April 30, 2010

Sneeze laughs

Aiden sneezed during bath time tonight, and thought my exaggerations hysterical.

Posted by Ryan at 09:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mark My Words

Some day, I will take over the world.

Today's not looking that likely.

Neither is Saturday.

You know what? The weekend in general just doesn't work for me.

Some day though. SOME DAY.

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April 28, 2010

Coping Mechanisms

When I went to live in Tokyo during my senior year of high school, all those many years back in 1992, I had to discover several different coping mechanisms to help me mentally resolve the waves of culture shock that washed over me on a daily basis.

You may find this hard to believe, but growing up for 17 years in a small Minnesota town, with a population of just over 1,000, and transitioning into a major metropolitan city of over 20 million people is a rather jarring experience. Throw into the mix the fact virtually the entire Japanese population didn't regularly speak my language, and you can adequately start to appreciate just how out of my element I actually felt. Every day for the first couple of months brought with it a new adventure, and there was no telling if each new adventure would be a pleasure or a nightmare.

So, yeah: coping mechanisms.

During my first week in Tokyo, I was put up in a hotel located near a fairly popular shopping street, and one of the first shops I encountered while exploring that street was a fascinating model store, where a customer could find models of practically anything you could imagine. There were model cars, model airplanes, model buildings and even model humans, all in neatly stacked boxes, just waiting to be purchased and assembled.

Even though I hadn't assembled a model in years, I found myself sequestered in my hotel room my second day in Tokyo, meticulously putting together a model of a ceremonial Japanese parade shrine. Over the next several months, I would assemble roughly two dozen other models, ranging from a model Porche, to model Japanese swords, to model Japanese castles. In retrospect, I think I was trying to understand my new world by assembling a tiny Japan I at least had some control over.

But assembling models was only a gateway coping mechanism. It wasn't long before I discovered video games, which was quickly followed by gambling, which wasn't that much of a transition, since most video game parlors were housed in the same building as Pachinko parlors.

For those not familiar with Pachinko, it's basically a type of Japanese gambling machine where you try to manipulate a bunch of tiny steel balls, via gravity, down a brightly lit panel consisting of a bunch of pins that ping and pong the balls this way and that, not unlike a vertical pinball game. The idea is to guide the balls, if you can, into certain slots and cubbies which, if you do so, results in the reward of many more steel balls. If you're good at Pachinko, you can accrue a lot of steel balls, which can be redeemed for cash--albeit in a somewhat shady, back alley sort of way..

While I wasn't particularly good at Pachinko, I was nevertheless an enthusiastic participant. Nothing soothed frazzled, culture-shocked nerves quite like burning through $50 worth of Pachinko balls. I would later discover most Pachinko parlors also had slot machines, which were immensely easier to understand, but just as capable of separating me from my money. However, I have to admit, I did have some winning streaks that kept me flush with cash for quite some time. I think such winning streaks maybe happened three times over the course of that year.

Video games, however, held their own unique appeal, to say nothing of their own unique surprises. I was surprised, for example, by the regular appearance of video games dedicated to Tetris, of all things. I mean, I had played Tetris for many years on my Nintendo and, later, on a Game Boy, and I had long since grown tired of that irritating game with its irritating music, so it was a bit surprising to see it featured so regularly in Japanese video game parlors.

The mystery surrounding the appearance of so many Tetris consoles quickly evaporated once I discovered the "reward" for completing different Tetris levels. I was seated at a different video game, based off the movie "Hook," when I noticed the young man beside me was playing a particularly fast-paced game of Tetris. He completed the level, and suddenly an image of a nearly completely naked Japanese girl flashed up on the screen for about 20 seconds, before fading back to the Tetris game and the next level.

I was initially dumbfounded, but I have to admit to a renewed interest in the game of Tetris. I watched that young man play Tetris for the next half hour, and I'm here to tell you, he was REALLY GOOD at Tetris. The blocks descended at rates so fast, they were almost a blur, yet he was able clear level after level, and he was rewarded each time with 20 seconds of viewing different Japanese women in varying levels of undress.

