January 28, 2011

Same shit, different year

A year ago Miloh was a week old. I'd spend nights in his room, underneath the glow of the Twilight Turtle, bouncing to soothe him as he cries. When the cries subsided you could hear the soundtrack of some Rockabye Baby lullabies playing on the iPod.

Because of pure exhaustion we forget when we realized that he slept better without the music and the turtle. I'm guessing the turtle batteries and iPod died on the same day. He probably went right to sleep and so they never came back on.

Right before Miloh turned one we dumped the pacifier. We saw that it was becoming an addiction and thought if we broke the habit now it would be easier than later. And since it was only used when he slept it was easy to change out his monkey Harlow for the pacifier.

What helped the transition was a new, well old, routine. The Twilight Turtle was back on and the iPod, packed with Rockabye Baby lullabies, made a return as well.

With a little fuss it worked well.

In Miloh's one year doctor appointment our doc suggested we ditch the bottle before bed and after naps.

Tonight was day one of no bottle. It didn't go as well as the pacifier.

He was not happy. I couldn't even put him in his bed. He'd grab Harlow and his elephant and walk to his door balling as I lay 15 feet away with my head resting on his bed.

And so, a year later, I found myself holding Miloh in my arms, bouncing him up and down to soothe him while we looked up at the twilight turtle stars and listened to lullabies in the background.

January 26, 2011

They like me, they really like me... oh and I'm going dim.

Let me start with the second half of the post title first.

Smonk You is going a bit dim... not totally dark... no comments on the dim part.

I'll still be writing but maybe at a bit less frequency. I tried to write 2 posts a week because Blogher (my ad thingy) wants people who use them to post at that frequency... and time just doesn't want to cooperate.

It was so much easier to write a daddy blog before Miloh was born... I had a bit more time and was a bit less sleepy.

I still like doing it and all but it takes a lot of time... and I'd rather post less often but have better stuff.

So if you dig this blog the best thing to do would be to grab my rss feed because then you'll know when I post without having to check back.

Like I said, it's not going away, I have posts in mind, infographics to catch up on and infographic ideas in my mind, and I have some posts I half started and never posted but are still cool.

So thanks for reading, thanks for sticking around if you do... I hope you do.

And now I wanted to share with you how much this blog is loved.... by spammers. If you write a blog you know how sneaky spam comments can get, if you don't here's a little insight.

I get a lot of spam comments that go into my spam comment folder. Those usually have links. But then I get some that look like real comments but are in fact spam. My hypothesis is the spammers leave the comment and them later google the phrase they left to see if it was published. If published I assume they know it's an unmoderated blog and spam the crap out of it.

So here are some of the most flattering spam comments I get (click the pic to enlarge).

Here are some of my favorite parts:

  • Someone who's writing is sub-par thinks mine is top-notch.
  • One dude calls me Jeff, but thinks it's an awesome post so I'm cool with that.
  • Someone used my post in a lecture to motivate his students 
  • I learned the word "chuffed"
  • Someone thinks my blog is high quality enjoyment
  • Some dude dinged me in a spam comment (a tad more polished... fuck you)
You might think, oh your site is high quality enjoyment are you sure it's spam? Yes it is... google any of the sentences in the comments above and you will see a ton of sites pop up. 

January 23, 2011

One Last Weekly Infographic: Week 52 in numbers

This weekly tally is actually a week and one day in order to take it through January 21, the day before Miloh turned one.

People have asked how we kept track of all this... Staci made a sheet we (and our nanny, my in-laws and such) would fill out. It all started because we had to track his stats because of his jaundice... so one night when I was loopy from no sleep I started these.

I only planned on doing these weekly graphics for a year... so this is the last. Some folks are probably happy about that, some could probably care less and maybe some are bummed.

Although these are going away I'm still behind by a couple of the month long graphics and my infographic for the 3rd and 4th quarter of his first year.

Then there are some others I have bouncing around in my head.

Thanks for checking them out.

