This week, I write about the musings of a dad, rants about feminism, and a “surge” of nostalgia like I haven’t felt in a while.
A Year of Parenthood
As of Friday, November 14, I have been a parent for exactly a year.
Honestly, it’s a very weird experience looking back. Few events in my life have offered such an abrupt and distinctive division in time. Graduating high school and college were big, but who I was before the event didn’t change much about who I was after the event. I had a diploma and a bachelor’s degree, nothing more. Marriage was big, but it hasn’t yet been a year since. Having a child is different. You begin a period of your life during which you are the main care provider for a being that is otherwise helpless. Without you, that being can do nothing to protect itself, provide for itself, or otherwise thrive. This realization has perhaps the most gravity of anything I have ever experienced. Before, I was just responsible for myself. No, I have something else to take care of as well. It’s actually hard to comprehend life before becoming a parent now. This feels as if it was always my state of being, that I was never not a parent.
Overall, it’s been fun. I have learned more in this year of life than I have in a very long time before. I went from being afraid to even look at an infant too hard to being a… well, professional isn’t the word at all. I still make mistakes, and I still encounter things that I am clueless about. I have become proficient at child care. I have also come to the conclusion that anyone who claims to be a professional at child care is either overconfident or lying. Kids are weird and unpredictable. As soon as you claim “I got it,” something is going to happen that blindsides you.
We’ve been very fortunate. No sickness yet, knock on wood. A few bumps here and there, and an odd obsession with banging the side of his head up against things. Plenty of spilled drinks, thrown food, nasty messes, and baths that turned the water a completely sickening shade of whatever. The one time we cut his nails in the quick and he lost his mind. He tried to eat the bandaid, so we had to keep mittens on him until it healed. Now, we only cut his nails while he’s sleeping.
When you become a parent, you cease to become relevant as anything else. Random people come up to you and talk to you about your child. People want to see him, talk to him, smile at him, hold him… they want to do whatever with him. You’re simply the pair his genes came from and a means of transporting him to and fro. You become a people person, whether you wanted to or not.
You gain a new appreciation of both sleep and silence. If I don’t open my eyes until after 8 am, it’s a great morning. Waking up at noon or 1? Oh, you mean after our morning nap? Most mornings that don’t involve my alarm consist of me being gradually displaced off the bed, smacked repeatedly in the face, or simply sat on. I almost never hear silence now. We luckily haven’t yet mastered words, but yelling incomprehensible syllables is spot on. That, and whining when there are no more french fries or baby crack (Li’l Munchies) available.
I remember the time that random dude woke up my sleeping infant and I came perhaps the closest I’ve ever come to cutting someone. We were still brand new parents, child in tow of probably no more than 3 weeks. He was, quite thankfully, asleep. We brought him into Hardee’s and sat his carrier on the counter so Gammy could see. Some guy came up making conversation, which we’re used to, and started scratching at my peacefully resting offspring. Ok, weird, I don’t want you touching my baby, but whatever. He kept going. He kept talking. He was intentionally trying to wake up this usually screaming bundle of sometimes joy without any sort of reason. He finally succeeded and so we had to quiet a now crying and upset kid. Then the guy went on about his business. Never before have I wanted to throatpunch someone so hard that their trachea collapse. Were I able to go back, I probably would. It’s best that timetravel not be available to me.
Our close family members have been an awesome help, babysitting when they can, buying us dinner, giving us a few brief moments to take a breath, and just generally doing whatever they can to assist us. We will never be able to properly thank them for everything, and I sincerely hope that they all know how much it means.
My wife, the natural caregiver she is, has made this whole transition from absentminded adolescent to capable family man way easier than it would’ve been otherwise. She’s been patient when I was less than helpful and gently encouraged me in the proper way to maintain an infant. And even today, she gives up the opportunity to be a stay at home mother so that we can have the extra funds needed to buy a house and actually still eat. I could not ask for someone better to help, instruct, and care for el niño and I.
To call it “rewarding” does not begin to describe the joy of parenthood. Throughout all the accidents, frustrations, and otherwise annoying experiences, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When I do something and meet eyes that seem to view me as a hero, I really feel like one. I feel like I could take on the world and succeed. It is my driving force, my encouragement, my reason to keep up the fight when I feel defeated. In a way that no one without children can understand, my son is a motivator like no other.
Comet Spacecraft Landing
For the first time ever, humans have landed a craft on a comet. That’s pretty crazy.
My understanding of the event is limited due to my lack of knowledge in astrophysics and the general practice of getting things outside of Earth’s atmosphere. From what I can gather, the European Space Administration stuck a probe thing on a spacecraft and shot it away from Earth. It looped around Earth a few times and once around Mars to get the proper velocity and caught up with a particular comet. The original goal was another comet, but something happened that made the craft unable to reach it.
