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Friday, August 29, 2003

  Day in the life. It's my blog and I'll self-obsess if I want to. I took notes on all the little things I did today. Wouldn't you know it -- most of my time was spent dealing with two demanding little people! Here's the whole story...

6:15 I woke up to silence. Both babies had slept through the night and were still sleeping! A couple of days ago we resolved to ignore their cries in the night and let themselves fall back asleep on their own. They don't need to be fed at night anymore and three interruptions (on average) each night was getting a little old. It was heartbreaking to hear them wailing away alone, but it's all over now (we hope).

6:17 Max woke up and began crying. Time to get up.

6:31 Changed their spherical overnight diapers. Set them up for their first nurse.

6:45 The babies are at their best for the first hour in the day. They're less likely to be frustrated when attempting a new manoeuver and can be counted to occupy themselves happily. I have some time to get important things done. Or to read my blogs, as I did today.

7:35 Max rolled over onto his belly without any help for the first time! Talia has been doing this for a couple of months but Max has been content to just lie on his back and soak it all in.

7:50 Second nurse of the day. Just a quick one before Mama leaves for work at eight.

8:05 Both babies nursed deeply, fell asleep, and are were put into bed. Mama was late for work.

9:45 I hear a squawk from the babies' room. Wow! They slept for more than an hour and a half! I managed to do some serious surfing and even managed to blog a bit. They were so cute when I went to pick them up. They were rolling around and looking at each other and gave me great big smiles when they saw me.

9:48 Dressed them up and gave them some cereal (we call it pap). Max has been practicing making new sounds and he decided to take this opportunity to show me his blrblrblrblr sound. He's very good at it and made quite a mess with the food.

10:15 Arrived with the twins at the hospital for their 3rd nurse. Mama was a little late and we didn't get around to hooking them up until 10:30.

10:50 Took the kids for a short walk. Went up the road to the water reservoir. Thought there might be something to see on the other side of the hill, but nope, nothing. Iqaluit holds little mystery to me.

11:20 Home again. Max was out cold and was put in bed, but Talia wanted excitement. We had a few moments of quality time so I could squeeze a few giggles out of her.

11:56 Smooshed carrots for lunch. Max loved it but Talia was a little less sure. When I've seen those frowny what-tha-heck looks before, I made them go away by making a big show of how wonderful the food was. Enthusiasm! It didn't work too well this time, but I got the food down anyway.

12:14 Back at the hospital for the 4th nurse. Talia had conked out and Max seemed pretty happy, so we decided to first hit the cafeteria for some lunch -- mmm, chicken and ribs. Nursing concluded by 1:00.

1:05 Arrived home to watch Law & Order. Missed the crime scene bit, drat. They were awake for the show, but were not exactly quiet the whole time. I was occupied bouncing them on my knee, putting them in (and taking them out) of their Jolly Jump-up, walking them around, and making their toys hop about in front of them. If I didn't do this, I might have missed some bit of dialogue that would have spoiled the show.

2:01 The kids were tired and I took them down to their bed after changing their diapers. Talia had created quite a nice project in her basement. Max wants to succumb to sleep, but Talia threw a fit to prevent this. I took her up for a little while longer so Max could get some quiet. After playing around with her for a while, I took a photo her standing on her own for the first time!

2:35 I put Talia in bed just as Max woke up screaming. I took him upstairs for a little one-on-one time. He wasn't in a great mood though, so I had to walk him around to keep him calm. Luckily Mama was expected home at 3:00 for the 5th nurse so he would get what he wanted soon.

3:25 Where was she? Now Talia was awake too and in no better mood than Max. Two hungry babies and me without any breasts. I needed breasts! Tension and frustration.

3:55 Mama came home. The babies were affixed to her breasts. Calm returned.

4:38 Talia completes another project in the basement. Mama gets to clean this one up.

5:55 Suppertime. First some pap, then some pears, then back on Mama. 6th nurse. They fell right asleep after that.

6:20 Dinner for Mama and Papa. Spaghetti and pesto with pine nuts. I burnt the pine nuts then dropped them all over the floor (cheap oven mitts). Mama made everything all right. We managed to finish eating before the twins awoke again.

7:12 Bathtime. I ran the bath, got in, and took Talia in with me. She used to love the bath, but now isn't as interested. But this time I had a toy -- a cup! She reached for the cup, lifted it to her mouth, dropped it, picked it up again. So much fun! Then Mama handed me Max and I handed her Talia. Max did the splashy-splash, man-from-atlantis thing he loves so much, and then bathtime was over.

