Tuesday, June 29, 2010


The doc says that by now she should be able to say 4-15 words that everyone can recognize, and we've got that going with classics like:

daddy (pronounced dah-e!, two syllables supercollided into one)
bye (this usually follows "papa," Dad's the only person she's said it to more times than her mama)
more (but never just "more", always x3, accompanied by sign language)
and you might not be able to get this one by itself, but with the index finger shaking at you, no problem: one more

Those are the universal ones that anyone can understand, but she's probably got a couple dozen more where she just says maybe the first syllable, but we know what it means, of course headlined by:

Batman (bah)
Sally (yaya)
water (wawa)(and how did that get to be universal babyspeak, anyhow? It's pretty much a cliche, but what about this particular word makes every single one of them just repeat the first syllable and move on? Is "ter" such a dicey consonant sound that they want no part of it for the first few months of talking? She rocks the q-sound, no problem, speaking of ones you'd expect them to save for last, if only because it shows up so relatively rarely)
berries (beh-e)
love (luh)(and "I luh" definitely = "I love you," though no sign of that last syllable on the horizon)
glasses (dada)(because she saw me in glasses a lot during the formative week when this association was on-deck?)
milk (nana)
light (lie)
diaper (bi-pah)
golf (gah!)
shoes (goo)
Olivia (lih-ya)
Joker (joe)
Robin (rah)
comic (kah)
laundry (lah)
rock (rah, you need context for this one, pretty much impossible to tell if she's talking about drums or stones or Boy Wonders, now that I think about it)
cookie (koo-e)
cracker (krah)
color (cuh)
crayon (cruh)
pencil (pih)
drum (druh)
hat (hah)
barrette (buh)
Jubilee (day)
Tommy (tay)
I gotcha! (I-gah)
and since I've started typing, we can go ahead and add: who? (how?)

Then she just started in with other relatives' names this past weekend:
Oma (so, Dad loses the O-, Mom gets the back -ma shaved off)
Uncle Brett (Uh Breh)
Aunt Lulu (is, yeah, pretty much LuLu)(so that's why she went with that)

And the sign language she consistently rocks is:
all done

Plus, nodding and shaking her head. That counts, right?

I'm sure I'm forgetting half of what's coming out of her mouth, the commentary has really shot up the past week, week and a half. If she's in the mood, she'll repeat about everything you say, shepherding us into a golden age of expletives deleted. Going to have to go back through DEADWOOD in a little while just to regain balance.


Another crucial component of beating the heat is keeping the hair out of the face. I have yet to learn the trick of it, and it might never happen, but quite a look when Mama's around to effect the engineering.

Her Majesty concurs.


This one pretty much speaks for itself.


I don't know if I haven't evolved enough in a year or just not been to enough new places, or maybe it's just testament to the quality, but we did exactly what we did last year and rolled up to the East Side Cafe for Sunday Brunch. I might have already mentioned it, but, though you've certainly seen that she knows HOW to smile, when you TELL her to smile, she's gotten it in her head that this is what it should look like. True story. I've got dozens of shots of this face, they could be their own photo album. Which actually sounds like a fine notion.

At any rate, if you're one of those people who can resist hyperlinks and not click through like immediately whenever you find one, then it might be news to you that East Side has a big old garden out back where they grow a great deal of what they serve. We went for a walk after the meal.

And then, you know, we had to drive back home. Again, impossible not to heed the call of Gah! when we hit the parking lot and let her behind the wheel, though, as you might expect, while that's still the primary focus, we've progressed to by now being almost equally concerned with messing with the lights/blinkers/stereo and always always and without fail, switching the A/C over to full-on heat, which is a little trick that only really works maybe two months out of the year down here. Suck it, New York! Anyway, point of the story is, lately, when we're trying to move from one activity to the next with grace and dignity and something less than the absolute fury of a tyrant usurped, then we drop the One More, as in "one more cookie and then that's all" or "one more minute drawing and then you've really got to get in that bath." Well, it took her maybe a day or two to turn that one around and now everything's One More, and she says it and shakes her index finger at you, and there's really nothing you can do. The funny part is that I'm positive she has no conception of the concept of "one," the phrase just means "a little bit longer" to her because she will drop three or maybe four One Mores on you, if you let her, not sure what the record is. I never let her take me to five, can tell you that. But here she is after driving back from East Side and a couple of minutes already behind the wheel, shaking that finger at me and campaigning for just a little bit longer.


All right, following up on the water post from a while back, we have an ACTION VIDEO, a series of pictures that move in such a fashion that it presents the illusion that you, the viewer are actually there, no matter where or when you are. The narrative possibilities of this technology are endless.

