Friday, April 28, 2006

Nothing on the TV and Hulk Hogan

So last night I was skimming through the channels while cleaning up after dinner while my wife was putting our daughter to bed. And as usual sifting through the channels always confirms why I hate watching it. There’s never anything on, and the shows that are on suck! Sorry, I’ll offend nearly everybody here but I don’t like American Idol (too many whiney people), anything sports (absolutely loathe sports), Lost (so what), Amazing Race (I don’t care), HGTV (I like some shows), Food Network (makes me hungry). Personally, alone time, I rather play Playstation 2, watch a movie, read a book/Internet, or go to the gym. If the TV were to explode I wouldn’t miss it.
I did come across something that caught my attention. A show called “Hogan knows Best”. The former WWF wrestler is a dad now, married for 22 years and has 2 kids - who knew? Although the show itself is pretty cheesy (and is likely set-up as are most of these reality shows), I have to admit watching it I actually admired the guy for taking a stand and protecting his daughter in certain situations. In one instance, on a movie set, he pulled some 26 year-old guy aside and scared the crap out of him for moving in on his 17 year-old daughter. That was pretty entertaining. Although I did wish he would have picked him up, twirled him in the air, tossed him to the ground, and then slammed a folding chair over him. Then maybe, just maybe, I would watch that show again.
  • Hogan Knows Best
  • Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Find out where the Sex offenders live in your neighborhood

    I came across the creepiest thing today, enter your address and this thing shows you a Google map (and the names) of where registered sex offenders live and work in proximity to you and nearby schools. After entering my address, I was thankful not to see any of the neighbors. How scary would that be?
  • Family Watch Dog
  • Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    Martha Stewart Poisoned Us!

    And a 3am this morning when my wife and I were “releasing the evil food back to hell” I was ready to call the police, FBI, CIA, and AARP to send her back to prison for giving us food poisoning.
    My wife enjoys making dinner recipes from things like “Real Simple” and Martha Stewarts “Everyday Food” magazine. I love it; the dinners we eat at home are much better than going out, the exception maybe being Baja Fresh and Red Lobster (just kidding-we loathe Red Lobster).
    Last night she made ‘Spicy Pepper Vinaigrette on Steak’ from Martha’s current issue (page 101). Be warned! After researching the Internet there are some ingredients that are hard on the stomach. What? , Don’t they test these things out? Maybe it was a recipe given to her in prison by Big Mama and got by the editors and guards.
    Anyway, we were both out of work today, thankful that we didn’t give anything to our daughter (imagine a baby with food poisoning!) and swore to cancel the subscription and never to make any of her witchey brew recipes again. Well, maybe we’ll try the strawberry spring salad thing, but after that-no more Martha.

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Baby Mullets and other Cross-Over Hairstyles

    I may be the only one here, but on more than a few occasions these days, while out and about, I’m noticing lots more of these on babies. And it bothers me. Not only baby mullets where the kid looks like 80’s Richard Marx or MacGyver, but also baby boys whose parents let the hair grow to look like Fabio. You know, long and flowing medieval hairdo (very D&D/Comic Book fan, part-time actor look – depending on where you live). I remember parents in the late 80’s early 90’s giving their young baby boys “cat-tails”, pierced ears, and all. That was weird. I thought modern-day parents knew better.
    I have a suggestion: Don’t give your baby a mullet, grow a boys hair long, Mohawk, etc. Because when they get older they’ll hate you for it. And they decide which retirement village you'll ultimately live at. And trust me, they’ll remember the mullet.

    Bugaboo's Customer Service: The Experience

    So yeah, we've had a Bugaboo Frog since the mini was born. I'm a designer in trade and as a design-conscious father I couldn't bear to get a normal stroller. My wife wanted one at first and it wasn't a struggle to convince me and to also pick up the accessories that are "extra" in price (*grumble*). But something shocking happened with our matching diaper bag (the kind that straps on the handlebars and looks very stylish at it) about a week ago. The handle strap ripped off like tissue paper and we were left standing with a broken $100 diaper bag. I was angry and the word "Bugaboo" became a swear word. The stroller itself has withstood some pretty good beatings and works like a charm, the matching bag on the other hand didn't. So I contacted their customer service a few days ago and to tell you the truth, they are seriously some of the nicest people and sent a new one right away. Now I hope they send money to buy a Cameleon.
  • Bugaboo
  • Monday, April 24, 2006

