27 August 2009

26 August 2009

Negotiations 101

The Huffington Post has a revealing statement from McCain. Its interesting not because its McCain who said it, because I don't believe he matters much anymore. Rather, it reveals what I observe as a fundamental tenet of the modern conservative movement.

"He had a unique way of sitting down with the parties at a table and making the right concessions, which really are the essence of successful negotiations," McCain said

Um, no. That's not the essence of successful negotiations. That's the essence of belligerence. Successful negotiation consists of finding a way to contribute to each other's goals together. Its basic game theory as well as Obama's one true strength. Its sad so many people don't grasp this fundamental lesson in human interaction.

Update: The Stupid! It Burns! After that brilliant quote from McCain above, we have Wolfie with probably the dumbest statement I've heard in a long time.

23 August 2009

Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

Alright, maybe not lazing; but, procrastinating on a Sunday evening. Its about time to buckle down and get some work done; but, I'm not very motivated to start working. Meetings don't start for another 1.5 hours. I should get some other work started... ugh.

First thing this morning Leia ambled over to Alisa, poked her lightly in the chest and said clear as day, "Sister." Then gave a huge grin around the pacifier still hanging from her mouth. Leia rarely speaks in words. She occasionally says "Dada" or "Mama". Once I heard her say "Wan Wan". Today's very clear "Sister" was a complete shock and got me up out of bed right away for a big bear hug.

We went out on a family outing to the book store today, one of the girls' favorite places. Leia ran around frantically flipping through books. Alisa works through books in one spot, jabbering nonsense for the whole 90 minutes we were there. We ended up getting a bath time book and an "Elmo Says..." book (like Simon says but with a furry, red monster.) My parents came with us to join in on the fun.

There was one really big first this morning. We were able to order food at a cafe and scarf it down before the girls got fidgety and caused a ruckus. That hasn't happened since they were too small to even cause a ruckus. Maybe someday soon we'll even be able to go to a fast food place for dinner.

22 August 2009

Another Onion Layer


The girls continue developing their personalities. I can see a new layer of abstract thinking in them. They predict events and talk about those events before they arrive. For example, we go for walks to downtown Campbell six days a week. Its the only exercise Hirono and I can get. The girls are hit & miss on whether they enjoy the jaunt or not; but, one thing they always look forward to is the dogs and cats we pass.

Whenever we get ready for a walk, Alisa chants "Wan Wan. Nyan Nyan. Wan Wan. Nyan Nyan." Those are Japanese child words for dog and cat, respectively. She quiets down quickly if we can get a bowl of Cheerios or sippy cup in her hand. As we approach any house along the walk that has a dog or cat, she calls out to the dog or cat using the right word based on what pets live at that house. Once she spots the pet she shouts out triumphantly, "Wan Wan!" or "Nyan Nyan!". Leia watches intently and occasionally throws in a side comment. When we leave they say "Bye bye!", wave their hands and watch for the next house that has a pet.

The girls also enjoy the Galleria Courtyard in downtown Campbell. Its about four blocks from home and has a bunch of art galleries, nick-nack shops and a clothing boutique or two. The girls love to wander the little courtyard and look into the shops. They were fascinated by the pedicurist. A couple of weeks ago a local blues band was playing on the grass (and were pretty good.) This last Friday all the art galleries filled the courtyard with displays (along with a bunch more artists and musicians scattered up and down the street.)

P1000676Transfixed by a pedicure.

Tomorrow we'll go to the weekly farmer's market and let the girls run around the courtyard again.


21 August 2009

Happy Friday

Praise the heavens, it's Friday! Tough week; but, things at work continue to gel. My hours have gone back down to 40 (44 last week.)

Now, to the weekend. The plans are to keep the kitchen as clean on Monday morning as it is on Saturday morning. Its a struggle.

18 August 2009

Playing Tag-Tag

From Sonika. I blew off her last meme, so I can’t delay on this one.

