14 November 2010

Tea That Tastes Like Tea

One thing good about flying British Airways, their tea doesn't taste like coffee. The same is true with JAL. Most other carriers have horrible tea.

I'm in India again this week, jet lagged and dragging.

01 November 2010

Our Galaxy Began as a Burst of Music

Cacophony is probably more apt a term. Science is so inspiring.

31 October 2010

Stories

The girls like to be read stories, of course. They also enjoy me making stories up. Last night Alisa made up a story to tell me. This is it, pretty close to verbatim:

Once up a time there were three bunnies
They jumped around
And then they went to bed.
Night. Night.

25 October 2010

Prosecute

I get so disgusted with our weak, unprincipled leadership. Another Wikileaks bomb came out that confirms the extent to which Bush & Co. lied and manipulated their way through myriad war crimes. I'll not be satisfied until that immoral lot are behind bars. Obama refuses to prosecute and so should land in jail himself.

The American people are no better. People are willing to suffer such evil, or even support it in the case of conservatives.

13 October 2010

This Rocks

h/t Pharyngula

Here's a very inspirational video of a science project. I'm hoping the girls are interested in similar ideas. I'd love to engineer such science projects with them.

04 October 2010

Headache

I'm on my third day without coffee. Of course, every day has at least four temper tantrums in it. This morning's meltdown was a doozy.

01 October 2010

Half-Chewed Food

Why is it that almost every little kid likes to come up to you and show you their mouthful of half-chewed food? This morning was peanut butter sandwiches. Not nice.

12 September 2010

Most Rational Political Analysis of US 2010 Election Yet

Daily Kos isn't necessarily the most even tempered political blog. If you ignore the comments you'll more often than not get a pretty rational view of things. Here's a good excerpt from a post tonight by Chris Bowers.

If Democrats get booted in November, it will not be primarily because of poor tactical execution of their campaign messaging and resources. That is the Tactical Fallacy. Further, if Democrats get booted in November, it will not be primarily because people opposed the details of their public policy in the abstract, or that they were let down by not passing more. That is the Ubiquitous Political Junkie fallacy. Sure, tactics matter and appealing to activist wonks matter, but they are not usually the main cause of electoral victory or defeat. More often than not, if you lose, then you just didn’t enact public policy that helped enough people by the time of the election. This is especially the case in landslide election years, as 2010 shaping up to be.

This is pretty much spot on. Its actually the one saving grace of a democracy or republic. If the bums (Democrats) aren't doing a decent job, throw the bums out! Unfortunately, what it doesn't capture is the obscene fact of American politics that the bums currently out of power (Republicans) will do much worse if and when they get back into power.

Big Girls, Except When They Are Babies

Part of the reason why the age of two is called "Terrible Twos" is because the kids are trying to work through conflicting feelings of wanting to grow up vs. wanting to remain dependent babies. It leads to lots of times when they'll make a decision and then immediately reverse it, or show boldness only to immediately cower in fear. From a parents point of view it can be demanding and confusing. It definitely requires a lot of time and patience.

Parts of the reversion back to baby behavior can be very nice for me, though. A couple of examples happened with Alisa this week:

- On Thursday evening we were rough housing on the futon playing horsey. Both girls were riding atop me when they decided to pitch forward. I obliged by lowering my head and shoulders. Alisa, in front, knocked her teeth against the back of my head. It cut open her lower lip and lots of blood flowed forth. Of course it was painful for her; but, she really became scared when she noticed the blood. Through a series of responses trying to comfort her we finally got to the point where she was laying on my lap, her head cradled in the crook of my left arm. My right hand applied pressure to her wound with a wet wash cloth. We were sitting in a darkened closet and I was singing the songs I sang to her when she was just a few months old. I had a repertoire of four or five songs that I sang to her whenever she cried at night as a little baby. She wanted me to sing through every one of the songs while laying on my lap. I found it both sweet and sad. By morning her lip was fully healed.

- For many months as a baby we had to separate the girls in order for them to sleep. I often slept in the nursery with Alisa while Hirono slept with Leia in our bedroom. We washed laundry today. When it was time for the girls to take their nap the sheets were still in the dryer. So I offered to take a nap with them in the nursery. The girls were both excited; but, Alisa snapped into a sort of glazed sleepiness. We settled down and tried to sleep. Leia at first was a bit rambunctious, never having napped in the nursery before. Alisa, however, seemed in her element and instantly settled down to sleep. I finally got Leia to stay down and the three of us took a long nap. After waking up, Alisa started pointing at familiar objects and grunting a question - just as she did when a baby. She seemed to be asking the names of all these familiar objects: Princess Bear, Miffy, blanket, pillow, etc. Finally she was satisfied and laid back down. By this time Leia wanted to go out and play; but, Alisa kept saying: "Leia go. Daddy stay night-night." Such a sweetheart! So I told them to run to the bedroom where Hirono was also taking a nap to tickle her. They both leapt up at the chance to tickle Mama.

09 September 2010

Attack Poodles

Why is it that Obama seems only able to fire up the rhetoric and speak passionately when campaigning? Jerk.

02 September 2010

Finicky Dresser

The girls now regularly choose their own clothes in the morning. Today Leia couldn't decide what to wear. She tried on a total of four different outfits before she was satisfied. And the Tinkerbell shoes were the only acceptable footwear.

30 August 2010

"Ground Zero Mosque"

PZ nails it once again;

Atheists recognize intelligence, curiosity, generosity, charity, kindness, etc., as human traits, and find nothing odd in the fact that people everywhere, no matter what their faith, can express them. Far too many believers, however, ascribe virtues to their particular faith rather than to any universally human properties, which means they rather too easily manage to mentally strip people of other faiths or no faith at all of those virtues.

Nowhere is this more evident than the silly arguments over mosques across the country. If I had my druthers there wouldn't be any mosques or churches or temples or anything of the like; but, I wouldn't make any laws about it - other than keeping the Catholic priests at least a quarter mile away from any school building or playground.

23 August 2010

Too Much Information

Yesterday Leia did a number two in the potty! We're getting closer to being diaper free.

19 August 2010

Shave!

That was my command this morning while kissing Alisa goodbye. Leia immediately echoed the sentiment. I guess there's no choice to it. I'm off to the bathroom to shave off this two-day-old stubble.

18 August 2010

Finding Complete Contentment

...drifting inside my frame.

I followed the dreamer through the purple, hazy clouds.

Or, at least, I wished.

Jochen and Mr. Brown

Two fun stories for the day.

The past Saturday some friends came to visit. One of them is named Jochen and I can never quite pronounce his name correctly. Tonight, Leia started chattering on about Jochen. The sad thing was, she says it just like Jochen and his wife say it - much better than I. The cute part was she was speaking in Japanese at the time: "Jochen wa kakko ii." That translates literally to: "Jochen is cool!"

