Family


Merry Christmas, Internet! Did Santa leave you a letter
this morning? He left us one but,
well, I don’t know. It seemed a little odd. Maybe it’s just me.
What do you think?

Ho ho ho! Did you know that
Santa spelled backwards is Atnas? Don’t tell anyone that, I’ve
submitted a trademark for it but it hasn’t been approved yet. Wait,
where was I? Oh, yes. How are you, sweet little
97EC/ref=s9_n?
Been good all year? What? Oh, that? The Elves switched to a
web-based database this year. There’s been some problems retrieving
certain fields so all I have access to is your URL, little girl.
But don’t worry, I still know exactly what you want! According to
this you want season 2 of The Wire on DVD. Oh,
wait. No…that’s the bestseller list. I think I clicked the wrong
link. I just need to…uhm…wait… I TOLD them there was nothing
wrong with the magic list! I said “what’s wrong with magic?” and
they said “trust us” and I said “no” but they said… Wait. Here we
go! I finally got it. System update? What does that mean? Oh, frack
me, it’s rebooting! :sigh: Ok. Forget it. Santa’s going on
‘Shuffle’ mode. You get the first thing I grab and that’ll be that.
Whatever, you’ll like it because I’m Santa and Santa is always
right. Ciao! -S. Claus

So that’s the note he
left. I guess it explains why Samantha got a waffle iron that makes
waffles in the shape of Texas.

It’s not really a problem. She likes
waffles a lot and as far as I know she’s pretty fond of Texas. I
mean, I’m just assuming. That’s what this expression means, right?
She’s looked like that for the last 2 hours so I think that’s a
good sign.

Another satisfied
customer

So…funny story. I was on a flight. I put on my ‘Lion King’ CD. I fell asleep.

Next thing I know, I haven’t made a post in 9 months.

Man…jet lag sure is rough. That is how that works, right?

Samantha had her 3rd birthday last week.

CAKE!

This meant a fun party. Cake. Toys. Excitement! It also means it’s time for the annual doctor’s visit!

Wait. What?

Luckily, this trip didn’t include any shots. It did include the traditional yearly pamphlet that I love so much:

Milestones: Your Child’s 3rd Year

During the 3rd year, your child:

  • is eager and energetic
  • completes simple puzzles
  • can cut a piece of paper into a silhouette of Walter Cronkite
  • can draw a square
  • begins to appreciate Adam West’s Batman on a more ironic level
  • starts to memorize numbers, particularly those on credit cards
  • can pour liquid from a pitcher directly onto the floor
  • begins to swing arms like an adult when she walks *
  • starts doing your taxes, but inevitably forgets deductions, costing you thousands of dollars

~  ~  ~

That’s not the entire list, but those are the highlights. The rest is mostly filler.

* I swear to you, this one is real.

I don’t know if you heard, but it snowed this weekend.


Just a little bit


It’s been 2 days and the roads are still unusable. This means we’re soon entering day 3 stuck at home with an almost-3-year-old. Hey, how bad can it be? She’s just one kid.

Heh heh heh

This was something I learned from Samantha’s preschool this week. Food-coloring mixed with water in a spray bottle makes for some very pretty ‘snow paint.’ For some reason this really amuses toddlers. I can’t explain why, but I’m glad it works!

That only lasts so long, however. Luckily, Lori planned ahead and bought all sorts of craft-supplies last week so we had lots of projects to do.


Hi-yo!

The crazy flower people were one such project. Once again, I can’t explain why this makes toddlers laugh, but it does. (Not pictured: Cotton snowmen on a stick.)

On day 2 the snow actually stopped falling so we spent a bit more time outside.

What? Like you don’t wear Minnie Mouse ears everywhere?

Needs more green!

Uhm…could someone carry me?

Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeee, again!


Serious business

I had found 2 boxes of JELL-O on the top shelf, so we made some thin pans and got out the-cookie cutters. Samantha was very meticulous to make sure everything went perfectly with this critical project.

Right….there!

Send your compliments to this chef

So it’s been going pretty well so far but it looks like we won’t be getting out Monday at all either. Who can say what will happen? All I know is, I have one last secret weapon left. When all else fails:

Dinosaur Tattoo!!!

Yesterday, Apple introduced their newest creation. It is a super-sized iPod that they are calling the iPad.

