Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Should Just Never Sleep

Adapted from a nightmare I had tonight:

I knew HE was coming again but I was older and wiser now. I could call upon all the guile that 33 years since it had happened now afforded me. I could not let him steal the same things from you.

I ran down the wet street my strides seeming smaller as I ran and he chased me, I turned up the narrow street of the old city and past the men I had hired to intercept him... and I kept running. I heard them call out through the light rain "we will take care of this one... run along now" I knew that you would soon be safe from him... and I kept running. I was smaller now for sure.

Eventually I made it to the doorway of the shop. The man who was the boss of the other men I had hired, greeted me in gleeful haste asking if I had the components for him... I reached into the pockets of the coat that was now so large on me and pulled out the package for him. He didn't need to mix anything or chant, he just kicked open an azure painted wall to reveal a contraption which had a large wheel that he cranked twice with grand, fluid gestures. Then he tossed my package in the top and the sky opened up making the street even more wet and filling the air with a loud hiss from the hard rain. Even with all the noise when he leaned in close and spoke I could hear him as if it was snowing instead. "it's done, he is gone. The one you were protecting is safe."

I sat down in the chair he offered me rain falling on us both. I was so small now, so helpless and young, very hansom in my youth like I used to be... like you would be some day. "Do you hear the music coming from upstairs? Would you like to come up for a while and get dry?" Something was wrong with me... I was having trouble moving or speaking. I started to tell him that I was leaving but he reached out and I recoiled and froze as he touched my face... I could not move and I was falling backwards in my chair at an impossibly slow rate. I now understood that the money I had paid was only part of the price... I was helpless, powerless, young, beautiful and in the control of another man with no empathy for my horror.

I felt myself being carried away... but I knew you were safe.

Creepy I know... But thats how my brain works when I fall asleep in my office chair!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crafty Spartan

Where the lion's skin falls short it must be eked out with the fox's.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Technology Run Amok!

Actually it is kinda cool... It would have been cooler used in a Laurie Anderson show though. heh.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Questions on symmetry and the Alhambra

I wanted to jot down some notes about something I want to teach Jamieson someday and I am too tired to do the research right now... I worked all night and need to nap while I can so I can take care of him when he wakes up shortly so I am posting my questions/notes here for "future Doc" to remember and answer.

Who Was the scientist that described Symmetry?

How many total symmetries are there?

Did the moorish artists find all the possible Symmetries?

When was it built?

Did the Alhambra pre-date the science of symmetry and by how much?

Was Esher inspired by the Alhambra or other structures like it?

From Wikipedia:
M. C. Escher's visit in 1922 inspired his following work on regular divisions of the plane after studying the Moorish use of symmetry in the Alhambra tiles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aesop's Fables

Today I wondered if children still read these or if they are considered passe, boring or just plain out of date for the real world. I mean hell, they are over 140 charters long and the graphics SUCK!

I hope they are still taught. I recall that they shaped my thinking quite a bit as a young person. It might help to explain some of the difference in attitudes I see in myself when compared to people younger than me if they had fallen out of common use. By that I mean that sometimes I seem pretty extreme compared to the more relaxed and sometimes more "reasonable for modern times" mores of others. I wish I didn't worry so much about paying for the software and media I use and consume for example. But I do.

As I recall, we sort of lived and died by them as a kid. We read them all the time and studied what they were meant to teach. I wonder if schools would even do that now. Is that crossing a line these days? I guess I will find out soon enough. : )

But I won't wait. I plan to reacquaint myself with the dear old Aesop and introduce my son to the fables as soon as it is appropriate.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Bakery Lies

Muffins are merely cupcakes that offer the person consuming them some measure of plausible deniability.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh Noes! The Web May Not Be Free For Me To Harrass People!

Yeah, well it never was...

People are in a bunch over a bill that attempts to address "cyber bullying". Yes, as does most attempts to police the web, it has flaws... and probably should never have been drafted. Here is a thought. Use the existing laws and social norms to stop people who hide behind false identity and anonymity on the web to harass people.

