Friday, December 30, 2005

Jacket of Shame

Fred's Jacket 3
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This is the reason Fred will one day nip my carotid open. I'm quite sure he's capable, with a little training. Let's hope he remembers the tummy rubs and Greenies and not this atrocity.

Fred's figured out that when we start torturing him, by which I mean giving medicine, grooming or dressing him up, he's about to get a treat. Smart little monster. He and the rest of us here say Happy New Year to you all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Whom Do You Resemble?

Play around with this facial recognition thingy, it's kind of interesting. Upload a pic and see which famous person most shares your facial features, or someone else's, with a percentage of alikeness. Two different pictures of my wife came up 64% Mariah Carey and 72% Julia Roberts, whereas two of my pics came up 53% John Cusack and, disturbingly, 65% Mariah Carey. I'm pretty sure my wife will be glad I look more like Mariah Carey than she does.

From the lovely and talented Perez Hilton.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Moratorium on Baby Pictures

Merry Christmas peoples. We're having an outbreak of infant acne that is best described as enthusiastic, and have decided not to record the shame of it all for a couple of days. I'm pretty sure it's something I did and have stopped kissing Sabrina on the face in case that turns out to be true.

Wifey got in the shower holding Sabrina earlier today and she seemed to love it, allowing us to bathe her far more effectively than we have otherwise in a baby bathtub. D didn't allow direct spray on anything but her feet and lower legs, and squeezed a washcloth over her to rinse. A pleasant baby encounter all around until she pooped a little in her towel. Which is why we had two, so we could pop her right back into the shower and not have to go get a new towel.

Sabrina's Christmas plans: eat, sleep, excrete, charm parents. All achieved in excess.

Christmas Spirit

I guess we're not so bad after all. Take that, world.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Daddy's Girl

Sabrina and Daddy
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina's getting stronger and more active every day, able to hold her head up for long periods of time and even to crawl a little bit. I laid her on her belly yesterday and she struggled and strove for a a couple of minutes, kicking and clawing until she had moved a whole two inches. It reminded me of those nature shows where the larval kangaroo crawls up the mommy's belly to the pouch. Beautiful but kind of heartbreaking.

She's also gotten pretty good at sneaking bodily fluids past the borders of her diaper, which invariably soak through her outfit and blanket, and whatever my wife is wearing. I don't get as much baby contact as she does, but also I think Sabrina has made a decision not to soil me if at all possible. What a little sweetheart.

Not that it would bother me terribly. Everyone told me that while any other child's excretions are crimes against decency and happiness, your own child's diaper contents are somehow magically inoffensive. They were right.

One Uncle Mikey reader, Dicky Bird from Denver, has expressed his opinion that this blog is fast becoming an unreadable embarrassment of sappy emotionalism. That is true. I am singularly unashamed of my feelings for Sabrina, and expect to be ridiculed for it. Do your worst, my daughter just smiled at me. I'm bulletproof.

And now it's doubly ridiculous, because I turn into a mushball around Christmas anyways. I have never stopped loving Christmas like I did when I was a little kid. I can't wait for Sabrina to have her first, and second, and 20th. It's going to be frickin' awesome.

Did I mention Dicky Bird is a dirty shim?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I've Got Your Solution Right Here, Buddy

Varifrank links to this MSNBC story about New Yorkers telecommuting because they had no choice, and asks this excellent question about the inevitable telecommuting revolution:

What will hordes of clock watching middle managers do if they can't actually see the people doing the work they take credit for?

Most of the computer industry people I know actually drive to work, some over long distances. Why? And why pay rent/insurance/other bills on a large office if you don't have to? Why ask your employees to spend a major portion of their days getting ready for and travelling to and from work? Lost productivity, if you ask me. If you came into work one day and they handed you a laptop and said, "Go home and don't come back. Ever. And since you'll save 1.5-2 hours every day not showering, getting dressed and driving to and from work, you're going to work an 8.5-hour day for the same pay as an 8-hour day and like it," you'd be inclined to go along with it, wouldn't you?

UPDATE: The origins of Varifrank's essay are here:

Ask any manager this- Why it is they "need to be able to see you" to be able to tell if you are working, but they think nothing at all about outsourcing the same workload to people they dont even know on the other side of the planet?


A note to those who wish to get their managers to consider allowing you to "work at home", try calling it something else, such as "homesourcing".

Oh, and I will once and for all demolish this " boo-hoo woe is me" crap about 'working from home'. Frankly kids, you never ever will have it as good as the first day you start 'working from home'. That goes for both you and your company, its a total "win-win". It just takes some getting used to, but so does sitting in a car in heavy traffic 4 hours a day.

