Sunday, October 12, 2008

August 2007 Archive

August 31, 2007
Bzzz! Bzzz!
Whee! The kitchen is done. I finished the last of the contact paper and put all the kitchen stuff away last night. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to paint the hall cupboard shelves and get the PC room put least my half.

Monday, Caldwell is coming over to look at our bathroom and help us pick out the things we need to redo it. Lowes is having their "purchase over $299 and get one year same as cash" deal this weekend. So we're going to go get everything we need this weekend for the bathroom, including a weedwhacker and a lawn mower.

After the bathroom is done, we'll get things paid off and contemplate what else we can do. :D
Posted by Karabou at 9:36 PM EST
August 24, 2007
el fin
We finished clearing out the apartment last night and just left the keys in it when we were done. I thought we were going to have to make one more trip to get some odds and ends, but it ended up fitting in the van easily.

It was nice to be done. I was a little sentimental the last morning I woke up in the apartment, but I didn't glance twice when we left yesterday. It never even crossed my mind. The house feels like home already, a wrecked, disheveled home, but home nonetheless. I'm almost done putting contact paper on the shelves in the kitchen, and I need to decide where I'm going to put things. I'm hoping this weekend to get the kitchen put together.

I'm so tired. I can't sleep for shit. Zen was good last night and didn't beat me senseless with his tail until 7am. But I just can't get comfortable. I hate it. I feel like I'm going to fall over.

I didn't realize how close we were to the area school. It's like two streets over from us. It makes me feel better about our neighborhood that there are lots of kids out playing on the sidewalks and riding bikes. So far, no white trash kids screaming, "Your momma's a whore!" down the street at each other. It seems like a nice, normal, white bread neighborhood.

I'm also thrilled there are no rednecks on gas-powered scooters they've jury-rigged together with their chainsaw-loud buzzing up and down the street from 9am to 10pm every day. No chickens. No horses. (Yes, they were both down the street from our apartment.) No Harleys. No diesel trucks.

Just quiet.

I don't even have to have my white noise very loud at night.
Posted by Karabou at 9:43 PM EST
August 29, 2007
I'm walking too far ahead
After some minor setbacks, I finally got my carpet down in my bedroom last night. Lowes in Beavercreek was still out of carpet padding, and Home Depot doesn't carry any. So I ended up driving to my m-i-l's and picking up her van and going to get it at the Lowes on Wilmington Pike, which was at least closer than the Xenia location we briefly discussed.

But I got it, and as I feared, the carpet I ordered wasn't exactly what arrived. The carpet I ordered was a bright blue tri-color with concentric squares, and what I got was a quad-color that was far more purple than blue. But I think it will still work with the wall color I want to do, so I'm just going to deal with it. That's the price you pay for ordering something online sight-unseen. And I'm still going to order the other carpet for the living room online. I do have to say that the carpet is incredibly soft, and I love it. I also think that once I have some natural light coming in my room (and don't have black broadcloth drapes in my windows, it may totally alter my perception of the carpet color.

I'm up in the air on how to arrange my room. I like my bed where it is, but I think I need to chuck out the entertainment center and maybe go with a smaller bookshelf. We have enough storage in other areas of the house that I really don't have to cling to every inch of storage space we USED to have. I can go a bit more sparse and make my room less claustrophobic.

I had no time to do anything last night except get the carpet down and try to get my room in some sort of order. Tonight, we're going back to the apartment and getting Kev's desk that still needs dis-assembled and hauling it back to the apartment. I suppose we'll put it in the garage for now. I'd like to just sit down and work on finishing the contact paper on the kitchen shelves tonight…something that doesn't take a lot of physical effort but still makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

I dropped off another 8 bags of crap at Goodwill this morning. I think that brings the total to around 20 bags/boxes of shit I've dropped off in the last 3 weeks. And I still keep finding more stuff that I realize is crap I don't need or want that needs to go. I did a good job of finding stuff beforehand, but I'm still finding stuff that has no use to me. And I refuse to re-activate the packrat gene that runs in my family. Not gonna happen. No 27 trash bags of decorative pine cones for me, thanks.

Once we get this stuff put away, then we have to deal with Amanda's basement and Ag's basement. I don't think I have much at Ag's other than my kitchen table and a couple of chairs and odds and ends. But Amanda's is a different story. Everything stored after dad's death is there, and I'm finally ready to go through it. I just need the time to get to it. It'll probably happen in a couple of weeks. Honestly, I'd like it to cool down just a little from the 90 degree weather we've had for weeks.

