Saturday, May 29, 2010

My New Mac

I recently got a new computer at work.  It is a MacBook Pro and I am running windows 7 on a Bootcamp partition.  The great thing about the new lines of Macs is that you can run Windows on it if you really need to so you are getting 2 computers for the price of one (plus the cost of the Windows operating system).

I received my computer and was amazed at how easy it was to get up and running in the Windows operating system.  Bootcamp simply asks you how large you would like to partition your drive, asks you to insert the Windows install disk and the rest is just like setting up a new PC.  The only additional step is to insert the Mac OS disk when prompted so it can install of the drivers that you need to use the Mac hardware. From there you just use your computer(s) as normal holding down the "option" key during startup so you can choose if you want to boot as a Mac or PC.

This is also the first time I am using Windows 7.  I jumped straight from xp to 7 and I couldn't be happier.  It is faster, more stable and once you get used to the look and feel, it is much more easy to use.

I haven't come across any problems using Windows on my Mac or using Windows 7 but I have only been using it for a few days.  I will keep you posted on any problems or glitches I run into but so far (knock on wood) I couldn't be happier.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lost - Unanswered Questions

My sister in-law found this video on line and posted it on her Facebook page.  I think it does a great job asking all the questions I would like to ask about Lost (if I had more time).  Funny because it’s true.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lost Finale

We were finally able to watch the last episode of Lost and I feel pretty much the same way I do about every other episode; I have a theory about what I think happened but I really might as well been watching a show in a different language. 

My silly joke of a theory was not that far off from what I think happened.

SPOILER ALERT for those that haven't seen it yet.

So, from what I can guess Jack was in that bamboo forest for all six seasons, dying.  He met all the characters that were at his funeral with him at some point in his life. His dad obviously, Desmond running at the stadium. Maybe Juliet really was a dr. at the hospital he worked at. The rest of them maybe he saw at the airport or on the plane before it crashed.

Jack needed to come with terms with the fact that he was dying. His father's body being lost was a way to delay his coming to terms with his own death. The conflicts between the smoke monster and Jacob, the Others and the survivors, and the whole Whitmore situation were all made up in Jack's mind.

This explains all the things that don't make sense in the show: crazy magnetism, time travel, moving the island, seeing dead people, why Kate likes Sawyer, etc. 

I had mixed feelings about the show from the very beginning. As soon as that polar bear ran out in the first episode I thought the show was a little stupid. It got sillier, stranger, cheesier, and more far fetched with each episode but I couldn't miss a minute. I was hooked along with everyone else.

Part of me wants to go back and watch every episode again to catch all things I missed because I "didn't know what I know now" the first time through, which I don't think is very much.

I don't think I will do that. I will move on. Wait for the next season of Mad Men to start. I can't wait to see what happens next. I love the way they ended the last season and I am ready to go. Bring on Don Draper.  Goodbye The Island.          

Art Work By A

Earlier this week was A's art show and it was awesome. The art work by A and her baby friends was great. My favorite of A's was the blue day. The picture of her making the art are photos of photos that were hanging on the walls along with the art and are also great. I just love to see that smile.

The kids in the older rooms had art that was inspired by famous paintings and were displayed along side prints of the inspiring works. I enjoyed seeing how each child's painting varied so much even though they were inspired by the same paintings.

I hope we will be doing some paintings with A at home soon as she seemed to be enjoying the process. We haven't done anything like painting with her yet so it will be an expierience for sure.

I hope you enjoy these photos.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tour of a Sorting Facility

Today I got an IM from a colleague that is on vacation right now.  I thought for sure she was contacting me about work but actually wanted to know if I would like to join her on a tour of a recyclables sorting facility on next Tuesday.  I am very excited about this as I have always been curious about how this works and I already have a some questions  for them.  

I will see if I can get some photos or videos and post them next week sometime.  

I will try to find out the following but if you have questions that you want answered please leave a comment before next monday and I will try to get it answered.

1) What happens to materials that are in the stream but not recyclable?
2) What happens if you don't rinse food containers properly?
3) How do they separate the plastic number 1 from the number 7's.  
4) Why are some materials not recyclable in some towns?
5) Are the materials recycled in the US, Locally, or are they shipped off to other countries to be turned in to new products?
6) How much energy does it take to recycle something and is it really less energy than making one from scratch?
7) Does everything that comes in to the facility get recycled or does it depend on demand for the raw materials, how much comes in or other factors?