January 14-21

January 22, 2011

One year

I've never really been a fan of the first birthday pics when a kid has icing smeared all over it's face. I often feel that parents stage it so they have a cute photo.

Miloh must feel the same... and he apparently doesn't like frosting.

January 14, 2011

What I'm Naming The Monkey or When We Lost Miloh

We lost Miloh. I don't mean lost him like we can't find him, I mean he no longer needs us... at least when he goes to sleep. Just under a year and he's ready to be on his own.

During our trip to California we realized we had a huge miss... he didn't have a cuddly stuffed animal. He grabbed our friend's kid's stuffed animals and melted into them. He has lovies and other small things, like the Deglingos Baby Blankie Rat that he'd sleep with but wouldn't totally cuddle.

He was missing a cuddly animal that was a good size to sleep with.

It sounds all obvious that we should have given him one... but babies can't sleep with things like that for so long and we didn't prepare... any way getting one was the first thing on out list to get him.

We were going to get something the weekend we got back but in the meantime our nanny gave him a little monkey stuffed animal that we got at Staci's baby shower to sleep with. Miloh liked it so we were cool with it, but we ordered the Jellycat Aardvark to be his go to.

When the aardvark arrived he saw it and melted into it... but it wasn't what he wanted to cuddle up to when he slept. He wanted the monkey.

Pre monkey he was getting in to a phase where he would crawl out of his bed and cry for us at his door until he fell asleep two minutes later.

Now he could care less that we leave the room. When we put him to sleep he grabs the monkey so tight and so securely and he goes right to sleep.

The monkey has replaced us. He now looks for it when he goes to sleep and needs it... he's attached.

We were just calling it Monkey but it wasn't as inventive as our name for the Aardvark which is Ardy.

Then I thought of how he cuddles with the monkey when he sleeps and it reminded me of another monkey. The rhesus monkeys that were in the surrogate mother experiments of Harry Harlow.

I should say that Harlow's experiments were really cruel, the surrogate mother ones being less cruel than the most. But while not good times this one is interesting.

In case you're not familiar, he'd give baby monkeys the option of two mothers. One was all chicken wire but had a bottle and could therefore feed it. The other was soft and warm but didn't feed. The monkeys would spend up to 22 hours a day on the warm fuzzy monkey and would only leave to go to the other when it was hungry.

The baby monkeys were so cute and cuddly with that fake fuzzy mom. So while I'm not a fan of naming good things after kind of evil people I think Harlow is a great name for Miloh's monkey because he cuddles it so cutely.

So Harlow it is.

January 13, 2011

This song is about me or the post in which I realize I'm old and just don't get today's music.

A few months ago Staci, Miloh and I took a road trip to the fabulous city of Dubuque. My iPod was packed in the trunk... oops, there wasn't enough music on our phones and data service was spotty so Pandora was hard to use.

Life's tough, right?

So we were stuck with the middle of nowhere radio... which in all honestly I like because it's always an interesting search and it's the only time I get to hear Boston or Kansas.

And while listening to an 80s station I made the comment that music has changed in that when I was kid the songs about women where more pining for them, rather than being so confident that the guy would hook up... like I feel they are today. And that insecure pining was great and became the soundtrack to all John Hughes movies.

Which made me wonder whether my observation was right, which of course it is because I'm never wrong. It also made me wonder what the top songs were when I was born.

Also what will be popular music when Miloh starts finding out what he likes and buying some records... okay, those don't exist but you know what I mean.

So I decided to compare the music from the year I was born (1973), the year I started buying records (1985... I might have bought sooner but I looked at Top 100s and this is when I the stuff I really liked hit the top 10) and music from the year Miloh was born (2010).

I'd add the music from the year he turns 12, but honestly if I could somehow do that I would be spending my time in the music industry so I could gear up to make a killing.

So here are the Top 10s of those years... with my thoughts on them.

