Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Friday, April 18, 2003  


Mr. Baby has had recurrent bouts of grunt-n-struggle fussiness (well, gosh) and I'm currently dealing with it as I know how to deal with everything -- by making a mix CD. The two kinds of music I can imagine sending Elliott into a drooling trance are: Hawaiian slack-key guitar and Indonesian gamelan music. I think the latter comes to my mind because I spent an early evening in Bali falling into a very deep and slightly disconcerting sleep to an evening of gamelan music under some particularly fat blue stars. There were dancers acting out some obscure bit of the Ramayana -- which as far as I can tell, consists of tens of thousands of obscure bits -- but about all I remember is those metallic bells flashing and flashing in overlapping circles. That, and the smell of the jungle loosing steam into the night air (something we can't duplicate in Elliott's nursery), was a definite narcotic.

Anyway, Elliott is currently wrapped to my chest (more on that device later) and this music is playing -- yes, it's that old standard "Kucap-Kicup" -- and he's fast asleep. See if the same thing happens to you.

And any other suggestions for narcotic music are greatly welcomed.

  posted by Andy @ 1:28 PM §

Tuesday, April 15, 2003  

Since I intend to become an educator -- sort of an edutainer, or entercator if you will -- I thought I would begin entercating my 'blog audience. Today: fun with optical illusions: Big or little?

Notice that in this photograph of Dana there seems to be giant mule and rider bearing down on her:

And yet in this next image:

That's a tiny mule! And yet, in both photographs, the image of the mule and rider is the same size! (Use your thumb or other digit for measurement if you don't believe me.)
How can this be true? Well, perhaps this will explain what is going on. On the other hand, it may not.

  posted by Andy @ 1:37 PM §

Monday, April 14, 2003  


Elliott and the Stim Mobile.

  posted by Andy @ 6:16 PM §

Elliott had his public debut yesterday, when we took him to a party populated with Dana's former coworkers and their children. He aced the whole thing by sleeping through it (like good parents, we praised him for his accomplishment). This was my first parent-intensive gathering, and as a result my first practice at the baby-baby-baby talk I'd always heard from a distance. Grown adults like myself, it turns out, can talk in unlimited detail about the rudimentary accomplishments of our children -- holding their heads up, sleeping, sticking their hands in their mouths, miming to music, playing by themselves, latching on to the breast, not refusing clothing. Many of us talked to each other out of a haze of sleeplessness; everyone had that larger-scale disorientation that parents have. It comes when you have traded your commitment to setting and acheiving your own rational goals for the patience to sit and wait for someone else's basic life functions to fall into place.

We do wait, and watch, and take minor notes. It's what Dana and I do all day and much of the night, but even if we had working lives I bet the waiting and watching and minor notes and babyface and fluids and breathing patterns would take over. Reasonable adults with orderly lives get reduced to a primitive biological level. I like that -- I've always liked seeing "adults" reduced (as opposed to reducing themselves, which most of the adults with any responsibilities have done in recent years). The dignity and propriety of most adults' lives is ridiculous -- it deserves a kick in the nuts, and that is what a baby is. (It's worth listening to Tom Waits on this issue.)

  posted by Andy @ 3:05 PM §

If you're a Mariners fan who likes baseball discussion, until recently you were limited to either a huge volume of moronic talk or intelligent discussion with the occasional mention of the Mariners. Now there's U.S.S. Mariner, which has a sense of humor, a nice background in statistics and history, and no shame about getting ridiculously detailed in its baseball talk. Good stuff.

  posted by Andy @ 2:46 PM §

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