Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I now LIVE for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

XKCD, 'nuf said. (make sure you hover over it with your mouse or follow the link to see it larger)

and I love what he put at the bottom of his page:

"Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."

Memories and Monsters

So I was talking to my son and listening to him recount his adventures of the past few days when he brought up some wasps. "Ground Wasps" he called them. I guess they found them at the barn where his mom works. He said, "Dad, do you remember the monster in the back yard? It was like that, only a bunch of them." I kind of laughed. I couldn't believe he not only remembered the wasp, but he remembered what we called it. Here is a picture that shows why it earned this moniker:

This wasp captured a caterpillar and dragged it back to it's nest in the ground, and somehow managed to get the thing inside.

When we go hiking, he always refers back to the famous "Dragon Hunt".

Being a parent is difficult. Being a single parent even more so. Being there to make memories that they will always have is priceless.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kind of going through some old writing...

Well, I'm looking for some documentation on OpenVPN I wrote for a friend. Below are some things I found instead. Both of which I wrote a few years ago in a different quadrant of the patchwork quilt that is my life. The poem is something I wrote for a person I was dating at the time, but I certainly wish that my son could see himself the way I see him. Somethings just seem impossible to express. We only fail when we stop trying though.


-Through my eyes -

If you could see you through my eyes,
You would see the joy that’s inside,
In every way you touch my life,
You would see what I see in you,
You would see how much I love you.


One night while sitting on the kitchen floor of the unfinished kitchen with P a very interesting conversation ensued….

P was discussing a story she had written in 2nd grade the previous year. She was telling me that she had also drawn a picture to go with it. She said she really enjoyed drawing. She then drew her picture again. It was a picture of a giant sundae (a statue in her story) with a huge spoon in it. P was very proud of her drawing.

She then started drawing on the other side of the page. She drew chaos. It was a veritable maelstrom of colors in a widely varying circular patterns all drawn continually on top of each other. I told her that it looked very pretty. And it did. She said, "That’s what grown ups say when they don't want to hurt your feelings. I made something for my dad and he said that's nice P, but he just didn’t want to hurt my feelings." Hmmmm.

I then said to P, "Well, your drawings are very colorful. Your swirls look to me like what I would envision the emotion of confusion would look like. It reminds me of confusion. Very chaotic, intertwining, and not being able to tell one thing from another." I told her, "Some of the best known artist are able to capture emotions with their pictures and the people that look at them can FEEL that emotion. That is what your picture did for me, it made me think of confusion." She beamed. She said, "I'm not a very good artist though." I said, "Well, it takes practice. Like all things, if you enjoy doing it, then the more you do it, the better you will get."

P's attention was then captured by a bead on the floor. She started pushing it down one of the troughs between the square tiles in the floor. P said at that point, "This is my life. I just keep going straight. I'm not able to turn left or right. I have no choices. I just keep going straight."

Putting my finger on a point in another trough, I asked P, "Would you like to get to here?" She said, "Yes, but I keep going straight."

I then said, "Well, you do have a choice. You can keep going straight until you reach this junction, and then you have a choice. You can go left, right or straight. It just may take a while to get there." P thought about that for a minute, as was I, trying to keep ahead of her. I thought of Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Less Traveled.'

Gaining what I thought was a little inspiration I said, "You know, this is very much like what one of my favorite poets described in his poem 'The Road Less Traveled'. He started with "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood." This is a little like what you were saying. You keep going straight for right now, but one day you be at a place where you can make a choice. Robert Frost then said that he was sorry he could not travel both because he was one traveler. So he looked at both of them very carefully because he wanted to make the right choice for him. He liked the one that was "grassy and wanted wear" because it looked like it was less traveled. He also said that knowing how way leads on to way that he would probably never come back to that point so he knew that he had to make a good choice."

P looked up at me and said, "I want to take the road that has the most people. And I want to take the high road, not the low road." I told her, "Well, at the point that you get to make your choice, you will have lots of reasons for choosing one road over another. Robert Frost wanted the road less traveled, and when he looked back he was very happy with his choice. Someone else, like you, may come to the same point and say, 'I want the higher road.' And therefore at the same intersection, many people will have many different wants and will choose a path for many different reasons, all based on what they want."

