“How About That R2 Unit Over There?”

I don’t mean to throw so much Star Wars stuff at you here lately, but I’ve run across another cool SW related website.

67285-500-333.jpgThese guys actually build their own R2 units… that’s right, they make brothers and sisters for R2-D2! You can’t buy completed droids from them, but they’re a club for people who want to build their own astromech droids (which is what R2-D2 was). The website has links for actual blueprints and tutorials on getting started. Some people make static droids just for decoration; others actually put in robotics that allow the units to roll around, make noises, light up, etc. By the way, these are all radio-controlled, I believe. I don’t think anyone’s actually built one that functions on its own yet. Although, with Lego’s Mindstorm line of products, creating an independently functional R2 unit is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

For any of you guys with mechanical prowess (Matt), technical prowess (Wes), or a few extra bucks lying around (probably none of us), this might be a cool hobby. Be prepared to kiss your sex life goodbye, though. I’d imagine it’s hard to attract the lady-folk when you spend your free time playing with a robot. In that case, you might want to spend some time trying to create some fembots.

Lovey

I don’t know why it didn’t strike me to write about this earlier. Ryley’s comment on my last post made me think about it.

My youngest daughter, Hailey, absolutely fell in love with one of the toys she was given at birth. I’m not sure what to call it, exactly, although we always referred to it as “Lovey.” It was a pink fleece blanket with satin trim, and in the middle of the blanket, it had the head and paws of a little plush tiger. Her name had been embroidered on it, as well as a picture of the little tiger. It was really cute, and Hailey never went anywhere without it.

A few weeks ago, my wife had gone to the mall with her sister, Leslie, and had taken the girls along. When they were loading everyone back into the car, one of our worst fears was realized: Leslie put Hailey in the car seat and noticed that Lovey was missing. They checked the strollers and bags, but couldn’t find it, so Leslie went back into the mall.

We’re thinking that Hailey either dropped or threw Lovey at some point in the mall, but even though Leslie backtracked to every place they had been, she couldn’t find it. We spend the next few days calling (and visiting) every store, customer service kiosk, and security station we could find in search of Lovey. My father-in-law even asked every janitor he ran into to see if any of them had seen it.

Lovey’s just gone.

But that’s been hard for us to accept. Obviously, Hailey’s been upset. She’s cried and asked for Lovey many times, and putting her to bed has been much more difficult than normal. The rest of us were sad too. Lauren and I had gotten attached to Lovey also; it’s one of those things from your kid’s childhood that you always plan to hang onto. Even Madelyn, who’s three and a half, has been upset about it.

We’ve also been searching the internet to try to find a replacement. But this toy was bought a good 2 years ago, and we haven’t been able to find the same one anywhere. The lady that got it for Hailey went back to the store she had gotten it from, but had no luck. The internet has plenty of toys like this, but none are close enough to even mildly resemble Lovey.

We ended up getting a similar toy that has a monkey on it. Hailey tolerates it, but it was almost like seeing it only reminded her of Lovey, which really just made her sad.

Finally, last week, I ran across an ebay auction with only 10 hours left in it that had something almost identical to Lovey (you can see the picture here). There are some subtle differences, but it’s stil amazingly close to our original Lovey.

Yesterday, it finally came in. We were pretty anxious to see if Hailey would like it or not, and Lauren even felt a little like she was “betraying” the original Lovey. When they opened the package, Hailey cried out, “Lovey!” and pulled it to her tiny chest. She looked at it for just a second as though something seemed different, but I guess she wanted to believe badly enough that she gave in to the illusion. Lauren said she held it, hugged it, talked to it, sang to it, for a very long time yesterday (I was at work and didn’t get to see it). And she went to sleep with no problems at all, both for her nap and at bedtime.

We still hope to find the original Lovey one day. We hope that someone will finally run across it at the mall, or maybe some kid picked it up and the parent will return it to mall security. But we don’t really expect to have any luck there.

If your child has his or her own “Lovey,” I recommend memorizing (and photographing) every detail of that thing. Get a replacement early on, if you can (just in case). And definitely put some kind of contact information on it. There’s some other great information about them at articles like this one.

