Lifetime Learning

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The boy and I went to a Frontiers of Astronomy lec­ture at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tonight to learn about grav­i­ta­tion­al waves from Dr. Kelly Holley-Bockelmann. Here’s a sim­i­lar ver­sion of her talk:

For a quick run-down about the im­por­tance of grav­i­ta­tion­al waves: Top 5 Targets of a Gravity Wave Observatory.

I’d for­got­ten how much I missed hang­ing around a cam­pus and go­ing to ran­dom lec­tures and learn­ing new things straight from the ex­perts. That was one of the high­light of at­tend­ing a uni­ver­si­ty. Plus the snacks af­ter!

It was my son’s idea to at­tend, and even though it was way past his bed­time, he learned a bunch, and even asked the as­tro­physi­cist an in­tel­li­gent ques­tion about the “pres­sure” of grav­i­ta­tion­al waves that she was able to ex­plain to a 3rd grad­er. It was def­i­nite­ly a more in­tel­li­gent ques­tion than the one about time trav­el. I’m su­per proud of him for hav­ing the gump­tion to ask a ques­tion when he was the youngest in a room with hun­dreds of peo­ple in it.

After the lec­ture we went up to the ob­ser­va­to­ry and got to take a gan­der at the moon. It was a first for both of us, and amaz­ing! Then we had the afore­men­tioned snacks, head­ed home, and he passed out in the car. I need to start loop­ing my­self in to the lo­cal lec­ture cir­cuit. There are too many col­leges around for me to con­tin­ue ig­nor­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties they pro­vide.

I might even be able to haul along my son, since he seems to be in­to the sci­ence-re­lat­ed ones at least. I guess that runs in the fam­i­ly too.

Petty Theft Runs in the Family

Saturday, 5 November 2016

When I was 7 or 8 I stole a pack­et of erasers from Mace’s Supermarket in Connersville, Indiana. I knew it was wrong, but I did it any­way. I got caught. I do not re­call the ex­act chain of events that there­by tran­spired, but I got hollered at by my mom, went to my dad’s work­place and got hollered at by him, was re­turned to Mace’s where I got hollered at by the store man­ag­er. I do not re­call if the po­lice were called, but I do re­mem­ber that the threat was there. I learned a les­son.

Today, my son took two pack­ets of Tic-Tacs from Giant Eagle. When I dis­cov­ered this, I felt tri­fur­cat­ed; like I was that lit­tle boy again, and like my mom must have felt deal­ing with that lit­tle boy’s malfea­sance, and al­so as my­self, at 35, be­ing both of those at the same time. We re­turned to the store, and I made him go to the ser­vice desk and ask to speak to the man­ag­er, and I made him fess up to the man­ag­er when he ar­rived. He got a lec­ture that I very much re­mem­ber get­ting.

His pun­ish­ment was los­ing all of his Halloween can­dy — if he feels the need to steal can­dy, he doesn’t de­serve can­dy that was giv­en to him. He was su­per up­set about that and felt more than a bit of re­morse — al­though it took him awhile to get there.

At one point he said that he knows he has “good deep down in­side me” and I told him that it doesn’t need to be deep down in­side, he should let that good fill him and flow out of him, so that he can be a good per­son to every­one.

We’ll see how it goes. Parenting is full of sur­pris­es — and déjà vu, too.

The {foo} Talk

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

So my kid told a cou­ple of oth­er kids (girls) at school that a “male pe­nis” goes in­side a fe­male and re­leas­es sperm and the sperm meets the egg and that is mat­ing. I learned of this when the Assistant Principal gave me a call & was au­di­bly awk­ward about the whole thing. I get that 3rd grade might be a bit too ear­ly for some par­ents to want their kid to know that kind of stuff, but the night is dark and full of ter­rors.

I’m just glad my kid knows the right ter­mi­nol­o­gy and the me­chan­ics of the process & that he’s still in­no­cent on the tech­nique. I gave him the de­tails when he asked. My mom did the same for me when I was nought but a wee bairn.

