Springfield Victory Mission

This isn't a post about something that made my weepy. This is about something that made me furious. I was watching the very touching Monday night (12/8/08) Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on my computer via my Dish Network DVR. Craig's mother passed away the prior week, and he was eulogizing her on his first show back from attending her funeral in Scotland.

I was weepy through much of that. Both my parents are still alive, but I do understand loss and it's very easy to empathize.

Toward the end of the show, though, I was skipping through the commercials and I happened across a local commercial for "Springfield Victory Mission" in Springfield Missouri. The commercial showed a man very solemnly stating that he'd had a difficult life, but that Springfield Victory Mission had helped him turn his life around. That's great, as far as it goes, but the infuriating part was that the end of the commercial had a narrator saying the tag line; "
Springfield Victory Mission... eliminating poverty from the inside out."

My jaw dropped. I couldn't help myself. I jumped up from my chair, fists clenched, and roared at my computer screen, "Oh, FUCK YOU!" I was floored that they would say something so horrible and insidious. There's a lot of injustice in the world, and a lot to make me angry, but I'm not the type who typically yells at their TV. This made me completely lose control, though. The insinuation that religion (or the lack thereof) determines whether some kid goes to bed hungry, or even has a bed to sleep in, for that matter, is just evil. The idea that people earn poverty by choosing (or having been indoctrinated with) the wrong beliefs is simply vile. And its subtle hinting that poverty is a result of internal lack rather than external forces - especially forces that might be completely out of a person's control - is beyond wrong.

So a great big, "Up yours!" for Springfield Victory Mission. Whatever good work you've done by helping those in need you've undone with your insinuations that, until they drank your kool-aid, it was really what they deserved.

Community of Veterans (iava.org)

I saw this mentioned on
The Rachel Maddow Show. 3 hankies

Obama's acceptance speech.

Beautiful, wonderful, moving and amazing. He's done it. We've done it. 3 hankies

Obama wins (part II)

So many teary faces. Even the talking heads on the networks are crying. It's keeping me weeping. 2 hankies

Obama wins.

Tonight we saved the country. 4 hankies

Obama's Grandmother

Barack Obama's Grandmother, one of the larger influences in who he has become, has passed away. I cry for Senator Obama, for his daughters and family, because of the loss of somebody so important, but I also cry for Madelyn Dunham for not being able to witness this historical election in which her grandson plays such an important role. I don't yet have grandchildren, but because of my children I understand that our descendants are the vessels that we pour ourselves into. They are what carry us into the future that reaches beyond our lifespan. She will live in history as an important American for who she helped Senator Obama to become. 3 hankies


This little video alternately boils and chills my blood. These slimy tactics of disenfranchisement have been nearly perfected by Republicans and are going to be used to try to avert a Democratic victory. I only hope we can avoid the trap.

As always, though, it's at the very end of the movie, when the man himself speaks, that my eyes fill up with tears of hope and joy at the idea that we might actually pull it off and save the country...

2 hankies


Mars Phoenix

I've been emotionally attached to the Mars Phoenix mission from the beginning. My son and I watched it's landing live and cheered. Also, I tend to anthropomorphize things, which means I end up empathizing with them. Add in the fact that the mission team also has a Twitter profile for the lander and it's even harder not to feel for that little machine. Then this comes across Twitter:

Hard not to feel some pride and sadness. 2 hankies

Barack Obama Half-Hour TV Special

I'm watching this Obama special, and he's sharing some hard-luck stories of everyday Americans, and I have to tell you, it's tearing me apart. He's right. We have to do something, and he's the guy for the job, but this show is really hitting me hard. There are many, many people who need help. 3 hankies


Ezra Phoenix Chatterton 1996-2008

I've written about Ezra, before. He's the young man who went to Blizzard Entertainment and made a World of Warcraft Non Player Character in Bloodhoof Village through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I just saw that Ezra has passed away.

My thoughts are with his father and the rest of his family. 4 hankies

Charles Meets Barack

3 hankies

Wasssup for 2008

This one made me laugh and cry. I was roaring with laughter as tears were almost shooting out of my eyes. And they were tears for the sadness buried under the humor, not just from laughing. Overall, a fantastic little piece. 3 hankies

5th Grade Reporter Interviews Senator Joe Biden

I thought this was cute, but the part that got to me was toward the middle when Biden was speaking to the audience about his granddaughters and Obama's daughters having a sleep-over. He said he was reluctant to be VP, but he knew it was important for his kids and grandkids and all the people who are hoping for a future for this nation that he help Obama pull the country back from the precipice. Well, that's not
exactly what he said, but that's what I think it means. 2 hankies

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

I like this video, but it's not the video,
per se, that brought a tear to my eye. It's the audio of Barack Obama quoting the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Those powerful, prophetic words that marked the beginning of our nation always bring a tear to my eye. 2 hankies

Tom Udall Ad

3 hankies

Rachel Maddow Show 10/9/08

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

At 1:51 into this clip, Rachel talks bout Cook County Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart suspending evictions of renters who's landlords are in foreclosure. These tenants aren't part of the mortgage, but they're still being tossed into the street. He's risking contempt charges but still is doing the right thing for the people he serves. 2 hankies

Craig Ferguson - 10/7/08

At about 7:24 into the monologue, Craig starts talking about Solidarity, and when he spoke about the image of democracy being "one American armed with a ballot," tears immediately sprang to my eyes. 3 hankies

Death of Hellscream

I've written about this, before, but I was playing some Warcraft III, today, while the WoW servers were down, and I got to this cutscene and it made me weepy all over again. 3 hankies

Craig Ferguson - 10/2/08

This one's a two-parter:

I thought it was pretty touching that Craig would meet this kid, see how remarkable and fantastic he was, and then get him on the show, right away. (2 hankies) Then came the whammy, at the end of the show:

This was just really touching. I've always liked his humor, but now I have a lot of respect for the man, too. 3 hankies

Joe Biden at the Vice Presidential Debate

Part of Biden's appeal to me is that he's a fellow widower. He lost his wife and one year-old daughter, I lost my wife and nearly-born son. He's not only an unapologetic Liberal and Populist, but he also knows that peculiar, particular pain of losing that which means most. Listening to his answer recalling that pain brought tears to my eyes. 3 hankies

Then hearing Sarah Palin's total lack of empathy as she blithely trudged on to yet another memorized talking point right on the heels of his emotional answer just floored me. I felt the blood drain from my face and my jaw drop open as I marveled that she could fail to be at least minimally tactful.

Richard Trumka 2008 Steelworkers Convention

If this doesn't bring tears to your eyes, there's something fundamentally wrong with you. Period. A fire-breathin', barn-burner of a speech.

3 hankies

PvPonline.com - 09/25/08


Just read it. 2 hankies

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - 9/24/08

I only discovered Craig Ferguson a few months ago when he was a guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!," so I don't know how rare or common it is for him to take a serious tangent in his monologue. He did take one, tonight, though. At about 3:50 into this clip (the whole thing is worth watching, though - he is really funny) he starts talking about the financial crisis and proposed bailout. At the end he very seriously, and, to me, shockingly, asks, "Where's the bailout for the 10 million uninsured kids?" and immediately the smile I was wearing at hearing his jokes was knocked off my face and tears sprung to my eyes. He's exactly right. Stable markets are nice, but there are much more serious issues that we've been neglecting for too long, and they have precedence. 2 hankies

The Abominable Charles Christofer - 9/24/08


Today's Charles Christopher brought a tear to my eye. This had been building over the last few strips. 2 hankies

Real Time with Bill Maher - 09/19/2008

"Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" 3 hankies


The Order of the Stick #593

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0593.html 2 hankies

I've been reading Order of the Stick for a couple of years, now. You don't have to read all the back story to be touched by this installment, but you should, anyway. It's not the only stick-figure comic I read, but it literally is the only stick-figure that I actually enjoy.

(I'm looking at you, XKCD... I basically only read you, anymore, so I will get the joke when
chainsawsuit skewers you...)

Early morning conversation with the boy - 9/15/08

I've been having a rough time, recently. I'm having a difficult time, financially, because gas and just about everything else is getting more expensive and we've been living on a fixed income for years. Also, I got into an argument with my folks, yesterday, because I pointed out that Republican shenanigans are why my Mom's retirement account with AIG is in jeopardy. They're both hard-core Religious-Right Republicans and my Mom actually ended up shouting at me about it, telling me to "shut the fuck up!" (She rarely cusses...) It didn't matter if I was right, they were entitled to their opinion. Pointing out that you can't have an opinion that's contrary to actual facts only made it worse. Naturally this stirred my ever-lurking insomnia and when I got up at 6am, this morning, to get the kids bathed and fed before school, I was feeling pretty rocky.

My girl is autistic and for some reason was really pissed off that I put syrup on her waffles so she was yelling and screaming all through breakfast. A little while later I was just chattering at her while I was dressing her (she's completely non-verbal all conversations with her are one-sided) and told her that I was going to be taking care of her for the rest of my life, so she'd just better get used to putting up with me.

My son heard this, and immediately hopped over to where we were sitting and asked, "When you die, can I take care of her?"

I told him, "Well, son, that'd be very nice of you, but I don't know if you'll really want to. By then you'll have a wife and kids of your own, and you may not be in a position to."

I then turned back to my daughter, putting her shoes on, and continued, "Which is sad because when I'm gone she'll have to go into an institution, and there won't anybody who loves her, there."

And I started to cry.

I wasn't expecting it. It just flooded over me. The realization that this poor girl, a grown woman by then, who simply can't make sense of her world, will be shuffled off into some sort of institution where she'll be stored away to count down the rest of her days. 5 hankies.

** Addendum **

This was an unusual event for me. As this diary illustrates, I cry a lot, and all sorts of things can trip me up and push me past my emotional tipping point, but rarely do I cry about events in my own life. Which, when you look at the facts of my life - widowed at 28, lost the love of my life who was pregnant with a son I never got the opportunity to know, and an autistic daughter that I'll likely be caregiver to for the rest of my life - is really astounding.

There are days I feel put upon by the universe, and days I feel sorry for myself and inwardly grumble that my life couldn't have at least been simpler, if not altogether more fortunate. But since I finished grieving for my wife and second son (which did take about 2 1/2 years, though) - but once I finished grieving their loss, I rarely am made sad by my own circumstances. Today, really, it wasn't even my own circumstance that made me sad. It was the idea that there will be a time in my daughter's life that she won't have somebody who loves her as much as I do. Hell, even typing that sentence is making me teary-eyed, again, but it's not for me - it's for her.

I spent the better part of this afternoon absolutely crying my eyes out. I mean wracking sobs and using up most of a box of tissue. Every time I'd try to come back to this post to edit or finish it, it'd set me off again and I wouldn't be able to do anything. I guess once I do have a chance to stop and think about the tragedies that are happening to me and mine, it hits me much harder than all these times when I merely get misty-eyed over a touching movie scene or a tragic comic book hero.

Alaskan Anti-Palin Rally

These times are so scary to me. Never in my conscious memory have I seen the country so visibly suffering. I also understand exactly what brought us to this point, and what's needed to fix it. Choosing Palin was a stroke of genius. She's so muddied the water by bringing back the culture wars that we've completely lost track of the issues that really matter. She scares me because she might be the wedge that allows McCain to take office and drive the final knife into America's heart.

Still, I keep finding hope in
surprising places. 3 hankies

American Elf

The September 13 American Elf was really touching. 2 hankies

I've been through this, as I'm sure most parents have.

Les Misbarack

I went to Little Rock and saw Les Misérables three times during my Junior and Senior years of high-school. I
loved that play. I think that's why this little spoof resonated with me so much.

Also, I knew it was coming, but seeing McCain as Javert had me roaring with laughter, even as tears were streaming down my face. 4 hankies

Below I've embedded a bit of the real Les Misérables. Made me weepy all over, again. 3 hankies


Give 'em hell, Joe!

A lot of times I cry because I feel a sadness or emotional pain or I'm in sympathy with somebody else's' sadness or pain. Fairly often happiness or joy can do it, too. Those are very strong emotions in their own right. Watching this clip, though, I had tears in my eyes not because I was sad or happy, but because I was filled with rage. A righteous anger at the systematic rape and ruination of my country, my people, my way of life. I dislike hate and and vitriol, but this isn't that. This is the well-deserved response to 8 years of wrong that has been perpetrated on my nation. 4 hankies

More and more I'm liking Joe Biden. Now I see what his early supporters already knew: he's capable and he's a fighter.

Give 'em hell, Joe!

Signs of Hope

3 hankies

Jonathan Winters on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Jonathan Winters has always been one of my favorite comedians. I somehow saw some of his stand-up as a kid, and his humor just really appealed to me. It made me a bit weepy to see him triumphantly raise his cane to the audience at the beginning of this segment (1 hankie) and he was pretty funny, throughout. With this interview, though, he really strikes me as a man sort of saying his goodbyes. He's been married for 60 years, and his wife isn't well. With couples who've been bonded so long, it's rare for one to long survive the other. I hope he and his wife live to be 150, but I really had the feeling while I was watching this that this may be one of his last public appearances. 2 hankies

AppleJack is Back!

AppleJack 1.5 has just been released, and now it's finally Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Compatible. This is such a wonderfully handy little tool. I've already done a deep clean of all three of my active Macs.

Dog Whisperer: ATF K-9 Gavin

I just finished watching this episode (only an excerpt, here), and it's hard not to be touched by the troubles this dog has, and not to be moved by the way he's recovered and so much healthier, now. 3 hankies

Deals at the OWC

Other World Computing is having some clearance specials, and one that caught my eye was an Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station 802.11 b/g (UFO) for $50. You can never have too many of these things. I already grabbed one, so it's ok if I let the cat out of the bag.

