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MONORAIL: LATEST ENTRIES [random]
QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 01.30.2015
low and slow bro
photo credit goes to http://finntimes.com/?p=5210
On this trip I think we should notice it, explore it a little, to see if in that strange separation of what man is from what man does we may have some clues as to what the hell has gone wrong in this twentieth century. I don't want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things. I just want to get at it slowly, but carefully and thoroughly, with the same attitude I remember was present just before I found that sheared pin. It was that attitude that found it, nothing else.
excerpt from Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance




 
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WIFE, QUOTES (permalink) 02.28.2014
i'll let you guess who wears the pants in this arrangement
the email i received from marty after she read the family gallery posting (trapped) about her choosing to quit work and stay home with the kids.
It's amazing how you can write like a woman.
Marty
that was the message in it's entirety. no hello. no thanks. just, you write like a girl. i reckon the most appropriate response would have been:
and, it's amazing how much you write like a man.
troy
but instead of sending that response, i went to the kitchen and did the dishes.



monthly archives




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 01.29.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
awesome




LIFE (permalink) 01.28.2015
if the first three rules of real estate are "location", then the first three rules of life satisfaction are "framing"
i bumped into one of bella's classmates dads at the pool. we got to talking after showering and i asked him what industry he worked in. this is not a question i usually ask folks but i found this guy to be very balanced and positive and always even-keeled so found myself curious about his trade. he said he taught seventh grade. in fact, he was a 23-year teaching veteran of seventh grade. to this, i expressed great surprise and complimented his easy-going nature saying i'd think he would look more worn and frazzled. to this he said:
look. if you're expecting thoughtful intellectualism from seventh graders, you are going to be immensely disappointed, and many are. but if you take it for what it is it can be a lot of fun and a great career.
if i have repeatedly observed one law of our universe it is the importance of how we frame the world before us. it's like Gale told H.I. in Raising Arizona, "This'll go hard or easy, H l.", and that it did. one's mindset will do more to govern one's fullfillment or disastifaction in life than all the dumb luck, raw deals, or curve balls life might throw one's way.




FILM (permalink) 01.27.2015
you wouldn't find stiffer acting in a viagra-sponsored porn
i went to see american sniper but it was sold out. in fact, the next two shows were sold out. in scanning the wall of options i felt lucky to find blackhat still open. a michael mann movie about hacking and espionage. when the movie began, there was a light smattering of other viewers. i remember scanning the room with surprise and wondering where everyone was. then the movie began and i knew. they were intelligently and enviably somewhere else. it would be the second film i walked out of before it concluded (for the life of me i can't recall the last one, but i think it might have been heat).

since escaping that torment i've done some thinking and digging about this movie. there are a lot of folks speculating about why this movie did so poorly. they say that on paper it should have been a slam-dunk. people are pointing at directing, marketing, weekend competition. all of this is pointless and remarkably off the mark. this movie failed for one reason and one reason only: casting.

chris hemsworth is as believable in the role of a world-renowned hacker as i would be in the role of THOR. how social-media rich he is could not be less relevant to his ability to play this part. he is a handsome, muscle-bound guy. not only are neither of these assets helpful in this case, but by and large, they probably hurt any convincing arguments that of all the actors out there, known or not, he is the best suited for this particular character. if this highly obvious factor isn't in the math of the people charged with this decision, then those movie pundits could be replaced, professionally, by either of my elementary aged sons. hell, i would have found a present day sylvester stallone equally suited for the role if that helps paint a proper picture.

hence, this lack of insight makes the movie completely unwatchable. i just wish i was as quick at spotting this disconnect as others. admittedly, the fact that i don't watch trailers bit me here. but not enough for me to change my practice of avoiding plot-destroying, entertainment-stealing trailers. you just have to accept that you win most but will have to walk out of some.




