June 30, 2011

When Miloh Made Me Cry... or He's On His Way To Being A Photographer

This post somehow got lost and never posted. It was from Late April. Here goes.

Pure awesomeness happened today... Ever since Miloh has been mobile he's been obsessed with my cameras. Could be that since the second he came out he's been in front of a lens. It's a toy to him, fun times.

He used to grab my camera but then he became obsessed with my flash. I'd never really let him play with it because it's pricey... And so he found the lens cap.

I have a ton of photos with him eating the cap or trying to put it back on the camera. As he got more mobile I got scared for my camera. So he got my super old point and shoot. One we don't use anymore so it can be destroyed.

But he's still a fan of my camera.

And today he finally understood  what was going on. At least today I finally noticed that he understood. We hung out looking through the viewfinder. He loved seeing mommy through it. Then I'd snap a pic and he'd be blown away when it was in the LCD second later. He's laugh, point and clap. It was amazing.

And since photography is so close to my heart it meant a lot to me... I might have even teared up.

Then I saw this pic that Staci took and I did tear up.

He's an awesome kid.

June 27, 2011

Building the Perfect Baby: an open letter to Evolution

We've all been let down by evolution, if you believe in that kooky theory.

People have been around for at least 37 years... That's all I can personally vouch for. And if you don't believe that number perhaps 200,000 years is a better one.

In those 200,000 years there have been some evolutionary changes but not the kind of things that I think all parents want in babies. So I decided to write evolution an open letter in hopes she'll get with the program. See how I wrote she instead of he? That's because I'm sensitive.

I don't have her email or snail mail address so please forward if you know it.

Dear Evolution

You've done some good things... I'm not gonna lie. I'm a fan of my thumb. I use it every time I thumb wrestle, hitch hike or do that stupid "this guy" thing (I never do that). I also find they come in handy (hah) randomly throughout the day.

I also like some of the little tricks you play on us. The platypus.. That thing is hilarious... So much cooler than the Echidna.

You also gave Darwin a justification for riding a Beagle all across the world. Animal rights groups have cracked down on people riding dogs across the ocean so sadly I'll never be able to have the same opportunity.

You also pissed a bunch of religious folks off too... Good one.

But you've let down all of us parents. You seem to think it was good enough to have us walk on two legs, be able to speak a complex language, think rationally and fuck up our environment.

Don't get me wrong those things are good, except the environment thing, but you've skipped some things that would make babies so much better. I'm not asking for ridiculous things like have them walk and talk and be able to get a job right off the bat. Just some small tweaks to make them better.

Here's list of my (and probably other's) suggestions for future developments.

  • Teething should not hurt a baby. I covered this already but there is no reason for it to hurt. There can be something that is produced to numb their gums during this period.
  • Babies crying should be changed. They should start off quiet and get louder until someone comes to sooth the baby. No reason to start off at maximum decibles. It's rather annoying.t
  • Babies should be able to wipe their own butts. A horse can walk minutes after being born. A butterfly can fly moments after emerging from a cocoon. A butt wipe isn't too much to ask.
  • If you can't do that can you make their poo smell better? Perhaps the scent of laundry that's been dried on a clothes line. I wouldn't think that has a scent but the fabric softener manufacturers tell me it does.
  • Parents should be able to easily program when a child sleeps and wakes. None of this sleep training. No waking in the middle of the night just because.
  • Babies should be able to make their parents breakfast. Something simple like hashbrowns and coffee. If we have to get up early for a feeding or such we should have some sustenance. 
  • They should be able to grip onto parents like monkeys can. I realize it has to do with hair and stuff but think about making human babies' hands like the hard part of Velcro. I would like to thank you for making it so we don't eat and/or fling poo... That was a good trait to lose. Getting rid of the tail was a bad idea. Those things are cool. I know we came from apes like things and not monkeys but I'm guessing in our evolutionary ancestry there was a tail. 
  • Babies should be able to fly. I just think that would be cool and they're light and all cartilage (in case they fall) so it would be a good time to have this ability.

Why don't you start with that list. I'll give you a few thousand years to make these changes... Things take time. But when they happened I'll be praised by everybody and they will make a statue of me on whatever planet we live on at the time.