    The Reasoning of 3+ Toys

    Over the weekend we attended yet another kids birthday party, this time for a 2 year-old. We’re getting allot more birthday invites to these days ever since we had a baby - it’s like we weren’t either welcomed before, or a kid is the price of admission. Whatever. The hardest thing for us about these things is searching for an age-appropriate gift. We went to the Disney store (which should be a pretty obvious place for a toddler gift) and found that nearly every toy was for ages 3 and up. Even this one play set with figures bigger than my fist!
    I stood in the store staring at the box for a while wondering how in the world can a toddler swallow that thing? I bet they must have found some troll kid in the hills that did for them to slap that label on it - or an over-cautious lawyer made them do it. My wife went on to look for other stuff, like clothes, but I found myself still holding the box trying to judge whether this kid’s mouth was even big enough to fit this toy in her mouth (she is a little on the small side, but pudgy, she is a little manly for being a little girl). Besides it was on sale and to me that’s a deciding factor. In the end we did end up finding clothes (on sale). But at the party, I convinced myself that we could have gone ahead and bought the play set. And that there are mutant children somewhere; living in the forest with huge mouths.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    GPS Tracking on Kids Cell Phones

    There's been allot of noise the last few weeks after Disney announced it was launching a cell-phone service with the ability to track your kids using GPS. Sprint also did a couple of Press Release's about their GPS-tracking abilities too. I've also read allot of people (non-parents I assume) bashing the idea of tracking their kids through their cell-phones and locating them through the internet or even through the phone itself. What, are you kidding? As a parent of a future teen (and being one myself many moons ago) I don't see anything wrong with it, in fact I like the idea (I'm just glad this wasn't around when I was a kid). What's the big deal? This is a huge for a parent. In fact, I see it as a HUGE benefit. For instance:

    Daughter: I'm going to Sara's to do homework
    Me (Father): O.K. But just homework, it's a school night.
    ...time goes by..
    Me (Calling): It's getting late, are you still doing homework at Sara's
    Daughter: Like, Duh! Yeah, of course. Gawd!
    Me (checking on internet): Your'e lying! I see you’re at the Mall. You're grounded!! No soup for you!!

    I'm liking this technology. Now if only somebody can invent a force field to keep boys away from my daughter when she's a teen that would make being a father of a girl so much easier. Because I was a teenager once and I'm definitely not looking forward to the those years on the other side.
  • Disney Mobile
  • Protective parents: Gold for cellular services?
  • "TAKE MY SON TO HIS PROM" ad by mother

    I come across some pretty funny things but this one has to be the best this time of year, prom season. Imagine being the kid whose mom puts up a listing on Craiglist soliciting a prom-date for her 'unexperienced with girls' son. For $800 she's pretty serious and the girl doesn’t even have to be 17-19, just look like it.
  • Craigslist Prom Ad
  • Other funny stuff on Craigslist
  • Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Pet-Parents and Human-Parents

    Over the weekend, my wife, daughter and I visited the very posh Fashion Island Newport Beach in the "OC" (Gosh, I remember the days when it was just plain ol' Orange County). This place always intrigues me because it's actually a pretty nice outing when the weather is good, which more than likely is here in So Cal. It's outdoors, much nicer than a "mall", fountains, ponds, places to sit and relax, not too many chain stores but more boutique-y type places. And the crowd is a mixture of Bugaboo-parents and some old guys with the 25-year-old honey (in jewelry stores), which makes this one of my favorite spots for people watching. Oh yeah, and loads of "Pet-Parents" - everywhere. And not just pet owners like normal everyday people, but the kind that call themselves "Pet-Parents" and have little dogs in bags, with stuff on like shoes and even *chuckle* wearing clothes.

    While sitting at the Koi Pond, I was sketching, while my wife was showing fish to our daughter... this crazy 'Mrs. Roper with money type' lady comes up to her and says "Look at my baby!!!" while holding up some shaking hairy-rat wearing a spring dress and studded jewelry. Then she went on to say something like "You're lucky- People just don't come up to your baby and touch her like mine!” and then continued on to say maybe it was the stroller that prevented it and how she needed one.