Monday, June 28, 2010


The wind was blowing, so Byrnie Bass decided to fly on in to Austin and check on his granddaughter. We went and had a killer happy hour at North (located about five minutes west, guess where) and, the next day, saddled up and went to the comic book store to get Her Majesty a Batman action figure, because that's the way things have been heading of late. I was thinking it would be like a $15 situation, and they had a few of those guys there, but they were designed by Michael Turner or just otherwise really not up to snuff, but then we found these two limited edition figures that are almost like Manga Boxer Batman or something, I mean, the guy's fists are way bigger than his head. Hulk Batman, really. They also had a two-figure set of Batman & Joker from Frank Miller's classic DARK KNIGHT series, which has always been my favorite Batman story of all time (always since 1988 when I read it, we pause here to qualify)(though, as long as we're all parenthetical, I should also say that a few months ago, I jammed YEAR ONE on a Friday night and DARK KNIGHT on Saturday and maybe now it's a tie, I mean, Mazzucchelli!) but at any rate, point is it was her decision, so we laid them out and let her make it, and right before she did, she looked up and I caught it.Too, full disclosure, while I was trying as hard as I could not to influence the decision, the sticker price on those limited edition Hulk Batmen was $79.99, which, you know, is insane for a piece of vinyl anything, no matter what it represents, whereas the DARK KNIGHT figures, Batman and the Joker, remember, were literally twice as nice at half the price, and even came with a reprint of the first issue of DARK KNIGHT on top of that, and not a little voice but really quite a large part of me, we're talking pretty close to the majority, was about to launch up from out back and take control and say, "Hey, this way she gets TWO figures, plus the comic, which contains at least one of the top Batman splash pages of all time, and if you really want to drop that much at this place, we can get these two guys and just blow the other forty real quick on comics and be out the door inside of five minutes, I promise, whadaya say?"

But, you know, her choice.
She went with the guy to her left. Classic Batman, they call him. Which is funny because he's got the little yellow circle over the insignia that they added in the 60s so that DC could copyright the bat-symbol for the Adam West show, but the guy they're billing Modern Batman is actually closer to let's call him Original Batman.
Whatever permutation, she loves him. He hasn't just completely wrecked all the other toys we've got lying around, but I'm pretty sure he's just biding his time, sizing up the opposition. Making plans.

And I'm sorry for harping on this, but I just can't deal with the inflation, you know, my head's still set for 80s prices, meaning that Batman we got = the cost of FOUR Millennium Falcons, and it's not that that wouldn't be a fair fight, the four of them swarming around the guy dangling from the bottom of Cloud City, but, you know, insane.

The one Batman figure I had before the Burton/Keaton explosion of '89 cost $3.99, $4.28 with tax, I remember the numbers coming up on the register of Toys Plus and I was a happy happy boy. Of course, same guy's going for $175 now, so I guess we got off cheap.

But this is not a Batman blog. Mostly. We also went to Sandy's Shoes, where Pa bought her this atrocious and wonderful pair of pink sandals with interchangeable bows THAT ACTUALLY SQUEAK EVERY TIME SHE TAKES A STEP. Really. They are not to be believed. Also, this pair.And when he left, he got added to the litany. Well, I guess it became a litany. Previously, whenever she would wake up from her nap, or during the day I guess feel in need of reassurance that it wasn't going to ALWAYS be just the two of us, she would ask, "Ma?" and I would of course say, "Your mama loves you, she'll be home soon," or something like that. But now, we're adding to the list. Dad only took the bronze, though, good ol Sally's got him beat, so that it goes, "Ma?" "Your Mama loves you." "Yaya?" "Sally loves you." Then, the grin, because he's such a silly guy. "Pa!" "Pa loves you, too. He wishes he was here right now." And so it goes.


I love drumming on RockBand because that's the only instrument I've ever run across, or well, let's say run across and cared enough about, that I just could not play. I mean, the limbs, they no workee independently. But that's what's so great about this game, whereas the guitar and bass gameplay is garbage when compared to the real instrument, you could take a kid and put him in a fallout shelter with the game for a few years and when you let him out, if you put him behind a trap-set and started playing tunes he knew, there's a reasonable chance that he'd work it all out pretty quick and be able to actually play drums alongside you. Or, hey, jump out from behind the kit and try to rip your throat out with his teeth, it really depends on the kind of person he was when you put him in there.

