Sunday with the Girl

On Sunday, I spent a good part of the day with my baby daughter Caitlyn. She is well into the cold/flu that I’m just getting over. Most of the day we were just riding around in the back seat of my brother’s car. It was a blast. She would smile and coo in-between me cleaning up her face. Then I would offer her a bottle which she would attack and attempt to hold with extreme focus. At Lunch she was the bottomless pit as she would munch at every bit of rice and beans. Later while helping my brother unpack she would climb all over the empty small boxes, leading to the label, “All Terrain Baby”.

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random and incoherent

Responding to Misha’s post… I got too long, random and incoherent to actually leave this as a comment. So I’m just posting it on my own blog:

Actually most people I know who call themselves liberals are more interested in solving problems instead of the specific means of the solution; individualism, collectivism are each tools in the arsenal. I do agree with you to watch out for people who implement solutions and abandon metrics to see if it actually solves problems more effectively (or at all), or even worse, are proud of the numbers going south because it raises the consequences of "bad" personal behavior.

Since conservatives seem more dogmatic about how one solves problems (to use your definition) they tend to assume their opposition must be defined by solving problems the other way, collectivism. Every time they see other side use any form of collectivism, it just confirms their assumption. Of course they also seem to suffer from a giant blind spot when it comes to moral collectivism, in which case individual choice of behavior is no longer sufficient, and they back government coercion. To which I see the heart of the essay responding to. Those people aren’t real conservatives then.

This brings up one of my open ended questions that I’ve been pondering the world with since high school. Can you can judge a political ideology by it’s ideas alone, or if you have to evaluate it in the frame of how people have actually implemented them and the results. Of course this is a false dichotomy, you can’t evaluate pure ideas regarding human behavior and social patterns, and no idea is ever purely implemented. (Asmoiv wrote an entire science fiction series on the existence of  a general purpose scientific method of human behavior, it remains science fiction). This is a reminder to me that while you can try to define a movement all you like in terms of nice pat definitions, it is really the pragmatic behaviors of it’s self proclaimed followers that we must judge it by. Misha falls into this trap by defining the intellectually pure movement he wishes instead of the movement it is. He fights against labels that are not really there to be descriptive, but rather mealy serve as a commonly agreed upon label, which at best is aspirational and more typically ironic.

There is also some non-sequiturs that seem to claim that because he, personally, wasn’t convinced of a given governmental policy, it is therefore a delusional radical collectivist thing, instead of a policy adopted by the system of government we all implicitly and sometimes explicitly consent to live under. I also have to remind myself of that fact every now and then during this current administration.

In the end I see almost zero practical value in Misha’s exercise. The reality is that either side will say whatever it takes to sound appealing to some measured off groups of constituents backed by some semblance of an intellectual fig leaf (mostly formed in demonizing the other group and pseudo-science). This continues until the internal contradictions of the coalition can no longer be overlooked by it members, causing the group to implode until a new form emerges.

I believe you need to simply hop on a bus that you think it heading in the right direction without wrapping your identity up with in the vehicle you are riding on that day.

Choosing a Name

A quick story to add to Pamela’s announcement. After we got back the news that they didn’t find amniotic fluid, I went to check with the doctor what the plan was. She told me that we were waiting for a call from our doctor, and if he doesn’t get back in 15 minutes, she would do a check and probably send us home. I told her that I was glad for the more time because we still had some more work to do on choosing a name. At this point she looked up at me and said. "It won’t help". The nurse next to her also looked right at me and said, "No, it won’t."

After the delivery, Pamela was fixated for hours on finalizing our choice. At that point it was her highest priority (before the birth, there were a couple things on her mind too). I was focused on staying awake and getting some pictures in and I also knew that sans sleep I wouldn’t be much use. Caitlyn was pretty much a done deal by that point (but I still sorta liked Chloe). However, the middle name was in flux. I did some more name searching and we slowly converge on the name from a list of about 5. I started over analyzing the combinations trying to figure out how some common sounds at ends of names "work" and some don’t (need different count of syllables to add some balancing asymmetry to symmetry of the sounds?). At this point we took a step back and just went with what we had. Later, when I told the name to my mother, she went "Arwen? like in Lord of the Rings?". Sure enough the top web search hits where for exactly that (if we have another, I’ll make sure to do a search before telling anyone the name). Further down the list was a link to the 28 most geeky  baby names with an entry that read "Arwen – Again, it could have been Eowyn. Plus, it’s quite a pretty name." and a comment from an Arwen, "Nice thing about “Arwen” is that it is geeky to those who are geeks, and flies under the radar for others." Other sites had similar comments. That comment plus how I really liked the name decided the issue, so we kept it.