The iPad

Shiny!

Many tech writers and bloggers are debating what the purpose of this device is. These writers already own a laptop and a smartphone. Why would they need this 3rd device? The answer resides within the fact that many tech writers are your typical ‘gadget-guys’ who have a special relationship with with their tech toys.

Yes, many of them may be married or have children, but their gadgets stand apart from their family life. Much like hunting or golfing is for other men, technology is something these guys “do” with their male friends as a hobby. Their life is split into two parts: “Family” and “Technology.” (And of course the problem is only compounded for the tech writers who don’t have families.)

There’s nothing wrong with that (we all need hobbies!) but it gives them all a somewhat singular perspective. I’m a bit different. I see my life as split into a “Work” half and a “Family” half. My technology is filed underneath those categories. Not beside them. So when I look at a new gizmo I don’t ask “what does this do for me?” Rather, I ask myself “How does this fit with my family?”

The Family, during a more windswept time

As a multimedia professional, the cameras and computers I choose for my family are very important to me. Like, I dunno, I assume a gardener wants his or her front yard to look really nice. Likewise, I’d be kind of ashamed if I didn’t make sure my family had the right tools for both consuming and creating media.

(And recall that my wife is also a visual media professional. This is important stuff around our house!)

So, for an example of what I mean, consider an iPhone. An iPhone is useful to me but it’s also critical for taking Samantha on airline flights. We’re never going to let her have a computer or TV in her bedroom, but this amount of indulgence is ok because it serves a purpose.

Wait. Am I supposed to be kicking a seat? Whatever.

So an iPhone can take on very different roles depending on who you’re applying it to. My point is that these tech guys are looking at the iPad as a personal device. They have a laptop and an iPhone and they’re good to go. What they’re not doing is looking at it as a family device. For some of us, things are a bit more complicated. Here’s our current computer setup:

Tower – Laptop – Laptop – iPhone – iPhone

So you see that we have 3 computers for 2 adults. Throw in 2 iPhones and you have a bit of overkill. But we’ve found that we need each of these devices for various scenarios. Family vacation; Jeff business trip; Lori visits relatives; we both have a special project at work that needs a laptop. There is a different need for each of these situations and we’ve found that we need 2 portable computers to make it work. We also need the Mac Pro tower because of the amount of horsepower our home media projects require.

The 2nd laptop isn’t often used, but it’s used enough that we need it. However, I noticed something interesting when we got our iPhones. They didn’t remove the need for a 2nd laptop but they did greatly reduce that need. It’s not enough of a change to discard one of our laptops, but I did notice a difference in our usage.

What this means is that I can now envision our future family setup looking more like this:

Tower – iPad – Laptop – iPhone – iPhone

This would likely satisfy our needs and it’s at least $1,000 cheaper. (Possibly more depending on the laptop we’d buy.) When we do need both laptops it’s usually because one of us is traveling and wants something for media consumption. Not creation. So in this world we’d still take the laptop on vacation with us instead of the iPad (as it’s for editing photos and videos to send to family) but when I’m just traveling for business I’d use the iPad as something to entertain me on flights.

This usage of an iPad only became clear because my life is more complicated than a single man living by himself. And I only have a 3 year old daughter! Imagine a family with 3 teenagers. As the complexity of the system grows, the chance for an iPad to replace a piece of that puzzle only gets larger. This is not something that would be apparent if you just live with an iPhone and a Macbook Pro.

~ ~ ~

Does this mean I’m buying an iPad? I have to be honest and say that I’m not. Just because I can imagine this future it doesn’t mean it’s worth spending money on now. This is something I’ll consider when my laptop needs to be replaced, but that’s still several years off. And who knows what will exist by then?

My ultimate point is that there are millions of individual situations but many tech writers tend to be pretty similar to each other. So we miss out on hearing about some of these alternate lifestyles when it comes to technology reviews. I hope that by sharing my thoughts I can add another perspective to the mix.

I have to stop now because if there’s one thing that talking about Apple products can do, it’s putting babies to sleep. And she just can’t take any more!


Please…no…more…snrx…

My sister and her husband moved to Brooklyn last year and we finally got around to visiting. They live in Park Slope, which looks like this.


We were excited to learn that this is the exact neighborhood that Mo Willems used for the photos in his book Knuffle Bunny. The book features color drawings on top of black and white photos. It looks like this.

