Saturday, November 18, 2006

Someone Needs a Hug

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you are just unraveling at the seams? I had one yesterday. Through a harmonic convergence of stupid circumstances and PMS, I really was not sure I would make it through the day. My car is in the shop, the cafe where I ate lunch kinda forgot to bring me food, and I got no work done.

Later, the kids were kids in the worst sense of the word. Tea somehow managed to eat half a jar of petroleum jelly and smear the other half over her entire upper body and head. Even after a bath, she looks like she's about to swim the English Channel. And Gianni did something so extraordinarily boneheaded that my mind has already repressed the memory and my fingers cannot type it due to PTSD.

But later! We had a sitter so we could see a movie! Sweet relief! Not. Thanks to a bitchy couple shrieking at us as they got off the train for reasons that are still unclear, I ended up sobbing my eyes out smack in the middle of a crowded Muni car. That crazy person you see on Muni every day? That was me! Loooovely.

Obviously I need a vacation.

The good news is, my nervous breakdown took a brief hiatus and I got to see Borat and laugh at stupid rednecks and hairy naked guys wrestling each other. (Proving once again that the best cure for a bad day is laughing at someone else's misfortune.) And then I ate a cream puff. If only life were always so good.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Whoever Spelt It, Dealt It

Defying the culinary laws of nature, one hole at a time.

"Excuse me, do you have spelt donuts?"

Of all the unlikely phrases to ever come out of my mouth, this is easily in the top three. Yet, there I was in Whole Foods yesterday, bypassing the delicious delectables in their Baked Goods department and looking for something that defies the laws of at least three of the five senses.

Why? Because I'm a good parent.

When does feeding your child something that I can only imagine tastes approximately like a frosted pincushion (I wouldn't know, I like my donuts good and yeasty) constitute good parenting? When you're trying to save your kid's emotional life.

Gianni has been having, shall we say, difficulty adjusting to kindergarten. He is very bright, but also an extremely sensitive and super intense little kid. He throws tantrums. He melts down. He chucks hard objects at other kids. He hits. Let's just say we will not be receiving a Student of the Month bumper sticker any time soon. We have tried OT, behavior modification, role playing, time outs, and all of the usual tacks. We are now consulting a child shrink to help us figure out what to do next, and we are also grasping at straws with any number of alternative treatments, 100 percent of which I have openly mocked in the past.

This won't hurt a bit!

But even the most wizened and cynical parents get to a point where they are desperate; they will do anything to make the frustration go away. If someone told me that heroin was the only cure for what ails Gianni, I would tie him off right now. I would let a witch doctor dance over his purple-painted body wearing a gorilla suit and a thong if it would help even the slightest bit. At this point when it comes to diet, healing, meds, or outright ridiculous bullshit, there are no athiests in the terrifying foxhole of parenting.

Hence, spelt donuts.

We read on The Internets that sometimes sensory issues and impulsive behavior can be exaggerated by wheat in the diet. Apparently, some kids' digestive systems don't effectively break down wheat and it gets stuck in the intestinal tract and the wheaty goodness leaches out into the body at large and it makes them cranky. Or something like that. And we noticed that Gianni had a couple of really good days last week, and the common thread we discovered for both days was: he ate oatmeal for breakfast, and in general had a pretty wheatless day. As we discussed, if we discovered that twice a week he wore a jester's hat and his behavior improved, he'd never have a bare head again. So we decided to give it a shot.

So there I was yesterday, in Whole Foods, where I never shop, buying things I never thought I'd buy. I'd filled my cart to the brim with wheat-free, gluten-free goodies to sample and prayed that Gianni would never know the difference. And then, suddenly, in front of the $20 cheese, I had a post-traumatic flashback to the Pep-up.