He knows all of the com­mon curse words. He al­so knows that I know that he knows them. He al­so knows that I know that he knows that I know that he knows not to use those words un­til he’s has a bet­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the tim­ing & ap­pro­pri­ate­ness there­of.

He knows that I fuck up screw up as a dad and a hu­man some­times. He knows that this hap­pens and it’s okay, and that it’s healthy to ad­mit when we do some­thing wrong & that we have to work to­geth­er to be bet­ter peo­ple.

The world is tough to nav­i­gate — I don’t want to make it any hard­er for my kid. I try to give it to him straight.

Weekly Wrap-up — Third Place

Saturday, 17 September 2016

I’m try­ing to write more and be more pos­i­tive. These week­ly wrap-ups will prob­a­bly con­tin­ue. It’s go­ing to be hard to be “plus-side” this week. It has been a very emo­tion­al­ly try­ing one.

I took a walk tonight to get a slaw dog at Steve’s Diner and got to see the amaz­ing har­vest moon. I have en­joyed liv­ing in Old Brooklyn so much more than liv­ing in Tremont.

I am part of a team at work that does drag­on boat­ing as part of the Cleveland Dragon Boating Association. The fes­ti­val was to­day, and we end­ed up com­ing home with third place medal — which we earned. It’s nice to be part of a fo­cused team en­vi­ron­ment that has a clear and eas­i­ly mea­sured goal. So much of mod­ern work (and this is not a com­plaint) re­quires com­plex teams with dif­fer­ing time­lines and goals, that when a project is com­plete, it might nev­er re­al­ly feel like it. And it’s even rar­er that you have time to cel­e­brate af­ter.

I’ve been hav­ing more luck with get­ting Abraham to do things that he has, in the past, not been in­clined to do. I think I’ve ei­ther been too sim­ple or too com­plex in my ex­pla­na­tions as to why he should eat broc­coli, for ex­am­ple. I find out what he pre­con­cep­tions are (broc­coli is sog­gy) and then ex­plain that he had ob­vi­ous­ly had over­cooked broc­coli, and that is can be very tasty in oth­er ways. Then I ex­plained the nu­tri­tion­al val­ue and how those vi­t­a­mins & min­er­als af­fect his body. Next thing I know, he’s chomp­ing away. This method has al­so worked a bit with the neat­ness of his school­work.

My friend Amy is a trea­sure. She’s my longest and stead­i­est friend here in Cleveland and if we get to choose friends as a sec­ond fam­i­ly, she’s my first choice for sis­ter.

I went to Sabor Miami for lunch ear­li­er this week, and was greet­ed by name, and treat­ed to an amaz­ing­ly de­li­cious lunch. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence bright­ened my day.

My car doesn’t smell much like salt­ed caramel/​vanilla lat­te any­more af­ter an ac­ci­dent I had in it a few weeks ago. Either that or I’ve got ol­fac­to­ry fa­tigue.