I am sure I will come up with more questions as the week goes on and will post a final list of questions next weekend that will contain my final list with any questions you leave in the comments.

More to come.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A's First Art Show

Two weeks ago the childcare center that A goes to had a color theme week.  Each day the children and babies dressed in the color of the day.  There was red, green, orange, blue and purple.  The older kids also studied art work from famous artist and then made creations of their own in the style of the famous artists.  The babies participated in making art as well and tomorrow evening there is an art show displaying all of the children's art.

So far the only art we have that A "made" is a valentine's day card that was also made at childcare and contains her foot prints so this should be very fun to see.

Pictures of A's art will be up soon.

I don't think I have been this excited to go to show in a really long time.

I'm Back

I'm back. I took the last few days off from the blog because my daughter and wife both has a stomach bug. On Sunday afternoon we decide to get away from the germs and get outside.   We went to a park and put A in the swing. Great photos and a video will be up tonight or tomorrow. 
A has gotten back to her old sleep habits, waking up 3 or 4 times a night so our plans to watch the begining of Lost and finish the rest tonight got put on hold when A woke up at 9:10. We will have to try to watch the whole thing tonight. The goal of the day will be to avoid finding out what happened. I have a theory: the last scene will be of the island from above, the camera will pan out showing the ocean and then the globe. It will continue to pan out until you see the universe. The camera will then come to focus on a young boy holding a snow globe. That's right. Lost was a figment of a little boys imagination, all played out in that snow globe. Just like the tv show Dallas. Ok, I don't really think that is how it ended but that would be funny. 
More real posts to come soon.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'A' Sitting and Playing

Here is a video (actually a bunch of photos strung together) of 'A' playing with some toys.  These photos were taken the week she was first able to really sit on her own well enough to not fall over. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mac Tip: Right Clicking On a Mac

Most people think that you cannot right click on a mac which is not true. If you want to be able to truly right click you will need to buy macs "mighty mouse" which will allow you to do this directly with your mouse and middle finger. If you already have a mouse and don't want to buy another one you can always hold down 'control' and click the item you would like to right click. This will bring up a menu the same way it would on a PC or by using the mighty mouse.

Mac Tip: Opening a PDF On a Mac

Today I took a support call at work for someone that was having trouble opening a PDF on her mac.  She said that when she tried to open it she was getting an error message saying that it was corrupt. I asked what program she was trying to open it in and she said adobe reader.

What a lot of people don't know is that macs come with a built in PDF viewer called Preview. Putting adobe on your mac is just not necessary.

I wanted to see if she was able to open the PDF using preview so I had her right click on the file and select "open with" and choose Preview. The file opened with no problem.

If she had right clicked and selected "other..." she would have been able to check off the text box called "always open with" and all PDFs would then be associated with preview and double clicking a PDF would open in Preview from then on.

Toasters: They Just Don't Make Them Like They Used To

When my wife and I got engaged we decided to register for gifts and a new toaster oven was added to the registry despite the fact that we had a toaster that worked perfectly fine. Our old toaster oven was a hand me down from my dad. I don't know how many years he had it for but when he got remarried they had two of a lot of items and I took some of these extras off to college with me. 

The toaster, originally from NY, survived it's time in college with me and several subsequent years in Boston before being shipped off to Los Angeles to toast my bread while I worked in the music industry. It survived those three years and the trip back to Boston where it survived a few more years as our toast maker and pizza warmer.  

It was a simple toaster oven with two knobs and a lever. One knob to select the temperature while using the oven and a knob to select how dark you wanted your toast and a lever to start the toast process. No other extra features.  It was stained and dirty and bit banged up but it made toast quickly that browned evenly. 

We looked at three different stores trying to find a toaster oven that was easy to use without a ton of features we would never use. We were simply looking for a unit that would make toast and heat up left overs. We couldn't find a model that looked like it fit the bill but in a fit of wedding preperation stress and registering frustration and delerium we chose a toaster. 

It was made by black and decker. I think we were dizzy with hunger and had just changed our plate pattern for the eighteenth time so the logic of "hey, black and decker makes drills, this should be a good toaster" actually seemed to make sense. To me any way. My wife surrendered so we could leave and eat something.

The new toaster is now almost two years old and is broken. My dad's toaster which is most likely over 20 years old is now at our friend's house and is dutifully making toast and heating chicken nuggets. Their toaster died around the time we got our new one. It was probably around a year old. 

I guess they just dont make them the way they used to. Quality wise and ease of use wise. 

Maybe we can buy our friends a new toaster and get our old one back.

