Category Archives for Personal
Age is an odd thing, especially in this day and age. With information flowing at a staggering pace, it is now possible to live many different unconnected lives and experiences in quite a short amount of time. Contrast this with youth today who only think that they’ve lived it all. But old timers have been saying that since age was discovered I guess.
I don’t think I’ve done as much as a lot of people in my lifetime, but I have done quite a lot of really interesting and fun things, including quite a few unrelated community ecosystems, which are worlds unto themselves and an entire blog in the making.
In the late 80s I took up guitar again and wrote a lot of music. I also spent a lot of time in recording studios in the early 90s and hacking away on 4 track recorders at home throughout much of the 90s. Its really interesting looking back on some of those songs, revisiting moments in history, because I’m so in a different place right now.
Here’s a couple of things I was listening to tonight. I was in the combined schools choir in school in the upper registers, but fell in love with punk and spent the next 30 years trying to sing badly, something that’s unfortunately set me back in recent years, but that’s another story. Strangely my music usually wasn’t punk.
I wrote Out to you (3.4MB) at a time when my world seemed to be crumbling around me, I still don’t know why, but I still remember who. Never really one for lyrical subtext, this was written for my best friend at the time, and who has been ever since. It must have been written around 1994 or so, but this is a dodgey 2 track from 22nd June 1996, strangely using a Radio Shack PZM.
Rigor mortis (3.8MB) was written in 1991 while learning my way around Cubase. The vox samples are from the Australian film Bodywork. The instruments are all from a couple of Yamaha and AKAI samplers, I can’t remember which.
I’ll find our way home (3.4MB) is another dodgey 2 track with PZM, coincidentally recorded on the 23rd June 1996, but written probably around 1987-1988 or so. It’s my favourite of all my songs, mainly because it had the most emotional impact at the time. Yes, it was for a girl. I don’t really have a good recording of it unfortunately. The guitar is an old 12 string with only 6 strings and rattling tuning pegs. I still have the guitar, I don’t have the girl.
Giddy was written and recorded on 11th February 1997 as a one off attempt to do a Gerling song. That was before they stopped being a rock band. Not particularly successful, but I like the recording.
And finally No place (3MB) is a silly little sampler piece from 2007. I was trying out Apple’s GarageBand software to see how easy it was to use. It didn’t seem that much easier than a professional sequencer, but not bad for 30 minutes of hacking around.
Apart from the last one, they all seem a lifetime away, almost unreal. Almost like I simply manufactured the memories. I guess because it wasn’t really me, it was a different me, the angst ridden me.
I’m sitting here with Molly playing with her toys. Well she’s doing the playing, I’m just telling her fictitious stories about all the stuffed animals.
We have a bee on an elastic cord that bounces around like a, well, like a bee really, which is a nice educational touch, because bee in fact do buzz around in the air. So of course like a good parent, I grab the bee and go “bzzz bzzz bzzz”. But the reality for most parents is probably more like “bzzz bzzz bzzz, go away bee, or I’ll get the insect spray and kill you by squirting poison into your face”, which while technically still educational, is still not as preferable as the lie of the good old buzzing bee. “Look at the cute little bee, bzzz bzzz bzzz, look how it sits on your nose and doesn’t sting you, bzzz bzzz bzzz”.
Molly’s favourite though is an animal mobile, a little mirrored carousel with a cuddly pig, chicken and cow hanging from it by coloured threads. Molly loves to kick the animals around, and although she’s still a little uncoordinated at this point, she’s often able to grab one of the animals and put them in her mouth. Again, definitely educational, if not slightly inaccurate. While we do hang them up, we usually do this with the carcass once we’ve brutally killed them. I guess Molly’s just skipping the cooking bit.
So when is a good time to tell her than the bee isn’t really cute and can be a pest, and that the only things pigs, chickens and cows are good for are killing, cooking and eating? Or is it better to just say all this from the start, so that when told later on she doesn’t accuse you of lying? No wonder children are so good at lying, they learn it from their parents.
It’s amazing, but this blog has actually ruined Louise’s social network. Lots of Louise’s friends are reading my blog, which is great. (Where were you 7 years ago when I first started?) But many of my Molly news posts are full of more information and personal thoughts than I’ve even shared with Louise at times. So whenever Louise speaks to someone on the phone, not only have they heard all the news, but sometimes they’re telling Louise additional things about her life. Louise still hasn’t read my blog since going into hospital, so it’s all pretty surreal to her.
Molly’s doing really well. At times she seems to smile, and sometimes even acknowledge that we exist. Not really, but almost. And she’s still not crying much, except when she’s doing a number twos. Very similar to her Daddy in fact.
