Friday, June 30, 2006

The Art of Baby Care: I Should be Dead!!!

Last night we had our last baby class. This one involved infant safety as well as CPR classes.

I should be dead!

They talked about socket covers for the plug outlets on the walls so kids don't stick anything in them. Like me, sticking tweezers into the wall when I was like 5.

Stair guards. What's that? Never saw that before. I see them now but not my parents.

Window guards. My upstairs bedroom window was easy to open. I don't remember how many times I hung out the window when it rained as a kid. No window guard.

Unsupervised baths. Mom just filled the tub and threw some toys in. Sucks to be Steve, here's some shampoo.

My favorite, making the baby sleep on its back instead of it's chest to help reduce the chance of SIDS. What's up with that? No blankets or toys either. Just a bare mattress with maybe a sheet on it.

Crib safety! No lead paint. Bars less than 2 and 3/4". Boy, I have one crib memory in my bedroom growing up where I stuck my arms through to my brother and he pulled me forward so my face slammed into the crib. That sucked!!

How to strap your kid's baby seat into the car? I don't remember ever having one. In fact, I don't remember having to wear a seat belt in the car. The nice 1974 Chevy Malibu "Grocery Getter" Station Wagon my parents had was plenty safe, with it's black vinyl seats and rear cargo area. God help us if we ever were forced to wear a seat belt. I remember climbing into a friends car growing up and the mom not leaving unless we were buckled. It was a foreign concept to me, almost like some other religion. And now we have 5 point harnessed safety seats. We're just about ready for the track! My kids probably gonna have a breakaway steering wheel and a HANS device, soon.

And the CPR class, God knows how many times I choked on something where my father just handed me a glass of water instead of slapping my back across his knee to expel the object.

My parents were great parents. I wonder how I lived though.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fluffy Lucy and Ichiban... (And then I bash the weather people)

What a title eh? I figure after having a few Ichiban's this evening and having the new Cracker album blaring over the air waves, it might make for a few cool hits off of Google from some creeps. (Fluffy Lucy is a song off of Cracker's new Greenland album. Buy it!)

We had our final baby shower this evening and it was a couples thing, meaning it was both men and women not some chic' girlie thing. Our baby boy, _____ ______, will sure enjoy all the stuff he got. I bet all ya are waiting for the name and when we decide and the kid is born we'll sure tell you. But names are tough stuff. I mean, you could have some twisted family member get all bent out of shape because of what you didn't name the kid. Thank God, we won't have that problem. It's a crazy thing because everyone wants to know. There could be 7 weeks left. Who knows.

Sacramento has been HOT lately. 105 to 107 the last few days. It's kind of oppressive actually yet, it happens every summer. We get these streaks from now until the end of September where it cranks up over a 100 for a few days and life outside just stops. You can barely work in the yard in the morning. You don't want to drive a car without good air conditioning. It comes with living here. You hate it when it gets this hot but you move to this town any way even though it does, like it has for thousands of years.

What is it though with the weather people? It's a game for these people. I listen to 1530AM in the morning on the way out for work because they are a news channel and I can hear about stuff going on in the area and the world. But when it comes to the weather, and I am sure I have blogged about this before, the news casters make reporting the weather into a dramatic sporting event. First they tease you by saying the something like:

Radio Voice #1: "Any plans out doors this weekend?" (sarcastic tone)
Radio Voice #2:"Oh... you might want to reconsider..."(threatening tone)
Radio Voice #1:"We'll have Eileen's 'Extreme' forecast at the end of the hour"

Ok.. what the hell is that? If you have lived in the town for the last few days you know it's been hot. You open the door after sitting in the car driving from let's say Grass Valley to Yuba City which is like 45 minutes of air conditioned bliss through the foothills and the heat is like BAM!! right into the face! Okay we know it is hot but to sarcastically threaten you into not enjoying the barbeque, going to the hardware store, washing your car or freaking driving your car because of the "increased amount of ozone in the valley"? It's not right! We get it. It's a free country and if we feel like going out, we'll go out. I think this time of year, when it's not raining, it's fine.

