September 02, 2002
Last Day at Con Jose

Hello from San Jose!

Paulette and Alexander and I are doing well. We may not have gotten as much professionally out of the con as we have in past years, but it was still a success professionally (new leads on where to send my novel and, for Paulette, a non-fiction book proposal) and personally (travelling with the kid). A good friend won a Hugo award, another good friend was denied a Hugo award, another good friend was busily preparing for his upcoming wedding.

Alexander wasn't the youngest person at the con. We met another baby who was born two days after he was, and heard a rumor of a three-and-a-half-week-old.

The panel that I moderated seemed to go well, which is also a good thing as I get more and more involved in the professional writing community.

Hope all is well with all y'all. Lookin' forward to gettin' home....

Posted by at 09:23 AM in the following Department(s): | Comments (0)
 September 05, 2002
The Rainbow Connection

Okay, I realize that my little entry for today will really only ring a bell with fellow Gen-Xers, but I hope all y'all will play along just for the hell of it.

I've been playing the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie a bit lately, and a couple of lines in particular from one song, "The Rainbow Connection," keep nagging at me.

In the first line of the song, Kermit asks, "Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?"

I can only come up with one song about rainbows and what's on the other side: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," from The Wizard of Oz. That's it. Are there any others?

Kermit also asks, "Who said that every wish would be heard and answered, when wished on a falling star?" Again, I come up with one obvious answer: Jiminey Cricket. ("When You Wish Upon a Star")

Go ahead. Think about it. How many other songs about rainbows are there?

Sleep deprivedly yours,

Posted by at 10:41 PM in the following Department(s): Tidbits | Comments (3)
 September 10, 2002
Bug Hunting

I'm trying to figure out why the "Alexander Benjamin" archives (see link in nav bar, at right) are causing Netscape Communicator version 4.7 to crash. There are a couple of other archive pages that are also crashing Netscape, but I can't seem to find the common source of the problem.

In the meantime, I've been bug hunting throughout the site. I've upgraded the engine for this 'blog to Moveable Type 2.21, which has some bug fixes of its own, plus I've cleaned up a few lines of code (and a typo here and there). Minor tweaks. But at least you won't get an error message now when you post a new comment on the site!

The Kid is here with me. He was wide awake after a morning feeding at about six am, so I brought him downstairs with me to allow Paulette some sleep. He's a cutie, but right now he also requires attention about every five minutes or he goes into wake-the-neighbors mode. :-O

Posted by at 08:43 AM in the following Department(s): | Comments (0)
 September 11, 2002
One Year Later

It's a quarter past midnight as I write this. 'tis been a very long day at work for me on September 10th. The 11th doesn't look to be any less hectic.

Nonetheless, the 11th will clearly not be a "business as usual" day. How could it be, for any of us?

I send you all my warmest regards and best wishes.

Be good to each other.

Posted by at 12:24 AM in the following Department(s): Tidbits | Comments (0)
 September 12, 2002
House-proofing the Child

It's going to happen sooner or later. The Kid is going to start crawling. Then, I am told, the trouble begins.

They say (you know... they) that you (meaning anyone with a kid) need to childproof your home by the time your child can move around. Cover up the electrical outlets. put gates at the top and the bottom of each staircase, at the entryway to your kitchen, etc. Move all chemicals up from the bottom cabinets. Likewise, the medicines in your bathroom drawers. Padding on furniture corners. Bolt the bookcases to the wall and similarly secure the television. Pick up any sharp objects. Pick up any objects small enough to fit into the kids mouth.

It's a lot of work. I don't think they are thinking this whole situation through. Think like an engineer. You can go through all this effort to childproof your house. Or...

You can houseproof your child.

After all, it's the child who is the single changed factor in the situation. Your house doesn't suddenly require all this attention; your *child* requires you to pay this attention to the house. But, wouldn't it be easier to cushion your kid than to cushion the house?

In the old days, they didn't childproof houses. No, sir. I remember quite clearly. They had big ol' splitters on the electrical outlets that turned two outlets into six, which then had extension cords or three-way splitters in each socket, with every new socket occupied by some lamp or other device with exposed wires, etc. We had roller chairs that the child in question could sit in and move around the house by psuedo-walking. These little death traps could take a kid right down the stairs, yes-indeedy, and a child only made that kind of mistake five or six times before learning to stop doing that.

Likewise, licking electrical wires was usually a self-correcting behavior. I remember quite distinctly one time when I touched an exposed plug that was only half-way inserted in the outlet. After I let out a yelp, one of the adults nearby -- back in those days, it took a village. I had both parents, half a dozen aunts and uncles, and then grandparents, extended family, and friends of the family -- said to me, "Betcha won't do that again." And he was right.

If the kid started playing with the TV or bookshelf or whatever, the standard mode of operations went like this:

1) yell "NO" at the kid

2) if that didn't work, slap the kid's hand

3) if that didn't work, spank

4) if that didn't work, use The Rack

5) if that didn't work, use the Mace

6) if that didn't work, burn at the stake

This method was usually quite effective, and most of my generation learned the lesson without having to go beyond step five. In this way, the house was duly protected from the child with minimal effort expended by the parents.

These days, we don't have a village of adults to watch over the kids. These days, it's extremely not in vogue to spank or yell or show disapproval of any sort. And yet, I'm reticent to spend all the time, money, and energy to child-proof my house.

So once the Kid starts crawling, here's my plan:

* You know those white plastic cones that vets put around the necks of cats or dogs when they don't want the animal to scratch its head? Put one of those on the Kid. That way, he can't put anything sharp or small anywhere near his face. This should also protect him from fiddling with electrical outlets.

* Wrap up the Kid in thick, padded clothes. A down-filled jumper and a thick, knit hat ought to do it (plus thick mittens, of course). Now, sharp corners are no longer a problem.

No muss, no fuss. The kid can still crawl around, but he will be safe. And so will the house. And there will be no beatings involved, no expressions of disapproval. Everybody wins. :-)

Posted by at 05:51 PM in the following Department(s): The Boys | Comments (3)
 September 22, 2002

Sorry for the radio silence. I've been hurling myself from one side of the country to the other trying to get some business done....

Turns out that a certain television show which has a premise similar to my novel (no word yet on any potential agent or publisher, but the manuscript is making the rounds) just began airing last Thursday. Please post your comments below. I'd like to know:

Did any of you see "Do Over"?

If so, what did you think?

And, if so, did you make a tape of it? :-)


Posted by at 06:57 PM in the following Department(s): Novel-in-Progress | Comments (5)

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