Here is a video of Levi getting a chance to have the baby on his lap.
at one point Levi gets so excited he starts shaking.
If by some odd chance you missed all the excitement on Facebook at the announcement of Charmaine and I welcoming our second baby boy, or perhaps you just want to hear more into how it all went down or should I say went out, then you have come to the right place.
Things don’t always go to plan when it comes to birthing babies. Recall my old post, couple of years ago when Levi was due and we were waiting at the hospital for a normal delivery. All of a sudden a nurse monitoring Charmaine felt like the baby might be in distress, next minute I see Charmaine disappear from my sight and into an operating room down a dimly lit corridor. An emergency caesarean was required, and I had to wait patiently. Short time later I am escorted into the operating room and am greeted by a little screaming boy. That is how we welcomed our first son Levi. This time round two is upon us, so continue reading to find out the conclusion.
Cutting to the chase, to the relief of the mother, the baby was delivered naturally, but not all went to plan. It all began Sunday evening, when the contractions intensified and became more regular. Poor Charmaine had to endure a sleepless night of pain. She was in a state of delivery limbo; the hospital would only take her in when the contractions became even more frequent, all the while still being painful enough to prevent any meaningful sleep. The pain and discomfort persisted for another 24 odd hours, until another pleading and now more painful call to the hospital resulted in a green light for us to make out way there.
It was shortly after 8 pm when we arrived to the birthing section of the hospital. The nurses casually strapped some monitoring devises onto Charmaine and asked some general questions about the medical history. There was no sense of impending urgency or call to act, that is until the doctor decided to do a quick internal as they call it.
That’s when things got real, as they say. The contractions went from painful to excruciating and then… enough to change the scene from the monitoring area into the delivery quarters. As the Mike Tyson quote goes “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”, which sums up how the night went, except instead of a literal punch in the mouth it was the punch from the full force of unmediated natural birth. You see, the plan and the plea from Charmaine was for pain relief, any pain relief, but there just was no time. It all happened at such a chaotic and rapid rate that before we could even comprehend the magnitude of what happened we were holding our second son. A slimy and screaming son, but our son regardless. Tears were shed, photos exchanged, memories preserved, and nurses thanked.
After some more painful issues that needed to be fixed, all that was behind us, and now we had another healthy baby boy in our hands. Both Charmaine and I were drained but very ecstatic.
Next Day – Meeting of the Brothers
What Charmaine and I were looking forward to the most and to capture was the first time Levi meets his baby brother. After a decent night of sleep for Charmaine and the baby at the hospital, I made my way there in the morning, before Levi would arrive with my in-laws.
The whole exchange was so sweet and heart-warming, and I am glad I was able to be there to get it. Levi has been wanting to meet his little brother for months now, starting from when he would be touching Charmaines belly and talking to it and referring to “baby bruder” sic.
Here are some of my favourite moments from the exchange
I managed to convince Charmaine to come along to the annual Blacktown City Medieval Fayre (2015) that took place at the Nurragingy reserve. At the end of the event all three of us walked away feeling like we had a great time and I personally thought Blacktown council did a great job putting on these type of events.
The people involved put in a lot of effort to give the festival that medieval feel to it. Roaming wizards, peasants, Knights and dames were all over the place. There were shows and events held throughout the day including, hand-to-hand combat demonstrations in quality medieval armour and weapons, ballistic weapon demos, bird of prey presentation and of course jousting.
Jousting for us was the main event so we went and sat down early in the first row of the podium for the 2pm jousting match. When the horses entered the ring, they were draped in colourful and unique show-apparel with the riders similarly covered in exquisite costumes and armour. All these strange costumes and loud music made Levi get some what frightened, but eventually he warmed up to the show and ended up cheering for the horses.
I put together a little video of the show.
A couple of photos
Stumbled upon an interesting Youtube channel that brands it self as ‘The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’. If you love words, the English language, or just enjoy the more curious aspects of knowledge , this channel might be your thing. The premise of the channel is to explore those subtle human emotions and experiences that lack any words in our language, and then propose a word that would fit it.
This is a good intro to the channel
Here are my favourite words and the videos that correspond to them are:
onism – n. the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die-and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.
sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
Charmaine and I together with little Levi decided to take a week off work and do a round trip from Sydney to Melbourne taking a different route each way. Main reason for the trip was due to a friend getting married, but we extended our stay to explore the touristy gems in Melbourne and then to take our time and discover the less known Australian towns off the highways and byways.
