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Good teams vs. great teams Tue, Oct 02, 2018
One thing I've noticed while watching hours upon hours of football is that great teams tend to do two things pretty consistently:  (1) continue to play the game or run the ball or juggle field position despite trailing the entire game, and (2) capitalize on the opposing team's mistakes while also minimizing their own.  These aren't easy things to do, which is why not all teams are great.  A lot of teams are good in the sense that they have good coaches and good players who make good plays, but they tend to break down over the course of a game or have a hit-or-miss feel.  Great teams are like boxers who wait out their opponent's initial flourish, then pounce in the final rounds.  A score on the opening drive doesn't guarantee a win, but a score on the final drive almost always does. #sports

Male contribution Tue, Oct 02, 2018
It's pretty remarkable how insignificant the male contribution to birth actually is.  Jim Gaffigan covered this pretty well in his standup special.  But really, aside from the initial part (sex), here's a list of things the male participant doesn't do: 
  1. Grow a fetus inside their body.
  2. Grow an addition organ (placenta) inside their body.
  3. Figure out how to use an organ they've never used before (uterus) to safely eject the fetus from their body.
  4. Feed a human with their body.
I knew I would be mostly on the sidelines for this, but honestly it's kind of embarrassing. #lifestyle

Standalone movies Fri, Sep 28, 2018
It seems like most movies these days are either sequels, prequels, or remakes.  I appreciate a good standalone movie, something that exists entirely in itself.  Bonus points if there are no product placement ads, merchandise tie-ins, or things like that.  My Cousin Vinny, A Bronx Tale, and the Sandlot are good examples of this.  (Sequels or prequels were attempted or talked about, but nothing really came of them.)  They told a story, developed interesting characters, and had a beginning, middle, and end.  They weren't tarnished by some greedy movie studio realizing they could eke out a few more bucks by making the exact same movie and calling it a sequel.  A few more recent examples are the Adjustment Bureau, In Time, and Looper.  Sure, some of these movies might borrow some themes or plotlines from other movies or stories, but they're also entirely self-contained. #entertainment

Birth Sun, Sep 23, 2018
On the evening of Tuesday, September 11, 2018, my daughter Hannah was born in an inflatable water tub in our bedroom, under the supervision of two certified nurse midwives and one midwife assistant.  Wendy did a fully natural childbirth over the course of about 48 hours, the last three hours of which were spent in the tub pushing. 

Wendy wanted to go with midwives because she liked their philosophy of "helping a birth happen" instead of "getting a baby out of you" which many doctors and hospitals seem to practice.  She wanted to avoid a C-section and an epidural if at all possible.  The idea of having the birth at home just sort of made sense (as long as there were no medical issues) instead of having the baby at a hospital and then waiting around for a few days before we could go home. 

Sometime on Sunday afternoon, Wendy started making a face and saying, "I think something's happening."  As instructed, she called the midwives who told her to take a Benadryl, have a glass of wine, take a bath, and get some sleep.  The idea was to chill out, relax, and get some rest before the real action started.  She followed the directions but didn't get much sleep, and later came downstairs during the Sunday night Bears-Packers game and said her contractions had officially started (this sort of ruined an otherwise amazing Aaron Rodgers come-from-behind win, but oh well). 

After a somewhat fitful night of sleep, we both got up Monday morning and sat around while the contractions continued to become more regular.  I kept time on my phone, and rhythmically tapped Wendy when a contraction came.  She read that tapping can distract you enough to more easily get through pain and discomfort, and it worked great. 

Once the contractions reached a certain rhythm, we called the midwives and they showed up at our house for some initial exams.  Their first cervical exam on Monday evening accidentally broke Wendy's water, which happens sometimes but isn't exactly ideal because it sort of starts a 24-hour clock where if the baby isn't born in that time, we'd have to go to the hospital and get the process really rolling.  The midwives suggested taking castor oil to try to speed up the contractions, but after one dose, then two doses, we were still mostly in the same spot.  The midwives gave Wendy some slightly stronger sleep medication (Promethazine) because they wanted her to conserve her energy and rest.  This didn't quite work because the contractions kept waking her up. 