List: Some Movies I Like

Ten of my favorite movies (in no particular order):

1) The Jerk
2) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
3) The Three Amigos
4) The Blues Brothers
5) The Lord of the Rings (entire trilogy)
6) Animal House
7) Raising Arizona
8) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
9) An Inconvenient Truth
10) Juno

Monday, May 17, 2010

Songs That Came Up During Shuffle On My iPod (05/17/2010)

I don't really enjoy listening to songs on shuffle on my iPod.  I like listening to entire albums.  Or sometimes playlists I created with songs that I know go well together.  But lately I have been only carrying my 8 gig iPod touch.  It has photos, videos and apps along with my music so it only has my most listened to favorite albums on it.  Listening to the same albums over and over again started to get old so I broke out the old 60 gig iPod photo.
Listened on shuffle and it picked some old stuff I haven't listened to in a long time.  Some good, some bad....but at least it was different.

Here's what I heard today:

* The Police: "Deathwish" - Regatta de Blanc
* The Beatie Boys: "Live at P.J.'s" - Check Your Head
* Nirvana: "Territorial Pissings" - Nevermind
* Simon and Garfunkel: "Kodachrome/Maybellene" - The Concert in Central Park
* Wico: "What's the World Got In Store" - Being There
* Portishead: "Only You" = Roseland NYC Live
* Baby Face Leroy: "My Head Can't Rest Anymore" - Chess Blues
* Led Zeppelin: "The Ocean" - How the West Was Won
* Mophine: "Eleven O'Clock" - Like Swimming
* G. Love and the Special Sauce: "Town To Town" - G. Love and the Special Sauce
* Led Zeppelin: "The Crunge" - Houses of the Holy
* The Who: "The Kids Are Alright": Who's Better, Who's Best
* Violent Femmes: "Promise" - Violent Femmes
* Le Tigre: "Slideshow At Free University" - Le Tigre
* Doves: "Break Me Gently" - Lost Souls
* Hound Dog Taylor: "Sitting Here Alone" - Chess Blues
* Latin Playboys: "Dose" - Dose
* Cibo Matto: "Le Pain Perdu" - Viva! La Woman
* Led Zeppelin: "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" - Led Zeppelin Box Set
* Soul Coughing: "Pensacola" - El Oso
* Jimi Hendrix: "Little Miss Lover" - Axis: Bold As Love
* James Taylor: "Copperline" - Live

Carrots and Hives - Lunch In the Old Hood

On Sunday we went out for lunch with a few friends. We hadn't been to the old neighborhood in a while and we were missing our favorite sandwich joint.  It was good to see Ralph and Ms. Ralph, the owners of the shop, and they were very happy to see 'A'.  It was a beautiful day and we got a seat outside and we were really enjoying the good food and time with friends.

We decided to bring "A's" little booster seat and a jar of carrots so we could feed her carrots for the first time while we were eating lunch.  She didn't seem to mind the carrots that much and we were all enjoying lunch.  Ralph and Ms. Ralph both took time to come out and say hi and visit with 'A'.  It was a few minutes after Ms. Ralph came out to visit that the lunch took a turn for the worse.

"A's" left hand was covered in hives and they seemed to be spreading up her arm.  Of course we had thought about bringing the epi-pen that the dr prescribed ("hey we should be bring the epi-pen if we are going to feed her", "yeah good idea") but forgot and left it at home.

With her face and both hands covered in carrots it seemed strange that the hives were almost exclusively on one hand with one hive on the other and none on her face.  So, it didn't seem like a topical reaction to the carrots but we didn't know if it was because she ate them.  We put a call in to the beeper service at the dr's office and cut lunch short to head home.

As we were leaving it dawned on us that Ms. Ralph had touched "A's" hand when she came out to see us and we thought it wouldn't hurt to ask her what food she had been handling before she came outside.

My wife ran back in as I ran to get the car and Ms. Ralph said "I had just washed my hands".

Could this whole thing be a reaction to the soap?  Further more, maybe the nurses at the allergist's office got the test right after all and the hives the few days 'A' was eating soy were from a soap reaction then too.  We were at a friends house that weekend and it is possible that one of use touched her after washing our hands.

We made a note of the soap at the restaurant, washed "A's" hands off with water and headed home.

The hives were completely gone by the time we got home and 'A' seems fine but this really adds another layer of complexity to the allergies issue.

