Friday, February 27, 2004


I spent most of the day with little Sophie today. School was cancelled so I had the day off. Carly went to a consignment sale. So this afternoon, I thought I would get a couple of hours of downtime, reading the local weekly paper, maybe browsing some gaming materials... Well, that didn't really work. The first place I went to had a bad vibe, it was really crowded and I didn't have any cash.
I drove up a major arterial thinking I would find some kind of bookstore or coffeeshop. I scanned every stripmall along the way. No luck. Finally a coffeeshop. I park and look in, no sign of a paper rack, so I wander the mall for twenty minutes looking for another, no luck. Oh well, I'll just get some coffee I think. I head to the door, it is locked. They were closed.

I keep driving, suddenly I am way in the boonies. No point continuing there. I end up of all places at the big Mall nearby. They have a barnes and ignoble. So I stop there have a cup. I wander around and find that there is nothing of interest to me. The coffee shop is sanitary and sterile.

A call from Carly brought me home. I did manage to do something productive. I bought some dinner, and some cooking supplies. So it wasn't a complete waste.

This is one problem I have with Raleigh. It has almost no neighborhoods, little character, and very few places where one can sit down and relax. I miss that from San Francisco, and even Albuquerque. There were always little independent places. All Raleigh has is the big chain stores and a couple small places near the university. But those are pretty much only open during School hours.

How does one attract and maintain such places? I really don't know, I assume people like that sort of thing. Places with character, famaliar faces: bars, coffee shops, bookstores, game stores, etc.. Where are they all?

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Constitutional Crisis

Here are my two cents about Gay Marriage.
I think that the government should get out of the marriage business. If it won't do that, then it should grant the license to any group of people willing to accept the financial and other responsibilities (i.e. willing to sign the form). They could be straight, gay, poly, whatever, so long as they are competent to sign contracts they are fine in my book.
If the government simply got out of the marriage business what would happen? Religions would be free to be as prejudiced or open as they wanted and to grant marriages however they want. I've seen more than one couple (hetro) leave their churches because the church's attitude to their marriage. If the churches want to chase people out, good. They probably shouldn't be there in the first place.

The government needn't make civil unions either. Much of our population is single, being married hasn't proved itself to be the great stabilizing force it is all cracked up to be. How many of the 'defense of marriage' supporters are themselves divorced? As a married person, my marriage is an arrangement between my wife and me, I could not care less whether the government recoginzes it. (But.. see below*) Sure this would require revising our rules about dependents, about hospital visitation, about legal proxies, etc.. But those are probably in need of revising. Why should a single person be left alone and dying in a hospital simply because she has no (blooded) family? Why can't two friends share responsibility for their debts.

Marriage seems to me to be deeply personal thing, and as a rule, the government isn't very good at dealing with very personal things. I felt frustrated that in NC I could only be married either by a priest, or by a judge. We bypassed that by means of a loop hole. That seems to me a problem with the system. Our laws ought to make sense, and where they don't they ought to be changed. Ideally, the government would not bless or reject marriages any more than it blessed any other relationship, friendship, lover, whatever.

* Okay here is the thing. There is a sense in which society ought to promote same sex marriages. It needs to affirm and embrace a group of people we've long denied, rejected and abused. When being gay is considered provocation for violence in our courts, when people feel threatened by the mere existence of happy people different from them, when gays, lesbians, transgendered and others need to be afraid to admit who they are, who or how they love, something is really amiss. Accepting same-sex marriage is a way of saying "welcome back!" It is a symbolic gesture that has considerable merit.

Of course, if all this does in fact result in a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, it will strike a blow against the progress made by these groups that might be difficult to recover from. It will also lend and air of legitimacy to the hatred and violence against gays, lesbians and transgendered. I also fear, this sort of move may be the issue that gets the 'voting center' to ignore the many problems in the world and vote to keep this administration in office. I wish I could be more optimistic, maybe when people see that the President is promoting an amendment to a constitution designed to protect the rights of the minority to official discriminate against a a group of endangered people. But I am not hopeful.

Tooth and Justice

Sophie is 'cutting' her first teeth now. Two of them. She is so advanced, not even four months old, and already developing teeth. It makes a father proud. At the moment these little guys are just the tips and it is kind of funny to feel her try them out on my thumb or finger. It doesn't really hurt, at least not yet. We shall see.

This is likely the the thing that is causing the disruption in her sleep and feeding, as well as her general fussiness. Not that this knowledge does much for us. We can give her some baby tylenol, but that is about it. She is too little to make much use out of standard teething technology. I guess the average baby isn't bothered by this for some time, only advanced children can suffer so. It is probably her fate that she will suffer more and more for being so much better than others. It is a burden she must bear. What can you do?

