Category: Life


Candles of LoveMy dear spouse, Heather​ and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Nor Mother’s day, Father’s Day, etc. Many of these are toted as Hallmark Holidays. In other words, they are really designed as economy motivators to promote capitalism.

I saw a story on the news last night that “Winter Storm Neptune” (They’ll name anything) that this weather may be economically damaging because restaurants, florist, and a myriad of other retail outlets will lose business. Business based on self perpetuated false need. This is the day you are supposed to show love, that is the day you’re supposed to honour mothers or fathers. And of course don’t forget to buy your unreasonably, overvalued diamonds from the slave trade they don’t tell you about.

My issue is companies that create products for reasons they don’t care about. They sell flowers but they don’t give a rats ass if it’s out of love; trying to save your ass; or hoping it will be an easy in for being a sexual predator. This extends to diamonds as gifts, fast food, and super cheap retail that abuses their employees.

My take on all these holidays is similar to how the Jews treat Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is not the day you spend in Synagogue to assure you don’t sin. Yom Kippur is when you atone. It’s the day that you recognise, admit, embrace, and pray to do better over your failings for the last year.

I saw an interesting post that St. Valentine was pretty much killed and his body violated and we celebrate that with Pink Hearts.

Today… talk with your loved ones and ask them not what you can do today… but what you can do for all of next year.

To me… Love means “Not having to say ‘I love you'” It is a simple fact that you and your loved ones know. If that fact is ever weakened… you realise it and then you find the ways to make it better. Let me assure you… The Addams Family love each other dearly… In their world they throw knives at each other on a spinning board. (THAT is so hot)

I love my family. (ALL OF THEM) I also love the lovers that I rarely see. I also still love many of the people that I am no longer dating/in a relationship with. We parted because of situation. We parted because of difference. But I remember what made them special in my heart. And I love the people who truly do not know the depths of affection I have for them. (Let’s see how many friends freak out over this)

Today, I am away on personal business. I miss my family very much today, not because the vicious egrigore that is Valentines Day tells me that I have to. I do it because I always miss them when I am away from them. Today it’s just essential to step back and hold a shield and a sword to this day and say… You Are Not The Boss Of Me.

Aiden, Heather, Susan (and even David and Kelita) I love you so very much!

Joy, Jaisan, Jenn, Jade, (and people wonder when I talk about my Js)  (and in no specific order) Megan, Cristen, Carolyn, Stephanie, Andrea, Carrie, Kayla, Kori, Liz, Cyn, Lainie, Illy, Tess, Lynne, Erica, Holly, Kristie, Carleen, Cindee, Courtney, Deborah, Sooj, Ken… I will always love you. Even if I’ve never been able to, or had the opportunity to.

(I would never try to dare to put this list into order) Betsy, Prose, Joanna, Joa, Ananael, Winna, Barbara, Rebecca, Alex, Elissa, Deena, Dena, Emily, Erin, Erin, Hannah, Brianna, Gale, Jennifer, Amy, Michelle, Michelle, Nicole, Sandra, Kylie, Kris, Lecion, Pixi, Blue, Shira, Maeghanne, Maggi, Chrisa, Alice, Amanda, Kathy, Kathy, Kathy, Kat, Kate, (And people wonder why I’m a Kat person) Martha, Melissa, Melissa, Marie, Marie, Rubiee (And ’ember and even Nessa), Sami, Zoe, Holly, Mindy, Laurel, Kristina, Anne, Karin, Judy, Stacey, Al, Patrick, Adrian, and even Amy… And so many more that I can not think of. (And trust me, I resent myself for each person I haven’t thought of)

You will probably never know how much I have adored you; wanted to tell you how much I could love you, have grown to love having you as part of my life; have been privileged to begin to know you; have wanted/want you to be closer to me; could lay on a bed and just hold and talk with you (maybe while stroking your hair); could lose myself with you; and/or many other things (Not necessarily everyone of these for each of you… Sorry guys… Kinsey isn’t wrong about me) But if you’re ever honestly curious ask me.. I’ll be honest back to you. There is no need to ever feel the need to return my feelings or feel threatened by them. They simply are what they are… And I am in fact happy with our interactions… though it’d be nice to see and interact with each of you more often.