I already knocked a hole in the plaster with the doorknob of my room. /sigh No wonder there are 8 million plaster smudges on the walls in there. I'll have to get some door stoppers installed to prevent that from happening anymore. And the plaster walls in this place are stupid. I grew up in a farmhouse constructed in 1865, and those plaster walls were solid all the way through.They gots no maps...

Wil Wheaton says:

I initially thought this girl was too stupid to breathe, but then I felt sorry for her, humiliating herself on national television and the Internets like this . . . then I found out that, even though she is as clearly a dumb as a box of and such as, she finished third in the contest. Third! That fourth place contestant must know how Al Gore felt in 2000.Posted by Karabou at 4:41 PM EST
August 28, 2007
Is progress--is not progress?
I took a half day yesterday to try to get some more stuff done. I feel like I didn't accomplish much, but I suppose everyone feels like that when they have the monumental task of putting a house back together from boxes and bags. My eating was so screwed up this weekend. I didn't eat until about 3pm Sat/Sun, and I ate lunch late today.

When I finally got out of work, I decided to go to Target before Chik-Fil-A, and I started to feel like I was going to pass out. When you have to chant "Walk, walk, walk, come on, you can make it," as you try to navigate the store, there's a problem. I hit a point where I couldn't think straight and decided to just go purchase what I had in my arms and get my ass to a fruit cup.

Amanda came over and helped me put the TV stand together last night. After FINALLY removing all the ugly-ass school marm contact paper on the kitchen shelves (I gotta scan it and post it it's so bad) I started putting chrome-silver contact paper on the kitchen shelves. It's taking me forever for each one because I want it to look hawesome.

I'm going slow to make sure it's not bubbled, and I want the edges damn near perfect. I got three done last night before I realized I'm going to need a whole lot more contact paper to do the other 9 shelves. There's still one shelf with contact paper on it because it has a sliding metal drawer bolted over top of it. So to get that out, I'll have to take out that drawer and put it back in when I'm done. And I just don't feel like doing that right now.

My carpet was delivered yesterday, so my m-i-l is going to pick up the carpet padding for me today and deliver it tonight. Once the carpet is down, I can work on setting my room to rights. I still haven't quite figured out where I want to put stuff, if I want to keep the bookshelf in my room or what. It's a pretty small space with a king-size bed, and I don't want it to feel claustrophobic.

I also put in the two shower caddies last night, so we don't have to have our stuff sitting near the gross the caulk around the tub. Can't wait to get a shower kit in there. Next week, baby. I think I'm going to go ahead and get a mirror/storage thing for over the sink, too. That bathroom has ZERO storage space. It's killing me.

I think we're going to focus on re-doing the bathroom first since it's such a GIGANTIC pain in the ass. It basically needs new everything. New sink, new wall mirror w/ storage, new toilet, shower doors, shower kit, new tile. So far, the only thing we love about it is the super-awesome-kick-ass ventilation fan. But we'll be piecing it together. I don't want to go in debt up to our eyeballs doing it.

I found a site that I can order the living room rug from that offers 6-months same as cash, but I have to order it by the end of September to get the sale price.

I have a problem where I'll go to put something away and then realize the area I plan to put it is just gross. Like the hall cabinet where I plan to put the bathroom stuff is a gross old cupboard in dire need of a good painting. I can't fathom putting my stuff on those crusty shelves and then turning around and un-putting stuff on the shelves to re-do them. So I might go pick up some sand paper and paint and take care of that cupboard this holiday weekend. But I have to figure out what color. :P

I'm seriously contemplating taking a nap when I get home, despite my scoffing at my m-i-l last night when she told me I need to rest once a while when putting the house together. Unfortunately, I think she's right. I did get the TV hooked up and was watching PBS while applying the contact paper, so at least I was sitting while doing that. I can feel network TV making me dumber by the second, so I usually try to find a documentary on PBS. It's difficult finding anything interesting without DirecTV. Just a few more days....
Posted by Karabou at 11:19 PM EST
August 27, 2007
So. Tired.

It was a weekend of ass-busting moving. We had 7-8 guys helping us on Saturday, with the Uhaul of the Damned, a van, a pick-up truck, a Scion XB, and a car, and it still took us multiple trips. Mom came over and cleaned the fridge and microwave (thank god) and discovered the hideous shower. She was apparently distraught at the caulk around the tub. Lol

Sunday, my m-i-l called Kev to tell him she wasn't coming. I have no idea why she called him instead of me. I waited around until noon and finally gave up and went back to the apartment. I unloaded the van by myself Sunday morning, went back to the apartment and loaded it back up again, and then unloaded it when I got back. I seriously hit a point where I thought I was just going to collapse on the sidewalk in front of the house and sleep for a couple of hours. But it's mostly done, save for a few things left in the apartment that we have to sort through and then haul to Goodwill.

