Thursday, August 30, 2007

William Charles Richard

Please welcome our newest addition to the family.

William Charles Richard

Born: August 28, 2007 at 1644 (that’s 4:44 pm EST)
Weight: 8 pounds, 9 ounces
Measurements: 20 inches long, 33 cm head, 33.5 cm chest
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown or blue (still hard to tell)

We arrived at the hospital late Monday night as Yvonne was having some labor pains on a regular basis. They were busy with a number of other expectant mothers and we were lucky enough to get a regular birthing room as Yvonne was “most likely to deliver.” Our first round with the anesthesiologist was not good as he said she couldn’t have an epidural. Thankfully our doctor intervened and she got the green light for the “good stuff.” Our nurses were very nice and after several hours of waiting, we finally got the word that things were ready to happen. Labor was very short and actually had to be delayed a bit as we waited for the doctor (he had to be paged “STAT”).

Baby William arrived safe and sound and in time for Yvonne to get through delivery before dinner (she had already missed 3 or 4 meals already). After dinner, we were moved from the birthing room to the regular rooms. We spent the night and did our best to sleep while the nurses came in to check on Yvonne.

Yesterday Elizabeth came to visit and was pretty excited to finally see her baby brother. She has done a great job in helping us change, feed, and take care of him. I’m sure in the coming days and years, she’ll be a good big sister.

Today we spent most of the day waiting for William to get circumcised (for all you expectant fathers out there, I do not recommend even looking in that general direction until it has healed; it’s scary enough to give you nightmares). Once the procedure was done, we were released to come home. We picked up Elizabeth, pizza for dinner, and spent the night getting settled in.

Thanks for reading and good night!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Kvothe - Cover Art, Dedication, Acknowledgements, and the Map

The Name Of The Wind
By Patrick Rothfuss

A detailed analysis by Neil Richard
© 2007 Productions

Cover Art

The cover art by Donato is available in two options; the old stone man or the bare-chested teenage boy. While a devout straight man, I was somehow drawn to the bare-chested young man. Something about his eyes and the way he looked out from the cover made me want to buy the book (which is initially what got me hooked on this novel). The old stone man can be seen in the background, but even on the cover without the young man, it’s a little too boring for my tastes.

After reading the book and looking at the cover again, you will want to pay special attention to the lute and the book in his hands.

Dedication, Acknowledgements, and the Map

The book is dedicated to Patrick’s parents. Nothing entirely special but perfectly suited for a man who often sounds like a kid at heart.

The acknowledgements are distinct in that one leads into the other. He ends most with a “I never would have” statement that draws the reader into the next paragraph. A subtle clue to the writer’s ability.

The map is the most disappointing portion of the book. As you read along, you’ll notice that nearly all of the small towns mentioned are not on the map. For those geographically-oriented readers like myself, this is an important setback.

F Dash Dash Dash

First, no baby yet - so don't ask.

Second, kudos if you get the reference to the Title of today's post. One of the best movies ever!

Third, on with today's discussion. How was your weekend? Do anything exciting? Saturday was spent mostly inside for us. It was 100 degrees (plus another 10 or so due to humidity) and I had no desire to go outside to cut the grass. Plus it was so humid it didn't really dry out from the morning dew.

But we did some laundry and various chores. Yvonne took her sewing machine to get repaired. Not sure how much she'll sew on it, but as long as she stays away from sewing buttons on my underwear, I'm cool.

Hmmm, oh, that's right. We also recovered a bit Saturday from our trip (this makes three) tot he hospital. Yvonne had some blurry vision and more contractions. She called the doc, the doc said come in, so we came in. The lab work came back fine, just a little low on potassium. I couldn't help but laugh when the nurse said to eat bananas and leafy green vegetables. That's like getting me to eat raw oysters. Yuck.

Sunday was another lazy day. We went to town to buy new towels (our old ones were getting a bit funky). We got maroon last time so opted for mustard this time. No sea foam - YEAH!