We had decided that at this age that we don't need to carry around the epi-pen with us all the time because we are in control of what she is eating, but after this expierence that might change.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Video: 'A' In the Exersaucer

We bought this a few weeks ago and she loves it.  We only let her play in a few minutes a day but she enjoys it so much. 

Becoming a Vegetarian (Again)?

I saw a bird eating a worm yesterday.  It seemed so natural and it got me thinking.
Humans have totally removed themselves from the food chain.  We eat stuff that we are not meant to eat.

Think about this:  If you were out in nature without any man-made tools (i.e. any tools that you bought at the store) and you hadn't pack your lunch to go, what would you do to get your food?
Would you find yourself the nearest cow and figure out how to make it into a burger?  How would you do this?  Use a rock to smash it over the head?  Then what, drag it back to your house and put it in the refrigerator?
No, chances are you would look for wild berries and other edible plants.  If you had to live like this for a while maybe you would fashion some tools to help you hunt.  You would make a trap to trap small animals or a sharpened stick to stab slightly larger animals or maybe fish.  But the food we buy at the grocery store, killed, cleaned and ready to cook or eat, is not what we are meant to be eating.  This is why we buy these items at the store, because it is the only way to get these animals in an edible form.

Does this seem strange to anyone else or just me?

It is why I was a vegetarian for so many years.  I decided to not eat anything I wouldn't feel comfortable killing and preparing myself.  That was everything that had a face for the most part.  But as the years went by I forgot about the reason I stopped eating meat.  I became a social meat eater (think social smoker but with meat) and then just started eating meat more and more often.  Now I eat meat at least a few times a week.  And fish even more often than that.

After seeing that bird eat the worm I am thinking maybe it is best to get in touch with nature again.

Unlike when I was in college when I quit cold turkey (no pun intended) I think this time it will be a very gradual cutting back on the meat eating.  Once 'A' is old enough to eat meat all bets are off, but until then I am going to start cutting back on the meat.

5 (+1) Cover Songs I Like

Cover songs are a tricky thing. You either love them or hate them. I am a fan of artists taking someone else's song and making it their own. I think this important when covering somebody else's music. If you just try to recreate the song the way it was originally it is going to pale compared to the original.
If you can take a song, most likely that was already a hit and make it better than the original than you did something right.

So here they are. A list of 5 covers that I really enjoy.

Top cover songs:
1) Run D.M.C.: cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way".

I debated about this one for a while. For one thing is it really a cover? After all Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith actually perform on the Run D.M.C. Version. But I feel that they did such a great job making it their own that it had to be on the list. Also, the impact that it had on 80's music, rap in particular, was huge. This cover exposed the white teenage audience to rap for the very first time and paved the wave for some big 80's rap hits.

2) Aretha Franklin: Simon and Garfunkel's "A Bridge Over Troubled Water"

It wasn't until I was in college that I heard this version of "Bridge" and when I did I was blown away. She took this song and made it her own for sure.  Taking this song and making it funky is not something I thought was possible but Aretha pulls it off for sure.

3) Joe Cocker: The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends".

Is this even the same song?

4) Cake: Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive"

I think I might get an ear full about this one. But Cake took this song and made it there's. It is the one on the list that I can't tell you which I like better, the cover or original.

5) Sinead O’Conner:  Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”

A lot of people don’t even know that this was a cover song.  It is the only one on the list where the original was not a hit.  The Sinead O’Conner version is so awesome that it needs to be on the list.

+1) Alien Ant Farm: Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”

I not a fan of Alien Ant Farm and I don’t know any of their other music.  I remember hearing their version of this song and really liking it.   They really make it rock.

Let me know what your favorites are.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First Ride of the Spring

For the past 3 or 4 years I have been riding my bike to work 3 or 4 times a week (sometimes 5) in the Spring, Summer and Fall.  I love riding to work so much.  It is great exercise, is faster than the bus and doesn't emit any harmful fumes into the air.

This year has gotten off to a late start.  The addition of the baby to our commuting routines (getting her ready and getting her to school before we commute) and the fact that I am a lot more tired in the morning have both contributed to the fact that I have yet to dust off the bike this Spring.

Tomorrow I have plans to go on a ride with a friend on the bike bath that runs directly behind our apartment.  We have lived here since last fall and I have yet to be on the bike path.  I have been on it prior to living at this apartment when it was a mile ride to get to it so it is funny to me that I haven't been since we moved in and it is now just 50 feet from our back door. 

It should be an interesting ride since I haven't done any sort of physically activity since the baby was born and I am very out of shape. 

