Friday 27th August 2010

dad-voice practice

the timing of this entry is fitting, given the topic of my last.

anyway. you GUYS, have you heard the news? of course you have, because it was such a shock to everyone that they couldn't talk about anything else for weeks. remember?

so. i'm a little stressed about the whole thing. big surprise, i know, but listen. the more we do in preparation for the little guy, the more we get thinking about all that's required to keep him alive and functioning (not to mention, to keep us alive and functioning), and i have to say that a couple times i've had to consciously pull myself back from the verge of a panic attack. i've heard the transition from living baby-free to having a baby described as passing through the event horizon of a black hole. (you may understand why i like this analogy.) when you're on the outside, there's no way of knowing what's going on inside, because there is no way allowed by the laws of physics for the information to reach you. you can speculate and hypothesize and extrapolate, but you really just have no idea. and as your lifeless spaceship hurtles inexorably down the gravity well and space-time is torn apart around you, you only then begin to understand.

it disturbs me how something so physically small can have such a huge set of needs. i thought we were this advanced, capable species with large brains, or something? apparently no? elephants can hold their heads up immediately. horses can run the day they're born. baby cthulhu was inducing madness in entire civilizations in his first star-cycle. what's wrong with us?

i find i'm having to change my mind about a lot of stuff, in addition to changing habits. i've done a disservice over the last few years in my joyful mockery of my friends' tribulations with their own children. i'll tell you where i'm coming from. first of all, they'll repay in kind, because they're awesome. secondly, as a result of my actions they'll surely never give us a minute of free babysitting. but most importantly, and seriously, i've made light of what is basically the grandest struggle there is—turning babies into people—in a way that has probably trivialized it in my own mind, or at least my subconscious. i certainly don't mean i think it is trivial, which it certainly is not and i don't mean to say that at all. i'm saying that within my mind i've reduced it to just a source of humor without ever appreciating it or even really trying to appreciate what the experience meant to them. and i'm not sure how to feel about this, because they were living their lives just as i was, we were just at different stages in our respective lives. their lives involved the raising of a child. mine involved acting out my chosen social role, viz. making fun of that. but as i face the bizarre prospect of imminently having a son of my own, i'm seeing it a bit differently. as you might imagine.

you guys, my son is going to be a challenge. he's going to be a stubborn, slippery little trickster, and worst of all, he's going to be really damned intelligent. he will of course be quietly cerebral, and when for this reason he goes hours or days without willingly talking to us we will panic and feel like he's shutting us out of his life. beginning the day he's born i'm going to begin filling his head with nonsense but before long he will figure out my game and realize just how full of shit i am, and from that day forward my wife will love him more than she loves me. he's going to have a sense of humor unintelligible to everyone except himself; in fact he will have vast worlds in his head to which no outsider will have access, robbing us of the ability to understand the greater part of him. he's going to be a prodigy with the ladies, so all the parents at the pta meetings will always be bitter toward me. chelsey will try to turn him into the quarterback for the denver broncos and because she's his favorite (and also just to spite me; ref. comment about being full of shit) he'll actually do it, and because he's so intelligent he'll be really good at it and become a superstar and move to bermuda or wherever and we'll never see him again except in signed pictures his publicist will send us at christmas.

so of course i'm stressed. the hell of it is, though, it's not altogether justified. sure, it will be work, hard work, and plenty of minimal-sleep nights and full diapers and colic and fevers and spit-up on my new shirt, but taking care of all that is just mechanics and actually pretty straightforward. later comes the frustrating part: the inevitable teenage rebellion crap when he'll think no one understands him and blah blah. but even that is basically predictable, and even a little boring—even amusing?—from the perspective of having gone through it myself. ('oh, you've become a nonconformist, how original.') it will seem to him as though the world and everything in it is unfair, and to him it will be for a while, but he'll survive it just as we all do and he'll get to experience the absurdity of the next generation at that age, thinking they're the first ones ever to feel angst.

so where does this leave me? who knows. i often say to my co-conspirator in this matter that i'm afraid, and i suppose i am in a way, though it's not truly fear that i'm feeling, mostly just unease. at the idea that soon, this powerless monster is going to invade and turn my life on its head and demand that i keep it alive, and inexplicably i will appease it. a dear friend of mine once said, 'the secret to parenting is to remember that your goal is to raise capable adults.' i imagine i'll be repeating that to myself rather often over the next twenty years, especially when it's my turn for the nighttime diaper shift.


