Apprehensive, Much?

I stole this shot off of B's flickr site. There are lots of other cute pics there, too.

In a few days, an old, dear friend is getting married in PDX. Tomorrow morning I'm getting the rental car, we pile in the junk, and then we're off.* We've got about 600 miles to do tomorrow, from here to Eugene, then we're on to Portland the next day.

Crap like this drives me into a fit of seething anxiety. I worry about all the little things that could go wrong, like me being too inept to figure out how to transfer our baby seat to the rental in a timely fashion. We're also, predictably, concerned with how Plan C takes the drive. She likes being in the car, but that's a lot of being in the car. Add in rest-stop breast-feedings and you've got yourself a DAY OF ADVENTURE.

That all said, I am very excited to see lots of my P-town friends in just a few days.

* We're doing the rental to avoid putting more miles on the trusty Geo (A.) and because we need reliable A/C for the drive (B.)


A Kid Who Tells On Another Kid's A Dead Kid...

I just ratted out a hobo trying to steal shopping carts at Trader Joe's. That was the most satisfying thing I've done in about a month.



I finished teaching my first class of the summer this week. K was my "reader," which is the same thing as a TA who gets paid less (thanks to the Nazis who run the UC to the SC summer session). She and I went back and forth on grades over the last 48 hours and, afterward, I realized that I should write down how I generally do it:

A: I love you very much.
B: You did a pretty good job for a dumb college student!
C: You showed up to the party, but you didn't bring much anyone wanted.
D: You suck. But you wrote something down, anyway.
F: You are either a complete idiot or you didn't turn anything in.

That really sums it up. That's how I've rolled for six years now.

P.S. Please, oh please, someone give me a job in Portland...


Grow Up, Idiot

We have a new neighbor, who fits right in on the list.

We call him "Douchebag." He lives in the apartment right next to ours, the one vacated at the end of the school year by the relatively quiet lesbians. Douchebag is about 40 and, like every other male in SC who isn't part of the university, he is a mostly-unemployed contractor.* He is also the loudest talker I've heard in years, one of those guys who can only shout. He stands out on the porch and shouts on his cell phone while he smokes, he has friends over (remember, he's 40) to play Playstation and he shouts, he shouts while he tries to get people to hire him (they don't.)

The thing about Douchebag is that he's a perfect model of male arrested development, totally comparable to Hooker, the female version who lives across the hall. Douchebag never grew up. He still plays hip hop really loud, he punctuates every sentence with the word 'dude', he hocks up phlegm as loudly as he can during his morning smoke. He's what happens when the kind of people who set off fireworks at 2:30am get a little older: they stay the same. All the evidence indicates that it just never occurred to him to try to get his shit together.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Douchey McDouche! If we weren't already planning on moving out in a little over a month, we would be.

* This could be a whole separate blog topic: how every guy in California is a contractor. This is related to the whole "black hole economy, state breaking off into the ocean" phenomenon.


Transportational Facts!

Here are some things to do with transportation that have a direct impact on my life.
  1. It's almost exactly 700 miles from SC to PDX.
  2. Looks like the route involves 17 over to the south bay, over to 680, north for a while, 80 east to 505 (the ring road around Sacramento), then I-5 all the way up. With a three-month old baby in the back.
  3. It costs about 300 bucks to rent a basic 4-door sedan for a week.
  4. It costs about 1000 bucks to rent a 22' truck for a few days.
  5. There are 14 rest stops on I-5N, one of which is closed. Plan C tends to demand changes and food every 3 hours or so.
  6. This is going to be some of the craziest driving shit I have ever tried to pull off.


Less Than or Equal to One Kid

While I was fixing the laptop of a particularly irritating libertarian corporate stooge years ago, the small talk turned to marriage and kids (for some forgotten reason.) I told him "yeah, we might have one at some point." Without hesitation, he forcefully opined "No. Children need siblings. Have at least two."

I've heard this opinion before and since, of course, most recently on a plane when a couple with a little daughter were told, again forcefully, that they had better have another when they told some guy nearby they were just having one. People who would not, presumably, tell you who to marry or what career to pursue or what color shoes to wear think they have the right, even the duty, to tell you that you are a bad, bad person for just having one child.

I was thus very excited to see the new Time Magazine cover story dispelling the one-child myth, i.e., the idea that only children are selfish, maladjusted, lonely, etc. As it turns out, that whole notion was cooked up by some late nineteenth-century "psychologist" (before they had anything like a scientific methodology) and instantly became received wisdom, passed down through the generations. It cross-pollinated with the fact that families used to need lots of kids for work in the fields and/or the fact that 50% of them died young, as well as the whole biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply.

In short, a mish-mash of complete bullshit resulted in the utterly incorrect and baseless belief that only children are inherently disadvantaged. As numerous studies have since shown, only children are smarter, happier, and more "successful," as an aggregate, than kids from larger families.