All it would take is for us to admit that IT'S NOT REALLY NEW OR DIFFERENT! The web is not magic... good lord, people read to much William Gibson or something! "Ha Ha! I have done something vile but you will never find me because I have escaped into the INTERNET!" : )

It is just a way of communicating... in a few years it will be as thrilling as a CD ROM.

Here is my post to people up in arms over it on a popular news aggregation site...

Regardless of foolish attempts at legislation, I believe that the distinction should be that you never say anything that you would not say directly to a persons face or in a public place... hiding behind a false persona on the internet just proves cowardice. Only the people that post know for sure if what they type is really in their "own voice". If people took the time to be honest with themselves then we would not have gotten to this point.

For 15 years I have argued for more civilized behavior on the web as I have watched people become more brazen and spiteful. Saying crap and even pulling stunts that simply intend to injure others. The web could have REMAINED open and free longer before this sort of thing started... but what so many people don't get is that the stupid ass "wild west" behavior is one thing that will be used as an excuse to eventually bring down the hammer. Look at history and you will see examples.

Do you think THIS technology is beyond control? (from the comments here I can see many do) Sadly, no... powerful people are just waiting for the right time to take control of it. Most likely when it will make a small hand full of those people the most money to lock it down. At that time the law will be brought into play to suit their needs... and not just in the U.S. The crazy thing is... many people who use the web are giving them all the ammunition they need.

Mark my words, as we speak, interesting information about you and everything you have ever uttered on the internet is being collected by several entities. Hell, most people are GIVING it to commercial databases. How many "top 5 surveys" have you taken this month? Even if you are sorta careful and they have not de-anonymized your 16 different online "personalities" now... they will in the future. The data is too intriguing and valuable. Never before in history have so many people revealed so much about themselves. When people act badly... that is useful not from a marketing standpoint... but from a control standpoint. "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" But then, its hard to see them as evil since you can hardly blame them for using the club that the users of the web put in their hands. Ugh.

Do a search for "de-anonymize" and consider that if the University Of Texas is doing this publicly, think about what the capabilities of more nefarious organizations might be.

Good luck everyone... and remember to play nice.

Pulling back the curtain on "anonymous" Twitterers

Oh, and by cross posting that, I just TOTALY de-anonymized myself! lol Thats all it takes. Posting any portion of my own text in 2 places would be a HUGE ping in an engine designed to figure out who people on "popular news aggregation sites" are. : )

I don't care HOW careful you are... some unfeeling piece of software will figure out all your secrets someday... best to plan ahead and act accordingly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Pad Computer Gets VOIP

OK so this is weird... I can download an application to my "phone" that lets me make calls over the internet bypassing the people I buy phone service from!

Meet the Skype iPhone client! (iTunes store link... while there be sure to buy a copy of this jewel.)

A year ago, I would not have thought that skype would have been allowed into the app store in ANY form, ever... but it happened. The fact that AT&T managed to keep the calls off G3 is only the spasm of a dying business model in my opinion. (You need to make Skype calls from a wifi connection) They see the writing on the wall, Apple has changed the game and that thing in your hand is not just a phone... With growing dexterity, its whatever you need it to be at the moment. In the near future AT&T will mostly get their money, from selling you the connection you need to make that "anything device" work. Phone service? Text Messaging? Say those phrases over and over and they start to sound really old and silly, like something a guy in a fedora would be trying to sell you door to door.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

140? Why so many... Pft.

This animation comes close to my feelings on twitter... Its really damn funny, Check it out!

I mostly tweet about the futility of tweeting.

The video takes some funny jabs at tweeting, but it misses a big one in my book. I am most annoyed by the fact that twitter sets the new standard of "important thoughts" at 140 characters. I find it nearly impossible to convey all the information necessary to complete a statement in a 140 character "tweet". Take the post I made this morning.

"The moby wrap still works really well to put Jamieson to sleep but unfortunatly its just too hot for he and I to use for very long now."