And I picked up another toy. Which brings me back to the title of the post. The 16GB A-DATA USB drive I got from Newegg sucked. It sucked worse than a hoover vacuum. I tried three machines and it wasn't recognized (some stupid Code 10 error in the Device Manager). So, I returned it today to Newegg for a refund.

And my new toy costs the same amount of money (even factoring in the restocking few of the other one) and give me a lot more real estate to work with. I'm now sporting a 120GB Seagate Free Agent drive. It's already been formatted, I've moved my data, and it runs great. Two big downsides to this drive are it's size and cabling. It's roughly the size of a wallet, so it's certainly bigger than my little thumb drive. And the cable it came with is a USB-Y cable, one side for power, the other for power and data. BUT - it works with just a regular cable. So voila! I only have to worry about size now.

See lady's, smaller is better!

And on that note, I'm off to smooth out my Kvothe post for today. Oh, and I'll work on getting some new photos and video of Elizabeth up too.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Late breaking news

No----No baby yet-----keep your pants on folks

The late breaking news? Well, the guy that was going to translate my Norwegian letters pretty much gave me the brush off saying he could only read about half of the sample letter. Well crap. That doesn't help.

But the real news I wanted to report was I have been ...............

without ....................

(dare I say it) ...........................

a soda since (drum roll please) ........................................................................

Tuesday afternoon.

I feel like such a junkie. But a junkie that's really trying to eat healthy.

1 toy down, 1 to go

My first toy arrived yesterday. And the damn thing doesn't work. One would think all USB devices are created equal, but alas, it cannot be read by three different machines (two WIN XP, one Vista).

With my play time foiled, my next toy is due to arrive today. I can only hope for a better reaction.

And no, no baby yet. Believe me, that will be newsworthy enough to announce.

And while I sit idly and wait for feedback on War Wagon and for translations of the Norwegian family letters, I've started yet another project: a detailed analysis of The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Figured I'd get nitty gritty while doing my re-read. Does anyone have suggestions on how I should format this? So far I've just been keeping notes in a Word document. Should I be posting spoilers out here for the world to read or should I do something different? Suggestions welcome.

And I just finished Season 2 of Deadwood, which means I'll watch some of the special features then crack open Season 3. I'm so excited!

And here's a little blast from the past, Elizabeth showing her team colors:

From Early October

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And speaking of Kvothe

Just as I was thinking (and writing) about Patrick Rothfuss' The Name Of The Wind, what do I see? Lo and behold, the cover for book 2.

No baby yet

No change in status yet, but I'm still waiting for Yvonne to call in the next half hour or so after she's done at the doctor's this morning. I know she's ready to have the baby, but I think she'll have to wait a few more days. Not that I want her to wait, but that's just my guess.

As for me, well, I'm still a bit fuzzy headed from my Sudafed, but I'm well enough today to come to work and spread my germs. The only way to truly cure yourself of any illness is to pass it to someone else.

In other news, I put down Scott Lynch's The Lies Of Locke Lamora to re-read The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Locke was okay and I haven't entirely given up on it, but it just wasn't progressing as fast as I'd like. Not as slow as A Game Of Thrones, but slow enough to make me want to stop reading. So I'm back to reading about Kvothe. And I'm likely setting another new record with this book as I'm re-reading it so soon after I've finished reading it. I don't re-read often, but this book speaks to me (and not just because I'm taking Sudafed either).

Well, still no word from Yvonne, so I'm going to close this post and go back to catching up on work and eagerly awaiting my two toys that still haven't arrived yet - dammit, I want them NOW!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thunderin' Thumper

* Please pardon my Sudafed induced daze. I seem to have developed a sniffle yesterday that has developed into a night of only being able to breath through my mouth. Yuck.

I'm back to my crazy post titles. Just don't ask where this one came from because I simply don't remember. Something I thought about posting about last night and, well, that particular thought has escaped me. Probably when I blew my nose.

We had some heavy storms last night. Bad enough to take out the satellite TV. Not that there was anything worth watching, but it figures it would go out right when Chef Gordon Ramsey guest stars on Top Gear. And when I tried to watch Deadwood on DVD, it crapped out too. Nuts.

