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Archive for November, 2008

Flip Mino fun

November 30, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Friends

Got a chance to play with Coop’s Flip Mino recently. Mino’s are a wonderfully simple way to shoot video anywhere, anytime. Then you flip a switch to release the USB port and load it directly into any computer. The software you need comes right on the camera itself.

VloMo08 Day 26: Crappy Video from soul4real on Vimeo.
Disclaimer: I had a single beer with dinner before I made this.

Crunchy onions & bacon bits.

November 26, 2008 By: nooccar Category: holidays

The wife asked me to stop at Walmart on the way home to pick up some bomb green bean casserole someone told her about. Well, Claire and I searched every single aisle and it was terrible. I called Donna back and she said it was frozen, so we headed back to the frozen foods. I found the “Stock Supervisor” whose nametag said he had 10 years of service and experience at Sam Walton’s crazy blue box. This man walked the same aisles I just walked and shrugged his shoulders. I was outta luck.

I called Donna back to tell her the news, and all she told me was to buy the ingredients and make it myself. Damn. And I thought maybe I could get out of it. I wasn’t sure what was in this stuff and since I knew there was mushroom soup mix, I knew I would never ever be eating it at all. Fougeddaboutit! NO. But other people were counting on me including my ever increasingly 3 1/2 year old whine bucket.

As I walked the aisles aimlessly I saw a students of mine who’d not been in class earlier that day. Never one to miss an opportunity to catch someone try to pull the wool over on my eyes, I called out to her as I approached her in our aisle. She immediately began talking to me, and at first acted like she was caught. Then she began to explain that she didn’t have her homework because her stepdad was arrested and she couldn’t get into her house since the police were still in their with search warrants.

Damn, I’ve heard some good ones, but not this one. Somewhere while she was telling me this tale, I noticed crunchy onion strips in her cart and nothing else. I pointed to them and asked where they were. Her friend was with her (who I taught last year) and pointed back down the aisle. I told the friend to go grab me one, so she did. I told my student that I needed the same ingredients, and I said “Let’s Shop!” So Claire and I, my former student and current student went looking for groceries. We found the mushroom soup mix, and then I saw the bacon bits. I knew I needed them for a broccoli salad I wanted to make so I told the girl to grab them. She read the directions on the back, and we went on search of those ingredients, too.

Within 10 minutes we both had everything we needed, and I didn’t have to think at all! They picked out what they needed and grabbed an extra one of each for my cart! Claire and I were out of there and on our way home in no time.

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A toddler’s Black Friday

November 26, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, holidays, Parenthood

I love this time of the year. Until a couple of years ago I never considered shopping on Black Friday; I just knew it was a day to stay away from the stores. Three years ago, that all changed. Our friends, Ryan & Laura, introduced us to the whole concept and idea of getting really cheap, cool stuff. Ever since then, we’ve been shopping on Black Friday. Last year Claire at 2 1/2 was too young to go out, so our former school nurse watched her overnight at her family’s house. This year Donna wants to try Black Friday with Claire.

I’ve been going through the ADs recently, but I’ve not seen anything really cool yet. There’s not a ton we need, but there are some cool things we’ll probably pick up. We typically hit CostCo, Penney’s, Kohl’s (which we may skip this year!), Old Navy, Super Target, and Best Buy. Last year we shopped at Tempe Marketplace, and the stores are all in a circular pattern. We walked the circle; it took about five hours and then we were done. Took a nap, picked up Claire and counted our wares.

Watch for updates for this year, and the adventures of Claire, the 3 1/2 year old, on Black Friday.

Daddy’s girl

November 22, 2008 By: turtlegirl Category: Claire, Donna, School

For some reason I seem to think I’m home alone when Devon is not here, even when accompanied by Claire. Something about adult company I presume. Or maybe that I’m the lone responder to Claire’s one million questions, attitude driven comments, and physical tantrums.

Anyway, although I suffered through finals and regular coursework through last weekend, there were additional assignments and postings due this week. I also had to complete the student surveys and other matters. So, after picking Claire up at school, shopping, having dinner, and going through the bedtime ritual (which ended around 10:00 pm), I started my last assignment. This concluded a short time ago and I turned to watch a rustling Claire on the bed behind me. (Yes, the guest bed; no, she is not always the perfect angel sound asleep in her own room).