This issue strikes pretty close to home for me. I have always, always known that if I was going to have a kid, it was going to be just that: one kid. Happily, B had reached the same conclusion without us ever having to talk about it. We want to keep our lives. We want to be able to go through life sharing things with Plan C, not being worried sick that we have nothing to share because we're stretched too thin (emotionally, mentally, temporally, financially) by multiple kids.

The most interesting part of the Time article to me was the fact that almost all parents who have more than one child do so because they think they're supposed to, not because they really "want" to in so many words. It's a classic case of basing important decisions on received wisdom rather than actual independent thought.

Finally, I'll add that the one thing the article doesn't address is the fact that most pregnancies are, of course, still unplanned. The whole issue is kind of moot for most people with multiple kids, because they didn't intend to do anything. Not to get any further up on my high horse here, but that shit still drives me crazy. Birth control. It's simple. It's straightforward. PEOPLE SHOULD USE IT.



B: I noticed that we have some fun stuff coming on our Netflix queue! We've got Anchorman, Youth in Revolt, and The Hangover coming up.
KFR: That reminds me that I was watching clips of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job and there was one with Zach Gala-Fanana-Banana-Kiss where he was a dancer and it was hilarious.
B: Who is that, again?
KFR: He was in The Hangover. He was the fat bearded guy.
B: The guy in Funny People, too?
KFR: No, no, you're thinking of that other fat guy.
B: But wasn't he the same guy? He was in The Hangover.
KFR: No, no, you're getting him confused with that one fat guy. That guy doesn't have a beard.
B: Hmm...
KFR: He was in The Hangover. He played the kind of retarded step-brother guy who gets them all roofied.
B: Oh! Right.
KFR: That other fat guy was in Funny People, not Zach Gala-Fanana-Banana-Kiss.

This has been an attempt to illustrate through an example of what our conversations are like these days. We make sleep deprivation fun!

(for us)

The awesome video in question:


"This Is a Fun Game"

That's a quote from one of our baby books.

You know when you have a (computer) mouse and something's screwed up with it? You move it like you normally would, but the cursor on the screen just jumps around and refuses to obey your will? You have to kind of tap the mouse down and scootch it with more force to get it to work? That's what it's like to be 10 weeks of baby-induced sleep dep. My (iron) will issues commands and my brain and/or body promptly gets them wrong and runs into things.

Other quote: "we can't have nice things." Where did that COME from originally? I know Lisa uses it in the Simpsons, but I wonder what its origins are. I envision a crowd of monkeys around an obelisk, with the Rite of Spring playing, and then one of the monkeys breaks his bone club and says "we can't have nice things."

I bring this up because we can't have nice things. We will never have any money and I will perpetually be semi-employed. We do get to spend a lot more time sitting around giggling than working people do, though. This is a fun game.


Annual Reminder: I Hate the Fourth of July

A cold fog settled over SC all day yesterday, reducing the number of people who came over from San Jose with their cars packed with explosives. Word in the local rag is that the cops had a relatively sane time of things for once.

Regardless, the usual mouth-breathing asshats went to work at 2:30am. For about 45 minutes every minute or so was punctuated with another huge explosion (the so-called "mortar" style fireworks), waking up Plan C with every blast. I can see them in my mind's eye, looking like former members of Limp Bizkit, chortling to themselves as they hit the street in the middle of the night, acting like screaming two year-olds looking for attention.

I hate that people who would fail the food handler's permit test get to buy explosives with impunity. I hate the Fourth of July.


Things Verily Shall I Miss About Santa Cruz

I've seldom failed to complain about SC over the last few years, but now that the end is nigh I find myself making a few spaces of anticipated nostalgia for this dirty little dump. Here are things I like about it and will presumably miss once we're back in PDX:
  1. The otters. It's amazing to be able to walk ten minutes and see real otters doing their otterish things.
  2. The surfers. They're remarkably good at not hitting each other, somehow, and they're fun to watch.
  3. The weather in summertime. Because of the marine layer (that would be the morning fog), it rarely gets much above 75 all summer. Ironically, it's often ridiculously hot and uncomfortable in PDX, in contrast.
  4. UCSC campus. The ewok village of academic radicalism.
  5. The smart and nice locals. They're outnumbered by the menacing dumbasses, but I still appreciate their efforts.
  6. The bus. It's been a while for me (with Plan C here, we drive more), but the SC Metro is really quite a solid bus system.
  7. My homies. Needless to say, I'm going to miss the history kids. Ever since that one guy finished his MA and moved on two years ago, literally none of the history grads are jerks, and I'll miss hanging out with them.


11 Minutes Will Definitively Make You Smarter

I'm dead serious. Watch this presentation / animation by the Marxist economist and geographer David Harvey - which is very entertaining and very interesting, and you will be a lot smarter and better off for it. Seriously. You can spare 11 minutes.


There's No Accounting for Taste

I think I've arrived at a perfect dichotomous example of what it's like to live inside my brain. Please witness the two songs that I'm really into right now, based on recent discoveries of new music:

I think these tunes equal in every way.

P.S. The new Devo album? It's really good! The lyrics are pretty cheeseball, but the music is great. I think I'll devote a separate post to it sometime soon.