Welcome to the Centennial Samantha Celebration. ...Or what would be if "centennial" meant "100 weeks" and not "100 years." It's hard to believe that I've been doing these weekly updates for 100 weeks --more if you include the pregnancy updates. To celebrate, I've put together a little retrospective on the 1st 100 weeks of Samantha Alyse Madigan. Go ahead and click on the image below to view it (NOTE: there is sound, so adjust your speakers). Go ahead, I'll wait here and you can come back when you're done.
Done? Good! What did you think? She's changed a bit, no?
We hit another important milestone this week: Sam formed her first sentence, which was "Momma, up!" as in "Mommy, get up!" or possibly "Mommy, I want to get up!" Unfortunately this sentence was uttered at 4:30 in the morning from her crib at the foot of our bed in my parents' guest bedroom. So we didn't really do our best to reward her for such a linguistic somersault. In fact, we just lay very, very still and ignored her, hoping that she would go away if she thought we were dead. Fortunately, she did, or at least lay back down in her crib and went back to sleep.
Today is also Christmas, so merry Christmas, too! Sam got to rip open more packages from Nana, Pa-pa, Aunt Shawn, and Uncle Brent. She's really into opening presents now, to the point where she'll go after the Christmas decorations in stores, trying to shred them and reveal the fantastic Elmo dolls and Mega Blocks that have so far been found inside every single one.
We've been having a pretty good time here in Tulsa, at any rate. Sam is enjoying the extra attention from all the family, and has completely warmed up to everyone to the point where Ger and I have left her with them several times so far. She even started calling my dad "Pa-Pa," which is apparently easier than saying "Grandpa." And I've been taking a ton of pictures. Witness!
These are also the first batch of pictures I've taken with my new Cannon Rebel XT EOS Digital SLR camera. I love this thing, by the way. It doesn't magically make me a better photographer in terms of composing scenes or picking the right settings, but with the zero boot time and ability to take rapid-fire pictures and quickly write them to a 1-gigabyte memory card I'm missing a lot fewer of Sam's shenanigans and taking multiple shots so I can pick the best one. The thing really does just takes better looking pictures, too. I don't think I'd get shots like this or like this or like this with my old camera.
And now, by request, here are three pictures of Sam eating something --a banana, Cheerios, and Cream of Wheat, respectively. Enjoy, and here's to another 100 chapters of Sam's Story to come.
Before Sam, I used to never get sick. Often, I'd climb atop things and announce this by saying "I never get sick!" Lately, though, I often can't make it past "I never ge--" before breaking off into a wet, hacking cough that leaves me doubled over, helpless, and exposed to pickpockets. Thus I spent this most of this last weekend lying in bed alternately shivering and sweating while Sam would occasionally wander into the bedroom, point at me, say "Dada?" and then wander back out.
I also used to pride myself on not taking any medicine the few times I did get sick, resolving to just suffer and ride it out. But this time as soon as I began to feel lousy I came home and started gobbling multivitamins, decongestants, vitamin C, herbal supplements, folic acid (it happened to be nearby), orange juice, cough drops, and aspirin. Then I shot some kind of zinc-based goo up my nose and stumbled around the bathroom for a few minutes clawing at my head in searing sinus agony.
Heck, I even borrowed Samantha's "Grins 'n Giggles Menthol Vapo-Bath" with the little cartoon penguin on the bottle. He just sat there on the ledge of the tub and mocked my agony with his good humor and promises to "sooth away the sniffles." He lied.
Sorry, none of this involves Sam very much, does it? Here, pictures:
As you can see, we opened some of our presents a little bit early this year. Unlike last year, sam really got into the whole unwrapping presents thing. She would even deliver each one before taking it back and ripping the paper off whether it was her gift or not. She then insisted on putting every scrap of wrapping paper away in a cardboard box, because as I've mentioned she can bee a little persnickety.
Though she really did seem to enjoy all this, you actually probably wouldn't have guessed it by the bland expression she wore most of the time. It's just odd that she'd wear a poker face while unwrapping Christmas presents, but whenever she successfully uses her training potty she gets so exited I'm afraid she's going to hyperventilate and pass out. Weird.
By the way, next week is, if you remember your basic math, the 100th chapter of Sam's Story. Week One Freaking Hundred. I've got something special all cooked up to celebrate this centennial Samantha celebration, so make sure to come back. It's not a free car or anything --I'm not Oprah-- but I think it's kind of cool.