I hope to..
Survive this winter with as few sicknesses as possible with the twins.

I hope not to..
Be an ass to people who report to me.

I want to..
Live every moment of life intensely.

I don’t want to..
Waste an opportunity.

I should have..
Changed instruments as a child (to the bass, I didn’t do it until my mid-30s.)

I shouldn’t have..
Been a frightened little boy with the sophomore hottie who sat in front of me in Civics class.

I could have..
Rocked the world!

I couldn’t have..
Lived a quiet, normal life.

I did..
Too many drugs, or not enough if you prefer.

I did not..
Ever catch an STD. No regrets there!

I wish..
I could spend all day with the twins.

I regret..
Being inconsiderate to a number of people whom I love.

I should..
Rein in my urge for chocolate.

I should not..
Give up.

I could..
Change my little space in the world.

I couldn’t
Have faith in political leaders.

I never thought..
It would end this way.

I always thought..
I’d live a quiet, normal life.

Let’s hear from Tracy.

16 August 2009

Little Helper

Alisa and Leia have found out that its fun to help Mom and Dad get things done around the house. We have a video of them cleaning the couch with Hirono. They also often try to help by pushing the stroller or shopping cart for us. Its usually a lot harder for us when they do help; but, you can't crush that earnest, helpful spirit in them. So we go along and encourage them to help whenever we can.

Leia has really taken helping us to heart and occasionally actually does things that really helps us. For example, today while I was changing Alisa I found a refrigerator magnet in the diaper supply (I can only guess how it got there.) So while Alisa squirmed around on the changing pad I handed the magnet to Leia and asked her to put it back on the refrigerator. She dutifully wandered over to the fridge and placed the magnet up as high as she could reach. Very nice!

Sometimes it doesn't quite work out so well, though. Yesterday I handed Leia a scrap of paper and asked her to put it in the recycling bin. She took the paper, ambled over to the bin, opened the cover and proceeded to empty everything else out of the recycling bin.

Update: Here's the video.

Racism, Alive and Well in Silicon Valley

There's plenty of racist douche bags in this part of the world. Even being in the San Francisco Bay Area doesn't protect you from the ignorant Conservatives.

I've traveled many parts of the world and been subjected to a variety of racist comments and incidents. Most of them are of the less obvious type based on exclusion. Its only here in the US where I've personally experienced the truly ugly, violent brand of racism.

Yesterday afternoon I went shopping for groceries at the local Japanese supermarket. We tend to get our groceries from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods for everything except the specialty items needed from the Chinese or Japanese store. There's a strip center about 3 miles from home with a big Japanese supermarket, a handful of Japanese stores and a dive bar. Since its just after lunch, the place is packed and the only parking places are on the other side of the dive bar. No problem, the Japanese bakery is right next to the dive bar so I have to go that far down the mall anyway. So I park the car, scoop up Leia from the car seat, and the two of us walk to the supermarket.

There's a bench outside the dive bar upon which sat a lady in her 50s smoking a cigarette. When we cross in front of her she spits out to me, "Try American!" in the most hateful tone she can muster. At first I was shocked that Leia and I were the target of such vicious hatred. I simply kept walking and did the shopping. By the time the shopping was done I had overcome the shock and was ready to get into with this person; but, she was gone.

Tell me again, what makes America so great? It isn't the people.

14 August 2009


Long week. In some ways depressing; but, in other ways quite good. In the whole, productive.

I got home from the San Francisco office late tonight. It was at the right time for Hirono to pick up the girls from day care and meet me at the train station. We ended up walking through the civic center park across the street from the office. It was fun; but, Leia drove hard on her independence.

She refuses to hold our hand, though we can sometimes convince her to do so. Usually I just lock my fingers around her wrist like a bracelet. She's fast and can dart into traffic in a split second. You have to watch her every second. Still, she's a lot of fun at it all. She laughs and dances and sometimes tumbles to the ground. Her laugh is hearty, from the belly.

