Noted. (Hopefully our baby won’t refuse to nurse, as I did, cause that’s my whole weight loss plan — just like every (disingenuous) Victoria’s Secret model and starlet who’s had a baby in the past five years. Oh, I just breastfed….)
Just a little under 31 years ago, I played a key role in a conspiracy theory that grew up around a passenger plane downed by a Russian missile. Trust me, I did not mean to be involved.
On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 passengers, was shot down over the Sea of Japan. At about 6am that morning, I arrived at my summer job at the American Embassy in Tokyo where my task was usually to start up the computer which had been turned off over night. But on this morning, I realized the system was already engaged and that a surprisingly large number of workstations had been left on over night. While rare, I had seen this pattern before when a Washington deadline for information was looming.
Not long after I arrived in my office, I received a call from a secretary in the Agriculture Department who liked to play a computer game before her workday started. Her favorite game had a bug that regularly froze her workstation. This was the “bad old days” of computers and the only way to reset her station was from my central console.
On this day, I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset. But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again. I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy. This realization didn’t bother me much, because no one except the Agriculture section secretary was usually on the computer system this early in the morning.
But then all hell broke lose.
My boss, a Japanese computer engineer named Itoh, poked his head in the door. This was a shock because I had never seen Mr. Itoh before 10am ever. My job was to come in early and leave early and he arrived late and stayed late to shut down the system each night. He asked me what had happened. I told him I had shut down the system by mistake. He shook his head and ran down the hall.
Next, the head administrator, who I had only seen once in the computer room, walked in. He asked where Mr. Itoh was. I pointed down the hall. And he ran that direction as well.
More than an hour later, the Administrative Director returned to my office to explain what had happened. He told me about the Korean Airline disaster and that no one really knew what was going on, but that most of the information available was coming in from Japanese sources—first from Japanese fishing ships in the area and later from Japanese defense forces who were being dispatched to look for debris. A team of translators and US diplomats had been readying the first report for President Reagan at the time I turned off the computer systems. As this was a very early computer with limited backup capability, hours of work of dozens of experts had been lost when I inadvertently closed down the computer.
I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired.
It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake. President Reagan was criticized in the press for his administration’s delayed announcement of the tragedy. But more troublesome, the reports that were being compiled in the US Embassy at the time of my error were meant to be shared with the South Korean government. As the team in Tokyo went back to rewriting the report—with clear evidence that the plane had been downed in the Sea of Japan—the South Korean government, working from flawed data, announced that the airliner had simply been forced to land in Russian territory and that all passengers and crew were safe.
That Korean announcement and the slow response by the US President—both caused by delayed real information—caused decades of conspiracy theories. Until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, many Koreans clung to the hope that their loved ones were still alive and well in some Siberian prison camp.
So today, in the face of a Malaysian Airline crash in the Ukraine—and with all the associated speculation of 24-hour news organizations and the Tweetosphere, my advice is to take a deep breath, count to ten, and know that there is a very good chance that truth in the matter will be forthcoming very soon. And let’s hope that there is no stupid 23-year-old with his finger on an important keyboard in this information chain.
“Parents get money from the government each month called Kindergeld. You get about 200 euros/month per child, depending on how many children you have. The money is to help with diapers, food, toys, whatever. It’s not an enormous amount, but a nice chunk of change. You get paid that amount per child until they’re 18, but if they don’t have a job after that, then they get it until they’re 21, and if they’re studying, they get it until they’re 25.”—
Yesterday was a red letter day. It started at a presentation about the latest federal/state/city funding opportunities for energy-efficient building technology development and I knew pretty much everyone in the room. It doesn’t seem like much, but it does matter to feel like you belong to something, professionally, especially something that helps make the world a better place (though I suppose doing glamorous things or making a shitload of money is nice, too). I’ve said before there are three pillars to a fulfilled life: purpose, community, and love, and yesterday checked all three.