Side note:  One of the midwives was about to do a cervical exam, and she said sort of deadpan, "I'm a lefty, but I do my cervical exams right-handed because I used to play trumpet."  I thought this was hilarious. 

Tuesday morning, the midwives showed up for good (they kept coming and going because they didn't feel like Wendy was in a phase that needed constant supervision) and we all mostly waited around while Wendy continued her contractions.  She found that walking around made things feel better, so we walked around the house, up and down the driveway, and down our street.  It must've looked weird for the neighbors to see Wendy and me strolling slowly down the street, with her occasionally putting her hands on my shoulders and hunching over to deal with a contraction.  Nobody mentioned it. 

The midwives had a magic touch where they placed a hand on Wendy's lower back during a contraction and it made the pain go away.  Wendy said later that the pain on the second day wasn't as bad as the first day, which the midwives said was likely due to her hormones kicking in. 

By mid-afternoon, I was instructed to assemble the inflatable tub and start filling it with hot water.  Wendy's labor was progressing, and the midwives were doing periodic checks on blood pressure and fetal heart rate to ensure everything was good.  For one of Wendy's contractions, I put my hand on the magic spot on her back, and she kind of yelled to not push there because it felt like I was pushing the baby out.  This was the cue to enter the tub and start the show. 

The water allowed Wendy to float a little, as well as try out a few different positions (laying down, squatting, hunched over the edge) to see what felt best.  When she started pushing, the midwives really took control and told her what to do and when to do it.  As someone said at some point, "You've never used the muscles that push a baby out, but when the time comes you'll figure it out." 

The pushing went on for a few hours, with constant monitoring of the fetal heart rate.  And then it happened.  The baby came out essentially all at once with one big push.  It was a bit chaotic.  The midwives put the baby on Wendy's chest and let her gradually figure out how to use her lungs.  After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, I did the honors of cutting it, which weirdly prompted Hannah's first cry, almost like she could feel that I was taking something away from her.  They wrapped her up in a towel and handed her to me while Wendy finished up in the tub.  Our bed became a makeshift operating table as the midwives hooked Wendy up to an IV (just a precaution because it was a long labor) and gave her a few stitches. 

After some cleanup and whatnot, it was time to drain the tub.  The midwives removed the various gunk associated with childbirth, and so the tub was full of just water and some blood.  They suggested instead of dumping it down the drain and filling the septic tank, we could just drain it into a garden or some other place outside.  This was news to me, but that's what we ended up doing.  We ran a hose out our second-story window and into some decorative red rocks. 

The midwives stuck around for a few hours while we figured out how to breastfeed, change a diaper, and put clothes on a newborn (surprisingly difficult).  After that they left, and we slowly and quietly rested and recovered in the comfort of our own home. #lifestyle

Baby communication Thu, Sep 20, 2018
I used to think babies just cried all the time for no reason.  But in my very limited experience, crying seems to be their only way of communicating.  It's sort of like the beginning part of a video game where you only have one skill or one emote unlocked.  Since it's all you have, you use it for everything, even when it's not particularly appropriate or effective.  You melee an enemy, then try to melee a door because you haven't figured out the "open door" command.  Or you dance to say hi to a fellow gamer, then dance to warn them about the enemy behind them.  It's actually kind of amazing how a single action can communicate hunger, discomfort, gas, dirty diaper, etc. #lifestyle

Volunteers needed Tue, Aug 14, 2018
I find it ironic when I see a sign or something announcing Some Big Event™ but also "Volunteers Needed".  Shouldn't you get your volunteers first, then have an event?  "We're doing a thing, but you have to help" isn't a very enticing offer for me. #lifestyle

Swamp replacement Tue, Jun 12, 2018
One of Donald Trump's campaign slogans in 2016 was, "We're gonna drain the swamp."  But since he mostly just got rid of the existing people and replaced them with incompetent, washed-up future felons, I feel like he missed the point.  For his future campaign, I think he should add a second part to that slogan, preferably one of the following options:  "We're gonna drain the swamp and replace it with: 
  1. another swamp
  2. a tall building with a gold "TRUMP" sticker
  3. a bigger, better swamp
  4. a ball pit
  5. a murkier, smellier swamp
  6. rats

Feckless cunt Mon, Jun 04, 2018
Recently Rosanne Bar said a racist thing on Twitter and got her show cancelled.  It was heartwarming to see pretty much everyone agree that (a) she said a racist thing and (b) racism is bad. 