I'm obviously a gamer, and as such I amassed quite a collection of games. This is especially true of the years I spent working at GameSpy, as that time represents not only my most active gaming period (so far, anyway), but also the time in which I received the most free copies of games. And thus half the space in my office closet came to be occupied by video games, some of which had never even been opened. Every few months I'd look at it think "Why do I keep all these? Should I get rid of them or hang on to them for nostalgia's sake?" Then I'd just kind of shrug and slide the closet door closed. Dilemma solved for another couple of months.
Well, this Christmas season things kind of changed. Ger and I both really wanted a new digital camera, but money has been quite tight with only 1/3 of the household bringing home a paycheck. So when Ger suggested that we just buy each other a camera for Christmas but not spend more than we could afford, I brought up eBay on my web browser and slid open the closet door again.
Over the course of about a month, I liquidated a good chunk of my collection, including the following:
- 007 Nightfire (PC)
- Advance Wars (GBA)
- Age of Mythology (PC)
- Age of Mythology the Titans expansion (PC)
- Alien vs. Predator 2 (PC)
- Black & White (PC)
- Blood II The Chosen (PC)
- Clive Barker's Undying (PC)
- Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 special collector's edition (PC)
- Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (PC)
- Crimson Skies (PC)
- Deus Ex: Invisible War (PC)
- Devil May Cry (PS2)
- Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas (PC)
- Drakan: Order of the Flame (PC)
- Dungeon Keeper Gold (PC)
- Dungeon Siege (PC)
- Emperor: Battle for Dune (PC)
- Enter the Matrix (PC)
- Far Gate (PC)
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)
- Golden Sun (GBA)
- Gore (PC)
- GUN (PC)
- Madcatz racing wheel
- Max Payne (PC)
- Max Payne 2 (PC)
- MDK 2 (PC)
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (PC)
- Metroid Fusion (NGC)
- Metroid Prime Pinball (NDS)
- Nintendogs (NDS)
- Pikmin (NGC)
- Prince of Persia Sands of Time (NGC)
- Real War: Air Land Sea (PC)
- Red Faction (PC)
- Saitek flight stick
- Serious Sam: Second Encounter (PC)
- Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
- Sim Golf (PC)
- Skies of Arcadia (NGC)
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus (PS2)
- Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force (PC)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC)
- SWAT 3 Elite Edition (PC)
- Syberia (PC)
- The Longest Journey(PC)
- Tribes 2 (PC)
- X-Men Legends (PS2)
- Zelda The Minish Cap (GBA)
I still held on to the core of my collection with some of my favorites that I may actually play again or want to bust out for party games, but I now have a lot more room in that closet. Especially since most of the PC games above were from before the industry moved to the smaller boxes. Some of the games commanded surprisingly high prices. For example, the apparently rare Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 collector's edition got me nearly $50, and games like Blood II or Drakan that I thought would go for maybe a buck got $25 or so each. The end result was that the sale of these games and a few other items (like all of my hardback Wheel of Time books, curse you Robert Jordan) got us more than enough to buy a really nice digital camera that should hopefully be arriving today or Monday.
So there you have it. Some people say that video games train people to be killers and misfits. But in this case? Video games totally saved Christmas.
I gave the Links Page a much-needed update. I added the sites I've done designs for in addition to the ones that I own or directly manage. Check it out if you want to see some of the other sites I've designed or written copy for.
On a related note, I'm really jonesin' to redesign and rebuild jmadigan.net from the ground up. This site was really the first one I ever created from scratch, and I've learned a few things since then. Every time I look at the code or CSS for this site, I cringe and an angel dies. It's true. Thing is that there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the designe given what the site is, so I really haven't had a strong reason to go ahead with a redesign. Still, I've got that itch and it may just happen this time.
Christmas is almost here, with lights up tree erected, and wonderfully wrapped boxes just asking to be ripped open. Or at least according to Sam. Ger and I were out at the mall the other day when we wandered into one of those stores that looks like Holly Hobby exploded all over the interior. Now, Sam is pretty good about her animals. She recognizes most of the common ones, like sheep, dogs, and recently even reindeer. However, inside this store was a dog dressed as a reindeer, which just made her little mind snap. She stood there looking at it on the shelf, utterly unsure of what it should be called or what sound it would make. Seriously, she was like some character out of a H. P. Lovecraft novel staring into the unblinking eye of madness. We had to get her out of there.