Manual

Monday, 12 September 2016

I held 
hurt
birds

I held 
handfuls 
of orphan mice

I held
a lame
rabbit kit
shrilling

I was a small
child
beholding
small things

I was a small
god
holding 
fearful congregations

I keep learning 
that
love cannot
be held

only empty
hands
can do the 
work

Week in Review

Saturday, 10 September 2016

  • I try to add a bit of va­ri­ety to my in­ges­tion of news & po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary by read­ing pub­li­ca­tions that I con­sid­er to be a bit ex­treme, but still rel­a­tive­ly rea­son­able. So I sub­scribe to Reason for lib­er­tar­i­an po­si­tions & Jacobin (“Reason in Revolt”, lol) for so­cial­ist ones. Something they have in com­mon is that they on­ly play one tune: “here are the rea­sons [what­ev­er is in the news] isn’t [libertarian/​socialist] enough for us”. It gets old quick­ly, and I’ve found my­self skip­ping most of what they post.
  • A guy at a GetGo com­pli­ment­ed me on my sun­glass­es, which I picked be­cause they were as close to Isaac Hayes sun­glass­es as I could find that would al­so take a pre­scrip­tion. I re­al­ly wish I could af­ford, and had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to rock Cazal’s but I guess I might as well get crazy and wish to get some­thing made by Maison Bourgeat while I’m at it..
  • It is very dif­fi­cult for me to read mod­ern po­et­ry in bites larg­er than one po­em a day. I can’t fig­ure out why read­ing stuff old­er than the past 10 years is so much more con­sum­able to me.
  • I’ve re­al­ized that for awhile I was kin­da “dressed by the in­ter­net”. I think I’ve toned that down a bit, but it’s still pret­ty damned hard to find #menswear in­for­ma­tion that isn’t more cos­tume than style. Permanent Style is great for be­spoke, best in class, sub­tle lux­u­ry & fit-re­lat­ed items — but I’ll nev­er af­ford be­spoke & the flannel-​trousers/​suede loafers “sprez­zatu­ra” doesn’t fit my per­son­al­i­ty. Put This On is en­joy­able, but they al­so fo­cus on main­tain­ing a clas­sic fash­ion sense. Well Spent oc­ca­sion­al­ly has good finds but their house look is es­sen­tial­ly the Pumpkin Spice Latte of menswear. I’d like HYPEBEAST if there weren’t 500 posts about shoes & Kanye every day. I kind of read them all and try to take ap­pro­pri­ate bits and pieces, but it is all way too rules-based and none of it re­al­ly show­cas­es unique looks and dif­fer­ent styles.
  • I guess I like va­ri­ety, and with the in­creas­ing spe­cial­iza­tion of “con­tent cre­ators”, I have to work hard­er than I think I should to find it.
  • “Content Creator” as a self-de­scribed job-ti­tle might be the worst in­vent­ed job ti­tle of all time.
  • I’ve been catch­ing up on my mag­a­zine back­log. My goal is to be caught up ful­ly by the new year.
  • I’m re­al­ly start­ing no­tice class priv­i­lege as part of my son’s school­ing. The stu­dents are pret­ty  much ex­pect­ed to have their own com­put­er and mo­bile de­vice at home to in­ter­face with all the var­i­ous apps, sites, and sundry oth­er dig­i­tal as­sets they use for school­ing nowa­days.
  • I’m al­so try­ing to be less grouchy, but judg­ing by this post, I have work to do.

14788111

Brows

Thursday, 11 August 2016

I caught a glimpse of my life from the cor­ner of my eye the oth­er day & re­al­ized I ap­pear to have be­come a care­ful­ly dressed, quar­ter­ly mag­a­zine-read­ing, European wag­on-dri­ving, scotch-lov­ing, in­suf­fer­able, tweedy, beard­ed cliché.

I hate that. Problem is: I like all of those things. Even be­ing in­suf­fer­able. So yeah, I’ve got some cham­pagne tastes on a beer bud­get.

I’m try­ing to give my­self sparse so­lace be­cause while I ap­pear to be the cliché, my tem­pera­ment is dif­fer­ent. (I hope). I don’t like cool jazz, NPR, The New Yorker, or pret­ty much any oth­er safe, soft, ac­cept­ed, lib­er­al com­fort-blan­kets. After I stopped be­ing Actively Catholic®, I went to an Episcopal church for a bit, the mes­sage was good but the peo­ple were ag­gra­vat­ing­ly mil­que­toast about every­thing. To para­phrase some­thing some­one said some­time: The meek will in­her­it the earth be­cause no one else will take it. That’s those peo­ple. God bless ‘em. No one else will.

Anyway, but. If you catch me out of the oth­er eye-cor­ner, you’ll see a greasy-spoon eat­ing, dive bar plant­ed, un­leashed dog walk­ing, win­dows open hol­lerin’ at my kid, shirt­less on the porch, filthy-jeaned, south­ern-drawl­ing met­al­head.

I love that. Problem is: ain’t al­most no one else does.

I some­times won­der what con­clu­sions peo­ple reach about me at work, but I’m too busy work­ing to care about it.

I like high brow. I like low brow. I pre­tend mid­dle­brow doesn’t ex­ist.

I have no oth­er point.

If you need one then the point is that the world is messy & even when I re­ject stereo­types, I of­ten use them in the same breath. I’m un­re­pen­tant. I just try to im­prove.