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WEB (permalink) 03.27.2015
now why'd you have to go and do that?
the other day bella and i were driving and discussing a recent event. after rehashing things, she said it was ok if i posted that story on my website. how telling is it that i find posting things with the subject's permission less satisfying than when they have no idea it's coming.

SOCIETY (permalink) 03.26.2015
get on with it already
marty voiced something i've been wondering a lot lately but haven't trusted myself to speak about. she commented:
Who in the world is everyone talking to on the phone? When i get to work at seven in the morning, over half the people getting out of their cars are on the phone. Virtually everyone I know is still in bed at that hour.
i've had that very thought (not the early morning hour bit, but the who is everyone talking to) as i watch cars go by as i ride my bike or sit at red lights or do anything that puts me in the path of other folks. please note that this part of the sentiment is not a judgement but just an observation as well as a genuine curiosity. the logical part of my mind anwers the question of who everyone is talking to is, obviously, each other.

this is not to say that i don't have judgmental notions about people's distracted states, especially while driving (seconded by when they are conducting transactions). after our last day of skiing, an 18-wheeler drifted fully into our lane at 70 miles an hour and i had to drive my car, also going 70 miles an hour, onto the shoulder to keep from getting side-swiped. the man never saw me before, during or after his maneuver. then the next day when we were literally one mile into our 1,300 mile drive home a girl came barreling through a red light where we were turning and came inches from caving in the passenger side of our van at better than twenty miles an hour. she definitely saw me as i could see the sheer terror in her face as she saw the near collision unfold.

i continue to be struck that more is not done regarding the legality of using a phone while driving. i'm convinced that this is largely due to the fact that one of the greatest abusers of this tenet seem to be police officers themselves. it's rare that i see a cop rolling by who is not on the phone (i wouldn't say the same of state troopers i've observed). and suit/business types seem to be another high-frequency abuser of one-handed, half-minded driving. i assume some of the these folks are the ones we would turn to for help in changing the law so when the law-makers and law-enforcers are big users themselves, it's hard to think there might be help close at hand.

the frustrating part of it all is in time i think this behavior will go the way of our pre-seatbelt and biking-helmet existence. there is just no sane, rational or intelligent argument in defense of the practice. none. i just wish we'd hurry up and come to our collective senses already.

one final aside related to marty's initial question above. back in the nascent days of cell technology (e.g. car-mounted, brick phones) a friend of mine, man-who-screams-like-woman, had a scanner that could listen in on the conversations at hand. he and another friend would stay up way into the night searching for and then listing to any nearby conversations they could detect. as it was still a newish thing, i asked what sorts of things merited the need for being able to call someone from anywhere. he said that well over half of the conversations they picked up on involved people in extra-marital affairs. and this was exactly what i told marty when she asked who all those people were talking to at seven in the morning--their lovers who they couldn't talk to at seven the previous night because their wife was around. for anyone thinking the percentage can't be the same given how many phones there are in play now i would only say the divorce rate trends will not support your argument.

KIDS (permalink) 03.25.2015
spring break 2015, part 3
i try to make my children think creatively or logically as much as possible. one of my tactics for this was to answer their questions with illogical responses. for example, whenever they asked me a yes/no question, i'd answer "sure". i liked watching their faces process the response before saying, "no dad. that's not right." to which i'd say "oh. no thank you." i know, i know, i'm a real party. or at least it's a party until your eight year old takes to responding to all questions directed to them with nonsensical answers, and even to people outside of the family, and even when responding to our host and hostess, and even when this host and hostess are the people kind enough to let our family of five descend upon their home for an entire week—for a third year in a row—wildly disrupting their home's routines and sleeping situations for several straight days. even then, whenever one of these kind people would ask anthony something, he would respond with gibberish. if you're wondering what that looks like, it looks something like this:

how was skiing today anthony?
uhh, oatmeal.

anthony would you like another piece of bread?
pink giraffe (with a nod of his head)

anthony, did you like the show?
doorknob. no, i mean, uhhh, blond hair.

if you're wondering how long this is cute for, it is, as you probably guessed, it is cute about zero times which means that thirty seven times in it is bordering on obnoxious. on the good side, he's having to think a little more than he would by answering 'epic' to everything.

TRAVEL (permalink) 03.24.2015
spring break 2015, part 2
marty's favorite spring break moment didn't emanate from one of our family members, in fact, it didn't come from a human at all (part 1). instead, it came from my iphone. it was our first night on the road and we were nearing our first planned stop. as we approached the city, marty punched the address of our end destination into my iPhone and hit the ROUTE button. the computed voice took over and began guiding me to our hotel. in less than ten minutes we saw our spot on the other side of the highway. the iphone instructed me to exit the highway. at the top of the offramp, it told me to turn left. after crossing the highway it, curiously, told me to get back onto the highway. i recalled there was another exit ramp about a mile down the road and assumed, without much time to think about it, that perhaps the proper way to get to the hotel was using the previous exit and the mapping software was correcting its oversight. so i pulled back onto the highway and headed back in the direction we had just come. as we began to pass by the hotel the iphone advised me that our destination was on our right and that we had reached the closest navigable location and should park and walk the rest of the way. were we not sitting on a federal interstate and were there not a fence between us and our destination i reckon that is maybe what we might have done but since we could see all sorts of roads leading up to the hotel on the other side of the fence we chose to push forth and actually drive to the hotel's parking lot.

i'm sure it would not take much to convince you that the phrase "you have reached your closest navigable point" said in an automaton-miming voice was repeated often over the next nine days. it is a surprisingly nimble phrase that can be contorted to fit a shocking number of situations. in fact, i'd be rather surprised if those simple words haven't just become part of our family lore and will make appearances in our family vacations for decades to come. further, that experience has just become my latest and greatest bit of ammunation in my debate (with the world) on the evils of gps systems.