I am poly, because the love in my heart doesn’t diminish for anyone just because someone else gets a piece of that flame. There are a few people on this list that I have gladly given a piece of my soul to. No matter how far we may have drifted… no matter what has come between us, no matter if we ever talk again or if we find our way back to each other… I would never trade that memory, action, or feeling.

For each of you I have mentioned above… And for those that I am sooo sorry if I have left off the list. You’re existance and falling into my path in the universe makes me what I am. You have all touched me… Some of you I have tried to do the best by, Some of you I have lost touch with, and a few of you, I have been very dumb and horribly hurtful to. For that last, I curse myself for everything I have done and wish I had the opportunity to make amends. One in particular… I will never be able to apologise enough.

Today is not a day of love… it is a day of remembrance, and a promise to be better. Single does not mean alone… Single means accepting and loving and accepting the past… the good, the bad, the unrealised, and the downright horrible) and seeing a bright tomorrow.

I have never been single since the first person I loved past my own family.

I do not celebrate Valentines day. I celebrate love.

Avi-Kaplan-152x152I have to admit, this entire post I owe to Pentatonix and especially my personal favourite member Avi Kaplan. And not just because he looks like my son (No, really, follow that link). Though, if not for Avi, I would not have had such an awesome chat with my son tonight.

We were (as is common in our house) watching Pentatonix videos (and some episodes of Superfruit). We watched “Thrift Shop” and I had no choice but to go to Avi doing the line on Helium. I (like many others) thought of the potential horrors of what it’d be like to hear Avi on Sulfur Hexafluoride. For those unfamiliar… most if not all of us know that helium makes us sound like cartoon mice… or Verne Troyer. This is predominantly because Helium is 6 times lighter than air and the air from our lungs as a result travels across our vocal chords differently. Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) however is 6 times heavier and effectively has the opposite effect on the voice. It gets lower and almost demonic in sound.

So, we’re looking on YouTube at SF6 videos and Aiden spots one about a Koosh ball in Liquid Nitrogen. So now we are onto Science Part 2.

I take Aiden out to dinner and we talk about the boiling ‘water’ and the exploding Koosh ball.

We talk about Solid, Liquid, and Gas. I really have to credit the science he is learning in school already. He has a good understanding of the three states, their differences, and how they transition. He also explained gas by mentioning the O2, CO2 exchange between animals and plants. (Not in those terms,but he understood the basic idea)… So we talked about Nitrogen being lighter than Oxygen on the periodic chart (yay iPhone app) and steel being lower on the chart. And as a result (for the most part) Lighter elements melt and ‘boil’ at different temperatures. After awhile he asks why water isn’t on the chart and I tell him that water is made up of different elements from the chart. I tell him that there is an Oxygen and that an Oxygen is so “large” that it can fit 2 “Hydrogen”. Much like the Carbon is so big that it can fit 2 Oxygen. (Yes, I am well aware, thank you)… He understands what “Di” means from what we’ve discussed and from the word “DiOxide” I explain that Oxide means that the oxygen is working on something else. (Yeah, I know)… He works out that Water is Dihydrogen-oxide. I am very proud that he understands this. I don’t think he will remember these details for school.

At this point I explain that all of this is Science. The Helium, the voice change, the gluing elements together to make molecules, the Nitrogen and how it can be a liquid and boil so fast and why they HAVE to wear gloves. I tell him that there are SO MANY different sciences. Chemistry, Organic chemistry (anything with Carbon), Physics, Biology, etc. He is gobbling it up. I explain that science is effectively learning and finding rules. We talk about di, and tri, he volunteers tricycle. I explain that I have an automatic quadrocycle. He figures out I mean a car. He points out that he isn’t allowed to drive because he’s too young. (We’ll skip the scary math where he joyously and I terrifyingly realise that at 8 he is half way to driving age) I explain rules. I tell him that the time has gone by quickly and the next eight years will go even more quickly. He doesn’t buy it.

At this point he asks me if I know so much because I am a TimeLord. (Something I purport to him regularly. I love the fact that he doesn’t buy into Santa Clause, but he carefully scrutinises the possibility that I am in fact a TimeLord. (Which between you and me… is in fact true 😉

I explain that of course I am a TimeLord and will demonstrate it for him by controlling time and making it go more quickly. We are at FiveGuys so of course… peanuts. I tell him to carefully watch me. I want him to take in everything I do. I remove a peanut, I carefully shell it, I peel back the paper wrapping around the legume. I pop it in my mouth. He even volunteers that I took a lot of time doing that. I took out 3 more peanuts and put them in front of me. We talk about science some more and how the whole restaurant is filled with science. While we’re talking I eat the 3 peanuts. I don’t rush through it. I ‘take my time.’ As I finish the last one… I interrupt him and show him the pile of shells. He is agog.