We’re still pretty sleep deprived, as she’s still on 4th hourly feeds, but we’re dealing with it quite well, and are starting to get into a rhythm. The Olympics on in the background helps, but that just reminds me of how much a hate our free to air TV stations. Insert Channel 7 TiVo rant here.
So finally TiVo is about to be officially released in Australia. And the TV ad for it is attempting to pull the heart strings of any Australian watching the Olympics. Average Aussie householders walking down the street extolling the virtues of TiVo, with the tag line:
We’re Australian and we’re taking control. Join the revolution. TiVo. TV your way.
In case the advert isn’t clear enough, TiVo is being brought to Australia as a Channel 7 joint venture with the U.S. based TiVo company. TiVo of course is a U.S. product that’s been around for almost ten years now, and while it’s easy for people watching the ad to think that Channel 7 and TiVo care about us the viewers and just want to bring this great product into our lounge rooms, the truth is fact much much different.
Ten years of TiVo in the U.S., but not here. Could it be TiVo not wishing to enter the Australian market until now? Could it be some technical innovation that’s only now allowed Australian PAL televisions to work with TiVo? Or is that there’s never really been a market here? None of these in fact.
The only reason we’ve not had TiVo in Australia, is because the free to air broadcasters, especially channel 7 and channel 9, have been preventing TiVo from entering the market for almost ten years, because one of TiVo’s main features, is the ability to skip over ads in recorded programs. Ads of course are the televisions stations’ primary income, so the threat of TiVo to our local broadcasters was and still is, huge.
Yet TiVo went to market in the U.S., so how come it was prevented from doing so here? Well, Channels 7 and 9 found a nice arguably dodgey loophole in our copyright laws. Because their program schedules were devised by them, they apparently thought that they held the copyright to them. And as with most people who don’t understand what copyright is actually designed to do (protect an artist’s right to income), Channel 7 and 9 used their copyright over their program guides (or EPG, Electronic Program Guide) to prevent TiVo from using them.
And of course without a program guide, TiVo can’t be programmed to record anything, and would be dead in the water in the Australian market.
Third parties have in the past set up their own EPGs on web sites, by manually typing in program schedules as they’re published in the newspapers, or by screen scraping web sites which display limited program schedules, such as the television station web sites themselves, but 7 and 9 have shut each of them down as they appeared. In fact 9 are still in court with IceTV, who were selling an EPG with a web site which would act like a VCR for you.
TiVo have been in Australia unofficially for years though. A friend of mine has several, and has been using them successfully for about five years now. Local hackers reprogrammed the TiVo software many years ago, and several web sites have published EPGs for it at various times before being shut down. But it’s not like taking a box home and just plugging it in and it works.
Enter Foxtel’s new iQ box, which basically does the same thing as the TiVo, but only if you have Foxtel. Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH), a Packer company, owns 25% of Foxtel, so of course Channel 9’s EPG is available on the iQ, but Channel 7 and Channel 10 refused to provide theirs to Foxtel, or at least didn’t initially, I’m not sure of the situation now.
So in response, after ten years of aggressively preventing companies like TiVo from entering the Australian market, Channel 7 did a deal to bring them in as a Channel 7 branded product. To 7’s credit, they’ve left in the ad skipping, and it’s going to be a one off purchase for the TiVo itself, although there are rumours that you’ll have to subscribe to the EPG for a small fee. From devil to angel in a single business deal.
And so it is amusing in so many ways, the tag line used in the Channel 7 TiVo commercial. Yes we are Australian and are taking control, but only after Channel 7 had run out of ways to prevent us from doing so. You couldn’t really call it a revolution, and you couldn’t really call the last ten years TV our way. But TiVo is finally here, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a shame that Channel 7 is now considered the TiVo champion, when fact they were until very recently, it’s biggest opposition.
Today is Molly’s due day, 8/8/8, and it’s also the opening of the Olympics.
When Molly was born on 1st July, all the nurses were saying how it was a great date to be born on. Well, sort of, because our due date was even better!
Just before the opening ceremony started, we had a little birthday cake for Molly. It was actually a pavlova, but who’s counting. Speaking of which, how many candles do you put on for a 0th birthday? We decided to have one candle, which I had to blow out, because Molly was asleep. Louise and I then ate the pavlova, which was lucky, because it wouldn’t have gone three ways.
One of the big changes for us is the lack of time to do anything but eat, sleep, work (for me) and look after Molly. And even the work is just the ones that I’m contractually bound to. Other work? Film and stage project? Nah, no time. I even had to miss Scriptless last night because I had a massive headache from exhaustion. Louise is doing pretty well though, considering she’s doing 4 to 5 of the 6 daily cares Molly needs.
