Saturday, December 27, 2008

Canine Equestrian Shenanagins

My son, my brother and his dog Milo

Writing For Jetson Green

I got a gig writing about LEED platinum projects for Jetson Green a green building blog created by a guy named Preston Koerner, an attorney and LEED AP in Salt Lake City. I'll link to articles as I write em, here's my first article on the Kerr Foundation building in downtown St. Louis.

Happy Holidays Everyone

Long week of Christmas/Hannukah celebration. Freddy was captivated by the tree, but was also tried hard to touch the live flame on the Hannukah candles. Both traditions offer a lot to a five month old. I got some pretty good gifts all around including some Dogfish Head60 and 90 Minute IPA from my lovely wife. I also ate like a king and my fridge is still stocked with leftovers.

Last year I went to a holiday party and played with a friends' baby who is almost exactly a year older than Freddy. Laura was pregnant at the time and I remarked to myself that I would have a son that age next Christmas.

So, in the most Jimmy Stewart way, I got everything I wanted for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Original Frank Robbins

My aunt Mary just sent me a collection of obituaries of my great-great grandfather, Frank Robbins. Here's the handsome devil right here:

One newspapaer described him as a "bluff, cheerful, hearty, agressive citizen", hopefully those were good qualities for Canadians to have in the early 1930's. Though I knew that he was elected to the head of the school board and reffed many a soccar game, revelations include his membership in the Knights of Pythias, being in the 91st Highlander Regiment and his tenure as the president of the Ontario Baseball Amateur association.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Frank Robbins LEED AP

Over the last few months I've been telling everyone that'll listen that I've been "studying for my LEED exam". About two weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and schedule an exam because:

1. "I'm studying for my LEED exam" was starting to sound like "I'm working on my novel"
2. In 2009, the test will be even harder
3. If I passed it I would have six letters after my name. That's twice as many letters than a CPA and three times an MD!

What the hell is LEED?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It's a building accredidation program through the US Green Building Counsil (USGBC). Basically, if you want to have a LEED certified building, you have to follow some proscribed steps, design it in a certain way, document the heck out of it and have it all reviewed by the USGBC. Then you get to tell everyone you know that you have a LEED Certified building.

It's a complicated and involved process and so they set up a testing system to identify individuals who know how do to this (LEED APs). There are about 43,000 of them in the world, and now there is one

Gee, That Sounds Easy:
Well it's not, at least is wasn't for me. You have to be responsible for a heck of a lot of information, terms, calculations, percentages etc. Not being an engineer or an architect, I had to learn a lot of the terms for the first time. No worries, I like learning new things, and now that I know what a chlerestory is, I'm going to use it in my everyday vocabulary.

Here are the flash cards I made:

Who I can thank for this:

-Rachel: Thank you for giving me a copy of the Colorado Reference Guide, your study materials and answers to my assinine questions.
-Lauren G: Thanks for answering spot questions and turning me on to ARE Forums, I woulda been screwed without it!
-Laura: Thanks for watching everything while I studied for hours and hours.

What this means now:
Boy I don't know, I can put it on my cards, I look more serious than someone who just says, "I'm into green building." Oh and when I'm working my next LEED project, I'll be able to add a point to the overall scorsing under ID Credit 2!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

LEED Exam on Wednesday

I dropped myself into the deep end of the pool and sceduled my LEED AP exam for this Wednesday at 3:30.

I haven't crammed for something since I was in high school, I've got acronyms and percentages oozing out of my ears. The test is really freaking expensive, so that just adds to the pressure.

And speaking of pressure: Jeremy, you said that you might get your LEED AP, Rachel I don't know if you've taken your test yet, but I challenge both of you to a LEED-OFF!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joe Felice Was Here

My good buddy from school, politics and former work, Joe Felice stopped by this week. He's moving to California from New York and stopping at many points along the way.

It was a good time, he came bearing gifts (pickled squash) and we did some video-blogging on Blog TV. I also got to show Joe the joys of St. Louis beer culture.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Let The Masters-Off Begin

I am going back to school next semester, that much is clear. My friend Jeremy has been talking a good game about getting his masters in urban planning for quite some time.