20 Week Ultrasound

I just got back from the 20 week ultrasound, where I’ve seen the first human looking pictures of my first child. I walked in not ready for the event. I knew what was going to happen but turned numb to it happening. Pam’s uterus has been getting bigger and bigger, but still can be somewhat hidden, I couldn’t think that there could possibly be something so developed in there. The doctor that did the exam tried to make it a very supportive and emotional event, and might have been dismayed at the apparent lack of emotion from either of us. This is probably because Pam and I where like deer in headlights. In the second half of the exam I finally started asking questions and reacting. The first image based rendered 3D view of our baby’s face I couldn’t recognize. It was only after the second that I could actually understand and recognize what I was seeing. We made a default decision in finding out the gender, namely we didn’t make a decision so we didn’t find out. The doctor took photos and video of the genitals and then wrote the down the sex while we didn’t look. Right now that knowledge is in the bag next to me. The only “problem” that the doctor saw was one umbilical artery instead of two (2-3% of babies), but he looked quite a bit at the heart and found everything normal.

Right now I’m still shaken from what I saw, I’ve never been the most emotional person, but this one is a pretty fundamental and awing change. The reality of a face looking back at you is something you can’t forget or deny.

There are so many small changes to the way I look at things; did I buy a house in the right place? are there the right influences near by and the wrong ones far away? Do I get home from work early enough to be a good father? I remember my father always getting home at 6pm, and yet I hardly ever saw him. Will I be around enough? Will I stay fi so that I can play and keep up with my child? Will my work be stable enough to support him/her?

Which brings up the sex part again. My mother tells me that the Pernick’s only know how to make boys. The last heart rate we measured was on the lower range of normal heart rates that might mean a boy. This time the heart rate was 150 which is more of a pointer to a girl. My mother jokes and tells me to go ahead and start buying blue. How far will we get without finding out? Having made it past this milestone, I’m ready to wait till the very end to find out.

The next step is to scan in the pictures and transfer the video to a digital format. I feel almost silly that we can’t just use a USB keychain thing to walk out with it, but I guess that will take a couple more years. The need to buy a video camera has just gone way up, so I guess I need to finish choosing one and buy it.

Note to the baby if you ever get a chance to read this: Hi, welcome, we love you.

Election Series: Vietnam

I’m starting with Vietnam because it’s so fresh right now between the swift boats vets allegations and the bush AWOL thing.

It’s difficult how to judge how important this issue is for me other then how it will role up into the character category. Kerry went to Vietnam, Bush avoided it.

While in Vietnam, Kerry did a pretty good job showing a bit more then courage then the norm as demonstrated by the medals he earned. The swift boats folks attack just doesn’t come off as credible. Many members have historical sour grapes, conflicting testimony between previous statements of the members, where the attacks where financed from, conflicts from other veterans who where there and all the written records backing up Kerry’s version. The exception is Cambodia, which frankly comes down to statements from a decade ago, technicalities about where the border was and has no barring on Kerry’s hero image.

Post war, Kerry made statements that, reading the congressional testimony and watching a Kerry/Paul O’Neil debate from the time, I feel are largely accurate and doesn’t warrant the “all veterans are horrible war criminal“ claims that other veterans have hated Kerry for.

The swift boats vet attack has extra bad points for Bush. Contrary to his claims of not being involved, it follows a line of attacks that Bush and his supporters have used in the past with opponents. This combined with his attempts to change the subject with 527s whenever asked about the issue is plain disappointing.

The Bush AWOL story has shown to be over hyped, Bush had preferential treatment to get into the Texas Guard and didn’t treat his commitment very seriously in the last couple years, exactly how he choose to blow off his commitment and the fact that he did cram sessions in the end resulting in a (possibly influenced) honorable discharge doesn’t change much.

Election Series

With the end of the Republican and Democrat conventions, I believe that both sides have stated their cases and it is a reasonable time to dig through the data and choose a side to elect. In preparation for this decision, I’m going to go through all the topics at play and state my opinions. These are in order of when they hit my head, not in order of importance.

  • 9/11
  • Afganistan
  • Iraq
    • PreWar
    • War
    • Current
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Homeland Security
  • Economy / Tax Changes
  • Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Budget
  • Foreign Trade
  • Civil Liberties
  • Intellectual Property
  • War on Terrorism
    • Strategy
    • Detainees
    • Patriot Act
  • Foreign Policy Styles
  • Vietnam
  • Character
  • Campaign Style/Rhetoric
  • Abortion
  • Gay Marriage

Am I missing anything?