Don’t expect this to become a habit
so it’s been awhile since i blogged and have no particular reason for doing so, except that abby’s asleep and i have few things that are too pressing to get accomplished.
by now most of you know that we have moved to new mexico… so far, the weather has been good, the people are rather laid back, and we have generally had a good time thus far. it has been nice to be close to family again, and more are coming, as my parents are coming out for a t least a few years. FINALLY… BABYSITTERS!!!!!!!!!!
in related abby news, katie has completed her time as a breastfeeding mother, and that has been emotionally draining and temporally liberating at the same time. in fact, abby has slept through the night 4 nights IN A ROW… which means 5 times TOTAL in her entire life. i have had so much sleep compratively that i am in fact drowsy… go fucking figure.
the real downside of new mexico has nothing to do with new mexico, but more to do with apartment living, which sucks something fierce. but selling the condo has not exactly gone the way we had hoped, so here we are. katie quickly got so fed up with apartment living, however, that she and i decided to go ahead and try to purchase a new house, on the assumption that we could at least rent the condo out and keep our debt down far enough to get a loan. should find out the answer to that one today…haha.
so, to sum up, the game remains pretty much the same, even if the location has changed… which makes this possibly the world’s most boring blog entry ever.
i hope we can get some visitors down here to the great SW, but i would hold off until at least december… who wants to stay in a cramped apartment with a baby anyway?
keep in touch everyone… and the next time i do this, i promise to be riled up or angry or at least have something interesting to say…
Monday, October 16, 2006
so where does this leave us? in the end, i can draw only one conclusion, and i think it is the logical extension of what i have written already: i love my child, but i don’t especially care for parenting. what’s more, i like my child, which i think is actually more important. we are programmed to lvoe our child, by society, by our own sense of obligation, by our own parental instincts (limited though they may be). so when someone tells me how much they love their child, i don’t really care… it doesn’t really impress me. i mean, big fucking deal, right?
but i like my baby… she’s mostly cool to be with, she’s got a really good disposition, she tries very hard at things she wants to do, and she doesn’t give up. what’s not to like? she even wants to be happy when she’s not, and i can appreciate that.
but i knew that parenting was going to cut into my life and the idyllic little existence we had carved out for ourselves, and i was of course not wrong (i mean, i wasn’t exactly preforming brain surgery now was i??). and i think there will always be a part of me that will regret losing that part of my life. but each new day, week, and month sees that feeling shrink away and be replaced by a sort of peace with the situation. i don’t think i will ever fall in love with parenting, which is why i don’t think we’ll ever do this again. but i do fall in love with abby more and more every day, and the more i am with her the more i like her… and i am pretty sure we can forge a meaningful relationship and a successful family life out of that.
thanks for reading… i’m going back to a more generalized theme now… but i’ll try and be better about updating when i have something to say.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Babies put the ID in stupID…
So the next time someone tries to convince you that intelligent design should be taught in our schools, hand them a baby for a day or two… should clear that shit right up. It’s not simply that ID isn’t scientific (which it clearly isn’t), but that it’s so patently contrary to common sense. What the FUCK is so intelligent about the design of babies? Let’s look at a few things:
1. All communication done through crying, no matter what the need
Can anyone tell me what is so goddamn great about the design of babies? Let’s say for a minute that you’re God, and that you’re designing babies.. and here’s the thing: YOU’RE OMNIPOTENT… you can make them any fucking way you want. Would this be the design you would choose? It’s toally irrational. Random evolution? Natural selection? These things could possibly account for this kind of shit. You know what the crowning achievement of an evolutionary design is? Simple: babies are cute, which means you don’t feel like killing them when all the design flaws listed above make you want to cut out your own eyes with kids scissors.
In other news, I think Abby’s going to crawl soon… but because she can’t yet distinguish between fun stuff and fun stuff that will kill you (not a complaint, by the way), I have to baby-proof the house… as if that were possible!!
Baby Part 2
*** Since Katie and Abby are out of town until Saturday, I get to write a little more often… don’t get used to it.***
So, what else has the baby changed in my life, besides everything… that’s such an overly broad (if true) statement. But here’s what I want to briefly touch on today… the moment that you realize that you will never be the most important thing in your life again… and that’s only if you’re lucky!
