Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Will is Ninja

That's right, Will dressed up as a tiny ninja! Here he is being stealthy...

Piercing Ninja Eyes

Now before you say, "But it looks like he is wearing a burka," check out the side view of his hooded mask. Dan and I think he looks like Link from Legend of Zelda. .. if the outfit were green.

Ninja Sideview

The people at our Residence Inn Social Hour thought the costume was great.

Ninja in Residence Inn Highchair

The Residence Inn staff thought he was so cute that they gave him prizes: 1) About 80 individually wrapped jelly bellies which I, of course, claimed for myself and 2) Mattel gift cards. We went to the Mattel store and used them to start his train track collection. We decided that while we like wooden toys, the GeoTrax plastic set is cool and easier for small hands to handle. This is important because train sets are recommended for ages 2 and up, but we can't wait that long. This way, Will can chew on a piece of track, splinter-free, while Dan and I play with the train. So if you want to get Will train stuff for Christmas, GeoTrax are the way to go (We will post more Will Christmas ideas later). Here is what we ended up getting, a starter set and a rainbow bridge.
Of course, Will's ninja experience was not limited to the Residence Inn. We also went to a pumpkin carving event at Paul and Wendi's house. Unfortunatley it was not Cathy and Wes' event, but it was still fun.

Curious Ninja

Happy Ninja Attacking from Above

Pumpkins in a Row

Guess which one is Will's ninja pumpkin.

Thanks to Robin for the awesome outfit! Coming soon... Adventures of the Christmas Ninja.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Festival

On Wednesday, Will got to participate in his pre-pre school's Fall Festival. The kids all wore festive seasonal attire and had a little parade outside. Of course, like most activities involving kids who are too young to realize the significance of a parade, it was mostly for the parents' benefit. One little guy had fallen completely asleep and was sitting slumped over in his chair as he was rolled around. Will was slightly awake, but didn't quite enjoy the parade.

Oh, and like most group celebration activities these days, it had to be sanitized as not to offend anyone. Hence, the title, "Fall Festival" and the request for the children to don "Seasonal Attire." While Will is still waiting for his tiny ninja Halloween costume, he did have an appropriate outfit for this event. He dressed up in his kimono. Why was the kimono appropriate for this fall event? The particular kimono we selected for him has kanji on it for the various seasons. Here is Will, slightly more lively after the parade:

Also in the afternoon, there were games and prizes and pumpkins. Here is Will, posing by some pumpkins with his tasty blue koosh prize (seems to be a choking hazard prize to me):

We took the koosh prize out of his mouth. This led to him eating the hay instead:

Sitting among the pumpkins was not the only pumpkin related activity Will participated in. I'm sure his Aunt Robin will be excited to see Will's first artwork.

To me, it looks like a rorschach ink blot of a Chinese lion. Dan says that it appears a bit more deliberate than the rest of the pumpkins from his class (Will's is bottom left).

While Will seems to have enjoyed his fall festival and exciting seasonal attire, he is already practicing his Kabuki poses for next year.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

We Forgot to Mention...

With all of the crazy packing, moving, house hunting, you might think that we did not have time to celebrate Will's half birthday. Well, you would be wrong! You know I would never miss an opportunity to consume a frosting covered cake! During our house hunting trip to Redondo Beach last week, we celebrated. Here is Will with the super cake:

You know you have a good thing when your cake is bigger than your head. Or bigger than all of you. MMmmm... It took us forever to eat the thing. We had some Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, the next Friday, then we finally threw the rest out since we were leaving. We tried sharing with as many people as we could find, but it was an everlasting cake.

Here is another half birthday picture. We are hanging out on our hotel room couch, a cute happy family:

So, Happy Half Birthday Will. While you were not able to eat any of the cake, we enjoyed it very much.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Our Little Rocket Scientist

After 6 months of homeschool, Will started pre-pre-school today. What is this place that can provide social interaction, mental stimulation, and art projects? It is called "The Launching Pad." I'm sure Will is going to figure out sometime soon that we want him to be an engineer. At that time, he will probably go through some sort of backlash and end up an artist. Then we will have to send him to summer camp at Aunt Robin's.

