30 November 2009

For a Less Hysterical Approach

Now here's some sound reasoning to our economic crisis.

Don't for a moment think that the current economic crisis is in any sense over or even on the way to recovery. Any 'recovery' now will be short lived and jobless unless something changes dramatically. The change could be reigning in government spending on wasteful adventures in the Middle East or it could be coming up with a fiscal policy that matches today's environment. Either way, Obama and Congress and the bureaucrats in Washington clearly don't have the will to change.

h/t Cunning Realist.

Updated: My favorite quote from the article:

Abandoning its role as neutral arbitrator, the Fed tilted in favor of capital over labor. The institution was remolded to conform with the right-wing market doctrine of chairman Alan Greenspan, and it was blinded to reality by his ideology (see my Nation article "The One-Eyed Chairman," September 19, 2005). --e

29 November 2009

Brief Status Report

Thanksgiving is over. We had the family here at out house to celebrate. All in all it went smoothly. My parents were in town, which helped immensely.

The girls' ability to communicate continues to improve. Alisa has started using two word combinations. I first noticed it about two weeks ago when we passed by the master bedroom, in which Leia was taking a nap, and Alisa said, "Leia nene." 'Nene' means 'to sleep' in baby-Japanese, being a childish conjugation of 'neru'. Yesterday as I walked to the bathroom Alisa said, "Daddy pooh-pooh", her only way of articulating anything to do with the bathroom.

Work basically is abysmal. I'm about as unmotivated as one can be.

An last, a picture to cheer me up. Here's the girls waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready.


23 November 2009

21 November 2009

Short People Can Help, Too

A couple more firsts this weekend for the girls on top of Alisa's potty use mentioned below.

They both went to bed in the same room last night. Leia went to sleep first and Alisa went up afterwards. It made for a very calm, comfortable night. I was asleep between them an hour later. I really love sleeping on futons. The futons being on the floor lets the girls wander around after they wake up. This usually affords us an extra fifteen precious minutes of sleep in the morning. The closeness of sleeping as a family, Japanese style, is also very satisfying.

Alisa also helped unload the groceries today. Her most capable maneuver was to take a box of corn flakes out of the bag, open the drawer, place the box correctly in the drawer next to the Teddy Puffs, and close the drawer. Its been a big week for her.

18 November 2009


That's my answer to the question posed by skepchick. Unfortunately, someone beat me to it. I guess its too obvious.

17 November 2009

Big Milestone

Alisa used the potty for the first time tonight. She still made a mess on the floor; but, it was a really great step forward. Leia became jealous.

Now we have to work on timing and consistency.

It Reeks In Here

There are those who think I'm going off the deep end with the bailout topic; but, everything about the topic smells deeply of malfeasance. Meteor Blades points out, these thieves are stealing from you and me.

In the wake of the worst layoff for the products for which I'm responsible, I cannot help but be furious at the upper echelon capitalists. The bank leaders who pulled off the bailout really do deserve a good tar and feathering. My wife lost her job and is going through the rigors of job hunting right now. Many of my friends are in the same boat. For some of them, they were the only income for their family. My actions through the coming year will have direct impact on many people I care about. Though the bailout might have saved us from a depression, the details didn't have to be this way at all. Warren Buffet had a good deal with Goldman Sacs while you and I got the sucker's deal.

First Round for Winter '09

We're going through our first round of illness for this winter. It would be naive for me to hope it was the only round of sickness this winter. Leia and Alisa are pretty much through the worst now. Leia's stuffy nose is about all that's left. Hirono seems to have mostly escaped. I'm home with a sore throat today.

In other news, I continue to be surprised at the amount the girls understand. This morning while playing with crayons I asked Leia for the blue crayon, which she dutifully picked out from other colors. Same with the orange crayon. After two perfect choices in a row I decided to quit while we were ahead. So I don't know the extent of her color knowledge. I'll wager her range of color names matches the Winnie the Pooh book of colors we read regularly.

13 November 2009

Belated Halloween Photos

I'm finally getting off my lazy back side and putting a few blog posts up. Here's a picture of each girl preparing for their Halloween parade at day care.

P1010782Elfin pride

P1010779Mama holding Snow White.

Plain Pasta

Its amazing how much of this stuff these girls can put down.

P1010945Leia likes to empty the bowl before eating.

P1010960Alisa likes to eat slowly, one strand at a time.

11 November 2009

A Fortnight of Baked Beans

I've been eating like crap lately. My diet has generous portions of Dairy Queen, which is conveniently located literally across the street. I've also been slacking off on this blog journal. Hence the post's title.

So much has happened in the last two weeks. I feel as though I'm a different person than I was two weeks ago. Now more than ever I can feel my age. Its not just being tired; its mental as well. I feel worn down a bit emotionally. Slower. Always looking for an additional layer of meaning to the world around me.


Ah, the girls. The chorus of this song really expresses one of the deepest changes in me:


We had layoffs yesterday. Hirono was laid off from her job. Shitty day. Come to think of it, today was pretty shitty as well. It is starting to push on that whole "looking for an additional layer of meaning to the world around me" button.


