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WEB (permalink) 02.27.2009
not done yet
a new developer in my office is about to roll out his first project with our group. we delivered a preview to the core clients last week and it went very well. next his app goes into user testing and then into the wild world of production. yesterday i attempted to give him a pep talk to make sure he stays focused and diligent in these final hours of the project. this is what i said:

ok. you've passed the first test. everyone saw what you made and they were impressed. now you have to show them that it actually does what you say it's going to do. right now you're like travolta in saturday night fever. you've shown up at the club and you're leaning against the bar. you look great. you've got everyone's attention. now they're just waiting for you to get on the dance floor and see if you've got the moves to go with the look.

now for me, where i'm at, i'm more like travolta in pulp fiction. i'm sitting at a table with a beautiful girl and they just announced a dance contest. i look old and tired compared to my club days. people wonder if i still got any game in me. so i move to the floor and they see my moves are less exotic and more measured than they used to be but they see i can still move well enough to make people stop and look.

my closer friends will easily recognize the move of me starting out talking about someone else but finding a way to swing the attention back on me. i'm old and savvy enough to know this about myself and if it could work for travolta in pulp no reason it can't work for me in my small world.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.25.2009
troy's napkin philosophy
i believe the first half of your life should be spent learning stuff and the second half of your life should be spent teaching the stuff you learned to others. if you get any years beyond that, they're yours to do with as you wish.

as for when the halfway point is, forty seems like a nice round number to me. so pull up a chair and get ready to get your learn on.

KIDS (permalink) 02.24.2009
the first in what i'm sure will be many business endeavors

FILM (permalink) 02.23.2009
circuity (n.) A going round in a circle; a course not direct; a roundabout way of proceeding.
i'm been avoiding buzz about the slumdog millionaire for weeks now. i've also had multiple chances to see the movie snatched from my grasp just moments before the lights in the theater dimmed. very frustrating. so when walt and i had a friday night dinner engagement cancelled the day before, i pounced. we had the sitter. we had the evening. marty was too exhausted to voice an opposing opinion. it was on.

when we sank in the seats i couldn't believe how much effort went into seeing a simple film that runs hundreds of times a day in our city. as for the film, this film, we made it twenty minutes before walking out. a friend of marty's said we just needed to make it another five minutes and we would have been alright. this friend does not have a son that looks like one of the main child actors, so our stomachs didn't have five minutes in them. we instead went and had persian kabobs and talked and laughed and made it home at a respectable hour in that we were missing our kids after our bad movie outing and thought we might sneak in cheek kisses before they drifted off.

i spoke to bookguy a few days earlier regarding our annual ski adventure. he said he was reading three musketeers. i said i was reading three musketeers. he asked if i had seen slumdog. i said i had not yet but was hoping too. i asked why those were connected and he said they just were and he was fearful of saying more giving my neurosis about learning stuff about movies before seeing those movies. he did add though that seeing the movie would not wreck my ability to read three musketeers. we had both just started reading so we compared how far we had gotten. he said he had just read the translator's forward and was ready to dig in. i said i skipped over all forward and preface material and turned to the first page of the first chapter and started at the first word (because i like my books like i like my movies, unspoiled by insight and opinion). bookguy went on to say that the forward was interesting because the translator of his text explained how it was important to continue re-rendering and re-translating books even if this had previously been done in order to keep them semantically relevant and readable to contemporary audiences. i thought this was a sound insight but not worth risking a spoiler just pages before the real story begins.

then sometime after talking to bookguy (but before seeing slumdog) i was chatting with a colleague. they asked me if i do a certain thing. i said no i don't, i in fact avoid it like the plague. then i took pause long enough to know that i don't really spend much time avoiding plague so corrected my comment by saying i avoid it like i avoid syphillis, because i think syphilis is actually something i've actually tried to avoid in my lifetime. i think the person i was talking to wanted to say "too much information" but knew me well enough not to bother.