I Don't Know Why

I find this so funny. But I do.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Oh the Excitement

Three Sleeping Beauties
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
So far Sabrina's doing a lot more of this than anything else. She takes the longest naps, sometimes 3.5 hours and more, and does a couple of those at night on a good night. It's kind of nice although we prefer to wake her up more frequently during the day. Oliver gets at least 18 hours a day, most of them snuggled up against Mommy when he can. Strangely he's taken to sleeping at the foot of the bed at night sometimes, a new thing entirely. Fred's still in an out of under the covers all night, which would be a real pain if we hadn't gotten used to it years ago.

We agreed before the baby came we wouldn't have her sleep in the bed, mostly worried that Oliver would step on her inadvertently. He's been decent about not stomping her, and we patrol her airspace like an Aegis system, but it's still probably a bad idea. It's much easier for my wife, who can switch her from side to side and feed Sabrina lying down so they can both pass out from the hormones and not have to rearrange. She's not a roller so we're not really worried about her rolling onto the baby, and I can sleep in a tree and not fall out so I'm pretty confident I wouldn't either, but I suppose we've got to find another solution because we just couldn't forgive ourselves if anything happened to her. Maybe a cosleeper.


Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This is the look Sabrina gets that I can't quite define. Kind of taken aback, kind of horrified, a little worried, but most likely trying to fill her diaper. I used to classify all strange looks as trying-to-dump looks, but then the other day she did the prototypical half-face scrunch while she unleashed a huge load into her Huggies 1 year old (she's too big for newborn diapers) and I realized that some things you don't have to be taught, you just know how to do them. Like make the face that means you're pooping.

Burrito Baby

Sassy Burrito
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
The nurses at the hospital where Sabrina was born encourage swaddling/burrito wrapping to calm babies down when they're fussy. This does indeed seem to work at times, but usually she's fussy about a particular thing, like a dirty diaper or hunger, or needing to burp. So we haven't been wrapping her very much since we left the hospital.

Then the other day she was inconsolable and mommy needed a break and a shower. So I wrapped her little body up in one of the blankets I hijacked from the hospital (large, square and with pointy corners instead of the rounded ones we seem to have ended up with) and she calmed right down. What a little angel, so easy to manage and help when she needs something.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Kind of Thing You'd Like to See on the News

Interesting graph comparing civilian casualties in different conflicts here courtesy of Ann Althouse. Note the difference between civilian casualties since the coalition got to Iraq versus those of a similar period under Saddam.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Then Again

Cute Fred
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Fred refuses to surrender the Cute-a-thon to the nameless animal I posted earlier. If you were in the same room with him, he'd roll over, bark and do that scratching the air with both paws together thing cute dogs do when they want to play. Then you'd be powerless against his cute ray.

The Champ

I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
As cute as my wife, baby and dogs are, I don't think they can beat this dog (assuming it is a real dog and not some photoshopped thingy) for cuteness. From Cute Overload.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

And They're Off

The one-upsmanship, or -dogship, or maybe -babyship, around here is getting pretty wild. Oliver has long been the cutest thing around here that's not my wife, and now the baby has taken over the top spot. Oliver is understandably miffed and is pulling out all the stops. We were worried about him being nasty to Sabrina (or pretending not to notice her and sitting or standing on her) but frankly he seems to have decided that she and Deirdre are to be protected from me, so I get growled at a lot these days.

Fred is still reluctant to get close to Sabrina for very long, but D caught him licking her toes under the covers the other night. Lucky Sabrina, she's got a whole family around her and we all love her desperately.

The Greatest Love of All

George Benson and Whitney Houston are wrong: the greatest love is not love of self, but love of one's fellow man and woman. The brave men and women of our armed forces are the world's greatest lovers in that they have sacrificed so much to make the people of a country on the other side of the world free. I am deeply ashamed of the way the US and international press have taken up rhetorical arms against the people of Iraq, and I look forward to the day our national understanding of Iraq is more in line with that of this man:

Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.

Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.

A fellow Marine and close friend epitomizes this sentiment. Sean has served two tours in Iraq as a reserve officer. During his last tour, he was informed of the birth of his baby girl by e-mail, learned his father was dying of cancer, and was wounded in the same blast of an improvised explosive that killed his first sergeant on a dirt road in the middle of the western desert. Sean loves his family and his job, but he has made it clear that he would rather go back to Iraq than see us withdraw.[emphasis mine]

There's nothing more despicable than wishing for defeat in Iraq for no other reason than to discredit the president, but that's exactly what Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and a host of others do every day.