QUOTES, BOOKS (permalink) 01.16.2015
it this doesn't get you taking steps towards any goals you've been sitting on, it just may not happen
For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run toward the body's lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from outside as a dark, soft patch of ever whitening skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drain. These changes in the first hours occur so slowly and take place with such inexorability that there is something almost ritualistic about them, as though life capitulates according to specific rules, a kind of gentleman's agreement to which the representatives of death also adhere, inasmuch as they always wait until life has retreated before they launch their invasion of the new landscape. By which point, however, the invasion is irrevocable. The enormous hordes of bacteria that begin to infiltrate the body's innards cannot be halted. Had they but tried a few hours earlier, they would have met with immediate resistance; however everything around them is quiet now, as they delve deeper and deeper into the moist darkness.
opening passage from karl ove knausgaard's My Struggle (book 1)


FAMILY (permalink) 01.15.2015
moment
an exasperated bella interrupted marty and i talking to ask if she could be excused from the dinner table early. marty, breaking off from our conversation, exaggeratedly asked whatever could be more important than her family's company. we then looked to anthony (8) who, with sitcom perfect timing, was pushing his upper lip to his nose with his hand and saying "look alex, i can almost pick my nose with my top lip" and when you then looked to alex (11) he was in the midst of his own antic "but can you make you hair shake around like this" while he gripped the arms of the chair to brace himself and quickly rotated his head left to right making his winter mane flail wildly about. marty and i, both stifling laughter, especially at anthony's effortful, and ongoing, lip-nose contortion said, "yes, bella, you may be excused from the dinner table as it seems people are done eating." she pushed back from the table and walked out of the room with the classic teen-huff of annoyance painted on her person.




FAMILY (permalink) 01.14.2015
travel well.
one of the cousins of the the nephew that just got married recruited the entire family to help with his gift idea. the young man bought his favorite cousin a bible and then reserved a blank page in the back of the book for each family to craft a message to the new couple. the following was marty's entry for our family:
Troy and I find ourselves contemplating the journey of marriage that you will begin on January 3, 2015.

Here are some traveling tips from a couple who embarked on our journey 17 years ago:
  1. The path of your journey will be unique.
  2. Always be mindful of your "magnetic north" (the relationship you wish to have). Check your compass often to ensure you are still on your path.
  3. Know that the skies won't always be blue and the paths won't always be flat. Storms and mountains are part of every journey.
  4. There will be days you won't be able to carry your pack and there will be days you will have to carry both packs.
  5. All travelers have different strengths and weaknesses. Knowing yours and your partner's is important.
  6. There is no discrete destination so remember to enjoy the miles every day affords you.
  7. Don't compare yourselves to other travelers. People's public presentation is often not indicative of the whole story (so don't compare your complete picture to someone's public persona).
  8. Never forget you are fortunate to be on this journey. It is not a blessing all people get nor is it a blessing all people remember they have.
regarding #7 marty would not let me add "except in the case of marty and troy whose private existence far exceeds the public's perception". she's always plays spoil-sport.



WEB (permalink) 01.13.2015
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JANUARY 2015




PHOTO (permalink) 12.19.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
DECEMBER 2014




QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 12.18.2014
he may not have all his teeth, but he does have all his marbles
how could i let a week go by without an anthony quote:
i think i could set a world record for finding something in a messy room. i'd do better than clean people because they expect things to be where they go so they don't know what to do when they're not there.
i'm often struck by how obvious the world comes off to young, sharp minds, minds that are free of the clutter and nonsense (oftentimes) we adults allow in. anthony's good for two to three of these observations a week. that said, and for the record, anthony is quite terrible at finding things. i might say he was the worst at it if it weren't for his brother who seems remarkably gifted in his inability to find something that isn't where it is supposed to be game (he's surprisingly terrible at locating things even when they are where they are supposed to be). and their room is a wreck. now, i feel these points, both of which go against anthony's theory, do not soil the acumen of anthony's observation because i am a solid example of the syndrome anthony describes above. anthony and alex just are not.




QUOTES, SOCIETY (permalink) 12.17.2014
modern-day prophet.
except from a chris rock interview (source).
Q: What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn't?

A: I'd do a special on race, but I'd have no black people.

Q: Well, that would be much more revealing.

A: Yes, that would be an event. Here's the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it's all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they're not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.

Q: Right. It's ridiculous.

A: So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he's the first black person that is qualified to be president. That's not black progress. That's white progress. There's been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship's improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, "Oh, he stopped punching her in the face." It's not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner's relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn't. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let's hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Q: It's about white people adjusting to a new reality?

A: Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it's unfair that you can get judged by something you didn't do, but it's also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn't work for.


