peas to the small space, they are more dense and gravity pulls them accordingly. If you were to condense the peas further, say by squishing them reallllly hard, they would be even more dense and would make a deeper dent in the pillow.

The same thing could happen in the LHC. It is theoretically possible that rather than exploding and spilling all their sweet, cherry, physics goodness, the two particles could theoretically just smack together. If they did that, all the energy we used trying to rip the two particles apart will actually fuse them together and compress them a billion-fold. Rather than an open bag of peas on the pillow, we now have the closed bag compressed to the size of a single atom tearing a hole not just in the pillow, but in space time itself.

If the two particles stick together, they could be are compressed so much, and become so dense, that they'll actually stop being pulled into the Earth. They'll have a gravity so strong that rather than falling into Earth, Earth will start falling into them. If that happens, they'll make a black hole and in a few minutes the world will end.

But don't worry too much. The chances of that happening are infintessimely small, about the same as the chance that they'll rip open a door in space time and visitors from the future will come over for dinner.

The reason we're freaked out about this, is because it's the biggest thing we've ever made, and it's the fastest we've ever thrown something. Keep in mind, the LHC is much, much, much smaller than the sun. And it has much, much, much less energy than the sun. And as a result, it sends particles toward each other at speeds much much slower than the sun. And keep in mind that every day, the sun sends out untold billions upon billions upon gagaglagazillions of particles at the Earth at speeds beyond anything we'll make in the LHC. The particles from the sun, going faster than anything in the LHC slam into particles in our atmoshpere creating more cataclysmic explosions every single day and nothing happens. Every single day since the earth has been made an unimaginably large number of particles have smacked into each other a lot harder than they will under France, and not a single one of them has made a black hole. So, the chance of a black hole resulting when we smack two particles together is about the same as me winning the lottery, without buying a ticket, while getting hit by lightning, every single day of my life...

So basically, compared to what the sun does a gatrillion times a day, our experiment in the LHC is going to be like a granny delivering a pizza on a bicycle. But, still, there's that 1x10^E-378845u31490867 possibility that the two particles will smack instead of bang and the world will end. And because of that, the LHC is all over the news, and some scientists are actually saying the world is going to end.

Here's a snappy graphic I made to help you make more sense of it:

Like I said, kiss your kids.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tim the most awesomest big brother in the world...

That's right, my big brother Tim is even way more coolerEr than your big brother. As a matter of fact, he can beat up your dad and Super Man at the same time. When he walks down the street the Metallica song "Seek and Destroy" plays on all the radios ahead of him, and all the girls hear that classic Rolling Stones song "Under My Thumb" in their heads.

I mean, seriously, this guy eats spinach for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Sometimes, I wish I had his staggeringly good looks...

Plus, I really shouldn't ever leave myself logged into Google when I leave his house, cause really...who knows what crazy stuff could happen!


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day of School!

I woke up early yesterday and threw a pot of oatmeal on the stove and started a pot of coffee. I woke up Norah, did the diaper thing and gave her breakfast. Then, for the first time ever, Rach took Norah out of the house, and dropped her off at daycare. I spent the rest of the morning at home catching up on my Hebrew and reading a little. Then, around 8:30, I jumped on my bike and took the 10 minute bike ride down to campus.

It was a very pretty day and I sat on the sandstone steps with two other equally confused-looking new students wondering where my class was. I was trying to pretend like I wasn't nervous. I was prepared. I had restudied my notes for class, practiced that transliteration again, and packed my book bag the night before so my pens were clipped in their little pen pockets and my pencil was sharpened and my books were ready to go. But sitting on those stairs before school officially began, I felt very intimidated. I tried to engage in small talk with the people around me and nervously shifted my book bag from one hand to the other. It turns out, I was more than a little unnerved to think that I'm actually here. I was actually standing outside that enormous gothic structure with those four inch thick carved wooden doors, and in a few minutes, I was going to pull on the molded iron door handles, walk inside, and be a student again.