The second story is around the Dr. Seuss book, _Mr_Brown_Can_Moo,_can_you?_ The girls have always liked this book since it has vibrant onomatopoeia on every page and I read it animatedly. Tonight for the first time both Leia and Alisa tried to imitate the sounds of a bee, a train, thunder, etc. It was quite fun.

13 August 2010

This Has to be a Joke

A Christian Science Monitor opinion piece is up that is just silly. What if Congress wrote laws as simple and clear as scripture? Oh, what a great idea! Simple, easily misconstrued statements that have caused numerous factions dead set on killing each other throughout history should be held up as an example of fine lawmaking.

To think someone was paid to write that junk.

08 August 2010

Short Update

I arrived back from India on Thursday and have been spending time with family ever since. The girls have changed so much while I'm gone. Here's the highlights:

* Leia has used the potty successfully two days in a row. I've taken the tactic of asking them if they want to sit on the potty very first thing in the morning. It seems to be working. She's terribly proud of herself.

* Their pronunciation, particularly Alisa, has become much more easy to understand. Leia talks a blue streak now.

* They're getting big. 2Ts fit well now. They are nearly the tallest in their daycare class.

* They love to dance even more. When I asked this morning, "What music do you want to listen to?", they both answered, "Rock and roll!" I proceeded to put on Black Sabbath and mad hopping about ensued.

* Seeing their faces light up on Thursday afternoon when I picked them up at daycare was precious.

01 August 2010

Delhi Belly

I shouldn't have eaten the mutton at lunch yesterday.

Updated: Maybe it wasn't something I ate. Last night a fever came on and I was bedridden all night - missing a bunch of meetings. This morning I've finally been able to eat again (after having gone about 48 hours without a meal), though I'm still stuck in the hotel room all day.

What I'm Least Looking Forward To

If the Rethugs return to power in Congress this November, what I'm least looking forward to is impeachment proceedings. What's with these fools?

A Parental Truism

One never gets tired of looking at pictures of ones own children. Or, at least until they're teenagers so I'm told. I've spent the last seven hours doing nothing but looking at pictures of my family. I'm terribly homesick, even when looking at pictures of the girls getting in trouble and stealing the car keys.

DSC_9637

31 July 2010

Chipa Chipa

Apparently this means "sticky" in Hindi slang. It perfectly describes the weather outside.

I took the afternoon and evening off yesterday to enjoy New Delhi with a friend and colleague.

My good friend, Toast, would absolutely hate being in New Delhi this time of year. Yesterday it was hot (~100F) and muggy. The rain came down in tiny droplets all day; not enough to really make you wet but enough to show that the humidity was up there around 100%. It made even strolling slowly through ancient Mughal mosques and tombs a sweaty, sticky enterprise. I'm usually quite tolerant of humid heat, having grown up in South Florida. Yesterday even made me uncomfortable.

There was a moment of respite at the Lotus Temple. We reached the terrace at the temple just after sundown and were greeted by a cool and comfortable breeze. It was needed after the sweltering day. Unfortunately the inside of the temple was still and hot. I wish they had opened all the glass doors around the temple to let nature and wind through. Still, the architecture was impressive. Outside and from afar the petals of the lotus give an expectant feel as though they might open at any moment. Inside the temple is purest white and marble all about. There is a golden sunburst at the peak of the temple with stone lines reaching all the way down to broad arches circling the congregation. The lines give a sense of radiant godhood shining down on the worshipper while at the same time uplifting the heart. While your spirit reaches up for the divine the heavy marble arches keep your body firmly grounded. Its very peaceful and uplifting. Even the podium is made of transparent polyurethane so as to not mar the overpowering sense of purity within the temple.

Too bad the teachings of Baha'i are a load of bunk.

30 July 2010

Brave New Metro

The Metro opened in Sector 18 Noida since the last time I was here. I love taking local transit whenever travelling. So when I go shopping tomorrow with a colleague I'm going to take the metro down to India Gate to meet her. For 19 rupees instead of probably closer to 1000 rupees for the hotel car to take me, I can mingle with the people and explore the central downtown area. This is going to be fun.

Updated: The New Delhi Metro was clean, well running and easily navigated. So different than the city streets. Now if only it was far more ubiquitous. The Metro continues to expand; but, even the tracks that are planned are not enough to dramatically improve the street traffic.

29 July 2010

Chinese Food in India

Don't eat it. Its not good.

Every food is altered to match the local palate. Indian food in the US tastes different than Indian food in India. Its milder and generally of lower quality because the clientele isn't used to such spiciness and doesn't have the discerning taste with the food style. Chinese food seems to be particularly vulnerable to this type of "localization" of the flavor. Chinese food is *dramatically* different in China vs. US vs. Europe vs. India. In India, the Chinese food tastes very much like Indian food with too much and too varied spices. If you happen to order a dish that just doesn't translate to the Indian palate, such as the classic Hong Kong dish Scallops with X.O. Sauce that I ordered last night, its just plain weak and uses very low quality ingredients.

The rice sucks, too. Indian rice (basmati) is good if cooked in the Indian style. Basmati rice does not go with Chinese food. Chinese rice cooked by Indian chefs does not work.

Save the Internet

I agree with Al Franken, this really is the first amendment issue of our time. Go and make your voice heard. It is imperative that you do so.

I've seen the underbelly of corporate skullduggery first hand. Its more an issue to find ways to drive profits than actual malfeasance; but, you will indeed see abuse of internet access to certain sites if we don't stand up for Net Neutrality now. Do it.

28 July 2010

And Now I Know Why

Apropos to the most recent post here, after walking out of the hotel and getting blasted with 105 degree F heat at 9 AM I now know why everyone was saying the rain and wind were "good" weather.

Updated: 10:15 PM now and still over 90 degrees F outside.

27 July 2010

Talking About the Weather

An interesting phenomenon is that people in different cultures have a different idea of what is "good" weather.

It gets hot here in India - really hot. Yesterday the weather was overcast and windy with the normal sporadic heavy squalls of mansoon season. Everyone I crossed in the hall who made small talk mentioned how wonderful a day it was outside.

* Bursts of heavy rain
* Wind
* Low, overhanging black clouds

"Oh, what great weather we're having today."

Go figure.

26 July 2010

Back in India

I'm in Noida again, just got to the hotel room about an hour and half ago. The flight was both good and bad.

The good was that I upgraded to business class. So I got a lot better sleep without the soreness of sleeping in coach. Right now I feel totally rested and caught up on my sleep. This is rare thing when young children live at home and work hours take their toll. Unfortunately it also means I'll be up all night and have a heck of a time at the office tomorrow.

The bad news was that it took two days to get here. I had a small plane ride from San Jose to LA. In LA my connection was 2 hours delayed, so I arrived in Chicago too late to catch the flight to Dehli. The airlines put me up in a hotel about 45 minutes out of Chicago. There was nothing - literally - around the hotel. I couldn't even walk to a Starbucks! So I was stuck at the hotel until the next evening when I could catch a plane to New Dehli.

