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I just spent an hour with my rear resting on a stack of pillows, couch cushions and crocheted afghans and my head on the floor on doctor's orders. I'm due in three weeks, you see, and I learned this past Monday that little Everett is in Frank Breech position.

Frank Breech is code for head up, butt down and legs over his head. It's like he's frozen in some sort of gymnastic tumble from the rings. Can you tell I watched the Olympics this year?

The radiologist who oversaw my ultrasound made the comment - to his med student, not me, I was invisible to him but for my uterus - that "she will have a tough decision ahead of her."

What he meant was that there are only three choices to make at this point when you have a Frank Breech baby and are working on your 38th week of pregnancy.

A) Have an external version - which my OB nixed just this morning because she can't feel the baby's head at all in an abdominal exam so has nothing to push on in order to force him to turn. Which I was willing to try but am somewhat secretly happy to not have to deal with since I've been told they are so painful some doctors administer epidurals during the procedure. That, and there is some small risk of injury and death to the baby.

B) Have a c-section - this is the easiest route to go at this point and despite the fact that I originally wanted a home birth with a midwife and no drugs I am amazingly fine with the idea of my new OB slicing into me after some nurse taps my spine. I mean, if the baby is breech the baby is breech.

C) Try for a breech birth and possibly end up with a c-section anyway - having read the procedure for a breech birth and seen the frightening angles the baby's body is twisted while his head would still be lodged in my pelvis...I'm definitely not feeling the confidence on this one. Have I mentioned he's a large baby? The OB says he's 68th percentile but he's got his father's big head and long legs. It's the head I'm worried about.

As it turns out we're going for option D) hoping he turns in the next week and if he hasn't scheduling a c-section. Which is how I came to be resting on the floor of my inlaws' tv room with my rump on a stack of pillows, couch cushions and crocheted afghans and my head on the floor. We're hoping gravity will make the baby turn and he will lodge in the pelvis becoming unable to flip around again. I'm only half convinced this will work, but I did feel some less than comfortable movements in the desired regions so who knows. The OB also mentioned moxa sticks, an ancient Chinese remedy involving incense wedged between the pinky toe and its neighbor and then burned, but I have neither the time nor the nose to give that a try.

Notes from the Surf

America's 10 Most Confusing Traffic Signs
http://jalopnik.com/5044869/americas-10-most-confusing-traffic-signs
"The far left lane is lava (yeah, we're sticking to this)."

Everybody's PIN Revealed!
http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/pin.htm
"Not intended for criminal use!"

How "NCSA_Mosaic/2.0 (Windows 3.1)" ultimately resulted in "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13"
http://www.webaim.org/blog/user-agent-string-history/
Nobody ever said technological evolution was pretty, but some kind of intelligent design might have been nice  =)

Perhaps his boss wasn't evil after all
http://www.wetherobots.com/2008/09/02/banal/
"Hey you! I'm not paying you to read Everything2!"

Ronald McDonald fails to prevent war between Georgia and Russia
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/06/russia.mcdonalds
So much for this piece of airhead pop-punditry from Thomas Friedman - but at least it sounded good enough at the time to make the rounds of the media.

When Pinky and the Brain become the leaders of the free world
http://surreality.info/up/bush_Pinky.jpg
...poor, poor Pinky...

ABC News Reporter Arrested in Denver
http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5670682
"Move along citizen. Nothing to see here."

Soccer players and fans punish security guards who beat some guy with a banner
http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/6zidz/security_guards_beat_man_at_soccer_football_game/c05aerk
"It's kind of sad that watching law enforcement/security get beat up makes me cheerful and feel free."

The Battle of Saint Paul: Gallery 1
http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2008090316161856
Images from the streets outside the convention halls.

Greek "Robin Hoods" take and hand out food for free in Thesaaloniki
http://www.ainfos.ca/en/ainfos21355.html
Apparently it's actually Robin Hood and her band of merry women.

Hallelujah, huzzah, hooray, sis boom bah! I am finally rid of the hell hole where I have spent the last two years of my professional career! The endless, mindless, boring work of a graveyard shift supervisor at a high tech manufacturing facility that could be run by sufficiently trained monkeys is a mere two weeks from being behind me forever.

I will be moving on to greener pastures, a Dow Jones, Fortune 500 company with some 100,000 employees worldwide and $45 billion in revenue. My new work will be in design, new problems and challenges every single day, with plenty of room to expand, unlike the dead end I have wedged myself into at my current employer.

I will finally have the opportunity to use my degree. This is the job I should have had out of college. This is what I should have been doing all along.

CAT calls.

Today is my birthday. I am 23 years old.