When we went in the building there was a note stapled to a placard in the lobby telling us that Biblical Hebrew was in room 201. We still had a few minutes so I walked downstairs to get a cup of coffee. Then, two other students and I walked up the worn stone stairs to room 201.

We learned about the philology of the Hebrew Language (where it came from etc...) and drilled into the first chapter of our Hebrew Grammar for the second half of class. I think I aced the quiz, I had studied it pretty well, and nothing we talked about in class yesterday came as a big surprise to me. Everything we covered was covered in Chapter one, so it was mostly review. All in all it was an encouraging lesson. I left the room thinking, I can do this.

Then, we walked down the wide stone stairs and congregated in the hallway before our orientation meeting. I talked with a few of the students (two of whom are named Josh... funny.) And around 12:00 we walked into the beautiful meeting room covered in portrait paintings and carved wood. We sat on folding chairs at huge wooden tables and listened to instructions on immunization records and registration and the like. Then, we all ate a free lunch, drank a glass of wine, and I rode over to the Library to get my ID.

So, now it's official. After nearly six years, I'm a student again. And man, does it feel good. Now, I have to jump in the shower, pack my bag, and head back to school for day two.

(Norah did great in daycare in case you're wondering. She napped twice, and ate all her Cheerios. Way to go baby girl!)

Sarah Palin Censorship and Abuse of Power

I ran across two news stories that shocked me regarding Sarah Palin, and wanted to get them out there. It doesn't seem as though they are in the mainstream yet, but I think they are important issues.

Sarah Palin shortly after winning election as the mayor of her small town in Alaska approached the Librarian Mary Ellen Emmons and asked how they could go about banning some books from because they were morally objectionable. Emmons was "aghast" at the idea and said she would resist all efforts at censorship. Ms. Palin then fired Emmons shortly after winning office.

Sarah Palin is also under investigation for abuse of power during her short time as governor. Apparently Palin's brother-in-law threatened Palin's father. Palin then told the state public safety director to fire her brother-in-law. When the director did not obey Palin, she fired the public safety director. She has now hired a private lawyer and will be supbeaoned to court sometime in the near future.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cute Animal Forwards

I just emailed my little sister about this, so she already knows what I'm about to write.

In order to really understand this post, it's important for you to comprehend just how passionately I abhor cute animal forwards. I get them from time to time, and it sends me into a burning rage that usually culminates in my kicking something soft and cuddly. I've actually been thinking of trying to find a clip of Ozzy Ozbourne biting the head off a bat so that I can watch it as a sort of remedy for when I accidentally see one of those cute animal forwards.

My little sister Katie sends me forwards from time to time. Not often, but every now and then. Today, I got a typical Katie forward with the following pictures and many more. They're respective captions are listed below the image.


This is what intimacy looks like

This is what cool looks like

Those three images there are pretty much enough to send me into a tailspin of rancor and seething paroxysms of maniacal conniptions and murderous fury. (Yes I'm using a thesaurus to try to fully convey my anger.)

So, you can imagine my surprise when I open the email from Katie, I see something like this:


And I say, "Awww."

I MEAN SERIOUSLY! I should be FURIOUS! But for whatever reason, I'm all warm and fuzzy and giggly inside. That little kitty just looks so darn cute, and the way his belly puffs before he blows on his cold little mittens... I mean who can't love th--- wait! What am I saying?! I hate that crap! What THE Hffghghgngingdkdadlsk! ERGH!

But there's just something about a forward full of cute fuzzy animals when it comes from my little sister. If anyone else had sent me (or sends me... don't even think about it...) this forward, I probably would have thrown heavy glass mixing bowls out of our fifth story window onto people walking their dogs. But, when it came from Katie, I smiled. I don't understand it, but there it is.

So, thanks for the forward Katie. I have absolutely no idea why, but *gulp* I liked it.