Your pal,

As an appendix to my readers here's a link I found when I was looking on Live Science for an article about why we are bipedal. It talks about how humans are evolving slower than expected... Evolution is slacking.

Couldn't find the original article I mentioned but the gist is bipedalism uses less energy. Less energy means more food energy can go into brainpower. Bipedal means a person can carry and gather more food. So at some point the human ancestors that could carry more food were more attractive to the non-bipedal ones that maybe could fight better (stronger). It's suggested that rational thinking and ability to gather won out... So the ladies went for those guys (kind of the nerds of the time).

I also found an cool article about why infants walk late compared to other animals.

And since I'm talking about evolution I'd like to link to a post at Mom-In-A-Million. It's the Miss USA contestants answering the question "Should evolution be taught in schools?" I find it interesting that the question was phrased that way and not  "Should creationism be taught in schools?" It's a subtle decision that scares the hell out of me. Also you should read her blog regularly. It's good stuff.

Anyway my fave answer was Miss Utah and I was surprised... I also like Vermont because she seemed pissed about the question but she tried to answer like a contestant.

While Utah came close I wish someone would have said "Yeah, because it's right."

June 26, 2011

I am, I am, I am Superman and I can do anything

I'm already Miloh's hero, as I should be. The littlest things we (Staci included) do give him the greatest joy and wonder because like most kids, he can't believe they are possible.

When I can tell him what a fan is 3 times in a row he cracks up and claps. Same with a dog, a foot or really anything else.

When I take his Crayola toothbrush, with a suction cup on the bottom, and slam it into the bathroom counter so it stick up he can't control himself. He gives a laugh with a huge head turn almost out of disbelief.

If I figure out what he wants to eat he gives a clap that ends with his arms extended to the sky and a big smile.

When I grab his nose and say honk. He's amazed because he hasn't figured out how to get his nose to make the noise. He grabs his, and mine, and waits for a honk.

When we fly down the sidewalk on his trike, with me on the back, at speeds that I think will require him to wear a helmet just in case.

When I toss him high into the sky.

When I give him more edamame.

And because I make the best oatmeal ever. That's going to be a post in the near future. You wouldn't think oatmeal could be a post but Miloh has the ability to turn anything into awesomeness.

All small things but all things that make me a hero in his eyes.

June 24, 2011

Over at the Haps today

I hacked my way onto Mandy's blog, Harper's Happenings, today. You can check out all the awesomeness there. Rolling Stone Magazine said it's the the best post they've seen this year. It's also up for a Pulitzer or two.

June 22, 2011


Vomit never scared me. I'm not one of those people that puke when I see puke. I never want to see puke... But it doesn't cause a gut reaction.

Last week, at least last week when I write this, Miloh was super sick. It all started at 11PM when he woke up crying. He'd been waking every night around midnight for a couple minutes so I thought nothing of it. Staci being the good mom asked me to check in.

I went to his room to see no less than a gallon of vomit on in his bed and on him. Perhaps the gallon is a little hyperbole but it did look like more that could fit in his tiny body.

We cleaned him up, switched out his vomity stuffed animals for clean ones and brought him in to our bed to sleep. It was probably more special for us that he was sleeping with us than it was for him.

At about 1AM he got up and started heaving. For some reason my gut instinct (not sure why "gut" keeps coming up but it's the best word to use in context) was to put my hand out to grab the tiny bit of spittle that came up.

The tiny bit of spittle was a lot more than the usual tiny bit. A lot more. I don't understand how he was able to get another good size puke out. It's like he was a magician pulling scarves out of nowhere or his body was a car stuffed with vomit clowns™. I'm trademarking "Vomit Clowns".

We got him cleaned up and changed the sheets. It was a rough night for all.

Since he'd only puked once before we didn't know what to do exactly so when it came to breakfast and he wanted breakfast and milk I gave him some bread and water thinking it would settle his stomach.

The water wasn't a good idea because he puked again. I rushed him upstairs and put him in our room to change his clothes... Then he projectile vomited on me. This was twice in 6 hours.

His whole day was rough and later went to the ER because he was borderline dehydrated. All came out well it was a stomach flu or something.

The moral of the story is something happened to me now that I'm a parent. I was totally there to stand in the line of fire of vomit just to help him. I don't want to do it anytime soon but I would do it again.