The genius of this pornography reward system was immediately obvious to me. For years, I'd played Tetris and was rewarded for clearing each level with. . . MORE Tetris. No WONDER I got so sick of that game. But there, in Tokyo, I saw a Tetris/porn reward system that was obviously resulting in a population of young Japanese males who were just plain awesome at Tetris. I'm not saying it necessarily resulted in better school grades, generally, but I can't imagine it really hurt.

And, I have to tell you, it really made stop and consider whether assembling models and Pachinko parlor gambling were my best choice of coping mechanisms.

Posted by Ryan at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Greed Bridler

Ryan: "Goldman execs accused of ‘unbridled greed’" Isn't greed, by definition, unbridled?

Caroline: A more interesting headline would be "Goldman execs accused of bridled greed"

Ryan: "Bridled Greed" is the title to our third book we're not going to write.

Caroline: That there greed was bridled.

Ryan: "Ponzi Schemer desperately wanted to take advantage of the situatioin that presented itself to him. After all, he could make millions of dollars if only he'd act. In the end, however, he let the opportunity pass him by. He bridled his greed."

Ryan: You greed bridlin'?

Caroline: Yeah I do!

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April 19, 2010

It's Volcanic

The Roman god, Vulcan, has apparently been extra busy at his forge, according to practically every major news report filed by every news agency across the globe over the past couple weeks. Seriously, if you don't have at least some passing understanding about the recent volcanic activity in Iceland, you must be living in a particularly deep cave, with top-tier insulation and no cell phone or WiFi connectivity.

Leave it to Mother Nature to light the fuse on a moderately-sized volcano to underscore just how puny human emissions actually are by comparison. "You think YOU'RE capable of changing the climate? Check out WHAT I CAN DO!" Honestly, there's no reason for Mother Nature to show off like this, in my opinion. Okay, Mother Nature, we get it; you're better than us. Jeez.

Leaving aside the fact the volcanic activity has melted glacial ice, ground airplane traffic to a near standstill, and has blanketed wide swaths of Europe under choking ash, I think the news media is missing an even more important story here: that being the sheer number of people who have died trying to pronounce the name of the first volcano: Eyjafjalljokull.

Seriously, who names a volcano "Eyjafjalljokull?" It's like someone asked a three-year-old child to bang on a keyboard for five seconds, and the result was the name of the volcano. "Good job, little Timmy! You just named a volcano!"

As if to underscore how difficult it is to pronounce Eyjafjalljokull, another Icelandic volcano was reported to have started erupting this week, named "Hekla." Although the report was later deemed inaccurate, I suspect Iceland fabricated the story in an attempt to apologize for all the instances of "Eyjafjalljokull" appearing in news articles over the past couple of weeks and announced "Oh. There's ANOTHER volcano! This volcano is named. . . Hekla? How does Hekla sound? Better than Eyjafjalljokull, right?"

I could almost hear the collective sigh of relief expressed when the name of the second volcano was announced. Journalists worldwide were poised at their keyboards--which would all no doubt melt from the friction of repeatedly typing "Feyjdonallajoolakullafunill"--and they all started weeping with joy when they first heard "Hekla" reported, although some of the geekier reporters were probably secretly disappointed since they had a keyboard macro all set up for "Feyjdonallajoolakullafunill."

Now that I think about it further, Eyjafjalljokull would make a most excellent cuss word. Imagine accidentally whacking your thumb with a hammer--as opposed to intentionally doing so, I guess--and trying to yell out "Eyjafjalljokull!!" You'd probably snap a vocal cord. At the very least, you'd reconsider how much swearing you do.

Posted by Ryan at 09:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Turdsterpiece Theater

Caroline: Oh, here's a great story for you. It involves poop.

Ryan: I'm all ears.

Caroline: Apparently B goes into the closet now to poop. He goes in and closes the doors and everything.

Ryan: How Tom Cruisey of him.

Caroline: So the other day he goes in there, but brings his sippy cup.

Ryan: Wait till he brings a magazine.

Caroline: Marc said it was the loudest poop he's ever heard B take. The grunting, that is.

Ryan: That's precious.

Caroline: Apparently, mid-grunt, B says "NO DRINK" and M heard the sippy cup hit the floor and B then continued to poop.

Ryan: LOLO!