At this point I figured it was a good point to leave P to her thoughts so I suggested that we go upstairs so that I could find her mom, and P could get ready for bed.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How do you know you had a good workout?

You hurt. EVERYWHERE. Even stretching is painfully uncomfortable. So did I over do it? Yes. I did stick to the Body for Life plan this whole week. I just got in from my 20 min cardio this morning. Six days. It is a start.

For some reason I stopped last December. Overwhelmed. Stressed. I'm not really sure. I've been at the gym sporadically since then. It is time to push hard again.

Now I need to get the diet component back in line. I've been doing this over the past couple of weeks, getting used to smaller portions, more meals, etc.

Overall I feel great, even though I cannot move without pain and groaning.

Asperger's support group in 30 mins, wash cars, and parties tonight. Sunday will hopefully be surfing, sun, and sleep. :-)

Que tenga un buen dia! (hope I got that right)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

bits of things, odd thoughts

Stress mostly. The job has gotten pretty stressful lately and evidence is in just about everything I do. I also realize that I am over drawn on my time and need to pull back in some.

I went to see Batman with Robin. I'll let that sink in a little. :-) I'll say this first, Heath Ledger was amazing in that movie. Interestingly enough, the movie left me with a lot to think about. A constant theme throughout the movie is the concept of a hero. Go figure right? Probably not in the way you think though. A quote from the movie is "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." As a hero, sometimes you have to make a choice in the heat of the moment and the only person that is going to understand it is you. Everyone else is going to hate you for it because they don't have your perspective. When I was an IT field engineer, I had customers that would stand up and cheer when I got on site. They weren't cheering if I had several customers down and they weren't the first one's picked. I can't be several places at once. I've had to give customers really bad news and I wasn't liked so much then either. Sometimes I would try so hard to meet everyone's expectations that I would be up all night working on several issues because I knew the next day I had still more customers to take care of. Having remote admin access to business networks is a huge responsibility to be trusted with, but you can be sure that if something went wrong you were expected to work on it all hours, or be blamed. Two weekends ago a situation came up where I was called because I had "the big picture" of a problem that had come up. I had to assess the people and their capabilities as well as the problem at hand. I suggested they make a change until the right people could be called in to fix the problem the right way. The system that was down was critical and waiting would mean it would be at least 24 more hours before it could be brought back up. They made the workaround. Since last week I have been taking heat over that decision. It had already become a difficult place to work, but I was hopeful things were getting better. Now I'm not sure. Between the movie and this incident what I have been pondering is do I need to be a hero? Do I need to rescue people? My thought is that if I am not at work, then things should run smoothly without me. If they don't then I'm not doing my job as a Leader/Manager. I don't want to think for people, I want them to think for themselves. I have learned from better leaders that I don't criticize people for decisions they make in crunch situations. We may have a lessons learned, but I'm not going to write anyone up for making a mistake in that situation. I trust my people and I don't want them floundering if I can't be reached. I certainly don't want to be called during my time off, I'm busy enough as it is. I also believe that things can be taken care of in an 8 hour day. If not, then things are mis-managed and there are unrealistic expectations. There are of course exceptions to this, but as a rule that is my expectation for my division and the people that work for me.

Have you seen the Avatar series from Nickelodeon? It is excellent. It is a terrific story, marvelously done. Buy the DVD's for your kids (or yourself) or get it from iTunes, etc. It is essentially a series of morality plays. One I saw this past week was about forgiveness. Several things have been going on over the past several months that have me thinking a lot about forgiveness. This Avatar episode just highlighted it for me. What does it really mean? What boundaries need to be set? Forgiveness does not mean trust, it does not mean acceptance, it does not mean the debts are paid, and it does not mean that the hurt is gone. To me it just means that the anger is abated and there is acceptance that whatever happened is in the past and cannot be changed. It is time to move forward and stop dwelling in the past.