They also have a couple El Gato items that if I had any use for, I'd be all over.
The Turbo.264 stick and an El Gato EyeTV 250 plus. I have an EyeTV EZ hooked to my Mac Mini hooked to my HDTV. It's fantastic, but it's also all that I need so I don't really have any excuse to spend money even though I'd love to have these toys.

Hopefully somebody will see this and go and grab them. Good gadgets need good homes.

Coverage of Obama's Acceptance Speech at the DNC.

I'm watching this time-shifted so I can skip the commercials, but I'm starting at the beginning as Will-I-Am is singing "Yes we can." It's beautiful and makes me tear up (1 hankie). It's amazing that an artist can make a moving song using a campaign speech. Says something about the campaigner, if you ask me.

I'm watching MSNBC's coverage, so there's lots of skipping around to avoid Chris Matthews and Pat Buchannan commentaries... (this isn't the "angry-yelling-at-the-TV-diary") I'm catching as much Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow as I can.

Hee hee... I wonder if Rachel Maddow knows that they're broadcasting her, Nora O'Donnell and Eugene Robinson dancing to Stevie Wonder? For all of her brilliance, she seems kind of shy and self-conscious.

Al Gore is beginning to speak. Just thinking about what the country would be like now if he'd been allowed to take his rightful office back in 2000... Good lord, this man should have been running this country. 1 hankie

Tom Brokaw of all people is making weird comments about the setting being "empirical." The other MSNBC commentators are sort of taking him to task for it.

Joe Biden is speaking. This is the first speech I've heard by him. Not bad...

This is crazy. MSNBC has a transcript of Obama's speech before he makes it, and Olbermann is reading parts of it? Don't spoil it for me! Holy crap!

MSNBC has got to be kicking themselves for putting their set outside. Earlier there was a guy with a bullhorn behind "Race for the Whitehouse" who was drowning out the pundits by screaming "911 was an inside job!" over and over, and now as Rachel Maddow and the others are trying to discuss the upcoming speech, the crowd noise - even without bullhorns - is making it hard to understand them.

That stadium is
crammed full of people...

Dick Durban is taking the stage to introduce Obama.

I have to say, I've been hearing a lot of good speeches in the last few days, and very few speakers can move me the way Obama can. The man is a brilliant orator.

They're showing a video about Obama's biography. I have to say, he was not the prettiest of babies...

This video is very touching. Now he's talking about his mother's passing. 1 hankie

"One person's struggle is all of our struggles. We recognize ourselves in each other." 2 hankies

Is it just a trick of fate? The fact that I was born in '74 and Nixon and his successors are all I have to compare with? Barack Obama strikes me as potentially the most amazing leader our country has ever seen. Is it just because I was born so late in our country's history and don't remember anything better? Or is it the stark comparison of 8 disastrous years of Bush? This man seems so amazing to me. I want him to lead this country. 2 hankies

He's coming onstage, now, and people are weeping. 1 hankie

He accepts the nomination! 4 hankies

"Enough!" 4 hankies

"We love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight." 4 hankies

"They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know." 3 hankies

"It's time for them to own their faliure." 3 angry hankies

"These are my heroes." 3 hankies

"I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last best hope for all that are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future." 2 hankies

"This election has never been about me. It's about you." 3 hankies

"...to hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dreams..." 2 hankies

Biden and his wife walking on stage to join the Obamas and embracing them really struck me, somehow. 3 hankies

Biden was a young widower, as well. Knowing that draws me to him all the more. Bringing a family through that trauma is difficult and he seems to done it exceptionally well.

"They're going to criticize me for saying that he inspires me, and to hell with my critics." Chris Matthews. That took me by surprise...

Well, they've left the stage. I guess that's a good enough place to stop. What an amazing speech.

Invesco Field National Anthem

(doing this from my iPhone so it might be sloppier than normal.)

I'm like Rachel Maddow, the national anthem always makes me cry. Tonight, though, as I'm fully prepared to cry buckets as I listen to Obama's acceptance speech, it's really flooring me. 4 hankies

Hillary Clinton Moves to Nominate Barack Obama by Acclimation

I just watched the roll-call vote of the Democratic National Convention, and I watched as Senator Hillary Clinton moved to suspend the roll-call and in a show of unity move to nominate Barack Obama as the Democratic Nominee.

I have to tell you, this was a very emotional moment for me. Tears were pouring out as I watched the Democratic Party come together and nominate their candidate. I wasn't the only one, either. There were a lot of tear-streaked faces in that crowd. 4 hankies

Oregon Democratic Party Ad

I saw this on
Crooks & Liars. No commentary needed, really. 3 hankies

Michelle Obama's Speech at the DNC

My daughter had another white night, tonight. She does this quite often. I understand it perfectly, too, because I'm the same way. I just would rather be doing just about anything else but sleeping. She needs the sleep, though, since school has started back up, so I sit on the floor by her bed, keeping her from getting up and going back out to the family room to play. With me there she knows it's bed time and she'll stay in bed even if she's not particularly sleepy. I'm not so durable. A lot of nights I'll fall asleep leaning against her bedroom wall, and wake up a couple hours later, hopefully with her asleep in her bed.

That's what happened, tonight. Like most of these nights, the fact that I actually got a little sleep means I won't be able to just move on to my own bed and fall straight asleep. I actually wake up fairly alert and need some time to wind down, again, before I can finally go back to sleep.

Since the Democratic National Convention is currently underway, I decided to channel surf and see if I could catch some highlights of the convention's first night. What I found on CNN (in high definition, no less) was a replay of Michelle Obama's speech to the convention.

It was beautiful. It was moving. It was pitch perfect coming from a woman who I hope with all my heart will be the next First Lady of the United States. In a political season where her husband routinely makes me weep in anger at the injustices of the past 8 years and with hope at the potential for the next 8, her speech really got to me. It was about honoring the hard work of the past and current generations and their struggle to make life better for those who follow them. 4 hankies

Final PvP piece.


I finally got the PvP shield. It's the only piece (so far) that's from the areana 2 set. The rest is areana 1. Someday, I'll get bored enough to grind out a new set, but for now I'm actually pretty happy with Moofe's gear.

Moofe's Armory

Colin the Whale Euthanized

I know that sometimes there's no choice, but it doesn't make it less painful. It's so easy to empathize with higher mammals because in so many ways they are like us. 3 hankies

Friday Twitter Feed - August 22, 2008

Hands down, my favorite tweet, today...

"When one has grown tired of loudly singing The Proclaimers' "500 Miles" in a Groundskeeper Willie voice, one has grown tired of life itself. - Andy Ihnatko 07:11:51

Eye of the Storm


I'm not a fan of non-Alterac Valley Battlegrounds, but tonight I was in one that was just lovely. Not only did we win, but we just decimated wave after wave of Alliance that tried to storm the node we were defending. You'll notice by the scores that I wasn't the only Elemental Shaman there and that we lead the damage totals (and heals, I think). I love to PvP in BGs, but am often disappointed by PUGs. This EotS group was great, though. We watched each others' backs, and just plowed the allies.

Obama town hall in Raleigh, NC

I didn't catch her last name, but there's a local North Carolina woman named Gloria introducing Obama and relating the devastation that 8 years of Republican rule has wrought. 3 hankies

I might embed some video, later, if I can find it. It was really moving.


I just saw the medal ceremony for the 55KG men's freestyle wrestling. Henry Cejudo of the US won gold. My son and I had watched a couple matches while getting ready for school, but I hadn't realized the US had already taken the gold. Hearing the Star Spangled Banner while that young man stood up there, so proud, really moved me. 3 hankies

Freethought Radio 8/15/08

This story was inspirational. Julia Cicci is a non-religious ROTC cadet coming into conflict with the very religious culture of the United States Army. I found the part where she invokes the United States Constitution especially moving. 2 hankies

To some of us, the Constitution is our most sacred document and it's great to see it invoked along with the Logic and Reason that inspired it.

Freethought Radio is on Air America, and is affiliated with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.)

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

I heard about this the other day on The Rachel Maddow Show. Kathy did an interview with Rachel about this episode - the season finale - where she went to Walter Reed Army Hospital and visited with injured and recovering troops. So I went ahead and set up the DVR to record it. I knew it'd be rough to watch, and I wasn't disappointed. I used about half a box of tissues watching this show. 4 hankies

On a side note, I've never watched anything on the Bravo network before. Seeing the ads for the vapid and shallow other shows on the network, I doubt I'll be watching much else on there.

Women's Fencing

I saw this article linked on Digg. I found the photos (and captions) very moving. The one of the young woman doubled over, crying after her defeat made me teary-eyed. 1 hankie

Book of Love

This song popped up on my iPod while I was playing World of Warcraft. I've always liked Peter Gabriel. Solsbury Hill is one of my all time favorites. I actually didn't hear Book of Love until fairly recently. It's just a really, really moving and touching song. 2 hankies


Republicans and miltary men on John McCain

Equal in strength to my sense of hope at the thought of Barack Obama as President, is my terror at the idea of John McCain as Commander in Chief.

The video mostly just sent chills down my spine, but at the end, during the footage of casualties, I couldn't help but feel sorrow at the needless pain and loss of life. How can people bring themselves to deliberately inflict pain on - or even end the life of - another human? (3 hankies)

McCain wants more wars. McCain shouldn't have a chance of winning, but biased media coverage, the right wing noise machine, voter ignorance, voter suppression, and the heavy support of monied interests mean that there is still the real danger that he could end up in the Oval Office. I hope we can overcome the very real and very difficult hurdles that are in our path back to sanity.

Journey to the Undercity

This is a quest in World of Warcraft. Players fighting certain mobs in the Ghostlands can get a amulet drop that starts a small quest chain. I know the back story of Sylvanas Windrunner from Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne, and evidently the amulet is a long lost gift to Sylvansas from her sister, Alleria. You take the amulet to Sylvanas and the script has her pretending that it's unimportant and tosses it aside, but as soon as you complete the quest, she does an emote:

"Lady Sylvanas Windrunner looks down at the discarded necklace. In her sadness, the lady incants a glamour, which beckons forth Highborne spirits. The chamber resonates with their ancient song about the Sin'dorei...

Then the game starts playing a rather haunting song in the High Elf language while banshee Highborne Lamenters materialize around her, and glowing effects streak around her chamber.

At the end of the song she kneels back down and picks the amulet back up and whispers, "Belore," which is High Elf for "the Sun."

I found it quite touching. 2 hankies

(As always, if you take the time to look, there's bigger fan out there. I found a write up with lyrics (and translation!)

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (DVD) #2

Wow. I took my son to see this in the Theatre, last year, and watched it with him, again, when the DVD was first released, but either he and my daughter are much more distracting than I realized, or I just wasn't paying attention the first two times I saw this movie. I remember being a little disappointed at the changes that had to be made to accommodate the transition to teleplay, but being pretty happy, over all. Well, finally after watching it the way I really like to watch moves (i.e. totally alone with absolutely no distractions) I have to say this movie is just fantastic. Yeah, there were some harsh cuts and changes, but it still carried the emotional punch of the book. That's saying something. I was a tearful mess pretty much from the point where the Order arrived to fight the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. At times I found myself almost at 5 hankies. When Sirius was killed, and again when Voldemort possessed Harry and Harry was reliving the loss of all his loved ones. I feel like I've been through a wringer. I enjoyed it, though. I really, really enjoy these stories.

Whew. That was almost cathartic. I feel more calm and relaxed and ready to sleep than I have in months (I'm a bit of an insomniac).

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (DVD)

In the beginning of the movie, when Harry goes to 12 Grimmauld Place and is reunited with the Weasley's and Sirius had me worked up a bit. This is a hard time for the character of Mrs. Weasley. She has so many loved ones basically putting themselves in the line of fire, and knows that it'd be wrong to try to keep them out of the fray. Sirius, as well, is such a tragic figure. Reuniting with Harry makes him the happiest he's been in years, but it's only for fleeting moments. 3 hankies

I knew this was going to be a difficult movie for me to watch.

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (DVD) #2

The duel with Voldemort and the return to the school. You've seen it, and if you haven't you should. The echoes of Harry's parents coming out of Voldemort's wand, Cedric begging that Harry take his body back, Cedric's father wailing over the body of his son. This was the point where the books got really, really good, and really, really sad. One probably has something to do with the other.

Thomas Jefferson (PBS Documentary)

In the beginning of the documentary, they explained how Thomas Jefferson used to ride to the top of "Tom's Mountain," with his friend, Dabney Carr. They loved the spot so much, that they formed a pact that if one predeceased the other, the survivor would make sure his friend was laid to rest on the mountain. Eventually, Jefferson built Montecello on the mountain.

"In May of 1773, Jefferson's friend, Dabney Carr, died of bilious fever. True to his word, Jefferson saw to it that he was laid to rest at Monticello."

I admire Jefferson a great deal, and I found this gesture for his lost friend very touching. 3 hankies

Grassroots Obama Ad

Mostly I was just mad through this. Mad at the completely unfair coverage of the two campaigns and the traditional media allowing McCain to go so negative and to outright lie without being called on it. But the last phrase of the commercial is Senator Obama's voice saying, "Your voice can change the World!" Well, it just struck me and made me surge with emotion. I hope nobody's going to sabotage our chance to elect this man President. (2 hankies)

Discovery Channel Song

I haven't seen this commercial in months, but a short version was just on as I was watching "Dirty Jobs." The first time I saw it I just fell apart. I laughed and cried, and watched it over and over. It still makes me cry. Tears of joy and pride. We are a remarkable species living on a remarkable planet. The very fact that we're capable of realizing this just fills me with hope and happiness. 3 hankies


Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (DVD)

I'm watching "Goblet of Fire," and the story just got to the point of Harry and Cedric touching the Triwizard Cup and being transported to the grave of Tom Riddle Sr. Just knowing what's about to happen to Cedric is enough to make me weepy (1 hankie), but the thought that the end of this movie - good as it is - is going to put me through the wringer is enough that I'm actually pausing the movie. I'll finish it, later, but right now it's just more than I want to go through.