    I'm sorry, but I think there is a difference between a real baby and a dog. Don't get me wrong, we have and like our dog. But there is a difference- he's at home where dogs should be. He goes for walks, and to the vet, groomer. But that's about it. He doesn't need clothes or pictures with the Easter Bunny. I know these people have always been around. I've even read about crazy people in the late 1800's putting their dogs in lacy underwear, maybe we're having resurgence and Victoria's Secret will start something? Whatever. Dogs aren't humans and they look stupid dressed up!
  • Fashion Island
  • Muttrolopis
  • USA Today: PetSmart thinks outside the big box, targets 'pet parents
  • E-Cards and hacking Monk-E-Mail

    Do you ever wonder what people write on e-cards? I don't. Not until today. A friend sent me a Monk-E-Card, which was pretty funny. I was thinking of send one to my nieces and nephew thanking them for sending me a great “kid-art” birthday card.
    But as I was listening to the e-card earlier, I thought to myself "Hey self, what if I change some of the numbers at the end"...and wouldn't you know it, I'm watching other people’s messages. Which is funny, but also pretty scary. Here are a few "tame" odd ones I came across.
  • Initervention problems?
  • Kriss-Kross?
  • Helda's a Great Boss
  • Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Pussycat Dolls! Why? Because Bratz 'don't freak like them'

    I really don’t know what to say, as if Bratz dolls aren't risqué' enough. Like a 6-9 year-old girl needs a doll that's more burlesque, maybe dressed to win on amateur night pole dancing. This is definitely something I won't be putting on my daughter's gift list this Christmas...
  • NY Times: As Pop Music Seeks New Sales, the Pussycat Dolls Head to Toyland
  • Baby Adoption from China: A Dad's POV

    My wife and I are friends with a few people that have adopted baby girls from China. So to us, the journey isn't something foreign. But when we have conversations with them, we get the Reader's Digest version of the story (Side note-does anybody read that anymore?).
    But when a friend of a family told me about her son's blog about his own adoption journey, especially since his new little one is the same age as ours; I had to take a look. After an excruciating process and long wait he and his wife finally got their little baby girl yesterday. I have to tell you, I would be shaking in my pants if somebody handed me my daughter now and said "good luck". But nonetheless this is written from the Dad's point-of-view. Which is pretty interesting
  • Red Thread to Marysville
  • Experience with Baby Sign Language

    A few years ago my wife and I saw some TV show with some wonder infant performing miraculous sign language with his parents about the macro-politics of global oil...or something similar to that like asking for milk. Of course we were impressed and did what any parent-to be would do. We bought into it, and the books, and the flash cards. Fast forward to present days--
    We've been teaching our daughter this stuff for some time now. She's 9 months and we've cut down the expectations from 60 learned gestures to just 3 - Milk, More, and Eat. We think she's doing "More", or just simply dropping things out of her hand. We do understand her version of signing- like when she tells us she doesn't want more of anything...she swipes her arm across the high-chair table, things fall to the floor and then cries/whines a little. Or when she's done eating, she turns her head, clenches her lips and whimpers. Or when she wants to eat, she'll open her mouth when we eat.
    My conclusion, maybe each baby has its own version of visual cues. As for that baby we saw on TV awhile back. I’m convinced she was actually a 60-year-old hippy midget woman with lots of makeup, because no baby can do that. I guess I won't be having any NPR sign language discussions on the sound differences of the viola and cello anytime soon. I’m a horrible parent.
  • Atlanta Parent: Teaching Your Baby Sign Language
  • Signing With Your Baby
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    The Mini is sick, and so am I...again!

    Seriously - I have NEVER been this sick so many times my entire life since having my daughter (wife included). I use to get sick (cold or whatnot) like once or twice a year, unlike now which is once or twice a month! At this rate, I'll have some "super-immunity" -- like some comic book superhero that's been dropped into some nuclear waste bin and paddles out with a smirk on his face like he just spent a day at the beach. In a few months maybe I’ll be able to run through fields of syringes without getting sick (or swim in Santa Monica bay).
    I've read the studies and talked to other parents saying stuff like "yeah, its good for them, so when they do go to school", or "it builds their immune system", I’m fine with that. But what I'm wondering, where's my immune system? I thought I had a pretty good one before all this, but apparently not. Or maybe it was outdated and there are new mutant germs in the world. In that case, maybe my daughter is helping me out when I grow up to be an old person. Maybe my wife and I will be thanking her when we're in an old-folks home (in Tahiti) and the crazy woman next door is coughing up her cat... and I'm drinking coconut milk while snacking on sugar-free uranium.
  • Mayo Clinic: Babies and the common cold
  • Easter egg roll at the White House