7:37 Last (7th) nurse. I don't know how they know it's their last nurse of the day, but they do. They went at those breasts like starving beasts, letting go for brief spells, but then diving in again. Forty minutes later they finally finished. It was my job to keep Mama hydrated during this ordeal.

8:42 Babies in bed. Not asleep yet, but in very good moods. Sometimes at night they're difficult to get to bed, complaining, screeching, and arching their backs, and sometimes they just conk out and are oblivious to everything. But sometimes, like tonight, they get into bed, grab the covers, hug them close, and give out big grins. Then they squirm onto their sides so they can look at each other and let out more big smiles. Then they slowly drift into sleep. There's really nothing as beautiful to see.
  Look out Below! Lemme make a prediction. The S&P 500 will lose 15% by the end of October. Why? Because there has been no basis for the recent rally and stocks remain extremely overvalued. The S&P is about 1005 right now, so let's say 850 on Halloween.
  So I'm a Realist, eh? I generally ignore those internet tests which purport to analyse you through a short quiz. But the neocon test on the Christian Science Monitor's site is actually quite good. It asks ten thoughtful questions on your views of American foreign policy and slots you into one of four categories.

According to the answer key, realists…
Sounds about right. Thank God I'm not one of those evil neocons. Brrr!

For those who care, my choices were 3 3 3 2 3 4 4 4 3 1. Those are the correct answers.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

  Beating a dead horse. Okay, another piece on Iraq and the UN. Again Mark Steyn, again dead on:
Putting the UN in charge of Iraq is a vote for ‘stability’ in the Middle East — the fetid cesspit stability of the Assads and Ayatollahs that, as argued in this space many times, is the principal ‘root cause’ of the region’s problems.
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

  Enough with Iraq already! What people really want to see are photos of cute babies. Okay then, here we go. First we have Max doing what he loves to be doing -- eating!

And here's Talia with Zelig, the horrifyingly mutated worm creature:

Sunday, August 24, 2003

  We can't back down. I received an email from a friend the other day responding to my post about CNN.
...The U.S. occupation of Iraq (call it what you want) is a magnet for (literal) die-hard muslims extremists (read: terrorists). We are going to continue to see daily attacks and unfortunely the size and scope of the attacks may increase. You can't win through conventional means when you are fighting terrorists. Look at the situation in Israel, it's a no-win. Israel has to deal with it because they live there. They can't go anywhere. U.S. troops can't stay in Iraq forever. The best way to beat terrorism is to rebuild Iraq quickly, bring economic growth, create jobs and set the groundwork on a democratic country. Then you pull out and leave them be. The fastest way to achieve that, in my opinion, is to cede Iraq over to the United Nations (bring in some legitimacy in the eyes of the unbelievers who think this is a money-grab).
Mark Steyn addresses this attitude with his usual effectiveness:
And so on Tuesday, up against an enemy unable to do anything more than self-detonate outside an unprotected facility and take a few Brazilian civil servants and Canadian aid workers with him, the global community sent out a Syrian ambassador to read out some boilerplate and then retreated into passivity and introspection and finger-pointing at Washington. This is the weirdly uneven playing field on which the great game is now fought. Islamic terrorism is militarily weak but ideologically confident. The West is militarily strong but ideologically insecure. We don't really believe we can win, not in the long run. The suicide bomber is a symbol of weakness, of a culture so comprehensively failed that what ought to be its greatest resource--its people--is instead as disposable as a firecracker. But in our self-doubt the enemy's weakness becomes his strength. We simply can't comprehend a man like Raed Abdel Mask, pictured in the press last week with a big smile, a check shirt and two cute little moppets, a boy and a girl, in his arms. His wife is five months pregnant with their third child. On Tuesday night, big smiling Raed strapped an 11-pound bomb packed with nails and shrapnel to his chest and boarded the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem.

The terrorists watch CNN and the BBC and, understandably, they figure that in Iraq America, Britain, the UN and all the rest will do what most people do when they run up against someone deranged: back out of the room slowly. They're wrong. There's no choice. You kill it here, or the next generation of suicide bombers will be on buses in Rotterdam, Manchester, Lyons, and blowing up the UN building in Manhattan. This is the battlefield.
What he said.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

  CNN -- not quite as bad as the CBC. I caught a piece yesterday on CNN where they had a couple members of the Navy SeeBees discussing the rebuilding projects they had completed in Iraq. It built on what I have been reading in some soldier's blogs on the rarely mentioned good work being done. The CBC would not have presented such obvious American propaganda.