Now that note is missing some key information! I think Jamieson has inherited my "warm blooded" nature and he seems to get warm fast, and I would also have liked to include the time of year that we are having to stop using it and that we could have used the wrap year round in some place other than the dreaded Texas. Someone reading this out of context might simply think I don't like the something about the Moby wrap... but the opposite is true, I love the thing and I am sad that I have to put it away due to the place I live.

So the choice is to leave out detail or use a Tarzan like shorthand.

"Moby wrap good for putting Jamieson to sleep, but its too hot for us to use for long. March + Texas + Warm baby wraped on warm daddy = bad" (138 ugh)

Honestly, I think that the idea that most thoughts can be fully formed in 140 characters brings us one step closer to ushering in an era of sub verbal grunt based communication.

Get ready.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I remember these!

They came on right after the smurfs, but it only lasted for like one season.

Just kidding... Its a parody, add it to the collection with Watchnuts and Watchmen babies. : )

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unimplemented t-shirt idea #482

I have wanted to design a t-shirt for many years that reads... "I used to be angst ridden, now I'm just curmudgeonly."

Maybe if I wore t-shirts I would be more inspired to actually get them made when I have ideas for them...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hulu Asks Boxee To Not Be A Browser...

Thats about the size of it. it would be the same as if Internet Explorer became really good at displaying and organizing media and Hulu said to them "Oh, wow that makes our content providers uncomfortable... can you stop?"

Here is the story from their respective blog posts:

And here is the post I made at the hulu.com user message boards:

I just wanted to say that even if Hulu never returns to boxee, I will STILL be dropping my cable service. I will make due with content from other sources that remain available via Boxee. (long live Netflix!) I think many other users like me are tired of being treated so poorly and having ridiculous bundling packages forced down our throats. I honestly believe that cable and satellite companies could have used their influence, wealth and power to make something like Hulu/Boxee happen MANY years ago and they and the content providers could have had absolute control over it... But they were all too driven by greed and ended up treating their customers like they were morons.

Well I am afraid that after a long wait, the genie is out of the bottle and under the command of the customers. No matter how you try to shove him back in, he will slip through your fingers like so much pink smoke. If these moves manage to damage Boxee, what is to stop someone from creating a free "Hulu viewer" based on open source browser code with many of the same advantages? And maybe these people won't have the same respect for the imbedded advertising and will find some way to allow users to mask it? Perhaps THAT will become the standard for how people view Hulu on a "living room monitor"

And not to beat a dead horse, but as many others have mentioned there is the piracy issue, hopefully I can ad a slightly different perspective. As a musician, photographer and short film maker, I don't want to see file sharing become the standard of our society because ultimately it leaves little room for small independents and creators of genuinely unique content to monetize due to the fact that it creates a culture that lacks respect for creative people. (It helps to dislike the people you steal from and think of them all as rich and arrogant even if that clearly is not true.) But if people behind this move continue with the old way of thinking... more and more people will be lead down the wrong path and everyone who creates and consumes media will suffer in the long run.

So on the constructive side, can I ask why not create a separate stream for TV bound browsers like boxee (there will eventually be many...) and pop in a few more ads? I doubt many of us would mind, as long as it stayed well below the ridiculous amount of broadcast TV. Most of us understand the unspoken contract of "TV" is that the ads pay for the content and that it has never been "Free" no matter what an Alec Bladwin shaped alien says. (BTW, thanks for propagating the myth amongst young people that they somehow "deserve" free TV. It makes it much harder to argue the point that TV has a price and that downloading is wrong to a young teenager when a TV star/alien told him that TV was free. : P) --I sincerely hope this can be resolved, and thank you for reading.

Without Hulu Boxee is quite hobbled, but I expect it to be worked out. I am serious though. I will just do without Hulu if they don't kiss and make up. The cable companies had decades to find a solution that made sense and they squandered my trust... now let them be regulated to what they really are... a utility. And just like my water, trash, electric and gas... I expect that internet connection to be fast and on all the time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I have seen the future of "TV" and it shall be be know as BOXEE!