Oh, and if you’re ever at the Riverchase Galleria, and you see a little pink “lovey” with “Hailey” monogrammed on it, please let me know!

Jerk Sues Dry Cleaners for Fat Wad of Cash

Has anybody heard about this story?

A law judge is representing himself in his $54 million lawsuit against a dry cleaning business. Apparently, this unfortunate individual took 4 pairs of suit pants to a dry cleaners run by Korean immigrants who don’t speak English. They had a sign at the counter that said “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” but when he returned for his pants, they had lost one of the pairs.

Understandably, he has suffered extreme mental trauma and distress. The judge for the case is expected to rule by the end of the week.

You know, I would have thought this whole thing was some SNL skit or something, if it hadn’t been so funny.

Note to Self…

Lately, and I’ve gotta thank Guy for turning me on to this (he wrote an article about it recently), I’ve really gotten into a habit of jotting myself.

Jott.com is a free service that helps keep you organized, despite your best efforts otherwise. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re driving down the road, and you suddenly remember that you’ve got to email that really important proposal to Mr Meatfist when you get back to work. But you’re driving down the road, so you can’t exactly write yourself a note. So you whip out your cell phone and call jott.com.

Since you’ve already signed up, they have your number on file, so when you call, you hear the question “Who would you like to jot?”

“Me,” you reply with gusto (or without. Jott works equally well if you are feeling gustoful or not).

Then you hear a beep and leave yourself a message. Jott responds with “Got it,” and you can hang up. Now, when you get to the office, a text version of the voicemail you left is waiting in your email, and they’ve also attached an audio file that you can listen to if the transcription doesn’t look exactly right.

I’ve really gotten some use out of this lately; it’s helped me remember several things that would otherwise have gone undone. You can even add friends to your Jott contacts, which will enable you to send them emails about things while you’re away from your computer.

I really recommend signing up for it… and did I mention it’s free?

It’s the WEEKEND!

And man, am I ready for it!  It’s been a long week (but a good one) going back and forth between work and school, and I’m ready to relax for a little while.

I probably won’t get to though.

Wes is going to show up at my house tomorrow morning around 5:30 (some of you probably don’t even know what 5:30 am looks like; I wish I didn’t). At that point, my brother Daniel and I will accompany Wes to pick up our friend Matt and head down to Enterprise, AL.

And as a point of interest: you know all the times you’ve tried to plan family vacations that would be both exciting and educational? You know how you always end up going to your second or third place choices (NYC, the Grand Canyon, etc) because you can’t seem to find that one special place that has a statue dedicated to a boll weevil? Well, your search is over. Enterprise is a weevil lover’s dream come true.

Anyway, what’s in Enterprise you ask? Well, aside from a giant metallic boll weevil, Wes’s family is giving me a piano; the only stipulation is that I have to go pick it up. Those of you who know me are probably aware that I’ve been wanting a piano for a long time, so this was quite an opportunity for me. What’s really amazing is that I actually persuaded 3 other non-geriatric people to get up before 6am on a Saturday. They must be masochists.

Amber Alerts

Just wanted to let everyone know about a service I heard about this morning. It’s every parent’s greatest fear to be in a crowded place, look down, and realize your child is missing. Many times, you’re lucky, and the little twerp has merely wandered off somewhere. So then once you place your fragile heart back into your chest, you really tell him (or her) off for doing that.

But there are times (and I pray it never happens to you or me) when a child hasn’t merely wandered off. When the parents frantically search for their child to no avail. As you know, in those cases, Amber Alerts are issued to try to help locate that missing child. The faster the alert goes out, the greater the chance of rescue.

To help spread the word even faster, there’s a new website you can go to, WirelessAmberAlerts.org that will send a text message to your cell phone any time an amber alert has been issued in your area.

All you have to do is go to the link, enter your cell #, answer a few questions, and you’re good to go. If there’s an emergency near you, you’ll be one of the first to find out.

I highly encourage you to check out this service. It could help save a child one day; maybe even one you know.