Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr. Life-changer.

I started writing this blog deep in the winter of 2003.  I was self-hosting and basically taking this up as a geek project.  I also took it up to document the pregnancy and birth of my first child.  Janet documented that quite well(sorry only 2 of 3 pages got archived).

I was full of optimism at the future of my parenting.  I still am, but I've got a better idea of who this child is.  Here he is on his first day home:
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You may notice some developmental changes in this picture.  Yes, that's the same onesie he wore home.

He's ten.  He's the same age as our car and he's the reason we bought a house.  I'm alternatively amazingly proud of him and insanely hostile to him as well.  I love him more than he can fathom and I see so much of myself in him good and bad.

I think Matthew is an orchid child.  This is both blessing and curse.  If I were a more serious parent, I'd make sure to tend to the ground and keep it fertilized.  Unfortunately for him, I'm not much of a gardener. but he hasn't wilted yet.

I wish you a very happy birthday son.  You have changed my life in ways unexpected and awe-inspiring.  I love you and I always will

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Santa Monica: not always paradise

It's so weird. People keep checking with me to make sure we're okay after Friday's fire and shooting and then saying how 'sad' it all is.

It wasn't fucking sad! It was scary and tragic, and pissed me off!

Being told that my kids are in a school on lock down and I can't get them if I want is frightening and stressful. Not sad.

Having fire trucks and police blocking of the street two blocks away, therefore causing all sorts of unexpected traffic issues (and preventing me from getting to my kids' school) is obnoxious and scary, not sad.

Knowing that if I'd left the house 30 minutes sooner (or the shooter started 30 minutes later) my life and my family's lives could be drastically altered doesn't make me sad, it scares the shit out of me.

We're fine. The kids are fine (they had a boring afternoon, unlike me). I'm extremely grateful for how alive we all are. Just don't call it 'sad'.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Complex crystal

Today I took my mother to the Crystal Cathedral.  It is a most impressive space and building.  Even more impressive is the amount of money it took to get the whole thing going and running.  I don't have the heart to tell my mother that it will be a Catholic church now.

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Growing up my mother and I watched Dr. Schuller together.  He was odd then as a TV preacher who didn't preach hellfire & damnation.  He preached a message of positive determination.  He also preached perseverance - tough times don't last but tough people do!  Of all of the people of faith I admired, he seemed to be the best.

It was an odd thing to walk through this house of worship I saw on TV. I could remember how impressive it all looked.  I can also now see how the TV missed the actual grandeur of the space.  It's truly more impressive than it was on TV.

On the other hand, I couldn't help but notice how it was worn.  It's been thirty-three years since its completion and thirty-six since it started its TV career.
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The carpets have been walked, the seats have been sat, and the dust collected for many years.   It fades much like all of human creation.

My mother was thrilled to have seen it, and happy to have the grandkids in tow.  I was happy to have a hand in making her trip even more memorable.

I for one was impressed with the architecture, and yet unmoved by the pseudo-sanctity the emanated from this monument to an imaginary friend.

My children asked me what a priest is/does.  I told them that a priest is someone that speaks to imaginary friends.  I hope they remember this trip and that lesson in time.

The rest of the photos are here.

I advise anyone to see this amazing edifice to religion; make of it what you will.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A sort of homecoming

My mother is visiting from Knob Noster MO.  This is a cause for great celebration.  I had very little hopes of ever getting here to visit since she is terrified of flying.

Janet's BFF Kris saved the day by travelling with her on the train.  This made my mother very happy and amused Kristina to no end.

Today I took my mother and the kids to the California Science Center, specifically to see the Endeavor.  The science center is a sprawling edifice to technology.  We didn't even see half of it between line waiting for the Endeavor and lunch.  The part we did see was important.

I often tell the story of being a child and watching the Apollo 11 launch into space.  This left a lasting impression on me and led me to be fascinated with all things space.  The Apollo program left within me a deep awe and reverence for all things space related.

Seeing the Endeavor today was an awe-inspiring experience.  It's one thing to see the shuttle land.  It's still something far away.  It's quite another thing to see it up close and in person.  In person, it was the sum total of all of the science and exploration I had yearned and learned about my entire life.  I was eight years old again, and wanting to blast off.

Walking around the shuttle, I was so touched by the history, and effort to put this amazing machine into space it was hard to speak.  Then I remembered the losses of Challenger and Columbia.  Reagan's speech went through my head:
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God.

I also thought of how there is nothing else like this on the horizon and more than a moment of angst for my children.  I told them both through a strained voice that I hoped something this awesome would be there for their lives as well.  I walked around the massive machine again then wandered near the gift shop.

Matthew was trying on astronaut jackets and I almost wept.  There was my boy becoming an astronaut.  I couldn't think of something that would make me prouder as a father.  I hope he thinks about this day, and about space, and about how something out there touches him...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ten years flew by

Average Jane posted about her ten nine years of blogging.  This inspired me to write my own blog and in a way internet retrospective. I'm fairly sure I started blogging way back in January/February of 2003.

When I started blogging it was mostly as an attempt to certify my web java skills.  I thought that if I set up my own webserver, with database backend, and hosting, that would get me the J2EE skills without the painful certification process.

The blog itself was running on a very old version of RedHat, using the brand new Apache 2.x as a front end, and Tomcat (4?) to server the dynamic content.  It was an amusing time in which I educated myself on a whole bunch of server-side tech.

I also became a father, twice.  My kids are now at the adorable stage, but they're getting big and soon they will stop looking to me as a cool funny dad, and start to question how I ever made it this far in life being as dumb as I am(sarcasm intended).

My predictions of bad consequences of the Iraq war and the Bush II administration seemed to have been born out by the past.  At this point, the modern GOP is a cesspool in love with its own stink.

Many of the people I started blogging with have either passed away, lost interest, or have just been posting rarely.  I'd like to give a huge link-fest to GoneMild, AverageJane, XO, WellHellMichelle, SoManyBooks..., and MySpyderWeb.  So many have gone to twitter, and yet you all still abide.

California is everything I had hoped it would be.  It is amazing, fruitful, and lovely.  My family prospers, and every day can end with a trip to the ocean.  We've yet to explore most of the state and yet there are still undiscovered wonders right outside our door.

I'll leave you with this:

Here is Ten Years After.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Facebook fast one week out

So far in being away from facebook I've found that

  1. I'm more contemplative
  2. I'm more plan focused
  3. I'm less grumpy
  4. I'm actually kind of decent at my job
  5. I think about what I'd like to write about
  6. I think about what I'd like to think about

At this point I see no negatives to my absence from FB.  I'm more social and less irked.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Guess what we found?

That's right, we found our snapshot camera.  It was lost in the little glove box under the passenger side seat.  So here we have the pictures from that snapshot of time.

Some blooming stuff from our house:
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Josie on field trips:
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And finally her epic six year birthday party:
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Darwin Day fasting

Yesterday was Darwin Day.  It was also some other sorta kinda memorial proceedings called 'Lent'.  As in I lent you my lawnmower and now I forgive you for never returning it.

In honor of the spirit of evolution and giving up things, I have hereby stopped using FaceBook until Easter, or bunnies with candy come to my door.  The reasons for this are simple.  I'd like to find out what 'value' FaceBook adds to my life.  I've had a hard time figuring out what that value is.  It seems to make me short-tempered an intolerant.  It's also kept me away from producing any original content or curating my families photos.  Those two things seem more valuable to me than kitten/games/dumb repeaters.

Let this be the first day of the rest of my internet life.