Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If I was a book...

You're One Hundred Years of Solitude!
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lonely and struggling, you've been around for a very long time. Conflict has filled most of your life and torn apart nearly everyone you know. Yet there is something majestic and even epic about your presence in the world. You love life all the more for having seen its decimation. After all, it takes a village.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

So I took the quiz and it labeled me as one of my favorite books. Not that I wanted to read it back in college. In fact, I think this book is part of the reason why I find Latin America more interesting than Africa. Just read this first couple sentences and you'll see why the book is wonderful.
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Speaking in Public

I am fulfilling one of my personal dreams by giving a speech this coming November. I am, of course, excited and a bit nervous, but with three months to prepare I should be okay.

If you are interested in gathering software requirements and happen to be in Chicago during mid-November then I recommend attending the conference. But most of you are neither, so I am just sending you the information because I’m excited about reaching a milestone.

Follow the links for info about my presentation and the conference.

In other fabulous news, Katie will be having her first birthday party next weekend. She is doing fabulous; just starting to eat real foods, learning to walk, and babbling bunches if still without meaning.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Family Networks

Even if Friendster is no longer popular, social networks are still a big deal on the web. If you pay attention to "technology news" you have probably heard of MySpace and FaceBook; both are very popular and strive for a slightly different audience. LinkedIn is the biggest business social network; I have a page there and it is typically up-to-date.

But today I want to talk about a new online networking tool built around families, Geni. This is a new site and has lots of slick features designed to make the site quick, responsive, and easy to use.

What you really need to know is Geni.com is an easy way to communicate with and keep track of your extended family. It allows multiple people to add and update information in the same tree. For example, Kristi (wife) imported a picture of her parents and my brother, Jill (sister) added some information about an uncle and pictures about her in-laws, while Tracy (cousin) added the name of a new niece and my aunt's former husband. The site is real-time and you can get notices on updates daily, weekly, or never. The ability to add, associate, and label people in pictures works pretty well too.

Caveat: If you are a genealogist and really into maintaining good records about your family, you might not want to make this your primary source. While you can export records in GEDCOM format, you cannot import them. I would like a few more fields for maintaining data. I have yet to see a way to print customized reports or change the default view on my personal tree. If you are new to genealogy and looking for a good resource, I recommend Personal Ancestral File (PAF 5.0). You can download it here for free, and get a pretty good report generator as an add-on for less than $10.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's about the story

I found a great video on Ramit Sethi's blog, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. While he gives good advice about how to manage your money, this video--commercial really--is outstanding.

If you want proof that you stories can be told in seconds, it's all about the writing, that good stuff comes from surprising places, or even that I like to cry at the sappy stuff, then watch this video.

If you don't love this I think I might have to claim you've lost touch with that soft center of your heart.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm a Dad

I'm a Dad. I like to think I'm a good dad, but I'm not sure. Many people have been telling me I will make a great dad for quite a long time, but I'm not sure. I doubt I can know if I met any kind of standards for years to come.

I can say, I do say, "I love being a dad." Really, I do. (But I do not have any shirts yet.) I cannot imagine living life otherwise now that I have a child. It is as if life before Katie, which was fine and good, was just a precursor to what I'm doing now. This is what I was meant to do. Here are a couple minor examples:

Jay came over Saturday night and we watched a Tennesee lose to Floriday. During the first half of the game I changed a diaper. It took me just a few seconds, and like every time I've changed Katie's diapers it just felt natural. Jay's comment was something along the line of, "That was amazing. It took me two years to feel that comfortable changing Conner's diapers." Now, I'm sure he doesn't remember life way back then all that clearly, but it was a very nice thing to say.

Tonight Kristi said to me, "You love to feed Kaitlyn. It's so obvious to see when you're doing it." My mom has said similar things a couple of times. The truth is, I don't see it. I don't know I'm showing any special love to her. I just know, grok even, how to do it. I know how much to wake her, keep her alert, feed her, and even get her to burp when other people seem to be missing parts of the process.

I'm not sure how, but I know what I need to do. What I can do. What I should do.

Now, let me tell you another story about Jay. Kristi came out and the three of us were talking about having a child in the NICU. Jay & Jen's second son Ryan (now 5 years old and doing fine) was admitted into a NICU after first spending a couple days at home. As Jay told the story he didn't show a great deal of emotion, his voice didn't change inflection and his body seemed relaxed. But his left hand reached up and wiped away a tear that came to his eye as he talked about the struggle his son experienced a long time ago. It seems to me that this simple gesture, almost hidden, is one of those things that might by itself qualify Jay as a good dad.

And to all those Dads in my life who had a child in trouble, please accept my apology. I know so little about how to offer support now, and I knew much less then. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you.