So later on when one of the little blond things from one of the local tv stations gets on for her segment the world stops. (Editor's note: I say blond things to mean both good and bad, good as in the one on KXTV 10 in the mornings, and bad as in most of the other one's. And why do they need to be blond these days?) The world stops, and the weather girl gets on for her monologue laced with terms we all know like "warming", no "delta breeze", and "temperatures rising into the 100's" and then there will be some quasi-scientific terms like "inversion layer", "high pressure settling over the high desert" and "cummulus clouds forming over the Western Sierra". It goes something like this:

Dramatic Blond thing: "Oh, it's that time of the year. June is about the time of the year where we see these weather patterns come in. Normally we only see highs historically averaging in the low 90's, but the pattern shows a massive high pressure system over Western Nevada creating an offshore flow. This is typical of the Sacramento Valley throughout the summer. Keep your cat's and dog's indoors and if you are elderly or suffer from chronic asthma don't go outside in the afternoon. It's gonna be a toasty one today"

And then one of the swarmy radio people, usually the guy goes: "Yeah, last week when it was in the 70's I got my garage cleaned out and I am so glad I can sit indoors or by the pool this weekend..."

It's like, "Screw you... we hooked you into listening to the radio longer to hear the weather forecasts and all those extra radio ads from Barney Aldridge and his brand new fixed rate mortgage plans at 1-800-680-4000, which you already know unless you are from out of town or an invalid but we needed to do this for ratings. I at least got my crap I needed to do, done. Piss off you wankers..."

Why does the news world think we care about the weather forecast so much? I wish we had the Family Guy's Angry Black Weatherman: "It's damn hot" And that would be that.

I am so glad I have this blog... thanks for listening.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

People Suck... Well.. Some of Them Do Anyway

People suck!! Each and every last one of them. Unless you are married to me or one of my customers... Then you rule...

See corresponding story on BIO

Let's see. Yesterday, I took the Hummer out to run some errands. We were waiting for some movers to show so we could move our house around without exaggerating my back and arm pain any further.

So... I went to Peet's Coffee near the Safeway locally here in Sacramento. Got the coffee and proceeded to my vehicle when suddenly...

This blonde chick rides up on a bicycle and starts cussing me out for stealing the planet's natural resources, polluting the environment alongside Europe and a whole lot of F-bombs.

I quote (paraphrase actually): "F-bomb your Hum-F-bomber, Mother F-bombing A-bombhole, Mother F-bomber... you F-bombing fascist creep and you're a waste..."

In hindsight this is all very funny. But it's not.

I was actually quite frightened. I mean seriously dude... what the hell was I gonna do if this chick had pig's blood or something she threw at me. Or better yet, a knife or a gun. Could she have been stalking me as I went into Peet's? Did she see me pull up by myself? Was this pariah scouring the parking lot looking for victims to latch onto? I mean serious what the F-bomb did I do?

To top it off... It was like 36 hours ago and it is still bugging the hell out of me. It's all I think about. Did I do something wrong when I bought the car? Absolutely not! If the Federal Government is letting me have it on the road, as one gracious Bring It On reader pointed out, then I should be allowed the freedom to have it. Have you ever been so distraught over something you saw in a parking lot to make you just go ape shit like this lady did? C'mon think about it.

I mean I can think about one time where I might fly off the handle like this but it wasn't in a parking lot. See, two friends of mine were in Vegas getting their marriage license and I had driven them to the court house. While waiting outside the room for my friends, where they take you in for the license, I first watched a pregnant girl walk in with someone that looked like her mom, and older gentlemen that could be her dad and trailing steps behind them was a single guy with the saddest look on his face. I mean this dude was gonna bolt, any minute he could get away. His future father in law could have had a shotgun in his hands the way this kid looked. And they got right in that license line and I actually see the father in law pull the young man forward and hand him a pen. I am like, "No freaking way is that gonna work..." But I kept my mouth shut. Simple. And it is out of my mind. That marriage is probably over by now. But, really it makes for a funny Las Vegas story.

You can be distraught over the war in Iraq. Our recent casualties. The oil prices and pretty much everything related to oil like transportation costs, commodities and corporate profits and that is fine. But don't take it out on your neighborhood Hummer driver. I bought a family car. Have you seen our registry for our baby? Of course not, but seriously, how are you supposed to pack two suit cases, a stroller, diapers, baby clothes, toys and blankets for a long trip in a compact sedan. Freaking impossible and besides, it's an E85 Methanol-Ready vehicle for Christ's sake... Hurry up and support your local farmer, I am all for Methanol!!!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Typical Sunday?

I have never gotten a present before in the summer. Never! My birthday falls on the biggest present giving day of the year. Not to sound selfish but that kind of sucks, Christmas and birthday... I write about it every year. (see sidebar for correlating months about Christmas and me) However things change after this year.

Today is Father's Day and in a few weeks I get to be a Father. You don't become a Father, you get the chance. It's something you get to be. And it's simply not by saying, "Yeah I am his Dad." You become an adult because it is something that happens physiologically to you as you age from a baby, to a child to a teenager to an adult. I'd say I became an adult only about 5 or 6 years ago, after I got married and got our first house. I was out of college and well into my career before I became an adult. For some people they become adults early and others become adults later. You had better hope you get to be Father though, after you become an adult. If not... I think hope is lost for the poor kid.