Tanya came by in the evening, but I was at a point where I just couldn't figure out what to even have her help with, everything was in such chaos. I should have it more under control today or tomorrow (when my carpet is in).

Our friend Caldwell is going to come over next week to help us choose an appropriate wall mirror unit for our bathroom. We HAVE to have more storage space. We need to put a pedestal sink in because our toilet is about 2 inches from the vanity. If my ass barely fits, there's a problem. But without a vanity, we'll lose some storage space. I think we can rectify it, though. He's also going to help us choose a shower kit, since we have to be sure it'll fit properly.

I'm taking a half day today, so I can get some more done. I need to buy a longer cord for the dryer, as the current one is about 6 inches too short. The laundry is piling up, and I need to get it going.

Hopefully, my b-i-l can come over and change the locks this week. I don't like that the seller could have keys.

And Zen, true to form, yowled all night last night from my closet and Kev's closet, alternately. I was surprised he didn't do it Saturday night, though he spent most of that night pretending my bed was the Indy 500 race track. He carried on so much that Kev got up and put him in the basement. Zen usually howls and carries on all night for a week or two when he's first moved. So we might just lock them in the basement for a week and see if it helps. He's free to explore the house all day and howl and cry all he wants.
Posted by Karabou at 10:50 PM EST

August 24, 2007
Trucks and driving down back country roads
It's the shit. Really.

This will likely be my last blog post on this page until August 31-ish. We'll have no internet until they send a dude out to exit his truck, put his hands on his hips, say "Yup. 's gud." And then it magically turn on. So until then, I will have no means of updating this blog. But I'll keep notes or some crap.
Despite the utter fiasco that was Uhaul, things are settled in a manner that I think will be workable. The morons only scheduled my truck for 12 hours, 6p - 6a (who the fuck rents a truck for those hours?). So after flipping out and apologizing to the poor woman whose fault none of this was, I finally got a truck. I had to wait 45 minutes to see if the poor sucker who rented the truck I nabbed was going to show up because they only HAVE to hold the truck for an hour. If you don't show up in that hour, you lose your reservation. Thankfully, the sap didn't return either of his two messages, and I drove off in it about 7pm. Nothing more exciting than hanging out at an Ameristop at the crossroads of two state routes in the middle of no where.

Between intermittent urges of wanting to make the devil sign with one hand and scratch an imaginary pair of balls with the other, I listened to gritter rock in the truck cab and wished it had air conditioning. Although, the lack thereof gave me reason to roll down my window and hang my arm out like a redneck. Nothing can make you feel more at peace than shimmying down a wide, slightly curvy state route at dusk. It sent me back to another time. A good time. A me time.

We finally got home with the load of crap from my mom's at 9pm. I wasn't expecting it to be nearly that late. But seeing as how everything has been going decently, I should have anticipated being screwed at some point, even if only temporarily. We didn't get the medium size truck as we requested, but we got the smaller one for 24 hours. What's hilarious is that the booking people were telling the woman trying to help that there wasn't a single truck available Saturday for 25 miles. Funny, my sister found one in Troy that was available. So apparently, that 25 miles was up the dumb bitch's colon from the Uhaul booking office.

Never, ever, ever, ever use Uhaul. Ever.

Tomorrow, madness ensues. I just took a sleeping pill since I only slept 5 hours last night. I've got too much to do to be lying awake freaking out. So this post is slowly winding down as my eyelids begin to droop. We won't have DirecTV, internet, or a phone working at the house until Friday the 31st. ugh. We'll be living like primates! Primates I say! We do have our cells, though. So if it's an emergency, buzz us there.

Adios mi apartamento. Teníamos algunas buenas veces. Le amé querido y le odié apasionado.
Posted by Karabou at 6:36 PM EST

August 22, 2007
Vectren, you are so, so stupid.
Okay, so Kev calls Vectren today and asks them why if someone is going out there to shut it off today why we can't just put our names on it instead of having it turned off/on.

Apparently, he got some employee with an ounce of common sense who said, "Gee! You're right! We'll do that!"

I specifically asked the dumbass customer service rep why we couldn't just do that, and she gave some round-a-bout answer about they HAVE to shut it off / turn it on.

