Another non-action use I have for the GoPro Session is static church service videos at First Baptist DC, shot from a mini tripod on the sanctuary balcony railing. I found audio pickup to be poor for sermons and readings, but acceptable for music, so here’s the church choir singing Sir John Stainer’s arrangement of John 3:16, “God So Loved the World,” with soloist Alex McKeithen singing the prelude.
Not very visible at this distance and lens angle but I’m at the far end of the front men’s pew, singing baritone.
Effective immediately the appellation “Project Wallaby” is retired as the project pushes to live status. Say hello and welcome to our newborn son, Ezra K. Ordoveza! Ezra was born at noon on June 9th, 2016, after twenty-five hours of labor. At birth Ezra weighed 7 lbs 7.5 oz and measured 21.5 inches in length.
It’s all true, what they say: everything changes. I got to cut the cord, and later delighted in meeting his wide, alert eyes as he was poked and prodded in the pediatric warmer. Deep in my being I felt that ancient rush of wonder and love for this tiny being that my wife and I had brought into the world, the sudden and forceful conviction seizing our hearts that we promised with our souls to make our new son grow up safe and happy. Later still I felt swelling pride for my wife at her partnership in tireless work through sleepless nights of crying and feeding and diaper changes. All of it really makes for a new and adventurous chapter in our lives, and I cannot but pause every now and then to think to myself, “Wow, we are doing the baby thing.”
It’s only been a few days since our son was born and it’s already been all worth it, worth it to see him smile. (That’s before we realize that he can’t actually smile yet at this stage and that the face he’s making actually means he’s straining to poop in his diaper again.)
The floor is now open to your baby questions.
Why’d you take so long to post about it?
Well, it turns out newborn care is kind of time-consuming.
What’s with the name?
I really wanted our kid’s name to include his mother’s family name, so with long, hard-to-spell-and-pronounce middle and last names, I figured it would be good to give him a nice and simple first name — but one of spiritual significance in our faith tradition. We made a list, and the Old Testament scribe Ezra somehow came to the top. It’s a good, short name, easy to spell and pronounce, but just uncommon enough to be memorable without being over-strange. Also, the four letters in the name come right out of my last name. Another fun thing about this name is his initials: E.K.O. (Although since he was born I’ve taken to just calling him “Ez.”)
Wasn’t Ezra opposed to interracial marriages?
In that sense there might be some irony in us naming our biracial kid after Ezra, but a closer reading of the specific text in question shows that the issue is less about race than it is about sin. From my New Testament perspective, where marriage stands as an expression of the covenant between God and church, the priest Ezra’s strictures against intermarriage are understood as being about sanctity of spiritual life in God and Christ, not about keeping to outdated standards of racial purity. (Update: a friend clarified the Jewish perspective that the rules on intermarriage were for preserving the line of the Levitical priesthood from marriage with non-believers, not about avoidance of interracial marriage.)
There has been a lot of wary sniffing, and some really alarmed staring when the baby goes on a long crying jag, but after the initial shock the cats seem mostly indifferent, which is a relief.
Did you do the Lion King thing?
No, good heavens, the way Rafiki was holding Simba just would not be a good way to hold a human baby; his head would flop all over the place. After we got home I did whisper to Ezra, “My son, everything the light touches is our kingdom,” but it was kinda late and the lights were still switched off. NAAAAANTS INGONYAAAAAMA
So I got an Apple Watch. I was originally pretty sure I could do without one and was waiting for the next version to be introduced before buying, but a coworker was selling his like-new watch for cheap, so I decided to give it a try.
I went into this with my eyes wide open after scathing reviews like Matt Haughey’s, but gladly the watch has been far better than I expected. (The watchOS v2 upgrade may have improved things since that review.) I have the aluminum “Sport” model, the cheapest one with a simple silicone wristband, but even the base model is an impressive device.
The Apple Watch excels as a quick-glance display for mobile notifications, a casual fitness tracker, and of course as a time keeper. Mostly it functions as a dummy terminal for information from the phone, so the phone does the actual heavy data lifting before sending it over bluetooth to the watch. (Recent upgrades may change that, however, with watchOS v2 working more independently of the phone.) You can’t browse the web or watch a movie on it, but you can check your calendar and see a weather forecast, or say “Hey Siri” to have it start a timer or add a reminder.