CNN's problem is not the same as the CBC's. The CBC has a built-in bias against broadcasting a pro-American story without the inevitable "but" at the end where all the old criticisms are once again summed up. CNN's problem is that not that they are biased, but that they are clueless. They seem to simply interview people that have some connection to whatever they are covering and let them say what they will with little or no challenge. The general impression of what is going on is not created by attempting to reflect the truth, but by reflecting the views of those near the story. They act not as a news-gathering organization, but as a news-amplifying one -- with the content supplied by those with something to say.

This is not a situation that exists only at CNN of course. Read news stories in any paper, and you'll see that many are nothing but re-written press releases. Luckily we now have the blogosphere to filter the truth from the copy. I was a pretty bitter news junkie until a couple of years ago.
  JC now in town. The Northmart, where I go to pay outrageous prices for the necessities of life, was granted a visit yesterday by the PM everybody loves to hate. I missed him of course, because I had other duties. Keeping a close eye on the hotel he's staying at seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Even if I did manage to get near the creepy guy, I haven't got a good question to ask him. The responses to my contest were pretty poor. I can't see myself asking him about his various physical imperfections or about his opinions on new consumer products. C'mon guys!

JC is here to bestow his blessing on a new park. I was pretty sure my initial intellegence that he was here on a 'personal' visit was incorrect. No golf courses in Nunavut.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

  CNN -- as bad as the CBC? I'm a news junkie. And because my internet connection here is so feeble I've been watching a lot of CNN the last few days to get my fix. And what I've learned is that things are in a terrible mess in Iraq! This news is not presented straight up of course, but is woven into all the other coverage of the country. There's the 'expert' that claims the American presence there is creating terrorists, there's the head-shaking over the American inability to defend important sites in Baghdad, and there's the correspondent who points out that Iraqis have actually expressed sorrow for the attack on the UN (while slyly implying that they wouldn't have similar sympathy for the Americans).

The result of all this biased coverage? A Wolf Blitzer poll, in which more than 4 out of 5 viewers (that bothered to vote) feel that Iraqis are worse off after being liberated. What would have happened if this attitude from the media existed during the second world war?
  A Quick Pic. We finally were able to get out of town today to go for a walk on the tundra. And look what we found -- a lost lonely caribou! I'll try to write a bit more and add some photos later, but my extremely demanding children are being extremely demanding right now...

Monday, August 18, 2003

  Photos Fixed! For now anyway. I found some friendly Dutch people to host the photos. I dunno how long they can continue to offer this, but I'll take it for now. Here's a shot of the guys in their stroller taken at one of the rare non-rainy moments this weekend. Look how much bigger Max is than Talia!

  Latest News from Soggytown. The weather has been just awful for the past few days -- rain, cold, rain, extreme wind, extreme rain. Yech. Over the weekend we had planned to go for a hike on the tundra, but instead we ran around inside trying to please our demanding babies as old movies and bad kidvid played in the background. The babies are demanding because they really want to go outside and are bored with the toys they have now. So ungrateful! I've resorted to letting them rip up and eat newspaper to calm them down every once in a while. Also, Talia seems to have cut her first tooth and is even more inconsolable than usual.

Today it is back to work for Mama -- and more rain, it looks like -- so I get to deal with more of the above solo today...

Saturday, August 16, 2003

  Photos not fixed. I thought I had a nifty new way to host my photos, but it appears the free site I was trying to use is too clever for me. The new photo links below do not work either. But for now you can see the photos (and the ads that go with them) at I'll try to think of some other way to host the photos tomorrow, I have babies to deal with right now.

It's tough to maintain a website when you're a cheapskate, but it can be done. (I hope.)
  Photo Problems? I can't view the photos any more when I load this page. Can anyone else see them? Sympatico has been acting screwy since the blackout so maybe that's the problem, but I also worry that I might have exceeded the miserly bandwidth they give with their service. I'll have to look into some other way to host photos...

Thursday, August 14, 2003

  Iqaluit to have visitation by J.C.! That's right, my sources have told me his Imperial Majesty, Jean Chrétien, will be bopping up to Iqaluit for a 'personal visit' in a week and a half. I have decided to try to cynically use his visit to get that hit meter of mine to spin a little faster.

What I propose is a contest. I will attempt to ask the little guy one question at either a public appearance or as he dashes between hotel and car. What that question is is up to you, my dear readers. Both of you can send me your suggestions and I'll pick the best. Please don't ask me to ask anything too hostile though, I don't want too experience one of those Shawinigan handshakes.