The trip to Melbourne was down the Hume highway, with an overnight stay in Albury, due to two year olds not handling 8-9 hour trips well. That drive was mostly uneventful. Apart from regular stop overs to assist in the toilet training routine, and to stretch everyone’s feet, Hume highway is built for one purpose only, that is to get people from Sydney to Melbourne and vice versa, as quickly as possible. It is a well built two lane highway that would have cut a big chunk of time from the old road that traversed through little towns slowing everyone down due to speed restrictions. But the price you pay is the monotonous views.
I originally flirted with the idea of driving back via the Princes highway along the coast but then took the plan of exploring the Victorian/NSW countryside and began to brainstorm with Google maps, to see just what other roads might interest me. I wanted something that was a road less travelled, but still headed in the general direction of Sydney. After dismissing several options, including one that had unpaved roads used by logging trucks, I narrowed my selection to the following route. This would consist of two overnight stop overs. This post is about Day 1 of my travels back.
Here is a map of the full trip as well as points of interest.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Khancoban (NSW)
As we put away the last remains of our belongings into suitcases that were packed and prepared the night before, the sun rays still did not penetrate through the horizon to light-up the dim suburban streets. Our Melbourne stay was mostly at an Airbnb granny flat type of accommodation about 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre. It meant that we were quick to get on the Hume highway and head back North towards our destination. The final conceived route back involved taking the same road for around three hours until we reached Wodonga. Located just below Albury which was our halfway point coming down; the town was big enough for a small shopping centre, but small enough to not have a food court. After eating what barely constituted as a fit-down meal we were ready to proceed. Wodonga the first major marker indicated to us that we were leaving the Hume Hwy and starting to head East through the picturesque Victorian country side and eventually led into the renown Kosciusko National Park.
Before leaving town we circled the neighbourhood looking for a playground for Levi to stretch his legs once more before the next leg of the journey. Eventually we discovered that Wodonga has a beautiful park with its very own lake that was home to a rowdy gaggle of geese and ducks. We had some spare bread and used the opportunity to entertain Levi by letting him feed the birds. It was only later that we spotted a sign asking NOT to feed them, as some may become aggressive, too late for that.
Accompanying the lake was a brand new playground that we let Levi make good use of. I know it was new because a billboard proudly read that the playground was built with government stimulus money, that was recently pumped into the economy when the GFC was in full swing.
As we left Wodonga, our final destination was a B&B place that I happen to find when doing a bit of research two nights ago. It was located two hour drive East, next to a small town of Khancoban.
The drive there was via single lane, Monaro highway that stretched and turned through the local country side. We kept our pace at a comfortable 80km/h which allowed us to take in the local scenery. We soon passed what appears to be a lake that had dwindled in size probably due to the Summer heat. You could tell that the lake was larger at other times of the year as the vegetation was a much healthier green around the outline of the lake. There stood what would have been the middle section of the lake a small army of darkened and barren trees. The leafless look of them gave the appearance of huge arms emerging out of the ground much like old zombie movies.
The road bent around the lake and continued on passing lots of farm land. Eventually Levi gave us the sign that he needs to go to the toilet. Unlike the Hume highway that is littered with rest stops, this road assumed that you have a strong bladder, or don’t drive with two year olds. But finally I spot a restroom at a turn off to a small town, Cudgewa. Our plan B if we didn’t see the sign was just to use the grass on the side of the road. In a passing conversation between Charmaine and I of Plan B, Levi managed to take a whiff of it and decided that is exactly where he wants to do his business. Just then we pull up to the toilet block that is standing on the side of the street. But it proved to be useless as Levi was fixed on his newly discovered freedom of using nature as his peeing grounds. While Levi enjoyed the emancipation from his car-seat and nappy, I did a quick glance of the street. There was not a single human sole visible. From this location it appeared that the whole town was made of two streets. What was most striking was how quiet everything was. You are just not use to this lack of human sounds spending your day in the bustling city. As the character Darryl Kerrigan from the Aussie cult classic The Castle would say “So much serenity.”
Eventually we got back on our main road and drove a bit more to a much more decently sized town, Corryong. First noticeable thing in the town was a statue of the man from the Snowy River placed next to the local Information centre. All I know about this Snowy man who enjoys rivers was that he is as much part of the Australian psyche as Ned Kellie, whose legacy by the way we also got to see through the various towns we drove through coming to Melbourne. After gathering valuable maps and advice from the Info centre we proceeded to our first nights resting place.
A small crude home-made sign on the side of the road instructed us to turn left for Cossettini B&B. We were greeted by an elderly lady and her husband who both live in the house that the B&B was attached to. I eventually learnt that their five children use to live with them but as they moved out leaving an empty nest, the place was converted into a bed and breakfast lodge. The lady showed us the separated part of the house that contained its own bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. She then said we have a choice of this place or another place they have that was located about 100 meters from the main property. Not seeing anything wrong with the attached bedroom and being drained from driving for hours we didn’t bother to inspect our other options and just settled there.
