Author Archives: Temple

Mom and Dad: No Parenting Schism

What bugs me about all the articles saying being a mom is the hardest job in the world is that they invariably don’t even try to mention, hey, being a dad is often just as hard. It’s happening already but if there’s going to be progress on dads doing their part at home, then there needs to be some acknowledgment that this work is being done. Not so much for the acknowledgement but because not to do so gives the strong impression that the dad’s role is being ignored, and to me at least, it seems like moms (in general) ARE always in need of this acknowledgement, which isn’t the case, either.

So, off this post at Jezebel about a job description for a mom/ mum comes the best comment I’ve read in a while alogng the same lines, especially point A). From Megan Cook:

I am a mom and it is definitely a lot of work. Different work than my 8-5 corporate gig, but certainly work. But this bugs me for a few reasons.

A.) My husband does all of the same parenting things that I do. 50 / 50. We have different work schedules so we both have the kids by ourselves on our two days a week that we have off. Some days he may do more. Some days I may do more. But it is overall about as close to straight down the middle as I think you can get. So really I am not doing anything more spectacular just because I have a vagina thus making me the mom person.

B.) I most definitely do not have a degree in medicine or culinary arts. Me being able to put a bandaid on a scrapped knee or dose out the right amount of children’s Tylenol does not equate to a medical degree which takes years and years and in the end you can save lives. That is why we have a pediatrician that we trust. Because half the time I don’t know if it is measles or a heat rash I am looking at. Me being able to cook a healthy meal for my kids also does not make me a chef. I know a lot of chefs. They work crazy hours, give up holidays, and in many cases are true artists. My Mac n cheese surprise with broccoli bits is not art. The same way that other moms knowing how to use coupons or keep a household budget is not the same as my financial degree that I worked my ass off for and continue to work my ass off for in my demanding as fuck job and continued education.

So pretty much – this is crap.

I have always thought that everyone should be an equal and tried to accomplish that. (Really, it more inbuilt, it’s not like I’m thinking every day, “try to do better”) tried to be an equal. Not just as a parent but as a partner. That doesn’t mean every day will be 50/50, it doesn’t mean I always succeed but it does mean that overall, there is and both people feel they are contributing to the relationship, to parenting.

That Easter Chill

Holidays bring happy times and cold quick rashes of fear. These are almost always brought on by surprises coming at your knees. Or at least knee level in the form of – and this is what makes it piercingly painful and progressively poignant – words said in the most sweetest, excited happy way possible.

Words like “Happy Easter, Daddy” shouted behind you. OK to be honest they weren’t said any louder than any other time but the bunny ears I had on at the time magnified the sound.

Rebel Without Ability to Read

Do you need an explanation for cuteness? alright, today was Crazy Hair Day today at the pre-school. My idea of just cutting random bits of hair off was vetoed (but really if I saw that, that person crazy). I gelled it up with two different brands – something and Bed Head for the jeans and a white t-shirt, mod / Bowery boy / 50s style look. IMG_3042

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I Saw You

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Eddie sets himself up for working on his Pinewood Derby car. It was satisfying to get as far as we did in one night – the car is literally taking shape.

Jack Sings – You Are So Beautiful To Me

Last night at dinner Jack broke into song, looking a little at me but mostly at Carrie:
Imagine the sweetest little boy voice ever, slowly singing, accompanied with a shy smile, ending with self-applause (and applause from parents a beat later).

“You are so beautiful I see.
You’re everything I see.
You are everything to see.
You are so wonderful I see.

I had no idea who sang it originally, or how he got that song in his head. I was a little too stunned to remember to ask. I found out it was Joe Cocker and the actual words are below. I have now bought the song to put on my iPhone.

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

You are so wonderful
To me
You are so wonderful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so wonderful
To me

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

Jasper Stark – 11 months old today

Almost a year old. Yep, that time flies fast.

These photos are Jasper this morning. He sits up. He kneels and stands up all over the place now. He does not walk, yet, though when he pulls himself up on a chair, on an ottoman, he will stand for 30 mins or so.

He waves now if you wave to him; he claps his hands, he claps his feet. He has a sly smile. He laughs a lot. He sleeps less. A lot less, so much so yesterday the daycare remarked on. “He seems to .. not sleep.” He has big eyes, big feet. Lightning quick grabbing glasses. Likes his crawling freedom. Over the weekend we took a picture of him looking an awful lot like his great grand dad J.R. Anderson.

