08 August 2013

Since you've been gone...

Dear Dad:

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since you left us.

A year since I've been able to call you and just talk about my day, or ask your advice on anything under the sun. A year since I've heard you laugh, seen you smile, or listened to you make music in any form. A year since I've hugged you and told you that I loved you; a year since you told me you loved me, too. A year since I've heard you call me "son", and felt the surge of pride that always brought forth.

It's not that the past year has flown by the elicits my disbelief; rather, it's hard to believe that I've been able to make it a year without you here.

So much has happened, Old Man. There's so much to say.

Eleanor is growing like a weed. Linnea and I have quite the job of work keeping up with her as she explores absolutely everything in the world. She's just now starting to try and use words to communicate - we're not always sure what she's saying, but that's not slowing her down. So far, we think we've picked out "cat", "dog", "that", and - of course - "mom" and "dad".

I have a question about that, actually. Do you ever get used to hearing your child call you "Dad"? Do you ever acclimate to your heart's sudden desire to melt in that moment, or will that happen every time? Even 29 years in, when I addressed you thus, were you still overwhelmed - as I am now - with contentment and happiness, starting deep in your chest and spreading until your entire body was suffused with its warmth?

Actually, don't answer that. I'll find out for myself, with time.

It's amazing, though, to get to watch the learning process taking place. Just last night, while I was giving Eleanor her bath, she handed me her shampoo and nodded at me (which we've taken to mean anything under the sun, but in this case, seemed to mean "I'm ready for this now - do it."). She watched, very intently, as opened the bottle and poured some out in my hand, then screwed the cap back on. As soon as I set the bottle back down, she picked it up, and started trying to unscrew the cap, mimicking what I had done moments before. When she wasn't able to get the cap off, she started looking very closely at the bottle, as much as to say "What's the secret? I've seen it done, now how does it work?"

Now that I write that down, it's actually somewhat daunting. She's going to grow growing up watching me as an example of how to do, how to act, how to be. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm still mimicking you, all the while trying to find the secret that makes it all "work", so that I can pass that down to her. As soon as I get it figured out, I'll let you know. Deal?

In other news of the past year, Linnea and I are expecting again! It's a boy, this time, and he's due in November. I wish that you could be here to hold him like you did Eleanor when she first came home from the hospital, but since you can't, I'll make sure to tell him the same thing you told her. You were quiet, but I heard, and I remember: "Hi there. Your grandpa loves you. Jesus loves you, too."

We'll make sure he knows, and we'll make sure that both of our kids grow up hearing the stories. Stories you told your kids about your family, stories about your own adventures, stories that you placed in my heart through songs we shared.

Speaking of music, Traveller Song is doing well, with regular gigs about town, and I'm working on arrangements for a new solo CD of my own. I've even written a couple of tunes of my own that I'll be recording for it. I'd like to put some of your songs on there, if that's okay. I love your lyrics, and even though you can't be there to play or sing for them, I'd love to share your music with people.

Jennifer, Scott, and I are getting together on Saturday to sing together as a family, and on Sunday, I think we'll be going to play with the gospel group you helped get started. I can think of no better way to  remember you than to pick, grin, and spend time with family.

I'm sure there's so much more that I'm forgetting to say, but it's hard to think about the past year sometimes. I miss you, daddy. I'm glad that you're not in pain anymore - that all the struggles you faced here are gone - but I so very much was not ready to lose my Dad. Being honest, though, I don't think I ever would have been.

Though I wouldn't wish you back into the broken body I remember, there are times when I feel I would give anything for one more hug, one more "I love you", one more "I love you, too, son."


09 July 2013

Brace yourselves... (an announcement from WelchCorp)

As mentioned in my previous post, it's been quite a while since we updated you on new goings-on here at WelchCorp. It should come as no surprise, then, that Big Thingstm have been afoot!

Hot on the heels of our unprecedented success with the launch of our maiden project, the Eleanor, our boys in the lab have been hard at work for the past several months on a new product - codenamed Clover1, during the internal development phases - that we think you'll be very interested in.

The lead developer from the Eleanor is back on board, and while we believe that his past work speaks for itself, he's promised that his current project will be just as unique, just as perfect, and just as awesome as his first endeavor with us. He's working long hours, designing and then building every single part of Clover with exacting detail and purpose. We can't wait to see the final product!

During the development phase, Clover must remain in the restricted lab fashioned for its creation, but we have been allowed limited peeks inside. The only photographs we've managed to sneak out have been fairly grainy, blurry, and low-res2, but we have been able to identify an external antenna, making Clover truly a revolutionary product for us!