FRIEND (permalink) 12.16.2014
my favorite birthday correspondence from last week
this comes from a friend and former neighbor who is now living in germany.
Peter and I were reminiscing about you and Marty a couple of weeks ago. We were at an International Fair at Drew and Meredith's school. Parents from each country represented in the school (about 50 countries) had booths with typical foods from their home country. It was a feast! The American tent had chili, rice crispy treats, candy, chips and soda. Yes, as sad as that sounds, that's what we're known for. Peter and I might hijack the booth next year and do pulled pork, slaw and baked beans, layered in a large cup like a trifle dessert .... but I digress.

The booth next to the American booth was Korean. There, high above the table, hung the sign Korean Bulgogi. I remember Troy describing one of his favorite dishes that you were preparing that night and the favorite restaurant that served it. He asked if I was familiar. No, I wasn't, but gosh it sounded good. A few hours later, one of your offspring rang the doorbell and handed me a plastic container of bulgogi and rice. "Here. My dad wanted you to try this. Bye." Mmmm, it IS good!

Troy, I hope you have a wonderful birthday today.


STORY (permalink) 11.21.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
NOVEMBER 2014




KIDS (permalink) 11.20.2014
life with anfer (and alex), part 3
the boys were each in an after school program. anthony was in a mad-science session and alex was at his robotics club. in coming back from the bathroom alex found anthony sitting on the floor outside the mad-science room. he stopped and asked if he was ok. anthony said that there was a bully in the session today and he didn't want to be in there. alex suggested he just ignore him so he didn't have to miss the class (as both the boys always love the mad science curriculums). anthony told alex that's what he usually did but today he didn't have the energy or patience for it so was just going to sit in the hall instead. if you forget or are wondering, anthony is in second grade.

after returning to his own classroom alex explained his brother's situation to his club leader and asked if anthony could come sit in their room. the leader said of course and anthony was invited to the fifth graders space. they set him up with some drawing gear and anthony spent the remainder of the time drawing and coloring pictures.

in hearing the re-tellings of this tale from the various parties, i'm not sure which of my boys i'm more impressed with. my eight year old for having the sense to remove himself from a toxic and un-winnable situation or my eleven year old for supporting his brother both as a counselor and protector. for as great as all the laughs and cuddles and tickle-wars with your kids are, seeing moments of empathy and compassion and maturity from them warms the heart more than one might be prepared for.

a full week after this event when dropping the boys off at school a classmate walked by waving at anthony. once he had passed i asked anthony if that was the bully. he looked his way and said, "him? no. he's not a bully. he's just a liar."




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 11.19.2014
life with anfer, part 2
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
keep your hands where i can see 'em




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 11.18.2014
life with anfer

TROY
are you ready for another beautiful day on planet earth?

ANFER (8)
we're nothing compared to jupiter.




KIDS (permalink) 10.31.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
OCTOBER 2014




KIDS (permalink) 10.30.2014
surprise
as i unpacked my bag after arriving at work, i found a card tucked between my book and my lunch. it was from bella and was a remarkably thoughtful card. that night when i saw bella, i mentioned my discovery to her.
oh yeah. that. i got it for you for father's day but then thought how you and mom don't celebrate anniversaries and stuff like that and thought it might surprise you if i gave it to you some other time when you weren't expecting it.
well it worked. it worked quite nicely. aside from the part of it almost making me cry in my office.




KIDS (permalink) 10.29.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
SEPTEMBER 2014




KIDS (permalink) 10.28.2014
just so ya know
the other day anthony looked into my face lovingly and said, "i love you more than mom today".

i've learned to not let this sort of sentiment go to my head because the five times before he addressed this matter, marty sat in the alpha seat, and he still said it to me, as in right to my face, "i love mom more than you today". i find myself conflicted between complimenting his candor and telling him to get the hell of my lap.




KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 10.09.2014
and you sir?
another noteworthy detail about this year's ms150 rides. for two riders to ride in two events, we needed to raise a total of $800. last year for our one event, a twelve year-old bella raised her $200 in a couple of hours by walking the neighborhood. i fell well short of my fundraising goal and when it was all over, the organization charged my credit card for the owed balance. marty was thoroughly non-plussed by this. when i asked marty if she really wanted her middle-aged husband going door to door beggin' money so he could share this experience with our daughter she replied, cooly, that if it would get that charge off her credit card, yes, that is what she wants. when marty learned the fundraising goal this year was $800 she pounced telling me i better get my butt our there and start begging for money. bella quickly came to my defense saying she would raise all the money ... and she did. well almost all of it. a co-worker who has a sibling with MS donated $20 to my cause. bella raised the other $780. and this time she had to go out more than once to hit the mark. this year took her three trips out.

