My brother and his wife

My brother and his wife are flying in this afternoon. I can’t wait to see him. We were the best of friends growing up (he’s two years younger than me). He graduated from college this week, and is mulling his options. Actually, he may be post-mull, and have a decision, but I don’t know what it is yet.

I miss the times when we were little and played or hours and hours. We’d invent characters and stories that I still remember. We’d go on “adventures” and run all over the place. When we lived in North Carolina, there was this exposed root system at the top of this hill we used to call Yoda’s Hut. We’d ride our Huffy’s up there, find some other kids to play with, and then play until it got dark, or someone skinned their knee (which happened almost daily – I still have scars).

Then, in high school, we got better at playing games. The game became “what can we get away with”. We’d find ways to sneak out, around or through whatever we could, which became a lot easier when I got my driver’s license, and started dating. Tim became the “chaperone”, which was a great excuse not to double-date.

Ok, I don’t know where this is going… except that I miss him. We’re both married now, live in different places, and are at different places in our lives. I miss having him around to talk to and sneak around with. I’ve never had a better friend than my brother.

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I hate springtime. I have

I hate springtime. I have allergies, and they’re worst when the weather is the best. When plants bloom, so do my sinuses. It feels like I have a bowling ball inside my face. My head hurts, and my eyes are about to fall out of their sockets. Yes, thank goodness for springtime, when the earth renews itself, and I want to hibernate. Benadryl, take me away!

I was right! Today is

I was right! Today is worse. I’m really sleepy. But, the class went really well. I think I like teens best when they’re barely awake. It made teaching easier. I’m looking for The Maxx graphic novels (I have the first two), but I can’t find any. I’m not in the mood to write anything today, so I won’t waste any more time or space.

I’m very tired today, and tomorrow’s going to be worse

I’m very tired today, and tomorrow’s going to be worse. I have to get up really early to go substitute teach a class for church (Friday morning, you ask? Seminary for the high school kids. I have no idea how I did perfect attendance for four years – amazing).

Today? Let’s talk about being a “grown-up”. It’s hard stuff, especially when I still think “When I grow up, I wanna be…” all the time. I don’t FEEL like a grown up. But, when I look in the mirror, there it is, my grown up face staring back at me with the grey circles under my eyes and glasses. I’m married, have a son, own two cars, have a job with responsibility and pay a mortgage every month. I guess that qualifies me as a member of the adult club. It’s not what I expected. I thought I’d be wise, and know how to do things. I’m not, and I don’t.

This is all stemming from a realization I had a little while ago. I realized that who I am now is probably who I’ll be for the rest of my life. I always thought, deep down, that there would be some great awakening where I would suddenly feel mature and a part of the great flow of grown ups in the world. I figured I had time to be stupid and lazy a little while longer. Now, I’ve realized I didn’t have all that time, and that I’m pretty much the same guy I was when I was 19, just slower, fatter and with more stuff to do every day. I’m no more industrious or “together” now than I was then. I still have the same problems with time management, responsibility and authority I had then. I still feel I’m “missing something”. Like a part that makes the adult me wasn’t included in the original package. The real problem is I don’t know what that part is, or how to fix it.

This all sounds pretty bad and unhappy. It’s not. It’s just puzzling. I’ve been reflecting on decisions I’ve made, the experiences that got me to this point, and wondering how it all happened like it did. I truly like where I am. I love my family. I like my job (love it some days). I am content with who I am at its core. But, there’s still that nagging feeling that something’s not there that should be.