Now, I have to send it to fourteen people or my liver will explode and some poor armless baby in China won't recieve his prosthyetic robotic ninja arm surgery.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's VP Gimmick

McCain just proved just how badly he doesn't get it. He thought Hillary had a large base of support simply because she was a woman, so he picked a woman for VP. He could have picked any one, he had at least a dozen other women that would have made a better VP pick if he was set on choosing a woman. But out of pure and simple bigotry, he thought he would win Hillary's supporters by choosing a woman. Any woman at all. Enter Governor Palin. And America said together, "Who!?"

So, John McCain picked someone with zero national experience, zero foreign policy or military experience, who governs a state "with more reindeer than people" to elevate the second most important role in America. Not only did he fail to grasp why Hillary got support, he boldly insulted the intelligence of those supporters, and effictively trashed the only weapon he has against Obama, experience.

I'm very glad to say that I think today will go down in history as the day McCain lost the election.

Obama/Biden '08.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John Kerry's Speech - DNC 2008

If John Kerry had been like this 4 years ago, we wouldn't have Bush in the White House right now. I watched Kerry's speech and have been sad to see that it has not received the attention it deserves by the main stream media. It was a very powerful speech and I think John McCain has a lot of explaining to do. Help me get the issues Kerry raised out into the mainstream. Go here for CBS's page where you can view the speech in full screen, share it, embed it, email it, watch it, whatever. McCain has some explaining to do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


So, this is the second spiritual lesson I've learned from preparation for school. This one is new, and hasn't really sunk in too much, but because it has such an easy (and I think neat) visual representation, I chose to tell you about it first. The second lesson is rather complicated and I don't think I've sorted it all out just yet. More on that one later.

I'm studying the Hebrew language right now. Class starts in one week, but I've been very excited to get into it, so I have been working on the first two chapters pretty much non-stop since I got my books in the mail. (Ok, not non-stop. I actually didn't look at it last week.) But now, I'm trying to memorize my first vocab cards, and something struck me and I wanted to blog about it. Don't worry you don't need to know Hebrew to get what I'm talking about here. (It's not terribly important for this post, but in case you did not know, Hebrew is read from right-to-left, not left-to-right like English.) Here, take a look:

עָוַד: (Pronounced ah-VAHD): This word is a verb and means, to serve. It also means to till or work, which interests me. Biblical Hebrew used the same word for tilling the earth, and for serving. More interesting than that even, is that this is also the word for worship. So, in Biblical Hebrew: work, tilling the earth, serving, and worship were all the exact same word. Might this imply that service is a form of worship? More intersting to me is the possible implication that work, every-day mundane work, can also be regarded as a form of worship. Interesting, but it gets better.

עֶוֶד: (Pronounced: EH-ved): This is a noun, and it means servant or slave. (On a side note: I'm currently reading Romans, and this sheds some light on what Paul meant when he said we were slaves to God's righteousness.) I have to think more about what this means, but I found it interesting. I'll write the words one after the other, just so you can see how similar they are.

עָוַד - to serve/work/till/worship

עֶוֶד - servant/slave

But it gets even better:
You may have noticed that the only difference between the two words are the little dots under the letters. Those little dots and dashes are called Diacritics (or Nikud), and are not part of the Hebrew alphabet. They represent the vowel sound you should make after saying the consonant. The Hebrew alphabet does not have any vowels, so Rabbis decided to make up this system of dots and dashes to help people who were not fluent in Hebrew to read and understand the Bible. Which means that if you leave out the diacritics, (and the earliest Bibles most certainly did) then the words for service, work, tilling the earth, worship, servant and slave were all the exact same:


Does this mean that to be God's servant means to be his slave, and that as his servants we are to work, and serve others as our acts of worship? How many lessons are wrapped up one three letter word. I can't wait to get deeper into this rich language.


תוֹו (Tov)

That, right there, took me about nine hours to figure out. I think I finally found a way to display Hebrew font (יִשרָאֵל) That's Hebrew for Israel I think, at the same time as I write English. I still need some practice at figuring it all out, but I have a start at least. But right now, it's one o'clock in the morning, and I've been doing this almost all day long. So, now, I'm hitting the sack. Till then...