I'm eagerly awaiting two new toys. The first is my new jump drive (aka USB drive, thumb drive, flash drive, etc.). I had been thinking about replacing my 2GB one when Yvonne got a new 4GB one. Well, that made me start shopping. So I found a nice 8GB one that had solid reviews for a decent price and bookmarked it for later. My bonus came and I decided to splurge for the even better priced 16GB model. It's due to arrive this week. And I'll suffer the color when I have all my family history at hand when I do research.

My other toy is something I've been looking to replace for years. I bought a nice Spyderco Delica ClipIt so long ago, I don't even remember when I bought it. Might have been in college. Maybe before then (I'm sure Yvonne will remember though). Well, years of use and abuse has put several nicks and chips in the blade as well as dulled the serrated edge. So, after a long search of about 30 minutes, I found the perfect replacement. Meet the Spyderco Rescue 79.

Not only does it have the rounded tip to prevent inadvertent stabbing, it also has a serrated blade with a section that is non-serrated. But it gets better. The grip has a whistle. Something that can be used in an emergency or survival situation. AND (it gets even better with this), the grip also has a retractable window punch. This means I don't need to search high and low for a easily portable punch that can be used to break windows (something like this device does).

So, those are the new toys arriving soon. Beyond that, I still need to make some sort of tie-down for the drainage pipes we're running from our gutters. Henry has a tendency to get his chain wrapped around the one in the back and it's a pain to get him untangled.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Report

So, my good friend (should it be "e-friend" since I've never met him in person?) Paul likes to ask his readers what their weekend plans are. Well, I like to tell my readers what I did over the weekend. Maybe if I ask instead of tell, I'll get more responses? A question for me to ponder while I type....

Saturday was, well, Saturday. Yvonne went to her class (part two of the Access class we went to the week before) in the morning. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and I went to swim class, something I endorse but don't enjoy participating in. Something about looking like a young gorilla makes me a bit self-conscious. Yes, young gorilla. I may be going grey, but I'm not that hairy.

After swim class we came home and I cleaned Yvonne's van. Full vacuum, dust, and window cleaning. Plus a wash (but no dry). After that, I took a nap. Yes, I was tired, but from lack of sleep, not from washing the van. Elizabeth was nice enough to color, play with her puzzles, and generally do a good job and not burning down the house. Glad she hasn't learned too many of my bad habits.

Oh, almost forgot. She locked me out of the house too. She's known how to lock the glass/screen door but for some reason decided to do it while I was getting the paper and trashcan. Luckily she let me in. And she got a talking to about it.

After Yvonne got home, I cut our grass. I pulled a few weeds, but nothing major. And technically, I guess it was crabgrass, not weeds. After that, I went to Dad's house to cut his grass. Amazing what bizarre memories come to the surface when you're cutting a yard you haven't cut on a regular basis since high school.

I came home, showered, and we went to the local pizza place to pick up a dinner.

Sunday was a little more laid back. Elizabeth was nice enough to wake up and join us in bed (like it isn't crowded enough). She went back to sleep for a bit then developed a case of antsy pants. So we sent her off to the latest and greatest Sunday morning indulgence (which we've used twice now) ------ Noggin. I hate using the TV as a babysitter, but it's so damn convenient.

We got up a little while later and had waffles before going to town to shop. And that was about it for the weekend. Everything else that occurred wasn't really worth mentioning (do you really want to know about washing clothes or doing dishes?).

So, those are the highlights of my weekend. What did you do?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm a star!

Well, this ranks right up there with my not quite staring role on the Snakes On A Plane DVD!
Thanks Paul!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Get those stitches ready

Because your side is going to need them.

I've taken the liberty of proving, yet again, that I'm a spaz. But in today's post, you'll see how it's been a condition I've carried since high school.

* for those having trouble reading the poem, here's a transcription:

Oh, Christmas tree,
oh Christmas tree
watch out for the bumble bee.
But don't worry,
he landed on my knee.
And then he stung me.
It hurt so bad I had to pee.
That's when I saw the bee stinging the flea.
That made me very happy.
'Cuz i don't like fleas.
And they don't like me.

