It was either this or write a novel….

Another Halloween has come and gone. But this year was a far sight busier than last year. Or so I’ve heard, I was stuck in an airport in Brazil at the time.

Liam has been looking forward to Halloween pretty much all summer. For some reason, and I really can’t recall why, we got him a new costume over the summer, Batman. The dark knight kind. And he wore it every opportunity he could. To the park, to day camps, you name it. It almost became a problem for him to wear anything else.

This year, in SK, he had his first elementary school dance. And he was actually looking forward to it. Mind you, I’m not convinced that he knew what a dance was, it was just that everyone at the morning bus stop was talking about it, so he was excited along with them. That night he was Iron Man, a costume given to him on his birthday. We showed up and it was like every school dance I’ve ever been to. Total chaos. The room itself was pretty cool. They had a great light show and streamers everywhere(well, until a handful of kids were able to pull them all down). And because it was a modern school, it was kinda broken up into zones. There was the middle zone, or chaos zone, where people were dancing or just running around chasing each other, and the ring zone, or the “parents looking at their phones” zone. As it was listed as a non-drop off event, I guess the parents had to amuse themselves somehow.

We lasted about an hour, which for $5 is our cheapest outing ever.

Then of course there was the real trick or treating. We had a couple of friends over, and that night he wanted to be Batman again. One of his friends was also Batman, but not the same batman, as that would have been akward.

We had some pizza and hit the houses. We stuck to our local street as everyone really didn’t want to go on too much further. Also, he had a ton of candy already.

What stuck us odd was that he was actually into the candy this year. In the past, and heck, up to about a month ago, he didn’t want anything to do with it. Chocolate bars, sure, but nothing really sweet. And now he’s into it, so Tara and I have to eat it while he’s sleeping :)

The last item on the Halloween list was a party this afternoon at a friends place. It was a nice time to just get the kids together and have them try to work off some of the candy. I’m not convinced it worked, but we tried.

And that, in a larger than expected nutshell, was Halloween 2015.

Age over Ability

Liam has really become a strong swimmer. Since the start of last summer he has been going into the deep end, with a life vest, but otherwise unassisted. He’s even going off the diving board and able to swim back to the wall on his own. Heck, taking Liam to the pool has been pretty simple. I hang out on the wall, he keeps jumping off the diving board and repeat. Bark out the occasional order and all is good.
This Summer he upped the ante a little. He wanted to go into the deep end without a vest. I was a little sceptical but we tried. To our amazement hr was just fine. He could jump in and swim back with no problem at all. We even had him swim lengths(more to warm us up) and there was no clinging to us. He totally held his own. With no real swimming lessons he just sorted out what he needed to do and did it.
Mom and I were really proud. He was a determined boy and nothing stood in his way.
However he still wasn’t allowed to try for a swim test. The test would allow him to go into the pool on his own. To be honest, I wasn’t worried about that. We would both feel a little better if he was close to us, especially in the deep end. So the while summer(almost 6 weeks) we were at the pool, he was jumping in on his own, and there was no problem.
Until last night. We headed for the deep end as usual, Liam hopped on the board and was ready to go. Then the life guard mentioned to us the he needed a vest. I asked why, thus was the first time he’s been asked to do that. Apparently they just started to enforce the rule over the weekend(although we were there all weekend too) and they wouldn’t let him jump in without one. Hesitantly I agreed and we headed for the vests.
Liam was devastated. He knew he could do it, we knew he could do it, but rules were rules. I asked the manager if there was some wiggle room, but he was still too young even for that. He would have to wait this summer and next before he could even take a test to show them what we already knew. It was heart breaking. He hopped into the little pool and stayed there the rest of the swim. The thought of having to wear a vest just wouldn’t cross his mind. If he couldn’t go into the deep end without a vest, then he wouldn’t go.
Now I know that there are all sorts of rules/laws based on age.  Driving, smoking, voting, drinking(which still seems high), etc, but this seems a little unfair. It’s not like we’re wanting him to go in by himself. We would still be there, and if he were allowed to show the life guard his ability, I’m sure they would agree. But he’s not even given the chance.
Maybe because it’s my son that’s involved that makes it harder. But it just seems unfair.