Point being, big fan of the drumming component of that game, and she's finally old enough to dig it, as well, already way into drumming along to other music, but she gets pretty happy to see the old man slamming on the digital skins. I finished tearing up a Clash tune and turned around and she'd set herself up just like you see here, got herself a blanket because I had the fan on because I was generating HEAT, and, you know, it might not seem so crazy to anyone else, but I'm barely used to her walking around, really, so just the fact that she'd get all nestled in like this and cozy to enjoy the show, pretty cute.

Of course, one diaper/clothes change later, she was ready to get on in there and tear it up herself.

The timing will come, but I'm pretty sure she gets it.


But in order to get to Half-Price Books, you've got to get behind the wheel of an automobile. Lately, our girl has taken it into her head that she should be the one in charge of this aspect, as well. So now, any time we pull into the parking lot of the apartment complex, you get "Gah! Gah!" from the backseat, which means "Car!" which is short for "Let ME drive the car!" And, you know, we can't do it every single time, because she wants to make like a career out of every possible opportunity, or at least a substantial imaginary road trip, out to Fredericksburg, at least. For a little while, I was trying to keep it down to one a day but am totally caving on that one, it's almost impossible to say no to that face lurching up at you out of the back seat.


Her Majesty has always enjoyed having books and comics read to her, but now that she's getting a bit older, she prefers to have the experience all to herself. We made another pilgrimage to Half-Price Books and I bought her a few quality quarter-comics that she can read right to pieces. And less than two weeks later, a few of them are almost there.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


And since we've made it back to the capital, we have:

-learned how to climb up on the crib, inaugurating a fantastic new era of trying to wrangle the additional dimension of vertical safety, as if we had length and width just totally under control.

-eaten at Juan in a Million, home of the famous Don Juan, with a few new friends in town for the Republic of Texas Rally.

-gone swinging and just loved it to pieces, a nice bit of continuity, as fast as everything seems to be moving and changing, though I guess she's got to grow out of that swing eventually. I can wait.


All right, the previous post started life as SALSA & SALLY, but I just couldn't do that to poor ol Sally after the way the first half ended up. At any rate, back when Truman was fending off communists and godless McCarthy spies, Mom had this rubber doll she named Sally. She held onto her and I took a shine to her when I was a little guy, even pulled some (all?) of her teeth, though I don't think we ever managed to convert those into currency. Well, Her Majesty is crazy for Sally (pronounced "YaYa"), dragged her around most places and pushed her in the stroller everywhere else. Before NapTime on Tuesday, she was going pretty crazy, so I tried to ease her into it by having us tuck in Sally on the living couch. Of course, she had to jump right in and snuggle up.

And, by way of comparison, here's an old shot of me holding onto Brett & Sally just right before Jimmy turned it over to Reagan to get rid of those Reds, once and for all.


We have lately developed the taste for chips and salsa, and this kid does not care how hot it is. This is at Durango's, one of the best Mexican food places in Lubbock, where the waitress was quite freaked out to see this kid just taking it down, maybe fifteen chips worth before I finally made her drink some water. Then, right back to it. This meal, combined with the five prunes I'd given her that morning after she'd about crapped a rock (it's the flying that does it) were directly responsible for probably the most disgusting thing I've ever been lucky enough to witness, not pictured (but that little pink outfit she was walking around the park in a few entries down spent Monday night in the toilet, if you want a hint).


Of course we weren't going to get away from the Club without her Pa (sometimes two Pa's, but the O has officially been dropped by Her Majesty, whose every syllable or lack thereof is of course Law) getting to show his granddaughter an actual functioning putting green. And she was primed for it, as soon as we drove up into the parking lot, she tried to rip herself out of her car-seat, pointing at the driving range and 18th hole, screaming, "Gah! Gah!" We had finally arrived at Golf, as seen on TV.We hit the putting green, and in just a very few minutes, she was setting the club head behind the ball and then hitting it down toward the hole.Of course, like frisbee-golf, the way she always wanted to end it was to pick the last shot up and then put it in the hole.

Followed by doing her best to cram Dad's really nice driver down into the hole after the ball, which of course he thought was wonderful.


We were back in the Hub City the first part of this last week and couldn't resist taking her out to the swimming pool where her uncle and I killed many a summer afternoon. I've certainly never had so much fun in the baby pool until now.
Sneaking up on some kid's unsuspecting floatation device.
And here she is drying off and sampling the quality french fries that have long been a staple.


We took her out to this little section of the Domain where they've got blasts of water squirting out of these circles in timed bursts, and it is a fine way to beat the summer heat. The first time we went, she just wanted to watch, get the lay of the land, but this second time, she went for it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Taken and named by Byrnie Bass, AKA Opapa.