He also received a new badge. The Super Chunk badge for vomiting more than 10 times in a day. He went way over unfortunately.

Vomiting 10 times in one day

June 19, 2011

First Generation Dad

My parents divorced when I was 12 (or about then) and I would guess they separated when I was 11. And while my father was around those 11 years and I was forced to see him for a few years after the divorce I wouldn't say he was a dad in any respect. Unless you consider a dad to be the person that sits in front of the TV with you occasionally offering you a pretzel but never going to a ball game or any other activity of yours.

I could get more into the whole thing but you get the gist 

And while there were other positive male figures around in my life you can't replace the role of a dad.

So that being said I feel I'm a first generation dad. A stranger in a strange land. Someone that has heard of the idea of being a dad, seen the concept in practice but never experienced it. 

And so it's been about a year and a half and it feels more natural than I thought it would. It's the best thing ever in fact. Having a great partner in Staci helps. And having a super amazing kid makes it all the better. 

I feel like he's a mini me, although he looks exactly like Staci aside from his eye socket area, nose and hairline. 

One of the best parts is I know that Miloh will never be able to write this kind of post because I'm going to always be a real dad to him. A dad who's there for him. A dad he can look up to and learn from. 

June 16, 2011

Gear Thursday: Ikea toys... and teaching your kids the life cycle of food.

As you all know without fail I bring you an awesome product review to you each and every Thursday.

A bit ago we went to Ikea to look at a bed for Miloh. He was digging the cots at school so we thought we'd move him to a super low toddle bed.

While we didn't find a bed for him we did find something... Including pure awesomeness.

First thing we found was The Baby Guy's sister, brother-in-law and nieces. I spotted them because I saw a couple wach of them holding blonde headed twins in the best baby carriers on the market. Any time you see a pair of blonde girl twins and the parents have the Maserati of baby carriers you know it's his family.

Sadly I didn't know if it would be stupid for me to ask if they were truly them so I didn't. I was worried that if they weren't them they'd think I was a creep, but I'd never see them again so I don't know why I'd care?

I got the text too late confirming that the were in fact them so Miloh lost his chance on meeting the two cuties.

While there we also found a cool felt-ish Garden playset for him. It's called the Landet which I believe means "inside joke". You'll see why soon.

There was also farm in the Landet collection but it was big and not as colorful. So even though we didn't get the farm we got a farm animal set to hang on the garden and some extra animals.

They have four extra animals you can get by the piece... We only saw 3. So we grabbed a moose, a polar bear and a snake. When we checked out the moose was missing so I hoped Miloh had pocketed it because it looked cool and I didn't want to go back for it. Unfortunately he has better morals than me and did not steal it.

So, weird thing number one. Why is there a polar bear as an extra piece? A snake can live on a farm or garden, a wolf (the missing piece) can live on either as can a moose. But a polar bear?

My theory is it's in there because someone over at Ikea is a fan of Lost. Really there is no other explanation.

Weird thing number two. One of the things you get with the garden is a little rabbit. A rabbit who is up on his front two legs. A rabbit who is up on his front two legs with brown stuff coming out his butt.

There can only be two explanations for this. Someone there is a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean and wanted to make a peg-legged pirate bunny. I think this is a fantastic theory but the brown part is too tall for a comfortable bunny peg-leg and I expect they would have caught that.

The other explanation if the bunny is pooing. This makes total sense. There are carrots and lettuce for the garden. After the bunny eats it's gotta poo (the cycle of food).

I decided the latter is what's going on... Especially because there is a bucket of manure that comes with the set. I can now teach Miloh that a bunny eats food, shits it out, and that poo is then mixed in the dirt so it helps the food grow better.

Moral of the story: Always wash vegetables before eating them.

June 15, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Wisdom: Take risks

As you all know without fail I offer Miloh a little nugget of wisdom that I have learned.

Todays wisdom for Miloh: Take Risks

That could be the most important thing I learned in college and I actually learned it in a class. Or I guess I should say a professor told the class to take risks.

It was in a great Religion and Physics class I took. Not to be confused with the Physics and Religion class I took the next quarter. This one was in the religion department, the other in the math department. Both fantastic but this was one of my standout classes.

The teacher was amazing.