To touch the bottom

It amazes me, each and every day how much Liam changes. Last night we were at the pool, as we are most nights during the summer, and he was eagerly trying to touch the bottom of the deep end. It’s a new game for him since we let him in without a life vest. He lives the additional freedom it grants him in the pool.
Anyway, he had been struggling with the concept of how to go from the diving board to the bottom of the pool. I’ve been trying to give him some direction; legs straight, push up  with your arms, that kind of thing. During the last few visits he had managed to touch about three times per visit. And last night looked like no exception. Until that is, hr got number 4. Then 5, and in no time it was 25. 25 times touching the bottom. All pretty much in a row. He was super happy with himself, and I was incredibly proud that he managed to figure it all out and get such a high number.
He hasn’t been able to do it since, but I suspect that  if he really tried, it wouldn’t be a problem.
And this is what I see more and more in him. He has the challenge to do something, fails a bunch of times, or even just gives up trying. Then, usually when your back is turned, he just does it. And then keeps doing it, and wants to do nothing else.
This week he sorted out the monkey bars. The week previous he didn’t understand the concept of going hand over hand. He’s that kind of kid, and I’m proud of him.
I hope it never changes.

Gun Play

This morning Liam picked up a toy wooden block, with a toy screw in it, and shot me.

It was decidedly not a gun and couldn’t hurt me, but I just wasn’t going to let this slide. So I picked up a toy c-clamp(also decidedly not a gun) and shot him back.

This went on for a couple of minutes, each of us pew-pewing each other(some with more amount of spittle than others) until it escalated.

Liam picked up a toy plane and shot me with all the guns available on that plane. Sure, it was a commercial air liner, but one that was apparently armed to the teeth.

I held my own for some time, pew-pewing him back(with less spittle) and he escalated further. Picking up pretty much a copy of the first toy plane(also apparently armed to the teeth) he tried to end this conflict once and for all.

Again, I held my own, but I knew the end was near. Until I noticed he had dropped his wooden block, so I grabbed it and was now armed in both hands. I felt sure I was going to end this, properly, with myself being the victor!

Little did I realize that these two planes, once combined in a single assault, had the the ultimate “I stole all your power” power. I had no chance.

With one loud PEW, it was all over. All my power had been stolen. The end was near. Like the WWE, I tried a couple of times at retaliation, but every assault was met with another “I stole all your power” attack.

As I lie there, guns across my chest, I was thinking that daddy was going to have to find a different game where he had a chance of winning.

Haven’t found that game yet…

Linux fun

Almost 5 years ago, for a wedding present, I got Tara a nice little 10″ netbook from Dell.

Time hasn’t been kind to it, and with Windows running on it, it never really lived up to expectations. She liked it and all, but wasn’t able to do all the things that she wanted it to do. It was great for surfing and email, and that was about it.
So over the years we got other laptops, and for her birthday last year we got her a nice little tablet. So the little laptop kinda went into “the corner” and wasn’t used at all.
I noticed it there the other day and decided that maybe Linux would be a good fit. Tara didn’t have any problem with that as she wasn’t using it at all, so I downloaded Mint Liunux and popped it on.
Works like a dream. Boots/wakes up super fast, runs as well as ever(online flash movies kill it though) and works as well as I thought a little netbook would run.
There’s plenty of hard drive space left as I haven’t loaded it up with a ton of applications or stuff, I’m just playing as I go to see what’s available these days.
Turns out most things are available, in one form or another. I have dropbox, keepass, a comic reader and even Steam. I’m sure I can’t play most of the games that I have for Steam Linux, but a few should work nicely(like Duke Nukem, but I need a seperate mouse for it).
Anyway, it’s early days yet but I think it’ll be a nice little toy. It’s like a tablet for me without costing me anything extra, and it does almost all the things that I would want it to do anyway.