Number one:
1973 – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Wow... I'm starting with a snooze fest (sorry to my mom, mother-in-law and all their peers). I have to admit when I checked out a video of it I thought Tony Orlando had a good voice... but I could only stand it for 40 seconds... and isn't that song supposed to be sung by a woman?

1985 – Careless Whisper by Wham! 1985 redeems the list. While it's your general break-up song he's totally pining... I probably listend to this song after each of the three times I was dumped in 6th grade. One of those times was by Kris Petty when she dumped me at the Jefferson memorial on a class trip to D.C... f-ing bitch.

2010 – TiK ToK by Ke$ha. Here's the deal...Staci leaves the car radio on the station that plays this song... and sometimes in the morning I'm too tired to change it... so on the times I drive I often hear it... and I simultaneously hate it... like really hate it... but it's so freaking catchy that it ropes me in. Then I remember I hate it... and not only because Ke$ha puts a dollar sign in her name. I'd talk about what it means but there's no really meaning to it at all.

Number two:
1973 – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce. I've been to the south side of Chicago and luckily never ran into Leroy Brown... I'm glad because he sounds bad. I dig this super crazy old song (oh wait, that makes me super old). I think Croce should have one a Nobel Prize for warning folks of this terror from the south side... it's a PSA you can tap your foot to.

1985 – Like A Virgin by Madonna. Holy shit this was hot... as a 12 year-old I was loving Madonna and her uber-hotness. And to the Katy Perry and Ke$ha's of the world... you'll never come close to being Madonna... sorry. You'll probably also be interested to know that I wore those black Madonna bracelets that everyone wore... so much cooler than Silly Bandz.

2010 – Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Wow, this is such a fantastic song that I feel like I grew up listening to it... oh sorry... I was thinking about Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project. I'm blown away that such an obvious rip off hit number two... well I guess I'm not surprised, music is really blah now.

Number three:
1973 – Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack. This is a song about an assassin who instead of using a gun or knife uses his song to kill people... pretty ingenious when you think about it. It would be a much nicer way to go to war... much less messy than bombs. Actually I love this song... kind of haunting... remember when singers had good voices without having to be over produced? And the Fugees Cover is fantastic too... what's the chance a Ke$ha song will be covered in 23 years? Zero, the answer is zero.

1985 – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham! Two songs in the Top 5. Remember when whole albums were good? Dudes got Jitterbug and Doris Day into the song lyrics and still hit number one. This kind of gets to my point about pathetic guys singing about getting dumped... or in this case left alone in bed in the morning. Also, a little known fact is George Michael came out one minute and seven seconds into the video... just check that outfit and tell me you didn't guess it back then.

2010 – Hey, Soul Sister by Train. I have a couple songs by Train on my iPod generally like them because I don't need to think at all when I listen to them. I watched the video and actually love what they do with the type (yeah I did research for this post). But when I see the band (and listen to the song) I just see/hear a facade.. nothing deep. I do however love that David Copperfield is the lead singer. I should Add that I love that they mention Mister Mister...

Number four:
1973 – Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye. I had no idea what this song was about so I read the lyrics... apparently it's about getting it on. I guess this one shows that in 1973 dudes were super confident like they are today... there must have just been some neurosis in the 80s... or I can just be wrong about my earlier hypothesis... but that's unpossible.

1985 – I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner. Dude just wants to know what love is... he wants you to show him. This is what I'm talking about... he's gonna take some time to look around because he's been beaten down, by heartache and pain that he isn't sure if he can face again, and he's begging for some loving. He's not all "I'm gonna go to a club and hook up with some chick." Little known fact: Foreigner, Survivor and Night Ranger are three bands that under pressure I couldn't name a song they sing.

2010 – California Gurls by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dog. I totally don't get this song... she's not even singing... and she's not rapping... it's so incredibly horrible, there's nothing to this song. I'd say it was total bubble gum but I like bubble gum. Oh... and I apparently own it... thanks Staci (love you).