For me, that moment ocurred during the first 10 hours of Abby’s life, the very brief time she spent in the NICU. It was about 1:30 AM when I was able to get out there to see her, after getting Katie settled in the room and relaxing a little bit.
I walked down a series of interminable hallways, but toward what? my feelings towards the baby (this was before we even named her) were ambivalent to say the least. those of you who know me will remember my stance on kids, so you at least have an idea of what’s going through my head at this moment.
even for maybe the first 30 seconds, i just stared completely blankly… my mind as well as my eyes completely carte blanche. i viewed her with a terribly detached disposition that i am somewhat ashamed of now… but then it hit me. it wasn’t just a baby there, which is always sad in that ephemeral way… it was our baby. at that moment, i would have cut out my own heart (or the heart of anyone else in the room) in order for her to be healthy and happy. that feeling hasn’t left me… but it’s a blessing and a curse.
of course it’s a blessing to feel that intensely about another living thing… but the obligation and pressure that comes along with it can be a little overwhelming sometimes. it’s a different feeling than when you get married. of course your spouse is extremely important and all of that, but it’s a kind of a contract. you enter into a pact willingly with someone else, and you choose to make them the highlight of your life, and you expect that the reverse is also true.
with a baby… with our baby, it was different. katie and i did not voluntarily enter into the parental contract, and Abby sure as hell didn’t ask to be born and even moreso not to us (if she did… then i question her sanity even now), so the obligation is so much more prevalent for the parent. furthermore, for the first couple of years or so the feeling isn’t even mutual, so that complicates things… especially when they act like they don’t like you. people tell you “oh, don’t take it personal”… but how can you not take personal the most personal thing you will ever be a part of?
the other thing that really goes along with this is the ways in which parents cope with having children. in my very limited observations, this is generational, and there are two broad types… the parents whose style exists to make their lives easier v. the parent who strives more than anything to make their baby’s life easier. This really hit me when i was talking with my parents, and they said that everything they did was an attempt to get me to sleep through the night.
meanwhile, abby still doesn’t sleep through the night, and we are trying to let her exist in that way… what is the purpose of regimenting a baby, or starting them on solid food at 6 weeks when much research shows that it is better to wait on food and that early on kids shouldn’t sleep through the night? it’s interesting to me.
So, i am updating from the myspace blog, which tends to be where my first thoughts go. consider this yet another doomed attempt to keep up with a blog. these first few posts were a series from about 10 months ago, describing the first 6 months of parenthood. honestly, i think the sentiments hold up, even if the writing doesn’t. enjoy…
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
First in a Series
i have no rules for this series… i will be posting what i have to say about what i think of the first six months of parenthood at any given moment. they will most likely be short bursts… impressions, observations rather than anything completely thought out. i will try and include the good and the bad as well.
first up is how parenthood has completely killed any sort of materialism i may have had. what i mean by that is that i have found myself completely and irrationally risking material goods in return for abby’s happiness, temporary though it may be.
what? abby’s chewing on my cell phone? no problem… look at that smile.
abby’s pounding on and drooling onto my laptop keyboard? isn’t she cute and happy? what a good baby.
completely irrational, and i make absolutely no apologies for it… but that’s parenthood for me i suppose!!
would ask that you not dismiss this as a simple baseball post… like my larger work project, i am going to try and connect this to something larger. sometimes i am successful at this, sometimes not.
i am currently watching korea whip american ass in the world baseball classic (think soccer’s world cup if you’re not familiar…). it is currently 7-1 in the bottom of the 7th, and i am giddy. why? is it the simple liberal unpatriotic claptrap? well, kind of, but i think it’s something beyond it.
what i have seen in this tournament leads me to believe that the purpose was twofold (remember that this tournament was organized and tyranically run by Major League Baseball): 1. trying to grow the game in europe and africa and 2. to establish american dominance (dubiously, i might add). it’s the second purpose i want to get into, because the american baseball superiority myth is being shattered before our eyes, which i believe says something about american insularity and fundamental ignorance of world affairs.
