Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Little Light Reading

Sorry for being so quiet lately. Everything's fine, I've just been a bit busy lately.

JP is recovering nicely from her recent procedure. She's not yet 100%, but she's getting there. Her humor's back and it's nice to see her lively again.

What amazed me most through this experience was how tired *I* felt. No matter how much I slept last week, I felt like I was always on the verge of nodding off. We're sure it was a combination of me worrying about JP leading up to (and during) the surgery as well as the extra running around while trying to stay on top of the chores.

A few weeks ago, JP and I went to an appointment with her OB/GYN regarding the surgery. While waiting, I looked through the various magazines for something that looked interesting. Not suprisingly, there were magazines about parenting, children, fashion, style, cooking, and other subjects that tend to appeal more to women than to men. There's nothing wrong with that, especially given the typical patient in that particular waiting area.

I wanted something, well, different. I searched through the nearby piles, looking for something more interesting to me. No luck. More of the same. I went over to the other side of the room, hoping there would be a least one news magazine. Some women read Time, don't they? Newsweek?

Nothing. I check out the third corner of the waiting room. Stacks of Parents magazine. Baby. Cosmo.

Come on! I know I'm not the only guy to ever show up in this waiting room. I can't be.

At this point, I'll take People, Entertainment Weekly, or even Highlights Magazine. Nothing.

Eventually, we were called back into an examination room. While waiting for the doctor, I looked at the magazines jammed into the little plastic hanger they usually have on the wall. It was more of the same...until I pulled out a rather large glossy from the back of the stack.

Now, I know I'm not the only guy to have been in the examination room.

It was clearly outside of the demographic.

It was a copy of Warships magazine. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it's better than trying to find something palatable in cosmetics ads.

Of course, that's when the doctor showed up. Oy!

I know; "keep my day job." For those that are still reading, here's what I think it about the funniest thing I've read in a few weeks.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 16, 2007

Did You Know?

A video making the rounds puts today's increases in technology into a certain perspective. Originally written as a Powerpoint presentation for teachers to help them put the pace of advancement in information management technologies into perspectives, the video really helps you envision just how quickly things are evolving.

The version I've linked to runs about seven minutes and the story behind the video is almost as interesting as the video itself.

At one point in the video, it helps to understand the powers of ten. You have probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes in the context of computer file sizes. Terabytes follow gigabytes and one terabyte (arguably) equals 1,000 gigabytes. Petabytes follow terabytes and are themselves followed by exabytes. An exabyte equals (arguably) roughly, a million terabytes.

To put an exabyte in context, it's said that two exabytes of data were generated in 1999. It's also said that the total number of words ever spoken by humans equals five exabytes...and, yes, that's counting auctioneers and gossip columnists.

Information is growing exponentially and the world available to our children's children will be, in some ways, very different than the one we live in.

Photo credit: Karl Fisch

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Pair o' Ducks

I've not been sleeping well for the last couple of weeks. As a result, I'm tired, emotionally strung out, and feeling a bit punchy. I'm contemplative, philosophic, and meloncholic...and inventing paradoxical epigrams on the fly:

In religious wars, arms dealers are the only winners.

When people get their nose bent out of shape, they tend to cover their ears and close their minds.

When arguing, it is easier for some to go for the throat than to reach for common ground.

It makes more sense to wait for a storm to blow over than to struggle against it.

You can lead a duck to water, but you can't make it drink.

(OK, that last one was borrowed, but the others are, as far as I know, ex tempore.)

Photo credit: me.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Messages from the Heart

Allow me to present Mr. Austin Fluffer the Third, Esq.

JP has been sending (and receiving) care packages from some of her "bloggy" friends and DD has gotten into the spirit of sharing and giving. She used her allowance to buy small presents for us and Mr. Fluffers was her present to me.