FAMILY (permalink) 02.20.2009
no one sleeps naked in this house! well, almost no one.
to bed ...

to bed alex wears the clothes he wore to school that day.

to bed bella wears the clothes she is going to wear to school the next day.

to bed anthony wears whatever we can fight him into.

to bed marty wears christmas pajamas a surprising number of times throughout the year.

to bed i wear, well, they're all nuts so i wear nothing at all.

p.s. the first time i saw bella getting dressed for school the night before so she could sleep ten extra minutes, my heart burst with pride. she may as well have sat down at a piano and banged out a bach concerto.

p.s.s. for adults, wearing clothes/pajamas/underwear to bed is like, if i may again use my movies to sleeping comparison, is like wearing a tuxedo to watch an installment of american pie at your local cine.

FAMILY (permalink) 02.19.2009
the village is alive and well
marty went to a play with her mother last night thus putting me in the box with the kids. dinner (custard french toast) went well. immediately after dinner alex and anthony played trains while bella snuck in some computer time. a neighbor girl called asking if she and her brother could come over to play. whispering into the phone, i told her i didn't think it would be a good idea tonight. i whispered my response because i didn't want the natives to know i was nixing a play date. but it was getting late. and i was alone and greatly outnumbered already. i had reasons. to my whisper, the girl whined out a long 'pahhhlleeeezz' and added that they'd be no trouble at all. going against my better judgment i greenlit the visit.

i could picture the groan in bella's face when the knock rung through the house. computer time is sacred to child with no television. after being let in, the visiting girl immediately came upstairs and found me. she asked, "will you play ogre?" this time my face groaned. i said no. she asked why. i said because i didn't want to get everyone worked up just before bed. another whiny pahhhlleeeezz rolled out of her saggy-shouldered body. no trouble my ass.

after a short while of non-ogre play time the girl's mum called and the kids went home for bed. i ushered my kids to the bathroom for peeing, pooping, brushing and the hearing of the petitions to sleep in the clothes they'd been wearing all day. then anthony, alex and i moved to the upper bunk for reading. bella was below reading her own books. even though no one is listening to her story she reads out loud. i've asked her if she can read in her head when i'm reading to the boys because her reading when i'm reading is distracting. she argues that if i get to read out loud she shouldn't have to read in her brain (her words) and she doesn't care if her reading out loud is distracting when i'm reading out loud because my reading out loud is distracting to her trying to read in her brain. this girl could twist a physicist in knots in minutes.

alex starts fading first. i'm about three minutes behind him. staying awake at this moment is the hardest thing i've done all day. i always fall asleep after reading to alex. sometimes he goes first. sometimes i go first. but we both go and we usually do so within minutes of one another. i usually sleep for twenty minutes to an hour. it's my pre-night power nap that allows me to work until 2am. but tonight, tonight i can't fall asleep because i do have anthony and i don't have marty. but i do fall asleep. anthony, bored, leaves. i sense him leaving but can't open my eyes. i groggily hear bella call out "it's ok dad. i got him." more sleep. i hear anthony call out. it's been just minutes. not hours. i force myself up and down the bunk ladder. i walk to my bedroom where i hear voices. bella and anthony are snuggled, sitting up on the pillows with the covers pulled up over their laps. a mess of books are spread out before them, but they aren't reading. bella is holding anthony's fist out in front of him and is modeling his fingers in different poses. she's saying:

if you hold this finger up it means "hey you" or "over there". if you hold your thumb up like this it means "good". but don't ever hold this finger up like this because that means, well, that means a really bad thing, like, i wish for you to die and i hope that happens to you everyday. it is not a nice or good finger to hold up ever. ever. so don't do that anthony. you're a nicer boy than that. all right?

i know it's possible to get through life without a village, but i gotta say life's much more pleasant with one.

SOCIETY (permalink) 02.17.2009
daily bread
sleeping in the same bed with another person is quite a bit like going to the movies with someone. there are moments you want to entertain or interact with the other person but most of the time you just want to do what you came to do, watch the movie.

