Hello From Ben and Daddy

Hi there!  It’s been a loooooooooooooong time, though Ben says it “hasn’t been that long”.

Ben is interested in writing a bit in a blog about books, so I am showing him how to make a blog post.   Here – in form, if not in substance – it is.

“You caught me *just* before I farted,” he said. Yes, I have mad skillz as a photographer.


Been a while. Going to try to get back ’round these parts again. Soon. Ish.  Yes, I know, you’ve heard that before.

From “Sparkle Street” in Ottawa.

His Mind Works in Three Dimensions

Ben built an “Octonauts Playset from McDonalds” tonight out of card stock and Scotch tape.  It’s a fairly sizeable cube-shaped object with a door cut into it (for easy insertion of seafaring animal explorers, no doubt.)

It’s the logical sequel, I suppose, to his work from earlier today: “How To Make Tree House”, [sic] a “making book” for those interested in the correct methods of construction in relation to arboreal domiciles. 


You can’t complain you were misled bu the title


The book details how to obtain and assemble the pieces required to erect the eponymous structure, concluding with a diagram showing the correctly installed project.

i still can’t make a really succesful illustration of a 3D cube. He’s four.

I gather that attempts to describe the construction of some sort of three-dimensional object in two-dimensional space proved unsatisfying, so he moved on to modelling the structure with the materials at hand in his immediate vicinity. I know that every parent thinks this of their child, and I think every parent is right in their own way: he’s a marvel! 


This thing is better than any toy McDonald’s ever handed out.


Is it wrong…?

…to go nearly two years without a post?  Should I not have done that?



Old X Wing Fighter, New User

Using the force apparently causes one to purse his or her lips in a rather pronounced fashion.

X Wing Fighter Lips _MG_0029

Vacation Day One: A Golf Lesson

On the Green_MG_0011

It’s vacation 2013!  Spouse and I have been off since the beginning of July. Up ’til now, we’ve been stay-cating; we’ve been doing some (but only some) of the (many) chores that need doing around the Juniorvanian estate.  That’s been mostly successful –  financing arrangements had to be made as the end of a car lease approached and decisions had to be made about whether the National Vehicle Fleet was to be augmented;  extensive yardwork needed to be done (the People’s Weed Whacker in particular was called into heavy service); general tidying and decluttering throughout the house was in required, and I even tackled the monstrous mess that was (and to a certain extent, still is) the garage.  I have installed an amplifier and an old pair of speakers in the garage, so I now have a rock and roll outdoor work area, which allows me to spend a little more time organizing, sorting through clutter and tidying.  I still have designs on using some of the airspace above the garage door to store the rear bagger assembly for the People’s Lawn Mower; there’s a pulley already in place in the general area that is just begging to fly the whole awkward contraption so that it doesn’t take so much valuable floorspace.

But staycations such as these are only so restful, so we’ve packed up the truck and headed off to Sudbury to visit Nani and Appa.

Upon arrival in Sudbury, we took a quick trip over to the golf club to which Nani and Appa belong. Ben was excited to play golf with Apps, and was very pleased to get a putting lesson from him on one of the practice greens. He was even MORE interested, once we got there, in the golf carts. After the lesson was concluded, staring at the carts lined up below the clubhouse deck, he asked me (with his usual hilariously enunciated emphasis on the interrogatory commencing the sentence) “What can we do with those golf carts, Daddy?”
I explained that WE couldn’t do anything with them, and that they were for the benefit of golfers only.
He considered that for a moment, then confidently told me, “I can practice my golf, and then we can drive one.”

Growth and Change

Ben Learns to Use the Hose

Ben has learned to use the hose; mostly to shoot daddy in the face with it.

Change: the incremental grows fundamental

And all around is new

I looked away for just a minute

Now looking back at you

I could have sworn you were so much smaller

Now squeaks and sleeps are memories

Setting like the son on the horizon of my mind.


Wow. The more I read of his stuff, the more upset I become that David Foster Wallace is no longer around to think about things and then tell us his thoughts.

TV-watching as a malignant cycle doesn’t even require special preconditions like writerly self-consciousness or loneliness. Let’s for a second imagine Joe Briefcase as now just average, relatively unlonely, adjusted, married, blessed with 2.5 apple-cheeked issue, normal, home from hard work at 5:30, starting his average six-hour stint. Since Joe B. is average, he’ll shrug at pollsters’ questions and say he most often watches television to “unwind” from those elements of his day and life he finds stressful. It’s tempting to suppose that TV enables this “unwinding” simply because it offers an Auschlanderian distraction, something to divert the mind from quotidian troubles. But would mere distraction ensure continual massive watching? Television offers more than distraction. In lots of ways, television purveys and enables dreams, and most of these dreams involve some sort of transcendence of average daily life. The modes of presentation that work best for TV – stuff like “action,” with shoot-outs and car wrecks, or the rapid-fire “collage” of commercials, news, and music videos, or the “hysteria” of prime-time soap and sitcom with broad gestures, high voices, too much laughter – are unsubtle in their whispers that, somewhere, life is quicker, denser, more interesting, more … well, lively than contemporary life as Joe Briefcase knows and moves through it. This might seem benign until we consider that what average Joe Briefcase does more than almost anything else in contemporary life is watch television, an activity which anyone with an average brain can see does not make for a very dense and lively life. Since television must seek to compel attention by offering a dreamy promise of escape from daily life, and since stats confirm that so grossly much of ordinary U.S. life is watching TV, TV’s whispered promises must somehow undercut television-watching in theory (“Joe, Joe, there’s a world where life is lively, where nobody spends six hours a day unwinding before a piece of furniture”) while reinforcing television-watching in practice (“Joe, Joe, your best and only access to this world is TV”).

From “E unibus pluram“, an amazing essay on what it means to watch TV. It is difficult to put in perspective the clarity of insight in this piece and the importance of its conclusions, but it blows my mind to think that Wallace was writing in 1992 – before the curiously ironic, but undoubtedly atomizing and isolating effects of widespread Internet use had become apparent to just about everybody.



A little bird tells me some folks might be coming this way via Grantland tomorrow. Don’t mind the cobwebs hereabouts, things have been a little slow since (I assume) aliens arrived in the night and used mind control and likely some sort of anal probe to steal all of my free time, come to think of it coincidentally right around the time my son was born.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the Albert stuff. If you’re looking for other stuff to read here, for some reason I seem to do well when writing about the People’s Lawnmower. I know, I don’t get it either, but it is funny. And there’s more.

You can almost see him getting an idea.