Deacons for Defense

Ratial, or, in fact, antiratial movies is something that I am interested in. I have seen a few and I never deny to see another one. Today I watched “Deacons for Defense” which was made for television, but is still a pretty good piece on the subject.

IMDB rating: 7.0
My rating: 8.0
Celebrity hightlights: Forest Whitaker in the main role.

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The look on her face

On the way back from the pediatrician, I stopped by the pharmacy to get some breast pads for Olga. There were a couple of people in the shop already. The cashier was busy helping a really old grandma (120 years old or so) to select the hair dye that would make her look 100 years old. They were moving around the stands and talking in Greek, pointing there fingers at any box that had more than black and white colors on it. Yup, including condoms.

By the cash machine there was a middle aged mother with 4 year old kid on her hands. She was just standing there, waiting for the cashier to return. She looked bored and tired.

I came in and, since this is a very familiar pharmacy, marched straight to the stand with breast pads and grabbed the Chicco box. I came by to the cash machine and put out exactly 3.50 CYP, which is how much those pads cost. I know because I already purchased them a couple of times there. It was pretty much a routine for me.

And than I saw the look on the mother’s face. She was staring at me. No etiquette, no politeness, no social rules, nothing – simple, direct stare. She looked at me in general. Than she measured me. Than she inspected my breast with her blank stare. I sware, she had to physically restrain herself from touching my breasts to see if I am wearing a bra with some breast pads in it. Fortunately, I wasn’t.

I gave her a right eye wink, smiled at her, nodded to the cashier and left. This was fun! I think I will remember her face for some time now…

First vaccination

Olga and I took Maxim to see his pediatrician, dr.Simos, and to make his first vaccination.

Tuberculosis vaccination, or BCG, is not mandatory in Cyprus. Cypriot kids don’t usually get it. It is recommended to aliens from those countries where tuberculosis is a real threat. Like Russia.

Because of such non-popularity of BCG among locals, it is not easy to find in Cyprus. Our pediatrician had the last case of the medicine and thus had to delay Maxim’s vaccination for a couple of weeks, so that two other kids could grow up enough to receive it too. Three vaccinations happened in that office today – all one after the other.

Knowing what a vaccination is I was worried for Maxim. I don’t obviously remember if BCG is painful or not, so I didn’t know if he was going to suffer more than for just a whole in his skin. Olga was also slightly terrified.

We brought Maxim in and his was very calm. He was even more silent than usual. He enjoyed himself. We undressed him to his bare butt and showed him the window. He loves windows. In fact, he loves any source of light. He can stare at a light bulb for like half an hour. Windows, with their natural light, can grasp his attention for a whole hour.

So he was laying there all relaxed and enjoying himself and the light from the window, when dr.Simos came upon him. First, he used some antiseptic on Maxim’s right arm. The smell of alcohol got Maxim exited and curious. He was moving his head around trying to find the source. There was even a semi-smile on his face and he was making sounds similar to “Au! Au!”.

… and than came the vaccine. It was in the small syringe with a really tiny and thin niddle. Dr.Simos perforated Maxim and he started crying. No, not crying. Shouting his butt off. He was terrified. Dr.Simos explained that its not that painful anyway, so it must have been the contrast of going from the total pleasure of a naked butt in the warm room with a huge window to the pain of the injection.

The next two minutes were harsh. We were listening to the instruction set on how to deal with the vaccinated arm on one side. And were trying to calm the baby down on the other. Both channels required a lot of concentration and there was no compromise. I think we let Maxim shout a bit more than we could have.

In return though, we learned that the injection is not painful and that it goes under the skin and not in the blood streams or anything. We were shown a little bubble button, which was immideately covered with a piece of plaster. We were told that the plaster should be taken off tomorrow and that there won’t be any bathing for Maxim today. Poor guy will have to suffer I guess. Dr.Simos also informed us that in about one month, the skin around the bubble will go red. And than it will start to sore a bit. I wonder if that will hurt.

So we were done with the vaccination and proceeded with the regular check. Maxim is growing nicely and everything appears to be in order. During the last week he has grown one centimeter and no measures at 56 centimeters. He has also gained 400 grams (!!!) and now weights 4560 grams. Yup, we passed the four and a half kilograms barrier!

Morning of the new century

I’ve had this idea in my mind for some time now, but I still don’t know how to better to express it. The progress of technology has changed the daily morning routine of people who used to read newspapers with the cup of coffee. Now these people use computers and read emails or news on the Web. They can listen to the music along the way too.

Morning of the new century

Album location: /photos/2005/2005-03-31_POTD

Nucleus bits

In my recent bit on blogging software I mentioned a few shortcomings of Nucleus CMS.

I am missing a better WYSIWYG post editor, sub-categories for posts and multipaged posts.

I was suspecting that these needs might have been solved with plugins. I didn’t check the availability of these plugins and that makes me feel guilty and curious at the same time. I have browsed through the plugin list and found out that everything can be, indeed, fixed. Thus, here is a todo list for my next maintenance window for this site.