I do this a lot. I have a copy of "There Will Be Blood" that I bought a few months ago but still haven't watched. I know it's going to completely derail me so I keep putting it off.

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

Sirius Black is another of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter stories. His difficult adolescence was made easier by his friends, only to have one friend betray another two to their death and frame him for it. It's a heartrending story. Still, I did OK until the movie got to the point where the group of them were caught off-guard by the full moon outside the Shrieking Shack. The way that Sirius pleads with Lupin to try to focus - to try to retain some part of his humanity - moved me. 2 hankies

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (DVD)


Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (DVD) #2

"Gryffindor wins the House Cup!"

Good lord, I'm such a pushover. 1 hankie

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (DVD)

I'm such a sucker for this story. I got weepy when Hagrid was confronting the Dersley's at the beginning. Not because of what was going on, in particular, but because I know all the backstory and outcomes, already. 1 hankie

Gromm Hellscream

I play of World of Warcraft. I play quite a lot. I've read 4 of the Warcraft novels, and I bought Warcraft III after I started playing WoW so I could see more of the Warcraft lore. You could say that I'm fairly invested in the Warcraft universe. Recently, my son started playing Warcraft III and has been doing fairly well with it.

Today, I was in Orgrimmar with my shaman when my son came into my office. He got excited.

"Show me where Hellscream is buried!"

I said, "He's not buried in Orgrimmar, but there's a memorial here. Let me show you."

So I rode over to Grommash Hold (named, of course, after Hellscream), and showed him Mannoroth's skull and armor. I read the inscription aloud:

"These demon plates were worn by the creature that first cursed our people with Bloodlust. By the heroic act of one brave orc - he was defeated. Mannoroth the Destructor is no more. Let these plates always remind us of how far we've come and how hard we fought to regain our honor."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Of course I started choking up at the "by the heroic act," part.

He looked at me closely, "Are you crying?"

"Yeah." I said.

"This makes you sad?"

I explained, "Well, Grom Hellscream died to save his people. He's a hero. He gave up everything to save those he loved. When people do that it makes you kind of sad, but also kind of proud."

He chewed on this for a moment. "Show me where he died."

So we left Orgrimmar and rode across the Southfury River into Ashenvale and Demon Fall Canyon. We rode up to the monument and I read it for him.

"Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftan of the Warsong Clan.

In Many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant "Giant's Heart" in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred-fold as he stood alone before the demon Mannoroth - and won our freedom with his blood.

Lok'Tar ogar, big brother. May the Warsong never fade."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Naturally, I teared up, again. My son, however, was dry-eyed.

"That makes me sad, but without tears."

I laughed, wiping my tears. "There's nothing wrong with crying," I said, "but being sad doesn't always have to make you cry."

Except, that doesn't really seem true for me, anymore. Most people can weather emotional turbulence without breaking into tears. Why can't I? There are times when I'm glad that I'm able to have such depth of feeling, but other times it just leaves me feeling slightly foolish.

I mean, come on - a
video game?

ScreenFlow and ScreenSharing

I wanted to make a little Screen Cast about discovering how to make .vncloc files for quick screen sharing access, and in the process I found ScreenFlow. $100 is a lot of cash for an app, but this is pro-level screen casting software. I could have manually done it by using Snapz (which I already own), but Snapz cost something like $75 anyway. For a bit more you can have some amazing features in ScreenFlow.

Anyway, here's my little
screen cast..

(Postscript: I ended up redoing it in Snapz Pro X.)

PvPonline.com (Avery Brooks Post)


This post had me tearing up. What a special moment to meet your heroes. How exiting to meet the people who's work has had such a large impact on your life. 2 hankies

The post also had me a bit angry at the raucous, jackass culture that has sprung up that is completely unable to do anything but mock and scold. It's a frightening lack of empathy, and empathy is a large part of what makes us human. The fact that a celebrity was a couple sheets to the wind isn't significant - we've all done it and it's not even remotely inappropriate given the time and place - what's significant is that they were having a relaxed moment and ended up mocked for it. Which probably is a large reason why it's simpler to stay isolated and keep such wonderful moments rare.

I would hate to be so emotionally damaged that all I had left was mockery and scorn and that I couldn't - even vicariously - be happy for others.

Stephen King's "On Writing." (Audiobook)

I first bought this as a book on tape when we were living in Chicago and I had driven back to Arkansas for a couple days, leaving the wife and kids in Illinois. I bought this for the drive back and ended up sitting in our apartment's parking spot for half an hour before I turned off the car so I could finish it. I've loved Stephen King books since junior high, and this one is amazing. It's an autobiographical look at the craft of writing.

I bought the digital download version of this, again, today from audible.com. The guys on macbreak weekly mentioned it, this week, and rather than try to find an actual cassette player, I just went ahead and bought it, again. It's worth it.

In the book he describes finding out that his first book's paperback rights had sold for $200,000 when he was still teaching for about $6,000 a year. He then goes on to describe how, when he explained the news to his wife, she broke into tears. That, of course, made me break into tears. 2 hankies

Mythbusters #74 (Dog Myths)

During the episode, CC (Adam's dog) was very intimidated by Adam and acting very submissive. She was crawling on her belly and urinating on the floor whenever he got too close. The trainer helping Adam explained that CC had most likely had been mistreated by previous male owners. She was a beautiful malamute and it just broke my heart that she thought of herself as the omega of her pack. 1 hankie

I do value humans more than most other animals and I don't oppose the use of animals in research, but I do oppose unnecessary suffering or cruelty. Besides, dogs are special. They may have very well evolved into domesticity and they can bond with us like no other species. I've had a few good dogs in my life, and wish my home situation were a little different so we could get a dog. It's an experience I'd like my son to have, but with all the work and care involved in taking care of his sister, I'm just not up to raising a puppy.

Thankfully, the trainer and adam were able to work with CC and boost her confidence. She was a much happier dog by the end of the episode.

Please, not Leonard Nimoy, again...

My son is a huge Star Trek fan. I liked Next Generation and Enterprise, but my son just drinks up all things Trek, including Voyager, DS9 and the original TV series. He watches episodes that our DVR records off satellite, and he reads Memory Alpha and Beta and he even watches fan vids on YouTube.

Well, today he somehow found the old video of
Leonard Nimoy singing "Bilbo Baggins." (He actually told me that he thought that Leonard Nimoy was a great singer.) At the moment he's stomping around the kitchen singing it at the top of his lungs.

I've got to find a distraction for that boy, and fast.

15 Great Games That Are Playable On Low-End PCs (Especially Blizzard Games)

This article on Digg made me slap my forehead in dismay. Of course I could install some old games on our old 800MHz PIII and I happen to have a couple of the ones on the list (I'm not including WoW - if my 1GHz G4 PowerBook can barely run it, it's too much for my PC. Hell, it even only runs middling-well on my dual 1.8GHz G5 with a 256MB RADEON X800).

So I went ahead and installed Warcraft III and discovered there was an unexpected - but in hindsight perfectly predictable - secondary effect: My son wanted to play.

He's 9 and he's played a little WoW in the past, but mostly it's just riding or running around the world of Azeroth with my characters. He did start his own pally, but the gameplay is still a little involved for him to really get into. Too many spells and abilities to learn and remember. He just wants to explore and be entertained.

Well, Warcraft III is actually a lot more his speed, it turns out. So far he's doing as well as you'd expect a 9 year old to do, and he does have the odd distinction of already knowing quite a bit of the lore from he and I talking about WoW (I'm a warcraft lore junkie - I actually have ready a few of the novels and have a few more that are just waiting for an opportunity to be picked up). We were watching the cenematic at the beginning of the human campaign and he was ecstatic to see the Lordaeron throne room. He immediately recognized it from the ruins above the Undercity.

I don't know if really turning him onto computer games at this age is a good idea or not, but I'm glad to see him so excited.

Freethought Radio

Freethought Radio played an excerpt of Julia Sweeny's fantastic monologue, "Letting Go of God" (Which I already owned a CD copy of). In it, she mentioned the realization that all the people she'd loved who'd passed away - including her brother - weren't waiting for her in some magical fairyland, but were actually, irrevocably gone. That is a painful fact to come to terms with. 2 hankies

The Rachel Maddow Show 7/24/08

I'm catching up on back episodes of TRMS because they didn't post their podcasts for a couple days. Listening to Thursday's show, Rachel is replaying the Obama Berlin speech in it's entirety. The ending is making me weepy all over again. 2 hankies

Conversation with my son before he fell asleep.

My daughter is autistic and has no speech. Because of this, I can't explain to her why she should stay in her bed or even her room after we turn off all the lights in the house and she and her brother are tucked into their respective beds. My son usually falls deeply asleep fairly quickly, but since my girl sees no good reason not to go ahead and get back up and go play, I have to sit in their room with them until she goes to sleep.

So each night I typically listen to podcasts on my iPhone and foil my daughter's escape attempts until she finally winds down enough to go to sleep. Tonight, however, I ended up having a long conversation with my son, instead.

Sadly, my constant occupation with keeping his sister out of dangerous or even merely difficult situations means we don't really leave the house much. She's non-verbal, but she's amazingly bright. She knows when to make a successful break for it, and she's
very fast to find trouble so she requires constant vigilance. That means that restaurants or the movies or swimming - instead of being relaxing - are merely long nightmarish marathons of keeping a step ahead of her and hoping that whichever relative had enough clout to talk us into being there would soon be satisfied enough to allow us to head home before I collapse. As a consequence my poor son hasn't had as much social experience as most kids his age. (Also I haven't really had a chance to teach him how to swim.) Mostly this summer he watches loads of star trek and proclaims loudly that someday he's going to invent impulse and warp drives and build starships.

Well, today he went to a pool party for his friend's birthday, and I was nearly having an anxiety attack over it.

There was no way I could take his sister to the pool so I'd have to leave him there for the two whole hours of the party. I suppose it's post-traumatic stress after already been through losing his mother, but the thought of leaving him there without my watchful eye scared the
shit out of me. Rationally, I knew he'd be safe and it would be monstrously unfair not to allow him to go, but even up to 15 minutes before the party time I was seriously considering calling his friend's mom and canceling. I was just terrified that I'd once again win the tragedy-lottery and I was actually making myself ill with worry.

I explained to my son what was going on and that I wanted him to go but I was afraid. He's only 9, poor kid, but he acted very mature. He was calm and just kept promising me he'd be very careful, but he really did want to go so could we just go already, please?

He went, and he had fun and was perfectly fine. Tonight, though, before he fell asleep, he started asking me questions:

"Did you really think I was going to die at the pool?"

I explained that I didn't really think he was going to die at the party, but that when Momma died it made me very scared of the idea of losing either him or his sister. I knew it wasn't going to happen, but I was still scared a little.

"Can I hire my cousin as a lifeguard so I can go swimming again?"

I had to tell him that his cousin was already pretty busy this summer, and that the pool already had hired people to be lifeguards. But since his sister would either poop in the pool or drink gallons of heavily chlorinated water (or both) that meant that it wasn't likely we'd be going back.

"Did your heart break when Mom died?"

This caught me off guard and immediately brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to make sure he wasn't being literal, though, so I explained that a broken heart just meant being really, really sad. And, yes, I was very sad for a long time after his mom died. I grieved for almost three years before I started to feel like myself, again.

What he said next, though, really started me crying because I instantly knew what he meant.

"Someday, I'm going to invent a time machine and save Mom."

Of course it's a fantasy that often crosses my mind though I never let it linger for too long. It's seductive yet completely impossible. Go back in time and prevent the accident that claimed his mother and brother. Rescue our family before it's shattered forever. Preempt the scars and prevent the hole left in our lives by their absence. Nothing could be simpler and nothing could be less possible.

It wasn't easy, but I explained that time travel is just fiction and that you can't bring back somebody you've lost. I told him that the best we can do is try to live good lives and be people she would have been proud of. It was a lame answer, but that doesn't change it's truth.

It was enough. Soon he was asleep, and I was drying my eyes and gently nudging my girl back into bed each time she tried to sneak past me.

4 hankies

Maxed Out

This is a heartbreaking documentary about the lack of consumer protection for middle- and low-income people in the US in regards to predatory lending. They had story after story of people pushed to the edge or actually committing suicide because they were just overwhelmed. Even college-age kids. One widow, in particular, had a heartbreaking tale. Her husband passed and she couldn't keep up with her house payments and basically sold every item she owned trying to stay afloat but was still being foreclosed. She tearfully revealed she'd thought about suicide, but her son had killed himself and she couldn't put her family through that, again. 3 hankies

The Ladders Commercial

hate this commercial. The humanist and the populist in me just hisses with anger every time it comes on.

Countdown - July 24th, 2008

Watching the MSNBC interview with Obama after the Berlin speech made me weepy, again. Maybe it's because I've just not seen this type of leadership in my lifetime, but this man simply floors me yet fills me with hope every time I listen to him intelligently discourse with other people and speak knowledgeably and correctly about matters of importance.

Obama Berlin Speech #5

There's too much to document. This speech has left me a weepy - but hopeful! - mess. This man is truly a world leader. 4 hankies

Obama Berlin Speech #4

"These now are the walls we must tear down..." 4 hankies

Obama Berlin Speech #3

As he's speaking the camera is panning over the crowd, and there is a sea of American flags being waved over the crowd. This country has been so mislead and maltreated by it's administrators for the last 8 years... With them gone and trustworthy administrators in power, I think the world is eager to greet us as friends, again. 3 hankies

Obama Berlin Speech #2

He's so thoughtful, and intelligent, and well-versed in History. Listening to this speech just inspires me that we CAN have leaders worthy of the title... 4 hankies

Obama Berlin Speech

I haven't even started watching it, yet. Just read that it drew a crowd of 200,000 people. To give so many people hope... 1 hankie

Mmmm... that's geeky!