The result is that I find myself grabbing my phone much less frequently since I can get the info by glancing at my watch. It’s also given me more situational awareness at work as I’m far less likely to miss emails and meetings. The 3-circle fitness tracker works as an interesting visual motivator to spur the user to activity. I’ve even installed the ESV Bible app, which lets me read the entire ESV bible on my wrist (though most of the text comes from the phone app via bluetooth). One feature I haven’t used much is the heartbeat-sender because really, no one wants to feel my heart beat — but seeing my own pulse has been occasionally useful. The watch is still rather slow to load some screens, to a point that seems unreasonable even accounting for bluetooth and processor lag, so the annoyance factor can ramp up on certain apps.
I was mostly expecting the Apple Watch to be a novelty purchase with some rough edges but it’s actually proven to be a fairly useful and life-improving wrist computer. Hopefully v2 is much faster.
I worked with a couple of office GoPro Hero 4 cameras while I was shooting video at KSC last year and liked them enough to get an action camera for my own [not-]action-packed life. Given my affinity for tiny devices I went with a GoPro HERO Session, which became a good buy after two price drops and a cash rebate deal.
The Session has been a decent compact video camera with acceptable image quality and battery life, and an easy interface for basic use, though the small form factor requires that more advanced functions like managing files and selecting timelapse/burst modes require connecting to the camera with the phone app. Size is more the advantage here over video clarity, but so far the 1080p resolution has been more than sufficient for my needs, and as an added bonus the camera is water-resistant out of the box without needing a case.
I tried walking around Washington, DC on a cool, sunny Sunday in May with the GoPro Session to catch some scenery (and oysters) and I like the results. One thing I noticed: I tend to point the lens upwards a bit too much when trying to catch wider scenes like the Washington Monument — a side effect of the lack of a viewfinder screen, though it’s that same lack of a screen which helps the camera’s battery life.
I’ve bought a few mounts, harnesses, and a scuba case, and am looking forward to using this GoPro on some dives, hikes, and rides in the future.
June 1st was the estimated launch date for Project Wallaby, but it turns out first babies tend to come a bit later than expected and we may have as much as a week left before birth. Meanwhile, the “What To Expect” app’s size comparison feature has been cycling through various melons.
Amy is handling the slings and arrows of late pregnancy admirably, and we’ve been getting the house and nursery ready for its new resident. Furniture is all placed, shelves and changing table are securely anchored.
Amy’s also been great about getting cheap baby clothes and toys at consignment sales, and the closet is stocked with baby apparel, good from newborn to 12 months.
We’ve attended prenatal classes at the health center to work on our swaddling and diapering skills.
We have our travel system (a Chicco Bravo Trio) with an infant seat that can snap into a stroller or a car seat base. It even fits in our small cars, the Ford Fiesta and the Fiat 500 (with the front passenger seat pushed far forward.)
And I’ve assembled the Mamaroo robotic baby rocker.
Despite all this preparation I’m still floating through a haze of unreality about impending fatherhood. Other dads have told me it really doesn’t sink in till birth itself — and then it’ll be sleepless nights of poop and crying for months of what will seem like eternity. I take some comfort from the Chainsawsuit comic “a poop shortfall.”
I’ve started a Twitter account for the cats, just pictures and videos of Martha and Amelia for any followers who like the cats more than my other social media content: @JonesAndPond. I’m also using it to follow other dedicated cat accounts to provide a backup stream of feline goodness when I feel like looking at some cat pictures.
The political ascendancy of Donald Trump would be a fascinating and mildly amusing study in American celebrity culture, were it not such a potential threat to my safety and quality of life. Really no surprise that after years of a party defining itself through ostentatious wealth, belligerent ignorance, racial hatred, conspiracy theories, and loveless religiosity, they would end up nominating a wealthy and belligerently incoherent conspiracy-spewing racist TV celebrity backed by xenophobic white supremacists, able to con supporters with sheer bombast combined with just the thinnest and most pathetic of religious veneers. It’s made for some interesting reading, at least:
For my amusement I have my own conspiracy theory: Trump is actually a Clinton agent tasked with boosting Hillary Clinton’s campaign by wreaking havoc on the GOP primaries, but ended up doing his job just a little too well, and now is frantically attempting to terminate the mission, only to find that every increasingly outrageous thing he says to self-sabotage his campaign is only met with greater cheers from an all too suggestible fan base.
(I never did get to board the Barry, but I know someone who served aboard it in the Navy: Richard Hay (aka @WinObs), who I met at the NASA Juno Tweetup.) I was glad to at least see the ship sail by as she departed DC.