Number five:
1973 – My Love by Paul McCartney. According to the Wikipedia this was the most successful song of the album Red Rose Speedway... that album must truly suck. There are only 5 words in the song so I can't really talk about what it means... it is probably a great song to put kids to sleep to.

1985 – I Feel For You by Chaka Khan.  Not going to say much about this as I wasn't a Chaka fan because I'm a dude... but I do love that Melle Mel starts the song out. Remember when rap was good?

2010 – OMG by Usher feat. will.i.am. This song actually follows what I thought the 80s songs were... he's liking this girl but he's not cocky about hooking up with her. It does however differ from the 80s because back then rap/hip hop was good.

Number six:
1973 – Why Me by Kris Kristofferson. Well, no women in this one... just a bunch of whining, some tambourine and a whole lotta religion.

1985 – Out Of Touch by Hall and Oates. I think this is one of those semi-pine over a girl songs. I can't tell for sure because Hall and/or Oates must have gone to William S. Burroughs for help on the lyrics. Like the song though... video's a bit whacked out.

2010 – Airplanes by B.O.B feat. Hayley Williams Of Paramore. I kind of like this song... but it if I'm going to listen to a song about wishes it will be I Wish by Skee Lo.

Number seven:
1973 – Crocodile Rock by Sir Elton John. Just a catchy little song about the music of the 60's sung by a gentleman in a metallic suit with some big ass shoes and a top hat to match.

1985 – Everybody Wants To Rule The World by Tears for Fears. I played the keyboard for a short time... wanted to learn because of The Cars... but this was the first song I learned to play. If there was a gun to my head I could probably pound out the melody one key at a time... such a great song still.

2010 – Love The Way You Lie by Eminem feat. Rihanna. I want to hate Eminem because he's a total ass, hates Moby and is homophobic... but he does have a fantastic voice. Problem is all his break out songs are the same. It's always about how he hates the woman he loves/loved/wants to love and he peppers in some domestic violence. But then he throws in some great vocals of Rihanna or Dido and I get hooked. Then I remember he's a dick.

Number eight:
1973 – Will It Go Round In Circles by Billy Preston. When you think of 70s music you think of this song, right? Nope, no you don't. Nobody does. I think the first time I heard it was 2 minutes ago. It's about a song with no melody or some crap like that.

1985 – Money For Nothing by Dire Straits. The video, which looks like it could have been made today, was on heavy rotation on MTV, which is funny to me because it bashes MTV. In my wiki search I learned people are pissed because they use the word "faggot" and such. Maybe I'm an uncaring asshole (who has many gay friends and family) but the deal is he's singing in character... and it makes sense for him to use the words. Just mentioning that now because as you may have heard someone is making a clean copy of Huckleberry Finn. You can't change history folks, and in art people need to use certain words to get the point of a character across. In Huck Finn Twain was actually calling attention to racism... not saying Knopfler is Twain but... whatever.

2010 – Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Gaga is like Andy Kaufman. They both rely on their act for fame. In reality she's a really whitebread super boring singer. Any one can sing that crap. But she plays a part and people love her... I'm not one of those people... I'll stick with Kaufman (or Zach Galifianakis who I'm also convinced is doing a Kaufman when it comes to his stand up.)

Number nine:
1973 – You're So Vain by Carly Simon. I totally thought this song was about me and maybe my birth was the party I was walking into... but it was released in '72 so I guess I'm wrong. I love, love, love this song.

1985 – Crazy For You by Madonna. I totally thought this song was about me.

2010 – Dynamite by Taio Cruz. Finally I get to a song about a cocky guy going to a club. Took awhile but this is what I'm talking about. This kind of cockiness is all in pop music while I had great pining like "If You Leave" or "Jessie's Girl." What I do like about this song that dude who does an all voice version. Oh... but from the title I thought the song was about me.