    First of all, I would like to thank the media for giving this so much attention. Because I really never knew they did this. I visited the White House's website and read the history which was pretty interesting stuff (Dolley Madison…angry children, etc.) History has always intrigued me. Too bad all the focus was on the gay/lesbian couples that participated - so what? I found the protesters for the "Friends of Animals" who are angry about the treatment of chickens pretty funny. Don't get me wrong, I like animals (except cats and pigeons) but if these groups ever wanted to be taken seriously on issues like killing seal pups and dolphins don't go protesting chicken eggs for Easter or screaming outside Colonel Sanders barns. Because quite frankly nobody will take you seriously about anything and I really like those chicken fingers sandwiches he sells.
  • White House: History of the Easter Egg Roll
  • LA Times: On a Gray Day, Same-Sex Couples Make Colorful Point at Egg Roll
  • Monday, April 17, 2006

    Travel recommendations to Kauai (Hawaii) with an infant

    Some helpful information, based on our experience, for anybody traveling to Kauai with an infant. Our daughter was 7 months old when we had gone, even though you would think traveling with an infant to an island would be a no-brainer or no big deal - some places in some instances that wasn't the case. Sadly, a few places didn't welcome infants (or small children), or were really tough to accommodate.
    We bought that highly recommended book called "Kauai Revealed- The Ultimate guide to Kauai." Even though its one of the better books because it is updated every year, some things were REALLY hard to find (simple things like directions or landmarks weren't in there). Hopefully our experiences and information will help others get the most of their trip. So with that, here's our tips and recommendations:

    Our daughter traveled very well on the airplane, in fact, she slept most of the time or was given tours by the stewardesses who were gawking all over her. Not sure if it was because we were sitting in first class or not. Which leads me to my first suggestion for travelling with an infant. Upgrade the flight seating when you arrive at the boarding gate desk! A great "hint" was given to me by simply asking about upgrading to first/business class when the plane isn't filled and also finding out about a "special" pricing upgrade. We were able to upgrade to first class for a pretty low price. We also did the same on the way home, which was a little more than the flight over. Still much cheaper than what the seats normally go for.

    Waimea Plantation Cottages in Kauai. This place was amazing! Almost exactly what we pictured a relaxing vacation to be and very kid-friendly. They even provided a crib in the bedroom and stocked the 'fridge' up for you (if requested).
    This resort moved quite a few plantation homes built in the 20's and 30's, to a great palm tree filled garden, and then had them remodeled with modern amenities, but they still look old-fashioned (like in a Pottery Barn/Pier One kind of way).
    But the grounds were absolutely amazing. Drawback, the beach isn't swimmable (really rough currents) but they have a pool (and kids wading pool).

    The "second" half of the trip we rented a guest cottage call "Beach Hideaway" on the North Shore in Anini. A very cute, clean, private place behind a residence. The owner, Barbara, is very friendly and professional. She had a great recommendation list 'hand-written' in the cottage. The downside though, it was literally built on an ant hill, one morning we woke up to ants all over us in our bed and our daughter (like an episode of Fear Factor, not good!). We couldn't use the kitchen or have ANY food whatsoever in the place. Unfortunately we had to use ant spray a little too much, which seemed to help temporarily and stunk like "repellent fresh pine". Mosquitoes were also a major hassle. We had a problem keeping them from eating us alive. So DEET became our good friend, but after awhile if became salad dressing to them. Waking up every morning to new bites became common. Overall, we tried to stay out of the place as much as possible. After the 2nd night, we were seriously considering leaving and going to a hotel (yes, that bad). We've been to and stayed at some pretty primitive places but, honestly, nothing can compare. The beach there is nice though. When of course when we weren't getting rained on. But that's not the cottage's fault - this year they had higher than normal rains. Oh yeah, and don't use DEET spray, the OFF lotion works MUCH better.

    Nice Eats (South and East)
    We ate at allot of places, but these stood out. A little place called "Shrimp Station" in Waimea that has amazing shrimp taco's (with pineapple salsa) and the best coconut shrimp I've ever had. Also, we discovered what was the best Shave Ice on the island from a place called "Jo-Jo's Clubhouse". The service was really slow since there was only one guy running the place. But we tried Shaved Ice 3 times and none compared to Jo-Jo's. "Bubba's Burgers" in Kapa'a was a good place to eat lunch, it reminded us of "In-N-Out" here in California. "Koloa Fish Market" in Koloa had the BEST wasabi tuna I've ever had; it's a small place that only has take-out plates, which are great to eat at a local beach. A place called "Coconut" in Kapa’a was very good, but crowded since the place is a little small. Our absolute favorite dining was at "Hanama'ulu Cafe", walking into the place you would never guess they have Tea Rooms and a great garden in the back (the front room is really ugly). But make reservations!! If was very crowded, you don't want to eat here and sit in "the front room". Our daughter had fun sittting on the ground and watching the kids run around the garden.