The place is situated on a decent plot of land enough for some livestock. The main house itself was surrounded by a number of fruit trees, vegetables and grapevines. The lady said we could help ourselves to the grapes that stretched on the side and the back of the house.
Eventually after resting for a bit we decided to have dinner at one of the two eateries located in the next door town, Khancoban, and then crashed for the night back in the lodge.
Next morning I was out early walking around the garden inspecting the variety of produce that was growing, when Joe, the husband came out to say hello. We had a great chat, as he showed me the selection fruit and vegetables that he had growing. I learn that there were a total of 11 types of grapes growing on the property. He was kind enough to provide cutting from my favourite flavours, so that I may grow my own. Before we put the bags back in the car and continued on, Joe asked us to pack some of the garden goodies to take with us. We ended up with three bags of plums, grapes and tomatoes in total. Overall it ended up being the most interesting and comfortable place we stayed at from our holiday. That is from a total of five different locations in the seven days of travel.
Stay tuned for DAY 2 of our trip.
I finally managed to get a video of Levi doing one of his larger puzzles . This particular one is 45 pieces, and is a giant floor puzzle. At the time of shooting Levi is 25 month old. He can do another puzzle that is 60 piece with some assistance, but granted it is a difficult picture to do.
I only help when the pieces come undone
What makes a true cinematic masterpiece? In my interpretation of what makes a film soar high above the others is when a movie you are viewing envelops you whole, a piece of cinema that erodes all externalities around you , and taps into the core of your emotional centre. A part of you submerges into the alternate universe and you bond with the characters as if the relationships have been cultivated for many years past.
I had such an experience last week when I saw Christopher Nolan’s 2014 Science fiction film Interstellar. It was one of the most unique films I have seen in years and left me in a state of cinematic euphoria for days afterwards. Perhaps the Matrix came close to the feeling when it was first released into this world back in 1999.
If I had to distil Interstellar into the elements that made this film such a remarkable piece of human craftsmanship, it would firstly have to be the composer Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack that accompanied the movie. If you are not aware of Hans Zimmers contributions to the music or movie industry I urge you to search his name in Youtube, and see just how many movies his compositions defined over the years.
In brief, Interstellar is a movie about a team of explorers who travel through a wormhole in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival. The imagery of the hostile and vast void of space is perfectly captured in the selection of arrangements that Mr Zimmer created for the film.
Secondly the visual effects are equally stunning and rightfully deserve an Oscar for it. Everything was shot with such beauty, from Earthly scenes to the distant glowing gigantic black hole, the icy frontier of another planet, and the weightlessness of space travel, all added to the experience.
Finally the characters and the actors behind them really did a fantastic job in helping me feel part of the action. My impression of Matthew McConaughey has been elevated immensely after his performance as Cooper, the Pilot/Engineer/Farmer in this film. It has made me seek out his other notable performances.
There was another character that I really enjoyed, who happens to be not human. Nolan’s praise worthy depiction of an artificial Intelligence robot TARS, was a very novel and refreshing way of depicting non-organic intelligence. TARS did not have a human form, rather resembled a large silver fridge that was split and could rotate around four equal sections around the middle axis. TARS was still a robot in the sense that he was programed, was there to serve humans and obviously did not take on a human form, yet was capable of such higher human cognizance such as humour, interaction with others in a manner appropriate to the context; formal and serious when there was an emergency, while another time casually calling McConaughey’s character Cooper, “Coop” when saying goodbye to him. We are reminded of TARS’ AI state at various portion of the movie when various settings are adjusted or discussed. There is a great scene between Cooper and TARS discussing the setting of Honesty
Cooper: Hey TARS, what’s your honesty parameter?
TARS: 90 percent.
Cooper: 90 percent?
TARS: Absolute honesty isn’t always the most diplomatic nor the safest form of communication with emotional beings.
Cooper: Okay, 90 percent it is.
Having said all that I watched the film in a tiny little screen while travelling on a crowded train. It has become my prerogative to re-watch this masterwork on the huge screen with surround sound.
Interstellar touches on a lot of themes and scientific concepts that may be confusing to viewers who are not versed in them. Time dilation & gravity is one such topic that Nolan has woven into the story after consulting actual physicists, which play a big role in the movie but may leave viewers wondering what just happened. I did it myself, but I encourage others to read into the science behind the film after viewing.
If you have not seen Interstellar I really encourage you to go out and see this film, especially if you are science fiction fan, but also if you love fresh ideas that leave an impression on you long after the initial screening.