Thursday, July 16 2020

pocky, random pants, and remote control monster trucks



banners/2020 07 16

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday. Today's banner image features a chocolate smeared Rodney explaining to me that Pocky is now his favorite food.

"Dada, this is my favorite," he said with the utmost sincerity, like he was trying to appeal to a jury. "This is my favorite, and it's so special." We would spend the rest of that lunch arguing about whether or not Pocky can join his quick breakfast rotation.

Mimi, who left us with the box of delectable treats, threw her hat in the ring over a text message. "I mean it's technically a biscuit," she says. "That's breakfast, right?"

Biscuit? I thought Pocky was a pretzel, but both Mimi and Wikipedia proved me wrong this time. Looking at the entry for Pocky I learned, one, that Pocky is a stick shaped biscuit and, two, their company Gilco is not without scandal. In the eighties, their president was kidnapped by a group called The Monster with 21 Faces so they could extort the company for money. And it also says in 2008, they were caught adding melamine Pocky, which is an illegal compound used to make foods appear to have more protein. Reading this as an American, I can't help but wonder why they would do that instead of just adding cheese.

Sip. Happy Thursday everyone. I hope you're having a good week so far. I'm currently riding a productive high, feeling motivated to clean up my computer files and workstation configs. Lately, in the tech side project department, I've been experimenting with using a non-work personal computer again. As you might remember, after the quarantine hit and my job suddenly became indefinitely homebound, I decided to retire my personal computer to the miniature home server farm. I was using my work laptop so often, I just decided to move into it full time.

Well I'm fickle with technology, and I've decided that I'd like to have a separate computer for home things again. Except this time my personal computer isn't in a physical place. I'm working out of a virtual computer running on top of the file server, which is accessible from any computer in the house. This morning, I'm at the dining room linux machine drafting a journal entry in an X11 forwarded emacs window.

window forwarding

This way, my personal computer is both everywhere and nowhere.

Notes, music, pictures, and code - it feels good to have everything together in one happy place again, and the virtualization trick makes it even more satisfying.

Just as I tidied up my personal computer, I also went through all of Rodney's clothes yesterday. With his fourth birthday a week behind us, it felt like a good time to finally go through his closet and pack the 3T clothes away with the other hand-me-downs. Marissa and I stood in Rodney's closet. I had questions about how the bins were organized, but they turned into more general questions about how toddler clothes are sized.

"This is the 3T bin on top I started up here," she explained.

"But I checked that pair of Paw Patrol pajamas, and they were 4T," I contested. "That's when I decided to get you. I'm confused."

Marissa laughed. "That's unfortunate. So he grew out of those pajamas, even though they're 4T. I put them in the 3T bin, and you happened to check that pair."

I sighed. "OK, so he still has a few 2T shirts. Do these go here?" I asked, pointing at a bin with my foot.

"No - those are 18-24 month," replied Marissa patiently.

"What?" I bawked. "Aren't 18-24 month and 2T the same?"

"No," said Marissa. "2T starts at 24 months, but doesn't include 18-24 months."

After my toddler clothes orientation, the great culling began. Rodney fiddled around with clothes hangers while I separated his clothes into piles. An hour later, I found Marissa in the dining room, approaching her at the table like a doctor about to deliver bad news.

"So we'll start with the good news," I said. "His pajamas are in good shape - most of those were 4T, so we only had to pack away one pair."

"That's good," nodded Marissa.

"We also finally got rid of Rodney's random pants," I smiled.

Somehow, a random pair of navy blue pants had made their way into Rodney's tightly packed pajama bin, and since each of his pajamas come in a themed top-bottom pair, the extra pair of pants counfounded us. They didn't even look like children's pants. They looked like a pair of sweatpants taken from a lazy middle aged bachelor shrunken down to fit on a child.

"Rest in peace, random pants," I remarked. "Locked away in the hand-me-down bin for many years to come, you will no longer make sorting Rodney's pajamas so difficult."

"So the pajamas are good," said Marissa, getting me back on track.

"Yeah, but the rest of his wardrobe was kind of a slaughter," I sighed. "He has about four t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, and he has grown out of all of his pants."

"All of them?" asked Marissa.

"All of them," I laughed. "I guess quarantine is a great time for him to limp by without a complete wardrobe. He can just stick to pajamas until we get him some new clothes."

Once I had stowed the clothes bins back in Rodney's closet, we sent Rodney to his room for quiet time. Marissa and I decided to enjoy an afternoon beer on the couch. I made my way across the living room, taking care not to step on any toys, when a sudden whirring of an engine grabbed my attention. Rodney's remote control monster truck whizzed by, crossing my path.

I stopped in my tracks, gripped by confusion. The truck peeled in front of me again and proceeded to spin in circles in the living room. Marissa came down the stairs, laughing.

"Is that you? You scared the hell out of me," I laughed.

"No," she said. "It's Rodney. He's just lying in his bed with the remote, blindly controlling his car."

Rodney's car somehow managed to follow us into the kitchen while I got a beer, bumping into walls and table legs. The dogs followed behind the sentient monster truck cautiously. Rodney could be heard cackling from upstairs.

"Hey monster truck, how's your day going?" I asked loudly enough for Rodney to hear in his room upstairs.

"FEELS GOOD," said Rodney, using a gruff voice.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a great Thursday.