And so, in the spirit of competition I have challenged him to A MASTERS-OFF!


Never has there been academic rivalry so intense, so bloody, so completely ridiculous.

Let the games begin.

Officially Admitted To Wash-U

I got the call about an hour ago confirming that I've been accepted to Washington University in St. Louis' masters program in construction management. I was pretty sure I'd get in, but I've told enough people that I was going that getting turned away would have been a big -ahem- embarassing.

Instead of an envelope, I got a phone call from the woman in charge of academic advisement, which was pretty darned civilized. I remember when I was in high school pulling up to my house after school and looking at my mailbox and coming close to vomiting with anticipation. When I got in, I danced around the kitchen with my mother and she gave me an NYU t-shirt she had picked up when she was working in New York that past summer. She told me that if I didn't get in, she would have just chucked it without letting me know she'd bought it.

A friend of mine told me that I should go out and get a Wash-U hoodie now to celebrate. I came up with a better idea:

For my son Freddy: Wash-U Onesie

For Me: Wash-U wrestling singlet

We'd match, and the ensuing photos would be memories that would last a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open (Thank You) Letter To Tom Schlafly

This is a copy of a thank you letter I've sent to Tom Schlafly, owner of the ol' local microbrewery and brewpub.

Dear Mr. Schlafly,

I just wanted to sit down and write you an official thank you letter for your work here in St. Louis. I’m sure you get a lot of praise for your work, but add this one to the pile as well. Oh yes, and a belated 60th birthday.

I live in Maplewood Missouri, about a half mile from the Bottleworks and this summer marked the birth of my first child. I can’t tell you how incredibly great it has been to be in stroller-walking distance to a baby-friendly restaurant with smoke-free outdoor seating, good food and great beer. I’m originally from St. Louis and moved back about two years ago after a nine-year stint of living in New York. I’m a huge proponent of Greenpoint and Willaimsburg Brooklyn, but I gotta say you’ve got Brooklyn Brewery beat by a mile!

Thank you also for staying a St. Louis/American brewery. I’m sure you’re approached several times a week by men with Flemish and Wallonian accents making multi-billion dollar offers on your business. Thank you for politely turning them down. That said, a Schlafly-made Belgian style tripel would be a very welcome addition to your roster.

Lastly, thanks for your commitment to the environment, local farmers and green building.

Keep Up The Good Work,


Frank Robbins

Warum Kenst Du Deutsch?

Just confirmed that everything that I need to get in to school is in to school, and now I just have to wait. In the end the last thing was my transcript from Middlebury college where I took a summer intensive German program. In the course of doing that I realized that it's been ten years since I went there.

Unlike my BFA, which I can tangentally point to (speaking, reading and conveying emotion, being able to walk on my hands), my flash-fry immersian in the German language is even harder to put my finger on. With the exception of some very surprised German tourists looking for directions, I haven't used it a whole bunch.

I guess I learned how to learn a language and how to be completely comfortable listening to people talk when I catch only 1 out of ten words that they say. Most Americans get edgy after about a minute of this. The other thing I learned was that you need only know a certain number of words in any language to shock the hell out of people and get some love.

Knowing a few words a phrases in Spanish got me through my days in the food industry, and got me a lot of free food. Knowing the smallest bit of Arabic got a huge laugh out of my old local deli owners and I was able to hop the line a few times and the bit of Polish I sat down and learned kept me in good stead my five years of living in America's second largest Polish community.

When I lived in Chinatown, I bought a tape and diligently tried to get a few phrases, numbers etc. down. Blank stares every time, but hey, my pronunciation probably sucked.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Herding Cats To Go To School

As many might know, I've been going through the process of applying to school. When I graduated in 2001 I was relieved because there was NO WAY I would ever be going to grad school. Then again, grad school would have been for theatre. As the proud owner of a BFA in theatre, the change to green building and construction management neccessitates a little bit of extra schooling.

I've taken some comfort looking at other peopel who have made drastic career changes:

Kandinsky: Started painting at 42

Peter Falk: Started acting at 28 (with one eye at that!)