Not surprisingly, I miss my family something fierce.

17 July 2010

Copy Cats

As with all children, the girls often try to copy us exactly. They're in that awkward age when they try to do everything themselves but usually cannot actually accomplish whatever task they're trying to do. After practice and multiple failed attempts, they sometimes succeed. Yesterday there were two good examples of the girls succeeded after lots of tries:

We were going to go out for a walk but had to get ready first. Hirono and I were rushing around filling sippy cups, collecting snacks, getting the diaper bag ready, etc. Alisa became impatient. I asked her to wait a bit more. She said "OK" and walked off toward the front door. Two minutes later we hear "Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!" She was standing beside the front door with her shoes on. She had put them on herself, correctly. Even the velcro straps were in the right place.

Leia is fascinated with the shower, though often afraid of it. We returned home from our walk very late last night (Leia threw a tantrum on the walk home which delayed us by about 45 minutes.) By the time we reached home is was time for the girls to go to bed; but, they still needed a bath. Leia decided she wanted a shower instead. She boldly got into the shower and stood ready to be washed. She even held the shower head most of the time so that I could wash her down. When it came time to wash her hair she readily tilted her head way back and let me rinse off the shampoo without getting any in her eyes. If she takes a shower regularly that will cut the bathing time down from about 30 minutes to about 5. Nice!

15 July 2010

Good News Times Two

Its not often you hear two items of good news in a single day.

13 July 2010

I. Can't. Move.

I went to the gym yesterday for the first serious weight lifting workout since the girls were born. I can't lift my arms higher than my shoulders or stretch over the desk to pick up the phone.

12 July 2010

Family Portrait

DSC_9604

There's a bunch of new photos up at Flickr. We spent the last few days in Reno while Hirono's parents are visiting us for a couple of weeks. Its been really good for the girls' ability to think and communicate in Japanese. We also had a ton of fun exploring the Reno region with the girls. There's so much to see in this great big world of ours.

06 July 2010

Dancing

P1040247

Leia loves to dance. She's been taking every opportunity to do so, regardless of the type of music. From head banging to Black Sabbath to kids' dances on the TV show おかあさんといっしょ to my own drumming or pipe playing she'll jump and bop around to the beat. Alisa often joins in; but, Leia is boundless energy.

05 July 2010

New Game

Alisa's new favorite game: get in the tricycle and have Daddy push it really fast while yelling out "Rock and Roll!" at the top of your lungs.

Fun and Games

We spent July 4th at a friends house. They had a rather large party and a couple of young girls were present. Leia and Alisa had a grand time following these older girls (5 and 7) around the yard. I really enjoyed watching them play games like "Ring Around the Rosies" and rolling down the grass and jumping over each other in an impromptu steeple chase.

There were also three dogs at the party. Leia wanted to pet them but was scared of them. When she came home she would say each of the dogs' names and pretend to pet them. Her imagination is evidently very vivid because she seemed to really believe she was petting the dogs. She let her sister pet the dogs, too. Then when an adult came to pet the dogs she would cry out "No!" and not let us near her imaginary dog.

27 June 2010

Heart Attack Casserole

Late last night I made homemade pot pies for the first time. The chicken livers at the market looked good yesterday. So I bought a bunch, with some fatty beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, sherry and salt. The crust was made of pate brisee, basically a ton of butter and flour rolled out into a pie shape.

We ate them for breakfast this morning. I'm quite proud of the results for the first time making pot pies. Its tasty and actually resembles a pot pie (a couple of them with little Anpanman faces on top to please the girls.) Now, however, I'm stuffed and want to just curl up and go back sleep.

Anpanman

25 June 2010

Tantrum

I just lived through 45 straight minutes of a little girl screaming in my ear. She wanted to go on the swing instead of taking a bath.

A Mother of a Bean

Alex!

I changed my job last week. As of Monday I'm focusing on a narrow area of what I was doing. The one thing that keeps me at Adobe so long, 18 years next month, is that whenever I ask to change my responsibilities and can provide a convincing case the change has happened. Sometimes very quickly, like this time. I agreed to it last Wednesday and by Monday it was so. The change is needed and welcomed from everyone to whom I speak.

I'm totally relieved on so many levels. Work for me didn't become any easier. It just changed to what I wanted to do. I lead a small team in a mission critical area for a short duration (at least the truly intense part is short duration.) Its a great team with whom I'm proud to work. And its a team who has fought against having their product shipped overseas and won. They were part of my organization already. There are some process issues to address. The initial situation will have me working too hard for the next month or two; but, then we should be good to slide back out of overdrive. I'm *not* giving up my personal life or family at all and will keep good hours, with the data to measure it and be sure. :)

The change also allows me to grow in the direction I'm looking to grow. My passion at work hasn't changed, its still the Creative Suite. Yet I can see the pinpoint focus of the product itself (as opposed to the tools that form its content) and it strangely interests me. What I'll be doing is focusing on the business needs (as opposed to the engineering needs) of the business model solution. It sounds and is very specific; but, that's one of the main areas of growth. The other area is in process improvement. I've talked here before about efforts in those areas and they are still proceeding nicely, though under a different guise. I'm still pushing but now all I have to do is ensure our team projects are at the forefront of the effort.

More Alex!

20 June 2010

When Twins Are Easier

The girls have been playing with each other without our intervention for about 20 minutes now. I'm nearly done with a cup of coffee and set up my new electric razor, which is now charging in the corner. Nice.

First Haircut

The girls had their first haircut today. They quietly sat and let the person cut their hair. I was really impressed. Afterwards we went to the Cupertino library to look at their giant fish tank as a reward for the girls.

I'll get some pictures up when I get a chance. We didn't get any good pictures today after the hair cut.

Also, Alisa is wearing pig tails now. Her hair is finally thick enough.

Lastly, Leia's verbal skills are rapidly increasing now. She's still a bit behind Alisa in this regard; but, she now regularly sings songs and speaks clearly enough that I can understand her more than 50% of the time.

To tide you over until we get a picture of the girls post-hair cut, here's some dancing at last Thursday's outdoor concert.

P1030976Everybody wants to dance with Daddy.

13 June 2010

Big Girl's Swing

Something I forgot to mention: since their second birthday both girls have been swinging on the normal swing instead of always using the baby swing. They still prefer the baby swing because we go all out in pushing them up high; but, they are so proud of themselves when they swing in the normal swing.

Also, Leia is very proud of herself for taking a shower instead of a bath. She even held the shower head when she was cleaned.

Big Changes This Week

I've been pretty lax on the posting. There's still lots of changes with the girls going on. This weekend I noticed their speech dramatically improved. I can understand about 90% of what Alisa says and over 50% of what Leia says now. Granted, I listen to them talk every day and a random stranger will have a much harder time; but, I'm happy with their progress. The fact that they can ask for whatever it is they want is a HUGE benefit.

