Friday, August 04, 2006

Peace Be Unto Me

So my last post was a little...much. What can I say, I'm tired. I'm an insomniac with a child. Edgy is my new calm.
Anyway here is a photo my wife took of Little Leab on the day he turned six weeks old.
I have to remember that my anger can affect someone other than myself.
He is my reason to be calm.
Hopefully you can enjoy him as much I do.
And yes, Margaret is right: I need to just get a flickr account.
Oh, and one more thing. So if you haven't been listening to Gnarls should. It's fun stuff, especially for the summer.
here is a mash-up of four great songs:
1. Supertramp, Logic Song
2. Gnarls Barkley, Crazy
3. The Who, Go to the Mirror Boy
4. Rockwell, Somebody's Watching.
It sounds like an incredibly odd mix, but it workds really well. The author of the mash-up,
Arty Fufkin, has done some incredible work.
Go check it out. Enjoy the music. It's going to be part of my workout now.

Motherly Advice

My wife has a friend we'll call Kay (not her real name).
Kay had her child three weeks just before we had the Poozer.
Unfortunately, she's clinically insane.
Ok, ok, that's an exaggeration.
Kay is a girl who grew up in a family even more intellectual than mine. Every single member of the family is a doctor. Not an M.D., mind you, but a PhD. Every single one, including her. That's a bunch of smart people. However, with great intelligence comes great problems. Kay's family cannot talk about anything. Case in point.
My wife and I were invited to Kay's wedding out in New Hampshire.
It was gorgeous, I admit. Made me even think about moving out there, but that's off topic.
When Kay was in college, she went a little...wild. Got tattoos, piercings, etc. One of her friends decided that as a gift, he would tape the rehearsal dinner/party, the wedding, and the reception. At the party, I dealt with engineers galore (this is a friend of my wife after all, not me. Most of my friends, sadly, are either actors, techies, or teachers...and I don't have many friends.) telling me about how my job is not necessary anymore...blah,blah,blah. Well, Kay decided to come and talk to me, and the subject eventually became about being open with friends and family (it was at this point that I was dealing with how to talk to some friends of mine about their life and overt religious issues (a story for another time).
Kay made a comment about how I was a wimp for not telling my friends outright about how I feel, which was her right, I admit, but her approach and procedure were out of place.
Well, when the videographer came around, I made a short speech about how Kay's hubby-to-be needed to watch out for the pierced nipples she has because they can cut if not dealt with properly as well as discussing the wild nature of those with hardware on their breasts.
Within minutes, I was confronted by Kay.
"Why did you say that?"
"I thought it was funny." I responded.
This led to me learning that her parents were totally unaware of what she had done in college. She wore make-up over her tattoos so they wouldn't see them, and she never told them about the piercings.
I felt she was being a hypocrite, but my wife begged me to behave, so I did.
The wedding was nice, but so over the top I was annoyed.
Kay's parents and siblings all made speeches where they even dropped in references to how smart they are. For example, her dad mentioned the books he wrote, her brother noted the math theory or law he helped make, and so on. (Whereas at my wedding, my family just ducked and covered until they could get out.)
So why am I bringing this up? Because Kay is applying these issues to her child. My wife and Kay talk all the time now about children, and my wife is violating rule number one when it comes to children: You NEVER compare to someone else. EVER!
Kay's son is named James (his real name). I feel sorry for James in alot of ways. Let me tell you some of the things Kay is doing with her child.
1. She has figured out a way that she can powerwalk and breastfeed her child at the same time. I'm not kidding. It started out with just regular walking, then it became power walking. She's working toward running. Again, not kidding.
2. She got a c-section (my wife gave birth naturally). Because of this, Kay was able to bounce back a little faster.
3. Kay refused to cancel her attendance at a conference in Germany, so she packed up her kid and flew there a week ago.
Now, let's cover the problems.
1. My wife is having problems with the breastfeeding. Mostly because of plugged ducts and such, yet she reads Kay's emails and feels bad because it's not going for her like it is for Kay. Beyond that, my wife can't walk and feed. Partially because she's a Midwesterner and partially because she's worried it might hurt the kid. Plus, Poozer doesn't latch like James (we got a picture. No I'm not posting it).
2. Because my wife gave birth naturally, there was tearing and other issues. Kay had a simple c-section and left. Within days of birth, she was training for a marathon. My wife could barely move without help. This isn't about how in shape you are, it's more that the different ways lead to different outcomes. Yet my wife believes that something is wrong with her, because Kay was up and about so fast.
