How I’ll vote tomorrow

Here’s how I’ll vote tomorrow morning, you have tonight to convince me I’m wrong about any of this:

US Senator: Michael Thurmond, Democrat
Thurmond was a decent labor commissioner. I don’t think my vote much matters here, but what the hell. Isakson is basically Saxby without the overtures to bigots.

Governor: Roy Barnes, Democrat
Barnes came very, very close to losing my vote with his anti-immigrant pandering a couple of months ago. What changed my mind was he convinced me he was lying about that. How screwed up is that? He is marginally more likely to define transit as something other than “highway tunnel under East Atlanta,” which is enough reason alone for me to vote for him.

Lt. Governor: Carol Porter, Democrat
I don’t really give a shit if Casey Cagle had an affair or not. I do care that he’s kind of sucked at his job.

Sec. of State: Georganna Sinkfield, Democrat
Truth be told, if Barnes were polling better, I might be tempted to vote for Brian Kemp. I’ve had to deal with his office a couple of times in the past year and I have no complaints. But the Tea Partiers have put me in a very anti-Republican mood (let’s not continue the charade of pretending they’re separate entities). Plus, this person likely be Secretary of State during next year’s redistricting and the 2012 presidential election. Would prefer any generic Democrat to any generic Republican there.

Attorney General: Ken Hodges, Democrat
I was really turned off by how dirty the Democratic primary got and by some of Hodges’ supporters. I was also turned off by Sam Olen’s pandering to bigots in the Republican primary. On their merits, I’d probably be okay with either. When Olens isn’t playing a bigot on TV, he’s typically been one of the few not crazy Republicans. Tie goes to the Democrat again, though I may change my mind and write in “Unsubscribe” for this one.

State School Superintendent: Joe Martin, Democrat
Martin (Jim’s brother) is the most qualified, but the Republican isn’t awful here.

Insurance Commissioner: Unsubscribe, ugh ugh ugh
No good choices here.

Agriculture Commissioner: Gary Black, Republican
There you go, one Republican vote.

Labor Commissioner: Darryl Hicks, Democrat
Mostly because the Libertarian uses the phrase “adhering to the Constitutional principles under which our Republic was founded” on his website, which makes me suspect he’s a Tea Partier.

PSC, District 2: Tim Echols, Republican
*Shrug* Tell me I’m wrong here, I hear the phrase “consumer advocate” thrown around in reference to him frequently.

Supreme Court and Superior Court
Little help here lawyers, I’m pretty clueless and will just skip this if someone doesn’t make a good case.

Appeals Court: Chris McFadden
Despite his goofy commercials, Jen likes him. Sold.

Amendment 1: Hell to the naw
Non-competes are already bullshit, this would make them bullshittier.

Other amendments: Yes to 2 and 4, no to the others. 2 is trauma care funding, badly-needed. You better be right about 4 Creative Loafing.

I don’t like the sound of amendment 3, which would let GDOT start projects before it has all the money to pay for them lined up. GDOT is already a black hole where money goes to die.

For amendment 5, I don’t know anything about Garden City, which wants to annex land for an adjacent city, and don’t care enough to read about their situation or vote for this.

Statewide referendum: Eliminates a tax on business inventory unsold for two years. Sure.

Letter to baby #3

Dear baby,
Today is your mom’s birthday. She’s still not feeling that great, but I expect in another week or two she’ll feel better. I bought her Coca Cola cupcakes to celebrate and then made her some mashed sweet potatoes for dinner. She loves them, I could take them or leave them. It will be interesting to find out whether you end up liking them or not.

I also put together your Little Hoot Pack n’ Play today. Well, except for the changing table part, which had confusing directions. It has owls on it that I think you’ll like, but I get the feeling you’ll tell me if you don’t. We don’t like monkeys, so who knows?

Earlier this week, I went to ‘Bible Study” and got some good tips from some other dads on how to take care of you. You’ll be happy to learn that we won’t waste money on wash cloths that have a 50 percent mark-up just because they’re “meant for babies.”

When moms are carrying babies around, it can be hard for dads to picture a little person in there, even though we know they’re there. I’m eager to meet you, as the other dads said not long after their babies were born that feeling went away.

Love,
Dad

Letter to baby #2

Dear baby,
It’s late and I should be getting ready for bed, but I realized it’s already been a week since I last wrote anything to you. I need to do better about making time for this.

And what a big week it’s been! We first listened to your heartbeat a couple of days ago when we visited the doctor. You couldn’t see, but your mom looked so pretty when her face lit up the first time we heard your thumping heart. It was beating fast like a rabbit’s, which is good. That’s how it’s supposed to sound now. We were grinning like a couple of yokels.

We visited the midwife today to start preparing for things we’ll need to do to bring you into the world. It’s a lot to keep track of, but it will all be ready in time. It’s going to be my job to make sure your mom gets all the support she needs when you’re making your way out.