Damn it, I knew I was right. Score 1 for Kev for taking the initiative to double check.
Posted by Karabou at 6:36 PM EST

August 22, 2007
Singin' the Vectren Blues...
So the previous owners are getting the gas shut off tomorrow. But Vectren can't send someone out to turn it back on until the next day. Why they can't just switch the damn thing in the computer and not shut it off / turn it back on is beyond me. Obviously, a meter reader will be there Thursday for a final reading. Great. Read it. Then notate the time and make it ours from then on.

But no, it can't be that easy. They want to send someone "sometime" Friday between 7am and 5pm. Wow, thanks for that estimation. I was going to take off work and stay till they showed up, but I realized that sitting in an empty house with no furniture and nothing to do was dumb. We'll live without hot water for 2 days and get it turned back on Monday. If I take off Monday, I can be putting things away and using my time constructively.

I'm also freaking out in a paranoid panic that IF the previous owner didn't get me the keys on Thursday for some imaginary reason, how the hell would I get in the house at 7am on Friday? So, I decided to just bite the bullet and take cold showers for 2 days. Or I could just shower at the apartment, since we're not shutting off the electric there till the 31st and not turning in the keys until then, either. It has no evil, evil gas powered appliances.

Everything else has been switched over without a hitch and without a service call. I just can't figure out why the hell Vectren can't do it the way every other utility handles it. /sigh

I'm waiting to do the phone till Friday, as in the past I've had the problem where I ask for it to be terminated 3 days from now, and the morons terminate it 4 minutes after I hang up. Idiots.

I'm stressed, and I feel like I'm going to explode into a ball of panic at any second. I'm juggling so many different things in my head right now. Yar.
Posted by Karabou at 6:36 PM EST
August 21, 2007
No sleep till Brooklyn...
We closed on the house yesterday, so that's done, and we get the keys by Thursday. I'm crossing my fingers that by some miracle, we'll get them tomorrow, but I'm not setting my heart on it. Thursday is fine. Thursday before 5pm would be ideal.

I know I'm going to be a stressed-out maniac until those keys are in my hands, so I've just resolved to let that be. I really want to go to the gym tonight, but I need to stop by the grocery, pick up some dinner, and finish packing the kitchen and start working on the PC room book shelves.

And my boss asked me to ride with her to Lima on Thursday to drop off the thank-you gifts we got for the hospital staff for cooperating with the video tours we filmed last week. The Dissenter is going, so I don't feel bad about opting out. I just won't be sane, worrying about when I'm going to get the keys, what if the guy is trying to drop them off and can't find the place, etc, etc. For my sanity, I think I'll just stay at work and skip the trip. The problem (or advantage, depending on the circumstance), is that my boss and The Dissenter will inevitably want to take a long lunch, possibly shop, and screw around. That'd be G-R-E-A-T if I didn't have soooooooooooooo much to do and think about this week and if I weren't sitting on pins and needles waiting for those keys.

Kev has to work 13-hour days through Friday, with no chance of getting time off. They decided to switch to manual downloading to get caught up, only after Kev had a face-to-face meeting with the head cheese from Jersey last Wednesday and explained that the customer is more important than trying to force everyone to use technology that just isn't cutting it. So he's busting his ass to live up to his word that everything will be caught up by Sunday. Whiiiiiiiiiiich leaves me to finish the packing. /sigh It's not his fault. It's just the way it goes. I'll manage.

He was lamenting wanting to go to a tournament on Sunday at Bookery, and I told him that since his mom and s-i-l were coming over to help me unpack, I didn't care if he went. It's not like he's going to put anything away where I want it anyway, and I'd just end up moving or re-organizing everything (except his basement). So I'd rather just do it myself. He's taking off Friday the 31st to oversee the DirecTV getting moved, so he can work on his junk in the basement over the 4-day weekend.

I've had various offers for help with finishing packing, but the problem is that there is just no room for other people to be in the same room packing stuff. Those who have witnessed the ordered chaos of the PC room understand. Those who haven't, I'm'd think we were crazy compulsives with floor to ceiling boxes of crap, which is only partially true.