As I glanced at my beautiful child, gracefully dancing across the sheets, calmly dreaming of puppies and cupcakes, I took the opportunity to appreciate our similarities and felt proud of the good contained within her wee frame.

Then she farted.

Damn daddy’s girl.

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Speeding Cameras Suck

November 19, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Leisure, Miscelany, Travel

In a world that is further and further more thrust into the panopticon, we now have a proliferation of speed cameras in and around Phoenix. I hate them. I drive fast. Look, if I am safe and go a little faster than the next guy, then who cares? I get the problems with zooming down the highway and flipping your truck because you’re an idiot, but when you’re driving out along the Mogollon Rim at 65 and come down into Prescott and the speed limit immediately shifts to 45 then it’s not fair. Forget it. This sucked, and it happened to me.

It wouldn’t have been that bad if 1) I didn’t have a ticket a few weeks earlier when Claire was sick and I was rushing to the doctor’s, and 2) if I didn’t already go to traffic school within the last two years. Damn.

Look, I am not unsafe, but if I always obeyed every traffic law then I would be more stressed out. I can’t help if I am running late sometimes because I have an unpredictable 3 year old. Sometimes she’s ready to run out of the house in the morning, and other times she’s like dragging a golem through the process of leaving for school.

I fear our world is going to be and more thrust into the public spotlight, and, of course, there are things that I do willingly to thrust myself there, but I still enjoy certain liberties that are slowly being stripped away.

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Two more classes wrapping up

November 18, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Donna, School

It’s been an odd several days. Donna’s been holed up in her office writing two lengthy papers for each of her classes. Saturday morning I read one of them, and it wasn’t bad but much of it was from other things shes’s done (although anyone who’s every done grad work knows we always recycle work!). I did not read the other paper, since it was finished late Sunday. Tonight I listened/viewed the powerpoint that went with paper #2. The presentation had to include audio, and she did it all by herself with a mic from work.

Even though there are days when we’re so frustrated with all of this, I am so proud of her tonight. She did a helluva job on this work! Now I am glad I get my wife back for two weeks. Perhaps we can clean off the DVR a little.

Happy Birthday to Me!

November 17, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Friends, holidays

Yesterday I turned 34. It’s not the biggest of birthdays for sure, but it was a nice day. Nothing too wild, and I remember when it’s my birthday more when I am at work on a birthday (not again until 2010). The highlight of yesterday would be when Laura and Emma came to visit. I’ve not seen them since summer of 2007, and they moved away in December of 2006 to Portland. I can’t blame them since it’s so damn brown and dry here, but it sure was nice to see them.

Dan from Amsterdam Skyped with me, Alan from Iceland said hello, I talked to my parents, and I’ve not had a chance to talk to the in-laws yet (my fault).

We had the girls out playing in the backyard all afternoon before giving them a group bath. Laura’s birthday is tomorrow, so we hit Macaroni Grill for a celebration dinner. The Penn Rustica rocked as did the Tiramisu dessert, but the Sangria was nothing to write home about. It was bland, boring and expensive.

After dinner we hit a carnival that was in a local parking lot. Laura wanted to ride the Zipper and I love the Ring ‘O Fire, so we did both. Mind you this was after we gorged ourselves. We were fine until the Ring ‘O Fire person sent us through the ride twice! I wasn’t the same after that.

Laura and Emma ended up staying over last night, so we went to Cracker’s Cafe for breakfast before the drove across town to see other friends. Beautiful mild birthday with some thoughtful gifts from Donna and Claire. Really enjoyable.

Quantum of Solace: A brief review

November 15, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Reviews

A while back Shelley invited us all out to Bond Night, and I was only half committed and mostly that was because Donna and I really don’t go out much anymore. Then I got an email from my wife (yes, probably sent from 30 feet away!) that I should get a sitter and go have fun, just make sure the sitter watches Claire at her house not ours so Donna could write.

I grew up in a Bond house. My dad’s obsessed and my father-in-law watches the Spike TV marathons. My favorite is still Never Say Never Again, and Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill still holds a special place in my heart. Pierce Brosnan as Bond was scary and didn’t work at all for me, which is maybe why I never gave Craig a chance in Casino Royale. I will admit I never saw it.