Sonny Bono: Elected to congress age 59 (who the hell saw that one coming?)

To say nothing of two friends of mine who have gone from acting to law school, another who is an off-brand software developer with an obvious obsession with the qaddafi regime and many many more.

Now what's left to do:

Get accepted
Finding a summer internship
Fun with financial aide
Finding a construction related job to do during school

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Week On The Road

Back now from a six day whistle-stop tour around New York and DC for a friend's wedding and to show off Freddy to friends and relatives. The lil' man was extremely good on the plane (except for descent) and loved the NYC subway

Our friends Laura and Alex had a beautiful wedding in lower Manhattan. The ceremony had a beautiful bit of intergenerational multi-lingual poetry reading. Alex's grandmother read a poem in Hungarian and his sister translated and likewise with Laura only in Italian. Moving and classy, I dug it.

We had our friends Shannon and Tim who hava a baby girl of their own watch Freddy. While this left us free to frolic at the wedding, I was up the next morning at 6:00 with the bottle. I went for a three mile run with John through Brooklyn at 8:30 and even though the first half mile was awful, I felt like a new man by the end.

With basically just two full days in NYC, we weren't able to fit in all of our friends to see Freddy, which was a bummer, but it's just more reason to come back again soon.

What I might look like with twins. Good grief.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back In New York

Back in New York for my friend Laura and Alex's wedding. Our flight was cancelled, delayed then delayed again, which meant Laura, Freddy and I spending about seven hours waiting around the airport.

The city looks like regular fall, when I was back last it was six days of unseasonal sunshine. After a morning breakfast forage, Brooklyn still looks damned good in shades of gray.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Democracy Day

It was my plan to bring Freddy with me and have him in the booth with me (mostly to help me pick some of the folks running for judgeships). After about a half hour waiting in line, he got a little poky and Laura ended up picking him up.

After two hours and fifteen minutes in line, the poll worker tried to get me to to fill out a provisional ballot. My driver's license address doesn't match up with my new home address, but I politely told her that I only needed proof of identity then kept looking into her eyes and didn't blink. Staring straight into her soul seemed to do the trick and I filled out a ballot with no further problems.

I won't go into how I voted except for this jobbie right here. There was a constitutional amendment that was up that would establish English as the official government language of Missouri. The more I looked at it the more the hair at the back of my neck started to stick up. One woman waiting in line said that it made sense since you have to know English to get your American citizenship (someone else fielded that one so I didn't have to get loud). Another woman told a story about how her great-great grandmother came over as a mail order bride from Lithuania and had to petition a judge in pantomime to let her stay because the man who sent for her had given her a false picture to lure her overseas. To me it felt distinctly unAmerican and after the fourth grammatical error made by the people in line who were supporting it, I decided to vote against.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

29th Annual Clayton Half Marathon

After missing the online registration date, I decided to do the Clayton Half Marathon bandit style (sorry St. Louis track club, I promise I will become a member). My goal this time was to beat my last two half marathon times (1:49 this August, 1:49 last August).

I did all the right things except eat right and at mile nine the bottom fell out. The person I had been pacing slowly floated away and then I hit the ol' wall. The last two and a half miles were mostly uphill on Forsyth from Forest Park into downtown Clayton and it was not pretty in the least. I almost tossed my cookies, but didn't and beat my old time by over five minutes. Glory be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

My First Full On Charette

I attended my first LEED design charette this past Wednesday, but first a little on the word "charette".

To me the word sounds exotic and exclusive that members of the French and Russian aristocracy would attend. A big ballroom filled with men in semi military dress uniforms twirling around women in whalebone corsets and hoop dresses.

Imagined Charette Image:

Real Charette Image:

While studying for my LEED exam, I got a slightly better idea what goes into a charrete. No corsets, but lots of architects, engineers, designers and energy modelers going through a proposed design and seeing which LEED points might be achieved and what problems might arise.