FILM (permalink) 02.16.2009
you can thank me later
if you haven't seen the movie Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, i'd suggest making the time.

absolutely, do not read any review. don't even skim over the plot description on the box or netflix page. that will for sure ruin the fun. just find it, rent it, pop some corn, sit back and let the two hour story wash over you.

KIDS, HYGIENE (permalink) 02.13.2009
i wouldn't flush that if i were you
when i was in college i spent one year in a dorm. the name of the dorm was hudson hall. i lived on spencer floor. our mascot was a smiling spermatozoa holding a beer and since there were a bunch of us and a bunch of them (sperm) we were known as the spermies. so in full we were the hudson hall, spencer spermies. life rarely gets more predictable than this.

i worked most nights and drove home to see a girlfriend on weekends so was not very connected to my dorm-mates aside from a few that lived immediately around me. it seems in dorm-life different floors have squabbles and grudge matches. one floor did not like my floor very much. i don't think i had anything to do with this, not because of my good choices or bright spirit but because i wasn't around much. one night 7 to 10 guys from this other floor came down to our floor one after the other and emptied their bowels into one of our bathroom toilets. they never flushed, making deposits only. they didn't even use toilet paper (somehow). they just left a large porcelain cauldron of feces. by morning the matter had dissolved and settled, caving in on itself to form a flat and pristine looking object. i imagine through the night it was like a time-lapse study of how our world was formed over time only instead of needing billions of years, this model was architected between 3am and 8am.

in the morning a small group of boys from my floor stood outside the stall door wearing towels and bath robes, holding plastic bins of soap and shampoo. they talked quietly, but mostly looked in the stall. the number of comparisons between this small band of young men and the chimps in 2001 space odyssey were significant. first they all stood around deeply pondering the white structure. they struggled with where it came from, how it was made and what its purpose was. then one reached out and touched it. the result of that touch (in this case a flush) caused mass hysteria and they all shrieked and jumped and ran maniacally into one another trying to escape the resultant mayhem.

the reason this distantly-filed image has resurfaced in my mind is my children are currently employing the strategy of that innovative hudson hall floor by refusing to flush our family toilet. my childrens' technique is less sophisticated though in that they will put toilet paper and toothbrushes and play cars in the bowl. but like the boys in my story, they won't flush. i heard bella instruct the others that unless someone goes poo, this toilet is not to be flushed. i stepped forward to ask if five pees could equal one poo. i was told they cannot. and dismissed.

PHOTO (permalink) 02.11.2009
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
February 2009

FILM (permalink) 02.10.2009
i dug in after seeing the terminator 2 trailer
i was recently with someone and they started talking about a movie. i stopped them, telling them that i planned on seeing it and didn't want to know anything about it. they assured me what they were about to say wouldn't ruin the movie for me. they then proceeded to tell me about one of the plot-threads of the movie. i wanted to say with flared nostrils and wide eyes ... are you insane? have you lost your mind? what part of don't tell me about the movie was unclear to you?

watching trailers (especially modern-day trailers), reading reviews (which aren't much more thoughtless re-tellings of the film with an opinion before and after), and asking people about films is like finding out the outcome of a sporting event before watching it. it's as if you just sat down to watch the superbowl and someone tells you that the most exciting moment comes with 2:20 left and the cardinals take the lead for the first time but to not worry if you're a steelers fan because pittsburgh retakes the lead with just 27 seconds left. then they clap you on the shoulder and tell you to enjoy the game and walk away. how is blowing a movie's story-line any different than that?

so if you know me, if you see me, if you like me, and if you think you know a movie i might enjoy please just send me a note that says watch this, with 'this' being the name of the movie. i don't need to know the actors, the genre, the state it happened in or even the century it takes place. just the name of the film and that someone else walking around enjoyed it. that's enough for me.