Ok, all this navel gazing is tedious. I’m done for now…

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Uncles

(preface: I know I said I’d continue the Tucson story, but I don’t feel like it. Get over it)

I’ve decided something. I don’t have enough uncles. I have one that I have any contact with, and well, that’s just not enough. My wife has a ton of them. There’s something cool about watching them all together. Her dad has four brothers and two sisters, who I now see more often than my own solitary uncle. They’re all funny, slightly raunchy (in a Sunday-old-man kind of way, stuff you grandma might blush at, but nothing really awful) and narcoleptic. One uncle fell asleep mid-sentence at Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago. I’m straying a bit, but you get the idea. There are even the in-law uncles, Norm and Watts (first name, not last), who are great too. That’s a grand total of 6 semi-uncles I have now. I love them to death (well, most of them). But, they’re not MY uncles. I get them by association.

We’ve gone to visit them in Michigan a couple times now, and they all came to Tucson for our wedding. I love seeing this giant nuclear family together. I just wish my side of the family were more like that. Maybe it will once the other kids go and start families, and we become the aunts and uncles (one way being the oldest sucks).

Back to my original point of not having enough uncles. Uncles are fun. Uncles do cool things. Uncles should be good for embarrassing stories about your parents. I have one uncle who I don’t talk to enough, and doesn’t seem to dish the dirt on my mom (I think because he knows she could kill him even though she’s 5’6″ and he’s 6’4″). Uncles should also be good for advice. You should be able to go to your uncles for manly advice about things you wouldn’t ask your dad about. And here’s what I realized today, I want Garrison Keilor to be my uncle. I listen to Prairie Home Companion whenever I’m in the car on Saturday night, and sometimes on Sunday mornings, and his voice is always so wise and comforting, even when it’s funny. I read his column @ Salon.com, and he says wise, comforting, funny, uncle-y things to the people who write in. He seems like a good guy to go to dinner with. And who can ever have enough people to enjoy going to dinner with?

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I’m back, but still tired.

I’m back, but still tired. This parenting stuff is hard. BUT, Max and I invented a new rowdy game last night. Before I tell you about it though, I need to talk about Max for a just a minute. Wow, this kid is big and strong for an 18-month old. We have this big sectional in the living room (or, as I call it, the wrestling ring) with these bulky, 15 pound cushions. Max likes to pick them up over his head and throw them over the half-wall into the entry way. And he’s only 18 months old!! What am I going to do when he’s 3 and can kick my butt?

So, the new game. It’s called “The Big Pillow Game” (can you tell I came up with the title?). Max takes a bed pillow, holds it over his head and runs around sectional until he comes to me, and then throws the pillow down on me, and falls on the pillow, making a human-pillow sandwich. This is all lots and lots of fun, because there’s nothing better than the laugh of an 18-month old boy. Nothing at all.

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Ugh, what a crappy weekend.

Ugh, what a crappy weekend. Now I know how my wife felt after I blew out my knee. Sorry, honey, I’ll never get hurt again. Jen took a very graceful spill out our front door Friday morning (which I took off so we could work on the house and have some fun, silly me). She twisted her ankle and tweaked her knee, and was semi-immoble all weekend. That state doesn’t work real well with a hyper 18-month-old. So, the whole weekend was pretty much a bust, with me failing to either watch Max, or take care of her successfully, and getting kicked in the eye (tip: Never try to put a kid on your shoulders who doesn’t want to be there – they’ll kick). So, here I am back at work, tired and grumpy, and shamefully happy to be here… I’ll try to continue my story after I finish recovering (so, May?).

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Nope, I didn’t almost forget

Nope, I didn’t almost forget today. I read my daily dose o’ news @ Salon while eating my fajita burger from the cafeteria, and here I am, right on time.