let’s briefly look at how the tournament was set up, because it was organized to pave the way for the americans to the finals. first, the americans were put into a group with south africa, canada, and mexico. in my opinion, this was the weakest of the western hemisphere groups (they just threw south africa in there… another story). nevermind the fact that the american team lost to canada… delightful, btw. meanwhile, the caribbean teams were left to fight it out amongst themselves in a redux of the caribbean world series. elsewhere, japan and korea were left to beat up on china and taiwan (here we also see international politics playing itself out, as we had to kiss chinese ass and call it chinese taipei, but fuck that).
conventional wisdom meant that the teams with the fewest major leaguers – japan and korea – would then come and play the second round against the us and whoever else were to advance (turned out it was mexico, who trounced canada 9-1). again meanwhile, the caribbeans were left to beat the hell out of each other, given that they are clearly the most “talented” teams, and no fucking way the americans were playing cuba unless absolutely necessary. so the draw was rigged from the start to ensure that the american team made the finals.
but then japan came along and nearly threw a monkey wrench into the plan by beating the american team with only one major leaguer (ichiro… maybe the best hitter in the game today). but never fear, patriotic american sport fans… because (and this was genius) – all the fucking umpires in the game were american!! so guess who got the pivotal call of the game? if you guessed “usa” then you win. bad call, cost the japanese the go-ahead run, americans score in the 9th… game over japanese fucked.
imagine what happens if a fair call is made and the us goes on to get their collective ass stomped by korea… which they still currently are… they can’t advance out of a bracket that was taylor-made for them to walk through. scandalous!
now, how can i make this connection to anything larger? well, generally, i think this whole debacle underscores the fundamental american ignorance of sporting goings-on in the rest of the world. it seems to be a complete and utter shock that non-major league players can actually compete and best american superstars like a-rod and jeter, etc. i find this to be highly amusing. it reminds me of the shock that went through basketball when those damn euros came over and started dominating… wtf?
americans just can’t seem to understand that an entire world exists east of NYC and west of LA (god knows we know what’s going on north and south… may have to oust a democratically elected leftist in latin america). it was like the shock when hamas won the palestinian elections. i just laughed and laughed, because people are paid to understand these types of things, and they are building actual policy, and they have 0 understanding of actual cultural differences.
most days this saddens me, but when the korean national team, with only one semi-regular major league player is dominating the “loaded” american all-star team, then i can sit back and chuckle just a little. here’s hoping mexico kicks “our” asses thursday night and we have to sit down and re-figure the whole thing.
having said all that, if you haven’t watched the WBC, do yourself a favor and do it, even if you’re not a sport fan, because it has been an awesome experience. especially check out the caribbean pool taking place in san juan tuesday and wednesday: cuba, venezuela, the dominican republic, and puerto rico… it’s been fucking awesome. the crowds have been insanely loud and boisterous, and it’s a real joy to watch. they make american professional crowds look like coma patients.
my suggestions: 1. for 2009, turn over all control of the tournament to the international organization for baseball (FIBA). american rule of this thing almost cost us the japanese and the cubans, two of the better teams in this tournament. it would be a shame to go through this again in three years. 2. for fuck’s sake, please get a representative set of game officials so that american games aren’t officiated by american umps. that’s just horrible and ethnocentric. it’s simply bad form. look to soccer and see how FIFA runs the world cup. this thing might never be as big as soccer (in fact, i sincerely doubt it ever gets close) but at least act professionally.
fuck bud selig…
thanks for indulging me in a sports rant. i promise that revenge of the nerds post sometime soon…
where do we raise our child(ren)? i am currently embroiled in a lengthy cost/benefit analysis regarding the type of community in which we should raise the soon to be love of our life. of course, katie and i haven’t discussed this explicitly, and i obviously m not trying to make any decisions unilaterally… just had to get that out there.
so, going to sessions about social space and suburbia this morning, it really made me think about the possibility of moving to the suburbs. basically, is it worth the cost? and waht are the costs, you might ask? after all, the suburbs are generally cheaper, have more space, and better schools.
but i really got started on the costs today, such as commute time, overscheduling of children (which is a voluntary thing, but it seems to be endemic). as well, the commute times faced by working parents has significant impact on time with family (obviously), and there is still a rather significant lack of diversity problem. i mean, do i want my kid to grow up having never really been exposed to some difference?
