My home office is located in the living room these days, across from my wife’s harpsichord and organ. It consists of a sprawling Ikea GALANT desk with office supplies, computer equipment and cats covering most of its surface.
In particular, I have a Sharp AM-900 Digital Office Laser Copier/Printer/Fax/Scanner that I bought on Amazon for two hundred-something dollars. Basically it’s a decent standalone copier, an ok fax (I am not sure if it can actually print out confirmations). As far as printer and scanner functions go, the drivers are rather crunchy – I have to frequently unplug/reinstall them which is a major bummer. Also, Sharp does not have the drivers available online, so I have to keep the installation cd on my hard drive. But the copier and fax functions alone are worth that money, so I am glad I got it.
What I am not glad about is that Tilde the Cat figured out how to press the copy button. She was always fascinated by the printer noise, but now she learned how to produce it. Here’s her self-portrait. She pressed the button and looked at the pretty moving light. Now I’ll have to make an anti-cat button cover, like those on most of my power strips (I make them out of duct tape and steel corners).
Gary the Cat, on the other hand likes to use the keyboard as his pillow. He knows that sooner or later he’ll be able to rest his face on my left hand.
Tilde the Cat thinks she is people: today she reported for work in her own cubicle, just like her master.
Recently, with the help of my wife, I went ahead and spawned a child process.
The birth papers identify her as a 6lb 6oz (2kg 800g) baby female (or BF as it said on her id tag). We named her Natalie Ethel. The old-fashioned middle name is honoring my grandmother, as well as letting my daughter write her name as Natalie E. (like in Wile E. Coyote). My wife got to choose the first name and settled on Natalie. The goal was to pick a simple name that has a clear analog in Russian. Thus Natalie/Natasha. The cartoon conotation is purely accidental. One thing for sure – Gary the Cat and Tilde the Cat are not being renamed “Muss and Skworrl“.
Natalie was delivered in New York Presbyterian Hospital on the Upper East Side. I got to say that we are very fortunate in that our insurance covered it, as it’s pretty much a fancypants hospital. Downstairs I saw several limos and a Maybach (a $300K+ Mercedes). The delivery room was huge and had a great view of the Roosevelt Island and Queensboro Bridge.
The wires that you see on the windowsill in the previous picture were hooked up to my wife throughout labor (it’s a standard procedure in that hospital) and were used to continuously display the baby’s heartbeat. The Windows 3.11 application had the funniest little icons, and an especially cute picture of a choo-choo train that pulsed in and out. The sound effects for the choo-choo were provided by that Doppler heartbeat sound. Things to note are the funny icon representing a pregnant woman in the left corner, the nurse’s name that also doubles as a certain catroon professor’s catchphrase and the 47 in the heartbeat rate.
As I mentioned before, this hospital is fancy and is for rich folks mostly. This means a lot of pictures of dead white men. The whole hospital is basically encrusted with pictures of very rich people who gave money for the hospital and distinguished doctors who led various departments. The pictures in the maternity ward were a bit unusual. Not that there was a minority or a female doctor, but it was very interesting to see that unlike the doctor before him and after him, Dr. Fritz Fuchs who chaired the department in 60s and 70s, in the spirit of the decades, chose to have his portrait done in a modernist manner.
Now that I have a brand-spanking-new baby on my hands, and a wife who can get very upset over things like remembering the sad story about the sentient ocean in Stanislaw Lem’s “Solaris“, my blogging frequency is not likely to be much improved.
But I promise you that as much as I am envious of the popularity of the bloggers that write almost exclusively about ther children and pets, and despite the increasingly personal nature of my posts, this is not a permanent trend.
Also, I will try to avoid referring to my child by a weird and/or embarrassing nickname. Bloggers really let loose with children’s nicknames: Mayor McFreaky, The Squrrily, The Chub and the Grub, Puhtishkin, Kutuzov and Homiak (Hamster), Fasolets (Uhh, Broadbean?). Both Russian-speaking and anglophones. What’s up with that?
And here’s what I spent much of my Sunday sitting in the armchair and reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (thanks for recommendation, badger). For a minute I thought about where all the stuff that surrounded me was made.
Matcha tea is from Kyoto Japan, so is the bowl. The cigar’s components hail from Nikaragua, Ecuadore and Sumatra. The water is from Fiji. The ashtray is probably made in China (my radium glass ashtray broke) and so is the window fan that sucks out all the smoke. The armchair is made in Italy. Tilde the cat is probably made in Brooklyn (even though she looks sullen, she was not posed at all).
I wonder if Michael Chabon got the name for one of the title characters from this old hotel a couple of block from the Empire State Building.