Saturday 29 September 2007

Eggplant Parmigiana

Still no offspring. We've been doing a number of things to hurry things along. Can't say that I'm totally prepared but I've packed my bag and charged my laptop battery.

Heather has turned to the bottle in the hopes that it'll induce the baby and I'm trying not to get my 'buzz on' (get tipsy) in case I need to drive to the hospital. It's a big failure, mind. She's got some mental block where she thinks alcohol tastes like poison and me, I've actually got a social engagement this evening so I expect I'll be half cut by sundown.

I think Heather's going to try the Eggplant Parmigiana method when she can muster up the courage to tackle the complicated recipe. Perhaps she should have tried the getting-into-the-Scotland-Italy-match technique. Judging from the last 20 minutes, it was a bit of a cliff hanger.

I've spent the last week or so indulging in my new favourite past-time: building web sites. It's actually a lot of fun crafting style sheets so that web pages come to life. The result? The family web site it looking almost presentable at last. (Before and After.)

Wednesday 19 September 2007

What's up, baby butt?

There has been an impressive response to the baby name poll so far. I'm guessing that most pollsters are treating it with a high degree of seriousness, given the sensible names that are out in front: James in first place, Owain in second and Elvis in fourth. :-)

Elvis himself is getting quite excited and just won't stop jiggling around. This fidgety behaviour is likely to continue until he becomes a teenager. Heather has been using his pokey-out bits and dance moves to map out how he's sat.

Here's the map:

This is all based on some new-age nonsense she read on a web site. It saves her from an uncomfortable examination (yay!) or another ride on the high-tech $trillion winkle location system (boo!). The upshot is that he's ready for launch.

Yesterday, I applied for my social security number. This was no fun at all: the queue was only two and a half hours long, the security guard allowed Heather to take a seat inside the building (which was air-conditioned) and the lady who served us was polite, helpful and patient. To make up for this, I think I'll try and dash over the border and back tomorrow evening, just to spice things up a bit.

Saturday 15 September 2007

Licence to Work

My Employment Authorization Card arrived today! Now I have very little reason not to get a job but I'm taking the bad news quite well. Heather has opened a bottle of bubbly as a consolation. She's taking it very well indeed. All that's left now is to get a social security number so I can pay taxes and I'm all red-taped up.

This doesn't mean I'm a resident yet. That takes a few more months. Then I think I become a conditional resident meaning that Heather is my wife of convenience and Rockford (working title) becomes my son of convenience, if that isn't an oxymoron. I think it takes two years before they become inconvenient whereupon my status is upgraded to permanent resident, mostly out of pity for me.

On other news, England got a sound beating by the Springboks yesterday. We've subscribed to Setanta Sports now in the Valley but the useless gits are delaying most of the matches by a day or so. When the channel was free last weekend, almost every game was live or near-as but now they've got our money, it's soccer, soccer and more bloody soccer. That means we didn't get the England match until I'd already seen the score.

Worse still the Wales / Australia match played early this morning and won't be on until tomorrow. Mum and Dad phoned today and Dad blabbed the score to Heather, thus ruining it for her. Watching England/RSA was a dead loss. 60 minutes in, Heather asked: "Are England going to score anything?". "No," I replied which was our queue to walk the dogs to the post box.

So don't any of you go getting in touch with us to tell us rugby scores you hear? I mean it!

Thursday 13 September 2007

Indecision 2007

Not so recently, I considered having a t-shirt printed in XXX-Large with...
A Boy
No, not yet
...for Heather to wear in public or anywhere else where strange and chatty women congregate and ask her the exact same three questions:
  • When's it due?
  • Do you know what it is?
  • Has he got a name?
Some of these helpful ladies will tell her it's definitely a girl based on the shape of her belly, the contents of her shopping bags or the day of the week. Medical profession be damned! There are even more suggestions for baby names.