Close Up Baby

Tight Shot
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina is so amazing. She doesn't mind that I'm not very good at securing the diaper and am responsible for a number of messy accidents. I swear I'm not being incompetent in hopes of being excluded from diaper duty, I just don't like to strap them down so tight it seems like it must hurt. I guess you have to do that just to keep them on securely, but I'd rather clean up a mess than hurt my little girl. She's remarkably calm during every other diaper change, and seems to enjoy a song while being poked and prodded. Fortunately I'm a veritable karaoke machine of popular music and spend most of my time with her singing or rapping something, which often has a hypnotizing effect. I spent about 10 minutes doing the long version of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" the other day and she had a look of utter amazement on her face the whole time.

God I love her so much. I'm not nearly as liable to burst into tears as I was a week ago, but I'm constantly overwhelmed by my feelings for her and have zero shame about my conversion to sappy proud parenthood. It's pretty amazing to be so blessed and I'm very grateful for the experience. Thank you Sabrina, you've made me the happiest man in the world.

And I know every parent feels this way, but look at her. She's not just beautiful, she's gorgeous. Movie-star sassy. If I posted her pic on her score would be a perfect 10. I hope being so beautiful isn't too hard on her later, it can be a burden as my wife well knows.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I'll Take Two, Please

This is an extremely thoughtful Christmas gift. From Double Viking.

I Concur

They really should. Fingers crossed for 2006.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sabrina's Future, if She's Lucky

Setting a fine example
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
These lovely little angels are Hannah and Margaret T., former neighbors and the flower girls at my wedding. Their father David was probably wondering how he ended up holding yet another screeching infant, and I was probably praying that some of his baby mojo would osmosis over into Sabrina and help her grow up right.

Hannah and Margaret are exactly what I wish Sabrina could be when she's their age: sweet, kind, calm, and rarely if ever attached to a particular object or activity to a level that makes for fussing and discontent. Hell, I'd settle for being personally that way, much less my daughter. So I hope she gets a lot of time to hang with these lovely little ladies and have some of their cool rub off.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mike's New Favorite Activity

Daddy's Girl
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Watching Sabrina sleep on my chest. I can't describe how it feels to have a little person Deirdre and I created laying on top of me drawing tiny breaths and snuggling closer against me every couple of minutes. I can only imagine what it feels like to her, but there's something amazing about being used as a sleeping surface by my little girl. I could do it forever and never get bored.

On some level I enjoy knowing she's so relaxed, so peaceful and utterly safe in my arms. You can only be so supportive to an adult, but with a little baby you're providing an entire world of warmth and happiness.

Fred's ready, as always, in case it turns out the baby is full of candy or other tasty ingredients. He's been very sweet and tries to lick Sabrina's little hand when she's crying. Ollie too, they've both been fantastic. I guess we won't have to abandon them at a truck stop now. Yippee!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Baby Stuff

Impressions on babies, or rather baby clothing and accessories:

1. I can't get excited about much of anything outfit-wise other than the bag with arms and a neckhole. Diaper access is a lot easier than with garments with legs, and Rob O. from Charlotte (a high school buddy from Columbia, S.C.) suggests this for sleeping. I concur.

2. Some baby blankets are made of the softest, cushiest materials ever invented. We have a couple that my wife and I love and I'd kind of like a garment made out of one or more of them. The dogs worship them too, probably more interested in the blankets than the baby at this point.

3. Baby socks, and at this age shoes, are ridiculous. I denounce and rebuke them.

4. Diaper Genie, heated wipes, changing table, etc: all genius and much appreciated. Especially the Genie. I have been utterly horrified with the willingness of some parents to leave dirty diapers in bathroom trash bins without some kind of protective covering, like a sealed ziploc or plastic shopping bag. I suppose that after a couple of thousand diaper changes I won't give a damn either. But until then, me and the Diaper Genie are going to be inseparable.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How to Tell if Someone's an Idiot

If they compare Iraq to Vietnam to make an argument for the removal of US forces from Iraq. Varifrank makes the case effectively here:

As a result of the Democratic Party dominated US Congress abandoning the government of South Vietnam and its monetary requirements for self-defense, the free people of South Vietnam were subjugated under the tyrannical genocidal rule of an invading Communist regime. As a result, many millions of people in Cambodia, Laos, and especially Vietnam became refugees. Refugee camps opened throughout the South Pacific, and were populated in the hundreds of thousands by those who had survived the journey. Before a person could make it the refugee camp, they had to endure survival at sea and predatory pirates, who raped and killed hundred of thousands of people who were fleeing from the Communist Vietnamese regime. It has been estimated that for every person who arrived, 3 were killed in the effort. In nieghboring Cambodia, the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, (once part of the Communist Party of Vietnam) murdered 6 millions of people in the wholesale destruction of ctities and towns at a level and procifiency not seen since Nazi Germany. In Vietnam, the new communist government sent many people who did not flee and supported the old government in the South to "re-education camps", and others to "new economic zones" or what we would refer to as concentration and forced labor camps . The genocidal and fratracidal warfare waged by the Communist government of Vietnam resulted in millions of Vietnamese who risked and often lost everything in order to leave, but the process was not limited to just the former US allies in South Vietnam. In 1979, Vietnam was at war with the People's Republic of China. During this war, ethnic Chinese living in Vietnam became scapegoats to the government of Vietnam and were directly targeted by the regime. As a result, thousands of Chinese became refugees using the same routes of departure previously used by the Vietnamese themselves.

