3034m Critical Mass red riding hood, originally uploaded by Chris[topher] Lin

Our little girl giggled for the first time when we were watching the Olympics. The laugh came out of nowhere and it was so different from her usual happy noises. We looked at the TV, then we looked at her, then we looked at each other.

"Was that really her?"

"Yep, I heard it too!"

"Do it again, sweetie! Can you laugh? Laugh for mommy! Etc."

We spent the right of the night trying to make her duplicate the sound. She hasn't repeated it yet. That's okay. I'm sure she'll laugh again soon, and hopefully, for the rest of her life.

YouTube Comment Snob

Rage Against the Machine, originally uploaded by miqul

This is a public service announcement.

Everyone run and get YouTube Comment Snob. Here's how it works: YouTube is a great site, but sometimes I accidentally read the comments underneath a video, and then I need to wash my eyes out with bleach afterwards. Comment Snob auto-magically censors comments with bad spelling, grammar, or profanity; all rules are optional and customizable.

Where before you had the braying of donkeys, you now have a beautifully edited field such as the example below. It makes the Internet safe for humans again. This is the reason Firefox add-ons were invented. Thanks, YouTube Comment Snob!

Growing up

When I was younger, I used to dread growing up. "Responsibility," I said, "what's that?" Until the day I realized that I get to decide what it means to be an adult.

The epiphany that I am in control of my own life was somewhat terrifying, but ultimately incredibly liberating, of course. It turns out that adults can have responsibilities and have fun too. You can still go on adventures when you're grown up. We can try new hobbies and explore new places and meet new people. Adults can even turn their living room into a ball pit.

Now I have another chance to reinvent myself, while I decide what kind of dad I want to be. Being an adult is awesome, and I look forward to being a great father. I love playing with my 2-year-old niece because it's an excuse to act like a kid again. The key to being a successful grownup is never forgetting what it's like to be young.

Psycho Pug

Before our daughter was born, we were concerned about the effect it would have on our pug, Lola. She's a rescue dog; we're her third owners. Her original family gave her up when they had a baby. We thought that she might be harboring some resentment, or at least view the arrival of a newborn with suspicion. So it was a huge relief when we got back from the hospital and she acted totally normal for the first couple of weeks.

Then she went insane.

These days, the dog wakes me up around 4:00 in the morning. Sometimes we can get her to go back to sleep, and she'll be quiet for up to an hour, if we're lucky. Eventually I need to roll out of bed and take her outside. It's pitch black and quiet in the city before 5. I would enjoy it if I wasn't still asleep. Anyway, she has always slept in the bedroom with us, but I think it might be time for her to get her own place.


From me,, originally uploaded by .noflickr

It was four years ago today, when the love of my life became my darling wife. Did you know that the traditional gift on the fourth year is fruit? Happy anniversary baby!


Brooklyn Office, originally uploaded by rephlektiv

My wife came to visit me at the office, so that everyone could see the baby and eat cake and give us presents. That was a fun time. Then I gave her a tour, since she had never seen where I work before, and she asked me a hard question.

"Why is your cubicle cleaner than your desk at home?"

I always maintain a clear desk at work (as recommended by Zen Habits). It eliminates visual distractions and helps me to be more focused and productive. By contrast, there's so much clutter in our home office that it stresses me out. I don't even like to spend time in that room, which means that junk keeps piling up, which causes even more anxiety.

It was clearly past time for me to do something about it, so I cleared out over half the stuff and and reorganized the room. Once that was done, I thought, "why not do this with the entire house?" And now the room is cluttered again... with piles of things to give away.


Exhausted, originally uploaded by akapumba

Everyone's usually asleep when I leave for work in the morning. Our pug is curled up in her basket in the corner. She looks up and rolls a little so I can scratch her belly before I go.

My wife and my daughter are lying side-by-side. As I lean in close to say goodbye, I notice the expressions on their relaxed faces. They are exactly the same.

Mostly it's the tiny mouth, hanging open in a triangle. When Ashley is awake, the eyes give her away as being half-me. When she's sleeping, with her slack cheeks and upturned nose, she looks just like a twenty-six-years-younger clone of her mother. They're so adorable that I don't want to disturb them. I just whisper, "I love you," and tiptoe out the door.

Baby's first road trip

thailand-25, originally uploaded by Klas Öjebo

Last Friday we packed the entire family into the car--parents, dog & baby--and drove out to my parent's lake home for the weekend. The drive there took about 3 hours. Our return trip was longer because of a vehicle fire on the side of the freeway that held up traffic for miles.

Remarkably, in over 6 hours of driving, we never had to pull over on account of the baby (although we did take advantage of an A&W pit stop to change her diaper once). My wife sat with her in the back seat and fed her from a bottle when she got hungry. Otherwise she was either napping or sitting quietly.

Our baby was such a trooper, all our fears were unfounded. She even seemed to enjoy being at the lake; her favorite activity was staring at the ceiling fan. Our first vacation was a success! I look forward to many more.

Growing pains

At home in the pumpkin patch, originally uploaded by John Carleton

My baby keeps getting bigger. Is this normal?

If she continues to grow at this rate, soon she will not be a baby anymore. She's going to turn into a little person. I'm not ready for that yet. I want to keep her on the vine just a little bit longer.

St. Paul for under $5

garden, originally uploaded by uberculture

Wise Bread's inaugural "open group write" asks: what are fun events and things to do in your region that cost less than $5? I've been planning a post on this topic for a while now, so I was happy to contribute. Here are some ideas for cheap entertainment in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Como Park
During the warm months, our favorite outdoor destination is the Como Zoo and Conservatory. They take donations at the door in lieu of charging for admission, which means that you can visit for a very affordable price of zero dollars. There's also a Japanese garden, a paved walking/biking trail around Lake Como, and free Carousel rides once a month.

Happy Hour at Sakura
Sakura Restaurant in downtown St. Paul is my favorite place to eat Japanese food in the city. According to a comment by EsmeR on, it's even better between 4-6 PM when the price of many appetizers is dropped to one lousy dollar. The discounted items include Edamame, Kappa Maki, and the world's best Vegetarian Gyoza.

Amateur Sports
Tickets for mainstream sporting events are not exactly budget-friendly (even a roller derby bout costs $10). But some games are so obscure that the players welcome any spectators at all. Enthusiasts of these niche sports often compete in public parks or arenas where you can watch for free. Some local groups to check out:


The Twin Cities are home to a variety of great museums and galleries. If you cross the river to Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center is free to to all every Thursday evening (5–9 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (10 am–5 pm). Children under 12 always get in for free, and they never charge for admission to the neighboring Sculpture Garden or Cowles Conservatory.

Summit Brewery Tour
Free beer! The Summit brewery is a St. Paul landmark, and it's open to the public year-round (click here for the schedule). Your visit includes a company history, an overview of the beer-making process, and a tour of the facility that concludes with complimentary samples in their tasting room. That's a cheap date for a beer aficionado!

OMG it's the poop sign

It looks like a stop sign, but it says "poop"! I don't know what else to tell you.