Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Still Serious Business

What I like about this costume is that it reflects a serious interest -- space.

The kid knows all sort of information about the International Space Station.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Happiness As A Parent Depends On Tech

As you know, parenting, as a general pursuit, is about mental health – that is for the parents, at least.
How can we be nurturing and patient if we are amid a personal crisis? Indeed.

Obviously, any factor in the millions of small events in our day can impact our mood and equilibrium. But one of the main factors that has been overlooked by the mainstream parenting media is how technology failure plays out.

If I was giving a parenting seminar, the first day would be spent on how to deal with technology failures. When my email goes down, I literally can’t sleep until the issue is fixed. If my phone calendar isn’t updating, then it’s like the air raid sirens are going off and any action taken not addressing the problem is time wasted getting to the bunker.

I do my best to provide tech support for the family, and I’m almost succeeding now that Minecraft isn’t so popular. I had the great idea to let the kid install any Minecraft mod he wanted on an old PC. I have never seen any computing device so thoroughly riddled with viruses and malware. Once a friend came over and the kids downloaded something in the name of Minecraft on my Mac Pro. With that I had to take it to the shop. “Minecraft,” I explained to the pro tech guy. “I know what to do,” he said.

But besides these hiccups, the kids do tech well. As a family we embrace tech, which means we all have screens and are informed users of popular apps. This is the cultural literacy of our times.

Knowing my mental health depends on how well my tech is running has pushed me to invest in more robust systems. I regularly update the modem and router, store passwords in an encrypted on-line vault, and generally pay full price for software to get all updates and patches. 

Tech keeps getting better, this is true; but the pace of self-education about how to integrate all the devices and systems never slackens.

People do all kinds of things for mental health, vacations, exercise, therapy sessions. I now need to add becoming more expert on appropriate tech to the list. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

If My Kids Went To Mars They Would Look Like This

Go figure!

Thanks to the Space exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry we had an educational and enjoyable experience.

Also at the exhibit was a place to write comments about one's personal opinion about if we, as a species, should pursue space exploration. Some sample responses:

1) No, unless we improve the social, economic, and philosophical attitudes of all people on earth we will only create a new hell in space.

2) Examining space helps us live on earth...and beyond!

3) No, I will not go to mars.

The 11-year-old yet again demonstrates space potty use.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Undisclosed Grandpa Rumored On Columbia River

There has not been verification about the above individual.

Undisclosed Grandpa, or UDG, was rumored to have been on a sightseeing boat on the Columbia River recently.

When asked to verify the identity of this mysterious individual, others on the boat could only mumble vague descriptions.

Two grandchildren on the boat had a nice time with the individual whomever he may have been.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Couch Plans Leaked To International Community

Long intrigued by international concerns for seating and lounging, I am leaking our plans to purchase a new couch.

Please do not attempt to influence our decision based on the above leaked document, as you will only encounter a rigid consensus of both senior and junior decision-makers. Our family unit has demanded change in the place and comfort in which media is consumed, and the couch, like it or not, will soon be a reality.

I will continue to leak documents in our on-going series called "family room remodel", in the hopes of greater understanding and cultural exchanges with all involved.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Video Book Report: Space By Jesse Lee Kercheval

The kid really enjoyed this book. Assigned a book report in school he decided to do a video. He wrote a script, gave me a part, and we filmed it this past weekend.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Many Years Ago, On The Same Weekend

Thanks to the magic of Google Photo one can easily access photos taken on the same date many years apart. The above is a nice snap, but I have no recollection of my kids every being so young.

Halloween politics.

Same mannequin, updated political statement.
I'm thankful our neighbors decorate their house so wonderfully for Halloween, as well as voting Democrat.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

6th Grader Treasures 2nd Grade Owl

One of my son's enduring works is the owl he made in second grade.

He has curated the work himself, keeping it posted in a prominent place in his room. He enjoys the colors and expression, as do we all.

I'd like to think this bodes well for a life lived with aesthetic sensibilities.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Inspired By Movie, Kid Starts Climbing

Kid gears up with a climbing harness before attacking the wall.

The kid recently watched Valley Uprisinga movie about the history of climbing in the Yosemite Valley, and decided he had to learn the sport. Our local rec center had a climbing wall so we signed him up.

Of all the personalities in the film, Alex Honnold, best known for free soloing big walls, resonated with the kid.

Here's a taste of what our guy can do:


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kid Brings It With Political Comedy

The other night the kid was complaining about the remodel in our family room.

"Why don't you go sit in the living room?" I asked.

"I don't want to sit on the Aleppo couch," he said.

"What is the Aleppo couch?"

"It's like Gary Johnson's knowledge of Syria -- too small!"

If Oregon has a Borscht Belt the kid is ready for it.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Mastodon Meat Likely Pizza Of Prehistoric Times

Pizza night is always appreciated in these parts. All of us worship at the mighty pizza temple, supplicants of the tangy tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and delicious toppings.

Last night LSS and myself had a dinner to attend. Still, I ordered two large pizzas for the kids, knowing that the extra slices would not be wasted.

Indeed, the next morning the kids had pizza for breakfast, packed slices in their lunches, and were disappointed when they returned to find the refrigerator empty. I, too, had pizza for breakfast, then at 10:00 am decided I deserved more pizza because I hadn't eaten it the night before -- you get the picture. The mere notion of pizza drove all of us into some kind of frenzy.

I like to imagine this behavior is a holdover from prehistoric times. When a band of early humans finally killed a mastodon I like to think the excitement would be similar to pizza night.

Prehistoric me: "Kids, have some more mastodon. Add extra mastodon to the mastodon fritters."
Prehistoric kids: "Yay mastodon!"

The notion that one can eat until satiation, either mastodon steak or pizza, strikes me as a universal joy, made extra special by knowing the next morning the good times will continue. I suppose this is the notion of feasting, which has been present for, well, time immemorial.

Mastodon/pizza Stoke!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Teenager On The Weekend

The life of a teenager can be stressful, which is why relaxation on the weekend is important.

The above teenager is to be commended on successfully disregarding the outdated protocol of furniture, and proceeding to spontaneously relax right there and then.

I'll leave the judgement of whether she is too relaxed to the academics and serious amateurs.




Saturday, October 1, 2016

Old Bike Magazine Bids One To Harken Back To Simpler Time

This edition of Winning: Bicycle Racing Illustrated  from August, 1990 was on display at the customer waiting area of a local bike shop.

I eagerly picked it up to learn about how the Giant Cheeto insulted, fat shamed, bullied all the good people involved in competitive cycling.

Unfortunately the article didn't mention anything other than that Donald Trump sponsored Tour De Trump, saving the words for...bicycle racing.

Also conspicuously absent were adds for "doctors" and "coaches", who had special "vitamin" programs for competitive cyclists. Only later in the decade would the performance enhancing drugs take over the sport.

All this reminded me that the early 1990s has been glossed over as a halcyon period of innocent contentment. Who knew?