So tonight we hit On the Border with Biray and others (even Donna came to dinner!), and then we headed to the movie. I immediately realized they were referencing some things from Casino Royale, but I had a pretty good idea.

I was struck in the film by the filters and cinematography. They had things set up that made the film look “old.” More like early Connery Bond than anything since. I also really loved the jump shots and shaky camera angles. I flinched several times throughout. This was also a younger, darker Bond which alot of people are complaining about. Another comparison is to the Bourne movies (Side note: An acquaintance said that complaining that QoS is too much like Jason Bourne is like bitching that Adam West wasn’t in Dark Knight!).

After the film, I was talking to Shelley and mentioned my comments, and she explained that this Bond and Casino Royale before it were harkening back to a time before Dr. No. This is suppose to be pre-Connery, which I think it awesome! It’s like what Lucas tried to do with the second trilogy and failed. QoS is setting up what will later become campy mid-1980s Roger Moore Bond. Great movie. Now I need to see Casino Royale.

Ah yes, and for Bond girls. Camille (Olga Kurylenko) was pretty good, but Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) is truly forever!

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Hanging with the kid

November 11, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

You know, this whole grad school is annoying. Not because I am not so damn proud of my wife for finally committing to a program but because (as I pointed out here and here) I feel like a single parent sometimes. My former boss and friend at work has the same problem since her husband’s begun dental school and she has two kids!

But something has been changing recently. Claire & I have begun to do more and more together. No longer do I stick her in front of Dora on the TV (well, not as much) or drag her to Target to walk around and spend money we don’t have. Now we’re starting to do events together. I am really beginning to enjoy these outings.

Recently Claire and I went to the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, and after a lengthy discussion Donna and I agreed to buy a year membership. The membership gets the three of us and we can bring two friends once a year. Not a bad gig, plus we get FREE entrance to hundreds of other museums worldwide, including the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum! Awesome. The AZ Science Center isn’t the coolest in the world, but it’s pretty cool to just drag Claire up there and hand out while she plays.

Claire @ the Science Center

Another place Claire & I recently visited was the Arizona Botanical Gardens. Twice a year, there’s a butterfly exhibit. In the fall is a Monarch exhibit. I thought these were migratory monarchs, but it turns out that they’re shipped in and die here. Bummer. Well, I didn’t tell Claire. She had a great time in the butterfly exhibit, and the worker said if we had questions to just ask. So… Claire began asking every question she could think of. She just kept going like a little motormouth. From questions like “Why do butterflies hang upside down?” to “Why do you have water to drink?” The man was very patient with Claire.

Claire looking at the monarchs

After that we made our way out to where the volunteers set up tables. They let Claire color a butterfly out of paper, and then she fashioned it with a noise blower in the middle. It was a great take home, and it now lives on the fridge.

After making that, we walked the gardens and it was beautiful. We took the long path into the back and crushed mesquite seeds into flour. Claire looked at flowers and kept away from touching the cacti. She lasted about 4.5 hours in the gardens before she passed out in the car on the way home.

Where shall we go next?

High School Musical

November 08, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews, School

Ok ok I’ve posted about this before, and here I am again. There’s been a new wave of garbage here. Several of my students showed up recently to my 6:30AM zero hour class and they were tired. Very tired. Two of the girls then bounced into my room with these white and pink ball caps. They were giddy and hurried up to me to show me their new hats.

“Mr Adams, do you like our new hats we got last night?”
“No.”

The girls looked shocked, and asked why. Immediately, I went into a whole class diatribe since obviously half the class had been out the night before catching the midnight showing of High School Musical 3. They were all so excited about this film, and I just couldn’t believe this. I asked them what they think about girls like Vanessa Hudgens (who stars in these movies as an innocent high school girl) who has naked pictures of herself posted on the Internet. Their response was pretty much “So what?”.

So what? I can’t believe our teens today are so desensitized to the objectification of women that this is ok with them. Would these kids want their own naked photos posted? Would they even consider posing? Probably not. When I put it this way, there’s pose. But seriously. These are Disney movies! The Mouse House is suppose to put out these innocent, family products (and I know they don’t!), and then we have people like Hudgens (and Jamie Lynn Spears).

These students just shrugged and several have seen it 2, 3, and 4 times since! I just don’t get it. If you do, come on, please comment below. Explain this to me.

This is the world in which my three year old daughter will grow up, and it’s freaking me out.

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