I remember my landlord once accidentally saw the PC room and yelped, "OH MY GOD!!!" and covered his mouth with his hands. It was even more flourished because he is, after all, flaming gay, which I personally adore. It was after I hauled home loads of crap from the farm when dad died, and I hadn't had a chance to neatly stack any of it. So I'm sure he just thought we were total freaks. heh

I found out today that I will NOT be going to Seattle in October on business. Our biggest tradeshow of the year is there, and we've got enough people to man the booth this time. But I may end up getting shipped to Chicago for a different show that month. I'd rather do Seattle, simply because I've never been there. But Chicago is fine; I've visited it numerous times, and I'm never disappointed. Although, even that trip is still up in the air. It depends on whether one of our docs is going, which it looks like he is. I'm thoroughly indifferent about the whole thing, really.
Posted by Karabou at 6:36 PM EST
August 19, 2007
Just got home from Gencon. I'm exhausted, and there's too much to talk about to go into details. Games were generally lackluster this year (minis, card games, and board games), D&D 4E was announced (everyone and their grandma knew that was coming), and WFRP won some nice awards. Yay! I did really enjoy the newly re-vamped 2nd edition Talisman we demoed. And I won the Sword & Skull Avalon Hill boardgame at the WotC booth. woot! We picked up the WoW ccg, and it's pretty fun. We got two cards that are worth about $50, so that covers one of the booster sets we picked up.

It was nice to see people, as usual. I hope they had a nice con. It was just Kev and I this year, so I felt like we were missing out on the usual getting together as a group and playing the games we bought. Maybe next year. But I suppose it was nice to have to worry about anything but ourselves with the impending house business next week.

I'm tired, I've got laundry going, and I suppose we should order some food. Tomorrow morning, I have to haul ass to the bank at 9am when they open, get a bank check, and we close on the house at 10am. I'm preparing for writer's cramp. On the upside, we have a no-doc loan, so we have no papers to sign as far as the loan is concerned. I'm not sure how much or how little of an impact that will have on the mountain of paperwork we've been told to expect.

But tomorrow, we should be owners of our first house. Let the moving commence. Zzzzzzzz....
Posted by Karabou at 6:36 PM EST

August 13, 2007
Oh. My. God.
We're closing on the 20th, fo' sho'. Which means it is now officially freak out time. I finally finished packing the bedroom, save for a few vases sitting around, but we still have the entire PC room to pack, all the board games in the closet, all the toys (aka crap) on the top of the bookshelves, and of course, all the kitchen stuff. I'm officially stressed.
I know it will get done, but it's still daunting to think we are out of time. I leave tomorrow afternoon for a business trip and won't be home till probably 9pm-ish on Wed. Then we leave Thursday morning for vacation and don't return till Sunday. And we close the next day!!!111oneone.
I'm taking my m-i-l and s-i-l on their offer to help me pack. My sister offered to help me today, but I didn't get home until 7:30pm from the gym, I dipped my buckeyes I'm taking to Gencon, and I finally got around to packing at about 8:30pm. Kind of pointless to make her drive all the way here. But, we're making progress, albeit slowly.
On the upside, all the repairs that needed done after inspections will be done before we move in, so we don't have to worry about it. I've got Kev's carpet, I'm calling the piano movers tomorrow, and I'm going to order my rug tomorrow.

All this means we are likely moving on Saturday, August 25. Kev has to check his work schedule to sure, and I'll send out an email as soon as I know. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We've got our usual crew lined up, but we could always use a couple more hands with the big stuff, since I can't lift anything heavy anymore. /grumble
Posted by Karabou at 10:40 PM EST Top

August 10, 2007

I saw Sunshine after work yesterday. It was the last day it was at the theater, so I figured I'd go check it out. There were things I did and didn't like about it.


It gave me that feeling of awe and wonder at certain points. But most things having to do with the mysteries of space make me feel that if presented in a certain way.

The acting wasn't terrible, not amazing but not bad.

The effects of the sun CGI

The psychiatrist who's going just a little crazy and is literally burning himself up with overexposure in the sun room, little by little

Space and time bending

The ending

But I have to agree with Kev that it's definitely the most generic Danny Boyle film to date.

The girl that cries the entire movie

It becomes a slasher flick for about 20 minutes.

The blurry, what-the-fuck-is-going-on action during the slasher part

The dude with space madness that's been trapped on the original mission ship for 7 years…alone…and thinks he talks to god. Been there, done that.

Said space madness dude becoming kind of supernatural but not really

The 2nd in command being a giant pussy

People not agreeing with the one guy that they should stay on mission. They are, after all, the absolute LAST hope for humanity. But hey, let's jeopardize that for something that's a huge longshot.

The film was scratched right down the middle in about 4 places on every single reel. Very distracting in parts with a light screen.----------------
All in all, I did like it. Watch it and make up your own mind.

Posted by Karabou at 11:58 PM EST

August 9, 2007
Wee Willy Winky
We watched My Super Ex-Girlfriend last night. I was pleasantly surprised. We chuckled throughout the movie, and we were shocked that it was a lot better than we expected. But being a lot better than a pile of steaming crap is probably still barely above mediocre. It's worth a rent, I'd say.