Their sentences are quite complex now. They can carry one two-three sentence conversations regularly. Alisa has five or six colors down cold, as well as much of the alphabet in English and Japanese. Leia, on the other hand, is the imaginative one. She is never at a loss for something to do regardless of what is going on.

Lastly, I was shocked at Alisa's dinner tonight. I fixed tomyo (a type of pea green, very fibrous), flounder, ankimo and rice. Ankimo is the liver of the monkfish. It is very much like foie gras, and tastes wonderful if you like that sort of thing. I expected to eat the entire ankimo myself and very little fish, since the girls usually eat lots of fish and not even Hirono is a big fan of ankimo. I stewed it in a shallow mixture of fish stock, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar and water. After all was said and done, I ended up getting two bites of ankimo. Alisa ate the rest, over 1/4 pound. Imagine eating 1/4 pound of foie gras. Its overwhelming. Alisa was going for the scraps she liked it so much.

03 June 2010

Two

Second birthday today. We made it. Lot's of great fun going to the zoo.

Now back to work.

31 May 2010

Another Complete Sentence

Today Leia spoke a complete sentence. Alisa pulled out a toy high chair and said "baby seat". Leia then pointed over to the dinning room table and said "I sit over there."

Also, Alisa developed a love for picking flowers yesterday. Now today all she wants to do is go out and pick flowers.

30 May 2010

Life, I Welcome Thee Home

We went out to some old friend's place for the weekend. Every Memorial Day weekend a great old friend, Mike, would hold a barbecue and general debauchery. We've seen them once since the girls were born. We went back again today and, I have to say, I'm little bit tipsy right now.

We saw lots of old friends, some with kids of their own. The kids ran around the swimming pool, picked oranges and lemons and flowers, ate hot dogs and hamburgers and blue cheese and potato salad. We had a grand old time and life is slowly, ever so slowly, coming back again.

Also we learned that the girls really are pretty good girls. They shared their food with friends and generally had a great time. Little pushing or shoving occurred. For 1 year olds (soon to be 2), there isn't much more to ask of them.

29 May 2010

No Rest, No Rest

The three day weekend is harder than a two day weekend. At least its much more tiring.

Yesterday Alisa said a five word, complete sentence: "I wanna go that way." And she pointed to the book store. Nice.

Leia has turned out to be such a sweetheart. Whenever Alisa falls and hurts herself she'll come running to her to comfort her. And she still always shares her food. If she finds something fun to play with she'll call over Alisa to share it with her. Such a sweetie!

22 May 2010

Why I Love PZ

When referring to the Catholic Church:

Just say no to irrelevant old perverts

Gotta love that turn of phrase.

For the Record

Kids don't listen any more attentively when you increase the volume of your voice.

18 May 2010

Intensity

For those who have not experienced Sunn 0))), the videos barely due them justice. Sunn 0))) is probably one of the most intense, painful, exhilarating, hilarious music concerts I've ever attended. If you ever get a chance to see them, please do. But you absolutely must be right up front against the stage and NOT wear ear plugs. Without the ear pain the show loses its meaning.





16 May 2010

RIP RJD

Ronnie James Dio has died. He's inspired many a gaming session full of mysticism and brutal combat. Dio was also the first concert I attended and the first time I got high.

Farewell.

Banzai

I gotta get some pictures up soon. My computer is dead so it will be a while. Another Apple product meets an early demise. They ain't gettin' any more of my money (and this isn't at all about Flash.)

Now, then, on to the title of the post. We went to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk yesterday. Leia talks big and wants to get on rides; but, once on them she is easily frightened and doesn't enjoy them very much. Alisa, on the other hand, is a daredevil. She rode a race car ride four times, the last time with her hands in the air saying "Banzai". I thought the car ride was going to be too much for her; but, she wanted to keep going. The pictures need to be uploaded. She's so short you can't see her face; but, you can see little arms sticking up in the air.

Updated: Here's the snap:

2010-05-15 12.43.34

03 May 2010

Awesome Development

Another win today as far as the girls becoming more independent.

I changed Alisa's diaper this morning but didn't put her pajama pants back on after putting on a fresh diaper. I then went to put the diaper in the garbage in the garage. As I was opening the door to the garage Alisa asked me about her pants. I said, "Go ahead and put them on yourself if you want."

She promptly did so. She was very proud of herself. Now, of course, she insists on getting her own pants on every time. Still, that's another step toward the girls getting themselves ready in the morning and being more independent.

02 May 2010

Growing Up Fast

P1030618

Three events today:

Leia used chopsticks effectively (though I can't say well) for the first time today. She was too eager to eat to actually be proud of herself.

I've been trying to get the girls to understand the idea of numbers. Its a difficult concept. Just yesterday Alisa would randomly say "two" or "three" when exposed to two or three items. Today she was correct most of the time. I'm still not sure if it was chance or if she's grasped the idea of numbers. She can count to eleven or twelve; but, I don't think she understands the idea that she is counting. Its more like a string of words.

I cooked fish (gindara), beef with mushrooms (nameko) and broccoli for dinner tonight. Usually the girls eat mostly rice and a little bit of fish. So four pieces of fish is enough for the whole family. Tonight, the girls ate two pieces of fish each. Hirono and I didn't get any. Afterwards the girls were still screaming for more fish. We had to just pour the sauce (oil, fish drippings, dark soy sauce, sake, sugar, mirin) over their rice so they could at least taste the fish. I'm pleased they like my cooking; but, I'd actually like to be able to eat my own dinner as well!

29 April 2010

Going Live

My team and about 1200 people have been working toward this moment for almost 2 years. We're going live with our product (and shipping the boxes) in less than an hour. Wish me luck.

24 April 2010

I Don't Miss Those Days Too Much

We visited a very good friend of mine today who has a 29 day old baby. There's something extremely precious and satisfying about holding a tiny baby in your arms. Many times I feel nostalgic thinking about the girls when they were so small. But, you know what? I'm glad they're over and done. Those were very hard days.

In the meantime, the girls just keep growing. Leia is up and down the staircase like its nothing. She even carries things in her arms now as she climbs them. They both speak in sentences, though Alisa's pronunciation is way easier to understand. Leia seems a bit confused by the fact that she hears so many different languages all the time (mostly 3: English, Spanish and Japanese.) So Leia's words are a bit jumbled.

The scary story of the day is that after going to Japanese class this morning I mentioned we need to go shopping because I need a new pair of jeans. Alisa's face immediately brightened up and she screamed out in joy, "Shopping!" Oh, brother...

