Sunday, November 30, 2008, posted by Q6 at 10:30 AM
Whatever happened to having a sense of vision? Some of the people I've encountered over the last week have seemed more to be the voices of doubt, not the voices of reason or vision.

I have a unique opportunity coming up, automotive in nature (it's stil not a sure thing yet, so I can't say much), that will be groundbreaking by mildly expensive. When I explain the basics of the plan-in-the-making, people should be as excited as I was when the opportunity came up. Instead, all I'm getting is grief over the cost of this venture. And, sadly, it's now making me doubt whether the whole idea is worth it. (As much as I want to go through with this whole deal, I'm not looking forward to showing people an amazing piece of technology only to hear, over and over again, "You're paying WHAT?")


Vision, people. Have some vision.
Saturday, November 29, 2008, posted by Q6 at 8:06 AM
Parenting is difficult. The parts that you expect to be difficult don't really seem all that hard, because the parts you expect to be easy are damn near impossible. Parenting can be rewarding and fun some of the time, but it can be painful and complicated when you don't want it or expect it to be.

That is all.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008, posted by Q6 at 10:03 AM
This morning I fell victim to one of countless Internet viruses (while searching for, of all things, theater tickets). And, of course, I had my browser's homepage hijacked, I had system tray icons setting off all kinds of bells and whistles . . . so I tried to fix it by searching for and deleting anything related to the virus.

As it turns out, those things wedge themselves into places pretty good. With a nod to all professional IT techs, there are a LOT of little spaces for viruses and their applications to hide.

A lot of the bulletin boards tell of people who dealt with the problem for eight hours with no result, some who are still dealing with the problem days later, and other who said "Screw this, I'm going to the Apple Store." Me, I was determined to kill this thing dead. So after failing to solve the problem with my limited search-and-destroy skills, I hunted down the proper removal tool, ran it in Safe Mode, cleaned the registry, and reset Internet Explorer 7. At that point I had everything but the homepage hijack taken care of, so I reinstalled Internet Explorer 7, reconfigured that, and tried again.


I didn't get in to work until about 10am, though. They think I was dealing with a "mild utility problem" at home. If they ask, play along--but the merit badge is MINE.

Friday, November 14, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:00 AM
Anyway, I'm going in December 5th.
Thursday, November 13, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:07 AM
I'm sure the economy and my Fall schedule have a lot to do with it, but I've been kicking myself lately for not getting to the theater more often. There's also not a lot out there that interests me, so that's problematic, too.

Last month, though, my wife discovered quite the treat:
Neil Gaiman (of Sandman fame) was touring for his latest, The Graveyard Book (it's a take on Kipling's work, but with the kid raised in a Graveyard instead of a Jungle). At most appearances, an author may read a few pages, then spend hours signing books for people. This time around, however, Gaiman wanted to make the evening more meaningful . . . and it worked. Instead of sitting there signing most of the night, he used each stop on his tour to read a chapter of the new book, and filmed each one. The "video tour" is available online, and if you listen you can hear me laughing around the middle of chapter seven.

That's because I was in Santa Monica that evening. Stood in line (near the front of it) for two hours and everything. During the Q & A, done with index cards while we were in line, Mr. Gaiman was kind enough to answer my question (about whether the Internet is killing off the concept of reading) by using a quote from his dear friend Douglas Adams. It couldn't have been more cool.

And, I got my hands on autographed copies of Coraline and The Graveyard Book. I gotta get to more book signings (Christopher Moore has a new one coming out in February--Fool--so hopefully he'll be in town then).

* My apologies to Stephen King for playing with one of his titles, but Neil Gaiman's signature looks a lot like the word "Nerful." It's now become my and my wife's pet name for Gaiman . . . meant, of course, with all due respect.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:19 AM
One of the things I like most about being a parent is the oppotunity to be pleasantly surprised. My son pulled that off last week, and it felt really good--I felt very proud to be his father.

Last Friday, my son got his wisdom teeth out. All four of them were removed, two of them severely impacted (for the uninitiated, "impacted" means "sideways"). His upper teeth came out without incident; in fact, the oral surgeon was nice enough to clean most of the blood off before letting us keep them.* The bottom two, however, were extracted with the "shatter-them-into-a-thousand-pieces-and-vacuum-them-out" method.


What was to follow included three different medications (antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and the ever popular Vicodin), a regimented schedule of ice pack use, soft/liquid nourishment, uncomfortable swelling, and very little talking. So, naturally, he had three friends over as soon as he got home, then hopped a plane to his mother's house for the four-day Veterans' Day weekend.