The first day of class we watched Pinocchio because the story was about personal transformation. Which makes me remember that it was a Religion and Personal Transformation class not to be confused with Religion and Physics which should not be confused with Physics and Religion.

Anyway, the big takeaway from the class was to take risks.

I have my whole life pretty much. I kind of don't listen to folks when they say things can't be done... And I find a way to do those things. I've made career and life decisions that probably weren't the safest decisions but they have all paid off well.

Without risk life is boring. And the worst that can happen is you fail. But if yo never take a risk you fail anyway.

Plus I think failure is the best way to learn.

So do what you want. Follow your dream. Take risks and never look back.

And I leave you with another video by Frank Turner (the dude I mentioned in my last post) because again I find myself loving his words in this song Eulogy. First minute and 7 seconds but you can feel free to watch the next song too.

June 12, 2011

Oh god or we'll drink a whisky sometime.

The post title is a bit of theft from musician Frank Turner. I heard about him on The World on NPR and dug his voice, style and lyrically he’s great too. You should, after reading this fantastic post, go by his new album England Keep My Bones and also The First Three Years. For one thing they're good. For another if a billion people buy using those links I'll make about $.40 from Amazon.

Back to the quote, it comes from a live performance of his song Glory Hallelujah in which he says  "if you don't agree with what I'm about to say we're still friends we'll still drink a whisky at the end of the night."

I say that because this post, like his song, is about religion and that's a subject that gets touchy for folks. I won’t however ever have a whisky/whiskey with any of you as I hate that stuff. But it’s the thought that counts... Right?

And before I get in to the meat of the post I should say I’m already bothered by the way this is going. I don’t like preambles and I already mislead. The “thought that counts” part isn’t true. I never thought we’d have whisky... I should’ve said “It’s the words, that are not true, that count”.

And that’s a perfect segue.

I'm having a bit of a struggle.  A few months signed Miloh up for the The PJ Library. It's a cool program where your kid receives a Jewish book each month. I don't think the books are technically Jewish because you never really hear about trees practicing any religion. But they say they are so who am I to argue?

We joined because we want Miloh to learn about his culture. Staci and I both grew up Jewish and want to share our experiences with him. And since we don't belong to a temple or anything, yet, the books are a good way for him to connect.

The first book he got was great. It was about Israel and the things you'd see if you visited, like camels, but sadly no falafel... Pretty secular.

The second book is the reason I felt compelled to write the post because it really made me think of what I/we should teach him as far as religion.

It's a DK board book called My First Shabbat Board Book. I was psyched we got a new book and wanted to read it to Miloh so I flipped through it.

Two pages in it talks about the Shabbat story which says that the Torah teaches that God created the Earth in seven days and then it goes through the whole spiel of that.

And so I got freaked out. I put the book away because I can’t read it to him. Maybe I took the creationism bit too literally. The PJ books come with a nice cheat with things you can do when reading. It says that if you don’t believe in that bit you can say it’s a story from the bible.

But I can’t do that. I can't mislead him. I think he's too young to understand the concept of allegory.

Of course we read fiction to Miloh, like Go, Dog. Go!. But that’s fiction that no one believes in. Fiction that doesn’t separate folks. Fiction that doesn’t offend anyone. Fiction, that to my knowledge, no one has killed anyone on their personal views of. Although if I read the headline “Man killed for his belief of Go, Dog. Go!” in the news I would be a bit amused... Sad for the dead person, but amused. Very amused, but sad. Incredibly amused and of course sad... But Amused.

And so begins my ideological struggle.

Being Jewish is weird because it’s a culture, a people and a religion. Most other religions are not tied to a culture/people so closely. So when I tell people I’m Jewish I mean I identify with the people, the history, the guilt from my mother and her mother and all the Jewish mothers of the world (which includes my wife but of course she would never throw down the Jewish guilt).

While I call myself Jewish I don’t practice Judaism. Side note; when I was at Maya Angelou’s house (yes) she made a comment that she finds it funny when people say they are Christian. She said something like “good for them, how did they do that? I’m not good enough yet. I practice Christianity.” I’m killing her words but her idea is fantastic... And that’s why she’s so amazing.

But back to me... I don’t believe in any “ism”. I do dig dadaism, which is funny on this blog because of the multiple meanings, but I mean the art movement and that has nothing to do with this post.

Damn I’m good at non-sequiturs.