Best laid plans

This weekend was supposed to have me finish tiling the front hall and all that came with it(closet, bathroom, etc).
Tara was going to take Liam to a nice hotel place right on a beach so that I had the weekend to work.
Well, that didn’t happen exactly.
First there was a demon storm that rolled into Ottawa. And I mean demon! Driving down the highway, I could see the clouds roll in with the flashes of lightning and booms of thunder that shook the car. 
Then the rain. To say that it came down in buckets is an understatement. And once that cleared, there was hail.
But all that eventually cleared.
We thought it was safe to proceed and we rented the car. The rain started again, and we decided that their lives were more important than tile.
Earlier that day I remembered that in was on call this weekend. Normally quiet, but not this weekend. I have a Saturday meeting in a bit and was working part if the night Friday.
Oh, and I have some church duty on Sunday.
So obviously it just wasn’t meant to be.
I’m not sad about it as it gives me another week for prep.
But really, I just want all these jobs done :(

Ch Ch Ch Changes…

July was a bit of a stressful month, and for Liam it really showed.

I mean, the poor kid had his whole world turned around and he just didn’t know how to cope. It started the first week of July. Normally he would have gone to his grandparents on Mondays, three days of day care, then Dad day on Friday.

We changed that to a new daycare system completely, in the same school he would have gone to in the fall, for the full five days a week. WE knew that there might be some problems with this, the same sort of problems that he had when he first started daycare. And in one sense we were right. In another, it took a turn that we didn’t really expect. Tantrums. Blood curdling, mind bending tantrums. Daily. And they started after the first couple of days there. And he was really impossible to console. It just required him to be removed from the situation and then to calm down. And of course they would start at the drop of a hat. It really didn’t matter what happens. One day it was because I got to the front door before him. Another was that he wasn’t able to close the garage door. Or that I got a different cart at the home reno store. It really didn’t matter what would start it, but when it started, there was nothing you could do other than walk him out and set him down somewhere to calm down.

And this went on daily. One a day, sometimes two. This wasn’t out little boy, this was someone else entirely.

The real breaking point was in the last week of July. Tara had taken the day off to help me with some flooring, and Liam started first thing. We decided that was that and we would have to change some things back to the way they were. We were lucky that a private daycare person still had a spot available and it was someone that he knew. She agreed to take him the next day, and he’s been there ever since. And it has helped with the tantrums. There’s not gone mind you, but more sporadic and not daily. That breaking day we also found out that he was sad because, in his own words, that they were leaving him alone. We knew that he wouldn’t get the same level of personal care that he used to get, but we didn’t really think that he would be left to his own devices.

As mentioned, he’s going better now. I’m starting to suspect that we might keep him in daycare for now and possibly skip the whole JK thing. That’s all up in the air at the moment. Mind you, with JK, it might be more structured. Then again, maybe it won’t matter.

I would just like to keep my little guy, the one I know, the one that’s happy most of the time, and keep him that way.

I know I can’t protect him from everything, but if I can at least not screw up his head too much this early on, then I’ll take that at least.

Roll your own

Just recently(yesterday actually) a friends site got compromised by malicious jerk wads.
And not too long ago another friend got his site pretty much blown off the planet by another group of these asses. The common thread is that they were both running WordPress at the time. And so am I.
Now, I don’t want to bash on WP here, that’s not the point. I am very happy with my WP site, and I have been for years. It’s just that it’s a big target for these groups as they have nothing better to do than ruin someone else’s day.
But since these actions caused my friends to create their new sites, not using WP, it got me thinking of doing the same. The way I used to do it.
When I first started blogging, it was really just one long index file that I would just update. This morphed into more of a real website sometime later.
After that, I basically made my own blogging software. It wasn’t fancy, and had the worst security ever(all you needed was to know the URL in order to post) but it did what I wanted it to do, and that was great.
Some time later I moved to live journal as the time involved to maintain a server just wasn’t worth it anymore. But I always missed that self rolled site.
And time have changed. HTML got a version 5 and things are being made easier to make a fancy site.
So I think I’m going to start a new project and make a new site, written by me, for me(and you of course).
Not sure when it will go live, it’s amazing how much ice forgotten over the years, so it’ll be a slow ride, but I think a fun one.

Dexter Finale

I haven’t watched the series finale yet, but my brother posted on Facebook: “WTF Dexter?”

This leads me to think that they’ve done something…odd…with the ending.

And before I watch it, I would like to speculate and share it with you.

