Copyright ©1997-2011 Glenn Fleishman except as noted otherwise. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact Glenn Fleishman at glenn at glennf.com. Photo © 2008 Laurence Chen; used with permission.
Turning technology from mumbo-jumbo into rich tasty gumbo
This has got to be the laziest Nigerian-style spam I’ve ever seen:
Good Day ,
I’m Song Li, I work with the Hang Seng Bank here in Hong Kong. Although the internet is a very hard place to meet people because you don’t know who to trust, what to believe and what not to.
I have an obscured business suggestion for you. There is the sum of
19,500,000.00 Dollars in my bank “Hang Seng Bank” Hong kong. There were no beneficiaries stated concerning these funds which means no one would ever come forward to claim it. That is why I ask that we work together so as to have the sun transferred out of my bank into your account.
Please do not be offended with the manner I contacted you. It was
necessitated by the urgency and nature of this transaction. Should you be interested please send me your;
1. Full names
2. Private phone number
3. Current residential address
Your can reach me on my private email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Song Li.
I have an obscured business suggestion for you, too, but it wouldn’t involve a place the “sun” don’t shine.
Last night, I went to a restaurant to eat good food, mostly plants, not too much, with Michael Pollan. We weren’t at the same table. Rather, the restaurant Lark was turned over on Valentine’s Day into a two-seating, super-special book event, organized by my officemate Kim Ricketts, who runs a book events business that includes regular Cooks & Books events with folks who are chefs or focused on food, like Pollan. He was there to promote his manifesto, In Defense of Food. Pollan is a journalist and a writer whose prose I admire and would like to be able to emulate. The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma are two terrifically readable books with great underlying themes, never too heavy-handed. In Defense is definitely a polemic, however.
Lynn and I have been to Lark before, and had a great meal last time. Last night, we had wine paired with each course, which included nearly all local food, including farro (a wheat berry) prepared beautifully with foraged local mushrooms.
The restaurant’s chef spoke briefly at the onset, then Pollan said a few words about good food and why he’s trying to help lead a kind of movement to eat well, locally, and less intensively as a kind of new approach to health that’s rooted in the best parts of food and eating before the 1900s and commercial-scale agriculture. He noted, ironically, that being on the road for 5 or 6 weeks to promote the book so far means that he’s eaten horribly at every meal. At Lark, he had one of the few traveling meals that met the standards of his book!
Pollan stopped by each of the 20 or so tables for a few minutes to chat and sign books, and he’s a cussedly nice man, even after spending hundreds of hours talking about his stuff, and signing thousands of books. (He signed 850 at Powell’s just for them to sell to all comers; smart man.) I told him how my dad and I had switched from various forms of vegetarianism (I was really a fish-a-tarian at that point) after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma; he said he’d heard a lot of that, but also the reverse. Some omnivores, reading the first half of the book about conventional food, which is terribly frightening, became vegetarians!
The Cooks & Books events—which sell out quick, so you can sign up at Kim’s site to be notified when they are announced—pair a signed copy of the book by the author or chef, a terrific prix fixe meal typically with wine, and convivial communal seating. We were at a table of about 10, and found a close, late friend in common among my wife, me, and the fellow sitting next to me; talked about the history of agriculture; compared notes about favorite joints in the U District; and talked about nursing, the profession not the mothering kind, as one of our number was a nurse who just started at the big trauma/low-income hospital in Seattle.
Oh, and this also marked the first time Lynn and I went out for dinner since Rex was born. We’ve been out together before, and we’ve been out individually, and we regularly go out on our own on the weekends. But each time we’d tried to do a dinner out, one kid got sick, or two days before Rex starting waking up every hour after going down to sleep, etc. Our marvelous post-partum doula, who knows Ben and Rex very well, pinch-hit for us last night, and the kids didn’t wake up. (She checked in on Ben, who she thought was about to fall out of bed, and he gave her a funny look and then went right to sleep. We had told him she would be there while we were out, but he was in bed before she arrived.)
It’s 6.20 a.m., and I’ve been awake since 5.07. No, not with a baby. The baby is still sleeping, a remarkable performance. He had edged back to 5 am for a few days (awful), but then has given us a respite and was waking after 5.30 for a few days. Strangely, seems “late.” This morning, I wake with the call of nature in operatic tones and a slightly sore back—I think I slept for 6 3/4 hours without moving, based on that. It happens sometimes in our “new” (2-year-old) Select Comfort bed. (Stop me before I become an advertisement for buying a baffled, inflatable bed.)
The soprano is singing her aria in my bladder, and at about 5.45, I finally decide I can’t get back to sleep and I can’t avoid the inevitable. I get up, quietly, and avoid waking Lynn and Rex. Rex snoozes on. This is about 30 minutes longer than his typical latest morning. If it were a new trend, I would be dancing in the street, but I know too well not to do that.
The irregular sleep is worse than less sleep. My body has adapted to about 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep, and I seem to be able to function all day without crashing. I’m also on antibiotics for what seemed like a mild cold that went into the lungs (my doc says it triggered a “bronchiospasm”), and perhaps that’s helping alleviate what seemed like a bit of hitting the wall about 9 at night.
I can only hope this either a pattern or a fluke. If Rex does this every other night, it’s worse than less sleep!
I was walking back with Rex from our local library, just three blocks away, rebuilt and then reopened last year, and heard a sound I didn’t recognize. It was a fluttery sound, and I looked at the trees and saw no wind. Thousands of crows were wheeling overhead; the Arboretum and our neighborhood has an extremely large crow population and they like to gather right around dusk many nights of the week in fall and into winter.
I heard a susurration of crows, their thousands of wings beating against the air, hundreds of feet up, but with no cars passing, no one talking, just Rex and I, it was a little pretty swishing sound, non-repeating.
Beats a murder of crows.
Tonight was, remarkably, the first time Rex has been put to bed in his short life without being nursed before his bath. Lynn has had too little time with Ben lately, and the two of them went off to the Central Library and then the exciting downtown Red Robin on the pier (decorated with planes in its interior, for some reason). They were out late, and had a marvelous time, coming back laughing like old friends.
Rex is much more of a daddy’s boy at this age than Ben was; Ben had much more separation anxiety from Lynn, where Rex accepts us both with remarkable equality, and, once recently, reached out for me (!) when I tried to hand him to Lynn. Which is fine, because it makes sharing the workload much easier. I’m sure we’ll get bouts of mommy-only behavior, too, but it’s very nice now.
We had some nap strikes in the last few days on Rex’s part, which is rough because he needs them. We looked up what scienticians tell us is appropriate baby sleep, and Rex is very much on target. So a series of 5- to 25-minute naps or no nap was really a problem. Over the last two days, we’ve tried letting him complain more to see if he’d get to sleep or go back to sleep—something that utterly failed earlier in his life when he had the occasional bad nap—and, remarkably, it worked three times in a row. He was down from 11.50 am to 2.30 pm today, awake after 25 minutes nearly to the second, complaining (talking, a little wailing, but not beside himself) for about 20 minutes, before going back to sleep for about 1 2/3 hours.
It changes all the time: both boys move forward and backward as they mature, and we’re never quite sure what works next. We try to be consistent, but we’re imperfect, and the boys do sometimes seize their adventure when they sense an opening. That’s their job. Ours is to make sure they sleep enough that they can enjoy their conscious time.
It’s nearly 8 am, and everyone is asleep in the house but me. Rex just started antibiotics yesterday for his third ear infection in about six weeks—likely the previous medication didn’t totally beat the bug, though. He’s decided that waking up at 5 am is just peachy, and has been doing that for a few days in a row. Not unhappy, and I don’t get him up until about 5.30 since he’s playing in his crib until then. But I was thinking 5.30 was WAY too early, his previous typical waking time. Putting him down earlier or later doesn’t seem to affect the 5 am thing. His afternoon nap has gone to hell, too, Lynn reports, where he’s still sleeping 90 minutes or more in the morning, he is doing 20-minute naps and waking really map in the afternoon. It may be the ear infection; when that improves, the afternoon nap might, too.
Last week, Lynn and I both got out on our own for a night. Lynn for a baby shower; me to see Mike Daisey’s monologue Monopoly, which was a hilarious and touching mix of Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison (the rat bastard), Microsoft, and his life history, as well as a partial account of the early stages of mounting this monologue in New York, where he planned to use the largest Tesla coil on the Eastern seaboard in the show. Mike isn’t an egotist; he doesn’t particularly paint his life (or that of his family) as fascinating. Rather, he weaves in personal elements, no matter how mundane, into the larger story he tells.
Last night, I slept 6 1/2 hours, and it was somehow gloriously fulfilling. I’m not sure why, particularly, but I woke at 4.30 am thinking I was ready to beat the world—and use the toilet. I didn’t wake the baby, and got back to bed to drowse for an hour until I got him up.
I’ve had this strange cold that has gotten slightly better every day for nearly two weeks. It was a couple days of definitely being a cold, but not bad; then into the chest, but not terrible; then I think into the lungs. I wondered if I had pneumonia again, but it’s been so slight, it’s hard to believe. After 10 days of an ugly cough that happens just a few times a day, and continues to improve ever so slightly, it’s time to see a G.P.
Now the house stirs. Lynn is awake from a catnap on the couch. The sun is oddly out, and the temperature has already broken 40 degrees. My world-beating attitude hasn’t ended yet.
Not much posting since mid-January in San Francisco due to my busy time there, a return to various ill children (Rex developed a new ear infection that peaked on my return, lasting through four miserable days, until starting antibiotics; then Ben got pinkeye, now several days past its peak), not enough sleep, heavy workload. But we’re unburying ourselves.
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