This is exactly the type of geekiness I most enjoy (and probably that I myself often display about my passions of choice). This guy draws, draws well, and is very knowledgeable about his tools and tips to work and maintain those tools. From auto mechanics to graphic artists, I really can appreciate this level of competence and joy in one's work.

(A twitter post from
Dave Kellet led me to this video.)


I keep trying, and trying to stop using Windows on my old PC, but so far I've not found a Linux up to the task.

I inherited an old 800MHz PIII when my aunt passed away, and I set it up in the living room for my son to use to browse his Star Trek Wikis. I originally put Windows 2000 on it, but twice, now, Win2K has just randomly died and stopped booting. So twice I've tried to leave it completely behind and instead install Xubuntu. Or even Kubuntu or Ubuntu. Xubuntu naturally performs the best, but it's still dog-slow and frustratingly unresponsive when Win2K was pretty spry. Then add to the fact that FireFox hangs every 15 minutes, or so, and I've just about had it. I've never met a flavor of Windows I've cared much for, but so far the infrequent re-installs of Win2K are actually easier to deal with than the constant opening of a terminal in order to kill a hung process. Ideologically, I love Linux. But unfortunately my pragmatism is quickly overshadowing my ideals.

Now, of course, if I could get a copy of OS X running on it... Hell, even 10.3 or 10.2 would make me happy. But alas...

The 27 Things I Learned at Nerdtacular ‘08

I listen to a World of Warcraft oriented podcast called "The Instance" and this week one of the hosts had his annual "Nerdtacular" event. I also subscribe to his site's RSS feed, and he had a post on the feed titled "The 27 Things I Learned at Nerdtacular ‘08." All of this is a roundabout way of getting to the fact that when I followed the link from the feed, the first thing my eye caught on the page was:

"12. Handing a free Wii to a 11 year old kid is beneficial to the soul."

I don't know the back-story, here, or who the kid was, but the absolute truth of this statement just sort of struck me. I bet it's like giving gifts at Christmas, but even more so. The thought of some kid being so outrageously happy in that way kids do at receiving such a cool gift made me a tad weepy. 1 hankie

This American Life (#359 Life After Death)

This episode was about people haunted by feelings of responsibility for the death of another person. Death is a pretty tough subject for me to discuss for what I think are obvious reasons, but I did pretty well listening to this show. There was one point, though, when the narrator of the first segment was telling about meeting the parents of the girl who'd swerved in front of his car on her bicycle, that was very painful to listen to. My heart just bled for everybody involved. 3 hankies

Senator Ted Kennedy Returns to the Senate

I was listening to the podcast of David Bender's
Politically Direct and they were talking about this amazing event in the Senate and I had to immediately go to YouTube to see if I could find the video. Thankfully, it was easy to find. Even after the nightmare of the last 8 years, there are times when I'm so full of pride for this country that it just overwhelms me. 4 hankies

Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Tortoro)

This movie is so charming yet so enigmatic. It was set in rural japan, and was a story about two little girls with a sick mother. There were a couple of times where I almost got misty eyed, but held it together. At the end, though, there was nothing I could do. It was so sweet and moving I couldn't help myself. 2 hankies

Netroots Nation - Molly Ivins Quote

I was watching some panel about blogging and the media that included Paul Krugman, and at the end of the panel the moderator read a quote from Molly Ivins exhorting Democrats to "raise hell."

I absolutely loved
Molly Ivins. I don't exactly embrace Southern culture, but it is my culture, for the most part, and Molly was such a brilliant and moving example of what a Southern Liberal should be (I know, I know, she was actually Texan, but it's close enough for my purposes). I still shed a few tears almost every time I hear her name mentioned. 2 hankies

(I'm now watching archived panels and since they're in Texas, it seems they're all at least paying a little homage to Molly. Well, it's tough on me, but she very much deserves it. multiple 1 hankies)


This Digg post linking to this Flickr photo had a simple comment, just below it:

"Sweet home Chicago."

I grew up where I'm living, now, but I loved living in Chicago. Also, my wife was laid to rest there, so, in a very real sense, Chicago will always have my heart. 2 hankies

Rachel Maddow Show 7/17/08

Listen to this little clip from Thursday's Rachel Maddow Show. The bit about Rep. Sanchez' Jersey having the "IX" on it made me a little misty-eyed. I'm not much for sports, but I am big on social justice, and I think that Title IX putting women's sports on equal financial footing with men's sports was important. 1 hankie

(I highly recommend buying a premium membership to Air America Radio. For one yearly fee you get to download any or all of their shows as podcasts, commercial-free. Rachel Maddow is my most favorite, but I also listen to another half a dozen, or so, though less devoutly.)

Just woke up - July 17, 2008

This is partly why I started this thing. Sometimes, I really don't understand what gets me worked up. My eyes are still gummy from sleep, though, and maybe that and a general grogginess are contributing factors...

I was just watching a time-shifted Colbert Report from last night, and as I was skipping through the commercials, I caught the last few seconds of a commercial for the new X-Files movie. As the announcer said, "I Want to Believe," I felt a flood of emotion and got teary-eyed. I never watched an episode until after the show had gone off the air, but I eventually ended up getting all 9 seasons on DVD and by now I've actually seen them a couple of times. A lot of positive memories associated with that show.

Then, after the commercial, it cut back to the Colbert Report just as Stephen announced the band Rush. I'm not a huge Rush fan, but like anybody who was alive for at least part of the 70s, I'd heard some of their stuff and generally liked what I heard. It was just that it was a bit before my time. Until my last year of high-school and one of my best friends made me a mix-tape that had "Trees," and "2112," and it entered my emotional lexicon a bit more deeply. I think that along with all the buildup to their appearance on the show, their announcement gave me another bit of a push and I got another surge of emotion and weepy-eyes. 2 hankies

Countdown - July 16th, 2008

Only Keith Olbermann could make me weep for Tony Snow. 2 hankies

Off and on but never given it up.

This post over at the Least I Could Do forums had me chuckling.

I've been an Apple partisan since 1994. I graduated from high school in '93, but my high-school was still using PETs and C64s. My first exposure to what I consider a modern PC was that fall when I started at the local community college and taking basic computer labs. These labs covered the ins and outs of Microsoft Windows 3.1 and Office.

I loved it. It made immediate sense to me. Then, a few weeks later, I was in the college library, and I found this tiny room in the back - almost a closet - that had four computers in it. Three of them were Macintoshes. Two IIfx's (yeah, really) and a Quadra 700. All running System 7. Something about those little machines seriously appealed to me. I found myself migrating back to that room all that semester. Eventually I met up with the other mac-users who told me that there were more macs on campus in the Art Department.

Next semester I took Art. I can't draw to save my life, but I took art. I also used a student discount to buy my own mac at the beginning of that semester: A blazing fast
PowerMac 6100/60. I was cutting edge. Hard core. I played countless hours of Marathon on that machine (yes, I knew Bungie back when they only made games for Macintosh).

I ended up befriending the art teacher and also discovering the intricacies of the Macintosh operating system. The school had a few hundred PCs and about 30 macs (aside from the 3 in the library there were six in the art dept. and a couple dozen on the desks of the college staff). The PCs guys didn't want to deign to troubleshoot macs, so I ended up working part-time for the school doing mac support.

I was in heaven. Mac support is 1% hardware issues like foot-snagged, unplugged cables or third party drivers and 99% user support. Basically somebody would need help figuring out how to do something and my job was to figure it out and show them how.

This went on for a few years, and eventually I switched colleges and also bought my first laptop:
A PowerBook 1400

Around 1998, though, I was starting to fall out of love with the Mac OS 9. I'd bought the
BeOS betas and had toyed with some of the ever-maturing Linux distros for PowerPC. The only thing thing that the Mac had going for it was superior processors (PowerPC) and the professional software I was rapidly becoming reliant on (mostly Macromedia and Adobe titles).

Then Apple announced their acquisition of NeXT and I decided that NeXTSTEP looked worth waiting for.

I loved OS X from the start. I started running OS X full-time, on all my machines at version 10.0.2 and never looked back (by this time I had acquired a G4 Cube to add to the menagerie).

I had another dilemma a few years later, though, when I wanted to start gaming more. I'd been buying what mac-titles were available but it was impossible not to look with envy at the Windows world where games were released sometimes for years before they got ported to mac, if at all. But productivity, reliability and longevity were too important, and the release of EQ for mac sealed the deal. In it I had a never-ending game and it was on my OS of choice.

I have still caved from time to time to the itch to try something new and have put various Linux distros on my PowerBook G4 and the old Dell I have in the front room (it usually runs Win2000 so my boy can run his Star Trek Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual). But I always end up coming back to OS X because I like things to just
work and I find OS X far, far more intuitive than any version of Windows I've encountered - and I've encountered them all.

Now, I'm on the edge of buying my first Intel Mac Pro and retiring my G5 workstation to it's new position as NAS for my house. At that point I'll actually buy a copy of Windows to install on boot camp in case I come across a game that I just
have to play. Since I now mostly play Blizzard and iPhone games, though, that's probably going to be pretty rare, indeed.

Radio II

Last.fm just released an iPhone application. Beautiful.

Barack Obama at the Annual NCLR Conference

at 3:58:

"Maybe the system is not designed for people like us."

It was a comment about education, but it reflects a broader feeling that so many people share; that the system just isn't working for them. And they're right - it's not.

The system isn't working when a child in a crumbling school graduates without learning to read, or doesn't graduate at all.

The system's not working when a young person at the top of her class, a young person with so much to offer this country can't attend a public college or university

The system isn't working when hispanics are losing their jobs faster than almost anybody else are working jobs that pay less and come with fewer benefits than almost anybody else.

The system isn't working when twelve million people living in hiding and hundreds of thousands are crossing our borders illegally each year.

When companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens because they want to avoid paying overtime or avoid unionization or exploiting those workers,

When communities are terrorized by ICE Immigration Raids,
When nursing mothers are torn from their babies,
When children come home from school to find their parents missing,
When people are detained without access to legal council,

When all that is happening, the system just isn't working and we need to change it.

This is a nation of immigrants. It's sad that many of us quickly forget that and make the modern immigrant experience such a harrowing one. 2 hankies

The Sugarmonster

I just read this remarkable post, and it has me floored.

I've been overweight most of my life. My dad has this weird food=love thing and I was a fat kid because of it (we used to come home from the weekly grocery shopping with boxes and boxes of snack cakes and he was always encouraging me to eat, eat, eat). There were kids worse off than me, but I always felt like a fat kid and occasionally was treated like one, too. When I finally moved away from home and went to college, I lost about 80 lbs. and looked and felt better than any other time of my life. That's also, ironically, the point at which I met my wife. She also had always been a little chunky and had just shed her excess pounds, as well. We celebrated our newfound love by immediately getting pregnant. That was ok. I was ready to take a break from school so I started working and we got an apartment together and she stayed in school to finish her degree.

Pregnancy put pounds on the both of us. By the time our first son was born, we were both a little chubby, again, though not serious. Then we moved to Chicago so she could do her post-grad work and internship (Registered Dietician), and I got a job at an ad agency doing web work. She was already pregnant again, but we'd take walks with our son in the stroller, and I'd also go bike riding on my own. One bit of exercise that I got most every weekday was I spent my lunch break at a park near my work walking for about 45 minutes, or so. I was still a bit chunky, but in reasonable shape. She gave birth to our daughter, finished her school and got her license and a job at a big Hospital down in the city. We signed a mortgage on a nice townhouse in a good suburb and got pregnant a third time. Things were going well.

Then my wife died in a car accident. I was laid so low and so out of sorts that I started smoking again and basically sat down for two and a half years. No more exercising - hell, hardly even any walking. I was convinced by my family to leave the suburbs and use the life-insurance money to buy a house down in my hometown in Arkansas where the cost of living was about a quarter of what it is in the Chicago suburbs and I could more easily afford to be a single parent. Except Illinois is flat and the Chicago suburbs are full of sidewalks and parks and paved walking paths. In Arkansas, not so much. There are some walking paths, but they're relatively rare and not usually flat. With the hills it can be very difficult to walk very far unless you're already moderately healthy - and I was no longer even moderately healthy. Bike riding is worse - you have to be pretty damn fit to bike in the Ozarks. Not an entry-level area. So the weight packed on, though to be honest I really wasn't paying much attention to it. I was busy mourning my wife and an unknown son and trying to learn how to be a single parent (and discovering that my little girl was low-functioning autistic).

Just as a side note to all the assholes who cry in horror when they hear about somebody obese and shout, "But how could you let yourself get so fat?! Don't you just want to curl up in shame that you're so lazy?!" The answer is that sometimes there's so much other shit going on that you don't even realize it's happening.

So the weight was building up and somewhere after about 3 years I decided it's time to quit smoking. It's bad for me and it's just damn expensive, anymore. So I quit. It's not too hard once you get up the courage to actually do it. Except the pounds really started piling on once I wasn't smoking. I was already pretty fat by this time, but suddenly I got huge.

Now I started noticing. By the time I finally got my life in enough order that I could focus on figuring out my weight, I was tipping the scales at about 420 pounds. Some of the horrible, humiliating things she describes in her post were starting to happen to me, and, frankly, it scared me. My kids are already shy one parent, I didn't want them to be totally orphaned.

Thankfully, things are a little better, now
*. I'm still fat, but I'm mobile and capable.