    Well we can't compare many since we only went to one that was highly recommended, "Smith's Tropical Paradise" right at the Wailua river marina. A native family runs “the Smith’s” it, (Grandfather was English, mother was Hawaiian) the place is hard to desribe, but if Disney had a Lu'au here this would be the show. The grounds are amazing; if you arrive early they have a tram tour that takes you on a tour. After an all you can eat buffet (with included Mai-Tai's and Chi-Chi's) the very large group goes to an outdoor amphitheater with a stage over a lagoon. The show was very entertaining especially when the faux volcano erupts or when they lights fireworks. We were a little amused since the waiters and the buffet were also the performers. Bring OFF lotion, the bugs come biting at night.

    Best Beaches (South and West)
    "Polihale/Barking Sands" had to be our, by far, favorite beach. Long sand beach, not too crowded, with huge mountains in the backdrop looking towards the Na Pali coast. But the trip over was very odd. Oddly enough the city roads don't go to the state parks so you have to drive on private roads near the sugar farms. We found ourselves second-guessing if we could even drive on them since most signs say stuff like "Private Road" and "No Trespassing". Thankfully we had that great guidebook (Kauai Revealed) that reassured us what roads were legal to drive. Another nice beach was "Po'ipu" except there's quite a few resorts in that area, which made us clostrofobic . The most amazing beach we visited (again cryptic signs and off-road driving, pick up that guidebook mentioned above) was "Maha'ulepu", namely Gillin's Beach (or bay?). This had huge rocks on one side, with a swimming break, and a HUGE sand dune area. Most windsurfers are in this area, which were fun to watch. This is a great place just to pick up some food and spend an afternoon doing nothing.

    Beaches on North
    Since it rained like a mo-fo on the North and sharks were coming in near the shore (because of the muddy waters from the streams. Local said "muddy= don't go in) we barely stepped into the water. 'Anini was very nice; the waves broke far away from the shore. Good for kids (when the sharks aren't around). Also "Ke'e Beach" all the way on the North were the highway ends was very nice. You get a North view of the Na Pali coast. Another nice place was "Hideaways" (or "Pali Ke Kua", as locals call it) and "Pu'u Poa", the only problem is it's right in front of the Princeville Hotel (Which, I swear, looks like Las Vegas in Hawaii). The only nice thing about the hotel was the view from the sushi bar/lobby. It's definitely worth the trip just to see the place (the hotel).

    Note on rental cars
    Rent a SUV or Jeep! Yes, since most private roads are off-road. We saw too many standard cars and mini-vans that couldn't make treks to beaches and trails. So spend the extra $9/day and upgrade to an SUV (at the rental counter...they'll give you a deal if you push). Besides, we found it very convenient to change our daughters diapers out of the back rather than in the back seat. The only downside is the gas prices on the island -- yikes!! I never thought they could be HIGHER than L.A. But of course, it is an island.

    Not kid-friendly
    "Botanical gardens" (Poipu)-Not only aren't infants allowed on the "garden" tour, but any kids under age 10! Maybe they serve alcohol like a bar, or have nudist cage-dancer gardeners, or maybe kids carry some virus that infects plants...I'm not sure. But this was a big shock to us since nothing in the guidebook mentioned it and when I made reservations nobody said anything. Or maybe it was just our daughter chewing on tobacca' on the walk in...we'll never truly know. But they were really snappy that we even brought a child onto the premises when we arrived. The gift shop sells children's items by the way (I guess for the senoir citizen visitors grandkids)
    Hikes in the north - Not only was it raining, but it was muddy. The view is suppose to be amazing looking towards the Napali Coast. We'll never know.
    Helicopter tours - I guess this would be obvious. My wife and I considered taking turns on the flight, but do I really want to sit in the middle on the back seat of a helicopter? The guidebook said it's not worth the cash ($200+)to do so.

    Great historical site!
    At the mouth of the Wailua River there's this sad gated up deteriorated resort area that my wife and I gawked over. The architecture and signage of the place looked like my idea of Hawaii in the 50's 60's, but in a good way. We asked around about it and found out that it was the famous CoCo Palms resort; it was severely damage from Hurricane Iniki in '92. The last queen of Hawaii lived on the grounds, but even more important Elvis's Blue Hawaii was filmed there! Apparently the new owners just green lit a huge project and major rebuild. And they promised to make it look like it did when Elvis was there (included and Elvis museum!). My recommendation for the new owners - start a Elvis themed Luau. I would pay Vegas show prices for something that cool! Anyhow the new resort is opening in summer 2008. So if we ever decided to go back, we're definitely making plans to stay there.

