Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for November, 2012

Topsy Turvy Day.

We’re reaching the end of the first week of TheBoy’s job.

And I think the one having the hardest time dealing with the change is me! The kids are completely fine waiting for their dad to come home from work. They see him in the morning, send him off on his day… and run out to welcome him home. They give him goodnight kisses, and all in all, they are very happy. (I think they’ll be even happier when they can coax him outside to play on the weekends) Certainly, he’s a lot happier- even though he sits twice as long in traffic. No more fighting his body clock.

I’ve dealt with most of the big things easily. Sharing the bed isn’t a problem. Neither is having someone who gets up earlier than I do. And while it’s harder to not have another adult here in the afternoon, I’d like to think I’m handling it fairly well.

But it’s weird. I can’t go on afternoon runs anymore, which likely means I’ll have to start running on the treadmill on weekdays. And I’m falling behind on TV because nights are spent downstairs hanging out with TheBoy instead of sitting in bed with my laptop. (Which actually isn’t so much of a problem, as me just stating a fact)

Ridiculously minor problems, but I still feel like I’m slightly out of whack. Do you know what I mean?

Before I forget, I had a great story this week I have to share. We live in a residential area, on one of the few streets that runs between a major street and a majorish street. So we get a lot of people speeding through here. And even though we’re right by a two way stop, people still zip through (even big delivery trucks!). And it’s annoying.

The other day I was waiting for UPS to show up and had the front door open, and the blinds opened to let in sunlight. I saw a car speed from the stop sign down the street. Zero to 40 mph easily.

And what did I see next? A police car coming from another direction, zooming around the corner with their lights on. Where they pulled over the speeder. And it made me happy.

Drizzle, LEGO and Star Wars.

It’s a rainy day here in SoCal. Which means that it isn’t actually raining. It’s been drizzling most of the day, heavily enough to ensure that the roads (and my windshield) stay wet, but not enough that you need an umbrella.

Drizzle, Fo Rizzle my dizzle.

Which is why I was surprised when on the way home I saw a river running on the side of the road. But when I noticed traffic come to a stop up ahead, I realized that either a water main had burst, or someone had hit a hydrant. I apologize that the picture wasn’t better, but there were Highway Patrol blocking off the area of the accident and I didn’t want to get in trouble for using my phone while driving. (Both pictures were snapped while my car was stopped)

Yesterday was the Oldest Kidlet’s 7th birthday. Since we’d already had his birthday party, but hadn’t given him his present yet (I would have given LK his present on his birthday, but I sort of had a feeling his classmates show up at their joint birthday party and I wanted him to get some presents, so I held off on his). It was… a LEGO Star Wars set!

The kidlets have been getting into LEGO, and only recently discovered the joy that is their Star Wars line. LittleGeekGirl and her brother gave OK a V-Wing set, and it gets a regular amount of playtime. My mom bought OK a set with Savage Opress AND Asajj Ventriss (She gets bonus points for buying stuff with female SW characters)! Oh, and Anakin Skywalker. And two little models of an X-wing and Naboo Starfighter. The set that we bought him was from A New Hope – with the escape pod, two Stormtroopers and Artoo and Threepio. They even had a shiny LEGO chip included so that your Stormtrooper can re-enact that infamous line, “Look Sir, droids!” (The youngest Brother-in-law watched me putting them together and wondered if the sets were more for me than them. Considering I lectured my boys for ten minutes on what an escape pod is and what it isn’t… he might be onto something.)

Of course, they play with these enough that I also have to keep reassembling bits and pieces of them. So much that this morning the Oldest Kidlet asked if I could glue these sets together, since these are the LEGOs that you play with, not use to build other things.

While I’m on the subject of LEGO Star Wars, if you’re a fan, I recommend checking out the LEGO Star Wars specials. I still haven’t seen the first one, but they showed The Empire Strikes Out last week on Cartoon Network and we recorded it. So I’ve seen it at least a dozen times now.

They’re excessively silly. Which is sort of the way I like things. Also, Darth Maul’s in it (voiced by Sam Witwer, just like in Clone Wars). And of course, Anthony Daniels voices Threepio.

If you need one reason, there’s this: Han shoots first. And when asked about it says, “Why wouldn’t I?”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish reading up on how to immortalize my LEGO sets.

