Thursday, August 27, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Sayonara First Trimester!

Beginning of Week 13:

Oh the things you've missed. But that's not really your fault, I'm the one who's doing the blogging here, and I also work like a freaking dog, so forgive me if the blogs don't flow like wine, but what can you do? Unfortunately you missed Creatures entire turn as a lime. He went from fig to lime, a half ounce lime, and this week he's a shrimp.

I'm underwhelmed.

What exactly is the science that backs this up? In what iteration of this world is a shrimp larger and more formidable than a lime? Try eating ten shrimp and then ten limes and then tell me which one fills you up quite a bit more. Perhaps the problem is I've labored under the false understanding that fetal growth is a straight line, one way process. If he's a lime, then a shrimp, then I guess early fetal development consists of various growing and shrinking until you get things just right. Makes sense, I guess.

At any rate Jess and I were very excited to have our first visit with our awesome OBGYN. She told us everything was looking great, and that every little bump and creak that Jessica has experienced is completely normal. We got to hear Creature's microscopic heartbeat, a steady 160 BPM. It's rather insane to think little Creature is in Jessica's body, mucking around, heart beating and body doubling in size (allegedly) every week or so—but a doctor told us it was happening so we have to believe it.

This next part I probably shouldn't tell you about. I'm sure most people aren't as lucky as we are, so I don't want you going out expecting this will happen to you. We were explaining to the doctor that Jess' twin is convinced that we are having twins. The doctor had felt my wife's womb, on the outside, and said she felt like a very normal size, but you never know. When the visit was over we were getting our things together alone in the examination room, and then the doctor popped her head in the door and said, "Hey, do you want to take a look on the ultrasound machine?" No way! A free ultrasound with the doctor, talk about Christmas come early (seeing as how they run about $500 or so). So we got to see our little Creature, yes just one Creature, and it was amazing. Jess would laugh and Creature would react. He was bopping around doing his tiny baby thing. It was a pleasure to finally get to see him after thinking and reading so much about him.

In a mere five weeks we get to find out if it's a He-Creature or a She-Creature! Earlier today I was Twittering on the difficulties of picking a name for a new baby person. If you get a chance, please give me any wisdom you can muster on name-giving philosophy. It can't be too weird, and it can't be too common, it's got to be just right.

An Indulgent Blogger-style Blog Post

So often in my life I have to remind myself that this is only a Jason thing, this is not a universal thing; meaning there are a lot of things in this particular world that bother me that, I've found, don't both others. Unmitigated earnestness bothers me. Small talk bothers me. Pomp, circumstance, frills (BTW my life in real time: right now looking up the word "frill" after saying to myself "What the hell's a frill anyway?") and obligatory nothings bother me (hi how are you, fine how are you, are you working hard or hardly working?).

So when I first heard of weblogs (blogs) the only thing I saw them being used for were personal online diaries. I despise personal online diaries. I don't like it when people blog about themselves: only you and your mother (and sometimes millions of people) want to hear about it. It's so indulgent, so solipsistic, so...banal. Needless to say I certainly vowed never to do it.

But it's so tempting. It's fun to talk about yourself. It's fun to indulge yourself. I just happen to be the kind of person who white knuckles his way out of doing a lot of things I might like to do, but for appearances and prides sake I will not.

Anyway, I've been blogging more or less solid now for a couple three years and I just can't take it anymore. I have to do an egotistical, indulgent and disgusting self-centered blog post. Because I want to. Because my soul is asking me for it.

Self Reflection:

I read a little piece of this book the other day that really nailed where I am at. I've been locked in a cycle of self-loathing, self-hatred and self-doubt since I graduated university in '04. Up until that point hope was allowed to spring eternal because I didn't have to do anything—I was in school. I was gearing up to do Great and Wonderful Things that my generation has been coached since birth by EVERYONE that we will do. I was going to be a lawyer or a writer or a journalist or a psychologist or a novelist or whatever the hell I felt like being.

But I graduated, and was stupored, was floored, was leveled to find out that being told you will Do Things and thinking about how you will Do Things is very different than going into the world and actually Doing Things. In fact, it seems to me, the two things don't have all that much in common.

So to stem the panic, to stanch the all-engrossing fear that I might be a Joe with a 9 to 5 and minimal leisure time for the foreseeable future, I told myself I was launching program Education 2.0. I had graduated and wanted to "write" and soon found I had absolutely nothing to say. What's worse is that I was scared to death that people might notice that very fact. Everything I didn't know was quite palpable, my considerable lack of talent with the written word (please understand there is a great chasm between writing well enough for A's in college and writing well enough to coax money from people's wallets into your bank account) was painfully evident. So I decided to voraciously consume great writing, great art, and in the effort hope that some of it would, I don't know, providentially, osmologically rub off on me. So I would finish a Dostoevsky novel, sit down in front of a blank page, but still I would continue to weep.

