March 1, 2015

Fat, wet snowflakes
Blanket the wintry landscape
Trapping sound and eating echoes

Deep within our linen fortress
We stand against the cold
Huddled together
Cupping dark roast blend within our fingers
Listening to the silence
Finding tranquil peace

The mountain air setting us free

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

Vacation weekends are the best



Posted in A Day in the Life | Leave a comment

Fun with Word Lens

A buddy of mine pointed out today that Word Lens integration had finally come to Google Translate, making it as easy as pointing your iPhone (or Android, if you swing that way) at a sign or other textual object and see it immediately translated to another language. While I had played with Word Lens in the past, I was excited to see what their time at Google had wrought.

One of the first things I found in my office was a Netgear ProSafe box with big, bold lettering on the side.

This was the result:

Netgear-Two-Up

I mean, seriously. You can’t make this stuff up. Full-size images available by clicking the thumbnails below.

Netgear-Two-UpNetgear-Prime

Netgear-on-Word-Lens

 

Posted in A Day in the Life, Random Acts of Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

I really hope I’m not going to jail

Tonight, my (very nearly) 3-year-old daughter began announcing that I and her brothers would be going to jail for various reasons (I, apparently, committed the most grievous act of spilling her drink—an honor that rightfully belonged to the 5-year-old). Cries of, “You spilled my drink! You’re going to jail!” and “He spilled my drink? He’s going to jail!” echoed from the back seat as we left Christmas In the Park and the brightly lit decorations behind.

After the tenth or eleventy-first time, I finally asked her if she even knew what jail was. While my wife muttered under her breath that jail was clearly a place where people that pissed her off were banished, never to be heard from again, there was silence from the back while my daughter considered her response.

Then, “Yes, I know. Liam’s going to jail because he spilled my drink!”

I shook my head and said a silent prayer of thanks that she had shifted her ire away from me. For now.

As my wife continued navigating the road out of the park, I picked up my phone, queued up some Christmas music, and watched the lights as we drove home.

Posted in A Day in the Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I don’t know where you buy a turkey tree, but I want one

All my adult life, I’ve heard people my age (and older) complaining about how Christmas season starts earlier and earlier every year. While true, most of the people complaining about this don’t realize that this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s not even something that started in the last 10 or even 15 years.

The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special from 1973 calls attention to this “problem” in the first 2 minutes of the video. Pay close attention to Charlie Brown’s conversation with his sister, Sally.

Yes, retailers are starting the Christmas shopping season earlier than they did in the past. But it’s not a new problem. In fact, if you consider how little has changed in the last 40 years, it seems to me that it is, perhaps, a sign of the desire of humans to merge the joy they experience with Thanksgiving and Christmas into a two-month long celebration of life, family, and surviving the winter together.

Something to think about.

Posted in A Day in the Life, TV | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“There’s always next year” feels hollow and empty

I don’t know if I can find words to describe this feeling tonight. I know there’s a part of me that should be happy that the Royals made the playoffs for the first time in 29 years. I know that I should take solace in the fact that next year could be “the year”. But I can’t. There’s no way of knowing what the landscape of the team will look like next year. A number of contracts are up and the owner is not known for spending money to build a franchise when he can flip hot players for a quick buck.

A friend of mine made this photo today and told me I could share it. I had hoped to do so in celebration, but it’s too great a photo not to share. I would have loved to put one from tonight up beside this one but alas, it was not meant to be. There’s always next year…

Royals Timehop

Posted in A Day in the Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bonjour, Yosemite, and you!

For several months now, I’ve been watching my Apple TV have an identity crisis whenever I see its name advertised across the network via Bonjour. I named my Apple TV Durendal (because all of my devices are named after weapons and because Marathon is awesome). It used to only happen every now and then. I’d go to AirPlay to my Apple TV and I’d be greeted with a “Durendal (2)” in my available devices list. I’d change the name to something else and back and it would fix. But a few days later, we’d be right back where we started. It was an issue that didn’t bother me much, so I didn’t worry about it. There’s only one Apple TV on my network and the name is unimportant, so long as it works.

But then today, Glamdring (my MacBook Pro and Gandalf’s hand-and-a-half sword of legend), started having a similar issue. Glamdring is less regularly accessed over the network, but having it always showing up with the wrong name in my Shared items in the Finder set off my OCD something fierce. Worse, changing the name in the Sharing preference pane only fixed it for a few seconds. Soon, it would increment right back up to “Glamdring (2)”. So I set out to find a solution.

It only took a second to find one. Toggling Bonjour off and back on is reported to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, partway through the beta release cycle, Apple changed the way this worked. All the instructions I found gave command line instructions to unload and reload the mDNSResponder LaunchDaemon. Unfortunately, the necessary .plist went missing during Yosemite beta’s development. Thankfully, Matt Burgess made a comment over at coderwall.com that revealed the new Terminal commands necessary to fix this (which has since been resolved, thanks to this tip). Since I can’t link directly to the comment, I’ve included it here for quick access.

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.discoveryd.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.discoveryd.plist

Run these one after the other in Terminal and then change the name of your computer to its correct name. The problem should be resolved.