Number ten:
1973 – Touch Me In The Morning by Diana Ross. It's basically the precursor to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

1985 – Take On Me by A-Ha. "I'll be coming for your love, okay?" Dude's asking permission for said love. That's what I'm talking about. Did you know this song has a video? Another song I used to be able to play on the keyboard.

2010 – Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris. I think this is the same exact song as Dynamite but with a different video. What I like about Cruz is he has a really pronounced stutter but still sings anyway... and this has opened up to other singers with stutters to get big... like Lady Gaga in Poker Face or that other person in that other song that I can't think of. You know the one.

So that's the comparison of the songs from when I was born, when Miloh was born and when I started buying music. The thing is my hypothesis is unproven because songs from dudes singing about girls apparently just don't make it to the top ten year-end charts. Something to think about if you're a musician.

Still I'm right about guys from the 80s being more piney and the ones from now being super cocky. I like the pining... and like I said before so did John Hughes. Imagine Duckie Dale if you had to use the music of today for the soundtrack.

And I think we can all agree that while the songs of the year I was born weren't all hits the songs of this year were mostly crap... That's a fact.

Ladies and gentlemen... Rick Springfield.

January 6, 2011

Say my name...

Miloh's first word... He's been babbling a lot but now he seems to say this with purpose.

Oh...and he's walking. I should have mentioned that in my last post but he was kind of just taking steps by accident...

not sure why most of the videos we take of him involve us laughing at him... I mean with him.

January 4, 2011

Nobody walks in L.A. or Hanging on the West Coast With Friends and Family or That Time Miloh Tried To Rip A Girl's Head Off

All of the following events are real. The names had been changed but then changed back again because there was no reason to change them in the first place. And because I'm too lazy to sit down and write a compelling narrative they are in plain-old-boring chronological order.

At 3:45 AM on Christmas Eve I woke up and decided to have breakfast as going to sleep would be fruitless because Staci, Miloh and I needed to be out the door at 5:00 AM for a 7:30 AM flight to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula... now known as Los Angeles.

There was some fantastic snow on the ground which would be great for boarding but would slow down a drive to the airport. But we knew we'd be good with two and a half hours of time. Then we realized we only had two hours because our flight took off at 7:00 AM.

We got to the airport in great time... which made me happy.

Then I was hit with a startling realization. I had gone from a guy who could fly through a Black Diamond expert lane in an airport to a guy who could barely get through.

I realize the idea that I can fly through a lane contradicts my post about my probs with airports in the past... but when not being hassled I could fly through.

Going through the metal detector I had my first misstep (if you don't count having to pass Miloh back and forth to Staci three times while we got our stuff in the grey tubs) I forgot to take my metal card case out of my pocket... I threw it on the conveyor belt, it went in my grey tub and all was good.

Then I had to get my stuff back in my bag and such. No help this time as Staci was in another lane with the formula and bottles and stuff while I took Miloh. I did what anyone would do... I put Miloh on the last grey bucket in the conveyor belt, put my laptop in my bag, got my shoes on and started to put my belt on. That's when the TSA woman said (in kind of a weird way) "he's cute".

Then she stared at me and mumbled.

Next she said something about him being in the tub and I said "yeah." And she said "you need to take him out of the tub" followed by "obviously we can't use the conveyor belt with a baby in a tub" to which I replied "not obviously."

I got silence... so I said "because if it was obvious I wouldn't have him on". I felt I needed to explain myself. Maybe it was that I was super tired... but really I think it was because I was leaning against Miloh and watching that none of the grey tubs knocked him.

But who cares (seriously why are you reading still?) I made it through the line without any scuffle. We got to the gate, a bit late, and got situated in the last row of the plane but we had an extra seat which was golden.

That's when the panic set in. Would we be that family with "That Kid"? We'd been on a plane before and Miloh was awesome. But Miloh was only four months old then so we weren't sure if his calmness would still be around... especially because he's a ball of energy.

Luckily he was fantastic, he slept in my arms the whole time.