    Other Tips!
    There is a Wal-Mart just north of Lihue's. Although I'm no fan of Wal-Mart but I was a fan of this one. Everything on the island was so expensive; I couldn't get over how much cheaper things were there. Honestly reef shoes in the average store were $30, Wal-Mart $6. Cereal $5-6. Wal-Mart $3. I'm serious! The only problem is, the local government restricted them from putting a sign on the main highway (maybe to keep tourist from going there perhaps?). You can pass it twelve times and not know it was there. It's right near the hospital (Maybe for that heart attack after paying $5 for a small bag of Dorritos at a hotel).

    South is much more relaxing, low-key, less commercial, MUCH more family-friendly than the north, or even the east island. Although the North has nice sites, it only accounts for a day-trip. Also, after speaking with locals and other visitors March isn't really a crazy rainy season, this was unusual (even accounting for that dam break was 2 days after we had gone) It rains, but nothing like what we had. But our stay in the South didn't have that much rain. We've been asked many times, "When are you going back?" To be honest, we're not sure if we're ever going back to Kauai. There are so many other great places to visit in our minds that it would be a waste to go to the same place again (Unless of course it were Tahiti's Bora Bora, Huahine, or Moorea--a truely tropical non-commercial islands). But after finding out about Coco Palms, we just might consider it.

    Please feel free to add anything on the comments and also if you find anything helpful if you do visit. Aloha!!

    Just in! 'Study' finds children of women under 25 twice as likely to live to 100.

    An apology to my daughter--sorry your mom was 30 when we had you. Your mom and I met a few years after college while doing our own thing and didn't get married in time for the 'born by age 25' deadline. And when we did get married, didn't plan on having you for a while yet. We thought it was a good idea to be somewhat financial able to take care of you (and enjoy being married for awhile). But don't worry; if this study is correct, I'm going to live to be 115! So we'll have plenty of time to make up for it, since my mom was 19 when she had me. But of course, that led to a whole lot of other problems--
    I'm not sure about other people, but personally, I couldn't even imagine having a baby younger than age 25. Maybe it's just people who were born to young parents. Or it may be just a guy thing, or guys like me in which paternity doesn’t hit until later. No worries, I'm sure this study will be debunked when doctors and scientist start to replace failing organs, limbs, whatever with robot parts. Then we'll all live to 150 and look like William Shatner (women included).
  • Forbes: Younger Moms' Kids Get Longevity Edge
  • Friday, April 14, 2006

    TomKat's baby, and don't forget Mission: Impossible: III

    Am I the only one bothered by these stupid 'celebrities' using a baby as a media publicity blitz for a new movie? Seriously, when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes "hooked up", everybody and their dog knew it was because they both had movies to promote. I can live with that, it's Hollywood. They create and make up gossip and relationships all the time (Brittany, Lindsay, Paris...) but when you throw a baby into the mix, that's pretty low and desperate. Any great actor or actress would rely more on their work, not stupid stuff like jumping on Oprah's couch and having a sham relationship with a (artificially inseminated?) baby.
    (Because if you work anywhere in Hollywood, that kat's been out of the bag long ago).
  • Reuters: Cruise says Holmes is a Scientologist
  • Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Sibling differences...

    I did something that I normally don't do often. I had an hour phone conversation with my (only sibling) brother on random issues ranging from family get-togethers, conflicts, to raising kids. After hanging up I thought to myself (again) "How in the world do you grow up with somebody but be completely different" --literally opposite sides of nearly everything. It all comes down to this: I'm even tempered, and he's George Costanza.
    He, like me has a daughter except his is 2 years, while mine is 9 months. I really wonder how they're going to turn out when they grow up. Will his daughter see through him and leave home without too much of his influence? Or will she be a smaller version of him. Will my daughter grow up to be level, or will she turn out to be neurotic. God, genetics are a scary thing...
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information: Why are siblings so different?
  • Dr. Spock: Why Are Siblings So Important?
  • Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    When do babies decide to be right or left-handed?