I'm going to go see Sunshine after work. It's the last day it's playing around here.

Last night, we got sucked into watching VH1's The Pick-up Artist--a new reality TV show based on Mystery (Erik von Markovik) who was part of the duo that wrote The Game. It was a train wreck we couldn't tear our eyes off of. We added it to our Season Pass on TiVo; check it out if you get the chance. Last night was the first episode, so I'm sure you could catch an encore before next week.

It was a bunch of guys that desperately want to learn how to pick up chicks, or at even just speak to a girl. Several of them weren't bad looking, but all of them lacked the one, single thing necessary to picking up women…confidence. These guys were literally crying and sobbing in the post-interviews after Mystery set them loose in a club to observe their pick-up methods. They all failed pretty miserably.

Then Mystery puts them all in the observation area, and HE goes into the club to "show them how it's done." In the nerdy guys' defense, when Captain Slick goes in there, those girls are heavily liquored up. He hits on some of the same girls the nerds did, but this time, the girls are slurring and slightly bleary eyed. The nerds might have had a chance then.

You know a makeover is in the works for the nerd boys, and they previewed a few. It's amazing what a makeover can do--new clothes, better hair cuts, hair color, waxing those uni-brows.

I just don't understand the big deal about being rejected when trying to pick someone up. So what if they say no? It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean you're less of a person because a club rat turned you down. Who cares? Ask out someone else!

Kev kept saying to me last night, "You just don't understand…" And he's right; I don't. I made the first move on most of the guys I've been involved with. I didn't care if they said they weren't interested. There are a few billion guys on the planet; I was pretty sure I'd find one eventually that WAS interested.

Posted by Karabou at 10:02 PM EST Top

August 7, 2007
Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All
Time Magazine
Monday, Aug. 06, 2007
The claim always seemed too good to be true: park your infant in front of a video and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the neighbor's kid. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers.

Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, both at the University of Washington, the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."
It's not the first blow to baby videos, and likely won't be the last. Mounting evidence suggests that passive screen sucking not only doesn't help children learn, but could also set back their development. Last spring, Christakis and his colleagues found that by three months, 40% of babies are regular viewers of DVDs, videos or television; by the time they are two years old, almost 90% are spending two to three hours each day in front of a screen. Three studies have shown that watching television, even if it includes educational programming such as Sesame Street, delays language development. "Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "They don't get that interaction from watching TV or videos. In fact, the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development." Previous studies have shown, for example, that babies learn faster and better from a native speaker of a language when they are interacting with that speaker instead of watching the same speaker talk on a video screen. "Even watching a live person speak to you via television is not the same thing as having that person in front of you," says Christakis.
This growing evidence led the Academy to issue its recommendation in 1999 that no child under two years old watch any television. The authors of the new study might suggest reading instead: children who got daily reading or storytelling time with their parents showed a slight increase in language skills.
Though the popular baby videos and DVDs in the Washington study were designed to stimulate infants' brains, not necessarily to promote language development, parents generally assume that the products' promises to make their babies smarter include improvement of speaking skills. But, says Christakis, "the majority of the videos don't try to promote language; they have rapid scene changes and quick edits, and no appearance of the 'parent-ese' type of speaking that parents use when talking to their babies."
As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids. "There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better," he says. "But that's not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation." His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life. "Their minds come to expect a high level of stimulation and view that as normal," says Christakis, "and by comparison, reality is boring."
He and other experts worry that the proliferation of these products will continue to displace the one thing that babies need in the first months of life — face time with human beings. "Every interaction with your child is meaningful," says Christakis. "Time is precious in those early years, and the newborn is watching you, and learning from everything you do." So just talk to them; they're listening. Link

