Sith Lord Throws the Horns

I am very proud of my one month year-old daughter.


Obligatory End-of-Lost Blog Post

So long, Ben.

It's been a long haul. B and I have watched all six seasons of Lost since its inception. We started a little way into the first season and stuck with it all the way through, including the stupid and awful third season. Sunday was the finale, during which they finally killed the stupid smoke monster, various people got off the island, and everything ended on a reassuringly confusing note. I guess...the alternate time-stream thing was actually the pan-denominational afterlife?* But they really had been on a magic island together, maybe up until the nuclear blast at the end of last season? I dunno.

The thing that kind of pissed me off was that, of the various questions they did answer (the whispers were dead people!!!), they did not, in fact, explain what the fucking island was. One of the earliest theories floating around the internet was that it was a kind of purgatory, that everyone died in the initial plane crash and they were all working through their respective sins. That theory seemed to be debunked, but there was clearly some kind of already-dead shenanigans going down.

Anyway. It's a relief. I find watching shows like Lost to be pretty stressful. Interesting and fun, hopefully, but tiring. One of the reasons I love True Blood so much is that it's just 100% pure uncomplicated good times, while most other "really good" shows (i.e. Mad Men) make me very nervous while I'm watching them.

I am very happy to never have to watch Sawyer and Jack argue ever again.

Ben and Desmond were the best characters.

* The cheeseball "all religions are the same" stained glass window thing at the very end: groan.

P.S. Here's a decent attempt at a big explain-it-all write-up.


Babies as Fashion Accessories

She wants to rock.

The baby croc has been throwing us a few curveballs lately; where she had been sleeping all night, waking up for feedings then happily returning to bed, she has now decided that sometimes she'd rather scream for three hours in the middle of the night. These things happen.

That noted, I wanted to talk about a different baby-related phenomenon than banal old sleep deprivation. On my return from France back in January of 2009, I called attention to the fact that the French are wonderful about ignoring each other in public, a skill Americans really need to work on. American men invariably stare each other down as they walk / drive / bike past, a stupid and pointless behavior pattern that is a leading cause of kungfuramones hating Santa Cruz.

BUT, with a BABY, this doesn't happen to me any more!

It turns out that if you have a baby in public, you vanish! I mean, middle-aged women walk up and coo and ask questions, but dudes just glance and then get kind of confused and embarrassed and promptly ignore you. I think it's because no man with a baby can possibly be looking to engage in a manly contest with other men; he is clearly preoccupied with transportating a tiny, harmless and helpless creature and has no time for fisticuffs, drinking tequila, or world's strongest man competitions. For dudes like me who have no time for so-called mad-dogging, this is awesome.


Creedence and Rite Aid

These guys all work at Rite Aid now.

On my lengthy list of things I hate about SC, the ridiculous cost of living ranks near the top (I may have mentioned this a few hundred times already.) It was with great joy that I discovered, after an embarrassingly long time living here, that Rite Aid is the only place in town that sells drug store stuff at a reasonable price (as opposed to the execrable CVS.) I was so happy with this discovery that I didn't even fuss about getting another stupid in-store card to further clog up my wallet.

What I love about Rite Aid isn't limited to the prices, however. I love its cavernous ceilings, its crappy, never-been-refurbished ambiance, its weird old employees. It reminds me of my favorite bizarre hardware store in Oregon, Bi-Mart, and of the generalized run-down funkiness of the Oregon Coast. It's like an oasis from the development-driven horseshit that has proven to be the ruin of California, an improbable pocket of sanity in a completely crazy town.

And then there's Creedence. Everyone likes Creedence. Everyone. If you hear "Run Through the Jungle" or "Fortunate Son," you love it. I have this mp3 mix I listen to while I'm out running errands, which is mostly stoner rock and punk and what not (Clutch, Black Label Society, The Briefs, etc.), but I put a few Creedence songs on there just to spice things up. So far, three times in a row, the stars have aligned as I pull into the Rite Aid parking lot and a Creedence song happens to come up on the shuffle. It's one of those lovely moments of serendipity, freedom rock at a run-down drug store, that temporarily mutes my misanthropy.



