21 June 2009

Sunday Parkways

little rider
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
The McLeod family spent Father's Day afternoon in north Portland participating in the Sunday Parkways, a 7.5 mile loop of roads closed to cars.

The loop connected several parks and neighborhoods, and temporarily converted a good portion of the city into a (carfree) park. The turnout was amazing and the weather was typical Portland-weird (sunny rain showers).

Last year, there was one experimental Sunday Parkways. It was such a success that the city decided to host three this summer. I wish we were going to be around for the next two.

Liam rode his own bike, and, while there were a few tears and moans about halfway through the ride, we all made it and had a wonderful time. He tried his hand at the MTB skills course that was set up in Kenton Park.

A big HUGE thanks to the City of Portland as well as all the volunteers who made today possible!

17 June 2009

grocery shopping by bike

Bike-lane love
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
We may be car[e]free, but that doesn't mean we can't stock-up on supplies.

The boys and I just got back from a trip to the grocery store - by bike. I'm not able to pick up the amount I could get when I have the car, but I can still get what we need. Today I got some diapers, beer, bananas, local strawberries, tortillas and charcoal. I was able to fit it into my panniers, bike bag and the Chariot.

Liam, being the big boy that he is, rides his bike alongside me (no more bike train for him)!

Being car[e]free in Hillsboro with two little boys is a challenge, but we're making it work!

16 June 2009

one of those days

Camper woke up crying today at 7 am and pretty much cried all day; look at him wrong, don't share a toy, share a toy, it didn't matter, he was a screamer. Liam wanted nothing but to either watch TV, "do his work" (Liam refers to playing on the computer as "doing my work") or eat chocolate chips and/or some gross-ass popsicles (that Nikki bought last weekend. "Slow Melt" popsicles?! What the fuck is that!? It can't be good for you!).

It's eleven pm and Camper finally stopped running around about 45 minutes ago. I've barely had a minute to myself all day. They wouldn't play outside unless I was with them. They wouldn't play (nicely) inside unless I was with them. I couldn't even go to the bathroom without Camper following me and pounding on the door (if I dared shut it!).

I tried taking them to the library for the reading time this morning, but Camper was such a little asshole, we had to leave. He was screaming, yelling, throwing books, grabbing things from other kids, and crawling up on the table. It was really great. I was the father of that kid.

It's only Tuesday, but I'm already starting to go batty. I get tweets from a twitter-bot that lists all the beers on tap in PDX I get tweets from BikePortland describing all the fun Pedalpalooza events ... and I get to hang out in Hillsboro with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old (we're still carless, so the only way into PDX is on the MAX, which is fine, but not realistic with the boys and any bikes).

Today was one of those days where I had to keep reminding (and trying to convince) myself that I'm one of the lucky ones. Most dads don't get to see this much of thier children....

Tomorrow will be better.

glimmers of humanity

Yesterday I witnessed an act by my son that I believe every parent would want to watch their child do.

While crossing the swinging bridge-thing, a little girl behind Camper stumbled and nearly fell off. Camper let out a gasp, and quickly moved in to help. He handed her a bar, and then held it steady while she pulled herself on. After that, he walked slowly across the bridge with her to make sure she was OK.

Once it was clear that she was across the bridge and OK, he quickly resumed his rambunctious, and potentially hazardous play.

It wasn't a huge deal, but sometimes it's the very little things that matter the most.

Those glimmers of humanity.

15 June 2009

change in plans!

We're being sent to Bend, Oregon rather than Nampa, Idaho!

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I guess the doctor in Idaho is having some personal issues (like a trip to see Betty Ford), so Nikki has been reassigned to a dermatology clinic in Bend.


I'd much rather spend July at the base of Mt. Bachelor than in a town with a slaughterhouse and paper mill. So would you.

Two weeks from today we'll be in Bend, so we've been packing and organizing. Most of our belongings are going into (or are already in) storage, so it's a matter of picking what comes and what stays, and then of the stuff that stays, making sure it's well-organized and easy to access so when we do need stuff, it'll be easy to find.

09 June 2009

my little punk

'I go ousside!'
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
Camper has taken up a charming new way of letting his displeasure be known.