That's not the point, though. The point is that I empathized with this young woman, not just because I empathize with everybody, but because I've been a ways down the road she went down, and it's a bleak place to be. Also, I feel just a burning rage at jerks who've never had to cope with a serious, debilitating problem like this, yet feel perfectly free to offer the harshest criticism and the cruelest taunts. To them a I give a righteous "Fuck You." 3 hankies

* (I eat a little better, now, that I've learned to cook at home more instead of always just taking the kids out for fast food. Also, one of the best things I've done for my health is to replace my office chair with an exercise ball. I've seen videos and posts making fun of it, but after just 3 weeks of sitting on a bouncy ball instead of puddling in an overstuffed office chair, I lost 30 pounds and felt far, far more energetic. I'm still working towards getting healthier, but thankfully I'm no longer at the point where the smallest tasks completely drain me. I'm feeling mostly pretty normal, now. This fall I'm going to start walking my kids to school instead of driving them. That should help quite a bit, too.)

A brief, personal history of radio.

Like everybody else, radio has been a constant presence in my life. As a small kid in the 1970s, my father always listened to Country or Christian music because Rock 'N Roll was the devil's music (I'm not kidding, folks). Which was fortunate because those literally where the two stations available where we lived in Northern Arkansas: the Country station and the Christian station.

After a childhood of not really connecting to music, I ended up going to a catholic boarding school for my first two years of high-school (early 90's). The student body literally sampled every region in North America and sometimes even further afield, and they all brought amazingly diverse collections of music with them. Suddenly I was finally hearing not only
music, but music that picked me up and carried me away. Epiphany. Music has been vital to me, ever since.

Radio, however, continued to frustrate me. Even if you find a station with a good format, you're constantly being barraged with ads. CDs weren't much better because you were limited to one album at a time, and by however many jewel boxes you were able to carry. The introduction of the iPod was a godsend because I was able to rip all my CDs to MP3 and basically fake my own radio station/jukebox. Except for one factor: new music. A music library will go stale unless periodically seeded with fresh material.

In the last couple of years, I've even found answers for that.
last.fm and Pandora. Their only drawback? That I had to use them while sitting at a computer - which is not how I listen to music. I listen to music on my iPod (now iPhone).

Well, now we've completely broken down every barrier - Pandora is an iPhone 2.0 app, and it works over AT&T's EDGE (no 3G where I live and won't be for probably ages). I just took the kids out to lunch and drove through the rural country side listening to completely new and fantastic and high-fidelity music with Pandora over the EDGE network. Suddenly I have the world's best radio station literally everywhere I go.

I'm so excited.

America's Funniest Home Videos

My son absolutely loves AFV, and since it's not star trek (long story), it's one of the things he watches that I can still stand to watch. Today, we were watching a time-shifted re-run from 1990 and they had a clip of a young man surprising his girlfriend as she came home with a proposal of marriage. He was on one knee in the living room and had the camera on and was just waiting for her when she stepped in the door. Her reaction was funny, but also very, very touching. Evidently, he'd taken the time to talk to her family and obtained (I think) her grandmother's wedding ring and evidently this was just the right thing to do. She was floored, and just cried and cried. It was very moving. 3 hankies

(I searched, but couldn't find it on YouTube.)

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (Wii Game)

I guess I have to finally publicly disclose my love of the Harry Potter books. When the first movie came out, I'd never heard of the books but my wife and I were completely taken with the movie. So I decided to buy the books available at that time (1, 2, & 3) and see what I thought. I read a few pages of the first book and put it down. I never put books down. I usually will finish even bad books by force of will if for no other reason. This was a kids book, though, and at the time those few pages read like a children's book to me. I just didn't see how a 500 page Dr. Suess book was going to keep me entertained.

Fast forward a few years. The kids and I are back in Arkansas and we're grocery shopping and I see a DVD bundle of the first four Harry Potter movies. I picked them up, and we just
loved them. At this point, wheels started turning and I thought to myself, "these are movies based on novels. If the movies are this good, there has to be something more to the novels than I assumed..." So I went back and gave book one another go. Loved it. Moved on to Chamber of Secrets and ended up going onto amazon to order books 4, 5, and 6 (which were all that were available at the time). I was hooked.

Well, now I've read the whole series and I even have the magnificent Jim Dale read Audiobooks for the whole series. I've read each book twice and listened to them twice, as well, over the years, so I'm pretty conversant with the story. And, yes, there are points in the story arc that make me cry (especially in the last two books).

(Finally all this preamble pays off...)

Today, I was playing the Order of the Phoenix Wii game that we bought last year but never got around to playing until I started, yesterday, on a whim. Today, I got to a point in the story where Harry'd just had his vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked and he and Ron warn the Headmaster then are sent on to Grimmauld Place. Well, the first thing you see when all the cut-scenes finish is the living room of Grimmauld Place and standing there are... Lupin and Tonks. Thinking of Fred Weasley and Sirius Black usually makes me teary, but every time I bump into Lupin and Tonks in the stories I just lose it and really start crying. I'm crying as I type this. The fact that they found each other, were so good for each other, had a child together yet were only together for a such a brief time before Harry lost them both... well, it really rips me up. Two lovable characters that absolutely didn't deserve the fate they got. 4 hankies (seriously)

(I made a tactical mistake when looking for an image to use with this post - I followed a link to YouTube with "Lupin Tonks" search criteria. There are some very lovingly made and touching fan videos out there, and they absolutely tore me apart...)

Stone Soup - July 9, 2008

This story line has been going on for a few days, but it's definitely worth going back to read. This strip is the culmination of the story line and just perfect in timing and tone. Plus, it was just the right resolution for the dilemma these two characters were in, and so sweet that it made me misty-eyed. Essentially, outside forces were putting unhealthy pressures on their relationship, and the creator making the boyfriend do this perfectly disarmed the situation and released the tension that had built over the past few days (probably enhancing the emotional reaction). Even the hair-stylist's reactions in the background is a nice little cherry on top of the sundae.

Bah, it's hard to really describe so just go back a week or two and read all the strips up until today (and keep going, if you like - this is a good comic). See if your reaction is any different than mine. 1 hankie

Buzz Aldrin punches conspiracy theorist.

I'm trying to make sense of my reaction, here. First, I don't like the way the clip is edited. Showing the punch over and over is completely unnecessary and too sensationalist. It's almost reveling in the violence of the incident and essentially undermining the truly outrageous parts. (I don't advocate violence, but there are times when you're perfectly in your rights to use physical means to defend yourself or even your honor. Bart Sibrel - the man accosting Col. Aldrin - clearly deserved a punch in the face.) Buzz Aldrin was essentially being libeled by this man who was calling him a liar and a coward. Colonel Aldrin rode millions of miles in a glorified tin-can with death millimeters away and was the second person (of only handful, all told) to step foot on a world that wasn't the one of his birth. And that's why I think I teared up: The shock at this man coming up to try to physically and verbally intimidate Col. Aldrin... I'm just outraged and angered. Col. Aldrin is a true hero not only for the United States, but for the world. His achievements and the achievements of the Apollo program were a milestone for Humanity and a major step in our advancement as a species. To denigrate those accomplishments is not only to denigrate the heroes who actually accomplished this herculean task, but to denigrate all of Humanity, as well. What a shit-head. 3 hankies

(I tried and tried to find a version of this video that didn't have the instant replays, but couldn't find one. Seems like everybody missed the point.)

Barack Obama Addresses A.M.E. Church General Conference

I'm not religious in the sense that I don't believe in the supernatural, but I do respond to a good sermon because I am culturally Christian and my Liberal values do coincide with the Christian values that drove the major social movements in the U.S.: Abolitionists, Suffragettes, Civil Rights activists, etc. This was a good sermon. I know that a lot of my fellow Liberals are uncomfortable with Obama's religious rhetoric, but I'm not worried. He's re-building the wall between Church and State in his overhaul of Bush's corrupt faith-based initiative and he speaks in universal language in the public sphere and religious language when he's in the religious sphere. He does a good job of not mixing the two.

This speech was powerful and comforting. There were quite a few places that I got weepy, especially when he invoked the image of those same faith-based civil rights pioneers I mentioned above - anti slavery, pro-feminist, pro-labor and civil rights activists. And when he talked about the problems we have and the solutions we can find. 3 hankies

Amy Silverman & Sophie

At the risk of being self-referential, Amy Silverman (the mother from the July 30th, TAL#358 post) left a comment on that post that made me misty-eyed (1 hankie). It was touching to see that she'd been moved by my post and that she'd found my blog in the first place. She also left a link to her fantstic blog. It's beautifully written and (not surprisingly) a little heartbreaking. It really captures the joys and tears of parenting with a special needs kid.we g

My Name Is Earl #39

When Josh's friends eulogize him, I got pretty teary-eyed. Remembering those we've lost is pretty damn important. The whole premise of the episode was the fact that they couldn't find anybody who knew him, and therefore nobody to mourn his passing. When they discovered that all his friends were online, and finally had a proper funeral for him, it was fairly moving. Yes, even comedies make me cry... 2 hankies

Resistance is Futile

I had a little fun with my boy, today. I have a CoreDuo mac mini hooked to our HDTV so we can watch podcasts and iTunes movies. He was in the front room while my daughter was watching a movie so I decided to have a little fun.


He figured out it was me fairly quickly, but for a few moments there he thought the computer was talking to him.

(In case you're wondering what a
doodle pad is. And, yes, I know it's supposed to be "you're". BASH doesn't like the apostrophe, though, so I had to use a homonym.)

Don S. Davis: 1942-2008

Don Davis passed away (the actor who played "General Hammond" on Stargate SG1). I was never a big fan of the Stargate TV show, but my mom was, and it wasn't bad so I ended up seeing quite a few episodes. And I did like his work in X-Files and wherever else I saw him (and he worked a lot). Hearing about his passing made me a bit misty. 1 hankie

Vilayanur Ramachandran: A journey to the center of your mind

The more I learn about the human animal, the more amazed I am.

Sir Ken Robinson: Creativity

17 minutes in, talking about "epiphany" and the dancer. 2 hankies. The whole talk is wonderful, really.

TED: Arthur Benjamin and "Mathemagic."

I teared up at the very end of this one. I was also laughing at the same time. I think it's because I wanted to stand up and applaud the guy. Sorry about giving away the ending. 1 hankie

(I know these posts seem to come in fits and starts, or maybe repetitive as I watch multiple episodes or clips from the same source, but I'm just documenting each time I get weepy as they happen.)

TED: Jill Bolte Taylor on her stroke.

Just watch it. A remarkable and beautiful talk from Jill Bolte Taylor. It helps reinforce my belief that we are a truly remarkable species and that we don't need to resort to fairy tales or the supernatural to discover the profound and powerful truths within us. 4 hankies

(Somebody on Digg.com posted a list of most popular TED talks that I'll likely be working my way through, so expect more of these, soon. TED talks usually cover profound material.)

Bumper Sticker

My MoveOn.org Barack Obama bumper sticker arrived, today! Now the question is whether I actually dare put this on my truck. I live in the NorthWest corner of Arkansas, and between Wal-Mart HQ and all the racist organizations and Christian Fundamentalist sects that have compounds, out here, it's almost a guarantee there will be somebody who'll try to damage the truck or me over it. 10 years ago I'd say, "bring it on," but now if I travel I have both my kids with me. Not only do they need a not-injured father, I don't want them near any ruckus.


Todd and Penguin

He did it, again.

http://www.toddandpenguin.com/d/20080702.html 2 hankies

TED: Susan Savage-Rumbaugh on Bonobos

Chimpanzee and Bonobos have long fascinated me. These close cousins of ours are proto-people. This video illustrates that in an impossible-to-deny fashion. I don't mind eating meat, I don't even protest most animal testing (if it's necessary). People are a few rungs up the evolutionary ladder, and I do value a human's life more than most other animals. The other great apes, though... they're practically human. They deserve to be treated as such.

A bit over six minutes in: "This is a smile on the face of a Bonobo." 1 hankie

At the very end: "We're sharing tools, technologies, and language with another species." 2 hankies

Barack Obama: Education Town Hall in Thornton, CO

During the Q&A after the speech, a young woman named Stephanie stood up to ask a question, and the first thing she said was, "I'm just really touched that you're here, that you're bringing hope to this country." and as she said it, she her voice broke a little as she started to cry. I just found it really touching and reassuring that more people understand the great need this country has not only for a new direction, but for a good direction like Obama is talking about in his speeches. 4 hankies (it really moved me)

Barack Obama: Speech on Patriotism


About 9 minutes in, Senator Obama relates how patriotism grew in the lessons his family taught him. One of his earliest memories is of sitting on his grandfather's shoulders, watching the Astronauts come to shore in Hawaii. His grandfather explained that
"we Americans can do anything we set our minds to do. That's my idea of America." 1 hankie

Relating how his mother read the Declaration of Independence to him as a child: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they're endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." Those lines always make me weepy. Social justice means opportunity. Both are things that are ingrained in this nation. 2 hankies

The YouTube video skips to the end at about the 12 minute mark. I'll have to watch the rest, later.

(Damn Twitter - I'm following Obama's tweets, and he announces these speeches on Twitter so you can watch them live, but, because of Twitter's unresponsiveness and downtime, I've yet to receive one less than an hour after the event has already ended.)

World of Warcraft (Ahab Wheathoof)

I was wandering around Mulgore, today, and Ahab Wheathoof started muttering about his dog as I crossed the Stonebull Bridge. Ahab always makes me weepy because I know the story behind the character. 1 hankie

This American Life (#358 Social Engineering)

TAL is always awesome, and usually has something touching or powerful that - of course - makes me cry. There were a couple of things in this episode.

