Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Mind your step…

October 26, 2007

Although as a parent, I’m twice removed from this situation  (I have only one child, and she’s a ‘she’), I did grow up as the younger of two boys, so  Tony Woodlief’s post made me genuinely guffaw this morning. Mind your step. 😉

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The Lady Loves me…

October 19, 2007

Have I ever mentioned the fact that my almost-6 year old daughter has a thing for Elvis?

Turns out she’s fascinated by Elvis.. well more accurately, Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa-Marie.

I find myself answering a flurry of questions… Why was he called ‘The King’? Was Priscilla the Queen? How did get so fat? Why are all those ladies screaming?

Turns out she also loves the YouTube. The YouTube has the Elvis. Actually, it has an untold number of Elvis and Priscilla slideshows set to music and snippets of concert footage. Turns out Elvis Fans have figured out The YouTube too!

So I’ve steered her away from Bratz, only been to Build-A-Bear-Empty-A-Wallet once. Kept her on the straight and narrow so far. And the fact that she prefers the young handsome Elvis to the old fat sweaty one makes it that much easier to live with.

Elvis movies are the next wave. While in Vegas a few weeks back, we picked up a VHS copy of Viva Las Vegas for her. It’s wearing thin after about 40 plays (seriously). We know the words to “The Lady Loves Me” almost completely. Which in itself leads to more questions like: What is Russian Roulette?, What is a moonlight tete a tete? What is playing hard to get?

We signed out Blue Hawaii from the library only last week in a bid for some sanity.

However, if I have learned one thing during this stage of fatherhood, it is this….

Ann Margret was indeed the hotness… 😉

Enjoy:

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Daddy’s day…

June 17, 2007

To all fathers out there. Happy Father's Day.

Make sure to celebrate it with those that make you a father. Namely
your sons or daughters.

Hope you all enjoy the day.

Planting The Seeds of Decent Grammar

June 8, 2007

Faithful readers,

Having read this blog, you know full well that I am not much of a grammar nazi. But I try to use proper grammar and full, reasonably coherent sentences. Sure, I throw the odd semicolon around with wild abandon, but I don’t normally go around chastising people for their dangling gerunds (I looked that up btw). However, I draw the line at the increasing use of “Good” as a response to “How’s it going?” or “How are you doing?”.

I attempted to head this off at the pass this morning as I drove my sub 6 daughter to school:

“How is so-and-so doing?”, I asked.

“Good”, she replied.

Attempting to seize the opportunity and right the listing ship, I tactfully say, “Y’know… it’s proper to say ‘well’ when someone asks you how you’re doing or how is it going.”

“No it’s not Daddy.”

“I’m pretty sure it is, cupcake.”, I reply, deciding immediately that this is neither the time nor place to introduce the concept of verbs into the conversation.

“No. I’m right, and you’re not Daddy.”

Perhaps weakly, I resort to the standard, “This would be a good thing to ask Mrs. X”.

Mrs. X being her teacher of course. The one person who can overrule whatever nonsense it is that Daddy tries to pawn off on her as knowledge.

Based on a multitude of similar conversations I’ve had with her in the past, this tactic usually works. Normally, I won’t bring it up again right away, but (hopefully) I’ll notice her slipping in the ‘well’ in place of the ‘good’ on her own accord.

Perhaps the job is just to plant the seed. All you can do is water it, care for it, and hope it grows.

My Most Narcissistic Post Ever.. so far anyway

May 3, 2007

Like many avid photographers, I’ve got thousands of photos on my hard drive, of which, I’m in maybe 5 or 10.

I just wasted 30 minutes trying to find a decent photo of myself to use for my Twitter badge. I quickly remembered that I generally hate photos of myself. It is very rare that I like any of them and that’s why the photo in my blog profile has never really changed.

I did manage to find a couple passable ones. The first one I chose I happen to like quite a bit, but it looks far more serious and contemplative than I actually am. I would feel like I was pretending if I used that one. It was actually taken with my 50mm F1.8 lens at arm’s length while I was looking out a nearby window.


I finally found one a little more in character for me. Of course it was taken when I’m at my absolute happiest – when I’m cuddling my daughter.


So until I go get the glamour shots done at the mall, that’s the one I have to settle on for my Twitter badge. 😉

Of course the backup plan is to do some very very minor touchups to my blog profile photo using Inkscape… can you tell which one’s the original?

Mini-minivacation

April 28, 2007

We’re heading out for a super-mini vacation down to Niagara Falls this weekend. As cheesy as it might sound to some, the Falls are only an hour and a half away from me and they’re spectacular despite the tourist-y cheese. My daughter hasn’t been to see them since she was a few months old so it’ll be fun for her too.

Besides, with a nice hotel room and pool facilities, it’ll be a much needed recharge before the work week begins again on Monday.

Who knows, I might actually get to do a little photography while I’m at it. I haven’t had the chance to even pick up the camera lately. 😦

Things are warming up nicely so I likely won’t get a photo similar to what you see up at the top of this post. 😉 – I believe it was taken in 1911 when it was so cold it actually froze over .

Eyedrop Hell

February 9, 2007

I never thought it could be so hard to administer eye drops to a 5 year old girl. With a case of pinkeye recently picked up, my duty today was to keep the little one out of school and give her a drop in each eye three times. It’s amazing how the survival instinct kicks in when you approach someones eyes with an object.

