The Life and Times of Ronin Quinn

A Dad's eye view on the world at large

Under The Influence September 29, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 9:22 pm

It occurred to me last night, right about the time Mon took this picture
that Ronin really IS our son. I mean this in the sense that he carries with him our characteristics, both physical and mental. Of course the physical are the most prominent right now, but the mental characteristics are starting to shine through more and more. As I stood holding him last night over the stove (no, not really OVER it but you know what I mean) he had this sense of calm about him. It’s the same feeling I get while working in the kitchen. It’s like my own form of Yoga sometimes (most of the time, not always though). I wonder if I was the same way when I was young? I certainly have very fond memories of my time in the kitchen as a young lad, but what about when I was 7 weeks old? Did the wave of calmness rush over me too? If so, how far back does this culinary gene reach? Was it ingrained in one of my ancestors’ DNA before they came to the States however many years ago? Even further than that? Or is it a more recent addition to the genetic make-up?

That very same question applies to so many aspects of our nature. Sure, I know certain traits, physical and mental, are passed from generation to generation and on and on until you have honed it into an art form. But I wonder how much of that is already there and how much of it is dependent upon the nurturing (forcing) of said trait/skill/feature/whatever from your parents (or their parents for that matter). Say I went out of my way to keep Ronin out of the kitchen (at least while cooking), would he still grow up with the same appreciation for cooking as he would if he was always involved with it. Not that I know for sure that he will or even does like it. Maybe last night was just a coincidence. But it is curious.

Even more curious is the ability to control and contort these “grains”. Can I just start using my influence to build traits. Is there some sort of ethical consideration here? Human customization. Who needs robots if we can just build our descendants to our own demented specifications. A little of this and a little of that (Please note: all orders ship out within 1 to 2 centuries from date of purchase). I mean you won’t get the instant satisfaction but there is something to be said for a lasting legacy, right? A family of Samurai’s? Or Yogi’s? Naturalist? Pirate? Musician? _______?

I really am curious though to see what other traits Ronin will pick up on. Of course that means that I have to scrutinize my past and my present to make sure all the bad ones fly on by.


Carbon Footprint September 24, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 7:06 pm

50 years ago most people probably would’ve thought of one of these.

But nowadays it has a different, or at least alternative meaning.

Raising a green baby (and no not like this)

is a difficult task (I’m sure a green skinned baby would have it’s moments as well, but maybe it would be easier). We did our best to do some research before Ronin came along, checking out everything from ass cream to zoo toys, but it’s still damn hard. Especially when you think of the lasting effect of it in the sense of choices he will make later on in life. Surely what we instill in his psyche now will have an equal and opposite reaction later down the line (or so I’ve heard). So that just makes every choice even harder. Is what we deem green now going to be green in 25 years, that sure wasn’t the case with my generation. I’m sure that none of our plastic toys or dolls or sippy cups or whatever were free of BPA’s. And I would wager that a decent ammount of the toys being shipped in from China during the 80’s and 90’s (and before, but I wasn’t born yet) we chalked full of lead. And I know for a fact that I didn’t recycle or reuse all of my toys (well I did reuse the ones that were passed on to me but that was the end of the line for most of them) and they are probably still in the same shape I left them in, sitting in a mound of trash, with some developer drawing plans to turn it into the next pop-up sub-division. Hopefully they put a park in, and maybe some curious child will decide to start digging, and maybe, just maybe he or she will find that Master’s Of The Universe collection I threw out years ago.

So what do we do?

The first category we wanted to hammer out was the diapers, we all know diapers are like the undead, sleeping underground waiting to make their massive presence known to the rest of the world (OK, I’ve been reading too much of the Sookie Stackhouse novel’s). Who knows, we already dreamed up Stay Puff why can’t s*#t puff exist? Our original intent was to use cloth, and let me just say that I see why people developed everlasting pampers. Cloth is great in theory. End of story in my book. Maybe it was just our experience, but the cloth “infant” diapers were more like infant reverse moomoo’s. They seriously went up past his little baby boy boobies (disclaimer: if you are a Walmart employee and reading this, this is not a pornographic reference. Do not report me to the authorities, read this if you haven’t heard ). We had registered for seventh generation diapers, for the sake of the shower’s mainly, and we really wanted to like them. We kind of do, but not entirely. It’s kind of like they were designed in the seventh generation. They’re just like big rectangles of non-form fitting recycled-ness. They work, and I feel better about using them than huggies or whatever, but they’re not great. So the search continued. (hum shh, hum shh, I know boring right?) Then we found gDiaper’s and lived happily ever after. I won’t waste your time or my space telling you about them. They’re earth friendly, cradle to cradle certified. If you’re really interested you can click here and read about their greeny goodness on your own time. So check diapers off the list of things to green.

That leaves about 400 other aspects of childhood to nail down. I was lucky enough, as I mentioned earlier, to have some hand me downs when I was young. And some of those hand me downs consisted of toys made from wood. Wooden toys seem like the best option, as long as they’re not painted with lead laden paint. And even more lucky there are more and more companies making toys of the afore mentioned criteria (as well as so many other renewable resources now it’s crazy). So that’s two major categories down.