Back to me again. I rarely tell people my beliefs because it’s really no one’s business. But when asked I talk. When I do I get labeled as an Atheist or Agnostic and I think that’s bullshit. I’m neither. I’m just me with my beliefs... It’s as simple as that.

I’m cool with other people having different thoughts. I don’t judge them (unless their religion was invented by a science fiction writer). I’m pretty tolerant with everyone... Unless they come preaching to me. That I can’t stand. In fact I can’t stand any preaching... Even if it’s for something I believe in.

I once came close to ordering a steak when we were at the table with someone who was preaching vegetarianism. I’ve been a vegetarian for two-thirds of my life but I couldn’t stand the preaching. I would have chewed down on a piece of meat just to piss her off and shut her up (true story).

Back to Miloh and how to raise him. We've made some decisions.

When he’s old enough he’ll go to a Jewish overnight camp (the camp's mom was Jewish and it got Bat Mitzvahed) although he'll, if he wants, also go to an action sports camp too. Not that it's a choice between religion and bikes or skateboards but it's what we discussed.

We both have strong memories of Jewish camp. The songs are awesome... When I hear certain Hebrew songs I still think of camp. One reminds me of the end of meals when we'd take a bread ball and stuff it in our mouth. Bread ball = a piece of bread that you tear the crust off and then roll it into a ball and eat... It's gourmet. Another reminds me of the last day of camp when you sit next to the girl you dig and hope that you hook up later that night but it get's drawn out so crazy long because you're an awkward kid.

And the camps aren’t super religious.

But then there’s a Bar Mitzvah. I was on the fence about it. Probably mostly about the money they cost because they can get ridiculous. However my nephew had a kick-ass one that probably didn’t break the bank.

Then there’s the whole thing about it being the transition to becoming a man. That’s a bit outdated as he won’t be able to drink, drive, vote or have sex. But he will be able to see a PG-13 movie so that’s something.

Last there’s the experience that I, and I’m sure most others, had which is I don’t speak to anyone that went to my Bar Mitzvah. I don’t know why I care about that but if it’s supposed to be a special milestone in your life shouldn’t you be around people that really matter in your life? And I know that cute girl from the other classroom and your buddies are important... But I’d have rather had one now. I’d invite folks I truly care about.

But it's a thing people do. A tradition that means more than the religious part of it. It's heritage and culture. So he'll most likely have one. But of course you can't separate the religion from that at all... Well I guess you can because I do.

In order to get a Bar Mitzvah you have to go to Hebrew and Sunday school. There you learn the culture but you of course learn the religion. You learn prayers.

The prayers are what I don't believe, including the ones that are songs from camp I mentioned earlier. And this is the root of my conundrum. I like the culture I grew up in. I don't believe in the dogma Aside from the historical bits I don't believe in the bible. I don't believe in god. 

While we'll have to get Miloh in a temple do I tell him I think it's all BS? Does Staci tell him what she thinks? Do we just let him think it's all real? I want him to decide on his own but I feel I need to give him the best... And to me the best is the heads up that I just don't dig religion or dogma of Judaism... or any ism.

He'll most likely go to a temple when we can find one we dig. But we'll be incredibly transparent about our beliefs. In the meantime the Shabbat book has been shelved, as has book three which is about the Shema which is basically talking to god telling him/her that he/she is the man/woman.

Now we can have that non-whisky drink.

Ladies and gentleman... Frank Turner

June 10, 2011

How to guide: How to use a fork

Miloh wanted to share with the world the most efficient way to use a fork.

He's a bit too young to know how to use Adobe Illustrator so I helped him out with this, but basically I was just the hands. The concept and steps were all him.

June 8, 2011

What does a cow say?

I love a good coyote farm.
What does the cow say? Miloh has no idea. He doesn't know what a sheep says. He can't tell you a pig says oink. Or that a Horse says neigh. And he'd guess neither bow nor woof if asked what a dog says.

Miloh doesn't know his animal sounds. And I don't really care.

There's some baby milestone sheet that mentions how many animals sounds a kid should say by a certain age. The reason I'm a bit fuzzy on that is I didn't really pay attention to that... Or really care.

And you know why?

We don't live on a farm, in a jungle or a zoo. There's no need for him to know what sound a penguin makes (apparently it's onk).