I would post a picture of Will being happy in his new environment. However, my new phone is kind of stupid. It won't let me transfer the pictures from the camera feature to anywhere useful. Must overcome technology deficiency. Perhaps tomorrow.

Oh yeah, after a fun day at pre-pre-school, we introduced Will to the tradition of
Monday Night Tacos!

You too can join us for this tasty treat. Excellent tacos are available for $2. There are also $2 specials on beer and house wine. Where is this great taste adventure? Lou-e-Luey's on the Redondo Beach Pier offers specials on Monday nights. We used to go all of the time when we lived here before. So, Julie, Shin, Lucy? If you read this blog, we expect to see you some Monday, perhaps around 6:30pm.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Great Moving Adventure Continues...

All will be well after our move. Not the next one which is from San Diego to Redondo Beach temporary housing, but the one after that from temporary housing to our new place that still needs to be purchased. Then Dan will have happy HD TiVo reception and display.

It turns out HD TVs are way cheap when you compare them to, say, a house in Redondo Beach. Of course, once we buy a place, we will have 3 initial pieces of furniture.
1) We have to buy a couch. Otherwise, we will get sore necks from watching the TV while sitting on the floor.
2) Will's high chair. We already bought this. It is a cool looking wooden high chair that eventually converts to a toddler chair, then ultimately to a teenager chair.
3) A bed. While we enjoyed sleeping on the floor at the midwife clinic in Japan, floor beds just aren't the Japanese thing we want to adopt for our new house. Heated toilet seat with badet? Yes. Sleeping on Floor? No.

So, if you want to come over and hang out at our new place (that doesn't quite exist yet), you can come and enjoy our spacious, furniture-free location.

The movers came to our San Diego apartment yesterday to pack up most of our stuff and take it to storage. Will is a little confused because he only has a remnant of toys left. He continues to enjoy boxes, especially his Padres lunch box which acts both as a container for other toys and a drum. Give him a plastic spoon and he's got a loud, metallic drum. Great fun.

Even though the movers have come and gone, we are still crazy busy the next few days. Today is Dan's going away lunch for work. Tomorrow is a trip to see the Miramar air show, including the Blue Angels. Saturday we pack the car, then attend our going away BBQ that Ralphine set up. Sunday we head out in the morning and look at the house we think we want to buy at about noon. If it checks out (we have only seen outside, not inside yet), we could be in a house by the end of the year.

2006 has been a busy year. Perhaps all will be calm and quiet in 2007. (Yeah, right!)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Golden, Brown and Delicious

So, as it turned out, the TiVo Box cardboard was in fact "golden, brown and delicious." The Series 3 has been unpacked and running for about a week now. HDTV is pretty awesome. The Series 3 is not quite fully operational for three reasons:

1. No Cablecards. Since we are moving to LA in a week, I didn't bother to attempt the hassle of convincing Oakwood to tell Time Warner to install cable cards. The cable cards would enable us to receive digital versions of all our analog channel (Yea...go digital sumlticast!) and encrypted HDTV channels like ESPNHD. Unencrypted QAM channels come in okay, but lack guide data. Hopefully, TiVo will enable channel remapping in the future. I've been using manual recordings of the QAM channels for locals, and OTA reception to compensate.

2. Flaky Over-The-Air(OTA) reception. Fortunately, the OTA channels all have guide data. Unfortunately, I have had some trouble finding an indoor antenna which allows the TiVo to lock in all the local channels at once. There are three major broadcast sites across the San Diego region: One in east county (NBC, CW, PBS), One in La Jolla (ABC, CBS), and one in Mexico (FOX). I've had no luck with Fox because there is a hill in the way. Two transmitter groups in San Diego county have a 90 degree spread between them from our location, and to add trouble to the mix, we have hills all over the place creating tons of multipath. As a result, while the first two antennas from Radio Shack could receive all five channels, the TiVo had trouble maintaining a digital lock. So, I've returned those a picked up a Zenith Silver Sensor. It made a massive difference. I'm now able to get locks on all five channels 95% of the time. Since the antenna is pointed a bit more in the direction of NBC/CW/PBS, I have a little trouble maintaining a constant lock on CBS and ABC.

3. No HD Television. It's not really HD on an SDTV. 'Nuf said.