(That's for you mom... that's how you'd write Mizpah in Hebrew, I think. Keep in mind, my first class isn't until Monday so, I definitely could be wrong.)

Bye now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Awww! Spinach Biscuits!

If you care about politics, and you won't get mad at me for supporting Barack Obama, feel free to read the next three posts. If you don't care about politics at all (and I'm sure that's most of you) check this out:

That's me, NOT eating a spinach biscuit. Because, well, you pretty much couldn't pay me to eat one of these things. (Unless of course, you actually paid me, in which case I would gladly eat the whole bag for a dollar each.) It's a product of my own creation, so I have no one else to blame. But man are these green little bricks disgusting.

This is what happened: Gerber makes these things called "Biter Biscuits." They're supposed to be good for babies who are teething, and so I went to get a box. When I read the ingredients, I found that they are basically just sugar and flour. Now, I'm not crazy or anything but we decided a while back that we don't want Norah to have refined sugar for the first year. Then, I remembered that Jerry Seinfeld's wife wrote a cookbook with recipes that used vegetables. I thought, I have some spinach in the fridge. I know how to make biscuits. "Biter Biscuits" have the word "Biscuit" in them and they are good for teething babies. So I combined all of these thoughts into a nasty, hard. green brick of nasty that I call a Spinach-Oat-Yuck. Basically, I ground up a bunch of oatmeal, pureed some spinach, added a little bit of flour and an egg, and rolled out a dough. Then I baked them and when I finally put one in my mouth, I instantly remembered being a kid, sitting on the floor under the dining room table eating a box of Milk Bone Dog Treats.

Man these things are gross.

Imagine my surprise then, when I decided to see what Norah would do with one. That's right folks. She friggin' loves em. I gave her one right before her bottle thinking she'd just spit it out. Then, when she was chomping on it still fifteen minutes later, Rach took it away to give Norah her bottle. Norah started screaming as if we'd ripped her fingers off. (Until she got her bottle that is.) Much to our mutual surprise, the little bugger can't get enough Spinach-Oat Yuck. So, in the end, I have a bag of these nasty, disgusting, hard, dry, never-going-to-eat-em-myself, spinach-oat-yuck biscuits that Norah can't seem to get enough of. She's eating one now for lunch. And who knows, she might get another one for desert. :)

McCain Thinks Americans are Stupid

John McCain has continued to run advertisements in which Obama is portrayed as empty hype. In these ads he consistently portrays Obama's supporters as fans and not as intelligent people hoping for change. Instead of succeeding in communicating that Obama is empty hype, he has instead resorted to attacking the intelligence and character of the Americans that support Obama. He has claimed that anyone who supports Obama is similar the the people who are concerned with the life of Britney Spears. Instead of discussing the issues, McCain sought to attack the intelligence of over half of the American Population. Then, when McCain was confronted with this, he said he was proud of it.

Obama is popular, yes. He has charisma, yes. McCain is less popular, has less charisma. Instead of accepting that he is less popular and less charismatic and trying to win an election based on the issues, McCain decided to beat up the American people. McCain should find something concrete to attack Obama on. Don't attack his supporters, don't attack his wife, don't attack his old pastors and people who talk at his old church when he's not there, attack his ideas. Talk about Obama's ideas. That's what I would like to do.

In my effort to prove that Obama is not all hype, that his supporters are not merely drawn to a celebrity, I want to offer my opinion on two things. I would do more, but frankly, I don't have time, and no one wants to read this stuff any way. The next two posts you'll see are concerning off shore drilling, and the economy. I just want to say that I agree with most of Obama's policies, and what follows are two policies and why I support Obama's position on them. Senator McCain, please stop telling me I'm stupid, and discuss the issues.

1: The Economy

1: The Economy

What do I think?
I think Barack Obama will strengthen the US Economy. John McCain will hurt it.