I don't get why he needs to know them now. I'm not against teaching them to him... It's just not something that was top of mind for us until we noticed that all the kids in his gym class knew them.

But I caved... I started singing old McDonald to him. We say the sounds of animals in books we read him. We're just trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Although I know that 30 years down the road it won't matter that he didn't know any animal sounds until months after his peers did.

I wanted to end this with the clip from the Flintstones where they sing Old MacDonald and people from other nations make the sounds they say in that language. But alas I can't find that so I leave you with this link to a page that has the sounds animals make in other countries (although I have a suspicion that the animals sound the same no matter where they are).

I wrote this post a week ago and was planning on posting today. In that week Staci put Miloh into an animal sound bootcamp. He can do cow, duck, dog and monkey sounds.

And oddly today he pointed at a stegosaurus on his placemat and said roar. We never taught him dinosaur sounds but thanks to our friends Lars and Lily we read him Dinosaur vs. the Potty often. The dinosaur says roar on every page. So I guess he figured that one out. Although the dinosaur in the book looks like a T-rex so I think he's just guessing that a stegosaurus says the same. And who knows what they said anyway.

June 7, 2011

Off subject post: Open Letter to Dan Hesse of Sprint

Hey Dan

Remember when you did that ad campaign that gave your email so people can shoot you a quick note about problems they are having with Sprint? It was a good campaign.

And even though it's years later, and I doubt you're the one who reads them, I thought I'd send a letter about my Sprint experience and maybe give you a bit of advice.

Let's start with something we both know. It's going to hurt but it's the truth so let's just pull the Band-Aid® off instead of dancing around it.

Sprint is hemorrhaging subscribers... You're the smallest of the nation-wide carriers. And while you had an okay Q1 it was still dissapointing.

And I think I know why.

Your phones suck.

I've been with Sprint for about 7 years. I moved from ATT when I got a new job and got a great discount on sprint.

I've been totally happy with the service. You have really great customer service–one of the big reasons I've stayed with Sprint.

Also I've loved some of your marketing. The Now Network widget site is great. It's been up for years but is still relevant, still fun to play with. You were ahead of your time with that site... Good job.

But the reason, I feel, that customers are running from you like they would Godzilla is your phones are total shit. They might look good on paper. They might have great features. But in reality, in everyday use they are shit.

When the Plam Pre came out a few years ago I was psyched that you were finally getting a nice smart phone. You see I'm a total Apple guy. I would love an iPhone, but I didn't want to switch to ATT for various reasons.

The Pre kept me at Sprint.

My wife and I both got a Pre when they came out. We were happy for about two weeks,

Shortly after having them her phone had that "Oreo Twist" thing going on where the phone twisted about a quarter of an inch and felt like it would break. She got a new one.

About three weeks in my phone started randomly shutting off. It would be sitting on my desk and would shut off... All the time. I returned it and got a new one.

The one I received had a half inch gash on it. Let me say that again... The new one I received straight from the service center where all phones are looked at for quality control had a huge gash in it UNDER the protective film.

So that was sent back immediately.

Then I had a tiny problem where my phone mic and ear hole would shut off if my head came within an inch of it. It's really tough to use a phone you can't put to your ear, if you don't believe me you should try it. So back my phone went.

I learned in the many times that I had to bring my device in that the Pre was causing a ton of problems for you. I'm sure you know. I'm sure that's why you didn't carry the second generation Pre. Why I could get easy repairs through Sprint for a year vs going to Palm. Why when I called after having the phone for about 16 months to quit Sprint and told the woman what phone I had she sighed... She had dealt with crappy Palms many times, lost customers because of them.

The reason I was fed up you ask? It's because my wife's phone started to fall apart at the seams. It was as if she was Cinderella and it was midnight. Things just started falling off the phone. This wasn't after a drop or anything... It was, as I'm sure you're painfully aware, because of a horrible built device.

My phone at the same time was getting to be unusable. I couldn't change the volume controls and had to use speaker or a headset (again) but at least it was in one piece.

That experience was frustrating. I personally had seven (maybe eight, I lost count) Pres in total, and I am not hard on my phones at all. I use them, I don't drop them. I don't toss them in a bag. I don't sit on them. I don't use them as bath toys. I take good care of them.