QUOTES, FRIENDS (permalink) 02.06.2009
the single biggest perk to working in the IT industry ... the people
there's these two guys. they work together. one day while standing around talking, these two guys make a bet. the bet is for one dollar. the following day after the results of the bet are known the guy who won the bet went by the desk of the guy who lost the bet.


oh, hey.

so you got my dollar?

LOSING GUY (patting pockets)
uhh. i don't have a dollar on me right now.

what? what do you mean you don't have my dollar?

yeah. i'm tapped. sorry. i'll get change at lunch.

if a man makes a bet, that man should be able to cover his bet. if he can't, maybe he shouldn't have made that bet.

dude. what are you talking about? i've got a dollar. i just don't happen to have one on me right this second.

and forget the fact that i had to come find you. i sorta thought you would have been at my desk this morning waiting to pay me.

i said i'd pay you. i don't have a dollar on me right now. i'll get one at lunch.

i'm just saying a man who can't pay his bets in a timely manner should perhaps not make bets.

LOSING GUY (standing up)
are you saying i'm not good for a dollar? that you don't trust me to pay you a dollar?

from where i'm standing right now, i'd say that's how it looks

LOSING GUY (steps closer)
you keep this up you run the risk of offending me.

yeah, you're going to want to take a step back. at least until you have the dollar you owe me.

the losing guy did not get the dollar at lunch. or if he did, he didn't settle the bet that day. for the next few weeks every time the two would pass each other in the halls, one would ask 'where's my dollar?' and the other would walk on, eyes forward and jaw clenched.

one morning the winning guy arrived at his desk to find sitting in front of his keyboard a shiny susan b. anthony coin. he held it up in the light, spinning it from front to back, studying the pictures on each side. he then lowered his hand, dropped it into his pocket and walked away. a moment later he was leaning against the cube wall of the losing guy's desk. he begins speaking before the cube's occupant has turned around or knows he's there.

so you got my buck?

LOSING GUY (shoots from chair and turns to face the speaker)
i put a dollar on your desk this morning!

WINNING GUY (pulling coin from pocket)
oh this. yeah i found this on my desk this morning. but it didn't have a note or say who it was from. how am i to know it came from you?

in life, you get to choose how to paddle your canoe through the daily waters. since you have to paddle, i suggest moving with the current. you're just going to wear out too soon otherwise.

KIDS (permalink) 02.05.2009
if i moved that much i'd soil myself even if i didn't have to go
my children's sphincters seem to be cosmically connected to my own because nothing makes theirs quiver and taughten more than the lowering of my own cheeks onto the toilet, our home's only toilet, for my ten minute daily constitutional. i've read of similar things happening to cohabitating women. is the same true or possible for digestive tracts?

and you want to talk about some fist-clenching-crotch-dancing-in-place-scrunched-up-face-pleading-urgently urgency. these kids got it.

KIDS, PHOTO, ARCHIVE (permalink) 02.04.2009
from the archives (1 in a series)

bella has always been bright-eyed, but alex was only briefly pudgy

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 02.03.2009
just think how your mother feels
the first thing bella said to me monday morning.

i don't want to be mean to anthony but can we gag him in the night? when he wakes up he is like two buildings falling on each other and wakes me up every time. and i gotta get my sleep. i'm exhausted.

while bella does have a knack for dramatic portrayals of everyday things, she is spot on in this particular assessment.

SPORTS (permalink) 02.02.2009
roethlisberger looked like stallone in rocky III
a couple of people have congratulated me on my team winning the super bowl. don't bother. i found myself rooting for the other guys. in the end i was far more enamored with the spirited and determined whisenhunt and warner over the privileged roethlisberger and tomlin.

given all the weapons, the defense and the history on the steelers sideline, the arizona cardinals should have been out of that game after the third possession. yet there they were in the final seconds still trading blows with the steeler goliath. pittsburgh is lucky they possessed ten times the braun as the cardinals because they surely didn't have them matched in passion, drive or pluck.

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