18 April 2010

PIL

A friend and I went to see PIL last night. It was quite entertaining. I didn't know what to expect from the show and never really have been a PIL fan anyway. A couple of years ago I saw Johnny Rotten lead a revamped Sex Pistols at the Warfield to good effect. Although I didn't know 95% of the songs, PIL was more fun. With the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten just let out some pent up frustration. The crowd at the Sex Pistols was a bit of a pain in the ass as well. Johnny Rotten's approach to PIL looked very much like he exposed his raw heart and soul to the crowd. People were a little surprised and dumbfounded by much of what happened on stage, often seeming to not know how to respond. I walked away with a better, if more complex, opinion of the infamous front man to punk's seminal band.

17 April 2010

Proud Daddy

I'm so proud of my brave little girls today. We went to The Jungle today to help them work off some excess energy while the weather was still nippy. They should more courage than I ever expected by wanting to climb all the way up to the third level and clamber about over the nets, while still only one year old. They were by far the youngest of the climbers. The only problem is, I was more exhausted afterwords than they were!

15 April 2010

Terrible Twos

Oh, yes. They are terrible. I've got a headache and a gouge taken out of the flesh of my face today from the tantrum twins.

11 April 2010

Now I Know Why

I've been out of marijuana and not smoked in a long while now. This morning I remembered why I sometimes wanted to smoke a bowl after taking care of the girls. Holy cow! One tantrum after the other. I finally just put the new tricycles away in the garage and they immediately stopped crying - at least for about 30 minutes before something else started setting them off. Ugh. Rough day.

10 April 2010

Alphabets and Tricycles

Theresa, our nanny, brought a Hello Kitty tricycle from a friend yesterday. Before putting it together we knew we had to get a second one and put them both together at the same time. So we dropped by Toys R Us and got a pink Radio Flyer. With both tricycles put together, the girls carted around the kitchen/dining room/hallway/family room circuit for a good hour. They haven't gotten the hang of pedaling yet; but, Leia is pretty close. She'll probably start pedaling in a week or so - or maybe tomorrow. You never really know.

Alisa, always a lover of books, is smitten with the original stories of Winnie the Pooh on Hirono's iPad. She's been singing the alphabet song for a couple of weeks now and finally, today, she actually spoke the entire alphabet. No singing. No missed letters. Twice - once in the morning and once in the afternoon. At Toys R Us she also got interested in the book section and a bunch of alphabet magnets. This is definitely a welcome development.

Another new thing for Leia is the love for a Japanese dance/exercise from the show "Pythagoras Switch". The dance is called the Algorithm March.

06 April 2010

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Something I never predicted. In all my years of studying medieval history and playing historical games, this never came up. It actually pleases me to no end to discover that Antiquity Britain was multi-cultural.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/living/article7042984.ece

Down and Out

Hirono is celebrating shipping the iPad tonight with her new team at Apple. I was left taking care of the girls. At this point they're fast asleep.

Hirono usually stays with the girls for a while putting them down. I'm generally more adamant about leaving them to sleep on their own. Tonight was the first time I could put them down for the night without Hirono being here. They cried about 90 seconds wanting Mama. Then they went to bed and I walked out of the room. They basically went to sleep on their own for the first time tonight.

Nice!

31 March 2010

Dinner Out

A little over two weeks ago I threatened Hirono that I wouldn't shave until we went out together, just the two of us. It took a bit over a week before she realized I was serious. We finally made it out tonight for dinner. It was a local Cyprus cuisine restaurant. A bit overpriced for the quality but still pretty good. Their wine list was quite good. The most important part was that we could spend about two hours alone together over a nice dinner and glass of wine. It was the first time the two of us had gone to dinner alone since before the girls were born.

21 March 2010

Hallelujah

Another step forward in health care. Let's see if the Senate follows suit or wimp out. The Senate is generally filled with a bunch of toothless losers, so I have no illusions that this will come to easy closure.

On the home front, the girls are growing rapidly. They're able to put sentences together with words I've never heard from them before. Leia even has very clear statements of her desire: "I like trucks." or "I want soup." Can I get another "Hallelujah!"

So many behaviors about the girls continue to rapidly change. Alisa is in a phase where she wants to sing all the time. She'll say "how about.....", pause, and then name a song. She only knows the title to a handful of songs, so her choices have been limited. Thank goodness she's never asked for a Japanese song from me. Her current favorite seems to be "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". I never sang it to her before she asked for it. So it must have come from day care or her nanny.

Nanny? Yes, nanny. We have a nanny come over six days a week now. On weekdays she picks up the girls at 5pm and stays until 7pm. On Saturday's she's here 10:30am till 7:00pm. She is awesome! She has her own little 12 month old boy, Jerius. He's the cutest little boy and the girls love him. Teresa, the nanny, can easily take care of all three and do the dishes. She even brings her own cooking over sometimes.

Both girls are getting used to the stairs. They constantly try to climb on stairs whenever we go outside, which is as often as possible since the most common word from both of them now is "Outside!" They're definitely getting easier when out, as well. They're more likely to hold our hands. They generally stay together because they want to play with each other. Today they were so well behaved that we were able to drop by a restaurant unplanned for dinner. Not only is it extremely rare to go out for dinner, we did so unplanned. No extra diapers with us. No crackers or other food than what the restaurant served. No toys or distractions. We just ordered the food and ate when the food arrived. Heaven! (Full disclosure, we ate a pizza parlor and the kitchen was open enough to distract the girls while the food was being cooked.)

11 March 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Prepare yourself. This is a cover of a Kate Bush song.

07 March 2010

Another Bout

I've starting coming down with another sickness. Feverish (no fever, yet) and lymph nodes swollen so much they are tender to the touch. Hopefully it goes away quickly. We have a meeting with the CEO tomorrow at 10am and I really don't want to miss it.

The girls continue to grow quickly. My parents were in town this last week to help Hirono and I ease into life with her working at Apple. She started last Monday and is already into overtime. They were a huge help; but, I'm afraid they'll likely catch whatever it is I have now.

The best part about the girls growing up is that they can communicate better. For example, Alisa had a string of communication triumphs today. Walking down the sidewalk she put together a string of 10 or so 2-word sentences. They were not related to each other; but, to things we saw as we walked. "Truck go", "Kitty eat", "Leia run", "Alisa swing" and so on. She also had a three word sentence at the end of the day. We gave them popcorn for the first time tonight and they both really liked it, Alisa more than Leia (go figure!) After the first couple of bytes Alisa turned to me and said, "Daddy cook popcorn! Oishii!!" Then she gets a huge grin on her buttery face when she says "Oishii" (Japanese for "yummy".)

Leia, on the other hand, is still excelling at her physical skills. She gave us all a big scare Saturday morning. Hirono had gone to work early that Saturday, leaving Alisa and Leia and I asleep in the bedroom. Eventually I woke up with Alisa asking me to go downstairs. Leia was nowhere to be found. The gate at the top and bottom of the stairs were both open. I went downstairs with Alisa only to find Leia already there. She had apparently opened the gate (or Hirono left it open) and she came downstairs all by herself.

