Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Legacy of a Scientist

I just finished reading The LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch. My wife introduced me to this book; I’m glad. If you haven’t read it, it is about a man who is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is an established scientist and professor in the discipline of virtual reality. He is married with three small kids. When he was diagnosed, he was given very little time left to live. This book is a documentary of several little stories that he compiled with the assistance of a talented writer. His ‘last lecture’ at Carnegie Mellon was to serve as a farewell to students, friends, and colleagues as well as a discussion to his kids. He knew that he would never have the opportunity to raise his kids, so he wanted to leave them something so that they would know what kind of a father he was.

Even though the subject of death is throughout the book, it is not depressing. It is filled with tidbits of wisdom that could serve to make life more enriching. He makes me want to be a better husband; a better father. Randy died July 25th, 2008. If you need a sobering yet uplifting book, check this one out. Below I have added the video should you wish to watch the video of the last lecture. You will want to pause the music player at the bottom of the page before viewing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Day Has Come

Yesterday was a day to remember. I am proud to be an American and excited to see what we can accomplish together.

An amazing number of people turned out to see this momentous occasion.

What a view! I feel chills just thinking about it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

From the belly of a dragon

So, I am off on another trip for work. This time it is in Trinidad, CO. I am bummed about the fact that it is snowing with highs in the 40s this week. This is the time of year that people ‘like’ living in Arizona; this week the daily temps are to be in the low 70s. Oh well, at least it is to be a short trip of only four days.

Normally, my trips to the airport include waking, finishing a little last minute packing, driving to a park and fly type lot, waiting and riding the shuttle to the airport, and then the standard routine of checking-in, security, and the gate. I decided to try something different this week. I scheduled a pick-up with Super Shuttle. Other than being at the airport earlier than I would personally arrive, I have been pleased with the service.

The chance to ride mindlessly to the airport in the midst of going-to-work traffic is one that I can’t pass up. You may not know this about me, but I am about 800 calories and a bad morning playlist away from becoming a road rage predator. No, not really but I do have the tendency to get ‘frustrated’ with other drivers that obviously did not pass drivers education on their first try. Haha.

Anyway, I was in the shuttle riding to pick up my fellow passengers enjoying the cool dark morning. The first co-passenger boarded. As I was sitting in the middle bench, he opted for the rear. He quickly started a conversation about his travels back east, which he was planning again this morning. He was a pleasant older gentleman wearing a golf cap. However, I was put off by his breath. Not good. I was on the verge of offering him gum or a mint when we stopped to pick up our third and final passenger. A well-trimmed older gentleman carrying a small leather duffle bag hopped in the back seat with passenger #2. As we pull away, he begins small talk with his bench buddy. Only one problem, he has worse smelling breath than #2. For the next 20 minutes, I try to hold back the gag reflex that is in full operation by this point. Upon exiting the van, I breathed heavily. The faint smell of stale cigarettes and dust that exist outside the airport terminals was welcome to my senses.

Now I know that dentures and other oral prosthetics can cause bad breath, but isn’t good hygiene important to everyone? Anyway, I vow to try my best to have acceptable breath and by no means bring anyone to the brink of losing their lunch because of my gut vapors. Hey gum is sugar-free these days…chew on.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daily Realization

There are very few things that I hate. Hate is such a strong word and in its literal sense means to have intense feelings of dislike. If your feelings were water, then hate would be that point where the temperature is such that water ceases to be and it becomes vapor.

I took a little walk to the local grocery to pick up a few things that I was in need of. My experience was of the typical sort while searching out my items; walking the aisles encountering others who were on missions similar to my own. Having satisfied my list, I headed to the checkout. I was in no rush and the lines were short, so I patiently waited my turn. The patrons that waited with me were of all demographics; kids, adults, families, individuals.

Just before I was to take to the cashier, I noticed a young child of about 5 in the next stand with his parents. He was being 5; perhaps a little loud but not running around or taking things off of shelves. The mother was at ends with him. I could hear them struggle as she ‘tried’ to quiet her son; to tell you the truth she was making more noise screaming for him to stop. Then she began to spank (more like near beat) him. Then he was crying; not the ornery or sad cry but the pained kind. You parents out there know what I mean.

I finished up my business and exited the store behind them. I felt for this kid. I watched the mom ‘escort’ the boy into the backseat of their car, yelling at him the whole time. I hate how she acted. I hate her husband's cowardice. She is a pathetic excuse for a parent. He is a spineless sperm donor of a dad. Having kids isn’t easy. We have two; a five year old and a three year old. But if you aren’t willing to do the best you can then just put on a condom. Isn’t it interesting that we require people to pass a test so that they can drive a car or go to college, but anyone can be a parent? Some things just don’t make sense.