Posted by Karabou at 10:51 PM EST

August 6, 2007
boo bitty blah
It was a movie-tastic weekend. Friday, I watched Conspiracy Theory while I packed boxes. The older I get, the more I realize Mel Gibson is just not a good actor. He really just has the one character, Martin Riggs, that he plays to varying degrees. Yes, I still love the Lethal Weapon movies, and Braveheart still has a soft spot in my heart. Other than that, he's proven that he's just not that great. His signature movie of making his eyes water and swallowing hard is just getting old.
I also saw Bourne Ultimatum. It was okay. I didn't think it was as good as the first two, mainly because they both have plots, and 3 is nothing but blurry car chases and shaky-cam fight scenes. What I loved about the first two is that you could see everything that was going on…none of that Ridley Scott I-can't-tell-what-the-hell-is-going-on crap. I want to SEE the action, not just hear some slapping, grunting, and things-are-breaking noises while I watch some something that looks like it was filmed by a blind epileptic having a grand mal seizure. Rent it. Go watch the Simpsons instead or something.Ultimatum was disappointing…okay, but disappointing. I did like that you're half-way through it when you finally reach the end scene of the 2nd movie. So everything that's happened up to that point takes place between Moscow and "Your real name is David Webb."And I finally got around to watching Hot Fuzz. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though I must say, I prefer Mr. Pegg with a goatee. I agree with Kev that Shaun of the Dead was funnier, but I still liked Hot Fuzz enough to want to buy it eventually. Go forth and watch it.
Tonight, I watched BBC's Jekyll. I would say Kev and I watched it, but he came home with one of his really, really, really bad migraines…the kind that is utterly debilitating and makes me feel totally helpless. So while he languished on the couch, I watched it. I don't think anyone else could do crazy like James Nesbitt. He is PERFECT for the part. I figured I would either love or hate the show, and it turns out I love it. Why is "psychotic" equal to "sexy" in my book? Mr. Nesbitt isn't exactly a male model, but something about Hyde is downright animalistic. It must have something to do with his air of confidence. When it surpasses the realm of cocky and moves straight into "I know I'm god and so do you," chicks swoon.
While I'm sure it wasn't difficult to find a British actor with scary teeth for the part, they did an excellent job of making the two characters, Jekyll and Hyde, so different and, somehow, believable. It's more of a sequel to the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde than a new, direct adaptation, which I think works far better for a TV series. With the brilliant Steven Moffat (the one who writes all the exceptional episodes of Dr. Who and who wrote the BBC show Coupling), I'm hoping the show lasts for a few seasons and remains both entertaining and interesting. So far, so good.
I'm still waiting to find out if we close on the 20th. It's getting really frustrating. We desperately need to schedule a truck and a piano mover, as well as let everyone know when we're moving, so we can find out how many people are helping. I can't lift anything heavy, so I'll be condemned to carting around boxes and putting things away. We had several volunteers, but if we can't give them a solid date as to when we're moving, we may end up having to hire movers. Which I'm not keen on doing if we can avoid the expense. But people have lives and make plans.
I'm supposed to know tomorrow for sure, but we'll see. My realtor is on vacation, and I've been bugging her back-up to get to the bottom of it. I don't think it should fall to him, personally. There's no reason my realtor couldn't have taken care of this before she went on vacation and became totally incommunicado for 10 days.

We've decided that the only carpet we absolutely HAVE to have is the one bedroom. The piano is going in there, and once it's in place, we're not moving it. Ever. ...until we move again to another house. So the carpet HAS to be ready. I'm going to go order it one night this week. The carpet for the other bedroom and the living room can wait. We can put down throw carpets during the move to protect the floor. Mom has like 8 billion of them.

I've decided I want to do my room like an Italian villa. I'm going to warm up the walls with a different shade of paint, something light and gold-ish with some sponging of a slightly darker color. Basically, if you ever went to the Bravo Italian Restaurant, that gold color and look is what I want. So I'm on the hunt for a deep blue and gold area rug. It may take me a while... I think I should find the rug first, before I paint, just to be sure it will all coordinate. I'd be royally pissed if I painted the room and then found a dreamy carpet that clashed.

As the house is right now, you feel like you're walking around in the belly of a great beige beast. Every single room is beige. I thought it was grey in the living room the first time we were in there. It was kind of dark outside, and I was fooled by the low lighting and twilight. But after being in there again, it's definitely beige. I'm not sure how black and red highlights will go with that. I may be painting the living room at some point in the near future.

Posted by Karabou at 10:20 PM EST

August 4, 2007
Back again
I'm tired, and I don't know why. We got back into the house today, got our measurements, and took pictures. Of course, the house was far smaller than we began to picture, but Kev said that was likely the case long ago.
But it will do. If we have kids, we'll likely have to get a bigger house someday. I don't consider this the end of the road, as far as moving, but we'll be planted here for a good long while.
Now it's arranging the furniture and packing, packing, packing.