That's about it really. Birthdays have begun to depress me because I feel older but no wiser - in fact, I'd say I'm less worldly wise now than I was 365 days ago. I'm still socially toxic due to my general hatred of small talk. I still overanalyse everything, like I can't turn my brain off. And I still don't suffer fools gladly. Even though I really should have learnt to solve all of these by now.

Tomorrow evening I'll be going down a pub for some drinks. I don't know if I'll meet anyone I know there. I don't really care, to be honest, because I know I'll not really meet anyone interesting, or if I do, I'll manage to irreversibly offend or terrify them because I'm that sort of person. I'm used to that now. But I'm still breathing and I still have use of all my limbs, so that's something. My hearing's not deteriorated any further either, and I've still 20/20 vision. There are people in worse situations than I am. I could have been wrongly convicted of murder than locked up in a flea- and violence-infested penal colony in South America, for instance.

On the plus side, I've started my Legal Practice Course and there'll hopefully be people there who I'll get on with... (fat chance, I thought the same thing when I started university, and that never happened!)

I am dismayed.

This 2008 election has jaded me some. No, I'm not talking about the negative ads, although I will say that the b.s. on both sides has been epic this go-around. But I'm used to that. I've been voting since 1994. I first registered to vote during my freshman year at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri, a little town I'd never lived in before and have not revisited since transferring in 1995. And as such, I didn't know jack about any of the issues of the local election any of the politicians. I just was excited to finally be able to vote and jumped at the first chance. The point is, I'd already seen enough to not be jaded any more about the process than I already am.

No. What has me bummed is that I am finding out we have not made as much progress as I'd thought we'd made since the 1960's as far as race relations. Things like race baiting and people playing the race card had been really irritating me for years (see my writeup on Al Sharpton for some of that frustration) because I was convinced that racism was almost dead, relegated mainly to people who wear white hoods. Here I'm speaking of the really overt type, as opposed to people unconsciously choosing people of their own race for things, job positions and whatnot, in what would otherwise arbitrary decisions. And of course there are a number of other things that subtlety influence such decisions such as looks, age, even gender (still!); that's in our nature and I don't think you can ever completely eradicate that.

But I am dismayed. Even if I wasn't voting Obama I would be. Because it turns out that I was wrong. Or, at least, it's more alive than I'd previously thought - I do want to give credit where credit is due as far as the efforts of a lot of people since the 1960's, not the least of whom the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

What I am talking about here is what I am hearing people say about Barack Obama, the current nominee for the Democratic presidential candidate. If you aren't hearing any of it, too, from people that you associate with, let me tell you, you should hear the outrageous things I am hearing right-wingers espouse lately about Mr. Obama. It's a lot more than race, but it's the race thing that has me dismayed the most. Like for instance my babysitter calls him "The Obamination" and is convinced that he is indeed likely the Antichrist, no doubt spawned from discussions and/or sermons at the Baptist church she attends. And the whole thing where he is for killing babies (spawned from two bills he voted down while a state senator in Illinois which would have required doctors to save babies aborted alive but he voted YES on the federal bill that President Bush signed into law) that really bugs the crap out of me.

But my mother-in-law last weekend, who has been ranting about the man for quite some time, said very clearly she wasn't voting for him because he's black. That, and, he's "of the foreign nations" whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. Maybe it has to do with a lot of idiots believing idiots who claim he wasn't born in the States (he was, and it was in Hawaii, thank you) and has lived overseas and attended a school which had a high percentage of Muslims (not a Muslim school, per se). Anyway, those statements floored me. Mostly because I didn't think she was racist. There are many people I am discovering are racist that I hadn't previously thought were.

Probably the worst things I heard was back when Obama and Hillary were still duking it out for the nomination. My wife's cousin's husband and his brother - a couple of "good ol' boys," were having a lively discussion about Mr. Obama. Now, I suppose that they were mostly joking, but it's something that most reasonable people don't joke about. They basically were laughing about something they'd like to do that, if the Secret Service had heard them, they'd probably have been arrested, joking or not. I won't be any more specific than that, I'll let you use your imagination.

Incidentally, my wife's cousin's husband was a guy that I didn't like when I first met him, but when they had a child around the same time we had ours we started socializing more with them, letting the kids play, and I got to know that he loves the St. Louis Blues, and hockey in general, as much as I do, so I liked him, and I finally had somebody to play hockey with on the X-Box. Now, I don't think I like him again.

My point is that, even though I've only seen this in a handful of people, I am sure that it is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were. This is ironic because the mere fact that Obama has become the first black major Presidential candidate should be demonstrating how far we've come. However, besides that fact, things I have been hearing people say tell a much different story. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe Al Sharpton isn't so much a self-aggrandizing egomaniac exploiting imaginary racism for his own political gain.

Actually, he probably is, but maybe he's not as far off the mark as I'd previously thought and hoped.

Now I wonder how the next four years will be if Obama is elected in November. What will I hear from these backwoods hicks down amongst my wife's family? Or from people who are supposedly civilized like my kids' babysitter?

These are interesting times, my friends. And depressing. I am purposely doing this on a 9/11 because on that terrible day, the cliché goes, we all came together, black and white, Democrat and Republican, blah blah blah. "Things will be different now" we all thought. Well, not so much. Things are as bad as ever.

Or maybe even worse.

I am so glad for my sons that they have a father who will teach them not to hate anybody based on race, gender, sexual orientation (that's another subject/rant altogether for a different writeup), religion, nationality, etc etc (the list can go on and on). It makes me almost want to try to keep him away from family members who are otherwise good but might poison his mind with this garbage.

When I think about things like this, and other terrible things our society has seen like genocides and holocausts, culturally accepted infanticide, child molestation, it really makes me think, just what the hell is wrong with us? Some say it should be an indictment against religion. But is religion just an excuse or a just a justification for doing the evil things people had wanted to do anyway?

Let’s see what happens in 2009. We’re either going to have the first black President in the U.S. or first female vice president. Even though there are many things I do not like about Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate, I’d been wanting to see a female President or Vice President for quite some time. At any rate, these are interesting times. Hopefully during the next Administration, whoever wins, perhaps people will proven wrong about certain biases Americans, and other citizens of the world, have long held.

Hey, I am dismayed lately, but am still a “glass is half full” kind of guy despite this.

Today, this afternoon, I went to a Bank of America ATM to withdraw some money. I knew that I was a bit tight and didn't have a whole lot to work with, but fuck me running, I wasn't at all expecting to be in the red. I have a balance of -$116.46, I'm informed.

Ashen-faced, I go back to the office and log into bankofamerica.com and check my account history. Everything seems to add up - two friends visiting town, hey let's get drinks at this cool restaurant in The Village I heard good things about! (kaching!), lump-sum iTunes purchases for the month (kaching!), my rent check (kachink-kachink-ching!), etc etc. All makes sense, I was roughly expecting this state of affairs.... But hey, what's this? A mysterious check for two hundred plus overdraft penalties?! OK, I totally don't remember any of this happening. Like, what the fuck.

I walk over to the nearest Bank of America branch. Hopefully, it's all a mistake, and I can get my money back. I get invited into an office by one of the personal bankers, to whom I explain my situation. After pulling up the information on my account, he says, "It indicates here that the check you're asking about was made out to Stanford University. Does that sound familiar?" And I'm afraid it does. Although I made my student loan check out to them some three whole weeks ago, they kindly decided to cash it on 9-11 to remind me how poignant this day can be.

So here I was, with my oh so flaccid dick in my hand. Could I possibly get a cash advance on my (misplaced) credit card to keep me afloat till I get paid in a couple of days? No, the remaining balance on it is too low to allow me to do that. But then, he begins to explain, I should apply for a new credit card and if I'm approved, with 0% financing for the first six-months I can blah blah blah, and I spend the next couple of minutes having to tell him I'm not interested, while he's trying to tell me that, au contraire, I actually am. I begin to develop a psychosomatic head-ache. I foist off my final excuse and leave.

Tonight, a friend of mine and I were planning to go to Brooklyn and listen to some live folk music at a bar. I'm not sure if there's a cover charge at the place, but to be safe, it'd be wise of me to cancel. But I don't know, something feels wrong about that. She's a really cool person, plus she's leaving town tomorrow to begin her senior year. I have some slightly more than 11 dollars in my saving's account, $5 in my pocket, a lot of change at home, so let's just withdraw $10 and see what's what. So I join the teller line and wait for my turn with as much dignity as I can.

"Kindly swipe your card at the machine." I do as told.

"Please key in your PIN number." Press, press, press. Press. She looks at her screen.

"How much would you like to withdraw?" she asks, with a face that is superhumanly straight.

"Uh, 10 dollars from savings."

"Sure thing." She prints out a slip. "Kindly sign next to the X." Having done so, she peels off a single 10 dollar bill and places it onto the tray. She looks up at me. And finally gives in to the smile that I knew was there all along.

"Is that all for you today?" she asks, giggling a little, but still trying to keep a straight face.

"I believe so," I grin. I beamingly pocket the bigger part of my net worth in my jacket, and exit with my head on high.

As I'm about to leave the bank, I notice the alcove where they have the complimentary coffee out for customers. Hey, I mean, so I pour myself a free cup of coffee. I taste it. I find the coffee brings out the notes of paper cup. I duly obliterate it with lots and lots of sugar. And two plastic mini-jugs of creamer.

Coffee in hand, I walk across the street to the Credit Suisse smoking exit. Prime my iPod, put in my headphones, and light one of my last six cigarettes for the week. I inhale... God, I love Fantastic Plastic Machine!

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