Caroline: Right? Man did I LOLO when I heard that one.

Ryan: Oh shit! That's just too damned funny.

Caroline: And you know he was a-scowlin' and gruntin'.

Ryan: And I can totally imagine Marc doing the same thing.

Caroline: OMG, I know

Ryan: A good night out drinkin', and Marc the next day planted on the toilet, grunting and yelling "NO DRINK!"

Caroline: LOLO

Ryan: I have my own poop story to tell. But it's about me.

Caroline: Not surprising.

Ryan: So I drove home from work Thursday, and I turned the corner into Country Club Manor by the former Pump -N- Munch (now Andy's Liquor). And I see my father-in-law, Dave, pushing Aiden in his stroller, and I think "that should give me plenty of time to get home and poop."

Caroline: foreshadow'd!

Ryan: So, I get home, change out of my work clothes, fire up Texas Hold-Em on the Zune, and hunker down for a good dumpy do. And it was a GOOD dumpy do. Five stars. I look out the window and see Dave and Aiden ambling up the sidewalk, so I figure it's time to wrap things up.

Ryan: I flush. Nada.

Ryan: I flush again. Nada.

Caroline: Ay dios mio!

Ryan: I just KNOW Dave is going to probably pee first thing when he gets in the house, and I totally don't want him seeing THAT.

Ryan: For reasons that escape me, we don't own a plunger.

Caroline: heh

Ryan: So, I grab the next best thing: a toilet brush.

Ryan: Dave's now coming up the outside steps. I start breaking apart my uber turd with the toilet brush.

Caroline: This is pretty disgusting.

Caroline: But, you're Ryan.

Ryan: Oh, it gets better.

Ryan: I eventually get Monstro The Wonder Turd broken up, and I used the brush as a kind of plunger to get the plumbing working again. Dave's now in the house, putting Aiden in his Jumperoo.

Ryan: As you might imagine, the toilet brush is now a filthy instrument.

Caroline: Ugh

Ryan: So, I'm waiting for the toilet to refill so I can swish the brush around and dislodge the clinging poop.

Ryan: To jumpstart the process, I tap the brush handle on the bowl.

Caroline: oh, god

Ryan: Of course, poop splatters the wall.

Caroline: Natch

Ryan: Dave walks by the bathroom; the door being open because I figured I had plenty of time.

Ryan: I'm standing there with a poop covered toilet brush, with poop on the wall.

Ryan: What do I say?

Ryan: "I'll just be a minute, Dave, I'm cleaning the toilet."

Ryan: Which is basically the adult equivalent of "NO DRINK!"

Ryan: Dave, not missing a beat, says "Take your time; it looks like it really needs it."

Caroline: LOLO! Awky

Ryan: This has been your Monday installment of "Turdsterpiece Theater."

Caroline: Never disappointing.

Posted by Ryan at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 18, 2010

Daddy Day

My wife complained of stomach pains this morning, and then asked to snuggle. Combined, I knew she was bound for the barf bucket. True to my intuition, she was hunched down on the floor, drooling, about an hour later.

I raced down to the basement to get a bucket, and I spent about a minute--precious time--opening joint compound buckets looking for a good receptacle. I even considered overturning the cat box but. . . ewwwww.

I finally found a bucket, and almost the moment I put it under my wife's chin, the gastronomic release began. Dominos Pizza with extra pineapple mostly, which made me dread that I would be undergoing a similar fate. So far, I've been spared, and her symptoms have grown to include body aches and chills, so we're looking at a full-blown stomach flu. Just can't wait to find out if I get it, which I probably will.

Point being: today was a Daddy day. The boy was all mine from pretty much 6:15 a.m. onward, while Mommy did the whole Typhoid Mary thing in the bedroom, although she emerged valiantly to be with our son at least for a little while.

Aiden and I went for two walks, one with a stroller, and one with the body harness. I prefer the stroller for ease of use, but the body harness is nice for the shorter walks that are complete before the extra weight makes my spine telescope. He laughed when I tickled his arm pits, but only sparingly, because too much is too much.

As nice as the bonding time was, I wanted to use today to get as much done on my latest freelance article as I could but, as it was. . . nada. Deadline is the 26th. My window is closing. Especially since I have another freelance article interview coming up next week.

