my morning with simon

a funny thing happened to me on the way into work this morning…

i’ve just parked me car at the specncer parking lot & was making my way down the foggy damp hill to the southbound buspad as i have done countless times before. upon entering the tunnel under 101, i hear the familiar sound of a porsche downshifting fromwhatever into 2nd as it too enters the tunnel approaching southbound 101. ask kevin, we’ve discussed this: there is something signature in the way a porsche sounds, a higher-pitch, an almost straining under the weight of a powerful engine. this time however, the rev’s keep dying down as the car enters the tunnel behind me & all of a sudden ends up pulling over right next to me as i’m walking.

“Financial District?” comes the thick british accent from the drivers seat. Its funny, but in that split second before i trull ybegin to process this question, i’m thinking that this bloke isnt going to be avoiding toll with just 2 passengers. but then, i forget that as he unlocks the door & i hop in. and then it all happens so quick. oh dear jebuz it was all so quick.

I’m reaching for the seatbelt, but am having trouble contorting my new weight to reach it with me right hand. However, it makes no difference anyway because our driver has already thrown the wee carerra around the curving on-ramp at-speed. As you may or may not know, seatbelt retentioners lock when their vehicle is so much as a few degress off of center. tug as i might, i cant get he belt to give as my new friends buggy really stretches her legs now that we’re on 101 proper. by the time the car finally rights itself & i am offered the belt, we are clearly breaking federal & state vehicular speed laws. it was pure luck that the volume of traffic from spencer all the way down to the GGB entrance was populated with other cars poking along at 70. For without them, there would be nothing to bob & weave around as the car, still, continues to gain speed, and as our hero effortlessly leans on the gearbox up to 5th. perhaps egged-on, for i swear i heard my voice say: ‘FUCK YEA’ & ‘GO FASTER’, no doubt controlled by the evil spirits deep within me.

the sound of a porsche as heard from the sidewalk is something unique. however, the sound of being right in the cab, right in-front of the engine pushing you is quite another. there is no economy of gears with these cars. there is only the methods of driving & roads there-upon that will allow you to keep things hovering just south of redline.

as all of southbound 101 must, we pass the smokey on the right shoulder, and had to retard the speed down to hominid levels. in the above span of road, he’s introduced himself as ‘simon’ from the UK, that he’s in commercial real-estate, and that he hopes the driving hasnt ‘startled’ me. with OASIS blaring on the CD, and the forced-calm of GGB traffic, we proceed to have a pleasant conversation. until the toll plaza that is. for once again, our hero simon bitchslaps the gears up thru their revs. 2-seconds in first followed by 2-seconds in second only to plane-out in third at 70 or 80MPH with the engine literally screaming behind us. I can literally feel the weight of my groin creeping up into my stomache, much in the way a rollercoaster. The road stretching from 19th ave split to the Exploratorium curve took no less then 10 seconds with the amber-coloured guage pointing between 85 & 90. Think about that. All the while we’re having this perfunctory conversation about credit card interest rates or the bleak future of web-testing.

And thats the way the rest of the drive played. Stabbing it at green-lights, continuous accelerations in 2nd & 3rd, & hard gear-assisted breaking all other times. Driving as if auditioning for a remake to BULLIT. And NOT ONCE does the converation ever refer to the driving, or the horse, or the speed with which we’ve just made it from Spencer in Sausalito to the corner of Sansome & Broadway during morning rush-hour. Roughly 12 minutes.

By far the funnest drive into work i’ve had in a long time. Had to share…

Carry on…

(Originally Posted: 2003_0903)

babies beget baggage

its a scenario thats been played out for us time & time again. perhaps you’ve been on the business-end of it, or simply chuckled along with Bill Cosby’s stand-up bit of the same. but it seems that without fail, there is an extremely disgruntled infant on almost every air flight i’ve ever taken. be it the friday afternoon departure, or the sunday afternoon hung-over return-trip. some poor parent or pair thereof dealing with an infant wailing & screaming & bitching. this was the genre i subscribed to the scene prior to fatherhood. fatherhood changes everything. unfortuneately, no one can be TOLD what fatherhood is; they have to be SHOWN. and as such, having our lil dood come with us on everything anna & i do is not unlike experiencing everything for the first time, all over again.

as with most pre-parents, a screaming baby is simply an audible nuisance. a thing most likely caused by, and thus to be dealt with & stopped by the parent. not once did i don the hat of compassion & think about just what it was causing the kids discomfort. and now square on the other side of the fence, i have such a massive wealth of overpouring respect for the parents i scorned prior to Jude.

babies beget baggage. think of what you alone take onto a flight, not including the bags you lug to the ticketing agent where you (hopefully) check them. so you got your carry-on, great. now, add to that the stroller, the diaper bag, and the general baby-gear bag. oh yea, and the lil dood himself. you’ve just negotiated the gauntlet of getting in & out of the car that got you to the curb. you’ve dealt with the queue at the ticketing counter. now you’re progressing en masse thru the metal detectors with gear & baby, all the while racking up points for patience in an arizona airport in august. Jude was a ‘beeping baby’ so the 2 of us are directed to the second-stage station where both our asses are wanded up & down. then like effluent from a drain, we 3 re-group & re-dress & re-pack out entourage & progress the rest of the 3/4 mile to the gate.