(PS- If you’re a fan of Jedi Lore, even if you aren’t a fan of The Clone Wars, I recommend checking out this story arch: “The Gathering” – “A Test of Strength” – “Bound for Rescue” – “A Necessary Bond” It follows a group of younglings on their quest to build lightsabers, and more or less is a standalone arch. And if you need more reason to check it out, David Tennant voices a character in it.)

The Wired Mom: Facebook and Privacy

Yet again, on Facebook, there’s a slew of copy/paste statuses claiming to protect your privacy. It seems to happen about once a year, and out of the 300+ people I follow, I wind up seeing a fair amount of these.

This time, this is the post that’s going around:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates

Is it true? NO. Just by searching Snopes.com for Facebook privacy copyright brings up a definitive no.

Essentially, when you signed up for Facebook you agree to their Terms of Service, which includes the assignment of IP and privacy. While Facebook does keep adjusting their terms (and they do! Most sites do, though they typically warn you of it), there’s nothing you can do to to say you don’t approve of the changes after initially accepting their terms. Well, you can always delete your Facebook account.

If you see a copy/paste message pop up on Facebook, please do yourself, your friends and your family a favor before you copy/paste it. Google the text of the message with the word hoax. Odds are, that will lead you to some news posts or a Snopes story indicating whether it’s real or it isn’t. Taking that 5 minutes (at most) is all it takes to save you from spreading misinformation.

And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to Boromir:

And now I wish I had a Ned Stark “Brace yourself” meme for this, too.

New pants. And dinner out.

Last night, on the eve of TheBoy’s first day at his new job (which means, yes, today’s his first day), we went out to celebrate. And to shop.

You see, I’ve been after TheBoy to buy a new pair of pants for the last few months. For the most part, we don’t buy new clothes unless we need them (admittedly, I confuse need and want when it comes to boots). Earlier in the year, I bought a couple new pair of jeans because mine were stretched out. And it was time for him to do the same. Not only had his stretched out with normal wear, but he’d resumed his running regimen and eating better- and lost weight. So the pants were way too big. He had to wear a belt to keep them up, and hold them up while he chased after the kidlets. But he refused to buy new pants because they were still intact. (Honey, I’m not posting this to shame you, just to point out that you deserved the new pants because you’re awesome.)

So when he got the new job, we agreed that he’d need new pants before he started. As it turns out, from all that exercise, he’s back in the same size pants he wore when we first met. When he was 18. Go TheBoy!

He also bought a few new button down shirts (the casual kind). While he could get away with wearing his geek tees, he wanted to have something he could wear in case he needed to go out on a call that would seem a little more professional. And I have to say, I love the silhouette of the ones he got. They’re a bit slimmer than what used to be available, and he looks great in them.

We also bought him some new notebooks to take notes in, but bought some that looked a bit more adult and professional than the standard cheap ones.

From there, we went to Set´, our favorite upscale restaurant. Steakhouse fair with a latin twist. We first went there a couple years back, and this was our second trip in the last few months.

We started off with their crabcake, which is served in a lobster cream sauce and topped with a mango salsa. So good, we have to get our own. There’s no way we could split those bad boys. (I would post my pictures, but just go to their site where you can see well lit pics. Mine are dark and weird)

I ordered the braised short ribs, which are so tender they just fall apart the moment you touch it with a fork. It comes with a creamy polenta, and a cabernet reduction sauce. TheBoy ordered their fish special, which was a red snapper served with a risotto and fresh vegetables.

Usually we order a dessert, but we were too full to even attempt it.

Here’s the weird thing about their restaurant- I have cheated and had dairy there, without any sort of reaction like I had the other night. My only guess is that it has to do with the freshness and the quality of the ingredients. But they do work with food allergies (especially since most of their food is prepared fresh), I’ve had friends who mentioned it when they placed their reservation and had a great time out.

The only thing that bothered me this last trip was that the restaurant was pretty empty, and a couple people on the staff were loudly talking to a couple in the bar area. Very loudly. Oh well.

It’s certainly more expensive than our usual places ($9-$12 for appetizers, $19+ for entrees), but I’ve never had a bad meal there.

FAQ: Why don’t I talk about his job? While I’m willing to put myself out there, I don’t want my blogging to affect his career.