i considered the inequity of it but in the end deemed it ok as i was going to a lot of trouble with the planning and room reservations and such so it seemed fair to leave philanthropic-work, which bella enjoys and is good at, to bella--the whole divide and conquer bit. plus i figured no one knew what a slacker i was, that is until bella and i got interviewed at one of the rest stops by a woman with a microphone that got amplified to the whole rest stop. the lady asked bella how she went about her fundraising and asked how much she raised. the woman, and surrounding crowd, were most impressed with the young girl's accomplishment. the woman then turned to me, saying she was excited to see how much the father of such a spirited young lady raised. there was an almost audible trombone sounding "wah wah waaah" after the words "twenty dollars" left my lips.




KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 10.08.2014
the bike-slayer
it occurred to me that i didn't give an update about the ms ride bella and i did in kansas, the week after the nebraska ride (ref). here are bella's milage totals for the two weeks:

nebraska, day 1 50 miles
nebraska, day 2 35 miles
kansas, day 1 35 miles
kansas, day 2 70 miles
4 DAY TOTAL 190 miles (with five days of rest between the two sets of rides)

during our training leading up to the rides bella and i would usually do two rides a week. on the weekend we'd do a long, wild ride between 25 and 35 miles. and during the week, usually on wednesday we'd bike a park near our house that has a 7 mile loop where bella does between 2 and 5 laps. were it not raining on the wednesday between NE and KS we would have probably done a couple of laps in the park which would have taken bella over 200 miles for the eight days.

when i was thirteen, while i biked to school and to friends' houses, i never went anywhere near the sort of miles bella is logging. i'm wildly impressed by her ability. i'm also wildly thankful for the time together the activity is affording us.




VIDEO, LIFE, SPORTS (permalink) 10.07.2014
love this guy!





WEB, PHOTO (permalink) 10.06.2014
that time of year again





KIDS (permalink) 09.26.2014
i did ask for it.
i'm that dad who challenges kids, wether they are my own, known or some random kid i've never met, to employ their manners (e.g. saying 'thank you' or 'please') when something is done for them. recently i went out of my way to give one of alex's friends a ride. when i delivered him to his destination, a group sleep-over, he began bounding up the front walk without as much as a 'see-ya'. i called to him:

TROY
ethan!

ETHAN (10)
yes.

TROY
is there anything you might want to say or do to acknowledge that something was just done for you?

ETHAN
i don't think so.

TROY
truly.

ETHAN
oh. that. (with this, he bows in a courtly way and says with a regal flourish). i thank you kind, old sir for the ride in your lovely chariot.

he then turned and resumed his sprint into the house to meet his friends. the mom hosting the party stifled her laughter as i looked at her. when i gave her that 'really' look she shrugged her shoulders and reminded me that i did chide him for a thank you. this was the first time this kind, old sir had the grumpy, old phrase 'kids today' roll through his not-so-kind, old mind.




KIDS (permalink) 09.25.2014
minecraft r.i.p.
the recent news that microsoft was looking to buy mojang's minecraft had the elementary playground in a frenzy. at one point a kid ran up to anthony, shouted the news in his face and when anthony didn't really respond the boy grabbed him by the shoulders, shook him and screamed that he was totally under-reacting to the news. alex and i had a timely dad-lunch scheduled later that day. our entire hour was filled with talk of the sale.

after going over the perils of tinkering with something at its peak (never mess with a winning game) i asked alex what he thought Notch, the rumored hold-out owner should do. without much of a pause alex said, "well, he seems to love what he does and given how many people play minecraft i guess he has enough money to pay for his house and live, he should probably not give up the thing that makes him most happy."

to my emphatic retort of, but alex, it's a billion dollars.

his reply.
but what if he can't find another thing that he enjoys as much as this. then he traded something he loved for something that he doesn't.
i'm often struck at how quickly kids can boil down adult decisions.

after a little more digging into the story we learned that while Notch loved the creative and creating side of his minecraft project, he very much did not love the business side of things, so the release of the project made more sense than initially thought.

when the news of the sale finally hit, every minecrafter i knew, young and old alike, were visibly pensive at what was in store for their beloved technology in the hands of an organization known for fumbling easier slam-dunks than this.