I will let you know how it goes, and how sore I am, in a few days.

Making Your Own Baby Food Can Be Dangerous

As you saw last week in the video of A eating her first food we are starting to feed our daughter. The next step is carrots and sweet potatoes ground into the all too familiar baby food mush.

My wife and I always said that when A started to eat solids we would make our own baby food so we were a bit surprised when we saw the pamphlet our doctor gave us. On the back it had a statement that said it was not safe to prepare some baby foods at home, such as beets, turnips, carrots and collard greens, because they can cause an unusual form of anemia (Methemoglobinemia).

When I asked why this was I learned that it had to do to with a chemical found in the soil of food grown using conventional fertilizers.

So if you're telling me that it is unsafe to eat these as a baby then why am I eating these foods? Baby food manufacturers monitor this but I can buy a carrot off the shelf that was grown with conventional fertilizer and has these chemicals in it.

What else am I putting into my body that I shouldn't be or wouldn't want to if I knew about it?

It is finding these sort of things out that really makes me want to pack up, move to the country and live off the land so I can control what I am consuming.  But would that be enough?  I would still need to use water and air that is polluted from conventional farming and modern life.

If you are making your own baby food you should read more about it and everyone should take a second to consider what we are doing to this planet and ourselves.      

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Visiting But Not Commenting

I am new to social media and I find it both exciting and strange. Yesterday I posted a simple survey and had the second most number of hits since I launched. I even had a retweet of my tweet announcing the post by one of the companies that makes a product in the survey. This drove some traffic to my site but only 2 of those people left comments.  

So why are people not leaving comments?  Are they only interested in give-a-ways?  Do they think the survey is stupid? It can't be too long, it's only one question. Are they turned off by the captcha? Or are there just more lurkers out there then I thought? 

I am writing these posts because I enjoy the process and like to share but this is social media. If you hate a post or love a post let me know. If most of the people that hit my site hate a post I will be less likely to post a similar post. You are in control. But only if you comment.

I will be posting the results (well, not exactly as that would be boring, but I will post something related to the comments that were left) to the survey post soon but it's not too late to get in there and leave a comment.

I added a "like/dislike" tool to the posts if that is easier.  If you don’t want to leave a comment please at least tell me if you like or dislike the post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

music quality VS audio quality

I just read an article on about the audio quality of music we listen to today. They pointed out how we are listening on devices that sacrifice audio quality and how music is recorded and compressed (the softest parts of the song are made louder and the peaks are brought down and then the overall level is brought up) to make the song sound louder.  

Should I be surprised that they didn't mention the fact that most of the music that is purchased and listened to on portable music players in a compressed digital format is crap. No mention of the quality of the music at all. That is the problem that is hurting the industry the most. 

I was an audio engineer and have a trained ear but if you are churning out crappy music I don't care what it sounds like. Maybe they should focus on making good music and not on making sure the song will be louder than the song before it on my iPod playlist. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Red Vines vs Twizzler

Quick survey:
which do you like better, Red Vines or Twizzlers?

Let's see if the east-coast/west-coast divide holds true.

For me, I like them both if you are talking about Red Vines vs Strawberry Twizzlers but the harder to find Chocolate Twizzlers are by far better than both!

Red Vines are a little waxy which I didn't love at first but got used to.  I grew up with Twizzlers and find them to be a little less sweet so you can eat a lot more of them before you feel totally ill, which is a good sign when talking about junk food.

Please add a comment about which you like and why.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A's First Food

Yesterday we gave A her first food. Well, really it was mostly formula with a little bit of rice cereal. The real milestone was that it was the first time she ate anything with a spoon. I use the term ate rather lightly. It was more like she took it off the spoon and drooled it out all over the place. Cute, fun and a huge milestone anyway. Enjoy the video.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Faking It

I just saw a bumper sticker that said "I fake it so he will buy me stuff". I have news for the driver of that car. Men buy woman things not because she had an orgasm but because he did.

Also, faking it just makes us think we are doing a good job. It's like saying you really like that home made lazagna when you didn't. Guess what, you just signed up for a lifetime of bad lazagna. Hope you enjoy it.


One of the great things about babies and children is that their imaginations are so great. You can give them a cardboard box or a very simple toy and they can entertain themselves for hours. 'A' plays with her toes more than her toys and I always get a kick out of how she can be surrounded by a pile of toys and she will grab a burp cloth and play with it.