It's important to note that Clover is not designed as a replacement for the existing Eleanor installation you may be familiar with. While it is possible to place each of the two components in its own sandbox environment, the two are designed to be installed concurrently, as their coexistence improves resource sharing and allows access to the existing development framework.

The Clover is expected to launch mid-November this year under its official product designation. Availability will be limited at first, but we expect to be able to put a Clover in the hands of anyone who wants to hold one by the first quarter of 2014.

1 - Also referred to as 'Squid', in some markets.

2 - Seriously, it's like we hired Mr Blurrycam to take our pre-release photos. We'll get pre-production images out soon, but not until we know what we're looking at!

A status update from WelchCorp

It's well past time that we here at WelchCorp update you, our consumers, about the current goings-on and plans up-and-coming. Our apologies for the long silence - let's hope the news makes up for it!
For starters, an update on our inaugural project, the Eleanor:

Development on the Eleanor continues to surpass all expectations - it seems like new features are added on a daily basis! Here's a short list of new features we've seen emerge since our last update:

  • Walking! 1
  • Communication! 2
  • Actual sleep!
  • Opening doors! (with handles)
  • Disassembling her nighttime sleep giraffe!
  • Drinking from a cup (sorta)
  • Logic! 3

And it's not just the software side of the house that's been hard at work - the Eleanor's hardware is seeing regular updates, as well. The current hardware spec is:

  • Height: 31.25"
  • Weight: 22lb 13oz
  • Head Diameter: 18.75"

And now, to further distract you from how long it's been since our last update - look at how awesome and adorable Eleanor is!
When I wear this bonnet,
I am awash in innocence.

Yup. That's my little lady!

1 - Yeah, it's been a really long time since our last update! I've got her application for toddler status lying around here somewhere - I'll make sure to post that sometime soon. (Spoiler: She got the promotion)

2 - We're starting to be able to distinguish some verbal communication ("dog" and "dad" sound a lot alike, as do "that" and "cat", but they're consistently similar, at least), and signs for "please", "up", "drink", "food", "more", "bath", "sleep", "all done", and "milk" are showing up more and more. We're also seeing a lot of nodding for "yes" and "no", in response to questions. Any day now, she'll be sassing us!

3 - That's right, we're all done for. Logical thinking has emerged. Some examples:
  • Eveningtime? Microwave dings? That must be my milk, so it must be time for my bath. I'll head over to the hallway to save time.
  • I'm feeling snackish. When Mom's on the couch, she normally has snacks on the end table that I can't reach. I'll just head over there, look starved, and sign "please" - she can't resist!
  • Snacks on the table in front of me? Awesome! Hands are not required!
Those are dried cranberries.
She's not headbanging.
... yet.

23 February 2013

Dear Mother...

Hi, it's your favorite she-beast, Bean Sidhe. That noisy pink kitten you brought home several months ago is off having fun with Dad, so I decided to take my opportunity to present a rather disturbing report.

You see, this morning, my surveillance cameras captured this image. The pink kitten, codenamed Gal El can be clearly seen cavorting with the enemy. We may have to face the fact that she may not truly be one of us.

I know that, for me, finding out that Dad was... it's still hard to say it... a "Dog Person" came as quite a shock. I can only imagine what seeing this picture does to you. Be strong, and know that our cause is just.

I've got to go. I think I hear the start of nap time, which means that I might get to enjoy a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep, myself. I look forward to your return.


Hi mom... It's Puca. I think Grey Cat forgot to hit Send just so I could send you a message myself. I love her - she's so thoughtful.

You are far away, and that means you must be feeling very worried about me. I know I'm always worried about you when you're not around. Don't worry, though. Dad's taking good care of all of us. He even left a bowl of potatoes out on the coffee table for me! I love that guy - always thinking ahead.

He's in the kitchen right now, cleaning dishes, and counting them so he knows they're all there. He just got up to "10 dishes rinsed, ah ah ah." He sure does love to clean.

I sure do look forward to you coming home tomorrow. I'm sure you'll have lots of treats and snuggles for me, plus all the smells. It'll be great.

I hear that smelling pretty flowers can help when you're stressed, so here's a picture of a pretty flower from the back yard. It smells awesome. I know, because I sniffed it before I peed on it this morning.



22 February 2013

Dear Mom(omomomom)

Hi, Momomomomom. It's me. Your daughter. Eleanor. I figure that, if I'm missing you this much, and you're missing me even half this much, that's a lot of missing, so I decided to write you a letter to let you know how much I love you.