But not to worry. In college I got help. I learned that I'm not the only spaz out there. Though she was not as bad as I was, she was pretty close. Her name was Yvonne Rivera.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Huh? What?

I'm in a daze at the moment. You know when you eat a meal and your body decides to send some much needed energy to your stomach to digest things you start to slip into a post-lunch coma of sorts?

Well, that's where I am at the moment, doing my best not to turn into a narcoleptic.

And along that vein of thought, I'll be keeping myself awake by putting you to sleep with the boring events of my life. No, no. No need for a sleeping pill. And please don't read this while you're driving.

And you might want to put a pillow between you and the keyboard in case things go drastically wrong.

A Game of Thrones by "Rail Road" Martin - I haven't touched this one in ages. I've just about given up.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - Trying to make my way through this one, but I've got limited amounts of interest at the moment.

War Wagon - Still stuck on hold as I gather steam slowly to return to the writing habit I've lost. I'm awaiting feedback from a professional editor on my first 15 pages as well as feedback from Epheros on the same 15 pages (no rush, whenever you're done with your reviews).
Unnamed 1 - I have an interesting idea around a container ship on the ocean. Simply an idea now.
Unnamed 2 - I have another interesting idea about a modern pirate ship. Same as above, simply an idea.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather - Almost done with this one. Kind of depressing, but a decent account of how things were in Nebraska in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Harry Potter #1 - Waiting on deck.

Survivorman - If it weren't for Les Stroud, I would not know half what I do about survival. Here's to hoping I never have to use it.
Hell's Kitchen - Just finished but I'm curious to see how Ramsey's Americanized version of Kitchen Nightmares will do. His BBC version is pretty good.
Monk - Monk isn't my idol, he's just what I could become under the wrong (or right) circumstances.
Psyche - The funniest show on TV right now.
Deadwood - My guilty pleasure. Plus I need to catch up so I can get into Season 3.
M*A*S*H and Friends - These are during dinner or dish time.

A bunch of chili for lunch. That's why I'm sleepy and full of hot air.

Clearly not enough if I'm tired. It sounds odd, but I'm hoping to get more sleep once the baby arrives. At least then I know I can get a decent night of sleep every other day.

More family history (hopefully from Dad's Nebraska trip)
A final edit on my video for work (only 4 months late)
A new USB drive (2 GB just isn't big enough)
A new knife (a chipped blade isn't pretty)
New sunglasses (it's been a few years and I'm due)
A final grade in my class (I know what it is, it just isn't "official" yet)
More writing.....well, maybe now I'm getting in the dreams section of life
And let's not forget the new baby (which I still think will come before the end of the month)

Asleep yet? No? Well congratulations.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A little Meme in the morning

So, my cousin's wife Melissa tagged me with this little Meme.

4 things about me you may not have known:
1. I was named after my great aunt and uncle (Neil from my uncle, Lee from my aunt)
2. I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive
3. It takes me at least 30 minutes to fall asleep
4. I learned to drive in a Suburban on I-10 in the middle of Texas

4 Jobs I've Had:
1. Shipping Clerk (two different places)
2. Baker's Assistant
3. Security Guard
4. Lifeguard (three different places)

4 Movies I can watch over and over again:
1. Star Wars (obvious, isn't it?)
2. The Great Escape
3. Goonies
4. Back to the Future

4 Favorite TV shows:
1. CSI (all of them)
2. Psyche
3. Deadwood
4. M*A*S*H

4 Favorite Hobbies:
1. Reading and collecting books
2. Attempting to write
3. Genealogy
4. Ephemera

4 Places I have lived:
1. Shelby, NC
2. Salt Lake City, UT
3. Bellevue, WA
4. Edinboro, PA

4 Favorite Foods:
1. Cheeseburgers
2. Steak (on the grill)
3. King Crab legs
4. Pasta

4 Places I would rather be right now:
1. At home in bed
2. Half Moon Bay, Antigua
3. Anywhere in Europe
4. In Arizona

4 Websites I check daily:
1. Gmail
2. Google Reader (which lets me check hundreds of other sites in one place)
3. Vintage Mustang Forums
4. My credit union

4 People I tag:
1. Epheros (if he isn't too busy to crawl out from under his rock)
2. Mom (because she's one of the few people that will read this)
3. Paul A. (because he might draw a comic about it)
4. Anyone that wants to be my friend (or enemy)

Monday, August 13, 2007

A patron of the arts

Yvonne and I have been going to the local dinner theater for some time now and have had many a good evening on the town. Well, afternoon actually since somebody gets sleepy after dinner.