3. Mrs. Leab will be returning to work soon and will have to travel. In two weeks we (together) are heading to Kansas City to see her parents and family. We will be driving because it's much, MUCH cheaper. Yet my wife is so jealous because Kay is in Germany with a nine-week old, who apparently already sleeps through the night and has no problems eating. Oh, and Kay's husband knows his place. So my wife sees her six-week old son having issues taking the bottle (he's not a fan yet), not sleeping through the whole night (he still has to eat in the middle of the night for a little longer), and sees she won't be jetting off to Europe.
I can't really help her, but I'm just so damn annoyed, because she compares herself to Kay everyday. She gets an email or a phonecall and then tells me what is happening with James. If it doesn't happen with Poozer, then she gets upset. She questions HER mothering techniques.
I just stand by and get angry. Another reason Kay drives me nuts is because she BAWLED when she gained ten pounds during her pregnancy. Ten pounds! It's recommended that you at least gain twenty. She cried about it. Why? Because ten was TOO MUCH! Sigh.
As I write this my wife and son are asleep. He'll sleep until about four and then need to eat (I'll sleep when I'm dead). I tell my wife everyday that she's a great mother, but all she thinks about is what her friend tells her.
"Oh, James was able to hold himself up today...and at only seven weeks!"
"He's a champ. Eats at midnight, and then doesn't need anything else until six."
On and on it goes.
Thus I get to the point of this writing: Motherly advice. This is advice to all mothers new or to be from a father in the know.
1. Do not compare yourself to others. It's great to talk to someone about their experiences, but everyone's is different. My mother dealt with three extremely different kids (I had to go to the hospital, my sister called a cab to get rid of my other sister, my other sister was kicked out one night, etc). Her sister (my aunt) had two boys totally unlike me. My mother never compared how she raised me to how her sister raised my cousins. Why? Because she would have gone nuts. The second things don't go the way they went for someone else, you'll start questioning how good of a parent you are. Do not compare how you do to how others did or are doing. As long as the kid wasn't thrown down steps, or killed, you're doing fine.
2. Do not read the books. Oh my God, the books contradict each other and make you feel horrible. One book my wife received talked about how, "Dad should be in on the breast feeding experience everytime." Huh? I'm supposed to, what, not clean the house or help my wife with all her other stuff so I can clean my wife's boob after she feeds? That's insane.
Much like comparing to others, reading the books will have you questioning your parenting skills to a point where your kid will get hiccups, and you'll believe you're to blame (here's a hint: It's natural...not unlike spitting up). If you need a book, buy a Spock. Something simple.
3. Find your way. Parenting is a practice. It's not perfect, and it's in no way textbook. You have to find your way in it. For me, it's like teaching. I do not teach like any of my colleagues. Ask the students, I do things very differently, but the students learn. Same thing with parenting. We all do things differently. Somehow I don't think the DeRusha's are raising Seth the way I am raising Poozer. It's just how it is. We all do different things. The key is to find comfort for you AND your child. There is no perfect way. Remember that.
4. One mistake is not the end (in most cases). Now if you leave the kid on top of the car and take off fast...that might be it for him or her. However, if you accidentally wake your child up early and he or she is crying, that doesn't mean you suck. It just means you made a mistake. Own up to it, understand it, and then correct it for the next time.
5. Advice from Leab. This is the only advice I will give...other than the stuff above. If your child is crying and you are feeling overly frustrated, even moving toward anger, put the child down. Lay your son or daughter down in the crib or in a safe place and move away to calm down. Babies sense frustration. I don't know how, but they know. Recently I was alone with my son, and trying to feed him. It was really not going well, and I was getting angry. He knew it. He FELT it, but he couldn't stop crying. I felt that frustration shooting through my spine, so I put him on the playmat and walked into the other room. There I counted to ten to calm down. Once calm, I went back and we tried again. This time we were more successful.
That's that only life-tested advice I can give.
As for my wife, I don't know what I'll do. Kay is a good friend, and my wife trusts her. I've told her repeatedly not to compare, and she says she understands, but I know my wife. She still does it.
As for your dads out there: Love your wives and love your children. They need us. They do.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cop Sense