Sticking his tongue out and zurburtting at you - and if you're close enough, he'll take a swing at you. He's deadly serious when he does it, which frankly, makes it all the cuter, and therefore harder to punish (it's hard for the kids to believe you are serious when you're half-laughing).

I'm trying my best to ignore it, but I'm not sure that's the best approach.

He's a tough little guy with a strong personality who won't back down for anything or anyone.I don't think he should have any problems with the McLeod Clan motto: Hold Fast. The Clan Crest is a bullhead between two flag poles with red flags and the motto Hold fast.

07 June 2009

auction is a go

My Mac Pro is on eBay.

Mac Pro, 24-inch Cinema HD display and speakers - eBay (item 150350275083 end time Jun-13-09 10:20:38 PDT)

I really (really ... really ... really) hope that I can get enough to afford a 17-inch MacBook Pro. I don't want to be computer-less while we're doing our gypsy-thing, and I want to be able to continue running my photo processing/organization software, Aperture, which needs high-end hardware to run well. I've just started to make a bit of money from sales of photos through Getty, as well as the art dealer, Farmboy Fine Arts. It would be kind of silly to walk away from that opportunity. Besides, the travel may give me an opportunity to build up a more diverse portfolio.

And really, could I live without my blogging and tweeting and Facebooking and Flickring!?


We took the kids to see Up in 3D last night. As usual, Pixar knocked it out of the park.

I had heard that the first half-hour-or-so is a bit sad, and may be too much for little kids. We needn't have worried; the whole death thing was lost on them. Pixar does such a masterful job of telling a story on two levels; one for the adults and one for the children. I was choked up by tears of sadness over death, and dreams never fulfilled, while Liam was choked up laughing at poor little Carl fall through the creaky board in the old house.

Watching it in 3D offers a strange and somewhat disconcerting experience. It wasn't like "traditional" 3D movies where things appear to be popping OUT of the screen. It was more like looking INTO a moving diorama. The edge of the screen appeared to be about twenty feet from the wall. I'm not really sure if I liked it or not. The 3D glasses were a bit heavy and felt odd piled on top of my glasses (Liam said to me, as I was sitting down, "Daddy, you should have worn your contacts!"). Liam wore his for about 75% of the movie, while Camper barely wore his.

It was a great movie with wonderful characters, amazing animation and a fun-filled adventure to tie it all together.

"Won't you please be my prisoner, please please please!"

05 June 2009

what's wrong with you?

Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
Last week, I used this beard picture of me as my Facebook icon.

I got several comments that said something to the extent of, "Wolverine!"

A little history
The picture was taken in the spring of 1994 by my father in my dressing room, backstage at Western State College. I had grown the beard out for a part in a play. I was playing Snug in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

This was the last night of the show, and I was going to shave.

But first, I was going to have a little fun...

Flash-forward fifteen years
A few days after posting the beard picture, I switched my Facebook icon to my awesome, super-suave mustachioed self (from fifteen years in the past!).

Within hours, I received this Facebook message from my mother.

subject: what's wrong with you?
You look like you are out of your mind. Is that the image you want? Or have you lost it?

Oh, Mom.

I love you.

... But I think we all know that I lost it a long time ago. That fact aside, I was just trying to have a little fun, and, as we all know, it's always easiest to have fun at one's own expense...

a followup...

mr. mcleod
Originally uploaded by Walsh
I was going to edit my post from yesterday, but then I decided that a) if you've already read the post, you wouldn't know about the changes (as if you'd really care that much) and b) that's what a blog is for. A mostly unedited, unfiltered mess.

For that, my dear readers, I apologize. But that's how we('ll) roll on this here bloggy blog.

A mostly unedited, unfiltered mess.

It'll be hard for the editor in me to deal with, but it should be a good exercise (something like, no more than 5 edits per post).

Welcome to my life.

A mostly unedited, unfiltered mess.

04 June 2009

These days are long

Today, the boys and I had a good day. No one had any major meltdowns - we went to the playground, we went for a bike ride, we went to the pool. We even went to Baker's Burgers.

Not every day is like today. Yesterday was one of those days.