Lastly, I found another gaming group. I'm not sure I'll have the time to play; but, at least the option is there. With work starting to slow down again (please!!!) I may be able to do two nights a month. It will be King Arthur Pendragon (v5), a really cool game that focuses on the passions and brutality of noble lords in Early Medieval Britain. Its not your normal Dungeons and Dragons game, that's for sure! Mortality rates for player characters are extremely high - so much so that the rules suggest starting with two characters already rolled and ready to go.

For those into RPGs, its not a level-based game where characters strive for treasure and experience. The goal is to win glory for your family and to pass on as much power as you can to your heirs. There are generally 3-4 generations of a family played within one campaign. You start your first character(s) in the game as vassal knights with a single manor and go from there. It loosely follows a book I'm currently reading, __Le Morte d'Arthur__ by Sir Thomas Malory. A friend picked up the book for me in Noida (Thanks, Soan!) and it led me to the game. This is going to be fun, if we can actually find the time to play.

04 March 2010

Gone, Gone, Gone

Down the rabbit hole.

I'm lost in a world of work, babies, work, babies, work, babies. The girls are speaking much more complex word combinations and rapidly increasing vocabulary. My parents have been here to help during this really rough spell at work, thank goodness! Hirono started her job at Apple on Monday and she has to work the next three Saturdays. It will be fun; but, tough.

16 February 2010

Sleep, Please

I woke up at 2am this morning (yesterday morning, actually) because of jet leg. I have meetings until 3am tonight, this morning, whatever it is. My brain is fried.

14 February 2010

Back in Noida

I'm here in India again. It seems somewhat calm and sedate compared to previous times being here. The traffic was light, the airport orderly and everything mostly in working order (except the internet connection at the hotel.)

Oddly, and somewhat sadly, the wild scrub growing on the vacant lot was burnt down and cleared out in the last three months. The squatters farming the land were run out about six months ago and the fields went fallow. Now they're cleared out and its just dry, dusty, brown land scattered with inordinate amounts of refuse. A single makeshift shelter is up by the major thoroughfare going past the office. Its interior was pitch black and there was only a narrow, sheet metal lined tunnel leading into the darkness. It seemed mysterious and adventurous in a way, though I know what to expect inside and am completely uninterested.

Meanwhile I'm safely behind the razor-wire and armed guards. India is such a strange and incredible place. Kipling makes more sense these days.

13 February 2010

Stream of Beans

It is with a sense of foreboding that I leave tomorrow. Signs are pretty good that things will go well. My body has aged a lot in the last two years and the coach trip will be hard. I'm dead tired already from a difficult week.

It was, however, a very rewarding week. It was really the first week I felt on top of the game since the girls were born. They are taking a lot out of my career. A staffing situation I've been trying to arrange for two years is finally looking possible. If I had gotten my way even as recently as 3 months ago then this trip wouldn't be necessary for me. Its all the work of my boss' magic. He really has some kind of mind controlling power or something.

There seems to be an endless amount of work ahead of us and clear revenue associated with much of it. The team is stronger. We can accomplish more with less. Many individuals see a career path for them in the gloom, though it will be hard. We have the beginning of a plan to bolster the US teams' ROI and keep them more competitive. I feel more ready for the cycle to begin again now than in a long time. For example, we've settled on an organizational structure long before we are done with the current cycle. We know in which directions we have to grow and where we need to focus our energy.

My parents arrived today. The girls were out of control they were so excited. Still, they were manageable. They've learned to pose for the camera and my Mom got some good pictures. I'll miss them.

12 February 2010

Ugh

Tough week. I've been very diligent since March 2008, before the twins were born, at keep my hours down to 40-45 hours per week. One or twice I creeped up above that number to like 48 hours in a week; but, otherwise I've really been good at hovering around 40. This week and next week are the worst exceptions. Its almost 3am and I'm finally done for the day. 47 hours thus far this week and a long, hard day ahead of me tomorrow. Then Saturday I'm on a plane to Noida.

We'll get through this and ship. I don't expect another week like this for a year or more.

11 February 2010

Macworld

Macworld went well today. I always enjoy the opportunity to speak with customers, even when they're angry customers. Surprisingly, the audience was pretty gentle. We were discussing a topic near and dear to many-a system administrators' hearts: deploying and provisioning our software. In a word, the solution today is "suboptimal". That's as diplomatic as I can make it. Our customers very loudly and clearly let us know how suboptimal the solution is. Its my job to go up in front of the crowd and take their slings and arrows.

The good part was that people were generally constructive and appreciative of the fact that we actually talk openly about the issues as well as what we're doing about them. The best part was that I got a bunch of cool toys to play with as a gift for being a speaker.

On the home front, I'm not looking forward to a week away from the girls. It will be relatively peaceful, only work to deal with; but, I'll still miss all three of them greatly. Both girls regularly ask to sit on the potty now. They even are pretty good at timing their request, often about 15 minutes before making a dirty diaper. Unfortunately, their patience isn't long enough to sit on the potty so long. So we usually just get them back into their diapers before they go.

My parents are coming into town tomorrow and staying for a little while. First and foremost, they're going to the Elton John concert in town. Also, they'll help take care of the girls while I'm away. Both girls are really looking forward to them coming. Hirono is in the guest bedroom right now straightening it up and the little girls just keep asking for "Papa" and "Mo", their names for my parents.

Boneheaded Maneuver

So I’m riding caltrain up to San Francisco today for Macworld and the conductor asks me for my ticket. I’ve been through this before and should know better; but, I didn’t have my ticket. Really what I normally have is a Go Pass, a sticker on the back of my company badge that allows me to ride caltrain for free. Well, I’ve got a pile of Go Pass stickers on the back of my badge for the last few years; but, I don’t have the 2010 pass. January was just not a month for travelling to San Francisco much so I didn’t remember to get my Go Pass sticker for 2010.

Luckily, this daddy still has the silken tongue. I got away without a fine once more. I do have to get my Go Pass tomorrow, though.

09 February 2010

Sicker than a Dog

Ugh. This afternoon around 2pm my throat started to get dry. I'm now in full on fever mode and even having mild hallucinations. Luckily work is ending early tonight (midnight) and I can cancel my morning meetings.

Update: 8 hours sleep!!! I feel much better. Now I'm down to a mild fever and sore throat. Gotta get better in time for Macworld preso tomorrow.

Some good news for a change

At least, its good news for those who care about astronomy and astrobiology. Cool stuff! More evidence of liquid water on Enceladus.

Check out the cool picture.

Trip to India

Unplanned trip to India this weekend. If I can survive Macworld this week then Saturday I'm on a plane to India for a week. Not the best timing since I'll miss Valentine's day at home. At least I'll be back in time for my birthday.