This will probably be all I mention about his new job, in fact. He’s working a day shift again, and this job won’t have the same sort of overtime/on call factor that the last one had.

Mistakes I’ve Made: The Wee Hours of the Morning

We had a lovely Thanksgiving here. The food was ready on time, everything was warm… and a lovely time was had by all!

Only I made the mistake of eating all the side dishes, two of which had dairy in them. Usually I (TMI territory here) wind up with cramps and other urgent type digestive issues. Back before I had the diagnosis, it would occasionally get worse, and I’d vomit for hours until my stomach was completely empty.

Around 1:30am, I woke up from a dream where I was in a world of LEGOs that kept vomiting little LEGO pieces. Every little minifig was puking. It was surreal. And woke with the feeling that I was going to throw up. And I did. Again and again. I went back to sleep, and woke up a half an hour later with the same feeling. And so it went up until about 4:30am. (Weirdly, the worst part wasn’t the actual vomiting, it was the panic when I’d wake back up with the feeling I was going to puke.) Somewhere in there, I was laying on the floor of the bathroom with a plastic container to puke into. Pretty pathetic, I know.

It was an excellent reminder that food reactions aren’t always the same, and that cheating on restrictions just isn’t worth it.

So please, while this was my own damn fault- this is proof positive that if a friend or family members says they don’t eat something… believe them. Cajoling them into trying just a little (and trust me, I didn’t eat a lot) could wind up putting your loved ones in a lot of pain. Just not worth it, no matter how good you think the food is.

I have a bunch of small Le Creuset baking dishes, and I think that for these shared holidays, I’ll just make my own smaller versions of side dishes and do what I do with LK- make them the night before, and reheat in the microwave. Because frankly- I love cooking, so a few extra dishes to ensure my own sanity won’t be much of a problem.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been a wee bit out of it this week. Sorry for the lack of posts.

Last year was a success when it came to Thanksgiving, so far as allergies went. I cooked the day before, making the Little Kidlet’s meal. So we’re repeating that. Right now I’m roasting a turkey breast (which doesn’t seem to be as golden as I’d hope, but we’ll just keep going with it) and already made LK’s sage stuffing. (While it’s too late to buy the ingredients for this Thanksgiving, this is a GREAT stuffing, so add it to your lists for your next holiday!)

So how do we do it? I have my own roasting pan that never has any stuffing go anywhere near it. I have a bunch of plastic containers with green lids (unlike the rest of the food storage). I also bought a bunch of plastic serving utensils in green. The idea is that the green will help signify what’s meant for LK so that cross-contamination won’t happen.

I also prepare his foods in the kitchen first. So that way I know the kitchen is clean, and then I know they stay allergen-free for him. And little by little I’ve convinced family members to ask me first before giving him anything to eat.

The only other part of his dinner will be some boiled potato (I pull out some of the potatoes before I mash them) and some asparagus.

So what are your plans? Have any helpful suggestions for doing dinners that have people with dietary restrictions? (Here’s a great link about how to treat friends with food issues/restrictions)

This week is a blur.

I know- I said I’d blog about the party… but that was part of the problem.

This weekend was a sprint to get ready for the party, and then afterwards, the Little Kidlet got sick. A common cold for my uncommon child.

So my week’s been spent running around, taking care of a sick kid…

And I’ve also been saying goodbye to Imagination Situation, the web series that I am still honored to be a part of. Creator Roby Brown is moving on to other projects, and wrote this post to explain it all.

Hopefully I can take a breath tomorrow and write something a bit more coherent.

Can we all just stop being jerks?

I was going to blog about my boys’ birthday party, but I haven’t collaged the pictures yet. So, that’ll be tomorrow.

My facebook feed is still full of people bitter that Romney wasn’t elected, spreading memes about what a horrible person Obama is. I’m slowly unfriending the people who don’t seem to care that these memes are based on lies. I just can’t tolerate that level of anger over something that happens ever four years.

With this election, I’ve been hoping that we could realize that the problem wasn’t necessarily the candidates- it’s the parties. Both are trying to edge further and further from the center, to the point where they’re satisfied with not getting anything accomplished in Congress. We need to come towards the middle to try to resolve the issues with the economy. Pulling apart just makes room for the crazies to come out (and for every honest Republican I know- you need to kick the fringe out. Speak up and say that you believe in equality. That you won’t stand for racism. That you believe in bi-partisanship. When you say nothing, you become part of the problem).