(Spoiler: It's a lot)

The new look
Anyway, Dadadadadad and I have had a pretty good day of it since we dropped you off at the airport. You looked lovely, by the way - I lucked out in the genetic lottery!

But I digress. After we dropped you off, we headed back home, and Dadadadadad got me all nice and cozy-like, so that I was comfortable while I ignored my morning nap altogether! Instead, I redecorated (I hear it's called "pimping"?) my "crib". That pillow was just throwing off the whole motif by being upright and in the corner, so I moved it to the middle of the space and turned it upside-down. I think it really ties the whole area together. Whaddya think?!

Four for me, none for you...
I know you're proud, but this is only the beginning! While Dadadadadad got my lunch ready (the porkchops you left for us - I even graciously shared with him), he gave me four - FOUR - cheesy cracker thingies to munch on. I couldn't decide where to start, so I just grabbed them all!

While we ate lunch, we watched some oddball movie about ... green ninjas? And a rat? I'm not sure, it was pretty weird. What's a cow need with a bungie, anyway?

I was, as you might guess, totally unimpressed, but out of respect for the old man, I grudgingly giggled along while we played with my toys and he recited the whole movie, line by line, along with the actors.

Seriously, where did you find this guy, anyway?

The snack wall in AZ has headbands
and formula too, right?
After that spectacle, all that sleep I didn't get mugged me, right there in the living room, and stole my calm. Dadadadadad knew just what to do, though - he took me into my room and snuggled me until I calmed down. He even made sure I had a snack wall, just like the one on your end of the world, so I could feel closer to you.

This nap was successful! I dreamed about butterflies and rainbows and farts and, for some odd reason, a turtle with a Bronx accent. No, I'm not just making that up! It really happened!

I don't know either.
I think he's trying to look "dapper"
After my nap, Dadadadadad and I went on a date, just the two of us. He had to get some work done on his car, so he dropped it off at the dealership, and we walked to the Chili's just up the road. I told him to stop and take a picture of us, so you could appreciate my outfit, but he didn't even get my jeggings in the shot.

I mean, honestly. You would have gotten it right. Man, I miss you...

All was forgotten once we arrived at Chili's, though, because he shared his chips and salsa and queso with me. The waitress offered to bring me my own skillet of queso, but I politely declined. The queso was good, but I'm learning to make healthier choices by watching you, and you know how I loves me some broccoli, so I ordered that instead.

As it turns out, I love it even more when I put it on one of Dadadadadad's chicken fajita nachos. Dee-lish!

After that, we went back to the car dealership, where we found out that the car wasn't ready yet. Since we had some time to spare, I taught Dadadadadad a new trick! The video isn't great, but you get the idea.

Well, it's about time for me to get in the bath and start getting ready for bed. I love you, and miss you a lot, but I know you're going to have a great time and come home and tell me all the stories, and that makes up for it. Plus, the old man's not as boring as I thought he would be.

Squeeze my brotha from anotha motha, hug a Penny for me (and thank her for all the fine-ass threads she's sent this way), and tell everyone there "Hi" from me.

Love and squnches,

04 February 2013

Irish Stew

I've been asked a couple of times for my recipe for Irish Stew, and I've typically demurred, since I don't really know in advance what I'm going to do with it - it just sorta ... happens1.

Anyhow, this weekend, I sat down with a supply of ingredients and decided I was going to keep track of what I did. I actually meant to take pictures, but by the time I remembered to do so, my hands were already covered with fixin's, and I had less than no desire to handle my phone. I'll try and plan better next time.

So here goes.

01 February 2013

My New Year's Resolutions

It's a long list this year...

1600 x 1200 (x2) - Desktop
1366 x 768 + 1024 x 768 - Recording Laptop
1280 x 720 - Galaxy Nexus
1280 x 800 - Nexus 7
1600 x 1200 (x 3) - Work (Desktop)
1600 x 1200 - Work (Test Server)
1440 x 900 - Work (Laptop)
1280 x 768 - Work (BlackBerry Z10)
1024 x 600 - Work (BlackBerry PlayBook)
640 x 480 - Work (BlackBerry Bold 9900)

... no, that's not the entire post, it was just the obligatory geek joke with regards to resolution.1

So I've never been much for New Year's Resolutions. I'm bad at keeping to things for an entire month, so the concept of keeping to something for an entire year is ... boggling. It just seems like setting myself up for failure, so I tend not to do it.