1. The last season has just been a dream

Made popular with Dallas, this whole last season was a dream and Dexter was actually shot and killed by Deb at the end of Season 5. How it should have ended.

2. Deb and Dexter switch minds ala “Freaky Friday”

This would be interesting as Deb(body) would die with Dexter(mind) and Dexter(body) would live on with Deb(mind). It could be a whole spin off thing on ABC.

3. Dexter is really just an older Jesse Pinkman

Jesse finally snaps and goes all serial killer later in life. Mind you, this wouldn’t make sense as a series thing as Dexter has this whole “story” thing. I suspect there’s been fan-fic about this already

4. Miami is nuked

Less people would end up dead, I mean seriously.

5. Deb is really the dead one and Harry is actually alive

Boy would this mess up the back story of that other detective…not to mention half of the guys on this show

6. Dexter is Sam and Harry is Al

All is set right, and the next leap might be the leap home


I’m rooting for #6.

Car Tunes

Tara and I have very different musical tastes. They do cross at times(mostly 80’s pop) but for the most part they don’t.

In the car we tend to listen to Top 40 or News Radio, and these days it’s mostly news as we’re tired of the “witty” banter on the other stations. I want to confirm that there are no arguments regarding to music, as half the time we just hear whatever Liam is watching on the phone. So it really doesn’t matter.

But, on the occasions when I am in the car alone and can listen to whatever I like, I have a CD. Yes, one CD. A CD that I’ve been listening to, in parts, for about 6 months now.

And it’s an actual CD(well, burned, but still) and not some fancy MP3 CD with a ton of tracks. No, this one has 17. 17 tracks that I’ve listened to, over and over again, for 6 months.

And just recently did I decide that I should swap out this CD. Not because I didn’t like the songs, quiet the opposite, I just felt the need for a little change.

Oddly enought this kind of started as a experiment on my part, and it goes a little like this:

Are there songs that you can always go back and listen to without ever getting sick of them?

I think I proved this right. I mean, for some reason I just could never skip past Through the Fire and the Flames by DragonForce, even if the random played them back to back. It was just that awesome. So I tested it further and made a CD of them. Now, all the songs on the CD weren’t quite up to DF and I did find myself skipping past certain ones more than others, but for the most part I picked a good group.

Here’s the initial CD:

Through the fire and the flames – DragonForce
Gangdam style – Psy
Symptom of the universe – Black Sabbath
Painkiller – Judas Priest
Wicker man – Iron Maiden
Hanger 18 – MegaDeth
Ace Of spades – Motorhed
Breaking the law – Judas Priest
Burner – Motorhed
Over the hill and far away – Nightwish
Bark at the moon – Ozzy
Fucking hostile – Pantera
Fire fight – Rammstein
I wish I had an angle – Nightwish
The Hunt – Sepultura
Ditto head – Slayer
Justified – GangstaGrass

I found myself skipping past Symptom of the universe more often than most, and I had to skip Pantera if Liam was in the car(let him learn it the way the rest of us did; school) but otherwise I would never hit skip.

But even after 6 months I needed a change. At one point I thought I would use a completely different set of groups or songs, and I think I intended to do it, but it didn’t fully turn out:

Got the time – Anthrax
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Looking after number one – Boomtown Rats
New rose – The Dammed
California über alas – Dead Kennedies
From out of nowhere – Faith no More
New breed – FearFactory
Ran so far away – Flock of Seagulls
Doctor who theme – Fourth new season
The message – Grand Master Flash and the Furious 5
Salamanizer – GWAR
Number if the beast – Iron Maiden
Painkiller – Judas Priest
Thrift shop – Macklemore and ryan lewis (because it’s “fucking awesome”)
99 red balloons – Nena
Cowboys from hell – Pantera
True belief – Paradise Lost
Arise – Sepultura
Assimilate – Skinny Puppy

For the most part it’s a whole new batch, and only one repeat(just love those lazer bullets). And it’s really great having a new batch of music for the car.

I was thinking while writing this that, I do have this older MP3 player that’s not being used anymore, I could just load that up and connect it to the car. I mean, it’s within my power to do so. This would eliminiate the need for limited CDs. And as the aux port is right next to a power port, I could have it powered all the time.

Or, you know, use my iPhone…

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