365[119], originally uploaded by korrileigh04

Trying new things makes me happy. Sometimes they stick and become a hobby; usually I get bored quickly, and go do something else instead. And that's okay! It's rewarding to attempt something different, even if I only do it once. Hopefully I grew from the experience, gathered some knowledge, and didn't spend too much money in the process.

This week I ventured to explore two wildly dissimilar hobbies: Yoga and Dungeons & Dragons. The latter was because Saturday was Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day. Sadly when I got to my local games store to try it out, all the scheduled sessions were booked.

So I didn't get to try roleplaying yet, but I have been practising yoga for about half an hour every morning this week. At first I tried an exercise program on TV. That was too much, too fast. Instead, I'm teaching myself from the Internet for now... taking it slow, adding one new position at a time, and trying not to hurt myself. I can say for certain, whether I continue the practice or not, it has been a rewarding and enjoyable week.


My wallet is about to expire. That's her above, a pretty Poketo I was given by a friend two years ago. Sadly, she's starting to fall apart; the plastic is tearing and the paper inside is getting all smushed. I will keep it as long as it holds together, but soon I'll need a replacement. What should I buy?

The obvious option is another Poketo, which is tempting, because mine has been the recipient of many compliments and plenty of friendly attention from checkout girls. On the other hand, I'm a little disappointed at how quickly it has faded, although given that I wear it every day it's not surprising.

Mighty Wallets look like a bullet-proof Poketo, which is a winning combination. They're constructed from Tyvek®, which makes them "tear-resistant, water-resistant, expandable and, most importantly, recyclable." The Dot Matrix design is printed with the first 3,000 digits of Pi. Geeky!

I love handmade stuff, so I checked Etsy next. Mariforssell has a bunch of fabric billfolds for under $20. The tri-fold snap design looks nice. She claims they are "as small as possible while big enough for credit cards and money."

Minimal is good. The Jimi actually enforces minimalism with its intentionally small, translucent plastic design. You can fit five cards and a little cash and that's all your wallet is for anyway.

Now if I wanted simple and cheap, military supply has got my back. Behold the Raine Pocket Wallet - Black (also available in Blue). Nylon tri-fold construction with credit card pockets and picture holders, all for a lousy four bucks. Bonus: it even comes with a lifetime manufacturer's guarantee.

Even more basic is the classic money clip. There's a very handsome, sterling silver clip on Etsy from seller chrisparry. This is a case where "simple" does not equal "cheap." I'm willing to pay more for quality, however, and at $60 I wouldn't call it overpriced (it may even be a good Father's Day gift, hint hint).

I saved the most bad-assed for last. Also on Etsy, the "1Life2Live" leather wallet is entirely hand tooled and stitched. Priced at $399, this wallet would always be worth more than the sum of what I keep in it. Awesome.


swarve leo, originally uploaded by lomokev

I can't claim fashion as a hobby for myself, but I am fascinated by what other people are wearing. That makes me just a "people-watcher," I suppose. Except sometimes I see a well-dressed gentleman and get a bug in me to try dressing fancy.

So I tuck in my shirt for a few days, buy a $50 tie, and check out Dressing the Man from our library. After a week I go back to dressing like a slob again because, gosh, it's just so comfortable. Then I come across an article like the recent Coilhouse feature on Ryan Oakley, and the cycle begins again.

If you are prone to sartorial suggestion, use caution when reading Mr. Oakley's blog, The Grumpy Owl. Otherwise you may find yourself standing in your local thrift shop, holding a used coat (and matching vest!) with no clear idea of when you would ever wear it. Bring your wife along on that trip. She can talk you down.

Urban Farm

funky chicken, originally uploaded by CRYPTERIA ~ the magic chicken's REBELLIOUS SHOTS

Whenever I think our city lot is too small for keeping chickens, I find another article about urban farms, like the Taqwa Community Garden in the Bronx. Then I think, "if chickens can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere!" Until I dig a little deeper and learn they actually have two acres of land.

Anyway we might put our house on the market this year. I hear that prospective buyers don't like stepping in chicken droppings, so we'll have to wait for those fresh eggs until we move into the next place. But we'll be gardening again once the ground thaws.

This is our third growing season at this house, and our first with a baby. So I'll try cultivating some things that she likes to eat: sweet potatoes, peas, and berries. She won't be old enough to help, but it's never to early to enjoy fresh, home-grown produce!