At this point it’s tempting to go off about how offensive some of the open ceremony was, but… there’s not enough time, aside from saying I wasn’t amused at the children of all the countries China has invaded carrying the Chinese flag, and seriously does anyone believe the whole “will the birds ever come back, we need to look after the environment” when they’re the most polluted country on the planet? I said I wouldn’t do a rant didn’t I… Did I mention the big white dove, the great symbol of hypocrisy?
Molly’s yet to reach that constant crying period, and we’re starting to think she mightn’t actually be a crying baby. We had a visit today from the community nurse (courtesy of the awesome RPAH), who said we’d start to see some changes now that she’s officially reached her due date. No idea what that means, but more normal sleep and feeding patterns were mentioned, so we’ll see how that turns out over the next few weeks.
I mean seriously, someone needs to invent a better baby bottle. Surely it’s not that difficult you know, milk goes in the bottle, bottle goes into baby’s mouth, baby provides a seal around the bottle, and you just pour the shit down baby’s throat. What could be simpler?
The most popular bottle brands in Sydney today are Avent and Pigeon. They’re nicely sculptured in clear plastic, with a slightly thinning bit in the middle to make it easier to grasp. Inset is a photo of an Avent bottle, now owned by Philips.
All these bottles have one thing in common, unless you tip them up to about 80 degrees, a few mls of milk will remain in the bottle, because there’s an internal lip that prevents it running out. You can see it in the Avent ones pictured, but they seem to be like this in all bottles. On top of this, the standard teats you buy are fitted to these bottles in a way that actually creates a second internal lip, that you guessed it, prevents another few mls of milk from leaving the bottle.
At first I thought this may be so that any sediment will fall into the lip and not into baby’s mouth, but I doubt it. It’s just plain badly designed.
We’ve put men on the moon, worked out how to incinerate hundreds of thousands of people in an instant, and we’ve invented the hot and cold thermos, surely after feeding babies for hundreds of thousands of years, the practice of feeding a baby properly is within our grasp?
Today Molly shat three times in the middle of a nappy change.
We’ve been changing Molly in her bassinet since she came home last Thursday, and my back has been starting to hurt because it’s too low down, so we finally bit the bullet and bought a change table. My Mum and Dad did the research over the weekend, and I went and picked one up today. The plan was that Louise, Molly and I would go, but the severe thunderstorms put paid to that. We also had another visit from the community nurse today, all part of the awesome service they provide for pre-term babies at RPA. Did I mention RPA rock, and you’d be either an idiot, or a Packer, or both, if you went anywhere else?
So it was my turn for cares this evening, but it was the first time we’d be using the new change table, so I managed to con Louise into helping, in what ended up being the triple poo incident. I had a run of eight cares in a row at the hospital when Molly would wee on the new nappy in the middle of the change and cause us to change the entire bed and all her clothes, but I’d been fairly lucky in the last few days. Not so now. Three nappies, eight wipes, two towels, a singlet and a jump suit all soiled.
Sunday, yesterday, was going to be a big day. We were supposed to have visits from two of Louise’s brothers, then one of her sister in laws, then a friend of mine to help empty the house of a bunch of old computer crap that’s been taking up valuable Molly space, and then Louise’s sister. In the end, none of it happened, which as you know is normal for our scheduled plans. Except for her brothers, who popped in while I was out doing even more shopping for necessities, like antibacterial hand wash, bottom wipes and chocolate, not necessarily in that order.
We’re starting to get more sleep now, and patterns with the cares are starting to emerge. I usually do the late night ones solo, and Louise does the early morning ones solo, and we share during the day. Although today Louise did most of them, as a rehearsal for the next three days when I’m at a client in town. This may not last that long, as they’re trying to get me security access so that I can work from home, which would make things oh so much easier, and I’d actually get more work done as well. But it would mean more poo disasters.
I was going to make this part 40 blog post the final in this series, but I kept remembering cool stuff to mention throughout the day, so I think I’ll continue on. Although I forgot them again by the time I got to writing this, so I need to get out my old reminder notebook out again. Louise and I both get calls and emails from people who are reading this blog, not just family and friends, but also distant friends and acquaintances. I’m not sure whether it’s an interesting read, or whether it just brings back memories of them going through the same thing, but either way, that’s gotta be a good thing.