The middle part was about Dave Dickerson and his father and an incident that happened 30 years ago when he was still a boy and a lesson his father taught him. The lesson didn't work out the way it was intended, but what Dave learned was that there can be second chances and learning that helped his father feel better about the incident. There was a very touching moment at the end of the piece that made me pretty weepy. 3 hankies

The next piece was by Amy Silverman, the mother of a daughter with downs syndrome. There was some question about how high-functioning her daughter was, but Amy still came to the realization that being her daughter's parent was going to be a life-long task. I have a daughter with severe autism who I'll likely be taking care of for the rest of my life. I don't mind that so much, but I do weep at the thought of the life that she
won't be able to lead. No crushes, no boyfriends, no husbands or careers or children. No epiphanies, conversations, or passions. All I can do is keep her as happy as I can. 3 hankies

Blue's Clues (Blue's Sad Day)

At the end of the show, the green puppy just didn't understand that repeatedly knocking down Blue's block tower was making her sad. Made me tear up a bit in sympathy with Blue, which made me laugh at my pushover-ness. Evidently, even frickin' Blue's Clues can make me weepy. 2 hankies

Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2006 DVD) #3

In the part of the Documentary about Senator Obama's visit to a Darfur refugee camp, there was as shot of a huge crowd of refugee children, and I got weepy at the idea that somebody could find any justification to force children into such dire situation. 1 hankie

Right after there were some refugee women relating stories of husbands and children being killed before their eyes as they tried to flee the ethnic cleansing. 3 hankies

Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2006 DVD)

I got this DVD from Netflix, and it's pretty interesting. As Obama was talking about he and his wife getting publicly tested in order to get more people to participate in the CDC's testing program, a subtitle came on the screen about the fact that 1.3 million people in Kenya are living with HIV/AIDS and that a further 1 million children are orphans because of AIDS. It's heartbreaking. 2 hankies

Appurushîdo (Appleseed 2004)

Toward the end of the movie, just before the final fight, Doonan makes a little speech before jumping out of the building essentially saying that it doesn't matter that the computer projections see a dire future for humanity: the future is what we make it, so we have to fight to make it better. Then she jumped from the building into a falling power suit, and proceeded to engage in one visually amazing battle. Corny in spots, but absolutely visually beautiful movie. 2 hankies

Senator Obama Goes to Africa (2006 DVD) #2

Senator Obama was visiting a branch of a Chicago bank that was doing micro-lending to entrepreneurs, and as these local Kenyans were relating their stories of enterprise, Senator Obama's voice-over said:

"What's missing, for a lot of these folks, is NOT good ideas or a powerful work ethic, but what's missing is access to capital."

Social justice is a concept very dear to me and is precisely why I'm a Fire-Breathing Liberal and why I like Obama so much. 1 hankie

Todd and Penguin

I read a boatload of webcomics. I have 50 dailies, and about 30 M,W,F and maybe 15 weeklies that I read. One MWF that I really like is Todd and Penguin. It's one of three comics by David Wright, and they're all side projects for him (he writes for his local paper, if I recall). He and I have corresponded in the past and he's a nice guy doing his thing: raising a family with his wife and working on comics when he gets a chance.

Not too long ago, he introduced a new character to T&P in the form of Sicily the dog, and today, I guess he ended her story line. That's a rather unsympathetic way to phrase something that actually made me cry a good bit. It was a tenderly done strip and really got me weepy. 3 hankies


You should go back and read the whole series, or at least go back to when Sicily was introduced in order to get the full effect.


Northern Exposure #90

The episode has a 3 ghosts of Yom Kippur theme (like the Dickensian Christmas Carol) and toward the end when Joel is asking - begging - the ghost of future whether the death of Heyden was possible or certain I got a little teary. He obviously 1 hankie

Also, during the episode, when Ed sees the pain that Holling is in over the fact that he feels that he failed his oldest child, Ed offers to literally be a scapegoat and carry Holling's sin in order to give him relief. After the hunt, when Holling thanks Ed, it felt very sincere and made me even more weepy. 2 hankie

State of Belief 6/21/08

Rev. Gaddy was interviewing Mitchell Gold and Mr. Gold related a story about a young gay man in Texas who was raised Evangelical and who was so appalled by his own sexuality that he would repeatedly physically harm himself because he thought he was such an abomination. He even took a razor and cut the word "fag" into his chest. He also talked about the high rates of suicide amongst gay teenagers. As he related this, he started to choke up at the injustice of a culture that would make anybody so hate themselves for simply being who they are. It made me choke up, too. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #87

Maurice has the violinist cornered and comes to the realization that he's ruined this otherwise good man and lets him escape. When Barbara the Trooper confronts him, and he lies to facilitate the violinists escape, even when he knows it will cost him his own hopes of a relationship with Barbara. Standing up and doing what's right even when it will cost you... how can that not be worth a few tears? Pride, determination and a bit of sorrow make the eyes go misty. 1 hankie

Although I do occasionally wonder why I relate so strongly even to fictional characters.

Northern Exposure #84

Ron and Eric's wedding. Weddings always make me misty-eyed. Been there, myself. It's hard to link yourself to one person supposedly for life, no matter how much you know you love them. Worth it, though. I wouldn't trade my years with Dawn for anything. 2 hankies

(Special side note: Northern Exposure was way cutting edge. Taking on gay marriage in 1994? Brilliant!)

Where the hell is Matt?

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Sometimes, I just see something that so reinvigorates my faith in this fantastic creature that is Homo Sapiens. Artisans and engineers and poets, we are the height of evolutionary achievement, and yet we are selfish and jingoistic and sometimes downright crazy.

I so thoroughly enjoyed this video and so thoroughly felt it's power that I was both laughing and crying for nearly it's entire duration. 4 hankies

Northern Exposure #78 (2)

The birth. It was a cute mash-up of the town being excited and the impending parents working their way through the labor. I've said it before - childbirth is one of the most amazing experiences of a person's life. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #78

Shelley meets an apparition of her soon-to-be born daughter at various stages of her upcoming life. It's a hokey device but still got me weepy. Watching my son grow from infant to toddler to boy has been one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I'm excited about watching him become the man he will be. 1 hankie

Discover Magazine - The Body Electric

My son and I were watching a Discover Magazine on the Science Channel, and we were watching "The Body Electric," about how electrical impulses help control the body and various functions. The first part of the show was about a young man named José who was paralyzed in an accident. Here, we had to stop the show so I could explain to my son what "paralyzed" was. I explained that the accident had broken some of the bones in José's neck, and the pieces of bone had then damaged the nerves that allowed José to control his arms and legs. He immediately started to cry for José. Which made me cry. It took us awhile to calm back down and watch how they were using technology to try to help José regain some finer motor control in his hands. It was pretty rough there for a bit. 5 hankies for him, 3 hankies for me.

Double Dare 2000

My son and I were watching Double Dare 2000 on Nick GAS and as the episode ended, the family playing completed the obstacle course and won every prize. We ended up cheering them on, and when they won I got a little misty-eyed. 1 hankie

Daily Show - Jun 17, 2008 - Lara Logan

"...And I looked at the reporter and I said, "Tell me the last time you saw the body of a dead American soldier? What does that look like? Who in America knows what that looks like? 'Cause I know what that looks like. And I feel responsible for the fact that no one else does...""

An amazing young woman. She had me and the show's audience spellbound with her frank honesty. 2 hankies.


Rachel Maddow Show 6/17/08

When Rachel is talking to Paul Rieckhoff and she mentions "The Andi Foundation," in the memory of Andi Parhamovich. 1 hankie

I remember the Air America radio show where Rachel shared the sad news that Andi had been killed and vividly remember crying my eyes out as Rachel just broke down on air over the loss of her friend.

Phyllis and Del


"Breaking ground is nothing new in the nearly six-decade relationship of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.

The lesbian couple were the first to participate in a 2004 challenge of California laws against same-sex marriage, exchanging wedding vows only to see the ceremony voided later."

55 years they had to wait. Social Justice is important to me, and this is an important step. The story of these two ladies and their struggle to be treated fairly and their victory in the end made me weepy. 1 hankie

Jun 16, 2008 Daily Show - Moment of Zen

This hit me hard. This laid me low. I was immediately sobbing not only because this man by all available evidence was a fantastic father and son and his family is deeply hurting, but because I knew exactly what he was talking about. I was there for the birth of both my children and I wept each time I saw one of my children enter the world. 5 hankies.

Gore Endorses Obama

National Anthem:

Obama hasn't even started speaking, yet. It's the National Anthem. It always makes me cry. Without fail. Pride, sorrow, joy and determination. It contains some very powerful imagery to a civics-geek like me. 1 hankie


Governor Granholm intoduced Gore and Obama and I got misty eyed. It's hard not to hope for the future. 1 hankie

These guys are rockstars. The crowd is climbing the walls.

Gore is speaking - bet there'll be some tears during this speech.

Gore: "with the force of reason and logic..." Don't know why this made me tear up, but it did. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #73

Joel loses a patient in this episode. Somebody he cares about and admires and who he desperately wants to not die. But she knows it's her time, and is accepting. He isn't, though, and he shows up at her house to try one more time to raise her spirits only to discover that she's just passed.

I held it together until Ruth Anne said, "We put her in her green dress. You know, the one with the white collar. She always wore that for company." I had to chose the clothes my wife was buried in. I didn't pick her most professional suit, or her most ornate; I chose a casual outfit she'd purchased just a week or two before that she was excited about and really looked good on her. It was a brown sweater skirt combo that looked so lovely on her olive complexion and I remember she was so proud of it. I remember being torn about choosing it. She loved it so much, so it was appropriate, but she had just bought it, and something seemed wrong about not keeping it. The fact that it would never again be worn if I
didn't choose it still hadn't sunk in.

2 hankies.

Watching MSNBC Russert Special Report

It's tough to watch, but I'm watching MSNBC's special coverage remembering Tim Russert. I didn't always agree with him, but you couldn't help but like the guy. He was honest, if not always thorough. Truly Journalism has lost one of the greats. And far too young. Far too young. 4 hankies.


Keith Olbermann is in tears on the air. 4 hankies.

Requiem for Tim Russert

When a giant falls, it shakes the very foundations of the Earth. RIP, Mr. Russert.

Digg Zinger

Digg zinger

Just about the perfect response with "It's a trap!" Made me laugh out loud, but, more oddly, it also made tears spring to my eyes while I was laughing. 1 hankie.


Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

This has to be one of the best purchases I've made in a long, long time.

Newer Technology USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter

I have two defunct macs sitting in a closet along with two defunct FireWire Hard Drives for a total of 7 IDE hard drives floating around, unused. My running macs are all SATA, though, so I had no way of utilizing all these drives. The inventory ended up being a 20GB, 2x40GB, 3x80GB and a 200GB. Plus an IDE SuperDrive (DVD R/W).

What I didn't consider is that there was still recoverable data on almost all of them. One of the 80s is dead, but so far the rest are mounting up fine and I'm finding all sorts of lost treasure on them. A couple of years ago, when I was migrating my data from my old G4 to the G5, about a third of my music library got corrupted, and I never found out until after the G4 was no longer functioning. All the files were MP4s that I'd ripped from my own CD collection, and I was able to re-rip some of it, but it turned out that when I sold my Miata, I left a 40 CD case in the car that had my absolute favorites. So I still had jewel cases for all these fantastic albums, but no longer had the disks and therefore no way to get those songs back into my library.

Well, last night I found a 4 year old back up of the G4 on one of the drives that had all the missing music on it. I stayed up way too late listening to Soul Coughing and Nine Inch Nails and Violent Femmes songs I hadn't heard in years.

And I've just now plugged in the last 80GB drive only to discover some old Final Cut movies I made of the kids a few years back and an iDVD build I'd made for sending out to grandparents and relatives. I'd assumed they were also lost forever.

I've always been a big fan of Other World Computing for their FireWire drives, but this adapter is fantastic. It's worth way more than the $30 they're charging.

Post Script:

One of these is the old startup drive for the G4 and I found a ton of installed games on it - Jedi Knight, Jedi Academy, Halo, Elite Force, Elite Force II, Neverwinter Nights, Myth III, Quake, Quake 3, WoW (version 1.10!) and even a 10GB full install of EverQuest for Mac.

That last is very tempting. EQ can't hold a candle to WoW, technologically, but there's something about the world of Norrath and it's various environs that totally captured me when I played it. I have memories about places in EQ and even dreams about them as if they were places I'd really experienced. I had many gripes about the game, but I also loved it dearly. Of course, one of my main gripes was that this was the
Macintosh version of EQ and the server (Al'Kabor) was mac-only. That made it a small player base of mac elitists. I love Macs and won't use anything else, but I'm not the biggest fan of old-style mac users. It's gotten better in recent years as the growth in market share has diversified the user base, but back in the old days mac users were a pretty monolithic crowd. Either artists or teachers and almost all with a superiority complex that drove me crazy. I had some great friends in EQ, but most of them were from the small niche of tech-savvy mac people where I was. Sadly most of them had PCs, too, and I lost quite a few over time to EQII or Eve before WoW came along and solved just about every problem I had with MacEQ.

I still dream of it, though, from time to time...

The Matthew 25 Network

I'm not the most religious guy (I'm a cultural Christian, but not a believing one), but I teared up when I saw this quote about a new Democratic group targeting the Evangelical vote:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Now, I'm a proud Liberal despite all the negative connotation right-wingers tries to spin into the word, and I can think of few better definitions of a Liberal than the person Jesus is describing, here.

And I think it fits beautifully into the simple idea that defines Liberalism, as a whole:

"Liberty and Justice for All."

1 hankie.

Voting Republican

Hard not to cry when you think about all that institutionalized injustice. 1 hankie.