  1. Item! I'm pretty puzzled about my future. I have the support of a well-placed academic with connections to some publishing situations. He would like to see some of my stuff on Gorz get published. The thing is, in one month I will no longer be an academic; I'll be an unemployed guy with a PhD looking for part-time teaching jobs. I won't have the kind of institutional support necessary for researching and writing (i.e. libraries, time.) It's a weird position to be in.
  2. Item! I'm casting a wide net, gathering anecdotal information about how to feed babies. So far, all but one of my friends with small kids had to either supplement breast milk with formula or formula feed exclusively (for various reasons.) There is this stark divide between the whole lactation consultant / baby book axis and the actual lived experience of real people.
  3. Item! Along those lines, we can't find specific information anywhere about how to properly supplement with formula when you're ALSO breastfeeding. There is a ton of data out there about one or the other, but not the combination. At the same time, there is also a ton of evidence (online) that thousands of people do this, not just us. So: WTF.
  4. Item! B is healing from her surgery really fast and we get to go on walks. Plan C likes to snooze in her baby carrier thing I wear. It's fun.
  5. Item! I'm actually pretty excited to teach this summer. Having a year off from teaching helps.


Further Adventures in Gender Parity

It's been pretty straightforward in the 10+ years B and I have been together (including the almost 8 we've been married.)* We split things 50/50 and try to be fair. She does half the working, I do half the cooking and cleaning. We have some exceptions - I do 100% of the dishes (well, actually, maybe 90%) and she does stuff I can't be bothered with like dusting. I clean the bathroom. She cleans the kitchen. Etc. I've spent six years gainfully semi-employed as a graduate student, teaching and bringing in grants as I can, while she's been gainfully half-employed as a university staff member, spending the other half of her time working on her beasties. We've been broke as a couple of jokes but rich in those ineffable things like time, sleep, and cheap alcohol.**

With Plan C (latest nickname: Squirmbot 2000) in the house, it's been interesting. We're still splitting things 50/50 as much as we can: B has the boobs, I run the supplemental formula feedings, she ends up on soothing duty a little more, I go on all the grocery runs, we split diaper duty. The thing is, I can't believe anyone can do this if they had, you know, REAL JOBS. If I had to "go back to work" it would be a complete bloody disaster. You really can't do anything else when you're baby-minding; even if you're not actually feeding them at that exact moment, you have to be really vigilant. Furthermore, Squirmbot is already at the point that she knows when people aren't paying attention to her. I have her on my arm right now, trying to write this blog post, and every time I spend more than about four seconds looking at the monitor, she starts complaining. Vocally.

My point? Ultimately, it reminds me again of the historicity of the nuclear family. You could only pull off the "mom, dad, baby, dad works, mom baby-minds" thing if you had hired help. It makes a huge amount of sense to me that family units were extended for almost all of history; you need those other people, the traditionally female core (and, I suppose, corps) of "reproductive labor" like aunts, mothers, mothers-in-law, etc., to make this process viable without the mother diving off the nearest cliff after two weeks.

I have never been more happy to be able to be home than I am right now; we need a 50/50 split of domestic labor right now. This isn't our ongoing feminist trip, this is just survival.

* Not to shamelessly brag or anything. Not to toot my own marital horn.
** Cheap alcohol IS SO "ineffable." Back off.