Next up, the latest “geek girls are evil” conversation comes from Tony Harris with a rant about female cosplayers being evil attention whores who are taking advantage of good, honest nerds. I say the latest because these things pop up every month like clockwork.

What people are interested in has nothing to do with gender or appearance. So you can’t guess based on it.

And I’m sick and tired of this continued assumption of Woman as Destroyer. That somehow we are there to destroy the very core of nerddom by being there. He says he sees women rejecting nerds while demanding their attention? I see men who are confused by what messages they see in comic books. They assume that women who dress as the scantily clad characters in comic books are there to be ogled (since that’s primarily their function in comic books) and treat women as objects, not people. And shockingly, the women are upset that they aren’t being treated as human beings.

I’m frustrated by the non-zero % of men & girls stick up for the people who post these thing, implying that women were asking for it by dressing scantily and that if you can’t handle it, you shouldn’t be there. (This is also the same argument that male skeptics have used to push out prominent female skeptics who tried to shine a light on the misogyny they’ve experienced. Not to mention the argument that rapists use to try to place the blame on their victims.)

If that weren’t enough, Mommyish.com posted a non-story about Taylor Swift not living up to her own example of being a strong female by saying she wants to be a 1950s housewife and let the man lead in her life. Which is weird. While she did say she didn’t want to be a feminist in an interview, they didn’t simply point out that you can be a feminist and be a stay at home mom, or let the man be the head of the house. Being a feminist is making sure that women have the choice to be what they want to be. Instead, they judged her for not being what they think she should be given her reach and wealth. (I won’t link the story, since I’m fairly certain now that it’s click bait- since I know a lot of parenting sites love to stir the whole SAHM vs working mom argument just to get page views)

At any rate… can we just stop being jerks for a couple days? People are people. We have different interests. We have the same interests. And as long as nobody’s getting hurt, we’re cool. (And in the case of the fake geek girl issues… if you perceive some slight on all women because of one woman, then the problem is with you.)

Keurig, I don’t like your ads.

I should say up front that I like Keurig. My parents have a couple (my dad uses one at work) and we used it over Christmas. Everyone enjoyed getting to have what they wanted- from my tea to particular blends of coffee.

And yes, my eco friendly parents have the reusable cups that they use for both tea and coffee at home.

But the ads…

I’m sure you’ve seen them. There are two adults and a kid in the kitchen. The adult that isn’t the mother asks about how the Keurig works, and the child answers with an imaginative story.

“Actually,” the parent says with their child a foot away. “I just push this button.”

Seriously?

Talk about horrible parenting. That’s right, strike down your child’s creativity to prove that you know everything!

The saddest part is that it only required a slightly different line by the parent to get the message across without making it seem like only insensitive parents own Keurigs.

“And to think,” the parent says with a knowing smile. “That happens when I push this button.”

To whatever agency made the Keurig ads, feel free to send me a check for that one.

Wardrobe Malfunctions. (No, not that kind)

In looking over my new Instagram profile, I wouldn’t blame the internet for coming to two conclusions:

1. I only have one cardigan, and I wear it every day.
2. I only own three tshirts, but I wear the Star Wars shirt all the time.

I have two cardigans, but I misplaced my black one for the last couple months, and so I only wore my teal ones in the morning. I know. I am horribly lazy- I have a couple light jackets I could wear.

I do have a lot more tshirts, but apparently I wear the Star Wars logo one when I feel photogenic. Or something- the shirt does make me happy.

Why do I bring this up? Today was a ridiculous day of clothing achievements. First, I put my son in a Star Wars tshirt when I was wearing one. Then I went to buy Star Wars cookie cutters while wearing a Star Wars tshirt. I didn’t intend anything, other than buying the cookie cutters.

The people at Williams-Sonoma were really amused. But we did talk about Disney buying Lucasfilm and Lucas announcing he would donate all $4 billion of that. One of the guys there then asked if I though that Episode VII would be Heir to the Empire or something new. I said that as long as it wasn’t any of the books with the Yuuzhan Vong, I’ll probably enjoy it.

By the way, I’m just glad that Instagram is finally rolling out profile pages- I was driving myself crazy trying to find older pictures of mine.

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