This is the missing piece. I realized that what I'd missed the most since ditching theatre for green buiding was a good collaborative process. I am indeed heartened.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Laura's New Green Obsession

The "Forever Lawn", a fake grass product that has probably had it's website crash multiple times since it was featured in a photo spread of Jessica Alba's new green home is my wife, Laura's new obsession.

Neither one of us are lawn people. Aside from making our house look freakishly odd in the middle of winter and effecting the resale value of our house, I'm down.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sustanable (and cheap) Temporary Business Cards

Saw this online from a printer in North Carolina.

Great idea and beautifully executed with soy ink. Got a quote from them and was amazed. Maybe when I can put LEED AP after my name I'll treat myself. In the meantime, I needed some temporary cards for networking, interviews etc. and it seems like a waste to get 500 cheapo cards that I hate.

I cut up a PBR box I'd just gotten done with, cut it into two 8 1/2X11 sheets, formatted my info onto a twelve-up template and shoved them through my printer. If you're doing this at home, your printer won't want to do it, but it will surrender to your will if you jam it in enough. Read into that as you will.

I measured the finished product out, made some pencil marks and Laura cut them neatly out. The finished product has roughly the thickness of a credit card and they feel like you can cut salami with the edges. They're distinctive though, I must say. Next time I'll try it with the Raisin Bran box I'm about to polish off.

Green Drinks

Went to Green Drinks last night at Schlafly Bottleworks. Not only was it a networking event that involved green job opportunities and beer I could walk to it from my house!

It was a great opportunity for me to meet some to the people in St. Louis who are doing interesting work in green building and energy management. I don't know the blogging ethics on naming names and describing conversations had in semi-public private events like networking events, so instead I'll just provide you with some clever campaign t-shirts for sale through Schlafly!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh Gray Lady

New York Times article today by Clifford Krauss Momentum Slows for Alternative Energy. My response is this:

Cliff, dude, momentum has slowed down for EVERYTHING. Unless you work in the repo, forclosure or hobo-bindle manufacturing sector, things are bad all around.

Speech On Saturday

Like roughtly 100,000 other people, I went down to the arch to hear Barack Obama speak on Saturday. I have a terrible sense of the national impact of events I'm part of (I famously thought that I had till the 6:00 news before word got out about the towers falling) and this was no exception.

I haven't attended an event that large in a long time and I forgot how much difference it makes being at a live event. While watching on the news would have given me a much better view, it was just incredible to see that many people. I was so far away that I spent a lot of the time helping out my neighbors pick out which one Obama was "see the lights, go down 45 degrees, he's in a white shirt". Here, I'll show you:

See him?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Home Energy Ratings

I recently had breakfast with a local real estate professional who was good enough to sit down and give me a little insight into the state of commercial building in St. Louis (he also insisted on expensing the breakfast, thanks ####### LLC!). When the subject moved towards green building he said that on his end there needed to be a bunch more incentives in order for the industry to go that way. As a developer, the numbers just didn't add up.

He's partially right, there do need to be more incentives to make sustainable building compete in the market. The part he left out is that legislation is the other way it can happen. This from Green Building Law Update

Beginning in 2010, it would require commercial property owners to generate an Energy Star efficiency "score" for their buildings using free online tools provided by the Energy Star program. That score would be made available to the public by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE).

This is for DC, Clayton Missouri (St. Louis County seat) just passed that all new government buildings are to be LEED rated. I like the idea of a commercial building having the equivalent of a new car EPA mileage sticker.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dirty Renewables

One of the stranger conceits of architectural design models are the two dimentional people that are put in a proposed space. They're generic models that walk through the middle of huge piazzas and tie their children's shoes on glass bridges that span buildings etc. They always seem like an afterthought and even though they're supposed to evoke human interaction with a space, it always rings false for me no matter how well a building is designed.

What makes this particular design stand out from others proposed renewable designs that I've come across are two things. One, the roof is clad in recycled rubber, and two, the people interacting with the space are doing very dirty things to one another.

Crazy Sexy Water Harvesting

As part of their monthly speakers series, the St. Louis Chapter of the Green Building Council had a presentation on water harvesting by Joe Scott CPD of Cannon Design.