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Wednesday 24th March 2010

observations, scientific and otherwise

it's been seven hours and fifteen five days since she took her love car away. long enough for me to compile an ordered list, of things, just in time for her to come home to.

  1. she claims the covers end up on my side of the bed in the morning because i pull them that way in the night. i claim it's because she rolls exclusively to her left (toward me) all night, converting her own rotational energy into linear motion of the covers. in these last five nights that i've had the bed to myself, the comforter has mysteriously remained perfectly centered, without having to pull the frakking thing four feet back over to her side every morning.
  2. by the narrow definition of the word, i have no actual proof that fast food eaten in a girl's presence tastes better than fast food eaten not in a girl's presence, but i have some anecdotal evidence to that effect.
  3. sometimes, fast food eaten not in a girl's presence does not taste as good as fast food not eaten.

    by the way. 'froots?' i seem to have a vague memory of these 'froots,' and their odd-sounding cousins the 'vej tubbles.' will you please tell me more?

  4. the freedom to leave the seat up is a pretty minor one. i cite the fact it's a well established habit for me to put it down each time, cover and all; leaving it up requires conscious effort and just leaves me acutely aware of the act's underlying emptiness.
  5. bulldog kisses are a damn poor substitute for wife kisses.
  6. pulling on yesterday's socks is way easier than going downstairs and collecting the clean laundry.
  7. cynical schadenfreude is most satisfying when it has the opportunity to annoy someone.
  8. measured in terms of wakefulness, appetite, and leg-jumps per hour, the dog is less happy when chelsey is gone.
  9. measured in terms of wakefulness, appetite, and leg-jumps per hour, the boy is less happy when chelsey is gone.




girls, you just don't know the power you have over boys. if you do know it then you are evil geniuses. evil, pretty geniuses. we just don't stand a chance.


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Sunday 25th October 2009

my ill-informed wheel of time predictions

[pre-script: predictions are not spoilers, unless they turn out to be right. so, quasi-spoiler maybe-warning?]

so i'm rereading the wheel of time series in rabid, salivating anticipation of the release of book the twelfth. some things are falling into place and my overactive imagination is reeling with the possibilities, the most interesting of which i shall detail for you:

  • verin, you perfect enigma—my explanation for her bizarre behavior is that she has visited the twisted door ter'angreal in tear (fitting for her being brown ajah), and gotten some clue for victory from the aelfinn, and she's working to bring it about; since she's the only one with the answer, her behavior appears to the reader to be secretive or self-serving or contradictory. she's good, just sneaky and duplicitous out of necessity. also, she is (as far as we know) the only one who knows where the horn of valere is (anyone remember the horn?), which may be the root cause of this. the saying it's time to roll the dice, which she got from her father and which mat uses extensively, is what got me thinking on this path.
  • elayne will be at the center of a big cease-fire between the seanchan, the borderlands, and the aiel (rand's answer from the aelfinn). this is the explanation of elaida's foretelling that the royal line of andor will be the key to victory in the last battle.
  • siuan will feel the distinctive tingling that signifies moiraine's channeling—that's how she will learn that mat and gang have freed her from the tower of ghenjei. this latter will happen very soon (the story line will begin in book 12, i'm certain), though how soon siuan and moiraine hook up, who knows.
  • also related to moiraine's return: she gives thom the names of the aes sedai who gentled his nephew owyn, and one of them will be elaida. thom has a rich history of offing leaders who affront him in some way (taringail and galldrian), so it isn't difficult to see where this one is going. the 'one small thing' moiraine knows about her future is that she and thom eventually marry—they will at the series' end, i think. they have a son and name him owyn.
  • slayer kills nynaeve in tel'aran'rhiod, and in an attempt to avenge her, lan fights and is also killed by slayer. either lan kills slayer also, or perrin does later.
  • rand dies (everyone sees it coming), but it won't be exactly death the way we all think of it. it'll happen at shayol ghul fighting padan fain, and they'll kill each other, and i like three scenarios for rand's not-quite-death:

    1. he hangs out a while in tel'aran'rhiod, either because he has become bound to the horn, or by some other egwene/elayne/nynaeve dreamwalking voodoo. he's called back later when mat sounds the horn.