This year, though, I think I'll give it a go.

15 January 2013

Happy birthday to me...

It's weird to me that so many of my good friends have birthdays within such a tight window. So happy birthday as well to The Mighty B, Kammah, !(bagels), The Joj, and - I'm sure - many more that I'm forgetting/missing. Capriquaricorns (and permutations thereof) unite!

This year, I gain a new 10's digit. Like most birthdays, that means that I don't feel any older today, but unlike most other birthdays, for some reason, 30 seems to indicate a passage of some sort. "He's in his twenties..." is used to excuse any number of childhood fallacies still lingering about one who has reached his majority, if not his adulthood.

My darling Bean is fond of asking a series of questions on one's birthday, and for many years, I've done my best to dodge answering them, but for the special occasion of my turning 0b11110 (yes, I did that) - not to mention the fact that I now have this cool bloggy thing - I am of a mind to share.

08 January 2013

The kind of story I tell my daughter...

A while back, I was trying to convince a certain child of mine that she really ought to sleep, no matter how much she wanted to stay awake. When I tried shushing her, she just screamed louder. But when I talked to her, she'd shut up, so she could hear what I was saying.

I should tell her a story, thinks I to myself.

Yeah? That'd be awesome, thinks my brain back to me. Only... I seem to have misplaced every children's story you've ever heard.

No worries, I'll just come up with a new one - she's not going to know the difference at this age, anyway, I think right back. I'll just tell her about something that would put most folks to sleep.

And this is what happened (with illustrations)...

07 January 2013

The Footnote tag

I wrote this post an age ago, but never posted it for some reason. Updated the math, and I'm just going to throw it out there now, lest it langour longer in the land of the lost.

The astute reader may have noticed that one of the most-commonly used tags on this blog so far is the footnote tag. There's an amusing story behind this - well, amusing to me, anyway.

So the wife has a blog. A fantastic, funny, witty, interesting blog. After she'd been blogging for a while, she made a comment to me that she felt like she was putting footnotes on every post. So I suggested that she make a 'footnote' tag, and tag every post that had a footnote in it, so that she could quickly see what percentage of her posts were afflicted with footy-notey goodness.

She then spent the better part of an evening going back through all of her posts and adding 'footnote' to the list of tags for all of her annotated posts. At the end of the day, that tag outstripped every other tag on her blog by a large margin. And by large, I mean "nearly double the next-most-oft-used tag". Even today, my quick napkin math shows that she has footnotes on 22.99% of her blog posts1. I give her occasional bouts of heck about it.

Well, then along comes this here bloggy-space. And in my first real post (the baby announcements had already been drafted for emails to friends/family/coworkers), I find myself all up on the footnotes like Axe body spray on desperate teen boys.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so I've taken a dose of my own medicine and mixed metaphors like a metaphor-mixing fool who graduated from Metaphor University with a degree in MetaMixology.

So yeah, probably not as interesting if you're not - y'know - me, but there you have it.

1 - (63 / (64 + 150 + 60)) * 100, for anyone who wants to check me.

Attention Splitting

I was talking with a friend in IMs today who said that he needed a way to split his attention six ways at once. That led to, well, silliness...

Try the new Attention Splitter!

Using patented prismatic technology, you can feed up to 10 data feeds into your eyesockets, for minimum enjoyment of more distractions than ever before!

That's amazing! How does it do that?!

How does it work? I'm glad you asked!

Simply replace an eyeball with one of our Attention Hub Occular Implants, and position a Transmission Hub Attention Receiver in front of your desired time-waster. Once you're set up, let the AHOI-THAR refract, reflect, and retransmit your attention from THAR to here!

(Set includes two AHOI-THAR interfaces, extra THAR sold separately)

But how do I know that there won't be any signal degredation!?

Signal degradation? What's that? We're beaming you the full monty, my friend. Your AHOI-THAR unit sends, uncompressed, the full feed of whatever you place in front of it! If you do encounter issues, however, we have a separate unit, the Optional Hub Attention Input, which can be used to boost the signal from a THAR by up to 100%. Your AHOI will then connect to the new OHAI-THAR link, providing you full access to distraction, no matter where you are!

Dislaimer: The product described above is in no way a good idea, supported by scientific or medical research, or available for purchase on any plane of existence. People wishing to pre-order the Attention Splitter device should take a step back and seriously re-evaluate their priorities, then have their sarcasm detectors recalibrated at their earliest convenience. Not responsible for damage to items left in vehicle caused by fire, theft, or giant Monty Python foot.