Tag Archives: dad

NERD HEROES

<A barely audible creaking of laptop hinges, a mechanical rattling as cobwebs are wiped form the keyboard of the blogging computer, a small fluttering of moths arise disturbed form their gloomy forgotten hiding place, the feeble dusty glow from the screen illuminates an old familiar pair of glasses once again. Ancient long lost passwords are repeatedly failed and eventually reset and re-verified and …. oh for God’s sake just let me in …. aaaaaaaah…. yes. I’m in! It’s Aliiiiive! The Blog is Aliiiiive!>

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Now, let’s begin … again…….

Society bombards us with sporting heroes and music stars. Some celebrities are celebrities for … well… being celebrities, what exactly is it that the Kardashians do?

It’s time we fought back. We need to spread the word about the massive multitude of nerd heroes out in the world. Not hipster-nerds, “I’m cool because I like nerds”, Big Bang Theory celeb nerds. We need to talk about real heroes; people who are nerdy, unashamedly so, and do cool things, very cool things. As I have discussed before, we nerds are taking over the earth. Let’s celebrate it.

As a starting point for my new world order I plan a little series of posts on Nerd Heroes. People who may not actually be that famous that I have stumbled across but who are doing very cool things.

The first one is underway and will be up soon. If you think  of anyone to add, or fancy writing one yourself – send me a line.

Keep nerdy!

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Filed under Dads, Nerd, New zealand, science

Nerds are awesome? Really?

So, Will “Wesley-Crusher” Wheaton says nerds are awesome. They are awesome because they love TV or something else and get obsessed? That’s awesome? Really? No!

Nerds are awesome, but not necessarily for the reasons he gives. There is nothing cool about being engrossed in something obscure for hours on end, often without any useful outcome. Being able to name every Star Trek Voyager character in order of appearance is impressive but useless. NOT awesome.

We will always be the inept kids in the playground who can’t kick a soccer ball straight but can count to ten in Swahili. The kid that sits on the school bus reading a book and not blowing spitwads at the girls. We will be the ones that are picked last at sports, the ones that come last in races, the ones the popular kids despise and the rest of the kids try and ignore.

What these popular cool kids don’t understand is that us nerdy-geeky-losers with spots, glasses and unfashionable hair will grow up and will also be the ones that treat their cancer, that make their cars safer, plan their towns, the ones that keep their power stations and water running and possibly even the ones that design the computer they use at their till in Mc Donalds. They will need us. They will need us far more than we need them.

Being a nerd IS awesome. But not because I have an unhealthy interest in Firefly or that I get engrossed in making idiotically complex cups of tea. It’s awesome because through being nerdy I am now treating peoples diseases and changing lives. As a doctor I am nothing special, but being a doctor IS special. I will never need the validation of others to tell me I am worthwhile. I don’t give two hoots about how “fashionable” my hair is or how “on trend” my shoes are. My hair is the same mess it was when I was 15. My shoes are the same boring black ones they were in school. Nobody cares. The cool kids are still trying to be cool, now competing with the cooler younger people emerging behind them. Their “Glory Days” of being the popular kid are gone, it’s downhill from here Mr/Ms Former Sports Captain, your sun is setting. The nerds have plodded on and have transcended the nonsense.

Nerds will always overcome, we will always be there and it’s no longer a case of us jokingly saying “Nerds will inherit the earth”, WE HAVE ALREADY GOT IT!

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Filed under Dads, fatherhood, Nerd, Parenting

An experiment to try

I was at a talk today by an infant psychologist. It was about attachment and the importance of babies’ social interactions. The need for love has long been established as stronger than the need for food in some rather unpleasant experiments sensorily depriving rhesus monkeys in the 50’s and 60’s, which by the way would never pass any ethics committee these days. The following video shows it, it isn’t very “nice” but fascinating nevertheless.

The speaker showed us a video of the “Still face experiment” where the researcher got a parent to show no emotion and not interact at all with their baby and watched their response.

I tried it today on The Boy, it was startling, at only 4 months he reacted just as described in the video, given his level of development (i.e. he smiled, he waved his limbs around, he looked away, he vocalised then cried. He didn’t point or gesture at anything – he isn’t capable of it) what was more startling was that he did it in only about 30 seconds.

It is abundantly clear that if only 2 mins gets this reaction imagine what damage having a disengaged distant parent would be, or worse the psychological damage done by having no stable parent at all like in the Eastern European orphanages reported so widely in mid the 90s.

Apparently your social responses and desire for social interaction is hard wired by about 18 months! The speaker put up pictures of a functional MRI study that showed temporal lobe activity in the sensory deprived kids is grossly reduced – whole bits of brain aren’t turned on when they should be! Some other researchers did weird sensory and social depravation experiments on animals (I missed the details) and their temporal lobes just didn’t develop properly. It’s amazing to think your social interaction and how people treat you determines how well bits of your brain grow!

Try it on your little one – it’s fascinating! (Clearly I mean the face experiment, not depriving them then dissecting out their temporal lobes).

2 Comments

Filed under Baby, Biology, Dads, doctor, psychology, science

Small Boy Fun

Following my recent post mentioning small boys liking ross things and bugs I had a fantastic small boy moment today thanks to The Wife. She noticed a Tree Weta just outside the front door – off I ran for the camera.

Wetas are great big gnarly bugs that live here in New Zealand. They are nocturnal and live in burrows in the ground or in trees (depending on species) emerging to hunt invertebrates at night. This specimen’s body was about 8 cm long and wonderfully gnarly!