Sent several literary book agent inquiries out tonight, too. E-mail inquiries, so who knows how that will turn out. I figure a book with the title "How to Cheat Death and Have Fun Doing it" should generate some sort of interest.


Posted by Ryan at 08:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 15, 2010

Stop Ruining The Internet For Everyone

Sometimes, you really have to question the current state of the Internet. Remember when blog comment engines used to be fun and entertaining places to joke and zing each other, and people were generally familiar with who the other commenters were?

Then news organizations finally jumped into the fray, tacking comment engines to their news articles, and the Internet has sucked ever since. Disclosure: I sometimes leave comments on news articles, so I'm admittedly part of the problem.

But, honestly, I read a news article today about a meteor fireball that lit up the skies over Iowa and Wisconsin last night, and yet the comment thread that followed actually devolved into a political flamewar. I mean, what the hell, man?

Seriously, if you really find yourself in a comment thread attached to a story about a meteor fireball, and you feel compelled to write a missive about Democrat overreach or Republican stonewalling:


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April 14, 2010

Tonight is nice, despite a scare

Tonight, the basement buzzes with the sound of a fan drying sheetrock joint compound. And a thunderstorm.

The fan isn't drying out the thunderstorm. That would be one hell of a fan.

Still, tonight, there is a thunderstorm.

The boy threw up tonight. Not, like, a spit up, but copious amounts of puke. It actually was coming out of his nose, and he kept choking on it, because he was desperate to breathe, which he probably was, considering how much puke there was.

20 minutes later, he was fine, and laughing. Now he's sleeping, despite some distress about experiencing his first thunderstorm.

By the way, if April showers bring May flowers, what happens when you already have April flowers?

I don't care. We deserve this early spring.

Posted by Ryan at 09:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Up With People

Caroline: I don't recall ever being able to pick an image.

Caroline: The banana just kind of appeared.

Caroline: That is a fantastic sentence.

Ryan: That will be the title of the book we'll never write.

Caroline: We have a lot of books we'll never write.

Ryan: It will also be the final sentence of the book, followed by ellipses. . .

Caroline: I heart ellipses ...

Ryan: "As he drew his last breath, Ponzi Schemer only had enough life left in him to ask the eternal question: 'How is babby formed?' The banana just kind of appeared. . . "

Caroline: People will be BEGGING for a sequel.

Caroline: And by "people," I mean Donna.

Ryan: Donna is people.

Caroline: That can be the dedication of our book. "Donna is people." She'll understand.

Ryan: "This book is dedicated to Donna. She's people, too."

Caroline: People is a funny word if you say it enough times.

Posted by Ryan at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2010

Time Travel

My evenings have taken on a routine that's both tremendously predictable and completely off script. Everything depends on the temperament of the baby boy at any given moment, and every day he's changed in some subtle way that makes every new day the equivalent of shaking an Etch-a-Sketch.

If you were to break down a typical evening, it would look entirely bland: 5 p.m. - return from work. 6 p.m. eat and feed the little dude. 7 p.m. - Bathe the boy, because he's basically filthy from his 6 p.m. feeding. 8 p.m. - Put him to bed.

Interspersed within that three hour window, however, is a multitude of minor dramas that seem important at the time but are quickly forgotten. There are bumped heads, and forceful poop grunting sessions and flashes of incredible cuteness intermixed with moments of sheer exasperation and exhaustion. And then we go to bed, knowing full well we'll be embarking on the exact same unknown adventure the next day.

And it all makes going to work seem all the more pointless. It's not simply that work takes me away from my boy for eight hours a day, it's also that I'm so freakin' exhausted, I can barely focus on work to begin with.

I try to diminish the cacaphony of the 5 -8 p.m. routine by ordering take-out food from time to time, which removes the food preparation component that can throw our evenings for such a loop, but even that doesn't always go according to plan.

Tonight, I left work fully intending to call ahead and order BBQ take-out, but when I got to my car, I discovered my cell phone was dead. You can't exactly call and order take-out with a dead cell phone, so I decided to go home and charge the phone and THEN go and get take-out. But then my wife got home a half hour later than normal, which meant we'd actually sit down to eat after 6 p.m. at the earliest, so our routine was already in jeopardy. Throw into the mix the fact she wanted to go to HOM furniture to look at a sectional, and I just knew our night was screwed.

