Sunday, October 28, 2012

New Yorkers Are Indifferent to World Series

I was thrilled to see the Giants win Game 3 of the World Series last night. Unfortunately, I was at a bar where everyone else was utterly apathetic.

On the big screen: not baseball.

We went to a place called Bar-Coastal. At first I thought this was a great place to see the Giants, because I figured the name was a play on "bi-coastal" (surely they must have some affinity for West Coast teams?).

But nearly every TV in the place was tuned to the Notre Dame-Oklahoma college football game (hello, neither of those places is bi-coastal!).

I had to squint at a small television in the corner (see the TV in the upper-right corner of the picture below), while everyone else in the bar watched the large screen behind me.

You have to wonder how different the place would be if the Yankees were in the World Series.

On the bright side, they had Bay Area beer (Racer 5!). Maybe they are "bar-coastal" after all.

UPDATE: The Giants completed their sweep of the World Series. And while I wasn't able to see the final game at San Francisco's orange-glowing City Hall this time, I like to think the Empire State Building was lit up in the Giants' honor Wednesday night. (Actually, it was just Halloween.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

'New York, You're Not Berkeley Enough'

DJ Dave, the rapper behind the "Whole Foods Parking Lot" video, has a new track: "New York, You're Not Berkeley Enough." (Thanks for the tip, BuboBlog correspondent Amie.)

This is starting to get creepy. Is DJ Dave writing these songs for me personally? First there was "Daddy Skills" (something I have in abundance), and now one questioning the Berkeley loyalty of New Yorkers.

For the record, I do still wear a Cal hat and rep the Bay.

I also respect any rap song that mentions credit-default swaps. (Is this a first? I feel like Jay-Z should be able to work it into one of his tracks.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm an Ex-San Franciscan in New York Rooting for Ex-New Yorkers in San Francisco

The last two times the Giants went to the World Series (in 2002 and 2010), I lived walking distance from the ballpark.

San Francisco City Hall in 2010.

Now the Giants are in the thick of it again, and I'm 3,000 miles away. Having three small kids in the house also makes it hard to watch games, which typically air during bedtime. (On the West Coast, they were early enough to watch with little ones.)

Another downside: When you talk about the Giants here in New York, people typically think you mean football — even during the World Series. (I've already complained about how much Google results favor the New York team over the San Francisco one.)

Actually, that raises an interesting piece of trivia: If the Giants win the World Series, it will mark the first time that teams named the Giants won the championship in both the MLB and the NFL, even when you include pre-Super Bowl NFL title games.

That's not as exciting as the 49ers winning the Super Bowl and then both Bay Area teams playing in the World Series during a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. But you can't have everything.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

'The Moppets Take Manhattan'

I created a video documenting the kids' first six months in New York. (Lucy even makes a brief cameo.)

It looks like we're having a great time, but I did edit out all the times I had to carry the stroller up and down subway stairs.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oddly Gender-Specific Skeleton Pajamas

When medical examiners try to determine the gender of skeletal remains, they look for subtle differences: the shape of the pelvis, the size of the sciatic notch...

Wait, no. Silly me: Everyone knows that male skeletons are black and female skeletons are pink!

The kids look adorable in any case. (And anyone questioning the realism should probably start with the candy corns suspended in the skeletons' nonexistent bellies.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

An Extreme Case of 'Longforming'?

We've already discussed the prevalence of parents "longforming" their babies' names. That's when people decide on the nick name they want for their child, and then reverse-engineer a longer version (out of fear that they'll call the kid something insubstantial). So Jack becomes Jackson, Harry becomes Harrison, and so on.

Photo courtesy of Fameflynet Pictures

Well, this may be a situation where longforming is taken to an absurd level. Uma Thurman and her husband apparently wanted to call their daughter Luna, so naturally they named her, uh, this...

From the L.A. Times:
Uma Thurman's new daughter is named Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, "better known to family and friends as Luna," her rep told People on Wednesday. 
What does it all mean? Mom and Dad, Arpad Busson, aren't telling, though we're assured each of the many, many names has "a special reason and meaning" to little Luna's parents.

When it comes to naming, less is more. And here they've managed to take some charming components (the very sweet Luna; the retro-chic Florence; and Rosalind, a classic name poised for a rebound) and obscure them in a dreary Frankenpastiche.

If you want to name your daughter Luna, call her Luna. I mean, it's a little unorthodox, but (in this case at least) it beats the alternative.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

'Lucy Comes Home'

When Alice was born, I worried she would think she was a robot because she had so few baby pictures (compared with Elliot, at least). Well, Lucy may fare even worse — given how hectic our home life has become.

But I did make a video of Lucy's homecoming, so she'll always know how thrilled we were to meet her the first time.