"Ok, I'm not ready yet." Go off, read some Kafka (mistake), read Ayn Rand (cool), read Nabokov (lame-ass), read King (good), read Hornby (great), read Heller (god-like). Come back to a blank page, still that feeling persists that the computer must go through the window and it must go now. You suck you suck you suck. Tell your mom you're not really a writer. Writhe on the floor and scream at Jessica that you're not really a writer. Tell God you're not really a writer and listen for the laughter to redound from the knowing Father and His angels, all the ones who have known the whole time the fraud I've pretended to be.

I don't really have an end to that little story. I haven't noticed this process coming to a recognizable end or anything like that. But I have grown just ever so sick of it. I have...found myself saying, a little more often, "you know, who gives a shit?" Who cares if I don't feel I'm good enough, man I've got to get started.

And then I read this little slice of this little book the other day, and I just knew that I'm a hell of a lot closer to feeling like this than I was five years ago:

"During the last few years I have read many studies about spirituality and the spiritual life; I have listened to many lectures, spoken with many spiritual guides and visited many religious communities. I have learned much, but the time has come to realize that neither parents nor teachers nor counselors can do much more than offer a free and friendly place where one has to discover his own lonely way. Maybe my own deep-rooted fear to be on my own and alone kept me going from person to person, book to book and school to school, anxiously avoiding the pain of accepting the responsibility for my own life. All that is quite possible, but more important is that the time seems to have come when I can no longer stand back with the remark, 'Some say...others say,' but have to respond to the question, 'But what do you say?'" —From Henri Nouwen's
Reaching Out

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Fig?!

End of week 11:

This week Creature is a fig, and I know that means nothing to you because you're vaguely surprised that a fig is an actual thing, and further more you have no way to classify it. Don't worry about it, I'll just tell you—a fig is just a little bigger than a kumquat.

Jessie having a moment with Creature.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Genius Quentin Tarantino Agrees With Me

Well, indirectly, anyway.

Do you suffer from the same universal human condition that I do? There's a lot that goes into that, but the thing that I'm referring to is when you think or believe something, but if the majority of people disagree with you then you automatically second-guess yourself, shuffle that belief which distinguishes you to the bottom of the deck and quickly look for something you can agree on that gets you back in the inner circle. Don't lie, of course you do that.

Please be aware that right now I fully understand there are a handful of people who are feeling very smug and saying, "No, I never do that, I love being different." I understand there is nothing I can do to convince a person like you otherwise, but you must understand that you have dealt with so much embarrassment throughout your life because you've been the odd one out, and therefore you have hardened yourself as a means to fight the pain. What it really is is some deformed version of aversion therapy wherein the things that humans universally loathe you say you love—but this is simply your sad and flawed defense mechanism, and I feel sorry for you.

But back to paragraph one: There are a few movies over the years that in my heart I have raved about, but out in the world I have learned to just shut up about them because the rest of humanity doesn't agree with me. But now Quentin has come out of the closet to back me up, and the truth is it's bitter-sweet. Of course I know that I've been right all this time, but I have allowed the world to silence me. And now, simply because I have celebrity endorsement, I am ready to reclaim with abundance that which I chose to stifle. It feels...cowardly. Actually, it is cowardly. I am a coward because I don't just trumpet what I believe loud and proud. Instead I stick my licked finger to the wind, I see which side of the bread the butter is on, and then I take my shot, my calculated, predetermined shot.

Oh well, I'm pretty sure there are worse things than being a coward, I'll get back to you on what those are.

Oh yeah, the movies that it turns out I was right about are Woody Allen's
Anything Else (even though Jason Biggs sucks, I always include that caveat), and M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable. But, in the interest of full disclosure, he also includes Lost in Translation and The Insider, both of which happen to be awful, so it turns out that no one is perfect.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it, see if for yourself:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creature Chronicles: Lil' Kumquat

Beginning of Week 10:

Our beloved Creature is now the size of a delectable kumquat. When Jess told me that I kinda got freaked out because when she said kumquat I pictured eggplant—does anyone else have that problem? So I was like holy geez this kid was a quarter a few days ago and now he just ballooned up to kumquat like that. I did some quick research on kumquats and found out they're only about an inch or so long. That makes a lot more sense. But you don't have to believe me, see for yourself:

Anyway, Bear (that's Jessica, but you don't get to call her that only I get to call her that) is doing really really good and I'm really proud of her. Come sickness or weird cravings or detoothing, Jessica was born to be pregnant.

Yes, I did say detoothing. Jess had made it half way up the stairs the other day when the feeling came upon her. She knew she had about 5 to 7 seconds to get to a receptacle sickness overtook her. She ended up having a crash landing at the toilet, her grace and part of a tooth becoming a casualty. At the time it was trés frightening, but now it will just be a good story to razz Creature about when he's old enough to understand what he did to Mommy.

(For any concerned, my wife chooses to laugh rather than cry over the incident, and when I asked if I could write about it she graciously granted my request.)