I used to draw all the time, from when I was very small till about halfway through college. I sketched constantly, designed t-shirts, and made a comic strip for my school newspapers. I'm not sure why, but for some reason by the time I graduated, my hobby tapered off and it became an infrequent thing.
Recently I picked up pencil & Sharpie and started practising for a secret project. I'm drawing again and it's great! I thought it would be fun to share some of my doodles with the Internet. Remember, I'm rusty, so be kind.

2009 Thing Update

CPS Library, originally uploaded by eholubow

Our total of things tossed is up to 759. Last month we ran into the same problem as Dave Bruno in his 100 Thing Challenge, namely, what counts as a "thing?"

We cleared out a bunch of old paperwork from the filing cabinet, and our entire CD collection. My wife, who majored in graphic design and photography, purged boxes of photos and negatives. Collections of a lot of little things. So what are the rules for this?

A CD in a case counts as single thing; it's a discrete object and it has some value too. What about a burned CD with no case? Is each photo in a box one thing, or do we count the entire box as one object? What if you throw away a small stack, and then throw away more later? I just let my wife decide how to tally it all, and the problem is solved.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick, originally uploaded by jaqian

Top o' the mornin' to ye! Let's learn about Irish history. Wikipedia teaches us that Saint Patrick's given name was Maewyn Succat. I don't know how that changed to Patrick, though. Anyway, he had a pretty interesting life.

When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken from his native Wales as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family [...] he later returned to Ireland as a missionary [...] By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland.

The important thing is that March 17 is a feast day in his honor. And that's why we break our Lenten fasts and drink lots of beer today, to commemorate the life of this saint.


Buenos Aires, aviso de Dengue, originally uploaded by Toni Pamuk

Our daughter had a fever over the weekend. It was just the normal kind, not the Dengue. Isn't this a beautiful image though?

They say it's good for kids to get sick, because their immune systems get a workout and they build up resistances. I hope that's true because it was an awful experience. After this we're going to put her in a plastic bubble so that nothing bad can ever happen again.

Daddy Drinks: Special Lenten Edition

St. Bernardus, originally uploaded by Dominic Winsor

Although I chose to set aside alcohol for a time, I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Some folks think drinking is a sin. Obviously I am not one of them. Generations of Christians have enjoyed drinking beer free of guilt. To condemn it on religious principles would be to thumb our noses at this great tradition.

In fact those paragons of holiness, the monks, are great boosters of beer. During Lent, it was actually a crucial part of their diet! According to Wikipedia:

During the spring religious season of Lent, monks were required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in food energy and nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this period.

Trappists in particular are famously known for not only drinking, but brewing fantastic samples of this liquid bread.

I didn't abstain from alcohol because I believe that drinking is a vice. On the contrary, beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Since I enjoy it, giving it up is a sacrifice, and after my fast is over I will continue drinking it with gusto.

Enjoy Now

Yoga @ Spencers GorgeConverted, originally uploaded by dandurasana

Be happy today! Go outside and play, give someone a hug, take a nap. Don't postpone joy or pin your happiness on a future goal. Focus, breathe, and enjoy the journey.

A few days ago, our baby was playing on the floor while I was cooking dinner. Suddenly she was silent. When I looked down she was holding a blanket up over her face. I said, "where's Ashley?" She pulled down the blanket and smiled. All on her own she had decided to play peekaboo.

Parenting is hard sometimes but my daughter makes me happy. She recently began to intentionally snuggle with us, too. We're really starting the fun part!

Cloth Diapers

baby buttcrack, originally uploaded by Trithemius

Please enjoy this guest post by my wife. The Jay wanted to know more about cloth diapers, so I'm passing you off to the expert.

Ashley's mother here. Evil Dad wanted to write a post about cloth diapers. When he asked me what he should write about them, our conversation went something like this:

Evil Dad: What do you think about cloth diapers?

Me: Huh?

My one blog reader asked about them, and I was trying to think about what I could blog about them.

Oh. Um, I like them?

What else? What can I write about them?

Well, there's lots of different kinds.

Yeah. And they're not more work than the paper kind.

Well, to you they're not.

That's true. They'd never get washed if it was my job. What else?

Do you just want me to write the blog?