My advice to new parents: Take video of your kids! You don't have to edit the footage, and you certainly don't have to post it online. But record these moments. (I encounter a surprising number of parents who take lots of pictures but no video.)

I can't even remember what Elliot or Alice were like two weeks ago, let alone two years. It's nice to be able to take a trip back in time whenever I want to.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taxis and Babies

Another way Lucy is a true New Yorker — her first car ride was a yellow taxi. When we were discharged from the hospital, we just walked outside and hailed a cab.

Here's something you may not know: Babies aren't required to be in child seats when they ride in taxis in New York. (This is different from California, which allows no exceptions for cabs.)

Going above and beyond the legal requirement.

It's a little unnerving to parents who are normally afraid to drive 3 feet without having their babies secured, belted and harnessed. But you can imagine why the law makes sense in New York. Often parents are out and about and suddenly need to get home quickly. That means hailing a cab, and it's not like anyone thinks to haul along a car seat while walking the streets of Manhattan.

(I've noted before that airlines don't require you to secure your infant either. In fact, they often don't allow you to strap an "infant-in-arms passenger" into the parent's seat belt.)

However, NewYork-Presbyterian has stricter standards. The hospital requires you to have a child seat for your newborn, whether you're going home in a cab or private vehicle. (And it's not like we would do anything less for our Lulu.)

One thing no parent can control: the competence or condition of the cab driver. Ours started nodding off while we were crossing the Queensboro Bridge. This would have been a good time for Lucy to start shrieking, but she slept the whole time.

Fortunately, we made it home safely. Welcome to New York, kid!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking for Last-Minute Baby-Name Inspiration?

I've written a lot about century names (monikers that peaked in popularity more than 100 years ago) and where to find them. We've already discussed "The Golden Girls," "Downton Abbey" and the early auto industry as sources of inspiration, but what happens if you arrive at the hospital without anything picked out?

Never fear: That's practically the best place to find century names!

At NewYork-Presbyterian, you couldn't walk three feet without seeing a sign, plaque or archway honoring hospital benefactors.

The great thing about hospital benefactors is they are generally very old or very dead, which means they have fantastic names.

Here's a sample from NewYork-Presbyterian: Beatrice, Elmer, Henrietta, Iris, Lucille, Mildred, Mortimer and Theodora. And that was just from me doing a brief walk around the hospital.

These are time-tested names, folks. You can't go wrong.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Birthplace of Our Very Own Native New Yorker

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where Lucy was born, is said to be the oldest hospital in the city and the second-oldest in the nation, after Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

Back in 1771, it was just called New York Hospital — not the mouthful of a moniker that it has now. At some point the hospital acquired more names than a South American heiress and decided it would be cool to turn the "New York" part into one word with an intercap ("it's NewYork, yo"). I assume this was during the dot-com era.

It also was one of the first "lying-in" hospitals, which means the doctors thought women should get to stay overnight after giving birth (rather than putting their placenta in a to-go bag and kicking them to the curb). Radical stuff in the 1790s.

This, of course, gave rise to The Lying-In-Wait Hospital, a facility in Queens that exclusively serves ninjas.

During our stay I discovered that NewYork-Presbyterian also is the official hospital of the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, Kelly was already in labor so we couldn't go someplace else.

Another downside: Whereas getting a private recovery room was expected in San Francisco, it's not here — unless you're willing to spend $750 a night. That means dads can't stay overnight with their newborns. (In our case, that was just as well; I had to go home to take care of our pre-existing children.)

There also were fewer niceties than at San Francisco's California Pacific Medial Center, where Elliot and Alice were born. At CPMC, they celebrate your final night in the hospital with a romantic dinner. I think there may have even been wine.

Nothing like that at NewYork-Presbyterian. The food seemed decent to me, but Kelly says it rarely bore a resemblance to what she ordered.

One nice thing: The nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian stamped my hand with Lucy's foot — a cool memento.

And while we didn't have a private room, we did have a view of Roosevelt Island. In fact, you could barely make out our apartment's living-room window.

It's not quite like clinking glasses of Cabernet while overlooking Presidio Heights (our hospital experience the last two times). But at least Lucy got an early glimpse of home.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Making It All Look Easy

After witnessing three deliveries, I can tell you: It's not a pretty thing to watch.

And yet, Kelly always seems to look great in the post-childbirth photos. It's like she's saying, "Here's a small person I found. No big whoop."




The babies take a little longer to recover.

The Third Time's the Charm

I'm pretty sure childbirth is always an exhilarating experience, whether it's the first time or the 11th (you'd have to ask Evander Holyfield to be sure). But we were grateful to have a little less excitement this time around.

The banner outside our hospital: truth in advertising.

With Elliot, we were totally unprepared for him to arrive two weeks early. We hadn't even bought a bassinet or other essential items. (First babies are supposed to be late!) Then Alice caught us off guard by sliding down the chute at breakneck speed.