I have a small amount of puppetry experience (thanks, in part, to the original Muppet Show) and was animating this Valentine Tiger with little moves and pounces. When I made him shake his hips like the kittens do just before they pounce, DD was all giggles. JP wanted me to do a voice for him and, well, the only inspiration that came in that moment was Mike Meyers. So, out came an overly broad British accent and the growls you might remember from the first Austin Powers movie. ("Oh, Beeehave! Mrwrowr")

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Kara spotted Beary here in a local Starbucks and decided she wanted to give him to me for Christmas.

Now, JP has been refining the look of our bedroom. She's replaced the mishmash of picture frames with ones that more closely match the furniture and she's added curtains that accent the same colors. It looks really nice...except there's not much room for stuffed animals. So she's asked that I take Mr. Fluffers to work (since no one minds if my workspace looks a little, well, geeky). She tried to get me to take Beary, too, but I keep him on my side table next to the reading lamp.

I think it's kind of interesting that the girls have gotten to the age where they're buying stuffed animals for me. They leave me other presents, too. For example, Kara did some artwork on a small whiteboard attached to my computer armoire. When I spoke to her on the phone a couple of nights ago, she told me I was the best daddy in the world. Of course, it made my heart melt.

DD also leaves messages for me on the same whiteboard. This one is from November. (You may need to click on the image to actually read it.) I confess there is a small amount of photoshopping involved, but only to fuzz her RL name. The "Pinky" reference refers, of course, to Pinky and The Brain (which I introduced to her when they released the DVD last summer).

I love the fact that my girls do these things for me. I'm very happy they feel this way about me and are comfortable expressing those feelings. Truly, I feel very blessed to be a part of their lives.

It's a nice validation, really. I've tried really hard to give them the kind of home and love that I wanted when I was their age. No, I'm not trying to live through them; I'm simply trying to help them find their own lives, to become the people they wish to become, the people I see in them. True, I play with them and I listen to them. I talk to them and share the things that are age appropriate for them. I show them that being a grown-up isn't as easy as it seems and I let them remind me that it's just as hard to become a grown-up. I hope it's the beginning of a life-long friendship with both of them.

In closing, I'd like to share a very special plaque that DD gave me for my last birthday. I think it says it all.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 01, 2007


During my morning commute, I periodically listen to KUOW, a public radio station from the University of Washington. Like similar stations, KUOW features programs covering news, politics, local interests, cultural concerns, and similar topics. One of these, Weekday, has daily conversations, interviews, and caller questions over a wide range of topics. It's like talk radio, only intelligent, thought provoking, and interesting.

Today's conversation featured Dr. John M. Perkins, a civil rights activist, author, teacher, and minister who is fostering reconciliation, economic development, and genuine change regarding the issues surrounding race, prejudice, and poverty in this country. Given that my previous post was related to the impact of discrimination in our country, I found the coincidence eerie.

The conversation was fascinating and if you can spare an hour to listen to the archive, I highly encourage you to do so. Dr. Perkins has some highly intriguing ideas about these issues--including treating poverty as an economic issue, rather than a social issue.

It's an interesting perspective and one well worth pondering, especially when we're trying to figure out how to generate political will to improve lives around us.

I found Dr. Perkins to be very thought provoking...on many issues, including (but not limited to) latent (and entrenched) discrimination, leadership, equality, and even of faith.

I have known many people who claim to believe in a certain set of ideals and religious views. Some use these ideals to challenge, improve, and infuse their actions. Others hide behind these ideas and use them to avoid responsibility for their actions. (I much prefer the company of the former over the latter.)

My own faith is, well, complicated to describe and deserves its own post (later). For now, let's just say that I greatly respect those who use their faith to genuinely help others freely transform their lives. I also respect those who've survived great pain and not let their experiences drag them into a morass of pity, blame or self-victimization.

I deeply respect Dr. Perkins, not because he is a man of faith, but because he uses his faith to facilitate genuine change in this life. I respect him for his ability to make you think. He made me think about many topics, including painful ones. I hope you will find him worthy of your respect as well.

(Tonight's photo is one I took last summer at the local zoo. I thought it appropriate because of the strength and vigilance usually associated with the bald eagle. Your mileage may vary.)