Right now it’s 10pm, and time for a feed and cares. Louise is asleep on the lounge, and Phoebe is asleep on her lap, with Molly upstairs asleep in her bassinet. How come everyone is sleeping except for me? Time to wake them all up…
Again, if you’re not into my personal stuff, then please consider customising your RSS feed so that it doesn’t contain the personal stuff. Either way, I still figure there’s either a book, a stage show or a stand up routine in all this, which I’ll probably work on when I get some free time… some free time… some free time…
When people say that you don’t get any sleep in the first few months of baby being at home, you think OK, I’ve had some pretty bad nights in my time, sure it’s going to be bad, but how hard can it be?
Last night was difficult, getting up every few hours for feeding and cares. At 3am I couldn’t take it anymore and ended up sleeping for most of the night, with Louise doing every shift and then sleeping a few hours this morning on the lounge.
We were both sleep deprived before Louise went into hospital, trying to finish up all our projects before the baby was born. Then Louise went into hospital early, which just made the sleep deprivation worse, because she wasn’t really sleeping, and I was trying to run the house as well as finish projects off. Then Molly arrived and went into the high dependency unit, which sucked up even more of our time, and Louise got discharged, which took up even more. Most peoples’ sleep deprivation begins on the day of the birth, usually with a long labour, and then a few days later when everyone goes home to 4th hourly cares. Our lives were screwed before we got anywhere near getting back home.
But we’re surviving. We had a community nurse come and visit for several hours today, giving advice to Louise and I, and a check up to Molly. Then we took her out in the car for her first outdoors pram ride, to the Bonds seconds factory to get a few extra necessary clothes, and then to good ol’ Marrickville Metro to get some extra cleaning products, and of course a cone.
On top of all that, I think we’re in the honeymoon period, as she rarely cries, and she pretty much feeds on schedule. I must say however that Louise’s sister’s lasagne was awesome.
Molly came home yesterday (Thursday) at around 2pm. Yay!
We had about 4-5 hours sleep the night before, getting up around 8am. We didn’t get the bottles and other bits and pieces on the Wednesday, and typically for us, we actually bought the wrong food. I mean, it’s not like we bought chicken chunks in jelly, when she prefers tuna strips in brine, no, we bought the formula the hospital uses, but for full terms, not preterms. So knowing we’d have to feed her around 3pm, we had to exchange the formula and buy the bottles before we got to the hospital.
The formula exchange went fine. But when we got to the chemist… they were out of bottles. Great, we were about to be the primary care givers for a newborn, and we had no way to feed her. There’s something to be said about having a spare rubber device or two around the home, because you never know when it might come in handy. The chemist said they’d be getting more bottles in around midday, so that meant we could probably pick up Molly and then pick up the bottles from Marrickville Metro on the way home. Assuming of course that the bottles would arrive when they said they would.
We turned up at the hospital at 10:45am. The only thing we’d heard so far was that one “she may be able to go home tomorrow”, so I tried not to get too committed to the idea until it actually happened. Louise was more convinced, and none of my “let’s just see what happens, no expectations” type lines would sway her, she just knew Molly was coming home.
When we walked in, everything fell into place. The nurses all assumed she was going home, and had already done most of the work required to make that happen. They’d also done the 11am cares for some reason, which was a shame, because we were looking forward to doing the last one, but no matter.
By midday we were pretty much ready to go. The doctor came around for the final discharge check up, which Molly pretty much slept through because it was under the nice warm bath lights. The final step consists of the doctor shining a light into her eyes and checking for a reaction. Well, Molly wasn’t having any of that, and kept her eyes firmly closed. Then the doctor got paged, and said if she didn’t open her eyes in the next minute, she’d have to leave and Molly would have to stay until later in the day. The three us rubbed hands, her legs, her tummy, her cheeks, nothing worked… then finally humming Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin saved the day, and she open each eye slightly to see where daddy was. Eat that Teddy Bears, John Bonham moonlights as a doctors assistant.
We had to return all the hospital clothes and linen, so we dressed her in a pink singlet from Louise’s mum, a cute little white with pink spots jump suit, the only clothes we own that fit her, from one of my aunties, and wrapped in the same wrap that my grandmother knitted for me when I came home from the hospital. The latest lot of photos show everything off.
We wheeled her cot out into the main part of RPA, and then outside for the very first time, in the RPA emergency drop off, we’d parked the car.
It was a little embarrassing, because I didn’t know how to properly use the car seat, or even if it was OK for a premmie, but the nurse was great and knew hot to strap her in. Originally we thought we’d have to pick her up in the pram, so it was sitting in the boot, waiting for for dad who knows nothing about prams or strollers, to have to pull it out and somehow nonchalantly expand it (from it’s portable collapsed state) into an actual stroller. Luckily we didn’t actually need it.