Why do I think that?
Did you know that for the past 8 years, 2/3 of foreign companies doing business in America have paid zero dollars in federal income tax? In spite of making over 2.5 trillion dollars, they have paid nothing in federal income taxes. Lump the foreign businesses in with the domestic businesses that pay nothing, and 25% of big businesses in America have paid zero federal income tax for over 8 years.

McCain's campaign wants to decrease the corporate income tax. (This would benefit the five largest oil companies with 3.2 billion dollars extra income, let alone every other big business in America.) A reduction in the corporate tax would be very advantageous for the big companies, but have little impact on the average american or the US Economy. Consider the Bush aministration's policies. This past administration has favored continued corporate tax cuts to the point where now, 25% of big business in America pays absolutely zero federal income tax. And as a result, our economy was briefly on the brink of catastrophe. McCain supports this tax plan, and wants to further reduce the tax on big business. In spite of the fact that 25% of the big companies in America paid no income tax, he wants to further cut income tax obligations for big business.

The Bush administration has consistently failed to reign in the business ethics of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Without going into details, let me just say that if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went under, it would mean pretty much utter catastrophe for the US economy. As a result, the US government cannot permit the insolvency of these private coprorations. Even though the two companies were bleeding financially over the past few years, it's CEOs were raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses. Then, when it became clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might go under, the US had to promise to cover their losses in order to stabilize the market. If the two companies went under, and they almost did, it would cost the US taxpayers 12 trillion dollars. To put it simply, the US taxpayers had to assume all the risk if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went under, while the CEOs were getting all the profits. As a result a few people reaped all the profits, while the risk behind those profits was sloughed off on the American tax payer. Privatized profits with socialized risks are a part of corrupt communist economies, not robust capitalist economies. John McCain supports these decisions by George Bush and promises to continue supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. McCain's economic policies are structured with such strong reliance on big business that will continue to result in privatized profits and socialized risks. (Big business makes all the money, and the tax payers cover the cost if something goes wrong.)

McCain advertisements routinely attack Obama's campaign claiming that Obama wants to increase taxes on the middle class. This is patently untrue. In one advertisement McCain claims that Obama wanted to increase taxes on people making $42,000 a year. That's true. He wanted single people making $42,000 a year to pay $15 more per year. However, even a single mother would have to make over $62,000 before she faced that increase. A family of four would have to make over $90,000 before facing the increase. In a spanish ad, McCain said that Obama's tax plan would increase taxes on families making more than $42,000. According to, that was simply a lie. Obama's tax plan is patenly and deliberately misprepresented in McCain's advertisements. Obama's plan will reduce taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year, and will increase taxes on those making more than that. It will also increase taxes on many of the companies that paid no income taxes last year.

If Obama succeeds in bringing that money into the Federal Budget, he can help to subsidize some of the programs he hopes to subsidize. If he succeeds in this, it will mean more money in the pockets of the average American. If the average american has more money, more money will go into the economy. More money in the economy means a stronger dollar. A stronger dollar means lower gas prices. Lower gas prices mean more money in the american pockets. The circle goes on. The problem is that the average american does not see these connections, and McCain is not only failing to discuss them, it is down right lying about the Obama tax plan.

In the end, Senator McCain's proposed tax policies are good for business. Obama's tax policies are good for the American people. McCain's economic policies are bad for the country.

2: Off Shore Drilling

2: Off Shore Drilling

What do I think?
Off shore drilling will do nothing to affect the price of gasoline at the pump. The only thing that off shore drilling will do is to increase the profits of big oil. John McCain only supports off shore drilling because his campaign is lobbied by big oil.

Why do I think this?
Did you know that the price of oil is closely connected to the price of the dollar?