    2. he actually dies, and in this option, it's true physical death. death as the aelfinn see it might be fundamentally different; living in the 'to live, you must die' sense might mean his thread in the pattern still exists, and will later be reborn (just as he is lews therin reborn); or he's healed by nynaeve and everyone is shocked because omg.

    3. there's an interesting theme of threes with rand's character—his actions fall into distinct 'categories' of rand al'thor, lews therin, and 'the dragon' persona—corresponding respectively to the naive shepherd, the formidable madman, and the balanced one rand needs to be. in this one, somehow just the rand al'thor and the lews therin partitions of rand's existence die, but the part called the dragon survives long enough to travel to tar valon (recall the funeral bier viewing) to be healed and sent back into the fray. also: if this is what happens, min and aviendha will also die (they correspond to the rand and lews therin slices respectively)

    i'm currently thinking #3 is closest to how it'll be, but i'm really shooting in the dark here.

  • fain is bad. also, i think some of the forsaken may be loose.

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Wednesday 1st July 2009

right, 'manly'

this weekend the mates and i will be living off the land out of the trunk of a car, eating the food we caught bought ourselves, wearing clothes made of rawhide stitched by hand made in china.

happy anniversary of the start of a war! eighteenth century britain can suck it.


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Wednesday 24th June 2009

compromise

what did the iphone cost me? oh, not much. just some dollars, and the chin-scarf i got in greece. i could tell the wife wanted to do a little happy-dance around the ashes of my departed facial locks but bless her, she restrained herself.

[aside]


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Thursday 11th June 2009

what i learned in that place where i went

we say things like it's a small world without feeling their full meaning.

the world is small only in comparison with such things as the rest of the galaxy, which is itself only small in comparison with such things as the local supercluster. we're to the point in our development as a thinking species where we can observe objects that emitted some bits of light near the beginning of the universe, and the light is only now reaching us. and light is fast, dig? if my calculations are correct it takes light approximately one year to go one light-year; do you know how long it would take you, even taking the entire journey at the fastest speed any human has ever gone? beyond the scope of supercluster one could take two, maybe three meaningful (however gargantuan) steps up, and half a dozen or more on the way down. we live near the bottom, and on the scale to which we are accustomed, the world is pointedly—almost arrogantly—large.

thank you for following so far; it's important you understand where i'm coming from if you're to understand where i'm going. it's a matter of using the appropriate scale. though it's not saying much, the difference between (1) the immensity and permanence of the rock we're all floating on and (2) my own unimportance and brevity is more than the meat between my ears can process. and yet it is precisely this difference that made each bite of greek food, each sight of stacked ancient marble, each step taken on age-worn stone, each smile on the face of the girl i love—all so small when taken individually—so large when viewed through the lens of what i'm used to.

this is what i learned: we're each so small, and each so temporary, but because of this each moment and every inch we have just becomes that much more meaningful. where we are, everything matters except you. you are exactly as self-important as you think you are; it is just your scale that is wrong.

i'm sorry, what was your question? … 'how was greece?'

pretty frakking swell.


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Thursday 28th May 2009

blog bless the greeks

let this serve as an opening bookend to what will inevitably be several posts about the effing greece trip.

it is time for an unordered noun list.

  • greek food!
  • greek food. i mean, seriously
  • ouzo?!
  • inbred kittehs
  • long hikes and almost-sunburns
  • siestas
  • ingenious monks
  • culture, and history and stuff
  • a healthy dose of perspective

ahem. w.r.t. this last. the world is enormous, beautiful, and full of everything. i just can't even begin to explain the immensity of what i feel. it's like this: take the biggest deepest breath you can, force the air in till your lungs hurt from it, and then in your utter engorgement imagine how much air there is left in the sky. the most you can contain is nearly enough to rupture you, and yet is absolutely nothing.

more soon.


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