TRAVEL, KIDS (permalink) 03.23.2015
spring break 2015
yesterday we returned from our spring break holiday—a week in utah rife with friends and skiing. this is the third year we have made this pilgrimage which gives it some tradition-caliber stock. in perusing the rich week of leisure, laughter and recreation, the moment that most jumps out at me happened on the drive home somewhere in wyoming when alex yelled from the third row seat of our speeding minivan, "i have to go pee and REFUSE to go in a bottle!"

sadly, in my telling of this i am unable to convey the gallons of vinegar and vitriol his words included as they were hurled the full length of our honda odyssey. good to his word, alex held fast on his pee-boycott until we delivered him to a proper urinal. anthony on the other hand gladly peed in his bottle although he did confess it was hard to perform without any privacy (as the whole family was drawn to watching him see to this need). anthony also offered his neighboring passengers a taste of his lemonade at least half a dozen times. he seemed fully undaunted that no one ever took part in his generosity.

KIDS (permalink) 03.06.2015
as desperate as catching water from a waterfall with teaspoon
my baby girl turns 14 years old today. last night i told her she had to spend a dad hour with me (a nightly ritual i do with my kids) on this night becuase it would be the last night i'd spend with my 13 year old daughter. then when we were done (watching an episode of lost) we stood in my office hugging. after the hug should have ended and i didn't let go bella slowly said, "uh dad, i kinda gotta go to bed". after five more seconds i lessened my grip, gave her a long kiss on the top of the head and she left for bed and fourteen.

KIDS (permalink) 03.05.2015
calling it as he sees it
after my mom died i took a little, green swiss army knife from her house. it belonged to her father when he lived with her before he died. it was surely something my mom bought for him to help with his crafts. i was never one to routinely carry a pocket knife but took it because it reminded me of both of them.

alex quickly noticed my new accoutrement and commented on it. i explained to him where and why i got it. he shrugged his shoulders and said a casual 'cool'. after this discovery alex would routinely approach me and ask to borrow the small knife to clean out some dirt from under his nails, cut a string or trim something up.

a few years back as marty and i were plotting out christmas i suggested getting alex his own pocket knife. marty first balked saying he was too young. i confessed he was young in years but in many ways was more responsible and conscientious than either of his parents. she said that he'd probably loose it straight away. i didn't have a solid retort for this as alex is not super-great of keeping track of things but suggested it might be different with this because he would love it enough to keep track of it. marty gave a consenting shrug of her shoulders and alex got his knife. and now, better than two years later, alex still has his knife and has always kept a solid line on it.

over the next two years my knife took several rides through the washing machine because i kept forgetting to take it out of the little pocket on my right front where i kept it. after one such journey it started falling apart, the glue holding the plastic sides in place having finally giving way from repeated trips through the water. so this last christmas i replaced it, with a shiny new one, one modeled after alex's newer model.

three weeks after getting my new knife someone asked to borrow it. i said i didn't have it. they asked where it was. i said i didn't know and confessed to mis-placing it. alex's one-word response, "already?", stung then and now as i think back on it. maybe i'm the one who shouldn't have gotten a knife for christmas.

KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 03.04.2015
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
awesome II

WEB, WORK, LIFE (permalink) 03.02.2015
apologies for my recent disappearance. for the past several months i have been putting the finishing touches on my latest work project. it is the most ambitious and functionally coolest thing i've ever made. thankfully, the work has been delightful and invigorating (which equates to many hours of getting lost in the riddles at hand where what seemed like a seven minute span actually turned out to be, per the clock, a four-hour stint). over the last last three months i have worked every weekend, oftentimes both days. even over the christmas break i worked two to four hours every morning (excepting christmas of course).

while this interesting professional avalanche proved a welcome challenge, the life balance i passionately covet and proactivley protect took quite the point-blank hit. the primary victim during these episodes is my body which doesn't get the exercise or sleep it thrives on. the second casualty affects my relationships with my wife, my children and my friends which too require ongoing nurturing and care for a healthful and happy state. and lastly, my daily and weekly rituals that allow me to do things like read, and write (here) and to give back to my home and community become a collection of warm, blurred memories. thus, while it's good (and necessary in my opinion) to experience such professional sprints every now and again, it is also, by my accounting, an unsustainable lifestyle if one wishes to be healthy, married, loved and most-notably content with the full spectrum of their life.

your seeing me now is a sign that i have crested this particular hill (or jagged Himalayan-like peak rather) and am settling back into my less exotic but more steady, sustainable, and balanced (Hooah!) clip. i thank you for your patience and look forward to again visiting with you in these pages on a routine and respectful schedule.

as a curious aside, in the past fifteen years each and every one of my prior projects of similar scale took place during the arrival of one of our three children, dumb luck that, making this the first time we experienced this sort of professional onslaught while marty was of sound mind and body. this convenience helped not just a little, although i did sense her tank, like mine, was running on scant more than fumes in the last few weeks of the endeavor. thanks marta for the support and understanding, both of which share a sizable ingredient in my proudest and greatest successes in life. you rawk!

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