Next week I’ll meet with a group of new dads so I can get some tips on how to take care of you. They call it “Bible Study” even though there won’t be any Bibles there. One day I’ll explain to you why that’s funny.

Love,
Dad

Letter to baby #1

Dear baby,
I’m sitting with your mom in a Starbucks in Charleston, South Carolina. We’re in town for a vacation. We’ve had a good run of luck with vacations and shorter trips the past couple of years, so I suppose we were due for one to not get off to a smooth start.

Your mom has been carrying you around for a little over 11 weeks now, and she’s still getting morning sickness. She had trouble sleeping in the bed at the inn we were staying at. It was built in 1845, which is nice for ambiance but not so nice for sleeping. The website says there was a ghost in the room, but I think that might just be a way to distract from the lumpy mattress.

So we checked out two days early and haven’t decided if we’re going to even stay in town the whole time, much less where we might stay. We may stop in Columbia or Augusta, or we may go home. None of this is your fault, it’s just how things are early on.

We read about you and talk to you every night. A book tells us with every week how big you’re getting. This week you are apparently the size of a fig, last week a kumquat. Several weeks ago you were the size of a bean. “Little bean” has become our codename for you so I hope you like it.

(your mom is cursing a guy she went to high school with for being a doofus on Facebook, this also is not your fault if you’re wondering what the commotion is about)

We’re not sure if you’ll be a boy or a girl yet. If you turn out to be a boy we’ll call you Fitz William, if you’re a girl we’ll call you Eloise Wren. We’re hedging our bet painting a mural in your room, as there will likely be a wren painted somewhere in there either way. We like birds a lot and hope you will too.

Love,
Dad

How is babby formed

About five weeks ago, when we found out Amber is pregnant, I wrote down most everything that was going on at the time and a decent amount about how we got there. We’re obviously ecstatic about it, which I’m having trouble conveying at 8am after only one cup of coffee.

Baby!!!exclamationpoint

Better?

For a while we were concerned it might be difficult for her to get pregnant, but that concern turned out to be unfounded, as it only took five months. I’d planned to just write a little blurb at the top of the post I wrote for context and to hit publish when we were ready to publicize the pregnancy. But when I went back and read it yesterday, I realized there was a lot of personal information in there and got cold feet.

I do need to write that stuff down for myself. What I’m trying to decide is if there’s any purpose in me telling you all about how thick my sperm is, for example, which shouldn’t be confused with me being concerned about whether that grosses you out or not. On that count, you can grow the fuck up if it bothers you. Or you can not read. You have a couple of good options there.

The question is how do I benefit from sharing that information, and to a lesser degree, how might other people benefit from me sharing that information? And do I have the patience to deal with all the judgmental shit that will inevitably come my way? We’re only a few days in, and already I find myself wanting to throw down with someone on Facebook about something really ignorant she posted.

I’m definitely going to write something, but I haven’t yet decided exactly how I’m going to approach what to share and what not to share.

No NCAA Picks this year unless you want to run it

I’ll be traveling to at least five games outside the state (Amber bought me season UT season tickets!), taking a week-long vacation in October, and possibly taking one or two trips for work this fall. So I don’t know when I’d get the time to run NCAA Picks.

However, if you want to run a picks game and don’t have a place to host it, I’ll give you a login to my blog and you can host it here. Comment or email me at rusty.tanton [at] gmail [dot] com.

WordPress 3.0 tip: add custom post types to your main RSS feed

I’ve recently had the opportunity to dive into the new custom post types feature built into WordPress 3.0 for a site I worked on. On the whole it’s really exciting because it will allow me to use WordPress as a lightweight CMS for some sites where I may have needed to use the more cumbersome Drupal before.

But there are a few things I feel like still need to be thought through some more. For example: I feel like there should be a menu option, next to where I can specify how many items should appear per page, where I can set which content types appear in the site’s main RSS feed.

Unfortunately there isn’t such an option, so I have to write a plugin or add some code to the theme’s functions.php to make that work:

function mysite_feed_request($vars) {
	if (isset($vars['feed']) && !isset($vars['post_type']))
		$vars['post_type'] = array('post', 'story');
	return $vars;
}
add_filter('request', 'mysite_feed_request');

In this example, we are modifying query variables to keep the default content type for blog posts “post” in the main RSS feed, and also adding a new custom post type “story” to the RSS feed as well.

The reason we don’t want to take any action if a “post_type” is specified is so we don’t break the post type RSS feeds which look like this:

http://mysite.com/feed/?post_type=story

http://mysite.com/feed/?post_type=post

Parrot photos through the years

We were in Maui for our honeymoon last week (photos here). One of the things you’re supposed to do when you’re in Maui is drive The Road to Hana, which contains an approximately 30-mile stretch of winding mountain road you must pass through to get to the small town of Hana. So we did.