Anyway, yesterday was A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. It was fairly funny, but not anywhere near the hilarity of Nunsense. But a good 2nd or 3rd place over all the shows we've seen. And I could clearly see Larry Gelbart's hand in this as there was a very M*A*S*H-like flavor at times to the comedy. And did you know he wrote And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself?

Anyway, the play was good, the food was decent (should have skipped the teriyaki steak for the salmon), I even ate some asparagus, but the coughing lady behind us had to go. She sounded like a 2-pack-a-day smoker with lung cancer and emphysema that had a touch of bronchitis.

Saturday, I cut Dad's grass while he's on vacation. It brought back some odd memories of cutting that yard as a kid. I even used the same damn John Deere mower. It moved slower than I remember, but I think my legs got a bit longer since middle school. In the morning, Yvonne and I went to an Access I class. Very basic, which is what I needed, but I learned that I'll never be using Access unless I have to. I can work much faster and cleaner in Excel.

And Friday I took off to get my eyes checked. Yvonne is a bit upset because she's only slightly better than 20/20 where I'm a perfect 20/10. She doesn't like to loose. We spent the rest of the day (Friday) shopping before going home where I cut (and trimmed) our grass.

So, that was eyes, shopping, and grass for Friday; class and grass on Saturday; laundry and a play Sunday. Long weekend.

But good.

This coming week I hope to finish O'Pioneers! by Willa Cather (on audio CD) so I can start my Harry Potter marathon. Then I have more Deadwood to watch (almost done with all the extras on Season 1). And I'm sure something else will come up along the way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Challenge-edited-

So, my cousin's wife Melissa, issued a challenge on her blog a few days back asking for anyone that found this particular blog (or post) to post a message.

But I want to take it a bit further.

So here's my challenge:

Simply post your name and where you are (geographically, not emotionally or mentally......unless you really want to).

I'll start.

My name is Neil and I'm either -edited-

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

7 Things You Need To Know About Barbers

As inspired by Paul's comic yesterday, here are “7 Things You Need To Know About Barbers.”

First, never say your haircut looks bad when they ask. After all, they are holding scissors or some other sharp object that can easily be thrust into your jugular.

Second, if a barber asks what guard number you prefer, he (or she) is NOT a barber in the truest sense of the word. A real barber will know what to use when you ask for a “long crew” or a “flat top.” Most even know what you mean when you ask for “handlebars” or “fenders.”

Third, I hate to be sexist, but I’ve never met a female barber. I’ve met some that pretended fairly well, but they wouldn’t know the difference between a straight razor and a Gillette Mach 3.

Fourth, a straight razor across the back of your neck is right behind sex and chocolate as one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience. Assuming of course that the individual using it is qualified. Otherwise you’re better off with that damn Gillette.

Fifth, a good barber will know when to speak and when to shut the hell up. My old barber would make some small talk but knew when to keep his trap shut. If I didn’t speak, neither did he. My current barber speaks too much. And it’s because of his open mouth policy that I’ve learned he’s rather bigoted and possible racist. And to top it off, he’s a Republican. Maybe I should cut my own hair.

Sixth, to even out the “sharp object” ratio, I simply carry my gun when I get my hair cut. Now I can say he missed a spot without fearing for my blood spilling on the floor.

Seventh, a good barber will provide you porn and coffee. Not being a coffee drinker, only half of this is important to me. But what’s odder still, my old barber (who has been cutting my hair and my father’s for 20+ years) must still see me as a child because he only gives his copies of Playboy to my Dad.