This, according to the cop I talked to on Tuesday, is illegal. "While they can request it, it would be impossible to enforce it," he told me. "What if, during the course of our shift, we get called into a car chase? We can't very well be writing fifty violations if we're part of a chase. We have other paper work then. Sure, we're on for twelve hours at a time, but expecting us to write out every single jaywalking ticket is ridiculous."
Now what's happening in
North Carolina, according to the cop I spoke to, is illegal. "How do you know if the cop is writing you a ticket because you were really were speeding or if he just wanted that certificate?"
I also learned a few more things that might be helpful from the cops who came to the National Night Out party:
1. Always go to court. "If you show up, you have a better than 50% chance of winning."
2. Be polite. "Never call us, 'Sir,' or, 'Ma'am.' It should always be officer. And be polite. You anger us, you can forget the warning."
3. Don't lie and don't conceal. "You know you were speeding. Just be honest. Say, 'I was speeding. I know it was wrong. Is there any way I can get a warning.' If you're that polite and haven't been doing that alot (meaning many tickets) we'll probably give you a warning."
4. Always pull over to the right. "I can't tell you how many times I've been afraid for my life because people pull over on the median. You do that, I will write you a ticket everytime. Go the right shoulder."
5. Don't be a smart ass. "I had a guy ask me about the calibration of my radar gun. Most of us have that information now. When you prove we made a mistake, more often than not, we'll find something else. The guy who asked me? He had expired tags. Instead of a speeding ticket, he got TWO expired tag tickets (one for each plate)."
6. It's rare you'll get out of it. "Even if your spouse is at the hospital, even if you're late to work or an appointment, and even if your a cop, it's really very rare that you won't get a ticket. And sorry ladies, crying, talking in a different language, and pulling your top down don't make us change out minds.
Hopefully these tips will be helpful.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ramblings for the Evening (08/02/06)