Since Glamdring was now resolved, I moved on to Durendal (which had climbed all the way up to “Durendal (102)” since I last fixed it). That one was easier, though less permanent. I simply went into the Settings app on the Apple TV and changed the name to one of the suggested default names the Apple TV provides. Then I went back to Custom… and put Durendal back into the field. So far, so good, but we’ll see what happens the next time the network cuts out unexpectedly or I have to force the Apple TV to restart.

Posted in Apple, Random Acts of Technology | Leave a comment

I’m dreaming of a Blue October

I’m exhausted. I stayed up far later than I had planned watching the Royals do something they haven’t done since I was 5 years old. I’m not a die-hard baseball fan. I don’t generally watch games on TV, and my family usually only makes it to a couple games a year. But I’ve always rooted for the Royals in my own way. By watching the score update on my phone and following along with the season, at least for a little while. But life always gets in the way and I usually lose track.

So when I found out that we were playing the Wild Card matchup this year, I was pleasantly surprised. I was even more surprised when I realized that I’d actually have the free time to catch the game, rather than having to be out running around doing something fatherhood-adjacent. So I stayed up and watched the game and got excited about a sport that has done very little to excite me for almost 30 years (barring a very sweet victory over the Red Sox that I got to witness live while rubbing it in the face of my brother-in-law and a few other games at Kaufmann I’ve caught through the years). And while I probably still won’t be buying season tickets or watching every game on TV, I am still pretty happy to have found joy in a Kansas City team that doesn’t kick a ball around a field or pitch.

I don’t really have the words (or energy) to write a lot about this. Besides, this fan already said everything I could say. I may not have been as dedicated a fan as he during my childhood, but my apathy toward baseball mirrored his own for many years. And while I’ve grown excited a time or two when catching a game at the stadium or just talking about the team with my friends and family that are still baseball fanatics, last night’s game was different.

So go and read that article. And if you, like me and like him, found a little bit of magic in last night’s game, then I hope you tune in for the next one, too. Because, this year, far more than a White Christmas, I want a Blue October.

Posted in A Day in the Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

There’s a Grandma-shaped whole in the world

My grandmother died today.

I don’t really know how to express how it makes me feel. We knew it was coming. I got to say goodbye. There was no chance that she would recover. But yesterday there was a woman occupying space in the world and today there is not.

My mom’s mom passed this spring, which was different. But the same. I couldn’t find the words I needed then, either. I’d like to believe that writing this will be the first step toward moving forward.

My grandmother was not a frail woman. She was a survivor. A fighter. She already beat cancer, but in the end it doesn’t matter. You can be the greatest fighter in the world, but you always lose the last fight.

I remember seeing her in the hospital when it started…
            the dying
                        …and I couldn’t believe how much smaller she looked. It wasn’t right. Lying there in that tiny bed struggling to breathe, fighting to stay awake, wishing for an end to the pain, the fight, the weight of it all. And when they moved her to hospice care, I couldn’t believe it. Not my grandma. She doesn’t give up.

Even when she had the procedure to remove fluid from her lungs and she bounced back, we were all told repeatedly that it was only a matter of time. Her strength returned, and with it came her personality and a small portion of her appetite. She was still tired, though. Oh so tired. But each visit made her face brighter…
            but tired
                        …and her mood lighter. We could almost forget the dark cloud hanging over us all. Almost.

Saturday, it started to rain.

There was a complication. She had options, but none good. The family had a day to say goodbye while she was still lucid and then her medication would be changed to take away the pain. She held on long enough to give us a sense of closure. Selfless to the last.

This morning I was thinking about work. I was thinking about breakfast. I was thinking about my stuff and my problems and my day. I wasn’t thinking about the woman who took me to church camp and let me run wild; who always wanted to hear what I had to say and always made me feel loved and valuable and smart and important; who went out of her way to tell me how much she loved my wife and what an amazing family I have; who reminded me every time I saw her how lucky I was.

And now she’s gone.

It’s not fair and it’s not right and it’s how the world works.

But there’s a hole in it now that will never be filled.

At 8:26 am Central time, the world lost an irreplaceable piece of my heart, and the only way I know how to mark the occasion is to write this stupid little blog post. Because as insignificant as it is, everything else seems less.

Posted in A Day in the Life | Leave a comment

The Shepherd is coming…

“It’s a dangerous world, son. One that should not be traversed lightly. When the sun goes down, you best be home. Safe inside with doors locked. There are few places left of peace. Bright pinpoints of light in the darkness. Best to be in one when the darkness comes calling. But even those places are fewer and farther between than they once were. The world is changing. Growing cruel and dark. You must be strong. But not yet. Not yet. For now, you must be safe.

Don’t worry, son. The darkness won’t come here. There’s a tale, you see. An old tale. There’s a reason that bright places like Homewood still exist. A very special reason. For centuries, they’ve watched over us. The grey sentinels. Watched over us and kept the darkness at bay. You remember that. When all hope seems lost and the gruekin come scratching at your door, the grey sentinel will save us. The Shepherd protects his flock.”

Posted in Writing | Leave a comment