Millions of people were butchered in this genocide; millions more flee as refugees, millions incarcerated in forced labor camps. All this; because of the selfish actions of the US Congress of 1975. And yet, Howard [Dean] and the Democrats want to use this as a moment of pride.

Any former war protester with an ounce of intellectual honesty should be deeply ashamed of what they helped bring about for the people of Southeast Asia. Many of my favorite writers/bloggers/media people are those former lefties who learned a big lesson from what happened in Vietnam after we pulled out, a lesson about the nature of radicalism and liberalism. It changed them forever, and those it did not have much to explain.

Varifrank goes on:

What’s different about Iraq from Vietnam? Well for one thing, there’s no refugee crisis in Iraq. In fact, both Afghanistan and Iraq are unique in world history for being wars that didn’t create a refugee crisis, but solved them! Yes that’s right, 3 million Afghanis migrated back to Afghanistan from Pakistani refugee camps after Kabul fell to coalition troops. Marsh Arabs in Iraq who were effectively scourged from the land in southern Iraq have been returning to their newly liberated homes from camps and settlements throughout the middle east. Iraqi Kurdistan has become the fastest growing economy of the middle east, largely due to the influx of people formerly on the run from the Saddam regime.

What is it that the people on the ground know that Howard and the Democrats don’t know or won’t acknowledge?

What’s different about Iraq from Vietnam? There’s also no genocide, or civil war. Yes, there isn’t a complete peace just yet, but there wasn’t any peace in Iraq before we got there either.

Why do Democrats make such a fetish of Vietnam? Is abandoning a country and its people to genocide and enslavement really something to be proud of?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Boss

Sabrina Loupret Bolduc 2
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Last night little Sabrina lay face down on my chest for 15 minutes, doing pushups and making faces. I had assumed a huge sappy grin and she looked at me, kind of jerked and blinked, and burst into a huge baby grin, the first one I've seen her make. Then she did it again after a short blank look, and bounced up and down. It absolutely melted my heart, the best present anyone's ever given me.

I know, she was probably taking a dump in her pants, but I don't even care. I'm a goofy, emotional, sentimental dad now, and proud of it (in the future I imagine that will be something I'll have to tone down in order to not embarrass her too tragically - to which I can only say I'll try). She is a blessing of the first order and the fabric of reality melted and refroze in a different pattern as soon as I saw her beautiful little face.

And in addition to the reassessment of every person, place and thing in the universe using criteria heretofore unknown, I'm basically her slave now and would rather die (and more importantly, kill) than see her unhappy. I hope to find some way to trick her into not knowing that before she asks for a car.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sabrina the Wise and Lovely

Sabrina Loupret Bolduc 1
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Man am I a bad photographer. Fortunately others are better and at least one professional has already immortalized her, so I don't really have to be that good. But you get the idea: she's gorgeous. And her little voice is (from what we're told by a number of nurses) that of an older baby, not very high-pitched or screechy when she cries. She can also hold her head up pretty well, which surprised the hell out of me.

I knew mothers were liable to have a tsunami of maternal love batter their emotional coastlines after giving birth, but I had no idea how much I could love someone I just met. I know she'll break my heart a hundred times like I and every one of you did to our parents, but I can't believe that will ever change the fact that she's my whole world. And that world has changed forever, and me with it. I almost feel like an adult.

On the way home from the hospital yesterday, I looked at the cars around me and thought, "If any of these psychos drives like I did three days ago, something bad could happen to my baby Sabrina." And I realized what a butthole I've been, getting impatient with slow drivers even when they have kids on board. Ah the painful process that is learning not to be a butthole. So bittersweet.

The Two Most Important People in the World

Sabrina and Deirdre
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
My wife Deirdre is one amazing woman. I'm not just saying that because she's forbidden me to post pictures of her on this blog and would be even more pissy if she knew I was posting a pic of her after labor, I'm saying it because she gave birth to 9 lb. 10 oz., 22 inch long Sabrina after less than an hour of effort. What a badass. She is officially my hero forever.

And my gorgeous little girl Sabrina is such an angel. I burst into tears when I heard her first tiny cries and still choke up every time I think about her. This isn't her best pic (stay tuned for many, many more) but the star of this show has been my beautiful wife. She's made me the happiest man in the world. Too bad she'll never read this as she thinks blogging is both gay and retarded (she doesn't actually use those words, but I get her drift).