Apparently the "terrible twos" start at 18 months. I believe it. Dressing the girls in the morning is like a WWF battle royal.

06 February 2010

Weekend

Finally the weekend is here. Its been a really rough week; but, lots of progress has been made. I presented for a couple of hours at sales training seminars this week. The first audience on Thursday was pretty light. The room was full; but, there weren't any hard questions. Most of the questions were exactly what I expected to hear and so was well prepared. The second audience on Friday was a lot better. The venue was much larger and was standing room only. The questions were tough, probing and really stretched my ability to field them. We also got some great suggestions on what to do better. All-in-all quite a good event.

Next week is Macworld, where the really tough crowd comes in.

On the homefront, Leia surprised me this week by liking sauerkraut. We went to dim sum today, the second time with the girls. They were much more comfortable with the surroundings this time and ventured into the food. We discovered that Alisa loves shrimp.

Lastly, Hirono has a couple of job offers lined up. That's a huge relief. She's worked so incredibly hard these last few months job searching. I'm glad its paying off.

03 February 2010

Its Potty Time

Big milestone today, Alisa used the potty. Just #1; but, she's quite proud of herself anyway.

01 February 2010

Mickey D's

We went by MacDonalds with the girls for the first time this past weekend. Needless to say, they loved it. It seems all kids love MacDonalds. No surprises in what they ate: Alisa loved the fries with ketchup and Leia loved the burger patty. Happy meals come in undecorated bags these days.

Lots of other cool things going on with the girls. They're taking a liking to stronger flavors in the food now. So our dinners are becoming a bit more interesting to the palate again. Their vocabulary and ability to grasp their surroundings continues to grow. In general they seem to be pretty good girls. For example, they readily will take garbage (like a cracker wrapper) to the kitchen, open the cabinet door, throw the item away, close the cabinet door and come back to whatever it is they were doing.

They are also better at fighting, which isn't so good.

28 January 2010

Nearly 20 Months

So many things happening at once. No need to talk about work more than to say this is the do-or-die period and it could not be more hectic than right now.

The girls continue to grow rapidly. They are nearly 20 months old now and changed into bigger size shoes today. They can also do so many new things. For example, last night they took off their own jackets after school. They have been eating hotter and hotter food (temperature-wise) for a couple months now. At this point the really want food almost the same temperature as me and Hirono. Or when its too hot they say so and then blow on it themselves.

We need to get Leia to a gym. She can jump up into the air and do so many physical things beyond her age that it would be a waste not to encourage her in gymnastics or some other athletics. She’s even pretty good at climbing up the slippery end of the slide now, or stopping halfway down the slide and walking down the rest of the way. The trick is to find one that both is fun and can stretch her abilities.

For Alisa, its all about language and books. Her pronunciation has improved dramatically over the last two weeks. She can now clearly articulate staccato consonants. For example, the ‘k’ in ‘book’ or the ‘t’ in ‘hot’ are surprisingly clear (at least to a parent’s ear.) And her vocabulary is larger than I would expect. Many times she repeats the important words of a sentence that I say to her. From that moment on she’ll remember those words and can use them (usually) appropriately. Leia is similar but not nearly as advanced linguistically. Leia seems a little more inclined toward Japanese than English. They really are sponges at this age.

22 January 2010

Absent

I've been heads-down at work lately. We're at the time in our product cycle where every minute counts. With 10-12 million dollars at stake per day, I'm literally running down the halls and working like mad.

The girls are doing well. I have a backlog of pictures to upload at Flickr. The big news is that they are both taking baths in the big tub with us and that they are consistently able to go to sleep together. These are both major wins with respect to ease of doing chores. We also regularly get bouts of 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day where the girls are occupying each other instead of us. Lastly, three nights in a row the girls have slept so soundly that I didn't wake up even for a few minutes -- heaven!

07 January 2010

Another Meme

Tracy clued me into the year end meme over at Toast's place. Its another meme, which is easier than coming up with my own post right now.

1a. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Pulled a piece of cabbage out of someone's throat with my bare hands. Just reached in, grabbed it and brought it out. Kids...

1b. What did you do in the aughts that you'd never done before?
Had kids.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn't have one, as I recall. I do for 2010.

3a. Did anyone close to you give birth in 2009?
No.

3b. Did anyone close to you give birth in the aughts?
Hirono and Teri.

4a. Did anyone close to you die in 2009?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die in the aughts?
That depends on what you mean by close. I had an employee (direct report) die at work.

5a. What places did you visit in 2009?
Outside the US: Japan, India. Inside the US and relatively far: Reno, Seattle.

5. What places did you visit in the aughts?
A ton of places: India, China, Japan, various European countries, Canada, Mexico, a number of places across the US.


6. What would you like to have in the next decade that you lacked in 2009?
No major wars.

7a. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
As Toast says, January 20th when Obama was sworn in. All the other dates are a blur of milestones and sleeplessness.

7b. What dates from the aughts will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 3rd, 2008 when the twins were born. August 6th, 2005 when Hirono and I were married. May 12th, 2006 when I finally felt I was a successful manager. Of course, September 11th, 2001.

8a. What was your biggest achievement(s) of 2009?
Achieving SCF milestone on Christmas Day for The Project from Hell (tm).

8b. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the aughts?
Living well and surviving the first year of the twins (albeit without my sanity intact.)

9a. What was your biggest failure of 2009?
Smoking too much.

9b. What was your biggest failure of the aughts?
Stupid shit I've done while drunk.

10a. Did you suffer illness or injury in 2009?
Early in the year I had a wicked sinus infection that put me out for nearly a month.

10b. Did you suffer illness or injury in the aughts?
Lots of broken fingers, a couple of times.

11. What was the best thing you bought in 2009?
Day care for the girls.

11. What was the best thing you bought in the aughts?
Fertility treatment.

12a. Whose behavior merited celebration in 2009?
The girls. They're growing up generous and kind to each other (mostly.)

12b. Whose behavior merited celebration in the aughts?
Hirono for being a trooper for the past nineteen months.

13a. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed in 2009?
What Toast said: The American right wing. For eight years their team ran the show, and they fucked up everything. Absolutely everything. So what do they do in 2009 when it's all over and we're in charge again? Do they back off, admit they were wrong, quiet down and take an introspective time-out? No, they triple-down on the Crazy. Fucking asshats.

13b. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed in the aughts?
Americans in general as they fell for the propaganda of the Bush administration and called for war against innocents.

14a. Where did most of your money go in 2009?
Mortgage.

14b. Where did most of your money go in the aughts?
Mortgage.

15a. What did you get really, really, really excited about in 2009?
An occasional good night's sleep.

15b. What did you get really, really, really excited about in the aughts?
The birth of the twins.

16a. What song will always remind you of 2009?
"

16b. What song will always remind you of the aughts?