Politically Direct 6/8/08

David Bender (show host) was talking with Dick Durbin (D-IL) about Obama's candidacy and the fact that Bob Dylan endorsed Obama. They discussed how they didn't think he'd ever endorsed a candidate in his 50 year long career, and Durbin was just floored and immediately starts quoting Dylan lyrics! I got weepy 1) because Dylan is an amazing poet, and 2) because Durbin obviously had soul enough to appreciate that, too. Just reminds me why I love the Democrats. They at least try to do the right thing and they do have the souls of poets and determination of zealots in working toward a better society. They're willing to spend the blood and sweat and, yes, the tears to make this a free and just nation. 1 hankie

WWDC '08 Keynote

I woke up in the middle of the night and went ahead and streamed the WWDC '08 keynote, and I teared up when the crowd roared at the introduction of the iPhone 3G. I tell ya, any strong emotion. 2 hankies.

Now, I own an iPhone, and it's been a revolutionary product, as is, for the last year that I've had it. With the 2.0 update, I can really see this becoming a computing platform, in it's own right, and with the GPS in the 3G iPhone, this is nothing short of a quantum leap in the way we interact with data, and how data interacts with us. It's going to be fun to watch the evolution of apps for this thing. I'm sure that's a contributing factor to how strongly I feel about this.

Northern Exposure #63

The scene where Shelly is singing to the crib and Holling joins in - totally made me laugh and cry at the same time. Very touching. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #60

The fight where Bernard talks the Millers out of fighting and where one of the Millers says "It'd be like tearing down a wall that I've been leaning on for my whole life." I laughed out loud with tears in my eyes... 1 hankie

In the same episode, where Joel reads the Kaddish for his uncle. Very moving scene. 3 hankies.


The Instance #109

"The Instance" is a World of Warcraft podcast that I listen to, and this week, they dedicated the episode to a man, a father of a listener and a WoW player, himself, that had recently taken ill and passed away. 2 hankies.


Net Neutrality

This is a powerful video. Seeing the people affected and the people becoming activists on this critical issue moved me. America is a country of activism. Every step of the way activism has made us a more perfect union. Abolitionists, Suffragettes, Unions, Peace Protestors, Consumer Advocates, Environmentalists, Net Neutralists and now even Obama donors/volunteers. Movements of people who have identified injustice and have fought to correct it.

This is patriotism: perfecting your country.

2 hankies.

Just watch it...


Northern Exposure #58

As the episode finishes and fades to black, before the credits roll, there's a dedication for this episode.

Dedicated To The Memory
Of Our Good Friend

These always make me cry. This obviously was a person who touched the lives of others, and now they're missing him, deeply. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #58

Toward the end of the episode, Maurice is sitting in the house he grew up in and is visited by an apparition of his dead brother as a child. Maurice gets the opportunity to apologize to his brother's memory for long unforgiven, almost forgotten childhood grievances. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #56

The end of the episode Chris reveals his light sculpture and they play Ebudae by Enya (from "Sheperd Moons"). Don't know if it's the Enya (I have every album through "Memory of Trees" but literally haven't listened to any in years) or it's the epiphany point in the show. Just moved me. 2 hankies.


Obama in 30 Seconds

Watching the winner and the runners up - they all made me weepy. I'm just flooded with a sense of relief and hope. The country actually has a chance of moving in the right direction, again. Multiple hankies.


NZ Book Council

This is a bit of an odd one. Follow me closely, if you will.

I was reading this article on Digg.com:


Now, I love to read and I'm as curious as the next ape, so I follow the link and check out the site. It's an interesting site, though I don't know how effective the gimmick will actually be. I try to read a poem by T. S. Eliot but instead get a message saying "It's not available in your area." I guess this makes sense since I'm not in New Zealand. Now, the site has me in full-screen mode, though, and my eye catches "encourage your friends, click here" at the bottom and I'm hurrying along and just assume that's the way to exit full-screen mode so I click. It's turns out to be a mailto link opening an email document saying "Make yourself look busy. Start reading a book." and "Take back some of your leisure time. Click this link." With the URL for the site below.

Ok, now here's where it gets a little esoteric. Their zeal for reading advocacy made me well up with tears.

I'm seriously a pushover, aren't I? 1 hankie

Why did we find Nemo, again?

Over the years, my kids have loved the various Pixar movies. Unfortunately, since my son is typically in charge of the kids DVDs, we've lost not a few. A couple of days ago, I re-purchased some DVDs we'd owned, before, but no longer had: Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. My son just put Nemo on and now I'm remembering why I never enjoyed this movie much. I'd been a widower for less than a year when we got the DVD, and I remember now how much it shocked and hurt me to see the Marlin character have to lose his loving spouse and have to struggle on and raise his kid as best he could, alone. Ugh. It still twists me up, inside. Six years out from the accident, now, and I'm doing pretty alright, but also I just don't think about it much.

This movie makes me think about it.

Obama Video clip on Gawker

I was watching a clip of Obama's speech where he confirms that he'll be the nominee. Made me cry... again!


Obama Victory Speech - June 3, 2008

I'm finally getting a chance to watch the whole Obama speech. I know this is going to be rough for me because it's been so long coming, and so important. Blogging it as I watch it.

He's thanking his wife and kids. 1 hankie.

He's thanking his grandma who helped raise him. "Tonight is for her." 2 hankies.

"I will be the Democratic Nominee..." 1 hankie - again! I caught this, earlier, when I flipped over from 30 Days. Still chokes me up.

People are holding up "Unify!" signs. 1 hankie.

They're cheering him to the rafters. 1 hankie.

"I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine." The crowd cheers him to the rafters, again. 1 hankie.

"...give our veterans the care and the benefits they deserve when they come home." 1 hankie.

"...that is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Kennedy, and Truman..." 2 hankies.

"...cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota, He'd understand the kind of change people are looking for." 1 hankie.

"or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans..." 1 hankie.

"That's why I'm running for President of the United States." 2 hankies.

The crowd is chanting "Yes, we can!" 3 hankies.

"...That uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon." 1 hankie.

"We are always Americans first!" 2 hankies.

"So it was for that band of patriots in Philadelphia..." The tears are just flowing, now. 4 hankies.

"That this was the moment..."

"so that it may always reflect our very best selves..."


That was almost cathartic. I cry a lot (as I've documented in this blog), but I haven't cried that much at one time in quite awhile. Pride and hope and joy mingled with a bit of sadness at the current sad state of this great nation. We're going to fix it, though. We're going to elect this man President and have a strongly Democratic House and Senate and we're going to save America again.

30 Days - Coal Miner #2

The miners got Morgan a going-away present. A knife engraved with, "For Morgan, now you're one of us." 1 hankie.

30 Days - Coal Miner

Morgan interviews a coal miner who hopes for a better future for his kids than coal mining. During the discussion it comes out that his father, too, was a miner who also hoped that he wouldn't become a miner. This is a dangerous job and it breaks my heart to see people shackled into a life they never chose by an economy they were never allowed a say in creating. 1 hankie

Barack Obama Clinches the Nomination

I just saw Barack Obama announce that he will be the Democratic nominee for President. I'm crying with joy and pride and even, yes, relief. We need this man to lead us out of the hole that the Bush Administration has dug over the last 8 years. 3 hankies

My Name is Earl #27

At the end of the episode I got weepy when all the freaks showed up to cheer Earl on for his dive and decided they weren't going to be ashamed, anymore. 1 hankie

Today's Ctl+Alt+Del Comic

First, read the comic in question, then come back and see if I make any sense:


My first reaction was, “Does he have kids? A wife? Has he been through this?” I have, and it’s something I almost never talk about. My third child (a little boy we’d already named) was on the cusp of the third trimester when my wife was in a car accident. I lost them both. The joy of my two older children made me feel the loss of this almost-little-boy so strongly because I already knew what I was losing. It’s scary how much you love your kids, and I knew I’d never get to know him and love him. Just mourn for the life he never got to have.

It took me almost three years before I was done grieving for them, and it’s now close to six since the accident and I’m only writing about it because it’s upsetting to see people (even fictional characters) in this situation. At first, I thought that Tim Buckley (the creator of CTL+ALT+DEL) must just be tossing this in for drama and not have any real experience with it from his own life. How could he? If you’ve been through it, blithely tossing it into your gaming webcomic to “stress test” (his words) his characters’ relationship is just not something you’d do.

Except he says he
has been through this (though, he manages to sound extremely ego-centric and self-aggrandizing and oddly flippant when he does talk about it).

Some many years ago, long before I started the comic, I was in a relationship and we suffered a miscarriage. Now, this relationship was toxic to begin with and doomed to fail regardless, so that the miscarriage was the straw that broke the camel's back came as no surprise. It was a pregnancy neither of us wanted in the first place, so the event didn't effect me nearly as much as it would, say, a couple who was trying for a child. Still, I saw the emotions it can bring up first hand, and I saw how it could truly hurt someone.

Someone. Just not him, obviously. I’m sure somebody could write about this in a meaningful and profound way, but, again, just not him.

I already don’t read this comic. I tried, years ago, when I first encountered it, but it’s always been too vapid and shallow and almost too masturbatory (his real audience is himself - other readers are just incidental). I saw a twitter about it, this morning, or it would’ve gone completely under my radar. So I’m not trying to start controversy or shame the writer or cost him readers (I don’t think his typical readers would understand either, to be honest). I’m just saddened by the associations this particular comic dredged up, and and disappointed that Buckley’s not deep enough to truly grasp the emotional depth of his current subject matter.

Obama Stump Speech - Mitchell, South Dakota

Who doesn't get misty-eyed at the hope and promise of this man's candidacy? I hope that the Democrats don't let Hillary drag this thing to the convention. We so desperately need this man as president and we can't afford to keep giving McCain a free pass. We've got to get Barack out there as the official candidate taking McCain on. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #48

End of the episode. Vindication, epiphany, reflection. Very emotional. 2 hankies.

On a side note: I'll be glad when I'm done watching these Norther Exposure DVDs. They're too well written and I succumb too easily to their charms. I can think of the shows completely on a technical level and still be moved by them. Of course, those are the DVDs worth buying.

Northern Exposure #48

When the judge is calling up the townspeople as character witnesses on Chris' behalf, Holling is explaining how Chris had helped Holling pay back taxes with an "indefinite loan," (pay back as you're able, no pressure) and that "that's the kind of friend he is. That's the kind of man he is." I know these are fictional characters, but the raw expression of friendship and admiration for a person worthy of it is pretty powerful. It really came across in the delivery by the actor who plays Holling. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #48

In the first courtroom scene where the argument is first made that Chris isn't the same Chris who'd jumped bail six years earlier, the judge says she's hear the case after a one hour recess. Chris' lawyer pipes up and says, "I could really use two, your honor." The judge looks at him over the top of her half-moon spectacles in a a withering way and says they'll recess for one hour. That made me laugh, but I also teared up. I honestly have no clue why there were tears in my eyes, but there were. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #47

The final scene, where Joel calls Yvgeny in Isreal and haltingly tries to explain why he's calling really choked me up. 2 hankies.

Northern Exposure #47

The Joel character is explaining to Ed the suppression of the Russian Jews as he looks over Yvgeny's dossier. He explains how Yvgeny's life is repeatedly disrupted for practicing his faith, but then says, "Don't worry. That's not the end of the story. You know where he is now? Israel. He made it." Made me tear up pretty heavily. I'm a total bleeding heart and the idea of escaping oppression is a powerful one. 2 hankies.

Rules & Bylaws Committee

3:45 PM: I've been watching the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee all day, today. I'm a bit of a civics geek (like my hero, Rachel Maddow) and it's been exciting to watch the process unfold.

Personally, I'm an Obama partisan (though I would vote for Hillary if it were between her and McCain) so it's been tough to watch obvious Clinton partisans like Harold Ickes keep shoving their oar in when the Obama people are talking.

I'm still watching it, but they're still on lunch break. I hope they can put this to bed, today.

Battlestar Galactica 410

When Admiral Adama was boarding the Raptor and Apollo and Starbuck were saluting and they had that little call back moment about "nothing but the rain." Made me a little misty-eyed. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #42

Got a little misty during the scene when Chris was cooking a meal for himself and his deceased friend Tooley. The wistfulness and sadness of eulogizing and reminiscing about lost friends made me choke up a bit.

Northern Exposure #40

At the end of the episode, the character Chris said, "who would have thought such a slight tilt in our Earthly axis could make such a big difference in our lives..." Something in the phrase made me contemplate how small things can have big consequences and how my own life has sometimes turned on the smallest of decisions. Got me misty-eyed. 1 hankie.

Oral is Normal

I saw this article on Digg, today, and it essentially says that today's teens, when they fool around, aren't just having plain ol' vanilla vaginal sex, they're also having oral sex, as well.

To that I say, "Good."

To me that's a sign that teenagers are much more knowledgeable about sex than we who grew up in prior generations. They know more and if they're doing more diverse activities, they're probably enjoying it more, too. All to the good.

There's no point in arguing about whether or not they
SHOULD have sex - the fact is they do or they will no matter how we adults feel about it. So our jobs (as their parents, relatives, or friends) is to make sure they're educated and able to assess and reduce the risk involved with being sexually active - and it certainly doesn't hurt that their knowledge makes them enjoy and appreciate their sexuality more than we did.

When I was a teenager having sex with other teenagers, it was, on the whole, pretty bad sex. I had pretty bad sex with my first couple of lovers when I was in college, too, but this time there was a big difference. This time my lovers weren't blushing virgins who didn't know any better. They were equipped with the knowledge of what to expect and what they liked. And sadly I still knew very little. So I studied. Partly through the Sinclair Institute's fantastic Better Sex Video Series, and partly hands-on, but I studied and learned. Eventually I not only had the knowledge of what I liked and what my lovers would likely enjoy, but how to mitigate the risks of being sexually active. All these things that were never taught or talked about when I was a teenager though I was in dire need of it.

At least it looks like today's teens aren't as bad off as I was (despite those abominable "abstinence-only" sex ed policies). "Good," I say. Maybe this generation will be less messed up than those that preceded it.