many people report moving to the suburbs for safety reasons… this is pretty much a load of crap. crime rates in cities are routinely dropping, even as perception and fear of crime continue to rise. basically, do i want to raise a child to be scared of a bunch of shit that’s not even really a problem? clearly, the answer is no. oh, did i forget that suburbanites tend to be politically conservative? i don’t know if i can deal with that shit.
on the other hand, i really don’t want to have to trek to a damn park every time my kid wants to get on a damn swing. there’s something really annoying about the lack of outdoor (relatively unsupervised) opportunities in the city… glad i have a little time to think about this… but i doubt it gets any easier.
jesus, i forgot all about the school angle… i want our kid to have a public education, but is there even a single good urban public school system in america? seriously, if you know of one, let me know, cause i really don’t to raise a private school brat (no offense anyone). for the record, i’m also not keen on home schooling.
so, if anyone knows of a single-family home with a large yard in a downtown area (don’t forget affordable… under 250K), please let me know, cause i’m moving into that motherfucker!
(note: originally written february 10, 2005)
so i promised a riff on why i had to think pro-life thoughts, and what i think it means for my politics.
many of you know katie and i are having a baby (in about 8 weeks), and many of you know that this was not planned. we never thought about doing anything but keeping it and raising it (who can now i think be safely called “her”). but this is not a piece on being personally pro-life and politically pro-choice. who cares about that anyway? no one… it’s a fucking cliche, and i have no particular need to rehash it.
this is actually a small set of thoughts on the nature of language. this is part of the reason i think pro-choicers have such a difficult time sometimes. basically, pro-lifers have better rhetoric. essentially, our baby became our baby as soon as we found out we were having her. now, was our baby any less of a baby at that or any other stage of pregnancy? objectively, no. thus i am left with the following options as i see it:
1. admit that all fetuses are babys and insist that they be given treatment befitting a baby, and not a fetus (notice simply by labelling it something different i am able to entirely reframe the debate)
2. admit that our baby was nothing but a bundle of cells (that incidentally looked like peanut) and be completely unable to assign any other label until birth.
3. live a life of hypocrisy.
see, it’s all about the language we are able to employ. it is easier to abort a fetus than it is a baby. baby is the nicer word, so it’s easier to employ in rhetorical debates. what’s a liberal to do?
needless to say, i have chosen the third option… because while millions of women are gestating fetuses right now as we speak, katie is incubating our fucking baby, and i have made peace with my hypocisy.
(note: originally written january 8, 2006)
tonight, while waiting for a flight, i heard 11 “final” calls for a flight at the next gate. 11, for fuck’s sake.
I understand the arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified, but this is ridiculous. Without agreed upon meaning amongst the signifiers, communication becomes impossible, right?
Next week… has potential parenthood made me pro-life?
(note: originally written january 2, 2006)
probably best to at least peruse this article before proceeding. it’s really long (but entirely engrossing) and essential for lovers of the rock and roll music. it shows that religious attacks on rock really never go away and that, though laughable, represent a real threat to larger freedoms important to all of us. at any rate, what follows is a brief story about the uniting powers of music.
my dad and i don’t really have much in common. he is mechanically gifted, and i mean gifted. the man can fix anything mechanical… just the list of things he has made a living fixing is impressive: typewriters, copiers, high volume printers, mainframe computers, lawn mowers (large and small), and the occasional tractor. myself… completely inept… total buffoon.
meanwhile, while my dad likes sports, what he really likes is the cowboys. he’s limited in scope. anyone who has spent significant amounts of time with me understands the ways in which i like sport… i live and breathe baseball. thus, we don’t even have much to talk about when we do share interests.
but over the weekend, we really found some connom ground. ac ouple of weeks ago, i acquired a four-disc compilation of doo wop classics from the mid-50s. it’s a good compilation, and when i put on the music mix for our texas gathering on dec. 30, i thought it would be a good compromise. i was right. he loved it. he knew every song (which included many that i didn’t) and even had a couple of stories about them, sometimes telling how long it had been since he had heard some of them. it really was a nice moment for a couple of people who are often like night and day.
hard to believe this music was condemned half a century ago… i guess even satan can bring families together.