Another day, another sunrise and sunset. At this point, I'll take it.
Let's get to it.
So, without further ado: WAIT....YOU'RE A COP? UHHHH...RUN!
National Night (Rained) Out:
So the Grimes/Halifax National Night Out party did occur last night, even though we had a ton of rain pouring down upon us. Did everyone on the two streets show up? Oh, not even close. We did, however, get a good turn out (45 houses invited, 22 showed up), and the people who did come were nice for the most part.
Here's the rundown:
Gordy: He is a retired middle school teacher who left his house for the first time since his wife died (many neighbors remarked that I must have been, "incredibly persuasive," in order to get him out). He had a great time and was smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes.
Heidi and Mike: The people closest to our age on the block. They were very nice, though a little odd. She's a psychologist about to have a child (which is SOOOO not a good idea. Psychologists end up performing experiments on their children, whether they mean to or not). Mike worked a tech job and was kind of a tech guy (ok, a little nerdy, but very nice). We gave them a crash course in how to hold a baby (Mike almost dropped the Poozer, which did make me nervous).
The Powells: This was nice, but odd. Senor Powell is a nice guy...but he's kind of a salesman. A great deal of glad handing and schmoozing. Mr. P was very good friends with the two bastards who made me change the outlook of my yard (a story for another time). His daughter, however, was getting a little too "Lolita" with some of the older men.
Joe and Missy: Thank God they showed up. They have the only two car garage in the neighborhood, so, when the downpour started, we grabbed my grill and went over to continue the party in their garage. They were awesome.
Bob and Carollee: They have lived in the neighborhood since it was built in the 1950s. It was great to hear how the neighborhood had changed.
Other "fun" moments (some good, some not).
The police came and we discussed what's happening with the St. Paul cops (How they have to write all those tickets now). One officer said, "What they said they have to do is illegal." Yikes.
A fire truck came and partied with us for awhile. Nice guys, but the women were drooling by the time they left.
Garry, a contractor, yelled at me for ten minutes about the fact that I painted my house instead of getting new siding. When I explained that I couldn't afford $15,000 right now, he started saying that, "It's a necessary investment."
"Yeah," I replied, "But to be an investment, you have to HAVE the money."
It got better when later in the night he started throwing a kid's rubber ball (you know, the pink ball) against the side of my house saying, "Wow, now you NEED new siding."
Unlike many people around the metro (or so the cops told us) we did not stop partying because of the rain.
Hopefully you got a good party and didn't have any real issues. (Our worst moment came when a guy ignored the barriers put up and tried to drive through the street almost running over five people.)
The only other downside? As one neighbor put it, "You guys are so good at throwing parties, you're going to plan them all." D'oh.
MTV Goes Silver:
So MTV is 25. That's great, except that the network honchos announced that there will be less M in the coming future. That's right. The station that started out by playing music videos...will be doing less of that. Instead they will point music lovers to the Internet and show more of their lame-ass reality shows. That's right: MORE of The Hills. MORE of The Real World (which is SUCH a misnomer. There's nothing real about it. Put those kids out on the street with $50. THAT would be the real world).
The name of the station has to be changed if they stop showing music. And no, Making the Band doesn't count as music. If music videos are completely dropped out of MTV's rotation, the name must change to something else. I'll let you come up with your own ideas for the name.
Queer Eye Poked:
Ok, bad title. Yes, the three year old show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has been canceled. Could it be that all men have become, not unlike my cousin, metrosexual? I mean he goes to the spa every two weeks to get his nails done.
Could it be because the new "in" thing is retrosexuality (men being very manly men with rough beards and bad smells)?
I don't know.
This does, however, illustrate how short the attention span of the viewing public has become. I am amazed, for example, that shows like 24 have made it to the sixth season.
Look at Gunsmoke. The show was on for twenty years (1955-1975). You will never see that again. Sure, The Simpsons are close, but they're ratings are dropping as people have started to see them as "uncool" when placed against Family Guy.
Look at the modern, popular shows.
Lost: Won't make it past season 4. The audience won't have the patience.
24: I think this might be it's last season, regardless of the contracts. It's predictable now.
ER: If you still watch it, raise your hand...anyone...anyone?
I think Ricky Gervais has it right. The longer a show goes on, the harder it becomes to make it fresh and to keep it fun.
I admit I watched Queer Eye during the first season, because it was so different. Its popularity has been moved to Project Runway, which maybe has one more season in it. Just one. Back to the point, the Fab Five had some interesting points when they weren't making catty comments about the guys they re-made.
Of course every single one of those guys will continue to have a great career. How can they not? They're beloved by Hollywood's elite.
And finally:
Jason DeRusha's Evil Twin:

There is a gentleman on ESPN that is DeRusha's evil twin. Looks like him, sounds like him, and has the same hair. It's creepy.
Check it out. He's on NFL Live tonight at 11:40 PM.
(Update: The guy's name is Dave Revsine. He doesn't look like DeRusha in the photo, but on NFL Live, he's got the hair, eyes, and chin. Same inflections as well. It really is creepy.)

Monday, July 31, 2006


So I've been thinking about what Sopheava said about her cat and his quirky antics a lot lately.
As you
already know, I have three lovely kitties, who like to hunt and kill (though they spend most of their time indoors).
The event that pushed this idea back into my head was my neighbor's cat, Mork, seen here hiding in my lilacs, brought me a squirrel today. I knew he liked me, as he has entered my house on many occasions, but I never thought that he liked me enough to bring me "a kill." It seems that during this lovely hot day, Mork went out, killed Rocky, and instead of bringing him to his owners, he brought him to me. As I contemplated what my side dish should be (no, I didn't end up eating it. For God's sake, it's a city squirrel...not even remotely fat enough to eat...uh...I digress), I realized that cats, rodents, and myself have had an interesting history. I also have a side story about "products" and animals similar to Margaret's.