I feel.. Scratch that... I am ready... for the challenges and the rewards, for the happiness, the misery even and of course, perhaps that Sunday drive out to the park to play ball or watching him go to Kindergarten for the first time. That scrape on the knee when he falls down our poorly handcrafted stairs outside our front door (made by his father no less). That late night fever of 103 degrees and hoping I have the courage not to panic under fire. The day he brings that report card home with his first low mark on it and his courage to show me. The day he says something in public that was not nice. The first bicycle. The first time he thanks someone in public without being asked. The first time he beats me at a game of chess, poker or some silly Xbox game. That first time he drives the car by himself. Our first beer together legally at a professional baseball or basketball game. His first guitar. The chance to grow old and watch him get married and become a father himself. The first.... Oh hell... I can go on forever... And I will.

Just a few more weeks to go...

Happy Fathers Day.

Post inspired by this post here and this post here. Thanks pia and lawryde!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I am Jack's Burning Rage...

I went to my beginning Pain Management Class today and it was exactly what I expected:

Something they could have put on a DVD and sent to my house with a little question and answer form to prove we watched it.

I walked into the room and as I expected I saw 20 or so 50 plus year old people carrying canes. I had 20 years on the nearest person. What the hell was I doing there?

I am Jack's Burning Rage

Sorry for the blatant "Fight Club" rip but when one of the lady's started to talk about going to your inner soul and trunk to make yourself well, that was all I could think of. I was waiting for Marla Sanger to be standing outside smoking a cigarette and stealing coffee. And the seats in the conference room could not be more uncomfortable. People with chronic pain in uncomfortable chairs. No one could sit still... No one. I felt like a faker.

And what I really enjoyed was their explanation of chronic pain vs. acute pain. You acute pain is pain that just happened to you like burning yourself on the oven or poking yourself with a sharp blade. Chronic pain is much different because "the injury was healed but the pain lingers on".

The translation of all this to me meant, "Welcome to the Black Hole, We know how to fix you but it's cheaper if we torture you with classes like this." I sort of sucked.

They also showed a slide with a series of circles. At the center was your pain. The next was the loss of your activities. The next was the change in your mood. And finally the last circle was how your pain effected your relationships. Some how, I wondered where dealing with the administrative process of a Kaiser Hospital fit into this. I saw one FREAKING DOCTOR this whole time. Hello? Diagnosis anyone?

After the administrative overview came the Physical Therapist. A fairly attractive petite woman. All I noticed was this huge silver cross dangling from her neck while she talked about the holistic side and how the pain was "in your head" and it "had to be managed" and how they had 2 dogs that assisted with the therapy. Oh brother...

Next came my favorite part. (Seriously) The pain psychiatrist. My infinite boredom ended with his charisma. He said some things that made sense and other things that were way out there but he at least peaked my interest. He began to tell some story about some patient who went beserk in the examination room with him. How this patient just demanded the drugs and the shots and basically to get the hell out of his way. Apparently it almost got physical and the patient was upset and ran out of the building... only to be struck by a car and lose his legs, and how he has "poop bag" and can't clean himself and that guy had to come back to the pain clinic for therapy year later. I laughed inside... Seriously is anyone that psycho? Look both ways before you cross the street no matter how pissed you are!!

Bottom line, I guess I am gonna get some new forms of treatment and maybe some new hobbies like Yoga and Tai Chi so I can learn how to relax myself. So much for the other hobbies I had for relaxation like, blogging perhaps... or playing my guitar which is hard to do these days... or that relaxing drive in the Porsche I can't do now so well because my left leg goes numb and I can't push the clutch quickly... or work on my yard and house, I'd like to finish some home improvement projects like the ceiling downstairs or moving a fence or maybe renovate my bathroom, you know... stuff I like to do.. or really, what I used to do for relaxation: Play golf and drink beer with my friends. I seriously get a helluva lot more enjoyment out of that since GOLF had EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WHY I HURT!!!

I am done... peace...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

True Story About Me

Back in 1996 I worked at an unnamed car wash in Los Angeles. I had just gotten out of college and had gone to LA to make an attempt to get into the music business. My goal was to get into Radio Promotions and possibly A&R. I believed at the time and still believe I know a hit when I hear one before it ever comes out to the public, though I am not as keen or as "cutting edge" as I may have been in my early 20's. My ears really dig into poppy crap like the Beatles and Buddy Holly so I dig any song that follows that older format of style which you still hear in music today from bands like the Killers or Franz Ferdinand or even the now defunct Boxcar Racer featuring two of the dudes from Blink 182...