    It’s somewhat of a mystery, I wanted to know, and honestly couldn't figure this out. So I Googled it and found out it's around 9 months - which happens to be my daughter’s age! I taught her how to feed herself Cheerios and small bite sized food with her left hand (I'm left-handed by the way) a few weeks ago, but on some occasions she still uses her right. I really wonder if this is a learned-observational trait or something "hard-wired" in their brain like genetics. I know this sounds weird, or even self-glorifying, but I really want her to be left-handed because right-brain people I know and have worked with tend to be more creative. And being a creative person myself, of course, I want my spawn to be creative! Just as I’m sure a scientist would want their kid to be Einstein 2 (electric boogaloo). I know that there are exceptions to this right brain, left-brain idea, and I’ve read studies debunking this idea (or myth as some have called it). But through college (Art school), work (creative profession), and students I teach AP drawing classes to... a whole lot of them are left-handed. To me, I think there is a correlation there. Saying there isn’t like saying rain doesn’t come from clouds.
    And what if my daughter does turn out to be left-handed or worse non-creative? Well, I wouldn't be too disappointed. Just as long as she's smarter than Einstein…
  • AARP, Leave me alone. Part 2

    My problem continues with AARP and their, what I would call harassing, invitations to join them. I wrote about this problem some time ago, but their letter campaign has recently gotten worse. I average about 2-3 letters a week, addressed to me. Just to be clear, I’m nowhere near my 50’s. I think the reason they have been so pushy the last few weeks is because my birthday was last week. Anyhow I just about had it so I called them yesterday to put an end to it. It went something like this (When a “real” person finally answered):

    Ethel: (Name changed to protect Ethel’s identity) AARP, May I help you?
    Me: (Guy in early 30's) Yes, I’m having a problem receiving invitations from you. Can you please take me off your mailing list?
    Ethel: Are you a member?
    Me: No, I’m not. I’m about 2 generations away.
    Ethel: You can still join. We have junior memberships for those who want to help the cause…
    Me: “Cause”, I didn’t realize this was “the resistance”.
    Ethel: (Continues without hearing)…for senior issues like free prescription drugs.
    Me: Why, so they can have more money to gamble in casinos or play bingo?
    Ethel: What was that?
    Me: Never mind, can you please take me off your mailing list?
    Ethel: What’s your membership number?
    Me: I don’t have one; I’m not a member…I just want to get off your mailing list.
    Ethel: You have a membership number on your letter, just above your name…
    Me: My God, I’m already recruited!! But I’m only 30-something, not 50-something…
    Ethel: (Sinister deep evil voice, with an echo) You’ve been chosen to join the resistance, regardless of your choosing, so we can lobby the government for free prescription drugs, comp rooms in Las Vegas, and ‘buy one get one free’ coupons for Hometown Buffet…Hee-Hee. Ha! Ha!....

    No she didn’t actually say that last line. But in my mind that’s what I heard when she tried to convince me to join. I did get off the list, eventually.
    If you or anybody you know is getting these letters from AARP and wants them to stop. You can call Ethel at 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). Tell her I said “hi”.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Honestly - who really eats "Peeps"?

    When I was a kid, I use to get these horrid things pre-packed in my packaged K-mart Easter Basket. I can remember the day I bit into one and spit it out, and then again the following year, and then nearly every year after that. Like if they would ever come up with a new and improved version. It never happened, and I'm pretty sure it never will. I did find one use for them; stick them in the microwave for a minute and watch. They inflate (like in that video game Dig-Dug) and then explode! Just watch it inflate for a while and then open the door so it doesn't explode. The mess is pretty nasty to clean up.
  • Peeps Research
  • Peeps Jousting 2006
  • Monday, April 10, 2006

    Refrigerators that leak, Sears sucks and other gripes

    There's nothing quite like having a brand new refrigerator leak and the "standard" warranty just expires on you. Yup, something a guy I use to work with called "Murphy’s Law". I swear, I was just about ready to ram my car into the local Sears store, or at least their "customer service" repair department, wherever they are (India? Alabama?.. same thing to me). A message to Sears- one thing you don't want to tell an upset customer is to buy an extended warranty for $250/per year when, these days, a new refrigerator cost almost that. I ended up calling a local appliance repair guy to fix it in 20 minutes for $155. Which, by the way, is crazy!! (I think P.I. lawyers will jump on that bandwagon for that kind of cash). On the way to work I was thinking - we can send a robot to mars and you can see my dog pooping in the yard on Google Maps, but they can't make a freakin' refrigerator that doesn't leak! What kind of world are we living in. Oh yeah, and never buy anything from Sears again. Not even tools or pictures with the Easter Bunny (I hate you now "Sears").
  • Sears Sucks!
  • Rip-Off Report: Sears
  • Friday, April 07, 2006

    You and me baby, at the Getty

    So my birthday was yesterday, which, like every year sends shivers through me wondering where time has gone (I honestly still feel like college wasn’t that long ago - in reality its been over 10). Since "age-day" was on a weekday this year I thought it would be fun to take the day off of work and do something mellow. So I took my daughter to the Getty here in L.A. for a day of culture, reflection, sketching, and meandering. It turned out to be a pretty interesting experience since I’ve never actually spent an entire day with my daughter somewhere without my wife. My wife can get her to do things I can't, like eat vegetables or change her diaper like a pit stop operator. Then there's the restroom issue, but thankfully they have this cool thing now called a "family restroom" which was a lifesaver. She was really quite good in her stroller while in the galleries, I was a little paranoid that she wouldn't be so quiet, but she's very inquisitive about people and her surroundings.