And by the way, my source for this information? My wife. She has been assigned to be the official physician for him on his visit! So if he gets a nasty hangnail or sprains his tongue mangling the pronunciation of some difficult english word, she'll get the call.
  Am I in Cuba? Look what I found on a walk yesterday. So many questions...

  New Friends. Yesterday, Max, Talia and I picked up some tour guides as we were out on a walk. Mary, Jessie and Philip (I think) joined us and didn't say goodbye until I had heard just about all the other babies they knew, how much they like puppies, and the status of their big teeth. And they asked enough about me to write my biography.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

  Warren Buffet! Ah-nold has signed up Warren Buffet as his economic advisor! This is truly amazing news. I was all for Arnold in California already because of his libertarian leanings (and because it would be fun), but now this is turning into a bit of a dream campaign.

I've long been an admirer of Buffet, not because of his financial success but because of his advocacy of what we might call 'good capitalism'. He promotes the slow accumulation of capital and the effective use of it as the one true way to build a more prosperous world. He is scornful of the 'get-rich-quick' mindset (held by far too many) that there is some magic formula government can use to build an economy. The most interesting thing to Buffet joining Arnold is that he is not a believer in the Republican line that the economy is turning the corner. He actually sounds a little worried...

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

  An Uneventful Journey. It's hard to have an uneventful trip to the far north with two six-month-old babies, but that's precisely what we had. After twenty-five minutes to check our enormous mound of luggage, ten to pass through security (A male security guard to frisk Max, a female for Talia), and twenty in the departure lounge, we and the other 'special needs' passengers boarded the plane. The flight was fully booked. We were seated in two adjacent aisle seats in the middle of the plane, the better for our children to serenade the other passengers.

But our guys were pretty good. The neighboring passengers were understanding and helpful. I had pegged a guy in the seat in front of us as giving one of those 'why do these things always happen to me' looks when he sat down, but it turned out that he had just left six-month-old twins of his own at home and must have been reflecting on the irony.

We were picked up at the airport and taken to our new digs. I must say it really looked like a dump from the outside. But inside it wasn't so bad. Sort of like someone's cottage or your first apartment. Cheap, warped pots and pans, cheap particleboard and laminate furniture, industrial brown carpet. Fine for three weeks. Still, I'm glad we brought our own sheets.

I haven't the time to write too much more. Here's a pic of Mama and her little ones strolling Iqaluit's scenic promenade.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

  Northbound. In the beginning, the babies were easy. As newborns, they just slept, ate, and pooped. Plus we had lots of people coming by to help out or bring food. At the time, I thought back on all the warnings I received telling me that children would require me to work harder than I ever had before. What, were they kidding? I worked harder when I was working for Nortel!

But now I'm beginning to think there may have been some truth in their words. Actually, a whole lot of truth -- these guys are running me ragged.

Talia does not like to sleep. When she's tired, she lets us know by being extremely cranky and inconsolable. If you devote an enormous amount of energy towards entertaining her, she may quiet down for a few moments, but this is not a calm way to spend your day. And don't forget, there's another baby. He's not quite as demanding of my attention, but man is he heavy. Lugging this giant baby up and down the stairs in our house is ruining my knees.

They're not crawling or even sitting up yet (though Talia is very close), so they require adult help if they drop the toy they're playing with, or if they get sick of looking in that direction, or if their sibling has grabbed their arm and won't let go. Helpless but demanding. And the food preparation and feeding is becoming even more time-consuming. Three meals a day in addition to at least eight nursing sessions, two of those meals consisting of more than one course (cereal with peaches, peas, or squash). And did I mention how they need to be taken on at least three stroller rides a day?

Then somehow we have to find time to do the massive amount of laundry they generate (Max spits up a lot!), and do the rest of the chores that owning a house requires.

With two adults full-time to look after the above, we have managed to keep on top of everything. But starting next week, my wonderful wife (who pulls more than her fair share of the load) will be back at work. I will be the primary homemaker. Whatever will become of me? How will I manage? Check this blog for updates -- and if there are none, assume the worst.

Oh, and did I mention that our family will be relocated in Iqaluit, Nunavut for this new working arrangement? Sounds like a great setup for a sitcom, eh?

Sunday, August 03, 2003

  Online art. Computers and the internet offer an amazing new medium for artists. This is a truly cool example of what you can do with Shockwave and Flash. Click on the bottom dots to move through the works. Play around with them. Much fun can be had.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

  And with not a moment to spare! That's my excuse for not blogging this week. And it still holds...

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