I returned from my take-out run before my wife and son returned from HOM, so I had a precious 10 minutes to eat by myself and watch television, and what was on but "The Hunt for Red October," which was a routine viewing staple during my last year of college since my roommates and I couldn't afford cable, so we basically watched a collection of VCR movies over and over again. And since we were usually too lazy to swap out the tapes, Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin were on a perpetual loop come dinner time.

For a brief ten minute window, I was back in 1997, eating dinner while watching "The Hunt for Red October," and it occurred to me just how great I had it back then. I could sleep as much as I wanted. I could skip class if I knew I could get away with it. I could play "X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter" until my eyes fell out of my sockets, if I so wished. I was basically free to do whatever the hell I wanted, but I'm sure I just whined and complained back then, which is just a tragedy, really.

Anyway, it's now time for bed, and I'm totally exhausted, and I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow wondering why the hell I have to go back to work, when I'd sure as hell prefer staying in bed and dreaming of a TIE Advanced fighter in the cross-hairs of my A-Wing.

1997, man. I had it all that year.

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April 11, 2010

Poop Pushin'

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April 08, 2010

Evening Thoughts

There was a time when I thought I'd be one of those parents who would never miss an opportunity to expose my children to all the new and exciting things this world has to offer. To quote that overplayed Creed song: "Welcome to this world, I'll show you everything. With eyes wide open. Repeat."

What I never really took into account was that such an all encompassing approach to parenting is basically impossible. You can't show your children EVERYTHING. Hell, I haven't even seen EVERYTHING, so how the hell can I reasonably expect to show my children EVERYTHING.

But, even more basic than that, I'm learning that children don't necessarily WANT to see EVERYTHING. I always thought I'd be able to sit down with my son and read "Green Eggs and Ham," with him paying rapt attention. That's simply not the case. NOTHING holds his rapt attention, except for those times when he's somewhat constipated and is dedicated to the serious task of trying to push a small continent worth of crap into his diaper. During such episodes, it looks like he's really thinking things through, but then the frantic grunting starts, and I realize it was all just an illusion.

Just keeping him entertained is enough of a chore by itself, and it's made all the more difficult because I never know what the hell is going to entertain him at any given time. One moment, he'll smile and laugh if I whistle, the next moment, whistling annoys him to tears. How can I even consider the possibility of showing him EVERYTHING, when I just tried showing him a new toy, and the result was startled crying. The point is, I can't show him EVERYTHING because there's a good chance he might not LIKE EVERYTHING.

Besides, just showing him SOME THINGS is monumentally exhausting. By the time I've spent four hours with the boy, I seriously need a nap. You can't show a child ANYTHING when you're unconscious with sleep.

I've basically reached the somewhat disheartening conclusion that each day is just an improvisational act, and tomorrow's show will only resemble today's show in a precious few details. For some reason, I thought, as a parent, I'd have more control, when in fact I have none at all. It's all just an elaborate and perpetually improvised balancing act to get through to the next day. And I have no idea what life lessons, if any, the boy will process as he sleeps at night.

On a perhaps unrelated note, I managed to hang the final few pieces of sheetrock in the basement tonight. And, as Navin R. Johnson once declared, upon seeing his name in the phone book: "Things are going to start happening to me now!" Next week, the sheetrock finishing guy is coming in, since I decided that mudding and taping sheetrock is a job best left to the professionals. Also next week, a carpenter is coming in to install all the doors; once the sheetrock is done, and we've completed all the painting, the carpenter will return to install the floor molding. Once that's complete, the carpet arrives and will require installation by an appropriate professional. In other words, much money will leave my possession in the coming weeks. Just doing my part to help improve this damaged economy of ours'.

I stood in the basement tonight, and it occurred to me that the boy will likely have no recollection of what the basement looked like for the first months of his life; all the sheetrock pieces, all the dust, all the tools, the buckets of joint compound -- that will all have been mentally processed, I'm sure, but ultimately forgotten. What he'll remember, what he'll grow up in, is the finished basement; the carpet he'll learn to walk on, the walls he'll learn to draw on, the whole basement world that he'll just remember as always having been finished.

That ungrateful little bastard. . .

Posted by Ryan at 10:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2010

The future is now

I'll admit it, when I first heard of the concept of the Google Street View project years ago, it struck me as ludicrous. Build a searchable database of 360 degree image views of every street in the world? Stop smoking crack, Google!

And then they went and did it, which just goes to show what you can accomplish on crack.

Okay, they haven't actually gotten every single street in the world photographed and archived, but what they have done is pretty damned impressive. While they may not have the street corner where my childhood home in Harmony, Minn. on file. . . yet, they sure do have my current house on file, which was kind of disconcerting to discover. I thought, "I live in a nothing little corner of this city, there's no way they. . . holy shit, there it is."

It's not just the fact I found myself looking at my house on Google maps, it's the level of detail you can discern. The fake tombstones in front of the steps indicate it's Halloween--or we're really spooky goth people--and the tarp covering the dirt pile in front of the new driveway dates the image back to Halloween, 2007. I found that realization pinged my nostalia area of the brain, as I realized that was the year we camped in Yellowstone, poured the driveway extension, and we weren't even married yet. It was also the year I made a lot of money from Google, ironically.

But, I wasn't really hit with nostalgia until I did a Google Street View tour of my old stomping grounds in Tokyo. I pulled up the street address of the apartment complex where I lived in 1992 - 1993 and:

View Larger Map

I was 17-years-old again, a rural Minnesota boy in over my head in a city of 20 million people. Man, that took me back. It being Tokyo, of course, a lot of things had changed, so my virtual walking tour wasn't EXACTLY like I remembered, but it was pretty damned close.

The 7-11 on the corner that opened the same week I moved there:

View Larger Map

The Fuji-san bridge over the train tracks, so named because on the rare days there isn't smog, Mt. Fuji is perfectly framed in the distance:

View Larger Map

I've literally spent hours "walking" around in Tokyo, and I haven't even gotten to Kamakura yet, which could kill an entire weekend.

Posted by Ryan at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Feeling less useful

The thing about so many news Web sites now attaching comment engines to most of their articles (what James Lileks accurately described as "a slime trail of ignorant comments), I feel far less ambition to conduct the kind of fiskings I so enjoyed in years past.

I mean, sure, I could still take Nick Coleman's mind-drool columns behind the literary woodshed and administer the old smackdowns of yesterday, but then I read a comment that basically says "Nick you're an idiot who can't write," and I think "You know, that sums it up perfectly. I have nothing to add."

The Internet has evolved and passed me by, I fear. Alas.

Posted by Ryan at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2010

iPad Thoughts

It seems everyone who has an opinion and the ability to type somewhat coherently has an opinion about the iPad. And, seeing as I always have an opinion AND the ability to type more than coherently, here's my two cents.

The iPad: it's cool, but ultimately it's just another gadget that's going to further dilute an already diluted IT savvy marketplace.

People who love technological innovation will make a seamless transition to the iPad, and that number of people is no doubt in the millions, so Apple will once again swim in a Scrooge McDuck money bin full of cash.

But, really, people who have grown to love computers, will continue to prefer computers; and people who have grown to love Blackberries and other PDAs, will continue to prefer those gadgets; and people who have grown to love iPods, Zunes, Droids, etc., will continue to prefer those gadgets.

And newspapers, magazines and other legacy media will continue to scream "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!!!" and continue to lose their audiences.

For all its hype, the iPad will not save any particular industry segment, although I have no doubt many news media organizations will flock to the iPad, only to get financially burned, yet again, by the rapidly evolving world of technological innovation it has failed to understand and adapt to time and time and time again.

The bottom line. . . the line at the bottom. . . is consumers who have grown accustomed to a world of readily accessible and free data and information, will not acquiesce to any new online model that says "Pay Here." Granted, the digital world has gotten considerably more choked with data and information that's gotten increasingly more difficult to navigate, but given the choice between jumping digital hurdles for free, or paying to avoid the hurdles, the vast majority of online users will opt to jump through digital hurdles to access free content.

The iPad is just another digital distraction; something the media will fawn over but, ultimately, it will be just another in a long line of digital gadgetry that has a loyal following, but has a tough time gaining converts from other digital gadgetry. And the digital marketplace will continue to become even more diluted and confusing.

And, I guarantee you: someone, SOMEWHERE, will figure out how to craft spam for the iPad. That's as certain as death and taxes.

Posted by Ryan at 07:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 01, 2010

The First Day of April, No Foolin'

A good day.

I woke at 5:40 a.m. to the sound of my boy crying. I knew it was too early for him to be up, so I rocked him on the nursery rocking chair. He was out within 30 seconds, so I reclined the chair, and we shared an unconscious daddy/baby sleep session until 7:30.

The boy has us totally trained, not the other way around. Wife emerged from her precious sleep at 8 a.m., at which point I started my work preparation ritual: basically shaving, showering, weeping, cursing, driving, walking, and HELLO WORK! For the last five months, I've taken the stairs up six stories, but lately I've made a bargain with myself. If either of the two elevators are on the ground floor when I walk through the front door, I take the elevator; if not I take the stairs. It's funny how a lack of sleep will gradually alter your way of life. I should always take the stairs, just on personal principle, but I hate being slightly winded when my co-workers wish me "good morning."

By the way, today was the first day since. . . September. . . that I didn't walk from my car to my office wearing a coat. It's a mixed blessing, really. On the one hand: No coat! On the other hand: where do I store all my tech devices, wallet and keys? During the winter, I wear a coat with so many pockets, I'd make a D&D gnome envious; during the warmer months things get trickier. I carry, at a minimum, a wallet, my cell phone, my keys (with USB sticks!), and my Flip video camera (just in case I can become an instant citizen journalist). Stored in a coat, they aren't noticeable; in a front pants pocket, they look like rectangular erections.

Today was also a record warm day for Rochester, Minn., crushing the previous 2003 record of 71. At 82 degrees, it was fabulous. "Global Warming Climate Change!" you might scream. Meh. After a winter with a ridiculous near-record stretch of below 40 temps, I figure Mother Nature said "Fine, have some fun. I'll be back next week, shitheads."

Stopped into a Chinese restaurant on my way to my car from the office and, for the first time in three years, they got my wife's order wrong. Maybe it's the lack of adequate sleep, or I don't know, but hearing my wife complain about the food I waited around for after work just irked me. I mean, I'm sorry you got celery and pea pods instead of the white onions and green peppers you're used to. I'm also sorry you don't have have naked Nubian princes fanning you with ostrich feathers. Either way, I suspect you'll live.

I'm on baby duty tonight, which means I sit and monitor the baby. . . monitor. . . like I'm watching a stock ticker and waiting to yell BUY or SELL; the major difference being I advocate waiting several minutes while the baby cries before yelling SELL, while me wife races into the nursery to SELL before the second wail emanates from the boy's lungs. It's a philosophical baby-raising battle of wills, and so far I just let my wife have her way, since it basically means more sleep for me, at the very least.

Besides, she was correct in determining the baby was constipated earlier this week. He was. Totally was. I suspected he was as well, after witnessing him stop everything he was doing while suspended in his saucer toy, and basically grunting/screaming until his pacifier fell from his mouth. It was actually extreme comedy from my perspective, but it resulted in a tiny, highly compacted marble-sized piece of shit on his part. I knew there had to be more, considering the effort. And when the doctor put a lubricated pinkie up his bum, my suspicions were confirmed when several tightly packed Tootsie rolls emerged, amongst much crying.

The next day, after some MiraLax, "The Rest of the Story" as Paul Harvey would say, emerged, and good lord you could have planted a rain forest in that diaper, and the forest would have thrived for thousands of years.

Other than that, my life continues as it has for most of the last three months. Wake up. Amuse the boy for two hours at most. Wait for wife to wake up. Shower. Shave. Try to get to work by 9 a.m. Skip lunch. Leave work at 5 p.m. Repeat. Possible jiu-jitsu on Friday nights, if my wife isn't too frazzled.

I love my family. I just miss me and my old life, from time to time.

Posted by Ryan at 09:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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