    But the interesting thing about the whole day was the question I got from people in one form or another -"where's mommy?". I usually made some lighthearted joke about it and moved on. Although after some thought, it really is depressing that most dads aren't expected or normally don't spend a day with their kids - or maybe its just dads with an infant and/or toddler. Even afterwards telling people about it, I still get an odd reaction like I breastfeed from a man-boob or something strange like that. I can just imagine what kind of reactions stay-at-home dads get in public. Maybe they just slap people with their man-boob bra for asking stupid questions.
  • The Getty Center - Los Angeles
  • J.otto: Going to the Getty
  • Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Sesame Street Baby Videos

    So it looks like Sesame Street is following Baby Einstein's footsteps and making video's for the 6 month and up crowd (the exception being that the production value looks much better). First of all, I'm not a big fan of infant videos like Baby Einstein (as I wrote a few months ago), but I'm not against selling the stuff for parents who decide to let their kids watch -even though I think Baby Einstein is mindless, cheaply done, and odd among other things- but whatever, that's the PARENTS choice. "Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood" (CCFC) the wacko's who think they know more than parents (who, by the way, are trying to sue Kellogg's and Nickelodeon from marketing snacks to kids) are now screaming at Sesame Street and partners for this new venture. My advice to CCFC, yeah, your cause is somewhat worthy but don't go after the makers - educate the parents. If parents like me don't buy, then something happens called "No Market", and then they go on to sell other things. Like Bratz dolls and Paris Hilton cartoons.
  • AP: Sesame Street Videos Spark Controversy
  • Sesame Beginnings
  • Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood
  • Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Rash, Butt Paste, and gDiapers.

    Can somebody already please invent something better than a diaper?! I swear, some days I feel like just going to Sears and picking up a wet/dry shop vac to suck up poop off my daughters behind. Disposable diapers have been around, for what 40-400 years now? And regular cloth diapers are just plain nasty to clean, aren't good for parents like me who are always out and about, oh yeah- and they suck for the environment too (spotted owls can't nest in them or something like that...)

    Last week my daughter had the nastiest diaper rash, I'm not sure what kind of experiences other parents have had, but this was pretty bad. Her little butt looked like she sat in a can of red paint. The pediatrician prescribed something called "Butt Paste". We laughed, of course, thinking it was an inside joke. Upon picking up the prescription at the pharmacy we were surprised to find out it is in fact called "Butt Paste". Anyhow, we've narrowed it down to either milk or too much fruit that gave her the runs (or medically known as “the squirts”), and the possibility of non-breathable disposable diapers. If you think about it (which I haven't really), that butt is airtight in there.

    So we decided to try a part-time, semi-cloth alternative called gDiapers ($20.99 starter kit @ Whole Foods), a new unconventional diaper with cloth covers and a flushable inserts. I must admit, as a designer, the packaging and concept drew me in. It really is an ingenious idea as a middle ground between cloth and disposable diapers. The inserts are flushable and come with a toilet stir stick (But I still threw the liner in the diaper pail for fear it could cause a toilet back-up). They also claim you could "throw the liner in your garden to decompose".... uh, that's pretty disgusting to me and I don’t want the dog digging it up (or the neighbors to think we’re hippies and smell funny). So far, they're working but we're only using them at night for now. But if they leak or aren't super absorbent, those spotted owls are back to nesting in my daughter's diapers once again and I'm going to Sears.
  • gDiapers
  • Monday, April 03, 2006

    "Sexy media a siren call to promiscuity?" Reuters story

    Duh? Any adult or idiot who's ever been a teen knows this. I don't understand why University's do research on common sense cultural issues. It's like the obvious isn't "justified" until they spend a $3 million federal grant…
  • Reuters story
  • (Yes, I know that's "Saved By the Bell"- The show made Jesse go on to star in Showgirls. I think the University of North Carolina should do a study on that)