Wow, this is really uncomfortable. There was about 5 minutes there between “right on time” and “Wow”. What do I tell you? What can I say that won’t come back and bite me in the butt? Not much, I’ve come to learn. So, let’s do a little history, shall we?
I’ve been on the web since early 95, and have worked for the same company (the giant blue triangle) for almost my entire adult life. I started there in May of ’95, in tech support (which I may talk about at some point, along with some other weird stories from that time period if I get brave). Now, I write frontend/middleware code for one of the largest search engines on the planet. I wonder almost daily about how I got here, why I never went back to school, and what it was about the job that kept me there for so long, when I SHOULD have quit and gone back to school. Not that any of that really matters now. I’m 26, married, have one kid, two cars, a mortgage and am starting to go grey. So, what does thinking about any of this do for me? It’s kind of fun, really.
I loved my first year in tech support. I learned about modems, Win95, Mac System 7.5 (and its babies .1 .2 and .3), and all about how things get gummed up. I took calls from people all over the country, calling about things that had nothing to do with our software, calling about their kids’ saying bad words in chat rooms, and how they HAD to get their e-mail, but couldn’t because their account had been cancelled.

I also met some amazing people (and got in lots of trouble for a good little Mormon boy). Some of them are my best friends, even though we’re 3k miles apart. They helped me grow up and realize that my parents weren’t always right, and that my politics were WAY over in Rush-territory and needed a correction (not through preaching, just because I got to observe people that weren’t like me). I’m rambling now, but it was a real system shock to meet my first lesbian, openly gay man, and wow, lots of other people I’d never met before (transgen guy, my first bisexual couple – they were funny, etc, etc ,etc). The list goes on, and I figured out they’re not the evil people I was brought up to think they were (not through preaching, just by example). I miss that. Here at the “Corporate Headquarters”, everyone’s so apparently normal. I don’t see the variety I did in tech support, and it’s kind of boring.

Tomorrow… Early life online, or How E-Mail Almost Got Me Fired.

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Ok, I almost forgot today.

Ok, I almost forgot today. This is a process, of course; one which I’ll soon memorize and do daily. Today is an unpaid plug for my favorite OpenSource/Free software. What do I use everyday? A bunch of free stuff. I work for one of the largest companies on the planet, and my favorite toys are free. Is that ironic (or is it just funny?)? So, here’s a list of the stuff you should use if you want to be a cool corporate rebel like me:

  • AOLserver: This is the coolest. I work with AOLserver everyday, and find new reasons to love it all the time. It’s fast, uses Tcl (my favorite language, after English), is threaded, and allows me to create some really cool stuff (like the stuff in the list on the right).
  • Arachnophilia: This is my Windows text editor. It does awesome find-replaces and has cool customizable tool bars. I love it!
  • LinuxPPC: I have this Powerbook on my desk. It’s my “other” computer that I was having a hard time coming up with a use for other than watching DVD’s (a bad thing to do at work while anyone’s watching). So, I figured hey, Linux is fun, let’s try that. LinuxPPC is cool. It’s easy to install and configure, and it rock-solid. It sits on my desk as a glowing testament to cool free stuff (although I paid for my copy).
  • Ximian GNOME: For a comparative newbie like myself, Ximian GNOME is a lifesaver. It provided me with a cool interface, all the programs I wanted, and an easy-to-use updater. And, soon, it will provide a really cool e-mail client (doesn’t currently work with my mail, but I trust it will shortly).
  • Mozilla: Mozilla, how do I love thee? This would be farther up the list if it work work on my Windows machine. But, it’s the best browser Linux has ever seen, and they keep building a LinuxPPC version. How cool is that? I can now get my mail with it, and my pages look almost the same as they do in Windows. Yummy.\
    And, as I think about it, I’d switch to Linux altogether if I didn’t have to keep using Office for work stuff. I love the idea of it; that something done by thousands of different people, all for different reasons, actually works. Linux competes with operating systems built by gigantic corporations, and wins in a lot of cases. I just love the thought of it (actually, sometimes more than the reality of it… Linux still pisses me off too often). But, ok, that’s enough for today. Time to get back to work.
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I’m going to start keeping

I’m going to start keeping this thing up-to-date, promise. It will be my lunchtime habit from now on. I will post something, ANYTHING. I’ve been writing code too long. I’ve forgotten how to communicate with people, and how to write. I can’t even spell anymore. It’s sad sad sad. So, here we go… whooooopie!

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