I was extremely impressed by Mr. Scott's presentational abilities. While there was a mike in place, he opted to boom out his voice to the sixty or so people in the room and really sell the importance of water concervation and harvesting from the plumbing designers perspective. Believe me, I know from good speaking, this guy had some chops.

Highlights included an explanation of a new type of roof drainage system that actually siphens the water off of your roof like a great big hoover instead of using gravity.

-No need to tilt a roof
-No need to angle drainage pipes (no whacking into venting systems etc.)
-2" instead of 6" pipes used (much, much cheaper)

-Must be designed by an engineer
-Probably godawful expensive

Mr. Scott also gave his $.02 about water concerving shower heads. I'd have never thought about this: since the water gets aerated in the shower head to give the illusion of greater water flow and is usually coupled with the energy concervation tactic of lowering water temp to 115F, it creates the perfect petri dish for Legionaire's Disease. He designs a lot of systems for hospitals and labs, so this is a real concern. There's a bunch of places to concerve and reuse water, but in his mind, it's not the shower.

This was my first time attending a local USGBC event since joining and I was very impressed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I Did In College

While most people were studying in libraries and attending large lectures, I was crawling around on wooden floors and messing with some Danish dude's Balinese masks. It's been difficult to point to something out there that demonstrates the kind of stuff that I spent hours and hours learning....UNTIL NOW!

Green Porno, is a series of short films written and directed by Isabella Rossalini. In it she plays common insects and arachnids and acts out their mating rituals, usually by humping soft sculptures. It's a pretty good example of the kind of stuff that would come out of the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU. Take a look at a few of them and you'll understand why I get wierded out by NOTHING!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

$100,000 House For Only $265,000

I've been looking at the 100K house project lately. The idea is pretty interesting: build an approximately 1000 square foot green home in Phillie for a hundred thousand dollars in construction costs. It satisfies both my love of green building and penchent for round numbers. Unfortunately it's as misleading as the initial description of the Titanic as "unsinkable".

The hundred grand only covers the construction costs, the land, permits, architect etc. is extra. It makes for a bit of a disconnect when you try to sell the 100K house for about two and a half times the price.

Check it out:

REALLY Affordable Modular Housing

I've been thinking about messing with containers for about five years now. For a long time I've wanted to make a Container Bar, a series of contiguous lounges and bars made from old shipping containers. This guy made something a whole lot cooler

Check this baby out:

This is a 320 square foot home made out of a shipping container. The company that makes it PFNC which stands for Por Fin Nuestra Casa (finally our own home) which will make houses for Juarez factory workers who are currently living in housing they've fashioned out of palletts and cardboard. While they're not exactly the most glamorous thing I've ever seen, they've got a full kitchen, bathroom, shower HVAC and at about eight grand a pop, they're pretty affordable.

Here, lets to a little side by side comparison to the other type of housing I hope never to live in: the FEMA Trailer.

FEMA: $15,000
PFNC: $8,000

Square Footage:
FEMA: 240
PFNC: 320

FEMA: Two Adults, Two Children
PFNC: Two Adults, Four Children

I'm most definitely making some pretty apples to oranges comparisons since the site is vague on whether the cost includes estimated electrical, water and waste hookups and the fact that the PFNC residence doesn't have any insulation (it has to be horrifically loud in there).

In the end though, the PFNC model does a great job of repurposing the abundant world supply of shipping containers which are available one every corner of the globe and can fit on ships, trains and trucks. The real cool stuff will be to see how these will be customized by the end user.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Google SketchUp

I've recently become aware of Google's SketchUp program, a free downloadable program that allows you to draw 3-D images and play around with them endlessly. I've had a bunch of ideas for what I'd like to do to the house, and I've decided to just go ahead and draw them out on SketchUp. That said, it's immensely addictive and I've started to rotate objects on my desk around in my mind.

Here's what I came up with in my first 20 minutes of goofing around:

Why, at that rate, I will only take me 250 hours to draw my house!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Most Recent Obsession

I've been intrigued with what's going on with prefab lately. I've also been kicking myself in the butt for the last three weeks because I didn't go and see Moma's Home Delivery Exhibit while I was in New York and had the chance.