“How did you do that so fast?!?!” I explain… TimeLord and I’ll teach it to him when he’s older (as he sure isn’t going to grasp perceptual time as an 8 yr old)

As we head out, he says that he loves being around me because I make things. I know Science. And I answer questions. He says he also loves being around Mommy because I make things out of electronics and she makes things out of paint. (I add: And wire, and boxes, and any other clutter she can find :) I explain to him that there is one thing that she and I made together that I consider the greatest piece of work we have ever made. How we started on it about 9 years ago and finished it just a few months over 8 years ago. We love the work, we look at it every day, we take care of it, we hug it. And with this Aiden realiees I mean him. He said he thought that I was initially talking about something electronic or artistic. I told him, I was.

On the way home he notes that it’s night. I explain that the quickest way from night to morning (when he gets to open his lego advent catalogue) is to sleep. He asks me the ever wonderful question “Why do we dream?” This one I have to improvise on. I explain that the body does not shut down when he sleeps. He takes “body shutting down” to be death. (not entirely wrong). Then I explain autonomic functions. (Breathing, heart beating) Effectively the brain doesn’t sleep. It runs the automatic processes. One of which is to sort thru the whole day. (Yay myelination) I explain that the briain sort of sifts through all the experiences and knowledge and observances like when he sifts thru his lego. Sometimes he gets an idea and scoops a bunch of different pieces together and tries building something but then takes it apart because it wants to move onto something else. He asks why he can’t remember them. I explain that the brain cleans up to make room for the new stuff coming in the next day. “You need more room… so you can get more stuff” – Carlin. I explain that’s why I ask him to clean the room. I even explain that the brain throws things out to make more room. It makes sort of a reference to it, but doesn’t keep the details. He remembers the vacation when we took the picture that’s on my phone home screen. He knows he was a baby, but doesn’t remember anything about his baby pictures. I explain that I don’t remember more than a picture of two from when I was his age. I further it by explaining… I have something like 46 years of stuff in my head. Under my breath I say, “Not ‘like’ 46 years… actually literally 46 years. Sigh. Then we move onto the next question… What about nightmares. He posits that the brain wants to scare the boy and enjoys it. I follow the metaphor with how sometimes the brain finds something it doesn’t understand, or like, or scares it. And it goes into the little structure and you don’t realise how scared you were of it… so it makes for a scary dream.

We get home and he looks at me and asks “How do people make their voices higher and lower?” I tell him, this is a very good question and he should go up and change and I will show him when he comes down. He asks if it’s going to be a video (hopehopehopehope) I say no (awwwww) but I will do it right in front of him. He heads off and I go looking for a rubber band. (Gum band *shiver* for the locals around me) I am unable to find one, but I find string.

Aiden comes down and I show him the string and pluck it. I tighten it and it gets higher. I shorten it, it gets higher. Aiden knows that you breath against your vocal chords to make sound. Now he understands that shorter means higher and stretching means higher as well. The Helium and SF6 make more sense for him as well. I also tie the string into a circle and stretch it like guitar strings. I pluck one and the other vibrates. I also try to demonstrate why singing and speaking on an inhale really don’t work. And then… the coupe on the grass. (sic) I show him the biggest set of vocal chords he has ever seen. I have a huge set in a huge wooden box. I keep 44 pairs of vocal chords. We look into the piano. Aiden notices the short end and the long end. He realizes that the low notes are at the end where the longer strings are. I talk to him about Avi and how his vocal chords are very long and very loose. I explain how stretching your vocal chords in warm ups is like stretching the muscles and loosens you up, so your voice drops. I also explain that since he is growing, so are his vocal chords. And then it’s onto the PeterBradyesque manner that his vocal chords will readjust one year. Likely in about 4-5 years.

By now it’s bed time and I’m enjoying what we talked about…

No… you know.. my thoughts on this kind of a conversation with my son…

 

“This is freakin’ awesome!”

recovery_exitAs I ramp back from my tri-annual (Meaning every three years) bout of Pneumonia, things are beginning to settle back in. A local company has expressed potential interest in me. They are pre-screening me with a programming project. The idea is to replicate base functionality and UI of an app. This is not as throw-away simple as it sounds. You have to at least implement the real functionality which does require a knowledge of the technology stack.

Sadly, when I talked to them Friday I targeted Monday as a goal. This was before I knew it was pneumonia. A very professional letter to the recruiter about my health resulted in a letter back telling me that the recruiter was down with Flu and that the group was happy to let me regroup my strength before worrying about the code.

In the mean time, the main project was on hold. There was not a lot of strength or focus to get research done. I think it was the general stress of the week that took me down to begin with. I do however have a strong desire looking forwards. There’s a lot of research. There is one small component that did move forwards, however. So I guess not completely on hold.


Then there is the story of my genetic offspring. This actually takes place today and in a humorous bit of temporal irony about 33 years ago as well.


Micromodem_II_in_Apple_IIWhen I was 12 years old my father bought me my first computer. It was an Apple ][. There was no “Plus” or “e” or any other symbol. This was the original II computer. This was a $2,000 piece of hardware and at the age of 12 I had NO idea what that meant. Especially in the late 1970s. (Yes, you can do the math) I loved this thing. The hardware, the software, the manuals. It was amazing.

One day I decided I REALLY wanted to learn as much about my computer as I could. And my implement of learning was going to be my father’s ratchet screwdriver with changeable tips. The process seemed simple enough in my mind. And in execution it was even easier. It took me about 15-20 minutes to remove every screw and easily removable component to see how everything was assembled.

Parents have an innate sense of knowing how long it has been since they’ve interacted with their child. Apparently, I had crossed the threshold for the amount of time that had passed before my mother began wondering what I was up to. She came to my room and saw me at my desk with a disassembled computer. I think every child learns what a conniption fit is at some point in their life.  I was excessively chastised for my stupidity and lack of respect. Translation: My mother explained that she was going downstairs to call my father to come home and kill me in cold blood. Translation: My mother called my father to excessively chaste him for stupidity and lack of respect. (Damned genetics)

About half an hour later my father arrived home. This required at least 5 minutes downstairs when he arrived for a recap round of getting yelled at. They came upstairs and there I was, sitting at my desk, operating the computer and writing a program. The system was up and operational as if nothing had occurred. Even the potentially damning evidence of tools had been carefully put away.

My mother stammered for a moment. Said “Fuck you.” I think the first time I ever heard her swear, and she tromped out. My father just smiled at me. “You put every part back exactly where you found them?” I pulled some screws from my desk drawer, “All but these couple of screws. Not sure where they went and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.” He smiled again proudly and went downstairs to talk my mother down.


For my son’s 7th birthday this year I purchased him “Blaster.” Blaster is a first generation toy from the Transformer’s line. The toy is about 30 years old. It cost about $40 and was valued more closely to $65. This morning he came to my bedroom and pronounced that he intended to take on a project that “…involved Blaster, 3 screwdrivers and…”

I stopped him. I notified him he was not to take apart a 30 year collectible toy. He told me he had already taken off the head and put it back. Heather (my wonderful spouse) had already purchased old electronics at Goodwill to let him take them apart. I spent an afternoon with him disassembling an old VHS camera. She told me she would supervise. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to deal with it.

There it was; I’d turned into both my parents at once. Happily, Heather reminded me of the story above. Currently they are in the middle of rebuilding. I’m told the picture of all the pieces lain out was glorious. I’m likely to repost it once it is done. (time passes)

Well, after a days outing to see old friends, my son has completed his work. I have to admit… The reassembly was completely successful. The toy even moves better than it did when we got it. It was a bit tight when we first bought it. It moves more easily now without feeling loose. Between my wife (who did AI software for Robots) and myself (who does Apple 3rd party software) comes a very talented child with a stunning sense of spacial relations and being able to take things apart and get them back together.

Heaven help us if he learns to code.
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Being Responsible

cabaretSo, despite today being a minor government holiday, “National ‘People who Ignore the fact that we have Veterans’ Subjugation Day” it was also the first day of the next step in my work career.