I will try my hardest to encourage the growth of her imagination by limiting the toys that can only work in one way and have a set way of playing with them. Blocks and crayons can be used to create a million different things while a coloring book limits the child to try to color within the lines.  There are skills that are enhanced by coloring within the lines as well but it is important to let the child draw something from scratch.

We bought an exersaucer last week and we wanted one that didn't have a lot of bells and lights. We didn't want a bunch of buttons that flashed and played songs when a button was pushed, what we wanted was something that would help her with her motor skills. We found one online that we liked and she loves it.

I hope I can continue to encourage her imagination to grow.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good Parking Karma

Yesterday I had to drive to work as I have been doing twice a week for the last few weeks.  The other days of the week I take the bus which I prefer because it is better for the enviornment, less stressful, and on days I take the bus I don't need to worry about parking.

Parking near were I work is at a premium. There is a waiting list for spots and it is expensive. Paying for a spot for only two days a week would be a huge waste. So I usually park at the lot down the street which cost $5.50 a day.

A lot of people that I work with park in the tow zone right outside the building even though they do occassionaly tow or ticket cars and despite the fact that they can park in the lot.

Yeserday I arrived a few minutes later than usual and the lot was full. I drove around looking for a legal spot and couldn't find one. I did what I could to park legally and decided I didn't have another option and would park in the tow zone. The only remaining problem was that there were no spots left in the tow zone either. Now what? A few minutes more of driving around and I found a section of the street, a bus stop length away from all the illegally parked cars, that was visitor parking for a nearby apartment building.
The sign said you needed to have a permit or a parking pass and that this was also a tow zone but I had no choice. I pulled up behind the one car that was there, check to see if they had a permit or pass which they didn't and headed in to work.

After a few hours at work I figured I would go check on the car and see if a legal spot openned up somewhere. I arrived at the car to find a tow truck but today was lucky day. He was towing the car in front of me and the car in front of him that must have arrived shortly after me. I was next for sure and a few more minutes and this post would have a different name for sure. 

Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don't.    

Bad Parking Karma

When I worked in the recording studio in LA I started as a running. A runner is a person that is trying to work his way into the industry and is responsible for all the work that noboby in their right mind or that has been there for awhile would ever do. Resposibilties start off with the most important task: feeding people. The studio uses this task of being a waiter at 400 Hollywood restaurants as a test to see if you are capable of handeling some actual studio responsibilities. "If you can't get my hamburger right how can I trust you to not erase the vocals" is a phrase often used* by people working on a session.  Being a waiter at 400 restaurants requires a lot of driving around town which means a lot of parking.

I always tried to park legally while on runs. It just wasn't worth the risk of getting a ticket on my crappy salary (minimum wage) and since you do visit the same places all the time you learn the parking tricks near each restaurant.

It was a hot summer day and the studio was very busy. It was a Saturday and it was lunch time. We were short a runner and the runs were piling up. I was in an extremely cranky mood.

Studio D rang up to the front desk after I had just completed the last lunch run and needed a runner. I headed back to the studio took their order and headed off to Melrose ave. where the closest Jamba Juice is.  Melrose is a shopping hang out. A hip and trendy place were parking spaces are given out less often then those stars on the sidewalk and it was a Saturday.


After 25 minutes of driving around in the heat I decided to park in the bus zone directly out side of Jamba. Really, how long could it take to make 5 fruit smoothies.
I ran in, placed my order and kept my eye on the car. As they were making the band's smoothies I decided to order a smoothie for myself, after all it was hot and I was annoyed enough that I thought the band should buy me a smoothie whether they knew it or not.  As they were making my smoothie I glanced over to my car just as the parking maid pulled up behind it.

I ran out and was halfway in the car before he was even out of his car when I heard him scream "it's too late".
He handed me my ticket.  Annoyed, I figured I would leave the car there while I picked up the smoothies, what was he going to do, give me another ticket?

It wasn't until I got back in the car that I noticed how much the ticket was for: $270.00!

$270.00 was a lot to pay for a free smoothie.  Lesson learned.  Park legally.  Don't buy smoothies on the record labels dime.

Sometimes you get lucky.  Sometimes you don't.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Little Things We Take For Granted

We take things for granted all of the time. It is usually not until we have something taken away from us that we realize we have been taking something for granted.  

I was reminded of this recently when a water main broke and there was no clean drinking water in the greater Boston area. The water company started pumping water from the emergency back up system that was not fit to drink. The store across the street from us sold out of water almost immediately and we started to boil water so we could wash bottle parts for the baby.