Thanks to a miserable migraine headache last night I got a full night's sleep!. I took some serious pain killers left over from my car accident, and went to bed at 7:30pm, I awoke (except for some brief interruptions by the baby crying) at 5:30 ready to deal with a wide awake infant. It was an unusual feeling. Being awake at 5:30 is not a norm for me, if I must awaken at that hour, I am usually pretty grumpy and fairly likley to mope around being a bit fussy myself. But this morning went swimmingly, Sophie went back to sleep at 6:30 and I had 45 minutes of good morning paper reading.

BTW: Do not try to eat Atkin's Brand Low Carb Bread by itself. It is nasty. I am going to try some as french toast and see how well that works, but I am dubious. No real surprise I must say. Low carb diets, you've got to love them. I don't know if I am just cheating more often this time or what, but I don't feel any lighter this time.

I am waiting here for what is probably inevitable, the early closing of my school. They always wait until the last minute. I had to be here anyway for a faculty meeting, but I am pretty sure afternoon classes will be canceled, or my students will assume that is the case in any event.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


I don't usually plug other blogs, but I must give it up to my man WilW.
Wil Wheaton Dot Net
Do check out the Feb 19th entry.
I almost cried.

Situation AOK

I am fine. Really.
Just feeling a little overwhelmed with responsibility for the first time in a long time.
Having a baby seems to entail changes in one's life and attitudes. Huh. Who would've thought?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Never Satisfied

Had I asked myself five years ago how I would feel if I were married to a beautifult intelligent woman that I love more everyday, if I were father to a beautiful young girl, if I were employed as a fulltime professor of philosophy, if I owned a home and collected a group of friends both locally and more distant, I imagine the word "Happy" would have been one of the words I spoke.
And yet...I feel more stressed and sad then I have in some time.
I am stressed by my work. I feel that I might lose my job. I worry that I won't be able to afford the house payments. Little Sophie seems to prefer crying to any other form of communication, and I can never seem to assuage her. I am for the first time in a long time feeling sad. It is weird.
I am not miserable, I am just sad. I hope this will go away soon.
The school thing will resolve itself one way, the money thing is not so bad, Sophie is probably just in a stage. She so beautiful, Carly is my true love, I still love to teach. I just need to get this through my head.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Three months

Sophie is three monthes old today. I can't decide if that is a little or a lot. I can't really remember the way it was before her, but that might be the sleep deprivation talking. She has really changed and is really getting a personality of her own. Right now she is crying, so it will be a little difficult to think about much else. Carly has her, so don't think I am the worst parent ever for continuing to type while she cries.
She had a sort of on and off day today. Early on she was very happy and playful. She took a long nap (like an hour) which is awesome. But then when Carly went to the movies, she got very unhappy. Writing that makes it semm quite cliche and natural. Mommy is gone, so the baby gets upset. But actually it wasn't quite like that. True the event did transpire in that order, but I doubt the causality. First, some time passed between the two events. Second, I am with Sophie alone reasonably frequently, most of yesterday for example, and that doesn't happen. Today there were some issues at feeding time. I think I made the milk too hot. She was hungry and then got hot milk, poor thing. So she got very angry, then I tried to cool the milk down, but by then she really didn't want anything but to cry. This set me off. When she is inconsolable, it is bas enough. But to then add the layer of guilt that I may have caused it, and... that this was depriving her of much needed sustenance it was almost too much. I was freaking out. But, eventually I calmed her enough that I could give her an all new bottle. She drank a little of it, but still didn't really satisfy me that she had had enough. Still we made it to John's to watch the TMBG movie. She was pretty good throughout that, although she did get a little fussy. She drank about 2 oz there, (plus the 1 oz here). I guess she can tell how much she needs.
So what else does Sophie E. do?
She giggles and laughs now. That is awesome, nothing better in the world. If I could actually think myself the cause of her laughter that might be better. But frequently it seems to be something unpredicatable like the ceiling fan, or a toy, or having farted (I guess the latter is fairly normal, farts are always funny to kids of all ages). I can sometimes keep the smiles and giggles going for a while by tickling and teasing her, and encouraging it with smiles of my own. But they still seem fairly random.
She has also started to babble a little on occasion. It is almost like a conversation. That can be fun, but she tires quickly of it, if we show too much or too little interest. That is a fine line, one it is always difficult to master.
She is touching herself, when she thinks about you mostly. No... not that way. She just grips her hands together on occasion. It can be funny when she smiles and does it, because she looks like a Movie Villain wringing her hands in a sinister fashion. As in, "no I don't expect you to talk, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."
She can grip other things for brief times, but they don't really interest her all that much yet.
She seems to enjoy her kick-chimes quite a bit. Imagine wind chimes, the cool hollow ones that sound deep not tinny, now hang them from the baby mat archy thing in reach of Sophie's little feet. Well you've figured it out. She really seems to enjoy it. I am not sure if it is the sound itself, or merely the fact that she has some small control over her environment.
The sleep situation is better than before. But she still has her bad moments. She is also more sophisticated in her complaints. She can cry in new pitches that are all the more urgent and force us to respond immediately. That is pretty impressive.
I can't wait for the next three months. Sitting up, talking, walking, solid foods.... SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!!