This ties into subject 3: Dating Karma. Ms Single Mama wrote about this a few weeks about. Along with forgiveness, I've been pondering this too. I've read that in order to really forgive someone for breaking up with you, you need to break up with someone. You can't really know what goes on until you are in the shoes of that person. Sometimes I wonder if I need to do some of the things that have been done to me in order to forgive those actions. Where does my Karma stand if I wish that the people that have wronged me also get wronged in the same way? Is it worse if I wish I were there to see it happen? :-) In the end I know there are situations that will never be reconciled satisfactorily either because I can't fully forgive or because the other person isn't really capable of true reconciliation. Mostly I would just like to move on, free of the past, and free to chart my own course going forward. Currently the compass and gps are both broken.

Volleyball is one of the highlights of my week right now. Picture this: BEACH, BANDS, OCEAN, FRIENDS, SUMMER NIGHTS, BEER, SUNSET SWIMS, and FOOD. It is intoxicating.

Piano is going well. I'm loving it.

Dodgeball is good, but my arm hurts after every game.

Softball is DONE. Whew. We're all glad that is over. It was fun, but the season kept going and going. I may not be doing softball in the fall.

Soccer is probably not doing a summer session. I'm sad about this, but it means the fall season may start early.

Indoor Volleyball for the fall will be starting signups before too long. If I can get on a team or put one together I will definitely do that.

I got to go to Richmond last weekend!!!! The day began with Golf. I shot a 95 (or so). Not bad considering I haven't hit a golfball since going to Richmond last July. They are thinking about calling the excursion the Annual Crazy Computer Dad Golf Tournament. In the afternoon we had a brainstorm session about Managed Security Services for commercial companies. In the evening we went to BW3s for beer, food, and trivia.

Lots of events and things coming up, but I'm really missing my son and I need to start planning/preparing for his return too.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Word of warning....

Don't follow this link if you are anywhere that laughing out loud until you pee is frowned upon. Yes it's that funny.

Rants from Sunnybrook, Things that are difficult to say when drunk

Maybe you've seen it before, maybe not. I haven't.

Ok, the people in white coats are coming to give me medicine to calm me down.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You can't always get what you want, but...

I've been on both sides of this. Make sure you hover over the image to see the html title text that the author at XKCD puts in there.

How do you ever objectively evaluate whether you are in love with the relationship or really with the person you are in the relationship with? I have had a conservative and fossilized view of what relationships are and my place in them for a very long time. I'm trying to break those preconceived molds, the standards that come from fairy tales and other archaic places, and dig a little deeper inside of me to find out where and why relationships in the past just weren't a perfect fit. I would like to be able to recognize something that does work when it shows up. Maybe not really asking and looking for what I want, but rather knowing who I am and what will work. Honestly, it feels like it is all just a bunch of BS. Another moment of mirth, mocking, and malevolence from the Universe at large.

I did learn a drinking game Friday night. I had a blast. I was drinking water. No one was impressed, but I could drive home and I got up three hours later to surf with no ill effects. Surfing was awesome Saturday morning. Surfing would have been awesome Sunday too, but I was called into work. Words to live by, "No good deed goes unpunished". There are just times I should not answer my phone. I went to Williamsburg Saturday evening and had an amazing night. It was interrupted by phone calls from work though.

Sunday was spent mostly at work. I went out for Sushi with a friend Sunday night and then we went to say good bye to our very good friend Markus. Markus is going back to Germany. We will miss him. I didn't stay long though. I have to get back to my time zone. It has really thrown me out of sync.

Monday night I played beach volleyball in our league. We didn't do very well. I longed to get my surfboard out because the surf was awesome. That didn't happen, but maybe Tuesday. :-) We did go for a swim after volleyball. Valiantly we fought against the rip currents, but eventually they prevailed and we gasped, crawled, and collapsed on the beach. Well, not really, we just walked out before all that happened. We know our limits. I didn't hang out afterwards. I've been mad at myself for now working out, and not sleeping. I left and went for my workout (upper body) and I will hopefully get to bed early.