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Gnarly Great Big Tree Weta
(Gnarlius Buggus Maximus Awesomeus)

They aren’t particularly dangerous unless you are an invertebrate. Their jaws are pretty hefty and they can give you a nasty nip. This species of Weta is pretty puny by the way, the Giant Weta is even bigger (as the name might suggest). Incidentally Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop in Wellington is named after these fantastic beasties.

So why am I sharing this? What has it to do with being a Dad or bringing up a nerd? NOTHING. I just love big gnarly bugs and this one lives on my porch!! How awesome is that?

6 Comments

Filed under Biology, Nerd, Photography, Uncategorized

Stats, Breaking the Game and Superman.

As is plainly obvious I am a nerd. Nerds LOVE stats. We really do. I have watched whole cricket matches via cricinfo stats. [For American readers cricket is a bit like baseball in that you smack a leather ball with a big stick, it differs from baseball in that it isn’t crap.] I spend ages messing around looking graphs and pretty tables on sports websites.

I also love the stats page on WordPress. You find such strange things out. Someone from Mongolia once came to this site via yahoo.co.uk. I was surprised a Mongolian waned to read my nonsense but even more surprised that Yahoo still existed! Do you remember Yahoo? I was also very pleased to find that Superman is one of my readers, it is the only explanation of my stats. He was the only visitor to my site one day, in the space of a few hours my drivel was read in Canada, the USA, New Zealand (he should have dropped by to say hello!) and the UK but I only had one visitor. I was very pleased to have finally “broken the game”. I love doing that.

I am certain that I am not the only one who, when they get a computer game, try and break it. My routine is load the game, break the game, play the game.  By “breaking the game” I mean trying to walk somewhere the game blatantly won’t let me, putting in some cheat then walking into a fire just to see how quickly and how amusingly the whole thing crashes, and partly to see what fun noises my antiquated PC will make. I am like a moth to a light, plunging myself into glitches to see what happens, I learnt my “trade” primarily in the glitch ridden world of Doom (when I should have been revising for my physics A-Level). Sadly the current crop of games aren’t quite so glitch ridden but therein lies the challenge. The other challenge is actually getting time to play games with The Boy around. As mentioned in a previous post I also like making speakers feedback, videoing the output of my video to get those strange infinitely repeating patterns and skyping my computer with my phone then shouting to see what happens. (NOTE TO SELF – remember to add “loser” to the tags).

I think it’s the same instinct that drives small boys to poke gross and weird things like dead birds and poo with sticks. I hope The Boy grows up to be the curious but not stupid one (i.e. the one that pokes gross stuff with a stick rather than picking it up or tasting it).

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Filed under Dads, fatherhood, Nerd

Niiiiice

I just had The Boy sitting on my lap. I kissed him on his forehead and said “I love you Little Fella”.
He stared back at me cutely with his big grey eyes, slowly and deliberately opened his tiny mouth … And burped milk into my face.

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Definitely my son.

5 Comments

Filed under Baby, Dads

All my base are belong to The Boy

What on earth has just ht me? Where am I and what time is it? …. And how many days have I been wearing this T-Shirt for?

OH MY GOD! He weighs less than 4Kg, I can hold him in one arm, and he has completely taken over. Like all new parents we have had good days and very bad days. A screaming baby is bad enough, but when that screaming baby is YOUR screaming baby, and your biological imperative is to do everything you can to keep him safe and happy…. It’s hard. The Wife is finding it especially hard to tune out the noise. It drills into your head, in a way another baby’s crying doesn’t. I had heard about this phenomenon before but I am surprised at how strong it is.

Aother change is that I have become Dadzilla. My life perspective is now quite bizzare and polarised. My facebook feed is full of revolting offspring photos, all I talk about is The Boy, I am boring all within earshot with tales of my cute amazing offspring, despite the fact that he can do nothing and keeps us awake all night screaming. the number of conversations I have with The wife about breasts has increased exponentially, but not in a good way. I’ll spare you the whole breast feeding saga bu needless to say, lots of time and energy is being devoted to it.

I can now see how important that oxytocin I mentioned in my earlier post is. You immediately fall in love with them in the first few hours and that feeling and that cuteness is what keeps the little sod safe when he is screaming at you for no apparent reason at 3AM. On a more unpleasant note I can really see how hideous things befall the infants of agressive, maladjusted, inarticulate men.

Standing there at my wits end in the small hours of the morning, not knowing what on earth to do to settle this little guy who has taken over my life (in a good way) I had a thought. I manage cardiac arrests, I calmly deal with life threatening asthma attacks, I deal with people at trauma calls with bits of their face missing …… but it’s a healthy screaming baby that has reduced me almost to tears and made me feel a useless failure. I’m sure all you other parents out there will agree, your living room at 3am with an inexplicably screaming child is an unexpectedly dark and unpleasant place.

The “Healthy” thing is another problem. The worst thing I could possibly imagine at the moment would be for something bad to happen to The Boy. North Korea launching nuclear war would be nothing in comparison! Every time he coughs the over protective new parent in me twitches with anxiety. Every spot on his face, every time he doesn’t feed well, I am convinced he has some hideous problem. I am a classic case of a little knowledge being a very dangerous thing. I know virtually no paediatrics, I spent 6 weeks out of my depth on a paeds ward as a student and that is the sum total of my experience. Children are not just small adults from a medical perspective, but inevitably I worry and invent problems in my head. Is there such thing as “Hypochondria by proxy”?

Everybody you speak to has advice, all conflicting, all “the only way to do it”. In my experience in Medicine, if there are numerous strongly expressed opinions there are inevitably no right answers. I will just comfort myself with that thought as I slink off to address some more nappy issues.

4 Comments

Filed under Baby, Birth, breasts, Dads, doctor, Nerd