QotD: Collector's Item

What do you collect?

Mobile phones. It's an occupational hazard. :) Over the years, the technology and the needs change. The result is I end up getting new phones. Sometimes I'll go several months without getting a new phone, then all of a sudden, I'll get a whole bunch at once. This past year was a goldmine.

I pretty much save all the phones I've ever had and give them to people who need a new phone for one reason or another. Nice to be able to save my friends and family some cash.

QotD: Words To Live By

What's your motto?

I think two quotes fit the bill:

"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion." -- Christian Fredrich Hebbel

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw

Why is the E Silent?

Because, apparently, my parents didn't like the sound of the name with the long 'e'. I still don't know why they bothered to keep the useless letter, though.sigh

Separate Lives

I have fairly narrow interests. I will be the first to admit that. When left to my own devices, I don't tend to do much outside of those very narrow interests. Call it inertia or "internal focus" as I've sometimes referred to it. That works great if you live alone, but not so great when you have a wife and kids.

Before my wife and I got married, or maybe it was early in our marriage, my wife told me there were certain things that she, quite simply, wasn't interested in talking with me about. The minutia of my workday was one of them. Some of my geek projects are another. She doesn't share my passion for technology and I have done my best to respect her wishes and not share. Over time, this has evolved into a more general rule: If what I am doing doesn't directly affect her or the kids, she not only doesn't need to know about it, but doesn't want to know about it.

The problem with this rule is that outside of stuff going on with the kids, schedules, home administrivia, and maybe the occasional program on TV, there isn't much to talk about with my wife. My wife doesn't do much beyond stuff related those tasks, so it's difficult for me to latch onto something to even try to talk to her about. With kids around, it's hard for us to have a conversation even we do have one. We don't have a whole lot of "alone time" as there are just some things that can't be done with the kids awake. It doesn't leave a lot of time for "alone time" and without much to talk about, what "alone time" we have is spent in bed sleeping.

However, I have a different "life" as it were, most of which happens in my office during working and late-night hours. This is stuff, by my rule above, I am unable to share with my wife. Most of it is of little or no interest to her. If she's going to tell me "why the hell are you telling me about this," why bother to tell her? I've just wasted her time and mine. About the only time I'll tell her is if she asks, for example when I show up in bed at 3 or 4am instead of a more normal 1 or 2am. And even then it's one or two sentences at most.

I sometimes wonder if I am making a big deal over nothing. It's not as if our relationship is bad. We can usually have a reasonable conversation, though on sensitive issues, emotions can sometimes get involved on one or both sides. We can usually resolve our differenes and move on, and I assume that happens in any relationship. One thing I can say is that our relationship seems to be missing something.

This is a topic I will have to explore more another time.

More Dangling Threads

My parents are the only Dangling Threads in my life. I have a few others as well. Whether or not I choose to tie up those threads depends on a number of factors.

Around 7 years ago, my (half) sister decided to try and tie up her loose ends with me. We had grown up together on and off (mostly off), and managed to lose track of each other when I was in High School. My dad had long divorced her mom. Sis had her own family to be a part of. Dad didn't do a great job of keeping track of her either. Anyway, she ended up being in Europe around the time I was for work, and so she made arrangements to come up to where I was in London and hung out with me for a weekend.

Right around that same time, my best friend and I drifted apart at a very critical time. I was trying to get him to come to my wedding as my best man. Keep in mind this is a person I'd known since the 6th grade and we had always been close friends. But for whatever reason, he chose to choose that time cut off all contact with me. No explanation, not even a "eff ewe." To this day, I still don't understand it.

Meanwhile, contact with my sister also meant contact with my step-mom, who was fairly close to me when I did live with her. Getting in contact with her was a wonderful thing just because she was--and still is--a wonderful lady. For a while there, she was sending my kids birthday and Christmas gifts. Ironically, it's more than any of my blood relatives do.

Meanwhile, I only occasionally have contact with my sister. I think she shares that Welch trait of being inwardly focused. She seems to have survived her own childhood well-adjusted. Conversations I have with her, when they do happen, are pleasant and natural. Her step-father was, in many ways, like my mother. I experienced some of his venom first-hand. I can only imagine what she experienced having lived with the dude for a decade or more.

