For a good explainer video about the Fancy Rat, click here.
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
I just finished watching “Incredibles 2” with the daughter in Spanish. This is not a language with which I am very familiar. Not a problem, as I enjoyed the design and palette of the film without the distraction of English words.
The film is awesome in that the central drama was family dynamics, how changing circumstances forced Mr. Incredible (Bob) to put aside his crime-fighting and be a stay-home dad. At home he is beset by problems of his toddler's developing superpowers, his daughter’s crush on a boy complicated by her dual identity of crime-fighter and teenager, and his son’s need for homework help. All this is compounded by his eroding self-worth as society has made his past crime-fighting illegal.
The absolute averageness of Bob at home is hilarious and inspiring. He tries and fails, asks for help, eventually succeeding, showing himself to be a committed and caring father.
Of course there are epic battle scenes with clever and sophisticated villains. The fusions of mid-century décor and futurism is stunning.
My favorite scene is the toddler having a full-on, crazyfight with a kung-fu raccoon raiding the garbage.
This film wins Portdaddia’s highest rating: Five Stokes!
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Last night the kid and I heard Bhaskar Sunkara speak about socialism in the modern age. His points were interesting and gave the kid good data to ruminate on.
I'm glad the kid heard a political thinker speak, as the ideas weren't couched in the vocabulary of policy initiatives that dominate our news cycles.
Plus, we got doughnuts on our way home.
Stoke to our doughnut-making comrades!
Monday, May 13, 2019
In the past I have criticized people on social media who posted their Strava rides/runs/walks way too frequently. I told everyone who would listen I had stopped using the app to clock my every movement, as I felt it was yet another method of virtue signaling that corrupted the original intent of the activity.
Then I signed up for the Round the Mountain 2019, a three-day hike of the Timberline Trail on Mt. Hood. I did it last year and suffered greatly. I want to do it again this year and suffer less, so I installed Strava to clock my longer walks so to become accustomed to journeys over 10 miles.
Last Saturday I had the wife drop me off at the Wildwood Trail where it intersects at Germantown Road. The road distance to this point from home was 9 miles, so I figured a few miles more would be total hiking distance back. After a few hours of walking I realized my mistake.
I had adequate food and water, the weather was perfect, and I could have bailed at many points along the way. Podcasts and playlists made my journey pleasant for most of the distance.
I expect academics and serious amateurs to give me crap for being a Strava-obsessed maniac, ruining the outdoors with tech and earbuds – but, hey, it was one awesome day.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
In 2001, before I had a blog, I made lists to amuse and entertain, mostly myself. The above is my list of things to do surrounding the birth of our daughter.
Do not mention rotating blue hexagon during labor:
This was meant as a reminder to not be a smartass and make fun of all the woo-woo stuff we suffered through during our childbirth classes. Still, we had a doula and did all kinds of woo-woo stuff. We just did it really, really earnestly, leaving the commentary for later.
No sending of plush toys:
This was a real thing. We both agreed we would wait on having mountains of plus toys for a few weeks.
Be serious! Really
No explanation needed
It's your day, woman's day
This is a reference to the Peter Gabriel song "Woman's Day." I was being a smartass.
More mockery of the heartfelt sincerity offered to us by medical professionals in our childbirth class.
Flexidus -- movement of the shorty
Riff on the Bob Marley song "Exodus" -- I would sing the above lyrics when the kid would do an inter-utero kung-fu kick.
I'll leave it to the academics and serious amateurs to deliver my verdict.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Monday, May 6, 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
The gray rat Irving is not doing well. After visits to the vet and some antibiotics the only other course of action for his respiratory infection is a steam nebulizer treatment.
Last night I put both rats in a cage and set them in the bathroom while I showered, hoping the hot, moist air would help. It did not.
Irving is a year and a half. The average life expectancy of fancy rats is only two years.
A few weeks ago, someone noticed how attached we are to our rats, wondering how we could go through the heartbreak of loving animals with such a short lifespan. I didn’t know how to answer as we haven’t yet gone through the experience.
I’m hoping Irving can recover from his infection and live a bit longer. We need him!
Sunday, April 28, 2019
Regarding a donation in reaction to the recent synagogue shooting, our family will be donating additional money to HIAS – the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
The Poway shooter in his manifesto said he was a white supremacist and wanted to show support for the Pittsburgh shooter. Both men worried the purity of the white race would be diluted with immigrants.
HIAS was founded for Jews arriving on these shores but now operates to help immigrants in general.
If the root cause of the shootings was a willingness by Americans to tolerate racism and white supremacy, I can think of no better reaction than to support HIAS.
If you wish to participate, here is the link:
Saturday, April 27, 2019
When does a container lack substance to the point it should no longer be placed in the refrigerator?
An empty box holding not even a residue of food should not be placed in the refrigerator.
But what about the above container?
It might conceivably contain a half teaspoon of spinach dip. I am conflicted. Part of me would have just grabbed an inch of matzoh and killed the dip, while the other part believes I would be rewarding my future self with a quick bite if I returned the container to the fridge.
While yet another part of me believes I would be taunting my future self by being a smartass in the present – ha-ha, you thought there was food here!
This is the headspace I reside in. I know.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Sometimes the daughter and I like to pretend we are the mutant cyborg offspring of David Byrne’s cowboy-hat-wearing character in the film “True Stories.” I call these times moments of earnest conceptual abstraction. Here is an example:
Imagine the totality. Everything. All that you can imagine. The universe and beyond.
Then imagine the singularity. The complete totality compressed into a subatomic particle that the highest level of theoretical physics cannot yet prove exists.
Between these two extremes exists a box, that is refrigerator size because it is in fact a refrigerator. One section houses the freezer section, in which the ice cream cake resides at an appropriate temperature.
In this way I shared the information about the special dessert we had in honor of a birthday. Good times.