Bunny hijinks ensue

So we gathered up our own Knuffle Bunny and, thanks to the internet, found the actual laundromat from the book!

Living the dream

There it is…machine ‘M.’ This is like the Graceland of 2 year olds. She was a bit surprised to learn that we could actually visit Knuffle Bunny’s home since none of her other books have come to life yet. This is when she started to think that last night’s 5 hour drive was worth it.

Next up, a subway ride.

Are we there yet?

A quick subway ride brings us to…

Times Square!

A typical tourist pose. I know, I know. Give me a break. I’ve got a killer candid in a pizza shop coming up soon that totally makes up for this.

But for now we decided to go to the huge Toys R Us in Times Square which is where we met the…

…uhm, T-Rex?

So there’s a life-sized T-Rex in Toys R Us. Good to know. There’s also a 3-story tall ferris wheel, so this place is pretty cool. There was also a Spider-Man, a Candy Land, and (just when we thought things were as good as they’d get) an actual Barbie house!

Barbies!

Naturally, my brother-in-law was thrilled with this development. Samantha was off playing with trains at this point, I think.

Now it’s time to go to the zoo. Penguins! They feed them in an hour! We’ve gotta get there to see the penguins!

Remember to stick together!

Hey, does anyone know where Waldo is? These guys are looking for him.

Not Penguins

So then the first tragedy of the day struck. The zoo’s penguin house was closed. So sad! It’s what we wanted to see more than anything!

I got to see the Apple store cube on the way out of the park, so that kind of made things better. But still, I have an Apple store at home. I do NOT have penguins at home!

Sigh.

Hiyo!

What’s the only way to dull the pain of missing penguins? Some good old NYC pizza.

A long day makes for a tired Samantha. So back to the apartment for nap time!

What’d’ja bring me?

Let us all take a moment to consider that wonderful workplace invention, the cubicle


Artist Representation

The wide expanse of sandy walls give endless possibilities for artistic expression. What will you hang in your cubicle? What (management approved) photos will represent you to your coworkers? Why do questions in essays always come in threes?

Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m just here to brag about my own awesome cubicle, so get with the program. Here we go!

Chick-fil-eh?

I’d assumed this sort of thing would be commonplace in corporate-America, but you’d be shocked if you knew how many questions I’ve gotten about this. What is that? Why is there a chicken on your wall? Is there someone else here I can talk to?

Honestly, people. It’s just a rooster. A framed, stern-looking rooster. The real question is why don’t YOU have one in your cubicle? People are so strange.

Face it. My baby is better than yours.

It’s hard to tell here, but this baby photo is big. It’s over 1 foot wide and 2 feet tall. It’s also hung where anyone walking into our department is pretty much forced to see it.

In other words, I make the whole office cooler just by existing. Strangely, no one has congratulated me on this yet.

Stunning

Oh, I forgot to mention before, but the chicken photo was an anniversary gift from my wife. (She really gets me.) This Delorean was also from her. It’s laminated and everything. This poster also reinforces the old adage: You can’t go wrong with vector art. Case in point:

Safety First!

No, I don’t own this because I love safety. I have it because that’s me! I bet you didn’t know that vector art was based on real people, did you? Well, it is. I was praised for my revolutionary ‘hand on knee’ pose in this one. I really brought out the emotion of ‘caution,’ I think.

Thanks to me, everyone in the building now knows how to handle  spilled coffee. I like to think it’s one of the many small things that make me so important to the company.

Gold Record Prop

If you had to make a gold record prop for a video shoot, you wouldn’t throw it away, right? The text on that card reads:

Weezer is sort of cool. But really not. But that’s what makes them cool, you see, so really they are.

But don’t actually SAY they’re cool like I’ve just done or you’ll ruin the whole thing! They have to be un-cool in order to remain, well…you know.

This little puzzle has destroyed some of the greatest minds of our time, so don’t spend too long thinking about it.

In fact, you’re probably better off if you just pretend I never brought it up at all.

That’s the kind of thing they put on real gold records, right?

You may also notice that the record is signed by “Wendell the Bird.” I don’t have time to explain the complicated art of prop-making to you, but trust me, it’s a science.


Well, that’s the quick tour. Join me next week when we ask the question: What the hell is this thing?

Seriously. If you know please tell me.

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