First stop was to see some of our old friends, Jody and Ethan and their two kids Kai and Maya. We only had a bit to say hi to them as we were headed to Santa Barbara to hang with Staci's sister for a few.

We went to a Mexican place and had a mini revolution: Miloh loves guacamole. Totally freaking loves it. We never even thought to give it to him... he loves Avocados and we've had guac around... but it never crossed are mind to feed him guac.

Yeah he likes it.
After the guac fest we drove up north a bit. Somewhere in between we stopped at a gas station and saw a woman, in a fully armored motorcycle jacket and a full-face helmet, with a small dog in a backpack... on a motorcycle. That has nothing to do with anything, but WTFuck?

When we got to Staci's sister's house it was good times. Miloh one of his aunts, her boyfriend and one of his (Miloh's) cousins. He was exhausted and slept like, well... a baby.

Yeah this is getting long but here's the Cliffs Notes of that stop. Miloh was super happy there... he talked up a storm... way more than he does at home. He got to see the the beach and his first ship wreck... seriously a ship wreck... how many of those have you seen?

He also crawled in the sand for the first time. He crawls so fast that he looked like an alien from the movie "Aliens" when he was on the go. I'd have said the movie "Alien" but if I recall correctly there's only the one alien in that and it's big. In "Aliens" I think there was a lot of small aliens... that's what he looks like, except with less teeth.

After some awesome days in Santa Barbara we headed back to The Valley.

He was loving playing with his new buddies, Maya and Kai.

The next morning we all headed to Disneyland.

As a little aside some friends have asked me if I'd ever movie to L.A. The answer is always yes. And then I get on the highway.

I can't stand L.A. traffic. I'm an aggressive driver and I think the folks out there are complete assholes... and that's really odd as usually the pace of life is slow. Have you ever seen the movie "Falling Down"? That's how I feel any time I'm in traffic there.

Then we got to the Happiest Place on Earth. Not really sure why they call it that. For the first 20 minutes I wanted to punch people... and I'm not a violent person at all. But a combo of the traffic, the crowd and a bunch of idiots made me a bit bitchy.

However I will add a bit of a spoiler and say we wound up having a great, perhaps magical, time there... but still the Happiest Place on Earth shouldn't leave you with clenched fists in for the first 20 minutes.

At Disneyland Miloh saw the Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger. He put his arm out and said "pblpptbtht" which is his word for dog or cat (or maybe just animal.) He's too young to know them and I've only read one story to him so it was really cool to see his eyes light up at them.

Anyway the day wound up great and we all headed back home.

The next day was a bit epic. We met The818 in the 818. Morgan is one of the first blog/twitter people I started talking to after I started this blog so it was awesome to meet her. In her post about said meeting she mentioned how it's weird meeting internet folk... and it is. She said I could have been a Ted Bundy, and I was totally thinking that. I could be some crazy dude who made up a wife and kid to meet people. It would be pretty crazy, but I'm sure it happens.

The instant Miloh Met her daughter Dee he crawled up to her and gave her a hug... but he's not super suave and instead he almost ripped Dee's head off. But in no time they were buddies and he even started feeding her (or shoving crackers in her mouth... depending on how you see it.)

Afterwards we had a little bubble tea, went out with our friends for an adult dinner and the next day we headed back home. Again Miloh was fantastic on the plane.

So yeah, it was a good vacation.

And here are some random things I didn't weave in:

  • Miloh got his first set of wings. 
  • I finally found a pair of sunglasses that fixed my pea-head.
  • Arak is a great drink (we were warned 3 times to drink it with food).
  • Disneyland should have a vasectomyland.
  • That blue Halo Mountain Dew is pretty good. 
  • Congrats to my nephew who got into Vancouver Film School.
  • The whole right side of a Chevy Impala is a blind spot.
  • Miloh hated car seats in California.
  • This post was one long ramble.

Took awhile... Here's an infographic of MF's first year

I finished this about a year ago just for my personal use but thought I'd share it. It's a visualization of MF's first year in n...