Samantha Bee, the host of a TV show that makes fun of current events, called the daughter of the president of the United States a "feckless cunt" for posting mommy-and-me pictures on social media while failing to utilize her familial connections to do something positive about immigration policies that are literally separating mothers and children. 

Some of those same people who applauded the cancellation of Rosanne called for the cancellation of Sam Bee's show.  Rosanne said a bad thing and got cancelled.  Sam Bee said a bad thing and should get cancelled. 

But here's the thing:  There's a difference between racism and mean things.  Our society has collectively agreed (somewhat recently) that racism is unacceptable in a lot of circumstances, and racist people should be punished, perhaps not by legal action, but definitely by negative attention.  This is a remarkably progressive viewpoint from our largely regressive populace.  Good on us. 

But Sam Bee said a mean thing.  Maybe someone was offended.  Our society hasn't yet taken a negative stance on being offensive.  We're generally ok with it.  Also, being offended by something doesn't actually mean anything other than the fact that you can't deal with your own feelings in a healthy way.  That's a personal problem. 

To be clear, both things were mean.  But one of them was also racist, and racism is a specific kind of mean that we don't put up with.  This whole episode was yet another false equivalency. #entertainment

Pacifism Tue, May 29, 2018
The philosophy of pacifism makes a certain amount of sense.  We're taught as we're growing up to not hit other people, to find a solution to our problems without resulting to violence.  This is well and good and true.  Violence isn't the solution to all problems.  Avoiding violence works in many circumstances, like in de-escalating a drunken fight at a bar, or in trade sanctions against a hostile country. 

But one name always trumps pacifism:  Hitler.  There was really only one way to fight back against a crazy authoritarian who tried to take over the world and kill all the Jews, and it wasn't non-violence.  It's never made sense to me how there were conscientious objectors during World War II.  Like I get that your religion prevents you from fighting in a war, but it doesn't seem quite fair that you'll benefit from the post-war peace that other people fought to achieve.  If people didn't fight in your place, you'd be dead and the world would be German.  Pacifism only makes sense until it doesn't. #psychology

Chrome to Firefox to Chrome Tue, May 22, 2018
I've been using Google Chrome as my main web browser for a few years now.  It just feels cleaner, neater, and faster than the competition.  Plus the syncing is top-notch -- bookmarks, history, extensions, etc.  It's a no-brainer. 

But my employer recently changed some security policy which disabled all syncing, which was bad enough.  But it also disable extensions, and by extensions I really only mean THE extension:  an adblocker.  I've been using an adblocker for so long, I don't even know what the actual internet is like.  When I'm forced to look at somebody's phone for a YouTube video and see a commercial, or when I have to momentarily use Internet Explorer to check something and am bombarded with 90s-era pop-ups and pop-unders and pop-overs and blinking text and autoplaying video, it's like walking in someone else's shoes which are a little small but manageable.  Like, I can do it, but it's really unenjoyable, and I'll probably just stop after a while because I have better things to do. 

Anyway, I switched over to Firefox, which for whatever reason still had extensions (add-ons) and syncing enabled.  What I very quickly realized is why I stopped using Firefox in the first place:  It's fucking slow.  Like literally Amazon.com is unusable.  It's clunky.  Why I have to keep clicking through security exception notifications or whatever is completely beyond me.  And the overall kicker is the memory usage.  I remember experiencing memory issues with Firefox in two-thousand-fucking-six.  I guess they still haven't fixed that problem. 

In looking for workarounds, I eventually found a way to sort of bypass the security policy by using a slightly different version of Chrome.  When I started that first Chrome window and got all my bookmarks synced and my extensions working, I was beyond happy.  Good-bye Firefox, and good riddance. #technology

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