Oh yeah... the car wash.

But first a commercial break...

Gilbert's on Pico Blvd, near SMJC in Santa Monica is a pretty tasty hole in the wall Mexican Restaurant and I just thought about it while sitting here so I want to plug it. Gilbert's rules!!!

Ok... So like, I was one of those people who asked you to buy more expensive car washes than you want to pay for. I was good at it too. I could talk someone off of a $5 coupon up to a $30 wash in a matter of seconds. And I pumped gas to boot. I pumped gas for a living, now who can say that? It was balmy July day, midweek and we were pretty slow. This Dark Blue Chevy Tahoe pulls up and all the employees start smiling but started to run for cover for some reason. I walk up to the window of the front door of the car to start my sales pitch with the driver, only he wasn't there! The window rolls down and I see no one in the front seat where you'd typically see someone 99.9% of the time you looked in the front window.

I peaked my head in the window and looked towards the back seat and there he was. He was sitting in the front seat but it looked as if he was in the back seat. I didn't recognize him at first but then he quickly got off his cell phone and asked me to move back from the door. The door popped and out comes the biggest man I have ever seen in person: Shaquille O'Neal

Holy Crap I thought... I treated him like anybody else and asked what he was interested in today. "Wash it, man" he says. His Tahoe was so low it wouldn't fit on the conveyor so I asked if he'd like it hand washed for $25. "Cool," he says, "Where do I pay?" Now the enterprising man that I am I decided to step it up, "But Shaq, you do want it hand waxed too right?"
"How much?" He says... I say, "$50 total, no extra time". He takes a step back to think, he looked at his car and says, "Cool, you gonna shine the tires with that for free right?" Naturally we would but you gotta hand it to him and his bargaining style.

We had this huge sign at the wash that asked people stay at the wash while their car was being washed because we had no parking at all. Shaq was like, "I am going to lunch. I will be back in one and a half hours. I am going to leave to do this. I will come back, my car will be ready and you will have my keys in your hand because my car automatically locks. I have no door handles, and if my car doors lock with the keys in it, we cannot get in." He then shows me the trick buttons and asks me personal questions like my name and where I live and how long I have been at the car wash. He then points at the sign and says, "are we cool?" I just nod. He shakes my hand and says "Thanks, Steve"

What? You'd think I'd say no?

He leaves and we start to wash his car. What amazed me was, here is this guy... a natural celebrity not only for his height and his immense basketball skills and he just has signed a 100 plus million dollar contract with the Lakers and he has no entourage and he's walking right up a busy Sepulveda Blvd, alone by himself.

And one and a half hours later he comes back. I have his car pulled out in front of the wash and tell a few customers to wait and see who gets in. All he wants to do is pay inside. I take him in and he wants to wait in line. I ring him up and he peels off $100 bill from this wad of cash out of his pocket. It must be at least 5 or 6k in $100's. I give him his change and he begs me to keep it for myself. I tell him I'd give it to the guys who did the work. I hadn't done anything and then he gives me another $100 for them.

By now a small crowd of customers is waiting for him at his car. He asks for his keys and I joked and said they were in the car. This scared look comes acrossed his face because the doors are shut and he thinks we locked them in. I hold them up high to his face and say "Here ya go Shaq, see ya next week!!"

He then grabs me and says, "Ooooohh... ha ha ha ha, I love you Steve!" I'm like ok... smiling because I sorta tricked him. But know he ain't done.

"I love you, Steve!" he says again. He then proceeds to pick me up off the ground and toss me over his should, hugging me like a little rag doll. Everyone at the wash was in hysterics!!

He puts me down and says, "See you next week man..." He drives off. Then very next week and each week after that. He came in and got a wash, dropping nearly $200 every time. Always saying hi. He always got people's names and remembered them each visit. He signed autographes for anyone. Just a cool nice down to earth guy.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This Post is here to Drop Canadian Video Off Bottom of Front Page

I know you were all annoyed with that thing playing. (Especially lawryde, lol) has flash vids now that won't do that.

One of my favorite bands: Samiam

I found this on and it looks like it was posted by one of the band members. Kind of cool, takes me back to 1994 in the middle of college. I real hard edged version of other bands that hit big at that time like Green Day, Rancid or Blink 182. I can't wait until their new album comes out.

Friday, June 09, 2006

With Guns Blazing, I Will Rise...