Then it was time for my ultrasound. The big one. At 20 (and a half) weeks, the baby has all of its essential parts — ‘all’ it will do in the remaining 20 weeks is grow. So at yesterday’s ultrasound, our lovely tech Sheila was looking to be sure everything was as it should be. And … we’d find out the sex. If baby cooperates.
Gena and M. were there to meet me. My closest community, my greatest love. (And the whole family and my best friends were standing by, waiting for updates via smartphone. I even got a couple messages on tumblr asking me about the results!)
Baby had all its parts (phew). But it was chilling out in happy baby position, feet tucked up by the crotch just as comfortably as could be, and that meant two things:
We couldn’t tell the sex, and
There was a wrench in my it’s-gotta-be-a-boy thinking. My obsessive googling has taught me that boys rarely assume that position (my doctor also said as much). I wasn’t ready to start hoping, though.
Sheila told me to go do the rest of my office visit and come back. She wouldn’t let me go home without knowing.
I did everything I could think of to wake this baby up. I sucked up the chocolatey dredges of M.’s iced mocha. I chewed gum. I did jumping jacks. I, um, went to the bathroom — to make some room (my pregnant ladies know what I’m talking about). I did the wake-up-baby dance. (It looks like this:
I never said it was pretty.)
My mom said when Gena was in the womb she got active when she heard music.
We played Beyonce to my belly. ***Flawless, obviously.
And by the time I was back on Sheila’s chair, the baby was in perfect position.
"So, with all your googling, do you know what that is?" she asked me.
"Uh…" I didn’t want to say it. I was still afraid to hope. But there it was, clear as day.
“A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face she inquired, “How heavy is this glass of water?” The answers called out ranged from 8oz to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If i hold it for a minute, its not a problem. If i hold it for an hour, i’ll have an ache in my arm. If i hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer i hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stress and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them for a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed - incapable of doing anything.” Always remember to put the glass down.”—
That boggles my mind. I'm Canadian... my coworker had a baby last week and she gets a year off with 60% of her wage from the gov't! The some companies top it off to 100%.
Omg do you have Kanye West there?? If not, I am moving tomorrow. (She was responding to this, btw.)
Joking aside, I just don’t know, man. There are so many things that are upsetting about this country, it’s hard to get worked up about one anymore. (I remember when I first learned about the Iran-Contra scandal and I was like WHAT WE JUST LET THE PRESIDENT DO THAT? yes. yes we did.) When I was a kid I sincerely believed there was a steady drumbeat of freedom underscoring American history, that whole ‘more perfect union’ thing — abolition and suffrage and civil rights and women’s rights and abortion and environmentalism and gay rights, it just all felt like we were heading somewhere, and not only that, but we would make it.
But I don’t think we will, and the reason is because there is no economic justice. The tax system, (lack of) maternity leave, the prison system, even the goddamn FDA — all are stacked against the working person, and without economic justice, all the other justices are ultimately worthless.
Fuck I’m in a sour mood THIS IS YOUR FAULT KANYE ARE YOU HAPPY NOW.
“We are revealing tonight to my parents… We bought 101 m’n’ms, half pink, half blue. We are going to hide them around their house and they have to hunt down all of them. We will tell them they have to find all 101 and then count how many of each color… There are 49 of one color and 51 of the other color, so whichever there is more of that’s the gender :)”—
Christ almighty pregnant women have a lot of time on their hands.
That is straight sadistic.
Side note, I’ve been thinking about how I will, gag, “reveal.” Our anatomy scan ultrasound is in 9 days (but who’s counting) and we should find out then if it’s a boy or a girl. The thing I hate about most reveals is that they immediately, before the thing is even a viable baby, assign gender norms. Girls are PINK, boys are BLUE, and never the twain shall meet.
Remember when people just had babies? Jesus. My grandma had eight of them, can you imagine doing this every time? And sorry but those gender reveal cakes are just gross.
Anyway. If you’ve seen an actually cute but NOT CLOYING gender reveal (gagging again at the term), message me.
Though I’ll probably just say, I KNEW IT. It’s a boy. Done.