But it was more frustrating because this was the phone that Sprint held up as the best at the time. The Holy Grail of cell phones. The iPhone killer. And I'm sad the hardware was shit. The interface was great to use. So fun. So easy. So smart.

As I said I called to quit Sprint but got a good deal on a new phone because the past problems of folks with Pres.

The offer was good on any phone except the brand spanking new 4g phones (epic and evo). And I was cool with not having the best. I was burned by the best. I didn't want to shell out a lot of cash and have a Pre experience and be saddled with an extra $10 a month if the phone wasn't great.

See what happened to my thinking there? I just assume that any phone I get from Sprint will be horrible. That's not good. I shouldn't think that about a phone. I should know that if I buy the best available it will be good. It will perform. It will last at least two years. But Sprint has taught me differently.

And perhaps I'm stupid with sticking with you. There's a saying by a brilliant man that comes to mind "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

I was fooled again.

We went for the one that we were told was the third best. A little brother to the Epic. Another flagship phone, because of the Spring ID.

We got the Samsung Transform. And like the Pre it wasn't a good start... But I was assured that my wife and got outlier phones... That the build was great and feedback was positive. I forget what my wife's problem was right off the bat. My phone had a messed up graphics card or connection.

We got new ones. Then in month five my phone bricked. It bricked so hard that when being walked through the diagnostic screens with the Samsung guy we couldn't breathe life into is. I had to send it back to Samsung. It's bricked since but I have been able to reset it.

Now we're about 8-9 months into having these phone. We got the Froyo update. It was like you added molasses to the phone. I know people were begging for it but you had to have tried a Transform with Froyo and saw that performance went done. People would rather have honesty and an older operating system then have to wait for 3 minutes for their email to open.

And now... My phone, which is slow as all heck...

Let's try something here. Let's pretend I snapped the camera and I'll come back later and tell you when the picture would actually be taken. 

The phone is so slow that I get the screen lock while trying to open programs like email or the browser... My phone just randomly shuts off and on (reboots) at least once a day. It's the Pre all over.

And that, my friend, is why I think customers are leaving you like Sheryl Crow is Leaving Las Vegas.

Your line up is stacked with underpowered devices. You don't need an iPhone. You just need good phones. Like I said I'm an Apple guy but I dig the Android system. I also dig Sprint. I'd totally get another android device... But how can I trust anything you peddle?

I feel that it's to the point that the cash we'd have to throw down in an ETF is far worth being saddled to a company that I can't rely on the devices of. The ETF is worth not having a phone that's slower than Droopy Dog on a super hot day.

By the way this is about when that aforementioned photo would actually be taken. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration in time but the lag is so terrible that my son can crawl from the bottom of the stairs to almost the top before a pic is actually taken.

So please take this advice. Ask your team that works with device manufacturers to work harder. To be tougher. To think of long term profit (happy customers returning) over short term profit (a high margin phone that makes a customer run to Verizon or ATT). Stop selling horrible devices. And when you do... Please take care of the loyal customers you sold them to.

Because if you can't get your device shit together your great customer service, good coverage and fantastic prices really don't matter.

Be good...

June 3, 2011

Evolution of the tantrum

We recently had Miloh evaluated and it was confirmed that he's throwing tantrums at a level of kids twice his age. Another interesting fact is that he can string words together in a sentence structure better than I can even though he can barely speak.

I've been watching how his tantrums have evolved and came up with an infographic of the evolution of the tantrum.

There may be other levels we haven't hit such as ones that include running away from home or yelling at your sister during Yom Kippur services when you're only four rows away from the Rabbi (hypothetically) but I'm confident this will bring us to the terrible twos as they seem to be stuck at level 6, and have gone down in the amount of time for each.

June 1, 2011

Miloh gets his own wheels: finally the trike (part three of definitely three posts in the award winning wheels series of posts)

If you follow me on twitter or work with me you're probably going to be glad this day is here... You won't have to hear about me building a trike for Miloh any more (actually it's only 97.6% done so I'll have a bit of talking to do).

Here's how the whole thing started.

Before Miloh was born, when he was just MF, I started looking for his first set of wheels. I found a cool limited edition trike made by James Perse. I wanted it but there were two problems. One it was probably quite expensive... Two it was sold out.