Like I said above, yesterday was a really bad day. They're done with. It was tragic, the depths of the cuts and the good people who were lost. At least the denial phase of grief is passing for me. Now comes the confrontational stage, characterized by the thought of "my life will never be the same".

Its really interesting being in this position. I can see how people's jobs are funded and the trap that US workers are in. Cost drives projects overseas when they reach a certain level of maturity. So the US workers must have a good reason why the new projects should be engineered in the US.

Whenever a new project gets funded there is often a relationship with an older product that is now overseas. This means it is more effective to build the new project overseas. Add to that the fact that it is way cheaper and the remote site wins hands down. This means there are fewer projects available here in the US and they take the cutting edge people to land those jobs. This results in serious competition for a dwindling number of jobs. Those jobs, however, are often breaking new ground for the corporation.

So for the US worker that means always staying up front of what the company needs in terms of technology, ideas or leadership. The alternative is to lose your job. Its tough; but its not cut-throat.


So many developments in the girls. Its fascinating how thought develops.

They clearly have abstract thought going on. They can respond to such ideas as please go bring me the drum, by fetching a drum from a pile of random toys without me pointing. They help unload the dishwasher; but stay away from the porcelain or glass in the dishwasher. They seem to understand the purpose of the potty and speak about their own movements; but, they don't yet have the physical control to do more than sit on the potty every now and then.


Alisa loves clothes. Leia loves shoes. They both love bags.


A couple of times there have been phrases coming out of Alisa. Her pronunciation is clear enough (at least to my ears) that I can hear her pronounce phrases I say like:

Hey, cool!
That's great!
It's fun!

She also sings along with her favorite songs. Occasionally the phoneme comes out clearly enough to make out what she's saying.

When I repeat the right phrase to her she nods. It usually takes me a couple guesses to figure out the right phrase.


They understand negation. When we speak to them in negative phrases they respond correctly. Things like:

Do you want to go to bed? Shakes head.
Do you want to go to bed? Shakes head.
Do you want to go to bed? Shakes head.
Do you want to not go to bed. Nods head.
Do you want to go to bed? Shakes head.


I can now confidently use pronouns with the girls. They understand you and me and I now. We can start to speak like normal people again instead of referring to ourselves as "Mama" and "Daddy".


Leia is throwing tantrums. Once it also set Alisa off into a tantrum. There is a certain dread every day to the nightly tantrum.

She's also been very negative. The above head shaking was her. She generally answers no to everything. She'll shake her head at food but reach for it when I hold it in her direction.


The girls showed no reluctance to eating bone marrow last weekend. I made beef stew out of sliced beef shank. The marrow stayed in the hollow of bone. When it came time to pull out the marrow the girls didn't hesitate to eat it. Even I didn't get much marrow because they wanted some. That's a good sign. They may like the same food as me yet. Certainly they seem to eat most everything we eat - if they're in the mood to eat whatever we're eating. Other times they just want plain carbs.


They are now completely in the toddler room at day care. They're not as happy there. Even though their closer friends have been in the toddler room for a couple months, they still aren't terribly happy there. Its intimidating and tiring for them. Everybody else walks better than them. Just keeping up with the crowd is hard.

That's when the tantrums started. Leia's been the most agile in the infant class for some months. Now she's the new kid on the block and is easily bullied.


Hirono and I have been thinking a bit about relocating to India. No joke.

It would be hard. Really hard. There are real concerns about making sure your house or apartment building have their own power generator. That's in one of the most modern of cities. Health, security and education are all concerns we have for the girls. But if we can time it right for them it would be one of the most wonderful experiences in the world. Can you imagine spending 4-5 years in India as a young child? Oh, the memories.

It would also be hard on Hirono. Living in a second world island within a third world country is not easy. East Asians are on the bottom end of prejudice there as well. Prejudice is rampant in India (though Japanese and Chinese business folks can usually avoid the condemnations.) I would also be enmeshed in the Indian work environment. That means hours, lots of hours.

But its too easy to fall in love with the people of India. Crossing the Himalayan passes to Kashmir on a motorcycle - oh, my!

Then there's the fact that mature projects go overseas. Eventually my job will go overseas as well. It may even be possible to divine when that would occur. I could shepherd my project over, though I'd want to pass it off to someone else within a year so I could do something else there. I've also got to find something for my team here to do while I'm away. There's an idea hatching.


The project at work is going well. I had set a goal of US$30M for the first year coming from the Chocolate Factory idea. We have an opportunity that looks to be more than twice that number per year starting next fall. There are other opportunities on the drawing board as well. This is going to be achievable. If all goes well we could put a much bigger mark on revenue much sooner than I expected.

01 November 2009

Too Much In Common

Its kinda scary, I have more in common with Liberal Quakers than what I rationally choose to believe, nontheism (or more specifically, atheism.) And the religion to which I have most emotional and experiential affinity, Mahayana Buddhism scores pretty low - which I actually expected given some of the mumbo jumbo of Mahayana Buddhism about reincarnation and karma.

Go check out where you sit at Belief-O-Matic. Here's the full breakdown for me:

h/t: GrrlScientist