KIDS (permalink) 09.24.2014
homework
for school, bella (13) was asked to write an essay about a family member. this was her response.
Family Member Essay:
He grew up an only child in the snowy mountains of Colorado. She grew up the sixth child of seven in Missouri. He grew up in a public school pining for a different girl every week. She grew up in a prestigious catholic school and valued a strong and healthy relationship. Neither knew the other existed until fate intertwined and they met. He knew the moment they met it was true love. She was wary and doubtful about where the relationship would end up, but she took a chance and took his hand. That was how it all started. Twenty-four years later and they're still holding on.

My mother and father were practically made for each other. They've helped each other become the people that they are today. With each others support and adoration they are able to flourish as they mature. If they hadn't met, my father wouldn't be the man that he is today. They've helped each other through so much and they are each other's inspirations, hopes, and dreams. I love them very much and I know that I wouldn't have become the woman that I am now if I didn't have them.
it's crazy how much she knows about my/our past. at her age, i was never that plugged into my parents, or anyone who wasn't me for that matter. i find her curiosity and empathy both impressive and humbling. if i'm ever in need of a biographer, i for sure know who i'm tapping.




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 09.23.2014
new math
while sitting in the car the other day waiting for the boys to get in, i noticed our neighbors had a walk-out deck above a first floor sunroom they had. the porch had a brick wall surrounding it that came up between the knee and thigh. the weather this particular day was crazy-lovely and i was thinking how neat it would be to have a setup like that where on nice weather nights, you could sleep outside in the night air and looking up at the night sky through gently swaying tree branches (akin to this experience). when the boys got in the car they noted my reverie.

ALEX (11)
whatcha lookin' at dad?

TROY
that porch. see over there. look above that room. you can walk out on there. do you see it?

THE BOYS
yeah.

TROY
i was thinking on nice days like today, you could pull a sleeping bag out there and sleep outside. because you're high up no one could see or mess with you. doesn't that seem like it would be cool?

ALEX
yeah it does.

TROY
i would sleep out there all the time if we had one of those.

ALEX
you should have one built on the back of our house.

TROY
yeah. i was kinda studying that thinking if we could.

ANTHONY (8)
but dad. if you did that, that would be like a thousand cuddles.

TROY
what?

ALEX
if you and mom built one of those on the back of the house, we would lose a thousand cuddles because you'd be busy.

TROY
you know anthony. i think you're right. that does look to be about a thousand cuddle project.

in giving this some thought i don't think we have nearly enough CUDDLE-ACCOUNTING in our society or personal lives as we maybe should. every life commitment (e.g. home improvement, continuing education, job change, home upgrade) should have a new line item added to the ledger sheet that reads LOST CUDDLES.




KIDS (permalink) 09.19.2014
it can't tinkle into a diaper either
i was talking to bookpimp on the phone catching up. i saw marty walk by twenty minutes earlier, giving a wave indicating good night. twenty minutes later i heard a dustup in the boys room. moments later alex meekly walked towards me and said, "i accidentally got gum in anthony's orange-a-tang and he's mad." anthony's orange-a-tang is a neon-orange stuffed orangoutang he saved from a give-away bag a few weeks earlier and has since had spot welded to his hip using it for both comfort (e.g. sleeping and reading with) and defense (e.g. rapidly windmilling it's long frame over his head to keep marauding ticklers at bay). a few moments after alex's report, a sour-faced anthony appeared with our kitchen scissors in one hand and orange-a-tang in the other. i asked bookpimp to hold on a moment while i looked in on the damage, which was not that great. i took the stuffed animal and scissors from anthony and carefully cut the small clump of gum-matted fur off the monkey's back. as i handed the limp primate back to anthony, anthony asked:

ANTHONY
will it grow back?

TROY
will what grow back?

ANTHONY
his hair.

TROY
oh. uh. i don't think so bud.

with this anthony turned and left the room, orange-a-tang pinned under his arm. lifting the phone receiver back to my ear, i then told bookpimp, who overheard the conversation, he just witnessed another piece of evidence supporting the fact that we, marty and i that is, may not need to bother saving for college. i have such examples from each of my children thus making me occasionally refer to their college fund as my mountain house account.

were marty sitting in on this conversation, she would be quick to tell you that given the accounts present state my mountain home may more resemble more of a suburban duplex outside of tempe AZ.




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 09.18.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
a phase




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