Good night from Bedlam, fourth floor, insanity ward #2.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sleep? You can Sleep when you're dead.

This is how I feel most days. My sleep schedule is so hosed.

From XKCD today:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


A neighbor told me a story yesterday that still has me laughing.  Nothing like finding ways to terrorize your younger siblings.  Being the oldest of four, I can totally relate.  This fifteen year girl is the oldest of five, with two other very small step siblings, and is a bit frustrated at being at her dad's without a lot to do. 

Here is how she copes.  She has been writing messages on the shower walls with her hair.  She has been telling her siblings that there are ghosts in the house writing the messages.  Brilliant. 

Honestly, the younger ones should know better by now.  Such is innocence though.  Honestly, I miss having the kind of excitement and energy that goes along with having a bunch of kids in the house.  It is probably why I like going out in groups so much because a good group of close friends is like that.  I'm such a bad father though...I would be egging her on, and plotting with the younger ones on how to get her back.  I'm not above playing on both sides of the field.

Have a great a practical joke on someone that least expects it!

"Until you forget what you think you know and what you think is possible, you will never know what is truly attainable."


We need them badly here. It is a bit parched, and someone needs to dump a ton of rain on the burning swamp. I'm done with the smoke.

The thunderstorms have a down side. I spent two or more hours on Saturday afternoon waiting for the storms to lift to get out to surf and kayak. Eventually I went to the gym and shot some basketball.

The meetin group had an impromptu dinner at Shoguns, a Japanese restaurant. We had a great chef and a great time there. There was a little bit of unintended drama at the bar we tried to go to afterward. There was some kind of professional fight being broadcast. There was a $10 cover charge. I wasn't going to pay $10 for that place, and I certainly wasn't interested in the fight. I also wasn't drinking. I thought I made my intentions clear and said goodbye to everyone, but apparently not. Sorry, I didn't mean to miss anyone. Instead I just went home.

Sunday I got up early and went with a new friend to kayak in the Chesapeake Bay. We put in right at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We paddled for a while and eventually crossed paths with two pods of dolphins. That was awesome. We then went to see the Incredible Hulk and lunch afterward. The rest of the afternoon was spent just relaxing. I met some other friends for dinner and stuff in the evening, but was home early.

People issues overwhelm me. People play games, but there are no rules. Mostly I feel it's impossible for me to win or even be competitive. Not everyone plays the same games, and not everyone plays games. I'm always at a loss as to what to say or do. It's like everyone knows the steps to the dance or the words to the song, but me. I can't say or do the right thing, mainly because I've no idea what that is. Several of these people all came at me at once today. Part of me says just brush it off, part of me says walk away and don't look back.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Virtual Reality

"This isn't me." It's what I've had to say to several people lately. This summer in particular. With a few of my last posts you may have come up with several stereotypical conceptions about me. :-) "The picture you see, is no portrait of me, It's too real to be shown, to someone I don't know." (New Order, "Round and Round")

Goal 1 this summer: No serious dating and no relationships.
Why? First, I forget some of the trendy psycho-analyst terms, but my mindset, and most women I meet love this, is that I will put their needs first. I will turn the world inside out to meet an expectation. I will put off all of my needs to meet hers. Everything really becomes about doing the right things for her. For most women this is exciting, but after a while becomes a bit daunting. My Psycho friend,er psycho-analyst friend Robin tells me this. My friend Jamie, an LCSW, says the same. I can see it happening all the time and it's like my mind just kicks into gear while I'm sitting back saying "we don't have to do this, I'm going surfing" and the other side says "oh, but yes we do." And then I don't go surfing and instead head out with this other person to go shoe shopping so some such thing. It's not just in relationships. This past week I was on vacation, but was working on work issues at one point at 3am. I saw a cartoon on Jamie's refrigerator that showed a woman at a bar speaking to a man "I'm not going to lower my standards to raise your self-esteem." So true. It is a self-esteem issue with me.
[edited to add]
This song just came up in the playlist, Emerson Hart "Flying", and there are few lines that describe some of the above:
Meeting new interesting person - "Here comes the wind let your string unwind, run as fast as you can in your mind."