The price of oil is determined by the Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). These are countries in who recognize they have a monopoly on oil, and use that monopoly to control the price of oil. Other countries that export oil do not export enough oil to compete with this monopoly. Even if the US were to produce more oil than Saudi Arabia, we would still not compete with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, UAE, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Venzuela and Ecuador put together. People will point out that a large portion of the oil in US markets is not from the middle east, which is correct. However, much of that oil is from Venezuela and Ecuador. As a result, a huge majority of the oil consumed in the US is from OPEC. And OPEC decides the price of oil.

OPEC member countries buy US Debt. Just under 6% of the US debt (154 billion dollars) is purchased by Oil Exporting Countries. As a result, the price we pay for oil is somewhat tied to the strength of the US dollar. If the dollar weakens, oil becomes more expensive because OPEC needs to cover its potential loss on US debt. If the dollar strengthens, oil becomes cheaper so that the US can produce more, and OPEC can continue to buy US debt. Because of this, the price of oil is somewhat tied to the value of the US dollar. So, if we want to control the price of oil, we have to control the value of the US Dollar. The only way to control the value of the US dollar is to strengthen the economy.

If Big Oil were permitted to begin off shore drilling, the amount of oil brought in would not be enough to compete with the production output of the 12 OPEC nations. As a result, Big Oil would sell that oil for the same price decided upon by OPEC. It would also refine some of that oil to sell at it's own pumps. As a result, Big Oil would make more profit from gasoline sold at it's pumps, and would make money from selling oil to other companies. The price of oil however would not likely decline.

The risks of off shore drilling are enormous. If something went wrong at an off shore drilling pump, it would wreak havoc on the environment the likes of which we have not yet seen. (Imagine the Valdez, only instead of one boat, it's a pump that fills hundreds of boats, and it's not just a limited amount of oil being spilled, it's a tenfold volume of oil being pumped directly into the ocean itself.) the US government would be held responsible for the clean up efforts. Big Oil would likely be responsible for fixing it's own equipment, and the US Department of Agriculture and the EPA and FEMA would have to clean it out of the ocean. In other words, Big Oil would get all the profits, and the US citizens would assume all the risk. Privatize the profits, socialize the risk. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all over again.

John McCain has been against off shore drilling for most of his political career. Now, he favors it. John McCain's campaign has also been given 1.3 million dollars by Big Oil.

I believe off shore drilling will not help the average American and is only supported by John McCain because he is partially funded by Big Oil.

Barack Obama on the other hand is opposed to off shore drilling, and wants to increase our renewable resource infrastructure. The energy plans of Obama will mean more jobs to create this infrastructure, more jobs to run this infrastructure, and a dramatically reduced dependence on foreign oil. McCain's plan will mean more money for big oil, and renewable clean energy will remain a thing for tomorrow. I am with Obama here, and it's not because he's a celebrity and I'm stupid. It's because he's right and McCain is dangerously wrong.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

One of the Reasons I Love NPR.

This little gem is just one of the many reasons I love NPR.

(And that is officially my shortest post of all time.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New Job

Well, it's official. I'm working for an hourly wage again. Yesterday was my first day behind the Deli counter at a neighborhood grocery store called Hyde Park Produce. It's not glamorous, but there's something I enjoy about working in the Deli Department. I did it one summer while I worked through college and enjoyed it. It appears as though much of it comes right back to you. I spent most of the day shouting to Karen and Carlina asking the numbers for the various meat products, but for the most part, I think I did okay. They want me back at least. I work again tonight.

I actually enjoy the hourly grunt work stuff. It's simple, it's pretty brainless, and you get to interact with people. All the while, you know you're getting paid for what you're doing. Not a lot, sure, but you're getting paid.

I have an interview on Friday at Starbucks to see if I want to work there instead. Unless they offer me a lot more money though, I think I'll stay behind the Deli counter for a while.

"Can I get you something else?"

Friday, August 01, 2008

You ain't NEVER had this much fun.

In order to make good use of the literary device of "Foreshadowing" I'm going to tease you with this picture. Later in this post, you'll see why I think this device is the world's greatest joy dispenser. That's your teaser...