One other dangling thread to mention is a close friend I went to college with. I stopped seeing this friend maybe a couple of years ago because it became increasingly difficult to "be around" this particular person because he was so self-absored in his pity about his particular situation--not having a "real" job, living at home with his parents, and having a crappy girlfriend. This was in sharp contrast to me having a stable job and living in my own house with wife and kids. While we never discussed it, we just mutually "let things go." A mutual friend called me recently and I hear he's doing a lot better--has a gig at Cisco and is on the road a lot. Still living at home, if I remember right, but he's supposedly saving his money for a new place.

I guess what it comes down to is that just about every blood relative I have and two of my good friends are dangling threads in my life. I am on good terms with most of my living blood relatives that aren't my children. I do not believe there are any issues there. My parents are a different story, but I don't think there is much I will be able to do there. I have made peace with that. My kids, weil, I've got a lot of time before they leave the nest. For my two friends, I have a connection to one of them thru a mutual friend. I can track him down if I feel the need to. The other--my former best friend--I have no known connection to.

There is a thought here about being inwardly focused and how that relates to how many dangling threads you might have in your life, but I have an inability to express them correctly at the moment. Maybe because it's almost 2am and I should be sleeping.

Some Pictures From The Weekend

Here are a few pictures I snapped on my phone during my travels this weekend.

Dangling Threads

Over the past several weeks, I have been debating what, if anything, to do about the fact my father is aware of my presence online and has made at least one attempt to contact me recently. I discussed the issue with my wife, and while she was not exactly excited about the prospect of me reestablishing communication with my father, she did offer some good advice: understand what it is you want from him and don't have high expectations.

To be honest, I don't really know what I want. I guess there are a few questions I'd like answered, but they aren't really important questions. Things like:

  1. Why does my name have a silent E?
  2. Was one of my possible birth names really "Odin Thor" as my mother suggested once?
  3. Did grandpa really die a few years ago? I did some Googling and uncovered this fact. I wasn't close to him, and from what I hear, my father wasn't either.
  4. Where did my middle name Douglas come from?

There are several important questions I have for both of my parents that, quite frankly, I don't want to know the answers to. Even if I asked the questions, I don't think I'd get the answers I was looking for. I have come to terms to what happened to me growing up and don't really want to be an archeologist in my past anymore. I just want to take what I've learned and move forward.

Sometimes, it's best to leave those threads dangling.

Where Did That Line Go?

A problem that I continually face is knowing where my "work" ends and my "home" begins. It is an occupational hazard that comes with working at home for the past 8 years or more. Oh sure there is some physical separation between my office, where most work gets done, and the rest of the house. That helps to a degree. What doesn't help is the fact the "office" is accessible from a mobile phone--a phone that I constantly carry.

Now don't get me wrong, it is exceedingly handy to be able to do business from anywhere my mobile phone. My concern is that there is the potential to unduely impede on my "home" life, i.e. when I should be doing stuff that's not work related. It has, on occasion, happened to me.

At the end of the day, it's a choice to use those tools. Nobody "makes" you use those tools at an inappropriate time. It comes down to having the courage within yourself to draw that line and say "no, this isn't work time."

Even Law Enforcement Says Legalize It!

Thanks to Digg, I found out about the folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. This group is a bunch of current and former law enforcement officials who want to see all drugs legalized. Their main argument is that the current "drug war" is similar to that of prohibition of the sale of alcohol in the US in the 1920s. It didn't solve the problem and, in fact, made things worse with all the organized crime that took place as a result. By making drugs legal, they say, we eliminate a large percentage of the related crime, we have the means to actually control the distribution of these substances, and can finally work on the real drug problem--namely the usage.

Have a look at both this promotional video by LEAP as well as this episode of Penn & Teller's BS and judge for yourself how effective the current "war on drugs" really is.

Back to School for Jaden

Today was the first day of first grade for Jaden. he got up at 6:30am this morning because he was excited and ready to go. That can't last :)

Anyway, as I'm finishing up work for the day, I can hear him downstairs getting in trouble for doing something to his sister. I guess school didn't take the fight out of him.