And the scary part about all this? I came up with these 7 things off the top of my head. Maybe I should do some work today, no?

Monday, August 06, 2007

A letter from Yvonne

Hello all--

We have gotten several calls and emails about the Fisher Price Toy Recall. I have checked out the site with pictures of all the toys and all the information. Elizabeth does have several of the toys listed, however her toys were not purchased in the time window given by Fisher Price (May 1, 2007 - August 2007). The items she has were purchased prior to those dates. She is safe and so are her toys. She does not currently need any "replacement" toys.

On another note, we have been teaching her how to do some typing by color coding the keyboard for her. She seems to be doing well and really enjoys IMing people. We have been using the desktop computer in the baby's room more this summer even though the camera is not hooked up to it she is still having a blast typing. So if you don't have Windows Live Messenger yet, now is a great time to get it. It is free and Elizabeth would love to IM you. She knows how to look to see if people are signed on and how to tell if they are typing to her.

She is learning her phone number and can almost always tell it to you. We are still working on it everyday. She can tell you the name of her street, but not our house number. She is learning to recognize and name her letters as well as how to make them using sign language. She is able to tell you her full name (and will correct you if you call her something else - as many of you know last summer she called her self Bizzy - she became very upset at one of her friends who called her this yesterday at the pool. She told him my name is Elizabeth Leona Richard. The little guy just turned 2 in June and didn't really know what to make of her comment.) She is also able to tell you the baby's full name and will correct people if they try to shorten it. We are also practicing counting and 1:1 correspondence daily. I have been tutoring a girl going to kindergarten and a girl going to 2nd grade and I think she does better than they do on some of the tasks (like counting). She has great recall of stories we read and just stuff in general. But she loves reading and that makes both mom and dad happy.

She has also been very interested in the two hummingbird feeders we have put up on the porch. She likes to watch them and can't seem to understand why they fight over the food. Honestly it is pretty neat to see them out there. We often get about 12 -15 birds buzzing around at a time. Prior to putting the feeders up, I had no idea how feisty they little birds can be, but now I have learned they are like little dogs -- and will fight it out and make themselves known no matter how big the opposition is. (They continue to fight with the finches that have made a nest in one of my hanging baskets). Neil has put some video of the birds on his web page if you are interested.

Well that is about all for now. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

A little Mustang Paparazzi

Saw this car awhile back and snapped a picture with the camera phone. Totally forgot I had it.

Doing a jig-edited-

So, the minor news first, so it won't be overshadowed by the big news.

First, I've sent a file to a grad student at the University of Wisconsin to be translated. The letter is one of many that I've obtained that are in Norwegian. I have a friend, Kai, in Norway, but don't want to impose on him too much. So, with a little help from the grad student, I hope to have most if not all of the letters translated. Here's one of the envelopes:

From The Richard E...

Second, I've sent the first 15 pages of my story off to a published author (Jeff VanderMeer) for an edit and critique. This is likely my biggest news and the scariest moment for me right now. Not many people know I've been writing anything, let alone a story. We'll see what happens. And apologies to Epheros, as he's been my right-hand man in writing this story (I'll be sending you more to read when you finish what you have).


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What makes you different?

So I've been scrounging around recently in an attempt to gather family history items. I have been fortunate enough to get a large collection from my aunt in Nebraska as well as a large amount of photos from my uncle in Arizona (one of them). My dad is on his way to Nebraska for a family reunion (his mother's branch) so I can only hope to get more info.

Genealogy is one of those hobbies I dabble in when I get time. To date, with the help of many, many others, I've amassed a family tree that has 29,000 individuals spanning back to 1331.

Let that sink in for a second.

1331. That's before the Black Death in Europe. That's before the Ming Dynasty in China. That's before Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Frightening and curious all at once.

So, needless to say, I enjoy it. And so far, I've enjoyed the letters and documents I've been able to find (and scan) dating back to 1863 (with most in the 1900-1930 range). Well, this morning I came across one about me.

One that clearly explains why I'm a bit "different" than others. Read this excerpt and tell me what you think.