Wednesday, November 26, 2008

They Must, But Do They?

I'm just saying: what's my guarantee here?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Quick Thought Appropos of Nothing

I don't go to sleep, sleep happens to me. I wake up and realize I've been asleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One Day

One day you will be a wrist watch buried in a dresser drawer. One day you will be two loose coins in the pocket of a coat you once wore. Your son will slip it on and find them there and maybe think of you. Although you are, right now, electrically alive; although you feel, right now, the world requires your hands twisting its old rough axis, the coins know better and will say nothing of that when they are found. The wrist watch will have stopped at some pm or am and there will be no whisper of the wakefulness, no accounting of the post-midnight hours with open eyes. One day you will be a picture on a hallway wall beside pictures of new babies and old women. One person still to happen might then stop as they move to dinner, sip their drink and guess at your name.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This Is the Weekend That Was -- November 14, 2008

How do children change you? They make you like puzzles when you never have liked them before. We spent the weekend building, destroying, building, destroying and building again a jigsaw puzzle one of the boys had gotten at some point as a birthday present. Their excitement, their pride in their accomplishment each time they finished it was contagious. To the point that I found myself at 6:30 PM on Sunday night making an impromptu dash to Fred Meyer to buy 10 additional puzzles.

Before puzzles, writing. The boys were telling us stories at Starbucks on Saturday morning, creating characters and narrating adventures for them. When we got home I sat with each of them and had them tell me their story while I typed it up and then printed it for them. Then they each sat and illustrated their own stories; we stapled the finished pages and they were authors and illustrators. Here's what they wrote:

Studento the Not Nice Student
by C.J.Y.

ONCE upon a time, there was a boy named Studento the Not Nice Student.

Studento never brought his own lunch to school. Instead he would take everybody else’s food when they weren’t looking and he would eat it. Everybody was sad about that and they would cry.

The people thought maybe if they went inside to eat, they could get away from Studento the Not Nice Student. But he opened the door and came inside and took their food way.

So they grabbed it back from him, pushed him outside and locked all the doors so he couldn’t get in. Then they could eat their lunches in peace.

After that, the police came and put Studento the Not Nice Student in jail.

While Studento was in jail, he had time to think about the bad things he had done.

Studento the Not Nice Student realized he should be nicer. He should not do bad things like stealing peoples’ food. Instead he thought he should make them tomato cookies, because everybody loves tomato cookies.

Then the police let Studento the Not Nice Student out of jail and he went home and baked tomato cookies for everyone at school. When he gave the cookies to everyone he said “Sorry.”

Everybody was happy and they said, “Thank you, Studento, for being nicer.” After that, everyone called him Studento the Nice Student. And he never stole their food again.


Helmet Hero
by R.O.Y.

ONCE upon a time, there was a boy named Helmet Hero.

There was a bad guy named Boodie who was not listening to a nice person.

Boodie should have been listening to the nice person so Helmet Hero had to fight him.

Then Helmet Hero and the police put Boodie in jail for being bad.

When he was in jail, Boodie thought about the bad things he had done.

He thought he should be nicer to people. So he asked Helmet Hero to let him out of jail so he could go home and make chocolate chip cookies with frosting on the chocolate chips for everybody he had been mean to.

Boodie brought the cookies to everyone and shared them. Boodie said “sorry, everybody.”

Everybody said “Thank you, Boodie” when they took a cookie.

The people all said “Thank you” to Helmet Hero for making Boodie be nice.


It is clear that both of my children believe in the redemptive power of incarceration and that the role of prison is to reform. And shouldn't every man know where his children stand on that debate?

And that is the weekend that was.

Business Trippin'

I'll be in San Francisco this Wednesday - Friday at Microsoft's Strategic Architect Forum 2008. Two rock stars from my company will be presenting on technology strategies for extending the enterprise. Last time I went on a business trip I started this blog. I wonder what I'll start this time. My money's on international incident...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Do Not Know Everything I Do Not Know

But I know I do not know this:

This light switch is on our bedroom wall.

I have lived in this house for 7+ years and I still don't know what this light switch is for. I am making no effort to find out. I may never know. And I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good for You America

It's been 12 years since I was happy with the outcome of a presidential election. Eight years since I was proud of our president. I believe in Hope; it's not a fanciful notion, it's an essential element to the advancement of all causes. It is the pilot light of the human spirit and it has been the missing element in America for too many years now.