I was also a difficult kid. (I know, shocker.) I acted up at school and smarted off and was generally every teacher's nightmare. I think if the principal could have expelled me, he would have tossed me out on my keister faster than you could say Anger Management. My parents, in their own desperation, decided that sugar was the culprit. They banned anything sweet or otherwise frosted and candied from our house. Cold Turkey. Being a junior sugar hound, it threw my world into an uproar.

If that wasn't enough, we now had to visit places more foreign than Saturn to buy our groceries. No more Eisner's in Eastland Plaza. And sure as hell no Whole Foods. We traveled into the bowels of our 1970s college town, to funky little back-alley stores where hairy people strummed guitars outside the door and they sold wheat germ in bulk. It was terrifying.

One day, in a magazine called Hippie Bullshit Weekly or somesuch, my dad discovered a recipe for something called a Pep-Up. It was some kind of smoothie shake that existed before they figured out how to make smoothies taste like fruit popsicles. The only ingredients I can remember for sure were wheat germ, brewer's yeast, and pure evil. My dad dragged me down to the funky, stinky store and excitedly asked the bemused employees where he could score some Pep-Up ingredients. Keep in mind that this was a place where people were firing up spliffs in the aisles and my dad resembled nothing so much as a Reactionary Insurance Salesman. Oh, the hilarity.

Anyway, we got our ingredients and headed home. My dad got out the blender and lovingly spooned ingredients to make his Pep-Up masterpiece. I watched skeptically. At the moment of truth, he proudly pushed the button on the blender. We were on.


He left the spoon in the blender. The glass pitcher exploded and threw Pep-Up into every corner of our house. Our kitchen smelled like a combination of bananas and Milwaukee's Best. I never got to taste it, but watching that catastrophe did pep me up considerably. In a sense, it worked.

So, thirty years later, the irony of walking through Whole Foods with a shopping cart full of Pep-Up is not lost on me. The things we do for our kids. Hopefully at least a few of these things taste better than a spoonful of wheat germ. If not, we go to Plan B. I'm not sure what Plan B is, but I think it has something to do with soy pudding.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beta and Switch

I'm now posting with the new and "improved" Blogger Beta. My opinion after two days?


I suppose it is my fault for signing onto a beta product, but this version brings a whole new meaning to Confusion and Delay. If I edit copy or post photos, it's about a 50 percent chance that my Save or Publish commands will yield results, 50 percent that my request will hang in oblivion, indefinitely. I long for the good old days when infrequent posting and formatting errors were 100 percent due to my being a lazy slacker.

Here's to getting the bugs knocked out so I can go back to kickin' it old style.

If you're reading this, something worked. A good sign indeed.

UPDATE: In the Change is Good department, today's Valleywag reveals that Courier body type joins Nick Douglas in Dumpsville. Which now makes Dumpsville overcrowded (one of these things does not belong.)

But the change makes the new layout infinitely less fugly and reduces the chances that I will stab my eyes out before I get to the bottom of the page. Thanks for listening!

Monday, November 13, 2006

And the Award for Fugliest Redesign of the Month Goes To....

Courier? Please tell us you're joking.

Valleywag! Step forward and claim your bouquet of dandelions and $20 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse! I went to the site today to get my daily dose of tech info and gossip and oh my God, in the name of all that is decent and aesthetically pleasing! Instead, I got a double dose of evil:

  1. Nick Douglas has been unceremoniously canned for, well, being 25.
  2. The Valleywag design pros have put their heads together and their creative genius has come up with a redesign that resembles a poor man's Hotwired circa 1997. I mean, it is hideoso. I could do better with stock clip art and a blindfold. And believe me, that is not saying much.
Read all about it here.

Be sure to read the comments.

So many questions. Why fire Nick Douglas? Why not just let him do the writing and hire a business savvy Valley hound to do the research? He wasn't bad, he just didn't know very much. I mean, I care less about Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington that just about anyone on the planet, but why lose the good voice?

And what is crawling up Nick Denton's butt? Why fire and redesign in the same swoop? Easy us in gently, man.