So I was now on a mission to create a cool bike for Miloh... and all matte black bike.

I realized that the frame of the James Perse trike is actually a Roadster Trike. Then I had my plan. Get a used Scwhinn, strip it, powder coat it and pimp it out for Miloh.

I hopped on Craigslist and found a used trike for $25. It was a bit beat up (chipped paint, a broken pedal, and dented fenders). The fenders were no matter because I was ditching them. The paint didn't matter because I was stripping it. I only needed replacement pedals... I emailed the good folks at Schwinn and they sent me a pair.

Months went by and I did nothing because it was winter. Early spring the build started.

Stage one... Dismantle the trike.

Pieces parts.
Next step was stripping the parts I'd have powder coated. I decided on powder coating because it's cheaper than painting. Plus I think it feels and looks cooler. And the rumor is it's more environmentally friendly.

Naked but safe for work.
Then off to the powder coater. I went with a matte black that had a little bit of a metallic to it. I also picked the color I will do my bicycle this winter... A baby blue.

I should have taken all of these the same way.
Then came time for the wheels. The wheels were my white whale. I originally wanted to go all black but then I found some kick ass grips that were black with neon green stars. So I chose to paint the wheels neon green.

One thing you should know about neon spray paints is they suck... They're watery so that became a bit of a pain in my ass, too many coats.

I put the wheels in my super professional spray paint booth (after they were sanded down). If you don't have something professional like I do I guess you can slum it by hastily taping some foam core and paper to your garage wall and hanging the wheels from bent hangers off your bike rack.

Super professional painting booth.
A few coats of primer and then I was ready for the 3000 coats of green. Let's pretend I got a photo of them greened up. I actually did get one. Then came the clear coat.

Ok... here's how the grips went down. I said the wheels were my white whale. That was a lie. It was the combo of the grips and the wheels. The grips I wanted to use were All-City BMX Star Grips in green. But the problem is there were too big. They went past the curve on the handlebar.

I searched for other cool grips but found none. That's when I checked out the All-City Stars Track Grips in green. They were also long but longer than the BMX ones. Plus the lack of raised thumb edge made them look cool.

I actually ordered them straight from All City. The green was different from the BMX grip's green and I wanted them to match the wheels so I had to find another option.

I got the Star Track grips in all black. And damn they look sweet.

Then it was time to assemble the trike. That was easy. I should mention the trike has a wood piece on the back. I used some cheapo black rub on wood stain. It actually looked nice after a couple coats of clear coat.

Next step was show it to Miloh. It was cute... He came running to it.

Actually he came running to my camera... He loves cameras.

But I got some great smiles so it was all worth it.

Big smile
Halfway through the build I learned that kids Miloh's age/size are too small for this kind of trike. I'll push him on it for a bit until he can reach the pedals.

I have two things I want to do. One is make a seat cover. I get the physics of how to make one so I'm going to try... But if it doesn't work I'm cool with the seat.

Also I have to name the trike and then paint the name on the wood, in green to add some more of that color back. I'm thinking of either doing a really ornamental MF or calling it Emeff or maybe smonk.

And then I'm going to contact the good people at Schwinn and see if they could help me with the wheel situation. The wheels have some plastic axles in them. I was afraid I would break them if I tried to get them out so that's why I had to paint them instead of powder coat (and there was a kick ass green color in the powder coating place).

So if the awesome folks at Schwinn can hook me up with new, unassembled wheels, or even just the plastic pieces and ball bearings I'll get them done up. But for now the green is good. It might chip but paint is cheap.

Here is the cost breakdown:
Trike – $25
Powder Coating – $90
2 cans of spray paint – about $11
Can of clear coat - about $6
Grips – $15 (not including the pair I had too cut off because a mod to lengthen the handlebars didn't work)
And some various supplies like paint stripper, sand paper, scrapers and such. – $20-ish.

So now Miloh has a one of-a-kind kick ass bike for a reasonable $167... about double the price of a Schwinn off the rack... And totally worth it.

And if you like this, liked hearing me tweet about it or talk about it at work, don't fret. I have some other projects coming up.

And last I should mention in my hunt I found the coolest trike. It's custom made by a guy who makes bicycles and is rumored to be worth $10,000 just a bit more than I'd like to pay for a kid's trike. Check it here.

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...