What about food? And clothes? And whatever else I am forgetting. Food and clothes are probably the most accessible items to buy green, but also the most expensive. So that creates it’s own dilema. Where do you draw the line? I mean I’m fine with desecrating my own body and mind if it’s more economical, but should I force it upon my kid? There are some obvious choices to make in both categories. Dairy, meat and poultry will almost always be purchased hormone free, cage free, antibiotic free, free of living next to Interstate 5 (alright, that one I can’t guarantee). And clothes will NEVER be purchased from the worst of the worst (Walmart), and will certainly be free trade, renewable materials, child labor free (unless it’s my own child, then who cares) when possible. When possible being the key words. We do still shop at the terrible two (Target and Old Navy), and occasionally Baby’s ‘r’ Us (which I personally despise almost as much as Walmart), and Baby Gap (same as Old Navy). But we support the smaller guy’s when we can.

So it’s certainly a work in progress (and we haven’t progessed very far), but we’re trying our darndest to raise a concious and earth friendly baby and adult. If you can still breathe the air in 30 years, then we’ll happily take some credit.

If you know of any great idea’s or products to either use or avoid, we’d love to hear ’em.


A stroll down a lane named memory September 23, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 3:53 pm

Peter was there. And Pooh and the rest of the 100 acre woods gang. And the Velvetine Rabbit, and a bunny running away from his mother, and a very hungry caterpillar, a curious monkey, some wild things, a boy named Reginald, a big red dog and a couple of things (as in 1 & 2).

It’s been nice to have a reason to go back and re-discover some of these great charecters and the stories they belong to. I always knew that some day I would return to them, but I did not realize how enjoyable it would be. Though we are only scratching the surface of the greatest children’s stories ever told I am already antsy with aticipation. It’s amazing how some of the stories you read over and over, yet thought you forgot, come gushing back in an instant like they’ve been with you all along (well I guess they have, just in a partitioned part of the mind that sits idly by waiting for a signal).

As I was sitting the other day reading from “Where The Sidewalk Ends” I found myself turning the pages as though I knew exactly how thick a stack of them to grab to find Reginald Clark (who is, by the way, still affraid of the dark). “ooh you gotta hear this one too Ronin” I found myself saying time and time again. And he sat there obligingly as I told him about the consequences of not taking out the trash, and of eating too many peanut butter sandwiches. Of a boy who lost his head, Jimmy Jet and his TV set, a boa constrictor, a very short boy (1 inch in fact), and the neck of a giraffe.

And that’s just one book. We’ve started to dabble in Pooh’s world and the Velvetine Rabbit and so many other greats. Of course one of my all time favorite series is the Beatrix Potter collection. Peter Rabbit holds a special place in my heart. So we started that too. I think I can sympathize with him. I always thought he was a very sweet and just unfortunate rabbit, but I may have been a bit off.

I feel like I need to compile a list of all the greatest kids books out there (because I know in searching many have been overlooked), and buy them all up and when Ronin is all done with them put them in box and save them (this sounds oddly familiar). Mostly because who knows what the future of books will be, what with the digital age and all. Google Books? Check. iBooks?

“Hi, I’m a book”

“And I’m a digitally enhanced iBook that will beam the story directly into your memory bank so you never actually have to read me but somehow you’ll know the story by heart”

(this from a guy typing this post on his iPhone).

Now comes the audience participation part: Helping to make sure Ronin has a diverse collection of the greats by posting your favorites.



45 days in review September 20, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 7:03 pm

Here’s a short vid of his first 6 weeks with us. One day he will surely hate us for doing this. Too bad!


Photo Shoot September 19, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 5:44 pm

Here are a few pics from our recent “photo shoot” day. Enjoy!


Battle of the sexes

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 5:35 pm

I may not have accepted it until recently, but I am shopper. It was bread into me. I have strong shopping genes on both sides, and as a kid it was harnessed. Especially by my Nonni. So it’s no surprise that the prospect of having a child was exciting for me on this plain. What I didn’t anticipate was a fierce battle brewing in the department stores and boutique kiddie shops. I am going to go ahead and spoil the surprise ending and tell you that the girls win. By like 25,000 yards of fabric. There will be no photo finish for this race, in fact no one will probably even see the Boy’s team cross the finish line.

I thought for sure that living in the bay area we would have a better shot at the title than say, the southern boys. But no. We don’t. It’s not to say that we haven’t been able to find some ridiculously cute clothes for him, because we have (both on our own and with the help of our family and friends). The problem, or annoyance, or whatever it is, is this: If you walk into any clothes store for kids you will see about 85% of the floor space dedicated to girls clothes. With a diversity that can rival New York City. That leaves 15%, 7.5 of which is going to shoes, accessories and maybe some toys or trinkets. So we’re left with the last little 7.5%, of which for the most part lacks any real diversity. This is maybe more true of the larger department and chain stores than smaller boutiques, but still. Sometimes I just want to go to Target and buy some clothes.

The boutiques though are not much better. Still the majority of the racks are filled with girls clothes. The only thing that makes it more tolerable is that the selection of boys stuff is more diverse in design. But come on, boys wanna be cute too, or at least their parents want them to (and no Baby Gap I’m not talking about being cute in your $50 0-3 month jeans).

Luckily we have the internet and it’s easier to search out some really cute threads online that are way more hip for the little dude than what is available in the store’s. And yes I understand that the shop owners have to stock what sells. But I don’t want my shopping experience to be in front of the computer, I want to go SHOPPING, not sitting.


Blog, Rattle and Roll September 17, 2009

Filed under: General — wompsett @ 2:05 pm

I had to throw this up here



I saw it over at Pirate Papa . Who doesn’t want their kid to be a rock star, right?

Who knows maybe you’ll be invited to the gig!

(If only they had these when I was a kid, we could have promoted our “Be a Star” video)