Or at least if its not THE future, it at least has a real good shot at getting installed in a LOT of entertainment centers in the coming years.

The ultra short version of this post...
Go to this link and get Boxee. It is really cool, play around with it and give it enough time so that you really get a feel for the potential of it. You will thank me.

Boxee home page

OK, for those of you with a bit more attention/time...
About 6 months ago I got into an alpha test of a media application called Boxee and started playing with it. I quickly realized it was the thing I had been waiting for. For quite some time now I have thought that Cable and broadcast television were dying slow deaths and I had began looking for a way to do away with then once and for all. Also I want to present any video content for our new son Jamieson in a more controlled fashion. I want to own the programs he is allowed to watch and have them stored locally. Mainly so that he is exposed to as little advertising as possible for the first several years of his life. After several less than perfect attempts at a solution fell flat. I finally became aware of boxee and I got to tell you its been great! Just about everyone I have shown Boxee to has thought it was revolutionary and several people have installed it after getting a tour of what it could do over at the house. Its quite amusing to me that it has taken someone so long to something like this so well! Honestly, I started imagining a product with many of these capabilities a very long time ago.

OK, so what IS Boxee? 
The best way to describe it is that it is a "media browser" that is designed for your TV. If you are fimilliar with apples front row then you can put boxee in that class of product. BUT Boxee is very extensible and powerful! it playes TONS of media formats and handles streaming from the enternet like a pro. Do you like Like Hulu? boxee can be your front end for Hulu. Have some DVDs you ripped? Boxee understands those files and lets you play them without conversion. Want yo go to CNN.com and see the top stories? not a problem. Do you like Lost? Navigate over to ABC.com's channel in boxee and watch episodes. Got pictures on flickr that you want to show off in a fancy slide show? Covered! In fact you can view you friends flickr accounts also! And here is the big one... Netflix! Yup, you can pull up your netflix account and start an instant play movie or TV show any time you want. I am currently working my way through the second season of Dead Like Me. and Katy and I burned through all of the first season of 30 Rock recently. The combination of a netflix account, and streamed shows from services like Joost and Hulu and you are pretty covered as far as watching a huge variety of shows. The selection seems to be growing rapidly too!

So, another way to look at it is  that Boxee is like a cable guide... for a bunch of differently formated stuff thats spread out all over the web, on your local drives, or on a household server.

So why is Boxee important?
Because it brings all that crazy stuff together under one simple interface... that you can work with a REMOTE!

Die Cable Die!
Cable has killing itself by treating its customers like idiots and doggedly refusing to introduce services that would meet their changing needs. Why in the hell do I still need to buy a huge package of channels in order to get the half dozen I am actually interested in?! For gods sake! It's the 21st century! The year 2009! Even new services like AT&T universe STILL bundle content in ridiculous ways. What could possibly be motivating them to continue these seriously outdated practices? Well thats a rhetorical question... it makes them money and they can get away with it.

This situation is so bad that I believe (as many people do) that it actually contributes to piracy. People don't want to be limited to what they watch and when. Just give me the things I am in the mood for and make it simple for me to find them!

Arg! hey... where are you all going? don't you guys want to play pirates anymore?
People have taken it into their own hands to use the available technology to do just what I described above. hook an inexpensive computer up to your TV get a decent internet connection and a bittorrent client and you CAN bybass the traditional methods of content delivery altogether. Sites and services like Hulu and ABC.com have come into being partly due to the realization by the content creators that if they did not give fans of their shows options in how to receive them other than cable... they would simply download them from the file sharing communities and at that point they would lose all control of the delivery and also lose any opportunity to be compensated fairly through the the inclusion of advertising.