Thing is, he pulled it off. I thought he'd need nagging, coaching, coaxing, and yelling to keep up with his meds, use the ice pack (20 minutes on, 20 off, for at least the first day and a half), and be a grouch the whole time because he was hungry.** He was really good about everything, and needed no prompting from me. I was astonished, then impressed. He was even doing some of the things that I wasn't going to bother with. Sometimes he can be a real adult about these things, and that's something I don't see often enough, I guess, to keep in mind all the time; I hope that this level of maturity translates into everything in his life that's important.

I'll be honest: for a while now I've been worrying that my son might not be able to make it on his own when the time comes. This weekend gave me hope; I got a glimpse of just how capable he is when he needs to be. I guess I just have to be careful not to use it against him, figure out what I've been doing right, and do more of that.

In any event, I'm a pretty proud father this week.

*Anyone know how to make a voodoo necklace? We've got a couple of teeth here . . .

**Why did I think this? Getting him to feed his snake or clean his room usually takes an act of God and a court order, that's why.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:18 AM
The other day I was looking over the "Coming Soon" list over at Barnes & Noble, trying to figure out my reading schedule for the next couple of months (several of my favorite authors have something coming out between now and February). Of course, I always wonder why I haven't seen anything lately from certain authors, particularly Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. Then I went over to and saw the news that Michael Crichton had lost a battle with cancer and died at the age of 66.

I didn't even know he was sick.

I've always enjoyed Crichton's books for two reasons: his approach meant to simultaneously educate and entertain, and one of his books has a very sentimental meaning for me.

Look at any of these books he's written and you'll notice something strange . . . it's hard to tell the difference between the fiction and the nonfiction titles. The reason for this is simple: the guy always did his homework. Seriously--how many authors have you read that include multi-page, multi-subject bibliographies at the end of fiction works? Some of his novels rely on his medical school training, while others have forced him--and by extension, us--to learn all sorts of new things. Crichton is not only one of my literary influences, but one of my world-outlook idols as well. He, like Disney, sought to both educate and entertain. He was careful to include accurate detail.

A little over three years ago I had the opportunity to go out with a woman who, like me, loved reading. I had just finished reading Crichton's Timeline not long before, had really enjoyed it, and recommended it to her. I sort of used the book as a pretense for going out with her, and it's sort of been one of those items that we look back on fondly as a piece of the "us" puzzle. (I married her this summer.) I regret that I never got the chance to thank Mr. Crichton personally.

If you've never read any of his work, pick up a title and give it a try. If you've read some of Crichton's stuff, try to find a book of his you haven't read yet--that's what I'm going to do. Sadly, he won't be on any of the "Coming Soon" lists anymore; so we should take advantage of everything he left here for us.

Michael Crichton -- 1942-2008

Monday, November 10, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:08 AM

Lots of people--including my friends--have already blogged about the outcome of this year's election. I've waited until days later, because I was interested in seeing whether or not he would live up to the hype of the last two years' worth of campaigning.

Fortunately, it looks like he will.

First--and I say this not only as a citizen but as a former public speaking teacher--I loved his victory speech (and I'd like to find out exactly who wrote it). His cadence and his vocal expression bubble over with honesty and sincerity. His message was exactly what this nation needed: we have come this far, we have seen so much . . . what else can we do? His appeal to the conservative side of life was also a great move, and I believe that it, too, was honest. Obama is, for all intents and purposes, the first president of the 21st Century. Moreover, he sounds and acts like it, and I don't think this country has been any more prepared--or hungry--for a leader who will look at everything that's been bent wrong, stuck in the mud, or halted altogether and question the logic behind it all. Barack Obama comes at a time when America needs him the most.

Secondly, he has so far succeeded in his follow through. In his first week as President-Elect he is already talking about the things he can do now, what he can do come January 21st, and how those specific tasks are going to impact us. What this country has needed is someone who pays attention to all the different fronts at once, has a clear idea about what to do on each front, and surrounds himself with people who either think like he does or who can help him to think better. Check out Fareed Zakaria's take on Obama being the next FDR (HERE)--all the pieces are in place, both domestic and foreign. So far, Obama's our guy. (I only wish he'd been elected by a bigger margin. The other thing I think this country has needed for a long time is a landslide victory in a presidential race.)

Finally, I think he's got a decent sense of humor. I've seen him use it a couple of times on the campaign trail, and when he wants to be, he can be funny (in a nerdy, look-how-I-can-take-myself-too-seriously-for-a-laugh kind of way).

Politically speaking, I'm looking forward to the future of this country. I haven't been able to say that for a long time, but I can say it now. A lot of us can say it now.

Yes we can.