Baby No. 3 wasn't having any of that. Apparently she was very fond of womb life and had no intention of leaving without a Navy Seal-style extraction. So we had to induce the delivery.

On Thursday we arrived at the hospital insanely early, basically zero dark thirty (I'm not really sure what time that is, so I'm going to assume it means 5:45 a.m.). Even when you're on the schedule for an induction, there's a first-come, first-served element to it, so they recommend arriving early. Meanwhile, all the people getting C-sections are assigned higher priority. Lucky bastards.

In the waiting room.

With an induction, the doctor breaks your water, rather than letting it happen naturally, and you take a drug called Pitocin to speed the process along. (Side note: Something about using the transitive verb here — "I'm going to break your water" — is offputting to me. It didn't help that I overheard a nurse say the patient had been "ruptured." Eeek, could you please use less terrifying jargon?)

Once that's over, it feels like a normal labor. By that I mean a slow, painful process.

Hollywood always portrays childbirth as a frenzy of activity. That's true at the very end of it, but there are many hours of waiting around beforehand. I had lots of time, for instance, to study the hospital's computer screen showing the baby's heart rate — and freak out about whether it was normal.

I'm not sure using a 1990s-style choo-choo train icon (to show that everyone is alive and chugging along?) is particularly reassuring.

1996 called. It wants its medical equipment back.

There also was plenty of time to peruse our list of names. It's sad to think that I will be retiring my name spreadsheet after four-plus years. I hope to convince someone to use some of my favorites from the reject pile (Dorothy, Sybil and Wilhelmina, anyone?).

Crossing out "Millicent."

Another thing you never see in movies: People eating in the delivery room. I did a lot of this. Bagels, coffee, a sandwich. Heck, I was still munching on some steak fries a few moments before the baby arrived. I also have never worn a surgical gown, hat or mask — something you sometimes see on dads in movies (maybe some hospitals require this?). I did try to occasionally wash my hands.


When Lucy did come, she came quickly. I cut the cord and marveled at how large she was. Lucy weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 21 inches — by far a record for our family.

Lucy was alert immediately. And though she didn't cry as much as our other kids, she looked like she would have preferred to stay inside.

Maybe this is just her New York attitude. Or she caught a glimpse of the steak fries and assumed that all fries are that way. (Seriously, why do steak fries exist?)

Welcome to Earth, Lucy. It may be a cold place, but you have two people who are ecstatic to see you. Deal with it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

'Pocket Like It's Hot'

(I'm taking a break from baby excitement because something very important has been brought to my attention: Snoop Dogg has made a commercial for Hot Pockets. Thanks for the tip, BuboBlog Portola Valley correspondent Anh-Minh.)

Remember last year's hip-hop "Lunchables" ad from 1996? It was probably one of the greatest things ever to grace the Internet. (Warning: the video contains satirical misogyny and extreme 1990sness.)

Well, this isn't quite at that level, but Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) has adapted "Drop It Like It's Hot" as a commercial for Hot Pockets ("Pocket Like It's Hot").

The difference here is, this is a real ad. (Snoop also isn't pillaging from the '90s — "Drop It Like It's Hot" came out in 2004.)

I guess this is Nestle's attempt to reinvigorate the Hot Pockets brand. Considering the video is endorsed by a major corporation, I was a little surprised by the thinly veiled marijuana references (I can tell you, microwaving a Hot Pocket does not produce that much smoke). But pot users are likely a significant market for this product.

I ate quite a few Hot Pockets in my 20s, back when I was listening to a lot of Snoop Dogg. (I also used to drink Gatorade out of an unrefrigerated 128-ouncer until a patch of algae would start floating in it.) So I'm not sure if this ad is supposed to appeal to young people or pluck the nostalgia strings for a late-30s dad with three kids.

If I'm the target market, I'm sad to report that my wife no longer lets me buy Hot Pockets. Sorry, guys!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Are ROCKING This International Day of the Girl Thing

The United Nations declared Oct. 11 the first-ever "International Day of the Girl Child."

I hadn't heard anything about this until today, but we were so inspired we CREATED A GIRL CHILD FROM SCRATCH.

Introducing our family's latest addition, Lucy, who arrived this afternoon.

How's that for dedication, Ban Ki-moon?

Sunday, October 07, 2012

So Close Yet So Far

When we had our second child, we had to cross the Bay Bridge to San Francisco to deliver. I worried about having to travel so far and whether we would make it (in the end, we got to the hospital on time — even if it we didn't make it to an actual delivery room).

Well, this time we live amazingly close to the hospital. The medical complex that includes Presbyterian Hospital looks to be about 1,000 feet away from us as the crow flies.