When the craft caught up with the comet and settled into orbit, it dropped the actual probe thing (dubbed “Philae”) onto the comet. The larger portion of the craft, called “Rosetta,” stayed in orbit to act as a point of communication between Earth and Philae. The descent to the comet took something along the lines of 7 hours.
Because comets are so much smaller than planets and asteroids, their gravity is extremely weak. In order to make sure Philae didn’t bounce off, it was equipped with essentially shocks in its legs, some screws in its feet, and harpoons to properly anchor to the comet. The shots and screws worked to reduce the bounce, but the harpoon apparently failed to work properly. When all was said and done, Philae was still sitting semi-anchored to the comet and broadcasting to Rosetta properly.
The fact that nothing like this has ever been done before is simply amazing to me. We have succeeded to do something new for humankind. This is a time to celebrate, an obvious victory indicating how far science and space exploration have come.
Apparently, not everyone agrees that landing on a comet is awesome. Some people and news sources (possibly even “most”) have been making a big deal about the attire of one of the scientists present in the center controlling Philae and Rosetta. Some guy, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt with women in lingerie on it. “Misogyny!” people cried. They talked about how distasteful this was, and how it discourages women from entering the field.
An event like landing a craft on a comet transcends gender discrimination. This sort of success is more important than any individual person, any society, any social construct. I don’t care if any scientist there was wearing a shirt with sexual suggestive images, profanity, or anything that could be offensive. These people accomplished what has never been done before, and that is awesome.
One of my coworkers bought a case of Surge on Amazon and was kind enough to give me a can.
Being a child of the 90’s (which some may argue against, since I was born in ‘91), many things I grew up loving are no longer around. Rarely do I get the chance to experience these things again. The Surge energy drink is one of those blissful exceptions.
I have been and still am a huge fan of Mountain Dew. I keep at least a 12 pack of Diet Mountain Dew in my desk at work at all times. Surge was based on Mountain Dew, but was different enough that neither was a proper replacement for the other. When Surge was taken off the shelves, I was terribly let down. Vault was decent, but it went the way of the dinosaur as well.
When Coca-Cola announced the comeback of Surge, I was pleasantly surprised. Clearly, I was not alone in my appreciation for the beverage and numerous people put in quite a bit of effort petitioning and contacting the company in order to convince Coca-Cola to produce more of the sugary elixir. Amazon got exclusive rights to sell the drink, coming only in a 12 pack of 16 ounce cans.
Sales opened on Amazon and I looked up the drink to satisfy my curiosity. The price was set at something around $15, which isn’t terrible for the amount of beverage included. Shipping, however, was just as expensive as the product itself. A single pack of Surge would be something over $30 to acquire. As much as I wanted another taste for a trip down memory lane, that was entirely too much for me to pay.
Coca-Cola only released a limited batch of Surge initially, and the first run sold out quickly. I attribute this to a number of reasons.
- Coke was essentially creating the soda again from nothing. They didn’t have the ingredients on hand, the hardware to take away from Coke production, or anything else to just start busting out cans of Surge at full force.
- As much as a select few people were chomping at the bit to have Surge again, this small but vocal minority may not necessarily speak for soda drinkers in general. For all Coke knows, they may have something under 1,000 people buy a single case of Surge and then never buy it again.
Regardless of the reasoning, they didn’t make much Surge and it was gone within a few days.
According to my previously mentioned coworker, Coca-Cola announced on Twitter that they would be releasing another run of Surge. Supposedly, this is the last run of 2014 (which I don’t doubt. It’s halfway through November now) and 2015 production is to be determined (which I’m practically certain is a firm yes). He jumped on the opportunity and purchased a case as soon as orders opened up on Amazon.
Thankfully, he was generous enough to give me a can when they shipped. I gave him a can of my Mountain Dew Game Fuel Lemonade as well, but I realize this payment is hardly equivalent. Drinking the Surge this morning was… a peculiar experience. Surge hasn’t been around for 11 years now, and I finally tasted it again. For comparison, it was similar to my experience of smelling Axe Phoenix shower gel after 4 years of using old spice. I used Axe for probably 7 years straight through middle and high school, and didn’t use it again after graduation until my senior year of college.
The drink was good, but not something I can see myself paying $30 or more for a case of. I discussed with my wife this morning that I don’t think the price will stand long. Coke is still doing a trial run and making sure demand stays high. There are 90’s kids who are drinking Surge for nostalgia. In order to maintain supply and profit, Coke needs lots of people drinking Surge just because they like it. If demand continues even when the petitioners have had their fill, THEN maybe we’ll have a drop in price and a steady supply of Surge.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Not a full-length segment, but a teaser of sorts.
I got the new Android update on my 2012 Nexus 7. So far, I like it. Some of the new features are really neat and some of the moved settings and such are… weird. I’ll try to have a pretty comprehensive write up next week about what I think of it.