17a. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?
I'm heartbroken about work right now. Definitely more sad.

b) thinner or fatter?
Definitely fatter. I gotta get back on the exercise routine and eating well. I feel like crap.

c) richer or poorer?
Much poorer, for the second year in a row. Damn the economy and damn corporate executives.

17b. Compared to this time ten years ago, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?
Infinitely happier.

b) thinner or fatter?
Much fatter. See above. I was pretty slim and muscular until the girls were born.

c) richer or poorer?
Much poorer. Divorce and economy flushed down the toilet.

18a. What do you wish you'd done more of in 2009?
Slept.

18b. What do you wish you'd done more of in the aughts?
Table-top RPGs.

19a. What do you wish you'd done less of in 2009?
Hash.

19b. What do you wish you'd done less of in the aughts?
Nothing, really. I'm pretty satisfied with my behavior overall.

20. How did you spend Christmas this year?
First, opened gifts with nephews and daughters. Then did some work (we made our SCF milestone on Christmas day!) Then pigged out on ham and potatoes. Then kicked my brother's ass at strategy games. Then drank. All of this was done up in Reno at my parents' house.

21. Did you fall in love in the aughts?
Absolutely. Three times with my three favorite babes.

22a. How was work in 2009?
Work suffered from my inability to put 100% into it. I was too tired from raising the twins. Its getting better as far as that is concerned; but, there are other things that just plain suck.

22b. How was work in the aughts?
Overall really good. I accomplished lots of great stuff and my career went well. My teams are truly awesome.

23a. What was your favorite TV program in 2009?
n/a

23b. What was your favorite TV program in the aughts?
n/a

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2009?
I don't remember. Probably worked and changed diapers.

25a. What was the best book you read in 2009?
What To Expect: The Toddler Years

25b. What was the best book you read in the aughts?
The Goal, by Eli Goldratt

26a. What was your greatest musical discovery of 2009?
Raga Bop genre



26b. What was your greatest musical discovery of the aughts?
R&B genre, focus on the bass for full appreciation



27a. What did you want and get in 2009?
A long vacation, two months that were tacked onto another month at the end of 2008!

27b. What did you want and get in the aughts?
Children

28a. What did you want and not get in 2009?
Enough rest to feel like I can go exercise again.

28b. What did you want and not get in the aughts?
Peace.

29a. What was your favorite film of 2009?
n/a

29b. What was your favorite film of the aughts?
n/a

30a. Did you make some new friends in 2009?
Yeah, mostly online. A few at work.

30b. Did you make some new friends in the aughts?
Definitely. Mostly online or at work.

31a. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More sleep.

31b. What one thing would have made your decade immeasurably more satisfying?
As Toast said: President Al Gore sworn in in 2001.

32a. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
If its only been worn once, its clean enough to wear again. Who has time to shower or do the laundry?

32b. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in the aughts?
Until the girls were born, metrosexual with a focus on leather and denim.

33a. What kept you sane in 2009?
Hash.

33b. What kept you sane in the aughts?
Hirono; particularly after the nasty end to my first marriage at the beginning of the aughts.

34a. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most in 2009?
n/a

34b. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most in the aughts?
n/a

35a-1. What political issue stirred you the most in 2009?
Fallout from the banking bailout (which technically started in 2008.) What a waste, and it ain't fixed yet. Its a shame so many people panicked and we ended up with such a stupid solution.

35a-2. What political issue stirred you the least in 2009?
Just about anything coming out of the mouths of the tea baggers. What a bunch of knuckleheads!

35b-1. What political issue stirred you the most in the aughts?
Iraq invasion.

35b-2. What political issue stirred you the least in the aughts?
Just about any scandal that involved sex.

36. Who did you miss in 2009?
My wife.

37a. Who was the best new person you met in 2009?
I'm not all that fond of anyone new I met in 2009.

37b. Who was the best new person you met in the aughts?
Hirono.

38a. Burn any bridges in 2009?
Yeah, work stuff. I set fire to a couple of personal bridges but they didn't burn down completely.

38b. Burn any bridges in the aughts?
Divorced. Thank the gods!

39a. Best new restaurant you went to in 2009?
Hah! Restaurants?!?! Who has time to eat out?

39b. Best new restaurant you went to in the aughts?
Irata in Barcelona.

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in the aughts.
Make sure your partner in life is sane.

Easing My Way Back In

I've been out of touch for a while. I've been dragged into the undertow at work.

There hasn't been any posts here in a while. Happy New Year all. Here's an easy meme to get started in the new year. h/t Soan.

1. Where is your cell phone: Charging.

2. Your hair: was just styled today, thank you. Hirono and I pampered ourselves with a hair appointment today. I'm short and much more blond.

3. Your mother: knows how to have fun.

4. Your father: is Papa.

5. Your favorite food: Greens fried in salt pork.

6. Your dream last night: was promptly forgotten. I'm exhausted.

7. Your favorite drink: Rioja

8. Your dream/goal: is that both Alisa and Leia graduate from college.

9. What room are you in: Office at home.

10. Your hobby: is geeky. I'm about to dip my toe back into the FRPG subculture. I'm really a Dungeons and Dragons geek in my very soul. Dylan and Josh, my nephews, are interested in trying it out. I immediately went into high gear prepping and came out with a fantastic campaign in mind that will work for little kids. After a couple of sessions, if they like it, I've lined up another friend who loves to play and wants to slowly bring his daughter into the fun. I'm so stoked.

11. Your fear: Just like Soan, horror movies. Especially any graphic finger injuries. I've broken a bunch of fingers on each hand and know the pain.

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Kyoto on vacation

13. Where were you last night: In this office doing work.

14. Something you aren’t: coldhearted

15. Muffins: bleh. Give me a ham and cheese croissant, please.

16. Wish list item: Find a new job without having to go through the interview process.

17. Where did you grow up: Dover, Florida

18. Last thing you did: pack an empty diaper box full of books

19. What are you wearing: Helvetica T-Shirt. The font on the T-Shirt is, of course, Helvetica.

20. Your TV: Off

21. Your pets: None

22. Your friends: are missed.

23. Your life: tiring physically and emotionally.

24. Your mood: heartache

25. Missing someone: Hirono

26. Vehicle: is Hirono's. I got rid of my motorcycle when she was pregnant with the twins. So all we have left is her old Golf.

27. Something you’re not wearing: shoes and socks

28. Your favorite store: Farmer's Market. We have a good one here.

29. Your favorite color (s): Orange, no yellow.

30. When was the last time you laughed: Every minute with the girls.

31. Last time you cried: today, walking out of the office building

32. Your best friend:Hirono

33. One place that I go over and over: Peet's

34. One person who emails me regularly: a ton of folks at work

35. Favorite place to eat: Kiosk Universal, a kiosk in an open market in Barcelona. Fantastic food.

IMG_3225Kiosk Universal