I was happy to find out recently though that one of my favorite innovators in this field, Rocio Romero actually lives in Missouri and will be in St. Louis on the 23rd. I don't know too much about her (I actually just figured out she was a she just days ago) except that her designs are inexpensive and she's actually been able to sell a bunch of them. Here, check it out

Basically, you provide the foundation and the house gets trucked to you in pieces, it gets put together in about a day, you finish the sucker and voila, you got a house! I'm pretty positive that it's a lot more complicated than that, which is precicely what I indend to find out when she's in town.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Green Building

After some serious soul searching and a rut-busting trip to New York, I finally figured out a professional focus: green building. Now I know what you're all saying, "but Frank, why focus on green building? Ever since I've known you, youve been a banking temp, real estate agent, office manager, project manager, barista, building manager, bartender, bike messenger, school assistant, coaster maker, hiring consultant, researcher, political consultant, machine gunner, why settle on that?" Well, because I gotta choose something for Pete's sake.

Oh yes, and because I genuinly enjoy construction administration and management, believe in sustainability and believe this to be an area of amazing growth in the next two to three years or whenever the market stops crashing.

Currently I'm studying for my LEED Accredited Professional certification and I'm pumping all of my contacts for people who are in the field. All of this would be very exciting except I have a wicked bad cold and my head feels like it's huge.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ferber Method or I HATE YOU DAD!!!

Freddy is healthy, he's in the 90th percentile for height and is finally getting some serious baby chub. He is not however, going to sleep very well and apparently it's all our fault. The nighttime ritual has been: bath, change into pj's, I hold him in my arms for about 20 minutes until he falls asleep then put him in the crib whereupon he wakes up inside of 30 seconds. Repeat the last two steps until he finally goes down. It's been taking about 45 minutes to put him to sleep, but then he'll sneeze, startle himself and it starts all over again.

So now we're going to try the Ferber method where we start off with him in the crib awake, settle him in and then leave. When he cries, wait three minutes, go in for two, then wait five minutes, go in for two then wait seven minutes etc. etc. The point is that eventually he'll figure out how to put himself to sleep. It sounds pretty easy but it's amazingly hard on your nerves. I'm currently trying to put him down for his morning nap and he's screaming his head off and writing this post in the now 7 minute intervals. Last night it took an hour and fifteen minutes to get him to sleep and then another hour after we went to bed. It's supposed to take about seven days. Seven long, long days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gene Simmons Eat Your Heart Out

Sometimes I wonder what my brother's students make of him.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Heading Back To The City

In an effort to get me out of a career rut, Laura has sent me off to New York to recharge my batteries. Sarah Pailin was just taking office the last time I was in the city and I've missed it tremendously. A slice of real pizza, some coffe from a cart and seeing good friends should do just the trick. And of course there's the matter of biking through the city I cut my teeth on.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Giving Back To The Web

I took a six mile hike with my friend Matt and among the myriad things we talked about was keeping up with blogging. It was easy to do it at the Wine Press since I equated it with being part of my job (no matter what I'm doing, I'm slavish to job duties). Anyhow, we came to the epiphany that the entire world wide web is an empty place if you don't put anything into it and only sit and watch it like TV.

And so, in an effort to give back a bit, this is what's new:

Freddy is more adorable than ever. He can follow things with his eyes, do flirty smiles and most recently he can laugh. He has lost almost all of his original hair and now looks more like actor Wallace Shawn than his mother or father.

That has done little to diminish his attractiveness. Josh's mom, Leigh sent me a congradulations on Facebook and added that he had a beautifully shaped head. I didn't quite get it until I went to dinner and ran into two other babies of simular age who had serious cone heads. Gulp!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm 30

Nathan: Man, I'm turning 29 soon.
Me: I turn 30 this August
Nathan: Whoa, you'll be 30! Man....well, you're going to be a dad so your life is already over dude!