The Hankie Scale

As I see it, the scale is as follows:

  • 1 hankie - a little weepy. Eyes tear up.

  • 2 hankies - a little weepier. A tear or two might actually spill over the eyelids but can be ignored or wiped away with fingertips.

  • 3 hankies - More than a few tears. Need an actual hankie or tissue to cope with them.

  • 4 hankies - Actual crying and probably runny nose. Lasts a couple minutes, at least, and requires more than one tissue or hankie.

  • 5 hankies - wracking sobs.


I've always been an emotional guy. I remember the first time I cried at a movie was when I saw Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" when I was about 7 years old. I don't recall much about the movie, but I do remember I cried buckets because they couldn't be friends, anymore. Books, TV, Movies - hell, even sappy commercials. Any touching story had the potential to make me weepy. My wife was the same way. I remember more than once we'd be watching TV together and something emotional would happen, and we'd look at each other at the same time with tears in our eyes. Sometimes we'd laugh because we were such saps, sometimes we'd just snuggle closer and continue watching. (Side note: That's one of the things I miss most - she and I were so in sync on so many levels.)

So I've always been a weepy guy. Then my wife died and I went into a long, two-and-a-half year grieving period where I cried a
lot. Sad tears, angry tears, tears of resignation - her death turned me inside-out, emotionally. Grief ends, though, and in time I came back to my senses and my personality started to re-emerge. Except now I'm even weepier. My eyes well up with tears at the drop of a hat, now. Commercials about graduation or mother's day, small emotional moments in movies and TV shows, even relatively un-empathetic characters have my full empathy, now. It feels ten times stronger than it used to be.

I don't usually mind it, though. I think empathy is one of the more valuable characteristics a person can have and the reason I react so strongly is because I
feel so strongly. Powerful emotions have their attraction, even negative ones. It's not that I only cry at sad things, either. Pride, anger, joy - if it's strong enough, it'll bring tears to my eyes. So the fact that I get weepy doesn't bother me, but sometimes I wonder exactly how much and how often? It seems like a lot, but is it really? So I've started a Cry Diary. A blog where I keep track of my tears and what caused them. It might give me an idea if I have a very poetic soul or I'm just a huge pussy.

Barack Obama

Teared up with hope and pride watching a Moveon.org Barack Obama ad. 1 hankie.


Northern Exposure #38 (5)

Cicely dies. 3 hankies

Northern Exposure #38 (4)

Cicely collapses at the town meeting. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #38 (3)

Cicely falls ill with what’s obviously consumption. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #38 (2)

Teared up as I laughed at Rosalyn punching out the bully and asserting her dominance over the rest of the ruffians in the bar. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #38 (1)

Teared up when Rosalyn and Cicely first appeared in the “Cicely” Episode of Northern Exposure (the idea of love despite obstacles always chokes me up) and teared up some more immediately after when Rosalyn extended a hand to the boy in the gutter and gave a little speech on human potential and how evolution was about humanity rising up from the mud, not being stuck in it. I have a feeling this Episode will have a lot of hankies in it. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #37

Got a little weepy during Chris’ monologue presiding over Adam and Eve’s Wedding in the “Our Wedding” episode of Northern Exposure. 1 hankie

Flushed Away

Got a little weepy (while laughing!) at the scene in “Flushed Away” where the Jammy Dodger boat sank and the girl rat said “Goodbye, me old mate.” (And the ship’s crane-arm waved farewell). 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #35

Watching “The Final Frontier” Episode of “Northern Exposure.” Cried at the end of the episode during the little wrap-up of the episode where the town re-mailed the package, Chris reads “Paddle to-the-sea” and then Holling finishes burying Jesse the bear, with Enya “Carribean Blue” was playing over it all. 2 hankies

The Resistance

It’s interesting how things can change in a few short years. Back in May of 2000, I registered this domain (as well as macresistance.org and macresistance.net - ha ha ha) along with a whole slew of other domains, over time, that I thought would come in useful. At one point, I had more than a dozen domains registered for various projects I had planned. Now I’ve let them all go except this one.

It’s not like this one is entirely topical anymore, either. When I first conceptualized the site I was going to put here, it was still the dark days of a “beleaguered” Apple and I was wanting to evangelize my platform of choice. I saw external forces trying to erase my beloved mac from the tech scene, and I wanted to fight back to keep it alive.

It was a fantastic time, too, in the mac-user community, itself. OS X had been released, but not yet widely adopted, and there were still significant debate as to it’s potential for success. I, of course, loved it from day one. I actually had been considering jumping from Mac OS 9 to PowerPC Linux in the late 90s as Copland failed to materialize. I wanted power and speed and I didn’t want to move to x86 to get it (I was a PowerPC nerd). I tried BeOS, but there was no software for it. Honestly, PPC Linux wasn’t much better, but it did have a much larger and more active developer community. Apple bought NeXT, though, and started talking up OS X and made me fall in love with Apple all over again. They even brought a new personality (to me) onto the scene. Steve Jobs, who’d left Apple well before 1994 when I discovered the platform and bought my first mac.

The rest is PC industry history. Now Apple is thriving, OS X just keeps getting better, and the mac community just keeps growing and growing. Not much need for another mac-centric website. Nor did I really have the time to build much of one, anyway. I was busy working and making a family, and then, sadly, working to heal my family after tragedy struck in ‘02.

Now this domain just hosts my personal homepage and my blog. Nothing much about resisting, anymore, except in the memories of all the years I stuck with Apple despite the common wisdom. I’m going to keep it, though. It’s a reminder of those exciting days, and a validation of my convictions in the platform of my choice.

End of Term

This has been an amazing year for me as a parent. My son is wrapping up second grade, and I've always seen this age as a pivotal one because of what happened to me at that point in my own life. I discovered books. I read "I Robot" by Issac Asimov when I was in second grade and I was hooked. I started reading the Caves of Steel trilogy after that, then the Robots of Dawn books, and from there it was naturally on to Empire. Unfortunately, my paternal Grandfather had passed away just before, but fortunately he left his personal library of thousands of 50's through 80's Sci-Fi paperbacks to my parents. This gave me an endless supply of reading material that lasted me well into high-school when I started building my own library.

So you see why it's a pivotal year. My mind had finally developed enough that I could start to really soak up and retain information. Which brings me to my son's second grade year and his own little informational epiphany.

He's been a Star Trek fan for a couple of years now. I have the DVR set up to record pretty much every series - the Original Series, Next Generaion, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise - he loves them all. Space opera is the perfect vehicle for a little boy's imagination. There are ships and ray guns and aliens and infinite adventure. He especially loves the ships. I've bought him the technical manuals and encyclopedias from amazon.com and he spends hours drawing pictures of bridges, warp coils, nacelles and hulls.

More recently, I've shown him how to do searches on Google and Wikipedia to find more Star Trek stuff, and here's where I seem to have opened the flood gates.

We were all getting ready for school, one morning, and as I'm running around getting his sister and myself ready to leave, my son starts yelling that there were three Titanics! I knew he'd seen the movie a couple of years ago and I figured he was adding his own imaginary spin to what he remembered of the story. I told him that pretending was fine, but that there was a real Titanic, and we couldn't change history. He still insisted that there were three Titanics and he even provided the names of the other two: the "Olympic," and the "Brit-titanic" (his pronounciation). I was still rushing around the house getting ready, and, frustrated at the distraction, told him, "Man, you can't just go rewriting history on a whim. There was only one Titanic." He was more insistent than ever, though, and started pulling me to the front-room computer. There, on the screen, was a wikipedia page about the Olympic Class ocean liners from the turn of the 20th century - the Titanic, the Britannic, and the Olympic. I was floored. He then started to tell me about the fates of the three ships that he'd read on their various wikipedia entries.

I was so thrilled at the step he'd taken. He'd been looking for "Olympic Class" on Wikipedia trying to find the Star Trek vehicles of that name, but got the early 20th century ocean liners, instead. Then, after finding this new information, he read it and retained it. Here was the same developmental leap I'd taken at the same age - acquiring and retaining data. There's a huge difference, though. I had a limited amount of data that I could acquire, but he, via the internet, has nearly unlimited information at his disposal.

I'm eager to see where he goes next.

NASA Family gathering.

I recall times when I was a kid when we'd gather as a family. Mostly it was at meals, and a fair amount around the television. I don't look back at TV with any fond memories, though. Even as a kid I found most TV to be a waste of time, and that's exactly what I used it for - to burn through my childhood because I was clueless as to how better spend it.

Tonight I gathered my own little family around the television. We didn't watch any sports or some milquetoast, censor-safe drama or comedy, though. We watched NASA TV live and saw the JPL team guide the Mars Phoenix through EDL (entry, descent, and landing). My 8 year-old son and I were excited and waited on the edge of our seats during the "Seven Minutes of Terror." It went flawlessly, though, and we cheered with the engineers at the JPL mission control when the telemetry showed touchdown.

There are times when I wonder if I'm doing everything right as a parent, but tonight there was no doubt. Getting him excited about science, engineering and math and instilling in him a love for knowledge and exploration that spurs the growth of all of humanity... I can think of no better things to help him as he develops.

Blue Brick

We had some heavy storms in the area night before last, and my Linksys WRT54G got bricked by the electrical activity. The power-strip behind the TV was full so I just went ahead and plugged it directly into the wall socket instead of digging out another surge suppressor from the closet (there's a ton of stuff in the TV cabinet: Mac Mini, Wii, Dish DVR, External USB hard drive for the DVR, DVD player, Ethernet HUB, and the TV). I spent a lot of time and even some money making that router a performer. I installed DD-WRT and even spent $20 on new 9db antennas for it. I spent many hours fine tuning it, but now it's all for nothing.

I bought it on a whim a couple of years ago because it was on clearance at wal-mart. $40 sounded reasonable to add a WDS node and expand the wifi coverage in my house. I even documented the hoops I had to jump through installing DD-WRT and to integrate it into an AirPort wifi set up.


So I'll miss the little blue brick. I've already ordered an 802.11g AirPort Express I found on clearance online, but it won't be the same. I'll have it plugged in and configured in a matter of minutes. It'll just work and I won't have the hours of distraction and exploration I had with my good 'ol WRT54G.

LAN Bandwidth

I'm so excited! I'm replacing all my CAT5 with CAT5e and I've moved the 16-port 10/100 Ethernet hub that was the backbone of my home network to it's periphery, and replacing it as backbone with an 8-port 10/100/1000 switch.

Currently, my network is essentially in three parts: office, living room, and wifi. In the office I have my main workstation. Currently that's a PowerMac G5 hooked up via 100 megabit ethernet to the old hub, and the hub is plugged straight into the LAN port on my AirPort Extreme Base Station. In the living room, I have an old Dell running Xubuntu, a Mac Mini that's hooked to my HDTV à la AppleTV, and my Dish DVR which needs to be on the network to save me $5 a month on my bill. All three of these are connected via ethernet to my Linksys WRT54G which is the remote WDS node on my wifi network. On the wifi, we have my 17" PowerBook G4, my iPhone, and the Wii. Since my living room devices are bridged to my office via wifi, my transfer speeds between the G5, the Dell and the Mini are abysmal.

But all that is about to change. It's all still in process as I get components and as I wait for a chance to pull two 50ft CAT5e cables under the crawl-space of the house from the office to living room, but when it's all said and done, we'll have this gigabit switch hooked directly to my workstation, mini, and the old ethernet hub (now relocated to the TV cabinet). The Dell and the DVR will plug into the hub and end up with half-duplex 100baseTX onto the network. Not a bad speed boost for the Dell though it's primary purpose is my son's main computer for looking up Star Trek Wikis. As a bonus ,though, since I'm hardwiring the Dell, the DVR and the Mini to the network, my wifi won't have to carry their traffic, anymore.

Meanwhile, the Mini and the Workstation will now enjoy full-duplex flow controlled 1000BaseT between each other, and when I finally replace the G5 with a Mac Pro, the G5 will simply be moved into a corner of my office as a headless file/media server and will still enjoy full speed gigabit with the mini and the new workstation. Currently I have ripped some movies and TV shows from DVD and put them on the mini to watch on the HDTV and my iPhone. All those media files are going to be moved to the G5 and the mini will simply run them from the network. The mini only has 80GB of disk space, the G5 currently has 750GB, and will have more once I make it a server and do some HD swapping.

I'm extremely excited about upgrading the network. Now I just have to save up and get that mac pro...

Anti-Christian Antics in Wisconsin School

Some religious zealots - specifically Christian zealots - are trying to paint this as anti-Christian. They're being biased and short-sighted, but they're correct in thinking that the school is in the wrong, here.  I had something similar happen with my son in his second-grade class, though it was our lack of reverence that got him into trouble.

After I'd picked him up from school, one day, he was acting upset. I asked why and he explained that he'd been held inside at his desk for part of recess (the standard punishment for second-graders). When I asked why, though, I got a bit of a shock. He was being punished for using the exclamation "
Oh, my God!" This seriously worried me. I stopped by his classroom the next morning and had a chat with his teacher about it. She said a couple of the kids in class were highly religious and were taking offense to hearing what they considered a blasphemous phrase. I, in turn, had to explain to the teacher that by officially punishing my son for not following a particular religion's tenets she was in fact establishing a preferred religion. I explained that we were not religious and I really wanted to avoid that. I had no problem with her explaining to him that it'd be polite not to say that phrase, but I couldn't actually allow her to punish him for using it. She understood the distinction, thankfully, and was willing to work with me. Unlike the teacher in this article. The school in the article needs to unbend a bit on their rules, and the parent of the zealous student also needs to unwind a bit. I grew up around such zealotry - that's why I'm making certain that my children are exposed to as little of it as possible.


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