Yes, please.

I first thought about using cloth diapers before I was even pregnant. It's just something that I've always known that I wanted to do. It's better for the environment, it's better for the baby (paper diapers have so many chemicals in them, and babies are more prone to diaper rashes when in them), it (can) save you lots of money (I'll come back to this point), and lets face it, they're cute!

There are so many different types of cloth diapers, but when it comes down to it, there are pretty much 4 basic types:

  1. Prefolds
  2. Fitteds
  3. Pockets
  4. All-In-Ones

I've used some of everything, and they all have their positives and their negatives.

Let's start with Prefolds. Prefolds are what most people think of when they hear "cloth diapers". They're what my mom used on me and my sisters when we were babies, and they're what my grandma used on my mom when she was a baby. When most people hear "cloth diaper" they think "prefold, pins, and Gerber plastic pants". Well, my friends, let me tell you, cloth diapers have come SO far since our parents' generation. Yes, prefolds do still exist and yes, many people do still use them. However, they have improved dramatically over the past 20+ years. They come in Chinese bleached, Chinese unbleached, Indian bleached, Indian unbleached, Diaper Service Quality, and of course, the Gerber prefolds. They come in a multitude of sizes, assuring you the perfect fit for your baby.

In my opinion, the positives to prefolds are that they dry really quickly, they don't tend to hold on to stink because they are made of natural fibers, and they're cheap. If you're cloth diapering to save money, prefolds are your answer. Negatives to prefolds are that they do come with a learning curve. There are many many different ways to fold them, and you just have to figure you for yourself what fold works the best for your babe.

Moving on to fitteds. Fitted are just that--diapers that are, well, fitted. They are usually made of 2 layers of fabric, and an inner "soaker" that is either sewn in between the 2 layers, or it might lay or snap on top.

When you use a prefold or a fitted, you need to also use a cover, since they are not waterproof.

There are 3 basic types of cover: PUL, fleece, and wool.

PUL is short for polyurethane laminate and is basically a waterproof fabric that many diaper covers are made out of. My favorite PUL diaper covers are Bummis Super Whisper Wraps. These come in all sizes to fit your itty-bitty-fresh-from-the-womb-newborn all the way up to your ready-to-be-potty-trained-toddler. Similar to the BSWW is the Prorap cover. These are very similar, but they have an extra leg gusset to keep in the poo-spolosion.

Fleece is another type of waterproof fabric. These covers can be made as "soakers", which is your basic pull-on diaper cover, "shorties" which are a diaper cover that are made in the style of shorts, or "longies" which are constructed as pants. Shorties and longies are intended to replace the need for pants or shorts, which helps to cut down on bulk which can be a problem with cloth diapers.

Wool is a fantastic naturally waterproof material, thanks to lanolin, and it makes great diaper covers. Soakers, shorties and longies can be constructed from either recycled wool sweaters, or they can be knit out of wool yarn. The really nice thing about wool is that you don't need to wash it very often. All you need to do is air dry it after using, and by the next diaper change, it'll be ready to go again. It doesn't hold on to stink, so unless you have a spolosion, no need to wash.

Pocket diapers generally contain an outside layer of PUL and an inside lining of microsuede, or other non-absorbant, but easily wick-able material (to keep baby's skin dry). They have an opening in the back of the diaper for an absorbant insert to be inserted into. There are so many different inserts out there, but the ones that I've had the best luck with are microfleece, hemp and bamboo. Microfleece is extremely absorbant, but it tends to hold on to stink since it's synthetic. In fact, it is so absorbant, that it is one of the only materials that you do NOT want to have directly against baby's skin, because it will actually pull natural oils from the baby away, resulting in extremely dry skin. Not cool. Hemp is another very absorbant material, and since it's natural it doesn't usually stink as bad. It is also incredibly trim. Bamboo is a "newer" material used in the cloth diapering world and seems to be all the rage. It is super soft, super absorbant and super "green".

Finally we have All-in-Ones. These diapers are the most like disposables, as they need no "prep" work. There is no folding involved, you do not need a cover, and unlike pockets, you do not have to stuff them. They are grab-n-go. They usually contain a PUL outer, a sewn-in hidden soaker, and/or a snap in, sewn-in or lay-in additional soaker. The drawback of these is that they take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to dry since they have so many layers to them.