I always joke that creative types are never really un-employed. They just don’t have people paying for their talents at the moment. In software one can go from feast to famine fairly quickly. But honestly, in any field one can do the same.

Obviously, the income I’m best going to be able to generate is going to come from two sources. Unrealistically, it will come from becoming a Texas-Hold ’em overnight sensation and I will transform $2, 000 into $2,000,000 by the end of the week. Fortunately, schizophrenia is only in my family history; so I am able to more adeptly look at reality.

I am an Apple 3rd party engineer. It just so happens, the party has come to my house. So now it’s time to finally put up or shut up. I’ve been a member of Apple’s third party development program in one form or another for about 20 years. I have a tonne of history that includes operating system bugs in the Apple OS that date back to Mac OS 7.6.1 (Yes, kids there was an Apple OS before OS X) I do also have correspondence with Apple that goes back over 30 years due to an issue that I found in Apple DOS 3.2.

However, there are certain financial ducks (I fix an autocorrect that really didn’t help here) to get in a row. First was the responsibility of notifying the 2nd of my 3 primary creditors of my financial situation. Fortunately, I’d been paying insurance on my primary credit card against work termination. This insurance should cover my minimum payments and may forgive some of my debt.

I also filed for state assistance. Knowing that this lugubrious process is by design complicated and demoralizing. However; the important part is that I did it. So, I can admit… right now I have savings; they will dwindle; I am taking steps to take on contractual work, and will hopefully generate more income soon. Until then, I am not a moocher, but think I have earned the assistance that I have been contributing into in the event of this kind of a situation.

Finally, I have applied to get a full vendor’s license for Apolo Productions out of my home. I have had an EIN for Apolo for over a decade. I have just rarely needed to tap on it. But putting in the application I can start using these licenses again and update my “Lack of Corporate” headquarters with Apple to allow them to pay me if any apps I publish see fruition.

In the mean time my spouse is hopefully going to ramp up her Art business again through a few different points. Etsy for crafts. I hope at some point to display the mural she’s been working on. Not bad for someone with a Chronic Spine Injury.

My business plan is to create a few apps. Some that are free; but free only in as much as I don’t believe they warrant selling them. Anything I sell has to be for a reason. The core reason is that I feel in honestly fills a marketable niche and I want to think thru how the app is best monetized. People are very careful now-a-days with how they spend money on apps; even though they do it at an alarming rate. The trick is to have the right app with the right monetization.

Do it right; or don’t do it. The stuff to the side is meant to be for learning and thus for free.

Shorter posts but more frequent for a while. Please note… While I don’t get a lot of comments on the blog; both comments and sharing of these posts are appreciated. This feedback is a tangible connection as I make a lot of decisions.

Thanks for listening. Thanks more for talking.

puttingittogetherTo believe that I wasn’t going to experience any emotional gullies would be absolutely fool-hearty.  I know I’m going to have moments of absolutely doubt over the next period of  my life. My amazing spouse thinks that this is the vector in my life where I need to stop pairing myself up with Mega-Corporations and truly embrace what I love. Our largest roadblock to that has finally lifted. A full-time corporation with more than 50 employees would be required to provide medical insurance to my otherwise ‘difficulty-to-insure’ spouse. Assuming I can get logged into healthcare.gov that is no longer an issue.

Of course there is the 0 income question initially.

Hopefully,with good planning, some federal aid, and the ilk; I can keep it together until I have enough to get more funding for what I have. Which is the main crux.

What do I have?

Honestly, a lot of combined talents and neurosis combined with many good ideas and deeper insight that is a huge terrifying ball of risk! Such fun!!!! I have a tonne of software projects that were either explorations into learning a software concept, or a simple idea with little growth potential. I have a lot of fragments that look like they should be assemble-able into something very impressive. And the spark of some ideas that seem like “game-changers”.

To the average person… A lot of well meaning ideas, no substance, and too many dreams. Not a long range investable.

BUT! I see all these things. In the past few years, I’ve learned why these components don’t fit together, how they could fit together, and most importantly the tools to organize them, use them, and most importantly organize me and others.

It’s to take each thing at a time. Know what it is, what it isn’t where it fits and here it doesn’t. See it for its benefits and its distractions. To take time and investment very seriously.

The idea is solid. The slate is clean. The net has been pulled. I have to leap.