More and more people have been unwilling to continue playing the sucker to the cable companies when such a simple alternative was available, even if that alternative is questionable in its "morality". The way we pay for TV has always been a simple contract that most people clearly understand. You watch a show and no matter how hard you try you WILL see some ads and the people that made the show get paid. But as it got simpler and simpler to get shows and movies in a modern on demand fashion via file sharing and as cable companies doggedly resisted providing logical ways for people to find and get the content they wanted, more and more people justified downloading movies and TV shows. You might be surprised at the types of people that participate in file sharing, its a huge and rapidly growing trend... what could stop it? Making the content from legitimate sources MORE CONVENIENT than file sharing!

Boxee goes a long way to doing just that.

Your turn!
Try it, the alpha is now open to the public and its pretty easy to get started, especially if you don't mess with hooking it up to a TV and just watch on the computer screen. Just remember its designed to work with a remote so learn the keyboard commands before launching because it hides the cursor by default.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trip To Grandmas House, incomplete...

I am feeling heartbroken...

For months now I have wanted to write a short story about a trip I took when I was 16 or so that included a visit to my grandmother... I believe It was a defining moment in my life because she treated me like an adult and made me feel sophisticated. In retrospect, she always had to some degree and that meant a lot to me growing up. Just the artifacts she would have in her house inspired a sense of wonder, I remember being fascinated by the artwork she would have on the walls (originals signed by a real artist!) and the book titles on her shelf. 

Well, with all the things going on in my life I just let the story bounce around in my head and it never came out. My 8 week old son Jamieson has been 3 times more demanding than I ever imagined... and I imagined he would be pretty darned demanding. I discussed the story with some people and was pleased to find that they had had the same types of experiences with Grandma Rose, clearly she touched many peoples lives in a very positive way.

So I don't feel like I got a chance to say the things that would really explain how much she meant to me. All I said when I got to talk to her on the phone was: "You have inspired me and I have always wanted to be more like you" and "I love you very much." I don't know, in hindsight it seems not to express all the things I wanted her to know... 

So it saddens me a great deal that Rose didn't get a chance to hear the story before she passed away and now I feel like there is less of a point in writing it, but I feel like I should still do it, so I intend to try soon.

The written word and I are not really friends, we don't get along at all really so composing text is a chore that I literally despise... But these days, thats the only way to get your thoughts out and hope to be heard it seems.

It's not like people listen to song lyrics.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Early Days With Jamieson

I just found this in my rough drafts. It is two years old when I am writing this note and I never posted it, I tend want things very chronological... so I am leaving a copy of it posted with the date it was started, and I am making a new post with updated notes published near the date I found it (march 2011).

What do you do when the two people you love most in the world are in conflict? Not just a normal conflict mind you, but a soul draining contest of endurance versus need that shakes everyone involved to the core and could be described as the hardest challenge any of you has ever faced.

You put yourself between them and try you best to absorb as much of the discomfort as you can take.

I don't know for sure that Jamieson is more needy than other babies of his same age but it would not surprise me to find out that he is. Since he was born, he has on average wanted to be feed every 2 hours (often times less). For short periods of time this has stretched out to 3... but it quickly snaps back. Now consider that it takes about 30-45 minutes to feed him, that only leaves a very short window to sleep and rest between feedings.

Also he cries a LOT. It seems to me like he has problems getting rid of lower gas. He wakes from a dead sleep and will start to kick and flail if he has not passed gas within a few minutes he will become frustrated and begin to cry. These episodes can quickly escalate into massive shrieking freak-outs if he is not quickly comforted. He will still cry, kick and flail for long periods of time even if held and if you do manage to get him to sleep in your arms... you CAN'T put him down. The comfort is like a counter balance to the pain/discomfort in his gut. If you remove the soothing... the tower topples and he is back in crisis. If he starts to break wind... a lot of wind. Then he starts to relax and can sometimes be put down.

So combine those two things and you have a baby that requires a lot of attention.

I have been desperately trying to provide as much of that attention as I can I am a seasoned insomniac... Katy is not. She is learning the ropes of how to survive on so little sleep but it has been really tough for me to watch her get raked over the coals on this. She is a person that NEEDS her sleep.

