Tuesday, September 26, 2006, posted by Q6 at 5:14 AM
I've got a fourteen year-old-son. That should say it all, really, but this is a blog, so I'll elaborate.

If my mom is reading this, she'll be happy to hear me concede that there were times I was not the easiest teenager to get along with. Teenagers (and I work with them, so I see this all the time) don't necessarily think that they're invulnerable, but they do feel an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, especially amongst adults who are in a postition of authority. That being said, I'll be blunt: my son has been something of a pain in the ass of late. I don't completely blame him, to be honest; he's never been through this time in his life, and he's doing the best he can. Very rarely (until lately) have I had to use my "parent-voice" to get him to do something, or not do something, or go back and do something again. I get more attitude, more complaints, and less of what I'm looking for around the house.

Of course, all of his teachers have nothing but good things to say about him; he is now (and for the first time) completing his homework neatly, correctly, and on time; he's participating in school events, like going to football games and getting involved in the drama program. Everything I used to get at home is now playing out at school, and vice versa.

So at the same time I could complain about his demeanor and habit at home, I could praise him to no end for his improvement at school. THAT statement alone now demonstrates to me the causes of my mom's frustration while I was growing up. I now understand the root causes of the parents' manta, "I can't win."

Can you hear my mom laughing? I can . . . now.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006, posted by Q6 at 9:59 AM
I'm bald by choice, which is to say that I shave my head in anticipation of the inevitable: I have a receding hairline AND a bald spot, and I have proclaimed from the day my scalp started to tan that when the cul-de-sac met the solar panel, I would not have a "ring of hair" around my head. It looked good on that guy that followed Lando Calrissian everywhere in "The Empire Strikes Back," but it's not for me. When the remaining space began to thin, I grabbed a razor and went to it.

And I spent several months cutting the hell out of my scalp.

So my girlfriend asks if she can shave my head. I figure, what the hell? Her only experience is shaving her legs--halfway through she compares my head to a knee--but by letting her do it, I figured out what I had been doing wrong: I was pressing too hard, sweeping too short, and a couple of other things. I've learned that, once again, a fresh perspective can help you solve problems. So now, I can shave my head cleanly and smoothly . . .

. . . without, y'know, all the blood.
Friday, September 15, 2006, posted by Q6 at 9:03 PM
I just took a look at my blogs (I'm cleaning up Assistive Principles for a work project--I have to submit the blog for tech proficiency). Damn . . . have I been blogging for a whole year now?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006, posted by Q6 at 8:59 PM
Over the summer I had the pleasure of discovering Hugh Laurie. No, I did not find him in an old shoe box in the back of my closet next to the wrapping paper. I discovered some of his talents--I use the word "discover" because they were things that actually made me sit up and say "Wow." It's true. People were there, they saw it. It always feels good to discover something entertaining and impressive.

First, I saw
House, MD. Yeah, okay, I knew who the guy was before that. Stuart Little's Dad. Right. Well, "House" is one of those TV shows that depends almost completely on the acting (the stories themselves are good, but I can't picture them without the acting), and Laurie seems to make that show happen in a way that no one else could. Second, my girlfriend loaned me her friend's copy of The Gun Seller, a novel he wrote back in the mid-1990's. It's good, and the style of the narrative makes you think that he might be doing some of the writing on "House." Then he appeared on "Inside the Actor's Studio" and performed a song called "Mystery." This was the precursor to "Wow," for when I looked up the performance on YouTube I found the original performance from the 1970's. [Click on it--it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen!] It was on a comedy-sketch show from England he did with Stephen Fry called--wait for it--"A Bit of Fry and Laurie." (There are several readers who are going, "Yeah? So? Known about it for years! Where the hell have you been?")

Here's why I was wowed: simple sketch comedy in it's purest form has always been my favorite, but it's hard to find that these days. SNL doesn't do it anymore, they're too into themselves. Monty Python did it. Benny Hill tried to do it, and only succeeded sometimes. Fry and Laurie, from what I can tell from the hours I've spent on
YouTube over the last month, seem to have pulled it off. Which is good, because it's always good to find a new wellspring of something you really like.

It's bad too, because now I get to spend all kinds of time finding the damn thing on DVD at

For those even remotely interested, Hugh Laurie's
new book comes out later this month.
, posted by Q6 at 8:51 PM
September--this is the beginning of a new year. When I was a kid, my mom had a cross-stitched calendar up on the wall. She made it herself; quite the crafty woman, my mom. It had velcro-backed pieces so that they could be moved each month. Each month had it's own round shape, and the unused months decorated the frame in a U-shape: with January in the upper left, the months moved down to May, June through August went left to right across the bottom, and September through December crawled up the right-hand side. The center of the calendar had the actual numbers for the month (I never really looked at those).

Since my entire life has been dictated by a traditional school calendar--as a student, teacher, or administrator-- I always knew what day it was from the board in the classroom (even these days, teachers still put the date up on the board). For the same reason, September always seemed to be the beginning of the year (it's the same for Jews--Rosh Hashana is next week). So I've been walking around for the last two weeks as if it's the beginning of a new year for everyone, invigorating, full of promise, and a time to set goals.

So, Happy New Year, everyone.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006, posted by Q6 at 10:03 PM
Happy Birthday to my brother, Jason. He's thirty-five today, and although he's two years younger than I am, he's still the younger brother I've always looked up to.

I'd raise a glass to his good health and long life on the occasion of his birthday, but the dude doesn't drink.

Happy 35, Bro.