Jasper J.C. Stark, 11 months old today. :D We’re celebrating with a BBQ in your honor in February.

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This is me in a Poker Tournament

I could never play competitively for one reason; I would strangle the motherfuckers sitting there playing with their chips nonstop. Are you a fucking bored 5 year old that can’t sit still for 10 seconds or is this actually a strategy to annoy people? If it is, then I should be able to use my strategy of breaking your fucking fingers to shut you the fuck up.

Or, of course, I could ride that wave of white noise to victory.

Learn Music With Two Sites. Then Rock. Or Strum. Or Whatever.

You can learn music using these two websites together, just sitting at our keyboard. Right?

This one tells you the basic of musical notes and reading music.

This one is a Google Doodle that can let you hit the keyboard letters for the right notes A B C D E F G

It’s Hard to Find Good Metal

Gun Shy assassin is the podcast / site I just found. I’m going to plug in the podcast in a few minutes (picked at random #13) but the site is so full of enthusiasm I recommend it to find some jewels. No one can like it all, but there will be some guitar crunches, symphonic vocals or actual meaningful lyrics that you won’t forgot. – Gun Shy Assassin

Buy Weather-Proofed Windows or Proof Them Yourself?

The sun – you can’t live with too much of it, you can’t live without it.

We wanted screens so we could open our windows and doors at night to let the cooler air in. A year later after we first thought of the idea, we did something about it. In Arizona it doesn’t get that cool at night in the summer. This is obviously an understatement.

At night, in Phoenix for at least two months of the summer the temperature doesn’t drop below 85 degrees. In Seattle that’s the almost panic-inducing high during the day. In London that’s a heatwave that tests the mad dogs.

Arizona is home to some of the hottest summer weather in the county – it’s like staring down the sun – and keeping homes protected from the heat and sunlight can be a bit challenging. But we were just looking to stay cool as it got cooler. So this summer we went to Ace Hardware and measured out a couple of cheap screens and frames. They do the job. The cats – and now dog – stay in at night and we get a welcome fresh air breeze.

But doing that got us – ok maybe just me – thinking of grander things we can do. Weather-proofing means keeping the house a comfortable temperature – whether beating back Jack Frost or keeping your foot on the throat of the pits of hell’s heat.

It starts with the window frames.

Every choice you’ll take on has its pluses and minuses. It’s not so difficult, just a lot of variables.

If you look for weather-proofed windows which match well with the Arizona climate, vinyl is one of the best fits. It offers great energy efficiency in terms of both hot as well as cold weather. Proper installation prevents air from leaking and it is practical for the not so picky home owner. It’s low maintenance and since Arizona is not given to extremely wet weather during the year there is no need for homeowners to worry about water and moisture issues. The downside is, vinyl does not age well in over-bearing heat.

Selecting the Glass
Glass construction is one of the most important considerations in determining quality weather-proofed windows. First, never entertain the thought of purchasing single-pane windows. It’ll save you money but really it will not. Even if you plan to move out of your home soon, single-pane glass is a negative for people thinking of buying.

The windows you’ll want to buy are vacuum-sealed, argon filled and double-paned. Even though we wanted to save a lot of money I often go for the medium option – nothing stupidly expensive, but never – or hardly ever – the cheapest option either. With cheap windows you really do not save money i the long run.

Don’t Forget the View
Now having said double-paned is the way to go, this will not work if you have a spectacular view of the Superstitions or any other scenic reminder of this great world. In this case you can install, I found out, picture windows that have gas-filled interiors or over-sized casement widows.

But in many homes, what works to increase the charm of a Phoenix home is shutters. Close them up during the day and your house stays – largely cool. This depends on the materials the house is made of, of course, and how much thought has been put into energy efficiency during construction.

Other Options
There are other options besides replacing windows, though these can look bad pretty quickly. Solar films and solar screens remove a lot of light – and almost all UV light – from the equation and is EXTREMELY economical. But from what I’ve seen, try it on small bathroom windows, skylights or other, largely out-of-the-way panes that no one looks through much and can’t be seen from outside either. They do provide a sense of privacy.

We only rent right now so we wouldn’t be paying for any of this. But if we want changes, doing a lot of the research ahead of time will increase the chance we get something we like.

Cub Scout Trip, Shame About the Pictures

Bug had his first Cub Scout camping trip over the weekend. Dad had his first camping trip in … oh, quite a while. I can’t quite remember the last time but it might have been the firefighters camp out in Omak.

But, since I keep on forgetting my camera, all i have are these four from my cellphone. They are in chronological order: 1) The borrowed tent, just after being put up 2) Bug reading in said tent a few hours later 3) The dawn the first morning. 4) How bug ended up sleeping, the second morning.

We never checked if there were missing parts to the tent we borrowed from someone at Vertical Measures (hi, Jenn). We got it up in record time in the beam of the headlights.

We never checked if there were missing parts to the tent we borrowed from someone at Vertical Measures (hi, Jenn). We got it up in record time in the beam of the headlights.

For some reason it was about 11:00 and Bug wanted to read a book by flashlight inside the tent. He did for a coupe of minutes then said he was tired.

For some reason it was about 23:15 and Bug wanted to read a book by flashlight inside the tent. He did for a couple of minutes then said he was tired.

On the first morning of Cub Scouts Camp. I took a lot of photos because I woke up at 6:10.

On the first morning of Cub Scouts Camp. I took a lot of photos because I woke up at 6:10.

Bug moved around at night, though into quite sure how he did this. He should've been cold, he did not complain.

Bug moved around at night, though I’m not quite sure how he did it to this extent. He should’ve been cold, he did not complain.

You Signed Up for This – and Other Bullshit Reasoning

Whenever someone criticizes a company that they have investment in (time, energy, connections, etc.) for changing something, you hear one or often both of two things. 1) It’s free, quit yer bitching 2) This is what you signed up for.

In other words, you have no right to complain…

… what are you a customer or something?

While I have some small (minor, tiny, barely there, infinitesimal ) sympathy for the 1st point, the second is always bullshit. Let’s say it’s iTunes. You start with Version 1. You get through versions 1-5 and you even take the time to look at the User Agreements or at least read summary’s of what has changed. You can deal. Bu then there’s something that says (this didn’t happen but) they will be releasing all your music choices to a public information area (Ping) so people can find their friend’s music choices. But they offer an opt out where your name won’t be attached but your music list will be.  Or anything not bought in iTunes won’t be available for others to see. Whatever.

That’s painful but you like their adherence to privacy and keep going. Then, they say, GOOD NEWS, we’re going to make your user experience better. We are introducing 25 different filters for you to work with and you can opt-in privacy for each of them. If you do nothing, it’s all out there.

Fuck that. A lot of other people say fuck that and Apple retreats and says, well, OK, if you don’t do anything everything will be private. Good company, they got it.

Then three years later they casually make a mention – or more likely someone accidentally finds out – that a lot of that information IS out there. This forces Apple to say, yeah, sorry but we’re also going to be attaching your name back to all that data and well, sorr-y, we’re just a company.

Fuck that. But, you signed up for it and if you don’t like it you can go somewhere else. After all, it’s a free organization tool. Sure, except now it’s part of your life and really, no, there isn’t a great alternative.

Perhaps you’ve seen through the charade here but substitute Facebook for any mention of iTunes or Apple above and you come to Facebook’s announcement today that people can find you by name even if you don’t want them to and had previously deliberately stopped this ability.

Great. As you say i don’t have a right to be pissed as a customer? Because I am a Facebook customer who is tired of having to spend so much time just to protect privacy – something that shouldn’t have to be protected from the very company who should be helping me out on this front. Just read this section of that linked TechCrunch article:

To be fair, the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” feature was likely misunderstood by lots of people. At first glance, you might assume it means that strangers can’t find your profile. But that’s incorrect. There have been lots of ways to navigate to your profile, like clicking your name on a photo you’re tagged in, finding your name in a friend’s friend list, or combing through Likes on a mutual friend’s News Feed post.

With the roll out of Graph Search, the avenues for sniffing out someone’s profile grew exponentially. Basically every piece of personal information (and soon the content you post about) could bring you up in a search.

Even in that short paragraph it shows you the level of effort needed to protect details. Or, more importantly, kids details. you thought you were safe, but then whiiiip, that carpet gets pulled out from underneath you. Should we asked to abandon this tool that has become part of our lives. And by many reports, even if we do , even if we deactivate our account, a large entirety of information stays up.

How does one truly opt-out once you’re in. People who have trusted get screwed. People who were never trusting, are OK, but who wants an Earth full of people who believe everything is untrustworthy? Trust no-one is a catchy phrase for the X-Files and generally a sentiment to be applauded. But how much of your live do you need to change every-time someone or some company shows a total lack of respect for you – yet you have, in some way, become dependent on them. I could call and e-mail and mail my far flung friends. But that isn’t shared conversation.

Finished Game of Thrones Book 1

I finished it with the birth of dragons at 21:21. It’s personal.

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Creating and Adding Friends to Google+ Circles

Not as easy as it should be.

I got there but when I created “Playing Cards” it added 143 people. I thought, cool, how did it do that? Then I created Journalism’s Future Circle and I thought, uh-oh, it’s the same 143 and how did they get picked? Three minutes later I found out how to remove them from the group. I was just sticking within the Google + environment to figure it out; to see how helpful it was.

It’s not as easy as it should be (but already Facebook can suck it. :D )

It took a few clicks, pretty much anti-intuitive – to get to the page that helps: “Chose the people in “your circles.” This is where I first found out about how to create circles. Then I had to guess and click on “Learn more about circles” to see a link to “Removing people from your circles.” The first instruction baffled me for a little bit: 1. Place your cursor in the top left corner for the Google+ main menu. Click People.” I didn’t really have an idea where the main menu was, having tried to navigate around Google + exactly zero seconds.

At this point I saw a Discover tab which I hoped to go to soon and at this point I wondered why Google had thought adding 143 people – all of my contacts with Google+ accounts – was a good idea. Especially when I then realized that I would have to delete them out of the circle ONE BY ONE. Or delete the circle, which I didn’t want to do for fear it would say it was a duplicate or mess things up further.

I got lost for a little while adding classmates to Following or Acquaintances or friends – just a handful. I found someone who owes me money – about $900 for rent in college.

That discover tab is pretty pointless. It points you to celebrity and big names, thus perpetuating their celebrity and bigness but not actually being useful. You’d think with all their algorithm expertise they could search better to help find better people. You know, like they do with ads in your Gmail inbox.

So, adding people to Circles is NOT as easy as it could be. It could be because of the subjects I chose, Playing Cards and Journalism’s Future. I concentrated my efforts on the first one and I found companies, but harder to find people. I did not just friend anyone who mentioned paying cards, but those who I thought would enjoy and even benefit from any news and posts I did about paying cards. And vice versa; I didn’t want to hear from people in that group unless it was about playing cards. One reason – I didn’t know who the hell they were and I have enough information on board.

Meanwhile, though I like the idea of hangouts – and the page that says which ones are LIVE RIGHT NOW, they occupy way too much real estate on my Google Plus page. I want them to disappear and just be a tab at the top, because honestly, they do not need to be there.

[edited for typos 10/10/2013]

Bradley Manning’s Statement After Sentencing

This is a statement from Pfc. Bradley Manning following his sentencing to 35 years in prison on several charges related to releasing state secrets. I do not know if he wrote it all, but to me it seems well thought out. I do wonder if there were other ways to go about it effectively. I think he is a modern-day hero:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based intentions, it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Jasper Stark at 6 Months

197I could put a slew of photos here but I’m organizing those, still (of course).

Today Jasper Stark turned 6 months old .He celebrated by trying carrots for the first time and made his usually range of cute-tastic faces – ad kept going. He has no food dislikes, yet. He ate with brothers Eddie and Jack who have lovely, expressive faces as well.

Jasper is amazingly cute. It is a complete honor to watch him grow up and I am cherishing every second because I know in a blink of an eye he’ll be 1, 3, 5 , 10 ….

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Everywhere We Go – The Unit

Ah, I’ve been humming and starting to sing this for a few months now and then I stop because I don’t know all the words. Then I resolve to look up the lyrics and then I forget. But I remembered less than a minute ago:

(Leader sings a line and all repeat)

Everywhere we go-o
Pe-ople want to know-o
Who we a-are
And where we come from
So we tell them
We’re from [name of town]
Mighty, mighty [town]
And if they can’t hear us
We sing a little louder

(Repeat, get louder each time until you reach your limit)


And if they can’t hear us
They must be DEAF!!!!

WordPress InBound Writer, Due for Testing

The WordPress Inbound Writer plug-in, courtesy of a find by someone at work, looks like it would quickly work to improve site rankings. But, as is usually my first thought, how does creativity suffer? In other words, surely it continues to pull from the same sources. I mean it looks like it could actually help with college papers, as well.

I hope to try it out in the next few days at a different site. If you’ve played with it, how did it work for you?