All of a sudden cooking, cleaning, bathing and drinking had become a real pain. Still we were able get enough bottled water for the baby's formula, and we were able to boil water to cook and do dishes with.

It made me think of the millions of people around the world that have no access to clean drinking water. It reminded me of the millions of babies that die every year because of dehydration or water borne illnesses.

What can we do to help them?

For one thing we can stop wasting water at home.  
We should turn the tap off while brushing our teeth and get low flow shower heads. We should get energy efficient dish washers and washing machines that are also water efficient. We should fix leaky faucets and running toilets.

These are all cheap solutions that are easy to implement.  New efficiet washing machines and dishwashers will actually save you money.

And then there are the things we can do that will take a little bit more money to implement.   We should stop flushing millions of gallons of drinking water down the toilet ever year.  But installing gray water systems that use rain water or used sink water to flush your toilets will be more expensive to install. In some towns they gauge your water bill by home much water exits your home and not how much water you are taking from the pipe so the town will not be able to bill you properly if you start flushing rain water down the drains.

But problens like these can and must be solved. We are closer to a water crisis here in the US than most people realize. We are already upsetting ecosystems by using water from rivers and lakes from one region for drinking water in another. The Colorodo river is maxed out currently and the demand on it to produce more drinking water is growing.

If we can make these small changes at home maybe some how we will tax the earth a little less and it will have an effect on those people who are dying for a drink, literally.  Maybe that is wishful thinking but it is all I have at this point. Maybe some out there knows of something I can to do make a larger impact on them in a positive way. If so, please let me know so I can share it with everyone.     

'A' Gets an Allergy Test

My daughter has very bad eczema. Depending which doctor we talked to, it seems that this is linked to an allergy. I have allergies so her chances of having allergies, asthma or eczema are high. We decided to take her to the allergist to see what she was allergic to so we could remove it from her diet and relieve her from some of the itchiness.  

We arrived at the allergist and the scratch test was all set up and ready to. They were testing for milk, soy, wheat, eggs and peanuts as these are the five most common allergies in babies. Upon our first question to the nurse she confessed that she was new to the department and would ask another nurse. It made me feel confident that she was smart enough to know when to ask for help and I didn't think to much of it until after the test.

The way the test works is that they load one drop of clear liquid that contains the allergen they are testing for onto a tool that looks like a comb. One prong of the comb for each allergen. They also add a drop of histamine and a drop of saline as controls. It is crucial that they load the comb up with the same pattern that is written on the chart so they know which bump on her back corresponds with what allergen.

After waiting for the fifteen meetings the new nurse came back in and started measuring the bumps on A's back. They measure the bumps and assign a number, 0 being no reaction to 4 being the largest bump that A had.

At this point the more experienced nurse returned and they started modifying the numbers that the new nurse had written down. There seemed to be a lot of confusion but we more focused on keeping our very fidgety, now more than normaly itchy child calm while they measured the bumps.  After a few minutes of fixing and changing the numbers on the chart the chart was an unreadable mess.  We then went across the hall and waited for the doctor.

By the time the doctor arrived the chart had been rewritten.  We noticed that the allergens that they tested for were all of a sudden different on the chart from what they were before.  We mentioned this to the doctor and he grabbed the original chart and corrected the updated chart.  He told us what A is allergic to and what we should do and we headed home.

The test showed that A measured a 4 for eggs, 2 for wheat and milk, and barely a 1 for peanuts.  The first change we were to make was to switch the formula she was drinking (she now gets 50% formula, 50% breast milk) from cow milk to soy based.  We went right out and bought new formula and made the switch.

The next day we realized that there was a hive on A's leg.  The day after she had several hives.  We put a call in to the on-call doctor at our pediatrician's office.

The doctor's only guess was that the test was wrong and that since the only thing we changed was the formula that it was the soy that caused the hives.

We called the allergist the next day and he also felt that the test was not correct guessing that the nurses mixed up two of the items on the test.

WHAT!?!?!??!  Are you kidding me.  Are you telling me that we finally had an answer and now we don't know for sure what she is allergic too.  We only know for sure that she is allergic to soy because of the hives.  And we know that she is not allergic to one of wheat, milk or peanuts.

How can they make a mistake like this?  This makes me so angry that I don't know what else to write.  When I mess something up at work nobody is hurt.  But this is unacceptable. 

You can be sure that next time they give her a test I will demand that I am there for the set up and that an experienced nurse will be performing it.  There is no way that the risk of putting her life in someone else's hands is worth it.

Blogging From the Bus

My blogging process is still being formed as I figure out the best way to updated my blog. I don't have a smart phone and I find that the biggest chunk of time that I can find to write my posts is on the bus to and from work. I write the posts on my iPod touch and then post them from my home computer when I have time. I know I can use the wi-fi to send the post to blogspot via email but I haven't figured out to add links, labels, photos, or amazon links via email so for now I won't be updating via email. Blogspot doesn't seem to work in safari on the iPod touch either.

I have been noticing that while I have been writing a new post every day I only find time to post them on the weekends.

Does anyone have suggestions for uploading the posts is some other way?

6 Month Old Sleeping Through the Night

My daughter turned six months old this past Sunday. It is hard to believe that it has gone by so fast. All the people who said it was going to get easier seem to be right for the most part. She had been sleeping great last week and even did a few all night stretches*.  The people who say that we shouldn't get used to anything she is doing were also right. The littlest thing can change her sleep patterns. Her six month shots and her second set of teeth coming in have gotten her back to her old sleep habits. We know this too shall pass but we are hoping it changes back sooner than later.

*For some reason all of the baby books define sleeping through the night as a five hour stretch. Who decided this and what were they thinking? When 'A' was going to bed at 7:00 and sleeping until midnight she was technically sleeping through the night. Really? She was still waking up two other times in the night as well so we waking up three times. Luckily the "through the nights" I mentioned above were truly through the night; 7:15PM until 6:15AM. Can't wait to have those back. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Disney Magical Lost and Found

As I was packing for my business trip last week I decided to try on my suit.  I hadn't worn it since my wedding and even at the wedding it was a little tight.  So I decided to head to the mall on my lunch break the day before I left to purchase a sports coat.  Altering the suit was not an option due to my procrastination and I figured I would get some use out of the coat anyway.

At the mall I found out, from the sales person, that gaining weight in your first year of marriage was a sign of happiness and that I was now totally proportionate. My chest and arms are 7 inches wider than my chest by itself.  A few years ago I would have been considered skinny for sure.

This was good news as I found several options off the rack that fit like a glove.  I purchased one and was on my way.  My wife had the great idea to just wear it on the plane so I didn't have to pack it (getting it wrinkled) and I wouldn't have to worry about forgetting it somewhere.  This seemed like a good idea and I almost never forget my belongings, so it was the plan I went with.

I arrived in Florida and headed to the Disney Magical Express.  The DME is not really all that magical*.  There was a line to get on it and let's face it, it is just a bus.  I figured I would make the best of it since it was going to be the only Disney ride I got to go on and I stuffed my new coat up above in the luggage rack and booted up my lap top to watch "It Might Get Loud".

The ride was long enough with all the stops at the other hotels that I got to watch the whole movie but it also meant I was late for my first meeting.  The DME pulled in to the hotel, I ran to the meeting and realized I had left the coat on the bus.  Running back towards the parking lot I could see the bus pulling out of the hotel property.  It was too late.

I quickly stopped at the front desk to see what they could do and they pointed me in the direction of the courtesy phone where they had me call the transportation company.  The transportation company told me they would put a call out to all the bus drivers and would call me if the coat turned up.  I called back later and no sign of my coat yet.  Next day and still nothing.  On Saturday I was told that lost and found was only open Monday through Friday so it didn't look like my coat was going to turn up before leaving on Sunday evening.  Oh well.

I arrived at the airport on Sunday with some time to spare and decided to give it one last try.  I headed down to the DME desk where we had checked in to the DME a few days earlier and was happy to find no line this time.  I asked the gentleman behind the counter if he had seen my coat and HE HAD!  He heading into the back but came back empty handed.  He explained to me that the coat was there from Thursday, when I arrived, until Friday at closing at which point they packed up all the lost items and sent them to central lost and found.  Apparently I had been calling central lost and found all along and not the DME desk.  If I had called the DME desk right away I would have gotten my coat while I was in FL. 

Monday morning I called from home and they had my coat.  The description was slightly wrong but the woman on the phone decided to check anyway and it was my jacket.  They shipped it out and last night it arrived.

I think this was the first time I have ever lost anything and got it back.  Good job Disney.  When A is a little older I will be back for sure for a nice family vacation. Maybe now I will get to wear my new coat.

*One nice feature of the DME is that they send you a luggage take before you depart.  You stick it on your bag and check your bag.  Disney picks your bag up, puts it on the DME and delivers it to your hotel later in the day.  No need to wait for your bag.