Yeah, well, I got my MRI results right and then the correlating appointment to the Pain Management Clinic didn't jive. I mean serious, I got no real diagnosis other than the stenosis and "movement" of discs but I had no breaks or some freaky cancer which is obviously a good thing. So the person calls for this pain management thing and all I get is an appointment to tour the facility and to have an orientation. You know something they can save everyone the trouble with and just hand out a DVD.

Pointless I tell you. I mean seriously, WTF? What about a diagnosis or at least a visit with my doctor?

So I had some time this morning and I went down to the hospital to the Complaint DepartmentMember Services Center to complain and raise hell like a little bitchfile a grievance with the hospital. I got in line and drew a number, lucky me... it was 13.

I sat down and basically was suprised how many other people had to file a grievance this morning. Exactly what you'd expect too. Middle aged overweight people who most likely worked for the state in some dark dingy office. I seriously stuck out like a sore thumb. I think the receptionist was actually happy to see me.

I went to the counter when my lucky number was called and told them I was here to complain but I would not wig out or anything and that nothing was their fault. I was then shuttled into a back room and began my saga of back/arm/leg/finger/loss of sleep/possible depression associated with unusual happiness/ and whatever else. And the funny thing is, the lady BELIEVED ME when I said I wasn't fairly treated by the hospital. She actually agreed I had no diagnosis and no road for treatment at the pain management clinic. And then she asked what I wanted.

It was great, something actually worked when I thought I was gonna get nowhere. I was civil, kind and thoughtful. This lady had some power. Got me an appointment to see a new doctor on the spot, within an hour.

The new doctor was totally cool and found some things on the MRI report that weren't addressed like "Bulging Discs" and "Abnormal growths" (which sounds serious but it's not, you all probably have abnormal growths somewhere in your body). I get some more tests and actually get to see a neurologist now for the numbness and crap I am feeling. It's awesome.

The squeaky wheel. The story of my life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Preliminary MRI Results

The results from my MRI are in. Looking like spinal stenosis and/or a hardening or "shifting" in discs in my back. It is an arthritic condition but not like rheumatoid arthritis or something. I am supposed to see a specialist.

We'll see...

What is it with these Checkout Clerks Anyway?

Tonight I went out and saw "The Da Vinci Code" with my sister in law and her man-friend.

The price to see the movie was $9. I was then hit with the guilt trip of donating a dollar to the children's fund that provided toys and crap to ??? I declined because I didn't know much about the charity and besides $9 was enough! Why didn't the theater donate one of those overpriced dollars I just gave them to see the movie? You know, in the spirit of the generosity for having their ticket sales people ask us for money.

Speaking of overpriced, I got into the door first and went to the concession stand. What a huge undertaking! They had everything. Buying from these people is highway robbery. But, your at hostage and you should expect to pay dearly to go out and see a movie. Afterall, they cost millions to make. Decadence upon decadence, I'll tell you...

Back to the clerk situation that you know is coming,I approach the counter and ask for a medium Coke. The grinning Asian soda jerk asks if I want a large, instead.

"No!" I rudely exclaim and turn to my sister in law's man and ask what he wants because I am nice and felt like treating them tonight.

Ever-fitting the quintessential, Asian stereotype, the little man behind the counter says, totally unphased by my grimacing face, ".... But a large is only 25 cents more!!" An Asian good at math. Go figure!! (No offense Vince)

Oh great, I thought... He's even holding the large cup next to the medium to size it up. They get $4.25 for a medium and $4.50 for the large. That extra quarter must pay for the full amount of the syrup and carbonated water used to make the soda.

I thought now he'd be faced with rejection and just pour the damn soda. But no... He starts pointing to the combos I can get with popcorn and candy.

"Um... we'll just take a Medium Popcorn as well" I say, rubbing the size thing into his face. And then my sister in law butts in and asks for a cup of water, before he can do anything.

But what does he do now? He requests that someone get us a ice cold bottle of water for $3. He even rings it up.

"A cup? A cup of water!" My sister in law exclaims. You see, legally in California (and I am sure in other states as well) if someone asks for water in your business where you serve food and drink, you have to give it to them, no matter what. But Regal Theater just drops the size. It is all about profit I guess.

Out comes this cup smaller than the average shot glass.

We left the stand and went off to get a seat. My sister in law asks,

"Is all that going on your blog?"

Am I that predictable?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Makes You Want to be a Good Parent.

As seen on

There are few things that are really funny here:

The defiance of the kid with his "Go do what you have to" comment.

The fact the kids had this on tape!

The little black and white dog. You may have to watch it a second or third time as it gets pulled everywhere.

The Canadian kid's placement of the word "Buddy". Absolutely hilarious!

The parent's, "You put lives on bricks" comment.