One friend, for example, keeps suggesting Sebastian as a name. At first I didn't really take to it. Since getting back into international Rugby however, the name Sébastien is starting to grow on Heather and I. This is thanks to M. Chabal, the French number 8 who could have come from the pages of the Asterix comics.

I've mentioned several other suggestions that we've considered since the ultrasound scan. Heather likes Rockford because it's her favourite TV show and, well, because she's American. My Dad likes Chuck which is short for Charles. I believe this is in honour of our future king of England. Everybody loves Maddog but for some reason, only as a middle name.

We just can't decide which of these fabulous suggestions works best and that is why I'm putting it to a public vote!

To the side of the page, you should see a 'Name The Baby' section where you can choose the fate of our unborn baby. You and you alone can determine how much - and what sort of - bullying he will suffer in school because of his name.

The poll lasts until the end of the month or until everybody votes for Rockford and I dismiss it as a bit of fun.

Tuesday 11 September 2007


I managed to get in a match or two of the World Cup last weekend in Prescott, thanks to Jim and Setanta Sports.

Setanta is an international network I'd never heard of before with channels in Great Britain and Ireland as well as America and Oz. The US operation is presented by a team of mostly Irishmen. I wouldn't say they had a bias or anything but they knew more about the Namibian side than they did about the Welsh. (Ireland beat Namibia by an unimpressive margin on Sunday BTW.)

Elsewhere in France, the not-much-hyped game between the US and England went well, i.e. America only lost by ten points to twenty eight. The locals here seem disappointed when I tell them the score despite only just learning that they have a team at all (or, for that matter, that England are the World Champions). When asked for his comments on the result, President Bush said, "we're kicking ass".

The Tri Nations teams all beat their opponents by a factor of between five and thirty as widely predicted. Wales won by a fair gap to Canada after a poor start in the first half and a steady stream of replacements in the second. Even Scotland had an easy go of things against Portugal.

The surprise match of weekend turned out to be the first, in which the hosts fell to Argentina. The upsets always seem to make the best viewing. I expect that's because no matter how far below par the favourites are, the underdogs always have to put on a hell of a show to come out on top. That's why Wales vs Australia is going to be such a joy to watch at 5:30am on Saturday. We're going to kick their asses all right.

While I was in Prescott, I also acquired Jim's old bike. It's been in storage for about twenty years now but I am assured that it was a fine vehicle in it's day. See for yourself.

I've replaced all the rubber parts which were perished and have given it a can or two of lube. It still needs a lot of work but for now it gets me to the post box and back. Nifty eh?

Monday 3 September 2007

International Day of Celebration

That's right, it was my birthday yesterday. I mostly got Scotch, three bottles in fact. This should keep me going up until Christmas (hint hint). I also got a money clip for the wads of Monopoly money I carry around with me, a US power cable for my laptop (so I don't electrify myself again) and Metroid Prime 3 for the Nintendo Wii.

I spent the weekend in Strawberry, mostly drinking whisky. I would have been playing my new game as well except I was had company so I had to be sociable instead. :( I've been playing it today and it seems worth of the name Metroid which is a Latin word describing a condition caused by playing too many video games. I'll race through the game and give my impressions of it at some point soon.

Today is the equivalent of a bank holiday in the States and Canada. Each of these extended weekends has a particular theme such as Martin Luther King Day or Memorial Day. Today is Labour Day which is basically May Day without the left-wing connotations. Communism as you may know is frowned upon in America and has largely been replaced by the Mafia and a shady organisation known as the Liberal Bias. Sadly I can't find the website for either of these organisations but they probably end in ".org".

In just a few days time, the Rugby World Cup begins. It's crept up on me this time around as I am no longer associate with rugger buggers and jocks of one sort or another who talk about it years before it happens. All of the Six Nations teams have made it into the final 20... Hooray! The same goes for the Tri-Nations... Bollocks!

The Americans are also in there which greatly increases the chances of seeing it on the telly somewhere. In particular, I'll find myself rooting for America for probably the first time ever in anything on Saturday when England's run of world cup luck finally runs out... GO THE EAGLES!!