Some photos I took of Nora two days ago.
Archive for April, 2009
My friend, Alan, sent me a link the other day to this awesome post about photography tips, which had a link to a page on smoke art photography, which I have got to try. The problem is that I don’t own, nor have I ever owned, any incense, which is rather critical to the smoke photography concept, at least for beginners. But that got me thinking as to whether or not I could capture the striking of a match. Last night I made a few attempts to capture a match strike, trying various methods. I’m not all that happy with the results, but some of the shots are pretty nice.
My wife went to the grocery store today and was given, as a promotional gift from Kellogg’s, two XBOX video game systems. These video games might have held my attention as a 6-year-old in 1984, although they are worse than a simple space invaders game I had on my watch at the time. The instructions seem to be in German, French, Italian, and perhaps Dutch, so, with my understanding of English and Spanish, I can more or less get the gist of what the games are about. The Spaceship Blaster game is a horrible, horrible, horrible attempt at the Asteroids genre, with a simple spin wheel and a trigger. The Disco Mania game is a lame, lame, lame implementation of the Dance Dance Revolution genre, in which you must match your virtual dancer’s moves to that of another on the screen. The graphics are that old type where they aren’t even pixels drawn on the screen, but they are various immovable sprites that are lit up in sequence to simulate a moving object.
I am completely awestruck that anyone would be putting a good battery into such a piece of shit in 2009. There is absolutely no way that any child born since 1980 would find these things the least bit amusing. And the XBOX branding?? WTF?? (more…)
Ever since I knew I would be a father, and even before we bought a stroller, I’ve wanted to make a video like this one. I’m really quite enamored with my adopted town here in Spain. It’s a wonderful size, it’s got all the amenities you could need (stores, bars, restaurants, etc.) and has some picturesque vistas. After living here for four years, we have walked down every street, and several dozen of the 8000ish residents greet us as we walk around town. There’s no doubt that, should we ever move, I will miss this place. So I’ve really made this video for me to remember Colindres by in the future, but it also serves to show my curious readers the kind of atmosphere we have here.
This is the transcript of an actual conversation that I had today with a representative at the international wire transfer call center of my bank. Behold the idiocy:
Agent: Would you like to initiate an international wire transfer today?
Agent: Can I have your account number and the destination account number?
Me: Yes. It’s [REDACTED].
Agent: Okay, how much would you like to transfer?
Me: What’s the maximum I can send?
Agent: I’m sorry, sir, I cannot tell you that. Only your local branch manager can discuss that with you.
Me: Okay, so I would like to transfer $X.
Agent: I’m sorry, sir, that is above your maximum.
Me: So you won’t tell me my maximum, but you will tell me if any quantity I tell you is above or below my maximum?
Agent: You tell me how much you want to transfer, and I will enter it in the system and see if it lets you.
Me: You’ve got to be kidding me. Okay, how about $X-Y?
Agent: One moment… Yes, you can transfer that amount.
Me: Okay, so it would be safe to say that my maximum transfer limit is between X-Y and X, correct?
Agent: I’m sorry, sir, I can’t tell you that.
Me: Whatever. I don’t have time to slowly increment the amount until we find the maximum. Just send $X-Y.
Agent: Okay, your confirmation number is [REDACTED]. Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me: No. Bye.
Marga’s coworkers gave us an “activity mat” as a present when Nora was born. It’s one of these things where you put the baby on the floor and toys dangle above her and she spends hours and hours getting visual, tactile, and aural stimulation. At the moment, however, Nora’s brain hasn’t formed the neural connection between her body and the outside world stimulating her nerves. I just don’t think she understands that she is an object in the 3D world she is perceiving. Like a guy with a virtual reality helmet on who forgot or doesn’t know to put on the gloves to interact with the virtual environment, Nora spends most of her time gazing in wonder at the world around her. All of her behaviors that seem like she’s grabbing for something or pushing something away, I think, are still instinctual reflexes. The only “activity” Nora partakes in involves either the beginning, middle, or end of her digestive tract. Thus, the activity mat remains a future activity. Yesterday, however, she clearly expressed an interest in lying on a flat surface so she could stretch her long legs and arms, so we pulled out the activity mat, sans dangly bits, and plopped her down on it. For almost an hour, she was delighted to lie there and kick at the air.
Today you turned one month old, Nora. You had a doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning. You’ve gained 500 grams (1 lb 2 oz) and are now 3.6 kg and 53 cm (you were 3.3 kg and 51 cm when you were born). After the doctor’s visit, which included a hepatitis vaccine, your mother went to her beauty salon to schedule a leg waxing and a manicure, and the beautician took one look at your fingernails and immediately offered to cut them for us. We’ve been waiting out of caution (but mostly fear) until you were a month old. Surprisingly, you protested very little. Just so we’re clear, on your one month birthday, you got a professional manicure!
After that it was a walk through the town market (a Friday event). We bought you three pairs of 3-month-old pajamas because you are quickly outgrowing your newborn ‘jammies. One woman from a fruit stand came out from behind her stand to coo at you and talk to us about her experience as a 40-year-old first-time mother and tell us the rest of her life story. Then I picked up some meat, bread, birthday candles, and some pastries, while your mother and aunt ran home to exchange a rug they had bought at the market the previous week. You and I got home before they did and you bawled your eyes out until I could give you warm milk. The adults ate lunch, and then it was time for your birthday party. (more…)
Aunt Belén bought these for you when she visited Dublin last year, as well as some onesies, one of which says “I am a happy spotted snake,” or something similar. These little socks dressed up to look like shoes are already too small for you, and you’ve only worn them once. The problem with baby socks is that so many baby trousers have the feet built into them, so the socks rarely get used. But we put them on you and took this picture because they’re so cute. I suspect they might be reassigned as golf ball warmers, as they seem to be the perfect size for that. Yes, it’s important to keep your balls warm, especially on a cold day. It’s okay to snicker.
For eleven days this Easter, your grandparents, Juan and Marce came to live with us. They spent most of their time taking you for long walks around town. Once, down at the port, you were all watching the fishermen come in and unload tons and tons of fish. Someone who your grandfather had met at a bar the night before offered him a couple fresh fish (to eat it any fresher, you’d have to cook it on the boat!) because, well, your grandfather is the kind of guy that those things happen to. Your grandmother mainly busied herself with preparing food every day, cleaning the house, and doing load after load of laundry…because we do laundry every day since you arrived!
Yesterday, on your grandmother’s 59th birthday, she went back to her house, 90 minutes away in Mondragon. From the amount of tears she shed when leaving you behind, any bystander would have thought she was terminally ill or going to live on another continent. Both your Spanish grandparents absolutely adore you and spent several hours a day during their stay watching you twitch and grunt…which is what I expect your American grandparents will do when they visit next month. Heck, they already do via streaming video. (more…)