On to the official update:

Rachel started her job about a month ago now, and she's been doing the 9-5 grind for that time. She was gone for training for two weeks, and I stayed home with Norah to try my hand at full-time daddying. The fall-out probably won't be clear until Norah is in her teens. Unfortunately, we didn't really understand how much it would cost to live in Chicago, so we do have a gap in our finances right now. I have applied to several places in the neighborhood looking for part-time employment as a result. You may be interested to learn that Starbucks has the easiest application, grocery stores the longest, and CVS and Borders require a 125 question personality questionnaire just to apply. I had no idea. As of today, we have not landed any part time jobs, but there's another Starbucks not far off, and a subway just down the corner. I'll keep looking.

In other news, I figured it was about time to let the world in on my new little development. I recently read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and researched a little bit into the contemporary meat industry. As a result, every time I think about eating meat, I get a little queasy and sick to my stomach. (That's redundant I know, but that's how it feels.) So, for about a month or so now, I have not eaten any meat. The change has been strangely good for me. I really enjoy the vegetarian diet, and do not miss eating meat at all. I'm still at the point where I think about eating it, and feel a little nauzeous. Now before you start thinking that I want everyone to be a vegetarian and I'm going to try to beat you up with my veggie life, don't worry. I know, it's not for everyone. At least for now, I'm a vegetarian, and so far I have enjoyed the change. That's about it. I'm not saying I'll never eat meat again, I'm just saying that right now, I've adopted a vegetarian diet. I don't know if it will stay for the rest of my life or not. We'll see. At any rate, for those of you who might be feeling badly for me because I don't eat steak any more, I've photographed some of our recent meals.

Here is cereal I recently made. Basically, I roasted oats and almonds with honey, butter and vanilla and added raisins at the end. I like to toss in Cheerios with it. This stuff is amazing. I don't know if I'm ever going to eat cereal out of the box again.

This was dinner tonight. Rach isn't vegetarian, so her side has chicken on it. The whole pizza is mozzarella, spinach, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil with salt and pepper. I made the dough from scratch too. I found I really enjoy making bread.

Roasted potatoes garnished with dill, sauteed spinach and onions and fried tofu with basmati rice. As I write that, I realize that this meal may not sound appealing, but man it was good.

Curried red lentils with carrots and beans garnished with basil and red pepper accompanied by homemade bread cakes. I wasn't crazy about this bread, but Rach liked it so... hey.

The nice thing about eating vegetarian is that it is much, much cheaper than eating meat. I've found that I can go to the grocery store, spend five bucks, and make a meal for Rach and I and have left-overs for lunch the next day. As I think you can see, I'm really enjoying the opportunity to do more cooking.

On the Norah front, she's been doing great. I'm still playing stay at home dad which means a lot of washing bottles and practicing the Hebrew alphabet while Norah naps. (Ok, and watching LOST online, because well, it's free and I'm hooked.) If you could be a fly on the wall in my apartment during the day, you'd hear a lot of "Ma Shmo." "Me Shmo" "Baba" "Beebee" and "What is that? Where are you going? The others are coming! RUUUUUN!"

As I'm sure some of you are dying to see pictures, here are a few recent images of Norah:

Here's Norah helping with the laundry. She stood in here all the way from the laundry room back to our apartment!

Here Rach, Branden, Norah and I all enjoyed a little picnic at the train station waiting for the train. (Yes, those are deviled eggs. YUM!)

Norah hanging out at the bean, trying to catch that little baby above her.

I loved these pictures, I couldn't pick which one to post so I posted both of them.

Here we are hanging out with Uncle B at the Bean in Chicago.

Ok, now on to that forshadowing I teased you with earlier. Here comes. You ain't never, and I mean NEVER, had this much fun.

The picture up top is a photo of Norah's ring game, and in case you don't believe that a ring game is easily the most exciting and fun toy a human being could ever interact with, watch this video. You've never seen me get that excited about beating a video game before... That ring thing sure has something the X-Box doesn't.