Thursday, December 15, 2016
Friday, August 28, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
Monday, October 13, 2014
I am aware that I am too old for their target audience just as I was too old for text messaging, and that was a decade ago. But I do feel someday soon I will get announcement on a wearable device about a company’s upcoming hackathon. All I will be thinking is that they really meant the word overtime.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Monday, February 03, 2014
I think we split the games for most of my stay.
I don’t know if a 45 year old should feel proud of beating a 10 year old, but she was the kind of competitor that wanted you to play your best. She has the geometric intuition that I had at her age, the kind that senses how things tilt less by math than by feel. My insights have started to fade, but only a little.
With each move we could make the structure more or less stable depending on whether we used the sticks as cross beams or counter balances. Chloe, the daughter, loved order and symmetry. She played for aesthetics. Thinking that the mess had an equal chance on falling on either of us, I played for chaos.
I think Chloe would have always played for order - she seemed to be constantly organizing her older siblings - but I think she needed order even more now. Her father, my best friend from high school, was having problems with his treatment for stage four lung cancer.
While there are no good versions of the disease, his particular kind has a receptor that can be attacked. There are a series of drugs that are coming out that fight the disease back. But the effectiveness of any one drug seems to last for a little more than a year. He has to keep switching the drugs and hope the treatment he is on will last until the next drug becomes available for humans. He is ticking through drug number 2.
The side effects are getting to him. The cancer has metathised to his brain and, for lack of a better analogy, has started messing with the software. He has dizzy spells and cotton mouth. The day before I arrived he collapsed and during the ride to the hospital he felt paralyzed. After a few hours resting in the ER, he felt fine. No one has an idea what happened and he is being tested next week by five different doctors.
He seemed fine the first day. I worried that he was trying to hard to be with me. He asked me to come a couple of weeks earlier when things were a little darker - the word “soon” that he left on my voicemail had a certain kind of italics - but the Carter of day one was almost energetic.
He asked during the call that we not talk about cancer, and so I did my best to bring up the teetering of my own world - the instability of software startups and the challenges of taking care of a newborn. Our personal cross beams are our wives, but sometimes the pile of things to worry about in your forties can seem so much larger than what you worried at 10.
We talked about Obama Care, the Tea Party, and supply side taxation. We discussed Kobe Bryant, Barry Bonds, the Lakers, and the Niners. We traded TV show suggestions - (mine was Episodes; his was Almost Human). We chatted about parenting which segued into sending kids to public or private schools. I told bad puns. We wandered back into being the sophomores we were when we first met, the kind where philosophy on capital systems or favorite bands was meant to be an endurance test. We stayed up late for west coast time.
The next day he needed a bit more space, and I played a few games with his wife and children. His eldest son is now an atheist who plays a ton of video games. We chatted a bit about the game Civilization, but I could sense his disappointment when I went for cultural victories instead of scientific. His middle daughter was shy and spent most of the time in her room. That left Chloe and our on going battles of order versus instability.
I decided that this game needed new rules. She was a little surprised that you could just make them up. She pointed to the side of the box that had them listed with diagrams of how the yellows could go a certain way that was much different than the reds.
I told her that we could try adding a rule for one round and if that didn’t work out remove it. At first she was horrified; the only thing worse than adding rules was removing them. She then allowed it on a trial basis.
The next round she added a rule of her own.
Just before leaving Carter and his wife joined us, and Chloe explained our vast system of challenges and double rolls. That round I came in last and I was quite okay losing, because to me it meant knowing that perhaps however small we could change the rules towards something that was not going to collapse as easy if only for a February afternoon.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Days have become probabilistic. At any hour I could be asleep or awake. Three o’clock in the morning and four thirty in the afternoon have bled together separated only by electricity. Time has been broken into three hour chunks which starts with feeding and ends with a diaper change. These repeat again, again, again, and again.
My wife and I have our pacifiers - not just the rubbery ones we stick in our son’s mouth. I need to code and o go to Boulange for a mocha every morning. Warm milk and iOS 7 api’s sooths me. I miss work or more of the abstraction of it. I miss the concept of sticking with something for more than thirty minutes, I miss building and designing, and I miss collaborating on a white board.
My wife misses being a manager. Sometimes she would try it out on me. Then she decided to hire one of her former workers to help organize things in the back of closets and papers deep in boxes.
We both think each other is crazy. We bicker more about things small and vast. We fret over how much time a shower should take. We worried if our son is gaining weight. We try to be as supportive as we can, and it isn’t nearly enough. Our baby cries, my wife cries, and I bluster. These repeat again, again, and again.
We learn about the outside world through cracks. Everybody used to be worried about the Syrian Government now they are worried about our own. I used to think Walter White broke bad because of lung cancer, and now I wonder if it was because he had an infant on the way.
My wife and I did escape yesterday to see the movie Gravity. It stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts floating above the earth. In my dreams it stars ourselves, or certainly better looking versions of ourselves. We are tethered together aloft. Every ninety minutes the world crashes and we improvise with small jokes and physic problems.
The thing about the movie is that as desperate as it gets (and we lose our breath the same way that Sandra does) around the corners it is beautiful. You watch the sun come up over the earth’s horizon. You see the storm clouds of the day and light ganglions at night. Everything floats as if it is swimming with the stars.
A few weeks in, I am not sure if parenting is meant to be enjoyed only at the edges. I love my son’s smile, his vast repertoire of breathing noises, and how happy he gets when he reaches out to hit a blue monkey doll. I loved taking him to a coffee shop to meet his grandfather. I love his farts.
There are moments of beauty in between the disasters. His crying has broken my wife and I on consecutive nights. It isn’t the size of the shriek, but the endurance of it. Our previous goto methods of swalddling and singing mostly middle period Beatles songs aren’t working as well, and we keep trying to come up with new ideas if not to distract him then at least ourselves from the fact only thing up at the hour besides us are raccoons. We share the black circles around our eyes.
Soon the infant orbit will end, and the toddler one with start, followed by the terrible twos. The rules will keep changing. We will try our best to stick together, tethered aloft above it all.