  • Upgrade Nucleus CMS installation from version 3.15 to version 3.20 (or whatever version will be the latest by that time). Some plugins that I am planning to install require version to be equal or greater than 3.20. Plus, of course, I don’t want to be running old bugs when I can have a selection of new ones.
  • Install NP_WYSIWYG_RTE.php plugin. It provides a better post editor.
  • Install NP_PingPong.php plugin. I have only weblogs.com pinged automatically now. Technorati is done manually by me and only when I don’t feel too lazy to click on the browser button. With this plugin everything will be pinged automatically, which is a good thing.
  • Install NP_PageBreak.php plugin. This will allow me to break long posts into multiple pages. “Vim for Perl Developers” is the first candidate.
  • Install NP_MultipleCategories.php plugin. Cross-posting articles in multiple categories improves navigation and searching for specific post. This is something I often miss.
  • Install NP_Captcha.php plugin. One of the most effective SPAM fighting mechanism for web forms is asking a user to read some string from the image and write it down in the form field. This plugin provides just that.

Probably I will find another one or two plugins to install that will improve the experience with this site.

On writing

Paul Graham has recently wrote a short, but non-the-less interesting essey about writing. He explains why writing is important and how to write well.

Writing well is a nicely covered topic. There are numerous books on communications in general and writing in particular. Most collegues require passing of at least one writing or communications course even for the Diploma.

Reasons for writing is yet another story. I have, of course, seen other people explaining why writing is important. But these are very rare and usually boring explanations. Paul Graham does a very nice job here.

I think it’s far more important to write well than most people realize. Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.

This explanation, though brief, is very much to the point. It is so true that it is hard to emphasize. It reminds me of my own explanations on why learning touchtyping is important. People who can’t touchtype will try to avoid typing (willingly or not). Learning touchtyping clears a huge barrier between human and computer and allows said human to use said computer to a greater extent. Computer becomes more of a tool. Similarly, practicing writing makes ideas generation and control easier. Routine, if you will.

Just a couple of days ago I was telling Olga how daily blogging improved my writing and thinking. Slowly, slowly, but it sure did. Writing a few paragraphs from the top of my head has never been easier. And the fun part is that when I start writing I don’t know what I will write. It’s like a faucet. I just know the topic that I want to write on (like cold or hot water) and than I open the tap and let it flow. It feels amazing. At first, I realize that I didn’t just want to cover the topic, but that I had some thoughts on the background. They get out and get written. While I type them in, I have other thoughts about wheather I was right or not with each idea that I am writing about. It gets me thinking, and so I write about it too. And than I either come to some conclusion or realize that I have to do some more thinking on the topic. So I end the post either with a defined state or a rumpled sentense.

I feel glad when I end with some sort of conclusion. Having no crystal end doesn’t bug me a lot though. Becaus I know that at some later stage I will sit down and write few more paragraphs on the topic. And maybe conclusion will come than. The funny thing is that sometimes I write even more than I want to. This makes me feel guilty. Like when I have three or four long posts in one day. I am thinking “Who will be reading this? People like short posts and a link to some cool website.” But than I remember the important bit – my writing is primarily for myself. It helps me think and keep my head in clear state. I know that I will be the one rereading it. Multiple times.

And those who don’t like it can always skip/ignore it…

Five weeks

Maxim is five weeks today. He is old enough to have his birthday milestones be measured with months, not weeks.

I am always amazed by how slow time goes by when I am taking care of him. Days crawl. When evening darkness comes I can barely remember everything I did during the day. Yet, when another milestone reached, like today, I am astonished by how much has been done and how fast Maxim is growing. I am paying a lot of attention to all his changes from day to day, but I don’t notice all of them. He learns something new every day – a new move or a new sound. Some of these pass unnoticed at first. But than, he surprises me. If I missed a new sound, he surprises me with three new ones in few days. If I missed his new move, he surprises me with a new rolling thingy he learned to do. When I think about everything he learned to do and everything I learned about babies in general and him in particular, I am amazed at how fast the time goes by. Paradox.

I am trying to blog everything, but I miss bits and pieces. And I feel how they get into routine and how they would get forgotten. Like the corn he got today on his upper lip from sucking too hard. Or the fact that he absolutely and totally loves bathing and how he immidately calms downa and shuts up when put to bath. There are heaps and bunches of these details and I can’t possibly write them all down. But I am trying.

It is also fun to read my previous posts. I don’t have much of a history with Maxim blogging, but there are already parts that I find useful and entertaining. This is rewarding. I’ll keep doing it as long as I can.

Because before I will know it, I will be celebrating his five years birthday. I can feel it coming already…

Without a Paddle

It has been a while since I watched a movie that I didn’t pick myself. Today I did. “Without a Paddle” is a nice comedy and was sure worth the while.

IMDB rating: 5.4
My rating: 6.5
Celebrity highlights: Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and a new addition to the gang – Dax Shepard – are playing the main three parts.

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