So for weeks now I have done everything I could to keep him soothed and get her more sleep. Since I don't need much sleep I keep him downstairs with me in between feedings because it is seldom that he sleeps from one feeding to the next. Its MUCH more common that he needs to be held and comforted, often the entire time between feedings. If I am really good, I can keep him asleep for 2.5 hours in my arms... but this usually means that I can't move or do anything else because if I do he will wake up and instantly want to be comforted with food.

So, I am very caught in the middle. He wants and needs to eat and I know that if I take him up to her she will be loosing sleep that she needs! I try to keep him soothed because sometimes he just wants to "snack" for comfort or eat early because he woke up due to gas.

these have been my goals over the last few weeks

1. Make it possible for Katy to go to bed at an early hour. (front load sleep)

2. Keep Jamieson downstairs with me between the 2-3 feedings after katy has gone to bed so that she gets chunks of undisturbed (if not uninterrupted) sleep. This helps her be more alert during the 2-3 late night feedings that I am likely to be asleep during, and hopefully gives her the energy to deal with him when he won't sleep between those feedings. I know that we only got her less than a couple of hours of "up front" sleep last night and she told me she was up with him the entire time between the next two feedings... I have to try harder to keep us on track so that its easier to deal with when this happens.

3. Wake up and take him downstairs between the first couple of feedings as needed. This is great for her catching up on sleep as he seems a bit less "fussy" in the mornings and I can keep him soothed and encourage him to sleep longer, but its also the prime time that she wants to be pumping and since it the time he is lest likely to be cranky its also the best time of day to play with him and have him be a bit more interactive and less distracted by his own discomfort.

4. Change every diaper I can get my hands on. It's a little thing, but I enjoy it and it is one less demand that she has to feel he is putting on her. I am sure she wouldn't mind changing more... she lets me do it because I have made it "Daddy's Job".

5. Soothe him as much as he will let me. Now when I said before that he gets upset, I am not sure I communicated what really happens here... I have seen him will turn dark purple over 100% of his body, go stiff as a board from head to toe and cry so hard and intensely that he seems to forget to breathe. At first, this upset Katy a great deal, I also get very unnerved by it.

I know Jamieson is on the verge of making a breakthrough in his eating and sleep schedule and I just have to wait it out a bit longer... but it is getting to me, I hate that I can't seem to do more for him when he is really upset and I feel like I have to absorb as much of his cranky-ness as I can and try to lessen his impact on Katy when he is being really demanding, That may sound odd to some people reading this but maybe people with difficult babies may understand. She is giving so much of herself to him as it is, I feel I need to deflect the screaming/complaining if I can. when I can't, I feel like I have failed.

I have had to compose this post over several days because I never have a long enough stretch of time to finish a complete blog post without needing to pick him up. Actually he is in my arms now but he is quiet enough that I can type (slowly) with my free hand.

It is now months later (around may 2009)... from a note I started to write someone then decided to not explain...

I know we probably discussed that he has had a rough start, He just has never been comfortable Like something was hurting him badly. I know I may have seemed over protective at the CPR class, But he has me well trained to respond quickly to his signs of distress early and try to stack the deck on the side of his comfort and happiness otherwise he can quickly get upset to the point were people question weather something is dramatically wrong with him. The way he responds to his discomfort can be a bit shocking to people if they are used to babies acting like "normal" babies.

I am sure it would not have surprised you, but I think it would have disrupted your class if he had reached the peak of what he is capable of.

Now all that sounds pretty dramatic, but he is a great and amazing baby when he fells well! So I have every confidence that when he finally "outgrows" the colic completely. Or his little digestive tract gets working a bit better... he will be able to let more of that side of himself shine.

We have been frustrated by our pediatrician and how her answer to everything seems to be "he is growing and thriving, so he is therefore fine" Wow, I sure am glad MY doctor doesn't take that attitude with me. "Oh, Doc you gained 5 pounds so clearly nothing else is wrong with you!" We are just now coming to the conclusion that he is allergic to something that he has been eating and we have finaly made an appointment with a pediatric GI in hopes that they will be able to shed some light on his discomfort.