Unfortunately, we are not crows. And we don't have a canoe or raft to use to cross the East River from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan.

When Kelly goes into labor, we'll have to take the tram or the subway. Or we'll call a cab, cross the Roosevelt Island Bridge, drive through Queens, and then cross the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. (Let's hope it's not rush hour.)

In any case, there will be lots of opportunities for giving birth in places that are not a hospital. I guess this is the curse of being pregnant on Roosevelt Island.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Getting Nostalgic...for Two Years Ago

We began pulling the baby toys out of the closet in anticipation of Child No. 3, and the kids were delighted to discover all their old treasures. 

I've previously discussed nostalgia for the 1990s (and even the early 2000s). Forget that: These kids are taking a stroll down memory lane to the early 2010s!

Man, remember the Rainforest Jumperoo? The Bumbo seat? Breast milk? Those were the days.

Elliot tried to climb into the Jumperoo for old times' sake, but he's gotten way too big.

You really can't go home again, little fella.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Dad Turns Wheelchair Into Ice-Cream Truck Costume

I think we've already established that I'm not the world's best dad. That honor goes to the Aka Pygmy fathers that suckle their babies, or perhaps this fellow, who turned his kid's wheelchair into the coolest costume ever.

From the HuffPost site:
Carter has spina bifida and he is wheelchair-bound, so dad used his son's chair as the central feature in the boy's Halloween costume. 
He built his son an ice cream truck complete with a back window filled with ice cream cones. On the side of the truck, he painted "Buster's Ice Cream." Carter dressed up in a crisp, white uniform.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

BuboBlog Reviews 'Looper'

(A friend was kind enough to watch the kids the other night, providing us with what's certain to be our last movie for some time, since No. 3 is due any day now. This may be my final review for a while.)

You would think the time-travel concept would be starting to run out of stream. It's been 117 years since "The Time Machine" was published, and the past three decades have been an especially fecund period for finding new twists on the idea (everything from "Back to the Future" and "Terminator" to "Primer" and "Safety Not Guaranteed").

"Looper," the new film from director Rian Johnson, manages to plumb new depths, even with a concept that on its face seems derivative.

The movie centers on a "looper" named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who serves as a hit man for the mob. But he's no ordinary hit man: Joe kills people who are sent back in time (allowing his mob bosses in the future to cleanly dispose of undesirable people). His profession pays well and allows him a degree of comfort in a world that's rapidly unraveling.

He runs into trouble when his latest target turns out to be...himself (played by Bruce Willis, as the 30-years-older Joe). When the young Joe lets the old Joe escape without killing him, it sets a series of events in motion that threatens to destroy his life.

The movie turns out to be about a lot more than time travel, and that's both a good and bad thing. After a fast-paced first act, the film shifts gears and focuses on a farm in Kansas, where Joe finds a beautiful woman (Emily Blunt) and her mysterious son.

"Looper" is set in 2042 (other than the flash-forward scenes, which take place in 2072) and shows a unique vision of the future. Apparently Kansas has found reason to turn one of its cities (Wichita?) into a dense metropolis of ultratall buildings, which is odd because everything around it is still farmland. On the plus side, solar energy has seemingly advanced to the point where cars can be powered by throwing a solar panel the size of a floor mat on the hood.

I won't give away too much of the plot, but the fate of the son soon becomes the central question of  "Looper." His dangerous abilities made me think of the "It's a Good Life" episode of "The Twilight Zone," also set on a farm, or perhaps even "Children of the Corn" (though the setting in "Looper" is a sugarcane farm). But clearly he has the potential for good not just evil, and the characters attempt to foster that.

The film's ending left me a little unsatisfied. I was waiting for one final revelation, something transcendent and life-affirming. When the credits rolled, I didn't feel like I'd gotten it.

In fact, the film's resolution was basically the same ending as the director's cut of "The Butterfly Effect," another time-travel movie (but one that I'd only recommend to major fans of the genre). Imagine taking the premise of "It's a Wonderful Life" and turning it on its head. It didn't work in "The Butterfly Effect," and I don't feel like it entirely worked with "Looper."

Still, it's a film with interesting ideas and plenty to say  even on a topic where I thought everything had already been said.

BuboBlog Rating: 3 asterisks (out of 4).

Monday, October 01, 2012

Deal With Devil Doesn't Include Fluff-and-Fold Service

I haven't seen "666 Park Avenue" yet, but the Curbed real-estate site had some of the highlights. Apparently the show's swanky apartment building isn't nice enough to have washers/dryers in the units.

At least it has a laundry room on site. Judging by the comments, even that is considered a luxury by many New Yorkers. Still, it looks drearier than our facility (below).

On the plus side: 666 Park Avenue has plenty of washers available! (I can't quite make out what the price is, though. The rate in our building is $1.75 a load.)