Beginning, Middle, and End of relationship -
"So I took your hand and you took mine
And we waltzed together in time
But looking back I guess I didn't know
That I was in love and you were letting go"
[end of edit]

Goal 2: Surf, dive, sports, whatever.
I have plenty of people that look at me like I've got two heads when I tell them about the sports I'm involved in. Hey, I enjoy it. I mean I REALLY enjoy it. Every minute. I've got alcohol that sits on my shelf for years without being opened, but all of my sports equipment has to be replaced on a regular basis. I know I'm not doing enough when I don't have to replace my shoes every 3-6 months. My new hero is Dara Torres. I'm not in that kind of shape, and I probably don't have the time (and money, read about what it costs to have that kind of staff) to get there, but I'm working on being in just a little bit better shape (and I'm getting a tan despite my spf 30 sunblock).

In between the rest I like to hang out with friends to make some stronger bonds and make new friends, flirt, joke, and generally have a good time.

So, contrary to a post from Friday where I was trying to make you jealous, most of the time it's me that is jealous. My reality is that I have incredible son that needs my help more than most. I don't have weekends or nights off during the school year. The people I hang out with right now pretty much don't see me from September through the first half of June. There are changes I could make, but my son is the most stable he has ever been right now with the professional support I have in Virginia Beach. I don't want to make any changes that would affect that. There are a lot of other factors that swirl around this that I won't go into. When people get too close to this reality I can start to see them mentally breaking down and backing away. They just can't fathom it. They get frustrated. When they see my son playing he looks normal. They don't see him breaking down in a classroom screaming, throwing things while the teacher is evacuating the rest of the class. They don't see where he just gets overwhelmed by the other kids and activities at daycare to the point he just can't take it anymore and explodes, then hides. They don't understand that. I only partially understand, and really only just recently.

I miss my son right now. It's him I want to take to the beach with me today to kayak in the ocean. It's him I want on the surfboard for the first time today, pushing the board so that he can catch a wave. I don't WANT to do it by myself. I'd love to have that partner that could switch in and out with me, taking turns paddling and cheering the children on (yes, I would love for there to be more than one, even with the challenges that brings).

I'd love to have my son running in and out of the house playing with the neighborhood kids. That is hard to do when you have to work 25 miles away 8 hrs a day, five days a week. Daycare is where he would be most of the summer. At his mom's he either goes to work with her or stays home with her husband when he's home. He gets to play with his friends down there a lot more than he would get to here.

And this is why I now need to get moving and get out of the house today. When I'm alone I start to go downhill.

It's Saturday, I think, so have a great one!

Friday, July 04, 2008

4th of July

I hope everyone has had a happy and safe 4th. Did you get to see fireworks? We had spectacular fireworks at the beach with a really cool band called "Borderline Crazy".

My 4th and my 3rd have run together and are threatening to collide with the 5th. Since I've slept about an hour in the in the last day and a half it all feels the same to me.

We won our dodgeball games! Our first real victory. We celebrated with Pizza and beer...then someone ordered shots. We had designated drivers, and we were off. Lots of alcohol later, we'd been through three bars and were heading back to a friend's house. We were up dancing and singing to 80's music until 5:30am. I also repaired a stereo while inebriated. At 7am I was up again while everyone else was sleeping.

By 11 we were all up and heading out for lunch. My truck is across the city from me so I am mostly stuck with the group.

After lunch we hit one bar, and then the 4th party at chicks beach. This was cool as there were a couple of kayaks and some floating platforms. After a little while there I went to dinner and the fireworks. Right now I am falling asleep, quite literally, on my keyboard.

good night!

I'm going to try and make you jealous...

Thursday afternoon I found out that the dive trip I wanted was not going to happen. They won't be going out until Tuesday. Damn. But Ok, I'm flexible and there are always other options. It didn't take long for them to materialize.