As you can see, Sam has finally gotten big enough and coordinated enough to ride around on my shoulders. This is awesome, as it's a moment I've been waiting for since I met her. Other developments include the increasing use of her imagination, as in pretending like her stuffed cat is eating from the real cat's bowl. Unfortunately this more often than not leads to having to clean up the resulting mess and a time out for good measure.
Sam's eating habits have also evolved to the point where we really don't have to pack her her own meal when we go out to eat. We can either feed her from our plates or sometimes even order from the kid's menu. Her tastes, though, seem to be skewed towards the weird. She loves lemons, for example, and will chew them down to the rind. She will also gobble up other culinary oddities, like pickles and black olives while shunning meat of pretty much any kind. I guess there could be worse things.
Ah, more Stephen King. This is the second book he's published since he supposedly retired, but like his last it's a bit of a departure from his horror pulp. Instead, he's written a murder mystery pulp. The Colorado Kid is the story of a young reporter-in-training and two aging newspapermen from rural Maine who tell her an unsolved mystery. Without solving it. In other words, they set up this whole story and murder mystery, then at the end say "Ayup, and we don't know who done it." I'm pretty sure that in most mysteries, you find out who done it at the end, but not here.
Some may call that spoiler territory, but think of it as more of a public service announcement. I understand what King is trying to say about storytelling and the nature of mystery (which is what the book is really about), but dang, that's annoying.
George Martin is one of the few authors for whom I'll buy new releases the first day they're available and dive right in. His "Song of Ice and Fire" series is regularly cited as one of the few examples of fantasy that isn't awful. And for good reason, because the previous three books have been awesome. I was, unfortunately, kind of disappointed by the latest, A Feast for Crows.
The mechanics are all fine (minus a couple of lesbian sex scenes that had me rolling my eyes so hard I almost lost my balance), and Martin continues to deliver characters that are drawn with fine lines with motivations that can be understood if not agreed with. For example, I hated the Cersei chapters because talking heads discussing overly complicated political intrigue is NEVER interesting. But at the same time it was great to see Martin dive into her character and show us how someone can utterly screw up a realm through ineptitude, arrogance, and short-sightedness, yet have some good intentions at heart, like protecting her son. (Bush analogy, anyone?) And I like that Jaime guy.
Still, a whole lot of nothing happens in this book and it seems that many chapters are completely extraneous, confusing and distracting us with new characters to an already too-huge cast. And it really suffers from the lack of the most interesting characters like Tyrion, Danerys, and Jon Snow. Thankfully, the next book will supposedly focus nearly entirely on them.
I love my wife dearly, but one of her personality traits is that she can be particular and often has to have things just right. One might even go so far as to call her "persnickety" though don't tell her I said so. For example, she cannot stand it if the the two halves of the bedroom curtains are not pulled all the way. If there's even a tiny gap between them, there's a problem. I'm not saying I lounge at the other end of the Fastidiousness Scale at "slobbish," but that kind of thing just does not bother me. Ger, however, would literally be unable to sleep, knowing that the curtains are JUST NOT RIGHT. After lying there awake thinking about it, she'd finally have to rouse herself to wake me up and make me go fix them, because I'm supposed to care more about that kind of thing than I do. Jamie.
There has been a delicate balance between us on these kinds of issues, like two people perched on a playground teeter-totter, but I fear that something is going to soon come down on Ger's side of the fulcrum like a sledge hammer. And that adorable littler sledge hammer's name is "Samantha." Seriously, she's very particular. Sometimes when I'm following her up the stairs she'll stop dead in her tracks and point to a little piece of lint. She'll then go "Eeeehhh. Eeeeeaaaahh! EEEAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" until I stoop down and pick it up. Or if she's eating pasta with her hands she'll often try to get me to clean her digits off between every bite. Other times when I try to hand her something she'll have her hands full with a sippy cup, and must run across the room to put it in its propper place on the kitchen table. Because just dropping it on the floor or putting it on the coffee table would be inappropriate. Daddy.
On the bright side, maybe she'll readily take to doing household cleaning. Here's some pictures.
Though I don't have a picture of it here, Ger took Sam to get her portrait made with Santa Claus. All things told, it seems to have gone just fine and there was no hysterical shrieking from Sam over the horrible bearded man that Mommy appeared to be giving her away to. Not that I was hoping for that kind of thing, but at least I'd have been able to submit Sam's picture to this photo gallery, which just really cracks me up. You might also note that Sam really loves the Merry-Go-Rounds. Well, we don't know that for sure, as she has remained silent on the issue, but one thing is for sure: We love putting her on them and taking pictures.