First I took my typical common sense negotiating route. For two hours we bandied back and forth:

Me: You have to take the eyedrops. It will help get rid of the pinkeye. If you don’t, you might not make it to so & so’s birthday party on Saturday.

Her: No thank you daddy. I don’t like eye drops.

I hate it when she pulls the politeness card.

We struggled. We yelled. I tried ultimatums, bargaining, dares, humour, every trick in my admittedly skinny book.

After two hours, Daddy’s patience had worn razor thin. A quick google search yielded a Yahoo discussion thread suggesting something like the following:

1. Sit on the floor or bed.
2. Lay the child flat on her back, between your legs with her head between your thighs.
3. Place (or more accurately wrestle) her arms beneath each of your thighs.
4. Utilize your lower legs to pin hers if required.
5. Using two hands (and a modicum of force) administer said eyedrops.
6. Praise the child and deal with your guilt.

It worked flawlessly. What also amazed me was that once she blinked a few times and received several kisses from her pop, it was like it had never happened.

The next time was only slightly easier. Still a struggle, but less so. And papa’s guilt was more easily buried.

You’d really think after all these years there’d be a better way.

A New Lens for New Years

January 5, 2007


With a little help (actually a lot of help) from the camera store gift certificate my wife gave me, I picked up a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens last weekend. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it other than shooting my favourite subject (my daughter).

As is becoming tradition, we headed across the border and stayed two nights in Lockport NY over New Years. It’s a short drive and my wife tells me the shopping is mucho fantastico 😉 Anyways, I managed to take some shots at the pool, most of which turned out pretty good. One unfortunate mistake was that I had originally set the camera for ISO 800 in order to freeze some splashing fun, but forgot to switch it back until many shots later. So the digital noise in some of them is a little annoying. I haven’t managed to convert or upload any of them yet, but here’s a quick sample of what was probably one of the best shots, and a 100% crop to give an idea of the sharpness:

Crop at 100%:

Things I Learned:

1. When you play with a high ISO, don’t forget to switch it back.

2. I have a tendency to shoot wide open (f1.8) too often. A shallow depth of field is effective but overdoing it is not. I have several shots of my daughter with one eye nice and sharp and the other quite soft. Doesn’t make for the greatest photo.

3. Kind of related to #2, using an extremely shallow depth of field can also throw off the focus. Even though the autofocus is good, I still sometimes ended up with soft faces and sharp backgrounds, especially on the moving subject shots. Using f2.8 might have minimized this problem.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a lot of shots. I probably have 20 shots of my daughter getting into and out of the pool (nevermind all the close-ups). Probably 3 of those 20 are keepers. If I hadn’t taken all those shots, I probably would have ended up with no keepers. Don’t forget you can always delete them. Not every shot is going to be a good one. Increase the number of shots you take and increase your chances.

Big Gramma turns 100!

January 3, 2007

[Update: Evelyn and the clan made the evening newscast! Click here to check it out. Also make sure to see our little one tap dancing at around the 1 minute mark!!]

My wife’s grandmother turns 100 today! Up until about 7 months ago, she was still living on her own in her own house, and up until a few years ago, was shovelling her own snow (until neighbours and family finally gave her enough guff about it to stop). My esteemed brother-in-law, who posts far too infrequently, but is never short of words when he does, gives a nice summary of the wonderful lady right here. If you’d like to leave good wishes, head over there and comment.

If there’s one thing I treasure about Evelyn, it is her sense of humour. While as prim and proper as you’d ever want while out socializing, she could always be trusted to trade crude humour with yours truly.

A few of the wonderfully naughty sayings (mostly Welsh in origin I’d imagine) that she’s taught me over the years:

1. She was like shit to a blanket. (describing a whining needy child)
2. He couldn’t drive a stiff dick into a tub of lard.
3. Short and thick does the trick, but long and thin will get it in.
4. It was so long that you could wrap it around and make a jug-handle out of it.

Ev’s had some trouble with the hearing aids lately, and has moved into a retirement home in the last few months, but she’s still pretty mobile. And as frail as she might be getting, her spirit is still fully intact.

Watching her enjoy a healthy shot of Baileys while we opened gifts during the holidays was truly a wonderful thing.

Hope everyone had a wonderful past couple of weeks too.

Birthday Celebration – On Ice and In Chinese

December 30, 2006

Our Almost-Five year old finally turned Five today. 🙂

We went to see Disney on Ice at the SkyDome ..er.. Rogers Centre today to celebrate. The show was a lot of fun (although I’m miles away and no closer to being a figure-skating fan than I was before).

We got monetarily raped in the process of getting a couple of souvenirs for our sweetheart. This (pointless) spinning glow-in-the-dark Tinkerbell contraption was the only thing worth getting really. It was funny when a mother in the next seat asked me how much it cost, I told her “twenty bucks … about 17 bucks more than it should have!”. Such is the Disney empire.

After that we did a late lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant. This was the absolute highlight of the day since the restaurant was nearly empty and upon bringing Em a chocolate sundae, two employees fully versed in the karaoke experience, along with microphones and accompanying backing track, sang Happy Birthday to our daughter in both English and Chinese. Very very nice.

It kind of reminded me of the scene in A Christmas Story when the family goes out for Chinese food on Christmas Day. 🙂