It’s full of one lane bridges where the car which gets there second is supposed to yield to the car which gets there first. Apparently only tourists follow these rules, as a lot of good old boys with lifted trucks — probably on drugs since lots of people there do drugs, according to the girl who did Amber’s nails at the hotel — don’t stop just because you’re halfway across in a rented Ford Fusion (or Fiesta or Focus or another F-word). I mostly obeyed the rules when we were there, which didn’t make the drive any less terrifying for Amber riding shotgun.

Despite that, the trim is far out and there are surprises along the way which the tourist brochures don’t mention. One such surprise was a guy with a pandemonium of parrots. He said he runs a sanctuary for birds who act in Hollywood movies, and that proceeds from photos with the parrots go toward it. Sold!

(Click to embiggen)

2010 amber parrots 199x300 Parrot photos through the years

Amber with parrots near The Road to Hana

2010 amber me parrots 2 300x199 Parrot photos through the years

Amber and me kissing as a parrot looks on near The Road to Hana

2010 amber me parrots 1 300x199 Parrot photos through the years

Amber and me with parrots near The Road to Hana

This wasn’t my first encounter with parrots in Hawaii. Way back in 1988 — when the Beach Boys’ Kokomo earworm* was a number one hit coinciding with the dreadful Tom Cruise film** Cocktail — my brother Chris and I posed with parrots in our awesome jam shorts:

1988 me chris parrots 200x300 Parrot photos through the years

Chris and me with parrots in Hawaii in 1988

This also reminded Amber of a photo I have of my parents from their honeymoon in Busch Gardens in late 1968/early 1969:

1968 69 mom dad parrots 300x201 Parrot photos through the years

Mom and dad on their honeymoon in Busch Gardens with parrots in late 1968 or early 1969

My mom does not look as pleased as Amber did in her photos.

And here’s a bonus non-parrot-related photo from the 1988 Hawaii trip. This is Chris and I with the one and only Don Ho (wrote “Tiny Bubbles”***):

1988 me chris done ho 300x233 Parrot photos through the years

Chris and me with Don Ho, Hawaii 1988

Because my old man nipple shorts weren’t mortifying enough…

* - Amber hates this word. Sorry Amber.
** - is “dreadful Tom Cruise film” redundant?
*** - I would link to a video of “Tiny Bubbles” I found a while ago but the copyright nazis made Youtube pull it

“Bonds to skin instantly” and other phrases you may safely ignore

Our house was built in the 1950s, and we’ve learned lots of quirky things about it during our home improvement projects. For example, when we were mounting a ceiling fan and closet shelving we found out we can drill a pilot hole as deep as we want in the ceiling joists, but a screw longer than an inch will simply refuse to go in all the way. Instructions don’t warn you about that sort of thing.

Yesterday I learned that when one of the people who lived in the house before us owned it and built an addition to the side, they didn’t bother to punch out the walls which would have given us access to that part of the crawl space. I found this out because we have a couple of crawlspace vents where the mesh has rotted out/fallen out/been punched out/decided the pay was better in a neighbor’s crawlspace. I’d been hoping our vents were the type I could unscrew from the back to easily replace the mesh screen, but no such luck.

I also found out that the ground under our house slopes up and that to get to the vents on the other side of the house from the crawlspace entrance, about half the trip ends up being commando-style on my stomach. Actually, I already knew it sloped up from changing the air conditioner filter, but I didn’t know it would be that steep.

I also knew there were spider webs, but I didn’t know that they would get much thicker as I wormed my way over to the crawlspace vent with the missing mesh (thinking it’s not a coincidence that there are more spiders closer to the open vent).

That’s all I’ve got, there’s no real point to this story. Other than maybe don’t touch Gorilla Glue like I did when I was experimenting with attaching a screen from the outside.

RIP Big Red Bastard

oldtruck 300x225 RIP Big Red Bastard

RIP Big Red Bastard

The Big Red Bastard — a nickname loosely attached to my old red truck — followed me to college, through all my jobs leading up to my current one, through my relationship with Amber (early on I once drove it pantsless down Spring Street with her in tow, another time on her birthday I told her I loved her for the first time in it), on trips to several states… the list goes on.

So you’d think I’d be weepy about it being stolen last month, but the fact was I would have had to sell it within the next year or two anyway because it doesn’t have a back seat. A baby can’t ride in a car without a back seat. Amber’s not pregnant now, but we’re hoping she will be soon (insert cringe-inducing “trying” euphemism here). State Farm did shockingly well with its end of the bargain, so that also helped ease the pain.

Still, I can give it a proper eulogy. It was a red 1997 K1500 4×4 with the Z71 off road package (Bilstein shocks, skid plates) and a 5.7L Vortec V8, purchased brand new my senior year of high school after I’d beat my inherited 1987 Nissan Pathfinder to hell on the mud and mailbox circuit. I even custom ordered it (more accurately, my mom did) because 1997 was the time when manual transmissions were starting to get harder to find in anything above the work truck trim level, and I wanted a stick shift. I’d spent way too much time playing Ridge Racer at Mountasia Golf for that experience to go to waste.

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