I made it to the beach around 3pm, my muscular frame rippling from carrying several things down to the shore and glistening from sweat and 30 spf waterproof bug repellent sunblock. I can embellish here by the way since it is my blog and I'm trying to make you jealous. :-)

The waves were breaking out at a sandbar as it was just past low tide. My body was soaking up the sun's warmth and energy like a sponge. I jumped in for a quick swim. Powerful strokes took me out the break point where I easily slid up and down the faces of the waves, imagining myself to be a sea otter playing in the ocean.

I came back in and that is where I met HER. This incredible, honest, gorgeous, intelligent single mom. Wow. It was like we had met somewhere before, I could read her like book. Her name was Rachel. She began talking, openly telling me about her single motherhood journey. I was spellbound, but I had to leave. Regrettably, I closed the book by Rachel Sarah, Single Mom Seeking, packed up my things, and headed to dodgeball.

Did it work? Were you jealous? :-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rain in the Summer Time....

Sunday night began with dinner and engaging conversation with my friend Robin. We then changed the venue to the Jeff Dunham "Spark of Insanity" comedy show and laughed until we couldn't breathe. Well, me. Robin, was amused, which is really quite impressive. Actually, I'm just giving her a really hard time as she is a really terrific person. Once the show was over we headed back to the cars and then spent the next two hours on the roof of the garage in downtown Norfolk in the rain. I love the rain in the summer time. It is a song by the Alarm too. I love swimming in the ocean too, and that has been a big part of the previous two Mondays before this most recent one. It is even better when I have agreeable company, and I have. It has helped my mood tremendously.

Being on vacation is helping my mood too. I guess I can use the vernacular I saw the other day and say it is a "Staycation". I was supposed to go to Cozumel, but those plans were regrettably altered and canceled.

Wednesday I stayed home and worked on projects around the house, practiced piano (because I'm ADHD like that), and worked out what I was going to do with the rest of my time off. I LOVE playing the piano. My passion for it is growing. Robin is fueling that passion with puzzling but effective motivational techniques. What I know about music wouldn't even complete a sentence, but through talking to her and reading my son's lesson's books, I'm improving. Lessons for me were supposed to start this week, but the Universe loves to antagonize me, so they won't start until next Tuesday. GRRRRRRRRRRRR. I've also been working on various parts of my scuba gear.

I think I'm going to the beach Thursday with my surfboard and hang out all day. I haven't done that in too long of a time. I just want to lay down in the hot sand and soak up the heat. I have a number of books I can take with me too like Security Metrics (Andrew Jaquith), Economics and Strategies of Data Security (Dan Geer), Single Mom Seeking (Rachel Sarah), Men are from Mars Women are from Venus (John Gray), and Bedtime Stories (Trey Ellis). I need to fax down some information to a dive shop for Friday.

Friday I'm planning on doing a two tank dive on U-85 out of the Outer Banks. The dive shop is My grandfather (step-mother's father) was a submariner, my dad was a submariner, and by odd forces at work in the Universe I am a submariner. Now I'm going to go see the first U-boat sunk off the Atlantic Coast. Friday evening should be dinner at the ocean front in Virginia Beach and fireworks on the board walk.

I don't know about the rest of the weekend yet.

My son seems to be doing very well at his mom's. I am very happy about that. I have a lot of work to do with daycare discovery, school, and doctors while he is gone to get prepared for the fall. My summer is constantly punctuated by the realities of what we have to work through.

Recently I had a discussion with my friend Robin and she asked if had a bracelet or something that said WWMD. What Would Macgyver Do? I printed it out and hung it up in my office. Why? There is so much more we can do with the resources around us, yet we too often just through things out and demand new things. Macgyver could find uses for the other stuff, or make it do what we want the new gadget to do and then some. This is how I want the people I work around to think, so I post signs and employ the Socratic method to pry open their minds as well as my own.

Check out XKCD for the cartoon that inspired this. Hover your mouse over the cartoon to get added messages. :-)

Have a great week everyone!!!