Step into the way back machine. When I was six years old, my family's cat attempted to eat a chipmunk. Being the good lad I was, I decided, "I need to SAVE this animal." So, I grabbed the chipmunk away from the cat, thinking, "Hey, I'm a her...OWWWW!"
It's at this point that I learned that Chipmunks are not like Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. No, they bite...hard.
This chipmunk bit down on my right index finger. It didn't matter that I saved it from certain death, this little fella was going to get away from everything. So, he latched on to my finger. Imagine a six year old, shaking his hand with a little brown blur at the end of it. That was me.
The sad part? After saving the little guy and having him bite me, he let go, took about three or four steps, and then the cat grabbed him again.
There was a look in her eye as she ate him in front of me. It was if she was saying, "I am ALWAYS right. Don't forget it."
I would later send a card to my sister as she was at camp that read: "Beware the chipmunk." I was six, folks.
Fast forward seven years. I am in bed one night, when I suddenly feel something wet by my head. It had been raining, and I had left the window open, but this didn't feel like water. It was...sticky. As I fumbled for the light, I heard a noise next to my pillow. It almost sounded like twigs snapping. The light clicked on, and my horror began. Almost straight out of The Godfather, there the cat chewing on a rabbit head she had brought me. It was on my pillow, and the sticky wetness I was feeling was its blood. Again, the cat did this because she loved me, but her execution was...not so good. The sheets, unfortunately, were ruined.
When I was in college, I adopted the cats that I have now. I like to let them go outside. This leads to two incidents of hunting.
The first occurred when Oscar (the orange cat) decided to catch a cardinal and take him (it was a male cardinal) into the house. All I saw was a flash of orange (as Oscar jumped up into the air to catch the bird) and then a flash of red as the bird was let go in the house.
If you don't know, cats like to play with their food before eating it. In this case, he wanted to play with the cardinal. Everytime I would get close to the bird, Oscar would swoop in, grab the bird, run to another part of the house, and let the bird go.
After going through this three times, I finally got to the bird with Oscar nowhere in sight. I thought to myself, "Finally. I can save this bird." There was a window right there. All I had to do was open it, and the bird was free. I opened the window, held out my hand with the bird in it...and watched in horror as Oscar appeared from out of nowhere and devoured the bird in front of me. All that was left was part of a wing that was still in my hand.
Ah, but the second time was even more traumatic. It was my senior year of college. Sam, the black cat, had only days before scratched the hell out of a Doberman Pincher. The cats and I were out in the yard when I saw Sam dive on to something. However, after catching whatever it was, he walked away. This is because my cats never learned the killing stroke. You see, cats are trained by their parents to kill. If they do not learn the killing stroke, then they can hurt an animal, but will leave it alive. It's not the same with a bird as it is with a squirrel or rabbit. Mork knows the killing stroke, which was evident by the squirrel he brought me.
Back to the point. What Sam had found was a baby bunny. After landing on the bunny, Sam had slit open its stomach, but he was unsure of what to do next. So, here I have this baby bunny dying in my backyard. I have no clue what to do. I know it can't be saved as its intestines have spilled out on the grass.
With no other choice and with adivce given to me by my wife (only my girlfriend then), I grabbed a brick and crushed the rabbit's head. Let's just say that I felt terrible for the next few days.
As for now? Well the cats pretty much only eat bugs. It's how my house stays so nice and bug-free.
The story that rivals Margaret's "feminine product" story? Easy. My mother used to have a dog that like to eat out of the trash. He would roam the house from can to can looking for good stuff to either play with or eat. In one instance he brought a large chocolate wrapper to my mother from my father's trash can. As he was not supposed to be having chocolate, this led to a fun confrontation.
In his best move, however, Beau (the dog's name) went dumpster-diving into the guest bedroom's trash. Of course my lovely sister and her husband were staying at the house at the time, and, after making the beast with two backs (or dancing the Horizontal Mambo...your choice), my brother-in-law threw his condom out in the trash can. Of course the dog decided that he wanted that, so he paraded around the house with this Magnum condom hanging out the side of his mouth. I could hear my sister screaming from here.
Yet another reason why I still haven't owned a dog. As for toys? My cats still play with the first toy I ever bought them: a catnip-filled dinosaur we call Dino. They ignore almost every other toy...except crumbled up paper. If only children were that easy to please.
Of course what do I know? I once rolled on to an unsuspecting cat while in the middle of flagrante de licto. I could be wrong.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Insomniac Popcorn Film I

This is quite good for a couple of kids.
I'm not really a Star Wars geek, but I do appreciate good film. Especially when it's professional looking home video.
Are there issues? Sure, but the film is quite well done.
Think of it as a film for insomniacs.