And finally, who the fuck approved that design? Stevie Wonder? Boy Howdy does it suck ass. In case I wasn't clear the first time.

I'm sure answers will be coming soon. Either that or April Fool's came early this year.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dems in the HOUUUUUSE!

Step Aside, Boys!

In case you're wondering, I'm having a glass of chilled champagne right now.

A Democratic House! A Democratic Senate! Democratic Governors in Ohio and Kansas! Democratic House victories in INDIANA, for pete's sake! Rick Santorum back molesting donkeys or whatever it is that he does when the Senate is in recess!

If I'm dreaming, please don't pinch me!

You go, Nancy Pelosi, let's show what "San Francisco Values" are all about: Compassion, Acceptance, Honesty, and Hope. 'Cause whatever those other values are, they're not working.

Update: And Donald Rumsfeld is outta there too. This is like Christmas a month early.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Trick or Treat, Smell Our Feet

Why did the chicken cross the road?

SO glad that is over. This year's Bataan Candy March went better than expected, actually. Tea had full appreciation for all of the amazing stuff we saw, Gianni got a metric buttload of candy, and no one TP'ed our house. So I have to call it a success. But one paid for in parent blood.

To Catch the Streetcar! (Please ignore the exhausted mom)

I can't possibly fit all of the thrills, chills, and excitement of Halloween 2006 in one blog post, so here's a cop-out Halloween Index detailing our ghoulish night.

Number of toddler costumes planned out in elaborate detail: 1
Number of elaborate toddler costumes actually made by Mom: 0

Approximate bedtime after coloring Gianni's costume: 11:45 pm
Number of hours of sleep saved by not piecing together Tea's Pluto costume, too: at least 4

Number of Polito dogs embarrassed with humiliating costumes: 0
Number of neighborhood dogs embarrassed with same: approximately 2200

Number of toddlers seen dressed up as chickens, including Tea: 3
Number of babies seen dressed up as pumpkins: 12 million and 3

Number of household pumpkins smashed out of 8: 1 (Yes we had 8 pumpkins for 2 households, SHUT UP)
Number of Kleenex ghosts stolen from the front of our house: ALL OF THEM (fuckers)

More stats:

Best costume, teenage division: Girl dressed up as the Mona Lisa painting
Best costume, kid division: Gianni dressed up as the F-line Streetcar (I'm biased, but it was really super cool.)
Most hideous sight, all-ages division: Young trick-or-treater talking on a cell phone while hitting a house. No candy for you, kid. Even an agent wouldn't be that crass.
Best impersonation of a Spielberg movie: Belvedere Street
Best house on Belvedere: The modern one, where they did a window display of Monsters Inc, complete with life-sized Sully, papier mache Mike (also life-sized), Boo's room, and a Scream Catcher. Same house did Finding Nemo the year before, and the year before that, under construction, the owner dressed up as Spiderman and climbed the wooden frame and threw out candy. Yeah, the kids really hated it.
Best Pumpkin: Intricately carved portrait. Either they commissioned Van Gogh to rise from the dead and carve their pumpkin or someone has a) too much free time, and/or b) no kids.
Worst Pumpkin: Any of mine. Seriously, they really blew. The special pumpkin carving knife? Don't believe the hype.
Best Candy (tie): Anything chocolate, natch, and special 6-year-old judges' ruling for the Froot by the Foot given out at the Monsters Inc house.
Worst Treats (tie):
A Pencil (a PENCIL?? thanks, but we have a pencil, Poindexter) Are You Made of Chocolate? Then no.

And.... a small bag filled with popsicle sticks. Yes, just the sticks. May actually be the Worst Treat Ever. What were they THINKING? Do our kids look like beavers? What the hell are we supposed to do with five popsicle sticks? If we buy a box, we get 6 sticks AND POPSICLES. I can only hope that someone spelled out "Fuck You" in popsicle sticks on their front porch. Oh, except you would need more than five. Assholes.

Even WE think popsicle sticks are a sucky treat!