but ooooh, here’s where things get better for a spell. we’re now in the elusive PRE-BOARD group, temproarily spared from the filth & bile & competitive peasants on the open-seating groups A, B, & C. but this blithe ends soon thereafter as we’re hearded down the gangplank where we’ve got to split duties, and fast. i take Jude + diaper bag + single carry-on into the airbus & quickly locate a clutch of 3 seats together. meanwhile, anna collapses the stroller & deals with the ever-effervescent SouthWest flightcrew in their attempts to hand-check the stroller for the duration of the flight. she then re-joins the herd round about, oh, i’d say the 3rd boarding group to file in-turn onto the plane & find Jude & I fiercely guarding our 3 seats from the godless heathons of a full-flight. of course, we cannot be allowed to hold this 3rd seat for the lil dood, so he’ll spend the entire jaunt on my lap.


here is where physics & presure & eustachian tubes come into play. as they pressurise that tube, the wee little eardrums of our hero get pummeled. each atmospheric incline the bus reaches, the level of pressurisation jumps accordingly. this is why we adults have to equalise our own eardrums multiple times per ascent & descent. but Jude cannot do this. he can barely even coo on cue let alone plug a nose. herein lies what must be the root cause of most if not all grumpy babies on an airflight. their wee ears are getting the works, and they’re just reacting to this. and those with even simple nasal gunk may be dealing with the dreaded sinus squeeze. so the long & short here is that any parent of any stage of development will have by now surely offered the best advice to combat this: have the lil dood eating/drinking during take-off & landing. We all know swallowing has a direct effect on our eustachian tubes.

Keep in-mind that the entire ordeal only outlined above is greuling enough, as is, under the best of conditions. those conditions being the low-grade hangovers of Mr & Mrs Parent. But thats another story for another time. But the whole thing would be made worse by lugging around a fussy baby. our first experience with flying the lil dood was just the opposite. like almost everything else with the kid, he just observes things. no peaks. no valleys.

once again, we go into an experience that is wrought with cliches & hazards for the parent of an infant. high on the list of gruesome would surely be for hungover parents to fly with an 8-week old. but we instead dealt with smiles, a hearty appetite, and an overwelming sense of curiosity as Jude was Bjorned thru the dozens of hoops that represent air-travel in the heat of arizona august.

(Originally Posted: 2003_0804)

ungodly sleeping habits

Oh sure we had read the grizzly books & heard the horror stories regarding how mythical parental control over the lil doods sleep-wake cycles. We had thrust upon us all sorts of texts describing ways to get your child on a sleep schedule, or ones specific to baby diets, and even one on how avoid what we were horrified to learn as the barbaric yet commonly practiced “cry to sleep” method [dont even get me started].

Oh sure we had read the grizzly books & heard the horror stories regarding how mythical parental control over the lil doods sleep-wake cycles. We had thrust upon us all sorts of texts describing ways to get your child on a sleep schedule, or ones specific to baby diets, and even one on how avoid what we were horrified to learn as the barbaric yet commonly practiced “cry to sleep” method [dont even get me started].

But it is an understatement to say that anna & i lacked a plan for establishing good sleep cycles. in short, our plan consisted of pumping the lil dood so fulla boob & formula that he’d pass the hell out never so much as stirring until noon the following friday. This method is solid gold, yo.

A bit rocky at first given how we struggled with exactly where his food supply was coming from. As well, the fact that he was sleeping right inbetween us & as such, every wee grumble or stir snapped one or both of us into some reverse feeding frenzy or another.

But right about the time his bed transitioned from between-the-pillows in mom & dads room to in-the-crib in his own room, right about this event his sleep cycles shot up & up & up. What began as every 3 hours at time at 4 weeks old, has now risen to 6-7 hours thru the night at 7 weeks old.

There were a few sleepless 1st nights using the monitor, where i’d hear nothing & therefore have to go in there & make sure the lil dood wasnt blue. There were other rocky mornings where he;s get up at 5 and be blazing to go for the day. But in general, he goes down around 10-11pm and sleeps all the way thru to early-early morning.

Night after night he snores 4-lanes-wide striaght thru mom & dads 2am shift-change. Anna has been instrumental here. No longer to grunts & groans qualify for heating-up a bottle. We would assume these sounds were proof of oncoming consciosness, thus pick him up & begin feeding. When in fact they are now clearly just sleep-sounds of a vocal monster baby. It now takes a full-on concussive cry in order to be sure he’s awake, but usually long before that.


Dear Sir,

My son, let’s call him…oh I don’t know…Austin, is not a fan of sleeping through the night. My wife and I, let’s call her Liz for sake of argument, have started to let him cry. Instead of crying himself to sleep, he seems to enjoy crying. I’ve gone so long as to let him cry for 45 min. When I finally break down and go in to put the binky in his mouth (which is the reason he is crying 99.99% of the time) he ususally just looks at me and smiles. One of those big happy smiles only with tired puffy. eyes. Then he quickly rolls over and goes to sleep. I guess my question is, is this kid messing with me or what?

Yours Truelly
Let’s say my name is..oh I don’t know….Warren
Posted by: Warren at July 29, 2003 04:51 PM

(Originally Posted: 2003_0722)