It was one of those days that ended with a meltdown from daddy. I had had enough. Campbell actually tripped the fuse to the upstairs four times. Four fucking times! How many times do I have to yell and scream, "stop playing with the light switch!" The third time he did it, I smacked his ass. The fourth time I put him across my lap and actually spanked him.

I then proceeded to freak out on the two boys, having a breakdown over the mess they've been making, how they're not listening to me... the whole thing. It was lovely. It made me feel great.

Everything I feel when I'm having a "moment" is nothing new to parenting. I'm not the first person to experience it. I know this... but it doesn't make it any better.

I'm constantly questioning what I'm doing, and if I'm doing all the right things. Am I pushing my kids too hard? Not hard enough?

Liam is a smart kid and has an insatiable intellectual curiosity. He's constantly spelling out words and adding up numbers. He likes to write words down, and can even Google the stuff he's interested in. Star Wars. Spiderman. I want to encourage his development without pushing him.

He's also an incredible biker and has been unstoppable since we re-removed the training wheels from his bike and he figured out how to start himself a few weeks ago. He's really good, and he's really capable, and again, I want to encourage his development without pushing him.

Our biggest problem is Liam's addiction to "screen" (TV, computer, iPhone... it makes no difference to the digital generation). He's constantly asking if he can watch a show or do his "work" (computer time). When I say no he whines, cries, kicks and even screams. Sometimes it's really bad.

The answer is to get rid of the TV and computer. The TV would not (will not) be a problem. Not at all. The computer? The problem here is, daddy is also addicted.

We're about to head out on the road and it's looking like no one wants to buy my desktop so I can afford a laptop - so Liam and I may be going cold turkey together!

03 June 2009

I gotta go pee!

(It's almost 11:30pm and) I was just in the boys' bathroom using the toilet when the door to their room popped open. It was a sweaty-headed Camper.

He looked at me and said, "I gotta go pee!"

So I peeled off his pajamas and (dry) diapers and plopped him up on the toilet. Within moments he was peeing.

When he finished, he hopped down, looked at me and said, "now I gotta get some watey."

02 June 2009

Craigslist scam

I posted my computer on Craigslist yesterday, despite the warning from the folks at the Apple Store to skip it and go straight to eBay. I've received a couple of inquires, one of which was simply, "Is this item still for sale?" I responded in the affirmative, and about an hour later received the following email:

Hi Seller, I am serious in buying this item that you listed and i want
you to remove the advert from craigslist,i have much interest in it
and want it to be sent to my son abroad who is currently in his final
year in school in ancient university in west Africa, and i am willing
and able to buy the item through my paypal account, so please kindly
get back to me with your paypal email address so that i can pay for
the item and i will include $220 for the shipping via (EMS) GLOBAL
EXPRESS MAIL USPS.Please if this is acceptable to you,kindly send your
full name and your contact information and PayPal email address so
that i can proceed with the payment via PayPal.

i live at 37 Stonehenge CirApt 8, Pikesville Md 21208,

Thanks i will be looking forward to hear from you.

kelly handsome

I know this is a scam, but I'm just not sure how. If they put $3000 plus the $220 for shipping in my PayPal account, how are they scamming me? My guess is that it would probably cost around $200 - $300 to ship it to Africa, so they aren't making any money that way.

What's the deal here? How does this work in their favor? Do many people fall for "Hi Seller" (especially when receiving a response to an email they signed their name to)? What's up with "this item?" Doesn't that just scream SCAM!?

Has anyone had any experience with this sort of thing?

01 June 2009

Things I've heard from a four-year-old... [Part 1]

  • My brain tells me I need to watch more television - and not a edunacational show!
  • My stomach tells me it needs ice cream.
  • You're not the boss of me. My brain is.
  • I'm the boss of my bike, which means I control where it goes, so you can't tell me which way to go!
  • What's inside a bug?
  • Why doesn't it hurt when it rains? It falls from WAY up.
  • Girls don't have penises. They pee out of their butts.
  • You're not my daddy!
  • I do not like your attitude!
  • Daddy, if you let me watch a fighting show you will get a box of all the camera gear you want.... and sushi...
  • Camper! Do no damage!
[Stay-tuned] There will be more...