I had hoped to do a triathalon for my birthday, but due to pool problems it became a duathalon and after tepid interest it was canceled. Not having planned anything as a backup, I decided to do a half marathon. I also figured that I could pull 13 miles out of my butt without risking injury or becoming totally useless to Laura and Freddy for a week.

The first four weeks of Freddy have not been exactly conducive to any kind of regular training schedule, so this was kind of a cipher. I woke up at 4:30am, drank a bunch of water, stretched, and stepped out the door at exactly 5:00am. I drank way too much water, tripped over a hole in the sidewalk in the first two blocks but after the first two miles life was a little easier.

I am unapologetic about my musical choices, the cheesier the better. New this year were tracks by Mr. Bizmark-E, Cee-Lo and The Dropkick Murphy's. I ended up getting the exact same time as last year: One hour, forty-nine minutes. I was kinda pissed about it, my mother's comment was, "I really like how you thought that you would be better a year later."

Next available half marathon in St. Louis I intend to crush.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Late and Early Shift

Since neither of my breasts lactate, I've been trying to help Laura out as best I can. What's worked so far is to have her go to sleep early and I stay up with the lil' guy so she can get the first couple hours of sleep. Laura takes over until the early morning and then I have him from the early a.m on.

This has worked out pretty well, and to my great relief, I've discovered that Freddy shares my interest in this year's Tour De France. While I let out a series of expletives when I found out about Ricardo Ricco's doping scandal, Freddy was so upset he crapped his pants.

I need to start reading more to Freddy. At this point, it's all about hearing the sound of my voice, so I can be selfish in choosing the reading materials. My last attempt at reading to him, I pulled "The Commitments" by Roddy Doyle off the shelf. The book is one of my favorites, but reading it out loud is difficult if you can't pull off a decent South Dublin accent (which I can't). I've been looking for an excuse to crack open my Shakespeare, this just might be it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shout Out To Val

Laura's mom came to town to help out when the baby was born. Among other talents she's an amazing cook and since she got here before Freddy arrived, I was finally able to put on the sympathy weight that the books describe. As Laura and I have been trying to set up a routine for our lives, she's made it that much easier helping us around the house, giving advice, basically keeping the place from becoming an absolute sty. Really, I would advise anyone thinking about having kids of their own to first consider having Valerie Cass as a mother-in-law!

More Baby Pics

I've not been very good about photographing everything, luckily my friend Rich is, enjoy:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Freddy Robbins

Frank Edward Robbins VI
Henceforth to be known as Freddy Robbins

Born: Tuesday, July 8th 6:58 PM
Weight: 6lbs 8oz
Labor: 3:30 am to 6:58

The pictures you all want to see:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

And Wait S'More

No updates lately because there's not much to update really. The little dude was due on the 1st, it's the 6th now and if he doesn't come out, he's getting evicted on the 9th with an induction. Laura has done lots of walking, has eaten plenty of spicy food and had her mother grind her fingers into pressure points in hopes of starting labor contractions. For my part I've been shaking a rattle between Laura's legs in the hope of coaxing him out to play. Nothing doing.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Waiting Game

The due date is either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how you look at it, and it seems highly unlikely that the baby will come either on that date or before it.

I'm not working right now, Laura's mother will be coming to town next week and if the baby doesn't oblige us with it's presense I anticipate a Beckett like scenario of the three of us waiting around for the fourth to come.

On the plus side, Laura and I opted to get a smaller house in a more central area rather than a larger one in say....a flood plaine, so we are high and dry. I've considered volunteering and sandbagging around these towns but the idea of being three hours away from Laura is completely untenable.

I picked up this picture of the flood of '08 which I feel underlines what I feel are the two greatest features of my fellow Missourians: unrelenting fealty to our loved ones in the face of tragedy and our unflinching support of Anheuser Busch products. God Bless

Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Man Ribber

I went on a bike ride yesterday morning to the river to see the carnage firsthand. It has been an amazingly wet spring and summer, I have been immune from the great flood of '08. Here's some pics of downtown:

As you can see, the bridge is about 8 feet away from having the water whack it on the sides.

Yup, those are streetsigns

And of course, the obligatory shot of the staircase to nowhere: