& the secret to surviving facebook

I mentioned before how I gave up my boycott of The Facebook. I started a page for the blog so that I could bring Squatch’s life to the masses. Also to share pictures and junk with people while not having to send a bazillion emails to do it. Then, I reactivated my personal account in order to use the blog’s page on my iPhone*, and I’m already regretting it.

*About two days after I did this, they released a new app that would make it so I didn’t have to. But I’ve reached the point of no return, since I don’t feel like trying to figure out how to get around it. I’ve conceded defeat to Facebook.

But why am I regretting it? Because there are people on Facebook, that’s why. People who think what they have to say is actually important, relevant, clever, or revelatory. That’s not to neglect the people who do manage to be those things, but it’s far, far fewer than the number of people who think they are. They aren’t.

As a term of my reconciliation with Facebook, one of the first things I did upon reactivation was cull my friends list. I was shocked to realize that I had almost 400 “friends” on there. I got rid of people I had a class with once, friends of friends, ex-coworkers I haven’t seen in years, colleagues I never spoke to much to begin with, and everyone else whose name I just didn’t recognize. Then I went through again and found the people I hadn’t even thought of in at least a year. By the time I was done, I had barely more than 100 left.

It still didn’t solve my overall problem. There was still too much crap that I had to deal with anytime I logged on. And the trouble—you’re on Facebook, so you’re familiar with this, I’m sure—is that most of it is people you can’t just unfriend. They’re family. They’re professional contacts you don’t want to insult. They’re people who you like to hang out with but their Facebook wall has you rethinking your friendship.

Every stupid political fight you’ve seen on Facebook. I had too many of these in my friend feed. Thanks, Unsubscribe!

For this, Facebook has installed that super useful “Unsubscribe” feature*. That means you can keep all the crap that just ruins your day off that News Feed** for good.

*This used to be called “Hide,” but Facebook just can’t leave well enough alone and they have to rename every damn thing as soon as you get used to it.
**I hate how Facebook highlights the disintegration of the term “news.” I don’t think I’d classify 97% of the stuff that shows up there as “news.” I blame E! for this.

To save my sanity, I started going on an unsubscribing fee. And damn it feels good.

Incessant updates about how everyone who doesn’t agree with your presidential candidate is for some reason less intelligent or subhuman? Unsubscribe!

Uninformed repostings of bullshit you had emailed to you? Unsubscribe!

Nothing but updates on your farm/city/crack den/high score from some inane Facebook game? Unsubscribe!

Posting politically charged status updates seemingly for the sole purpose of starting a comment fight to see who can be the least informed and most easily duped by cable channel talking heads, causing my heart to weep for the future of the world? Unsubscribe!

Persistently adding photos of Chuck Norris riding an eagle over the Washington monument with a note that I can repost it or risk being labeled as Commie scum? Gleefully unsubscribe!

The “unsubscribe” feature has allowed me the freedom not to wade through other people’s opinions, which in turn would force me to rethink my opinion of them, eventually leading to a solitary hermit’s life. Granted, I probably only have about 38 people who show up on my news feed now, but at least now I won’t die alone and can continue being around people, blissfully ignorant of what actually goes on in their heads.

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& uncommon lullabies

Squatch has reached that point where he can sleep through the night. He doesn’t always, but he has, and he can whenever he wants. He just doesn’t always want to.

The Expletive Baby has already told you how to get a baby to sleep through the night, so I won’t rehash all that. I will, however, add my secrets that help with Squatch.

The first is swaddling him tight. He calms down almost immediately whenever we do it and it makes falling asleep that much easier.

Next is shaking* to get him relaxed. He seems to be happier if he’s moving while he falls asleep. If we can shake him while rocking in the rocking chair, he’s out in no time.

*Not like “Shaken Baby” shaking—don’t call child services. More like a car ride. “Bouncing,” if you will. Only it’s not really bouncing. Shaking is really the only way to describe it, but not like you’re trying to mix paint. That’s just irresponsible.

The last part is most important, though. The best thing we can do to get him into a relaxed state is playing music. Squatch is already a musical man. We listened to music all the time while he was cooking in Karli’s belly, so I think he started to develop his personal taste. Karli will tell you that it’s Coldplay and Adele.

Pass.

Here’s Squatch’s real favorite music.

The Beatles

Little dude digs the classics. Whenever he gets fussy, I pull up The Beatles on my phone and let them sing him back into silence. For people worried about song content with their kids, The Beatles work out pretty well because they come from the days when people didn’t put the offensive stuff in their albums, but a lot of their stuff is loud enough that Squatch gets into it. Loud and fast is the key. No sweet little lullabies for this dude. This one’s among his favorites.

Elvis Presley

No doubt about it, this kid has an affinity for the classics. Elvis was in constant rotation during the fetus stage, so he was probably doing a whole lotta hip-shakin in there. It was like a scene out of Full House, it was so damn cute. I know they say that the best way to develop your baby’s brain is to play Classical music, but we didn’t quite go that route. I think he’ll be okay, though. If he doesn’t get into college, we’ll blame the King. Squatch recommends this one.

Tom Waits

Sometimes, you just want to chill. Squatch knows this. And what better way to chill than with a guy whose voice sounds like it’s been rubbed down with 80-grit sandpaper and soaked in bourbon for a few weeks? This is about as close as Squatch and I get to a lullaby when it’s Daddy’s turn to put him to bed. Here’s a live version of Squatch’s favorite, from VH1’s storytellers and preceded by some typical Tom Waits banter that makes you want to spend your Saturday afternoons just hanging out with him on the porch.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

At bedtime last night, we listened to this whole album. It’s been one of my favorites for the last couple years since it came out, and now it’s one of Squatch’s favorites, too. Don’t be surprised. Squatch can get funky. This also shows a little love for the Austin-ites who frequent this blog. Okay, when I say frequent, I mean come by and read when I actually put down the poopy diapers and comp papers long enough to post something. Frequent is definitely the wrong word when it comes to this little corner of the internet. That aside, here’s Squatch’s pick from the album.

The Kinks—You Really Got Me (Live)

He doesn’t really get into the whole album because sometimes the crowd noises startle him. But this song, this is what I refer to as the “Magic Go-to-Sleep Song” because I can start it up when he’s in his screaming-for-the-sake-of-screaming fits and he’s almost instantly calm and starting to nod off by the guitar solo. It’s absolutely uncanny. But it has to be the live version from One for the Road. Dude’s a sucker for the raging guitars and high energy—what can I say? Here it is so Squatch can share his joy with the world.

So how about your kids? Do you have a “Magic Go-to-Sleep Song”? One that’s not lame?

Update: Safari froze while I was composing this, and I lost the paragraph about Waits, then I posted it without realizing. This was a regretful oversight and has been remedied. My apologies, Mr. Waits.

& the reckoning: the birth story, part 4

All right, I’ve been back four days now and there’s no excuse for you having missed all this. But just in case you’ve been sitting around with your proverbial head up your proverbial ass (or you actually had something to do this long weekend), here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Go catch up, show off.

More from Squatch:

I really don’t have much to say because the good stuff already happened. I did neglect to mention that it was really messy. We’re talking total carnage here. I wouldn’t recommend it. But I’m trying to delay bedtime a little while, so I’ll give you the rest of the story.

Squatch had fun telling this story. Who cares if you liked it?

After my eviction, everyone had a really long day. I’m pretty sure Mommy and Daddy didn’t sleep, and they took it out on me by waking me up constantly to eat. Some people just aren’t happy unless you’re not happy, I’m telling you. It may have also had something to do with the heat waving, the water being brown*, and the room being hot**.

*Notes from Daddy: A water main broke outside the hospital and all the hot water was dirty.
**The air conditioner broke. Karli said earlier in the year, “My biggest worry is that I’ll have Squatch during a heat wave and the air conditioning will go out.” Well, wish granted. Way to jinx it.

I was just starting to get used to the outside when they came and stuck me in a tanning bed because I guess they’re trying to breed the next cast of Jersey Shore at that hospital. I don’t think it’ll work, though. I’m not Italian, not from Jersey, and I don’t think my neck could support hair lathered in that much Crisco.

I ended up spending most of my time in that bed. Because our room was hot, we had to keep the door open in order not to roast ourselves. That meant I got to hear a lot of our neighbors across the hall.

Boy were these people winners. They had a girl with them who I assume got kicked out a little after I did. Her name was ——–*, which is one of the stupidest possible names next to ———–*. They’re not even actual names, for crying out loud. Poor kid never had a chance. I’m pretty sure the only time she got fed or her diaper changed was when the women with the needles came and took care of her.

*Note from Daddy: I censored the kid because I didn’t want to offend anyone who might think those are pretty names. I pity you, but I don’t want to offend you.

Finally, after a few extra months of hell, they let us leave. Which terrified the crap out of me. Would you want to go home with the woman who just forced you out of her belly and the dummy who drove her? Yeah, me neither.

So far, though, they seem to be doing okay. I’m still alive, which is a good sign, and they haven’t evicted me from here yet. It’s not as uterus-y as I’d like, and they don’t hold me nearly enough, but I think I’ll keep them. As long as they let me stay up whenever I want.

& it hits the fan: the birth story, part 3

If you’re just realizing that this blog isn’t dead and haven’t kept up, you can read Part 1 and Part 2. Or just go there and read them to jack up my page views. Which mean nothing, really. It’s like the points on Whose Line.

Anyway, here’s Squatch:

He’s here! And no hard feelings, really.

So suddenly, through no fault of my own, I’m getting shoved—shoved!out of Mommy’s belly. Through all the turning and position changes, even my best friend, Placenta, turned against me. The cord got wrapped around my neck twice and my stomach once. Think about that—my food source suddenly went Anaconda on me. How would you like it if your hamburger decided to squeeze you like youwere lunch. Where were Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube when you need them*?

*Note from Daddy: I knew we shouldn’t have watched so much TV during pregnancy. Kid’s already hooked.

After about four-and-a-half months* of laying around in the hospital, Mommy was suddenly on her back and pushing me out. We were not starting this relationship on the right foot.

*Note from Daddy: 16 hours—about four of which were spent stuck at 9 centimeters before she finally gave in to ask for the epidural.

A little ways in, I heard Mommy throw up. It was like the old days again. The first trimester days. From what I could hear, I gather that she threw up on someone, but not Daddy*. Too bad, because that would’ve been pretty funny. After that, though, she started to push harder. And harder. And then it got really bright and really cold for a second before it went dark again.

*Note from Daddy: It was her favorite nurse—the one who actually let her move around into different positions to move things along. She felt really bad about that.

Then someone stuck something to my head and started pulling. That was totally not cool. It’s one thing for Mommy to try to evict me, but she had to go and call in the fuzz. She started pushing again, and the guy started pulling and I shot out of there like a rocket. The guy even said “Uh oh” as I came popping out—not what you want to hear from the guy who’s supposed to be catching you. But there I was, about a day* after Mommy started throwing me out, and I was homeless.

*Note from Daddy: Half an hour. I have a feeling he’ll have trouble with that whole time thing.

Not just homeless, either. The catcher guy unwrapped the cord from me, then Daddy cut it—CUT IT!so I was foodless, too! These are supposed to be my parents, folks. One kicks me out, and the other literally cuts me off. Not winning any Parent-of-the-Year awards, these two.

All I can remember after that was that it was so cold and they started pulling on me and poking me and rolling me around and I was so, so mad. I can honestly say it was the worst day of my life up to that point.

At this point, I think I’ll interject that this was one of the most surreal moments of my life, and mostly thanks to this blog. It made my son’s birth a lot like meeting a celebrity—someone I’ve talked about and know all this stuff about but have never actually met, then suddenly I’m face-to-face with him. And the fact that all these other people also knew who he was only added to the effect that I was meeting someone famous. It was pretty incredible.

Of course, I’ve never really met someone actually famous, so I have nothing to compare it to.

& it’s go time: the birth story, part 2

You didn’t think I’d come back this soon, did you? I can change, I promise. Just give me a chance.

In case you didn’t check in yesterday (and who could blame you?), you can read Part 1. Go ahead, Squatch will wait. He’s a baby; he’s got nothing but time.

Caught up? Good. Here’s Squatch:

By the time I woke up, we were at the hospital, and it was even colder in there. I was suddenly aware that I was ass-end up and Mommy’s belly kept squeezing. We kept getting moved from one place to another and people kept asking Mommy questions. I could tell Daddy was there, too, because he’d say something stupid every once in a while and Mommy would hit him.

Squatch gets animated when he tells a story.

Eventually, Mommy got laid down. Daddy was making lots of phone calls. I was mostly trying not to freak out about the fact that my own Mommy was trying to evict me. You think you know a woman, you share food and oxygen, then. . . . Well, I guess I’ll have a good starting place for therapy one day.There were a whole lot of boring parts after that. We sat around for about 37 years. A guy kept coming in every little bit to ask if Mommy wanted something. An epic squirrel, I think. It must not have been that epic, because Mommy kept saying no. She asked if she could get up, and he told her no, but he did let the rest of the juice out of Mommy’s belly so I was nice and cold. Jerk.

After the first few weeks of laying around in the freezing cold, somebody told Mommy she could move around, as long as she didn’t get out of bed. When she started moving around, her belly started squeezing me tighter and Mommy started moaning a lot. Then Daddy would say something stupid, and Mommy and I both told him to shut up. Daddy can be a dummy sometimes.

A couple weeks later, Aunt April came by to keep us company. The doctor kept coming in and finally Mommy said she wanted the epic squirrel. I never got to see it, but it made Mommy relax a little bit. That’s when the fun started. Well, fun for Mommy. It was horrible and painful for me. More for therapy.