Suck You Weren't Warned About

I've long marveled at the fact that everyone is warned about adolescence, about the humiliation, the zits, the uncontrollable urges, but no one is warned about, say, your twenties, which suck at least as much, albeit in a completely different way. There are a lot of things like that out there, suck things that a lot of people experience but aren't warned about.
  1. The initial period after having a baby is REALLY HARD, you guys, but not for the reasons you'd expect. The poop and the sleep dep and the screaming are not big deals, but keeping the kid alive and healthy IS. Things just don't work and other things are very expensive.
  2. Again, your twenties. What a rough decade that is. You're supposed to be well on your way to serious adulthood, but you have no prospects, no skills, and you're still kind of an idiot. It was hard enough for me starting that nonsense around 2000; good luck to those poor little bastards starting off now. Can you say "nothing on your resume, ever"?
  3. You get old really abruptly, then your blood pressure gets really high and your hair falls out.
  4. You never get a chance to take college seriously after you blow it by doing keg stands for four years.
I know there are more things like this, but now that I bring it up, I'm drawing a blank. I get a "stupid blog post" pass, though, because I have an eight-day old baby. So there.

With love,


All I Got Is Another List

  1. Dang dang DANG it but my upper lip is chapped and the skin on my face is dry! MY but that maternity center had some dry air up in it!
  2. This may be news to lactation consultants, but it's counter-productive to harass new parents by phone about their baby's eating habits. It just stresses them the fuck out.
  3. Our friends are wonderful people. We have ever so much amazing food in our fridge right now.
  4. Oh yeah, I turned in my dissertation. I forgot one of the many forms, but my homie K is going to bring it up to campus for me tomorrow.
  5. Still no future prospects. But at least my summer classes are chock full o' undergrads! That's money in the BANK!
  6. On that note, it's tricky to know if I should be looking for actual history prof jobs still or switch gears and get my resume and what-have-you together for the very-likely triumphant return to PDX.
  7. My baby is so cute. She looks a lot like B. Those two statements taken together are a tautology.
  8. I'm making a baby-friendly mix of tunes for my iPod. I like to sing Magnetic Fields songs to her.
  9. Latest nickname for Plan C: Squirm-Bot.
P.S. This one's for the rioting morons of SC:


Plan C

We're referring to the Baby Croc as "Plan C" now, as well. Here's why:

We'd originally hoped to have a natural birth. We took birthing classes through the maternity center and learned all kinds of fascinating things about the insanity of head size vs. pelvis size, breathing techniques, etc. Then, 36 weeks into the pregnancy (pregnancies go to 40 weeks), we found out that Plan C was VERY breached. The traditional breach is when a baby is head-up in the uterus instead of head-down; Plan C was in this crazy made-up position jamming her head into B's side, with her back arched against B's ribcage.

We tried a few different interventions to get her to turn, including acupuncture (which, statistically, does work in a lot of cases) and an external version, in which a doctor pushed and shoved on Plan C while B gritted her teeth and proved once again that she has the highest pain tolerance in the universe. Nothing worked. So, instead of a natural birth, we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a cesarean.

Long story short, the maternity center was amazing and we had one of the best OB surgeons in the country to do the c-section. Everything went well. One thing that is very difficult with cesarean babies, however, is that their hormone reaction and the hormone reaction of their mothers do not "activate" in the same way as they would with a vaginal birth. It's harder to initiate breast-feeding as a result. B was a champ with it, working with the lactation consultants and nurses and spending the first 24 hours with Baby Croc in skin-to-skin contact, which helps fire up the hormones.

That all said, she just wasn't eating enough. Yesterday, after four days in the hospital, the pediatrician insisted that we start supplementing with formula. We were both ragged and beat-up with sleep dep and stress and it was one of the hardest days either of us have ever had. That said, within a few hours C was responding and started keeping on weight. We were discharged last night and got to come home.

So here we are, home with a baby. She's still struggling to figure out that boobs contain milk, which is good stuff, but we've developed a kind of routine that works (although it takes, like, forever), which we follow up with a nice big shot of formula. She's doing well now, but it's been a bumpy ride. I wanted to write this just to let everyone know where we're at and to give our account of this crazy business of baby-having.

Now I'm going to go stare at her sleeping for a while.