If we're going to turn the situation around, we need intelligence, honesty, strength, perseverance, curiousity, collaboration, cooperation and guts. But without Hope, none of those other things will matter. For me Barack Obama represents the return of hope.

Update: Lincoln weighs in:

Second Update: Talking with a friend about the crowds of people that materialized in cities all over the country following the announcement that Obama had won. In D.C. a couple thousand people appeared in Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House chanting "Yes we can! Yes we can!" Here in Seattle people poured out of restaurants and bars and formed an impromptu celebratory marched that wound through downtown chanting and cheering. These people and those like them across the country were rejoicing. The country was rejoicing. And it occurred to me that, though I have heard of rejoicing, I have never experienced it before. I've seen the country happy, but I've never seen the country tumble out into the streets and spontaneously erupt in joy. What does that mean about what this moment means?

Monday, November 3, 2008

This Is the Weekend That Was -- October 31, 2008

It was Halloween and there was a whole lot of Batman this year. C & R were both the caped crusader and their friend A was Bat Woman; the forces for Good were overwhelming. Other friends included Knight who's name was Knight; crazy Cat; made up costume that looked like Strawberry Shortcake dressed up like the lead singer of 4 Non Blondes; and Death. The Grim Reaper. When he walked in the room I had to ask everyone else if they saw him too. When they said yes, I was relieved. When they pointed out that he was wearing white socks, I relaxed.

Saturday, the boys spent the night at Grandma's house, so we had time to vote! We live in a mail-in voting only county, but the county does offer ballot drop off stations, so we decided to drop our ballots off at our neighborhood grocery store instead of putting them in the mail box. It just seemed more immediate and impactful that way. This is a year when you want to feel your vote happening.

Sunday, swimming lessons in a miserably cold pool. The boys did the best they could, but their teeth were chattering so we cut the lesson a little short and sank into the hot tub to warm up. As we floated among the jet-driven bubbles, C said, smiling:
"Daddy, I hope you don't die."
"I hope so too," I replied.
"But if you do die, you'll be in the cemetary and we'll come visit you there."
"That's nice." I said.
"Look," he said, "my suit is filling up with air."
And finally I must tell you that I witnessed, this weekend, that which I had previously thought impossible. R stretched his plastic slinkey to its limit so that he could tie it around his mother's leg. When he released it, the slinkey collapsed, but it became twisted, as slinkies always do. No slinkey ever escapes the twisted demise and no twisted slinkey ever gets untwisted. At least not in my experience.

The twisted slinkey is the great mind bender. It is the unsolvable riddle. It is like peanut butter on a dog's nose: impossible to ignore, impossible to solve. Or so I thought until this weekend. SY sat patiently with the busted slinkey and with the deftness of a knitting gymnast twisted it back against itself and restored it to it's slinkey prime. I knew at that moment I was in the presence of one of this world's great thinkers.

And that is the weekend that was.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Kid You Not -- Halloween Edition 2008

This really happened in C's class on Friday. It was their Halloween celebration (although, annoyingly, they referred to it as "Harvest Parade Day", because somewhere along the line "Halloween" became offensive). All the kids get in their costumes and march around to the businesses near the school to trick or treat.

What some parents dress their kids in for...harvest.

What is this kid dressed as?

If the letter K came to your mind, and, more specifically, if 3 of them in sequence came to mind, you are not alone. In fact he was dressed as the Concorde and that Grand Wizard hat he's wearing is actually his super sonic nose cone. But if you saw him from the front, you couldn't help but think it was the deep south circa 1912.

Now before you get on my case for being mean to this kid let me tell you that I spent Halloween 1977 thinking I was dressed as C3PO from Star Wars only to look back years later and realize I was in fact walking around the neighborhood in gold-spray-painted jeans and sweatshirt with a gold-spray-painted empty Baskin Robbins ice cream bucket on my head. So I know it's not this kid's fault, but the costume looks how the costume looks.

And here's the best part. This kid has a brother. The brother was dressed as one of the Power Rangers (the one who wears white). Kid Triple K couldn't find his brother in the crowd, so he began running around the room calling out for him, raising his voice high above the din of mingling children: "WHITE POWER ranger, WHITE POWER ranger, WHITE POWER ranger."

I kid you not.