Today her game was to climb a three-step, stone stair up and down. She recently learned how to stand up and walk down stairs; but, its quite difficult to do. The trick was to have one foot come down at a time from the upper stair, not land on both feet. She learned that trick at the garden downtown this week. So she's been practicing it every chance she gets. At this point she's gotten to the stage where she can just hold one of my hands and only fall 1 out of ten stairs. Pretty soon she'll bound down faster than me.

Work is done until Sunday night. All hail Discordia!

13 August 2009


How could anyone ever have been uncertain about Rob Halford's orientation? Its just too obvious.


Hirono accuses me of passing this gene on to Alisa.

I can usually get by on 4 hours of sleep, and am just fine on 6. Though I really do love 8 hours of sleep at night at least once or twice a week. Alisa is the same.

12 August 2009

Ups and Downs


Leia has good taste. She loves classic rock. Whenever I turn on the classic rock station she immediately smiles, laughs and starts dancing. Her favorite seems to be Grand Funk Railroad.


I'm on the warpath at work. Serious f-up from the team. This must not continue.

09 August 2009

Harder Still

Yes, it gets harder. Leia has tasted freedom and refuses to be bound once more.

At least they both like cabbage fried in salt pork.

08 August 2009

Life Just Got Harder

We went grocery shopping today, as we always do early every Saturday morning. Usually we grab two shopping carts and split the girls as well as the shopping. Today we brought pairs of shoes instead and tried shopping with just one cart. The girls loved it!

Once inside the store Leia threw both arms back behind her, bowed her head forward and ran headlong down the isles. Alisa was more interested in candy bars and the like. Going shopping as a family was a bad idea.

By the time we got home all four of us were beat. Luckily the girls were tired from all the uproar and went to sleep pretty well. Then after lunch we met a close friend who's wife is now pregnant at a cafe. After their earlier taste of freedom, both Leia and Alisa would stand for nothing else than getting on their shoes and roaming the cafe. So much for even pretending to hold a conversation with friends. It was a ton of fun; but, exhausting. I got a cardamom milk shake out of it.

Tonight Alisa made another step in her progress toward walking. She is almost comfortably standing without holding onto anything. This week I'm sure she'll be walking regularly.

The Toddler Chase has begun.

07 August 2009

New Love

The girls have a new love. He's big and furry.

06 August 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is our fourth anniversary. Our lives are so hectic that we both acknowledged the anniversary is coming a couple of days ago but neither of us had the chance to even get a card yet. We'll celebrate in a couple of years when we can hand off the girls to a baby sitter some night...

We did have a slight celebration by going to Cafe Campbell (a local Italian brasserie.) It accepts toddlers running amok shrieking, so we were safe with the girls. Hirono had a gelato and I had a prosecco. We both said "Happy Anniversary!" to each other briefly, toasted flute to cup, and then chased the girls around the cafe. Such is life...

Interestingly, the spell checker doesn't understand gelato and instead suggests fellatio. Go figure.

05 August 2009

A Few Steps

Yesterday Alisa finally took a few hesitant steps without support. She's been having troubles going to sleep lately and so stayed up much later than Leia in the last few days. As such, she was able to practice her standing and walking without getting tackled by her sister. This all lead to more courage and trying to walk unsupported, at least two steps between Hirono on the couch and the kotatsu.

In the meantime, Leia runs down the sidewalk and I have to move quickly to keep her out of the road.

Lastly, I had an argument the other day over at an acquaintance blog. The argument was about outsourcing and, clearly, I started the argument with my poor wording about having very little reason to invest in the USA when hiring. However, the argument still stuck under my craw. I think the reason is that folks in the US for some reason feel they are entitled to a good paying job more than people in India or China. Given that I have some very dear friends in India, I took this sense of entitlement as an insult to the worth of my Indian colleagues. I'm sad that so many people are out of work because of outsourced jobs; but, really, why do people think they are more entitled to a job than someone in India or China? What gives?