Posted by Karabou at 9:26 PM EST

August 2, 2007
On homes and things...
Okay, inspections are finally done. There are a few minor issues with repairs: the roof needs a few loose shingles fixed, a couple of GFCI's (something having to do with electrical) need replaced, and there are a couple of plumbing issues. All are easily repairable, and we'll be asking the sellers to either take care of it or give us a check at closing to do it ourselves.
We've also asked if we can close a week earlier, on the 20th, rather than the 27th. I'm really hoping they go for it. It would be nice to have the extra time to move. Kev and I sat down last night and made our lists of what needs done and when, as well as what we need to buy before and after we're done moving.
I told the realtor yesterday that we MUST get in that house this weekend. She's on vacation, and someone in her office can let us in. We just need to measure rooms and windows for carpets and window treatments. Both of those could take 2-3 weeks to come in. We're thinking of getting blinds, rather than curtains. Or we may do both, but blinds would be great for now. I think I'd rather make my own curtains to go with the Asian décor in the living room.
I'll eventually need to make couch and chair covers for the living room furniture, but for the time being, it will be mismatched, and I'll just have to deal with it. The house was also appraised at $112k, so we already have $2k equity in the house. Yay!
Things are slowly coming together. I'm anxious to get back in there, so we can take care of more things. We both agree that packing is going to be the biggest task—and the one we need to be diligent on. We've both been guilty of throwing things in sheets, and slinging them over our shoulders in past moves. We want to try to keep things organized this time. So, we agreed to spend at least a small amount of time packing every night for the next three weeks. I've got to pick up some packing tape and Sharpies. Then, we'll be ready to get down to business.I'm hoping to get pictures this weekend to post. Whee!

Posted by Karabou at 9:26 PM EST

August 1, 2007
Harry Potter and the Major Spoilers
Read no further than this giant text if you haven't finished the book. Spoilers ahead...
I KNEW the main three characters wouldn't die…or at least stay dead. I think the only side character I was sorry to see die was Lupin. I loves me a werewolf, and David Thewlis, the actor that played him in the movie, was great as that character. Sometimes an actor can solidify a book's character and make them even better. The rest of the side characters were…well…side characters. It'll be interesting to see Tonks in the movies.Anyway, since the link between Harry and Voldemort was discovered, I suspected Harry would have to die to kill Voldemort. I wasn't sure he would have to stay dead, and he didn't, but he did have to die. I have to admit, I was happier with the ending than I thought I'd be. It was done pretty well. I especially like how Neville developed into a hero from being a sniveling wuss in the first book. When he lopped off Nagini's head, I almost crapped my pants.
I was afraid if Harry came back from the dead that it would be kind of lame and cheesy. But I really didn't feel that it was. And I KNEW Snape was really a good guy. And yes, because I pictured Alan Rickman (who I utterly adore) in every book, I loved the character. You can't maintain deep cover and be a nice guy.
My question is, how the hell are they going to pull off the last movie without mounds of corpses everywhere at the end? It will be interesting to see how they pull off Order of the Phoenix ; I'm planning to see it sometime this weekend. I felt like it was the first of the really dark parts of the world, what with Harry being tortured by Umbridge and all. When I read that book, I seriously hoped Harry would just turn evil, join Voldemort, and kill everyone.
So what are your thoughts?
Posted by Karabou at 10:49 PM EST

July 31, 2007
Possible Spoilers: Almost done with Harry Potter
I'm almost done with Harry Potter and The Anti-Climactic Ending.

Okay, so I really don't know how anti-climactic it's going to be because I have carefully avoided any and all websites and reviews to preserve the ending. But I can guarantee that after hearing they set up grief hotlines for people I won't be shocked by anything the last sixth of the book holds for me. So far, I'm not shocked about anything that's happened. Without some pretty nasty things happening, there's no concept of Voldemort's evil capacity. And the few side characters that've died? So what. If it's a bunch of side characters that die, and not at least one of three main characters, I'm going to be pissed.

Reading Deathly Hallows has been more of a compulsion for closure than about enjoyment. I don't know why I get like that sometimes, but I feel like I HAVE to read it, which makes me not enjoy it nearly as much as I would if I didn't feel that way. I feel impatient and not that excited by the whole thing. Things very easily get over-hyped for me, and then I tend to think they're total crap. Everyone shrieking in unison "OH MY GOD!" over the ending just makes me kind of shrug and think, "meh."

I didn't even pick up my copy until last Sunday, but I read 2/3 of the book in one sitting, moreso to get it over with than because I was enthralled. I read a bit last night, will read some tonight, and should finish it at least by Wednesday night.

But please, please, please do not post anything about the ending here. I'm almost done with it, and when I am, I will partake in discussions. Don't even post "Oh you'll be surprised!" because I very likely won't be. In fact, don't post any comments on this blog at all.


Posted by Karabou at 10:47 PM EST