So we finally left the hospital, and stopped off at Metro on the way home. I’d love to say we left her in the car while we went shopping, but some of the family may not see the funny side. No, I sat with Molly with a window slightly down, while Louise went and got the bottles, a final cone, and strangely enough, a pie with sauce. Molly’s mum is a bit of a nut job at times. I hope she’s getting most of it from me.
As I write this, we’ve had our first 32 hours at home, and this the first moment I’ve had to blog. I’ll hopefully cover those initial 24 hours tomorrow, once I’ve had a little sleep. Or does this just go on for 18 years now?
I was in town today working with a client. I’d just reached a major project milestone around lunchtime, when I got a call from Louise at the hospital. She was there to do the 11am cares, as previously mentioned in What a crazy year, part 35, and she said “they’re saying she might go home tomorrow”.
Like everything that’s happened in this long saga, nothing ever comes with a warning. Events always seem to sneak up on you unawares, and then when you least expect them, bam, something happens.
And so here we are, in no fit state to support a baby at home, yet like it or not, she’s probably on her way tomorrow (Thursday) morning. While the nurses all usually tow the the same line, every now and again you get varying opinions, so I ask who actually said she might be going going home. “Oh, one of the doctors came over to us with the nursery registrar”. Hmm… OK, that’s probably fairly accurate then.
I still have to get my car registered, so this morning I got up early to take it in for a service and rego. But first I had to drive it from up the street down to my house, in order to put the fourth wheel back on. It was parked too close to the curb to do it, hence I had to move it. Unfortunately though, the battery was flat, because I hadn’t used in the three and a half weeks since the tyre was slashed. So, I had to drive Louise’s car up to mine, in order to jump start it. This meant blocking the entire street, which is the main sneaky connector street between Newtown and Marrickville that everyone uses in the morning to bypass King St. I annoyed quite a few people, but they could all see that I wasn’t to be messed with at this point in the birth of my child, so I didn’t get any crap from people. I then parked Louise’s car, drove mine to our house, and switched the dickie wheel for the real one, all with the engine running so it would charge the battery. Don’t do this at home folks.
Meanwhile, back to lunchtime and Louise’s phone call, we agreed that we’d both head home and then run through the plan for the day. We both got home around 2pm, which left us a few hours of shopping time to get the following necessities that we so far didn’t have: nappies, towels, singlets, a new matress for the bassinet, a matress protector, wraps, and some clothes. Any clothes.
The other big thing we hadn’t done, is fit the car capsule, or in our case, the car seat. It’s the law, so if we didn’t get it fitted in time, the she wouldn’t be coming home. We’d booked in a fitting for Friday, because that was the soonest the people we preferred could do it, and we figured there’s no way she’d be out by then. And of course we just may have found some time to go through the container of gear to find the seat by then as well. Instead, I had to drag it out this afternoon, and call around for someone to install it. We found someone. It took them 5 minutes. Our biggest concern, sorted on the spot in 5 minutes. Nice one. I enjoy life when things turn out better than expected.
We also have to get her from the hospital nursery to the car, so instead of just wheeling her out in the hospital cot, we figured that her own pram would be the way to go. So tonight was spent putting the pram together (from the container load) and assembling the bassinet so she can sleep (also from the container load). The pram was one of those ever extensible types, where you can keep adding extras until it resembles a space ship or an out of control Katamari. It actually came already extended, with an additional toddler seat attached to it, for a nice two level baby effect. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this at first, and couldn’t work out how this vertical tandem contraption unfolded correctly to form a simple pram. I eventually worked it out by downloading the manuals of several prams in the company’s line and working from those. For some reason our parm hasn’t got a manual available on their site. No matter, I eventually worked it all out.
Now it’s 3am, and I need to get sleep before Louise gets up to express, and we go to pick up Molly at 11am. I still haven’t talked about industrial chemist man and his foolproof breast feed volume measuring system, but that will have to wait until another day.
People have been asking why I haven’t been videoblogging this, and I agree that it would make a fantastic disaster movie. Well, we are videoing lots of things, and in vlogging style, but the two main reasons they’re not here on the site are: a) I just don’t have the time to log, edit, render and upload, which is annoying because a few years ago I was hoping this problem would have been solved by now, and b) because I’m protecting the privacy of Molly. Regular readers will know my predictions on privacy, but that doesn’t mean I wish to accelerate it’s ultimate downfall. Video and photos of Molly this young aren’t for public viewing, but friends and family can see them if they ask for the password. So stick that in your videoblogging manifesto.