Friday, December 29, 2006

Technology Update

Maybe I am wrong, though I seldom am, but it appears to me that the current trend in technology is for someone to come out with two "boxes", one for home use, and one for portable use. I am not sure why this hasn't come to pass yet, but I would very much like for this to happen, even if it means a monopoly by some MicroMacVerizon or AppleSoftCingular conglomeration.

My home iBox would be my computer, music player, video recorder, television and photo editor all in one handsome package.

My iPort(able) would be my phone, music player, camera, GPS and "palm" style organizer.

The key to this "all in one" philosophy would be in service and support. In order for the iBoxes to really work, they would need some incredible tech support performing both house calls and places where you could drop in with your iPort for software updates and total replacement in the case of accidental jamming or jellying of the contraption. As much as we rely on these devices, one could not go without for very long while your iBox or iPort was "in the iShoppe".

I think there are some folks out there that have really come close to hitting this mark, armed with Treos and iMacs and such that really perform many duties. I don't know if it is a money thing or a coordination / initiative thing that lets these techno'nauts excel in this regard. Me? I come to technology in drips and drabs and as such, I have many boxes. I may have too many boxes. I may be the ugliest American in the world, complaining or commenting on how much duplicity I have in all the incredibly high tech devices I have in my Batman-esque utility belt. Now, based on previous posts, I am looking at the new video capable iPod with a covetous eye. Like bringing any new member of the family home, we need to have a round table discussion with the rest of the "team":

"Alright all you little boxes...we are about to get a new member of the family, so make some room, and lets figure some things out.

Okay,, front and center! That's right, super LG camera VZ MP3 playing GPS capable mini computer gaming console..guess are a PHONE! All I want out of you as we move forward is more talky, less nonsense. No more Sims2, no more bad camera play, no more video capture. Be a phone, a glorious, wonderful phone! camera....time to take up the slack. You have always been clear in your purpose. Take the pictures, mighty but dainty more present, and the rewards shall be yours.

iPod Shuffle....ah, you plucky little chewing gum sized music delivery system. How we have had our fun, playing everything from Robert Goulet to Nelly to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Once more with Feeling" to the Pyrates Royale in a random playstyle sure to give a saner man fits and / or convulsions. You will be missed. Perhaps the Goodely can take you under her wing, or at least stow you in her pocketbook, to be whipped out and brandished. No more Snoop Dogg...prepare for Hair, Janis Joplin and Norah Jones. yes, your musical terets will continue, but in a compleatly different bent.

Okay, do we all understand our roles in the Grande iScheme? Do I understand it all?

Does anybody?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who would have thought it?

But I have $150 to spend, and no idea of how to spend it! Its crazy, I know! I have spent twice that amount drinking at Faire, you would think it would be easy to dispose of $150 at the mall of all things.

I received this gift card at Christmas this year, and am unsure of what to do with it. As it is, I feel like I received tonnes of new stuff this year, and even treated myself to a few new things above and beyond the holiday season.

Sure, there is plenty of stuff we "need", but since this is a gift card, I feel like I am cheating the gift giver out of getting me something this year if I use his present to buy kitty litter and tube socks. Who knows, maybe that's a really good gift for some folk. I feel almost obligated to use the card to get myself something kinda frivolous and cool. Some thoughts are:

I gave my brother a swanky video iPod for his 40th birthday and he loves it. Immediately after I gave it to him, of course, the evil nature of sibling rivalry reared its horrible head, and I wanted one too! Did I just create my own sibling rivalry hoops to jump through? Maybe. So the iPod is like $250.00, so I would have to pitch in an extra hunski and then attain renewed sibling parity. Well, apparently the video iPod is kind of a money sucker as well. Movie videos apparently cost MORE to download than to purchase at the Target ($14.99 for Pirates II online, and $12 at Target) and television shows I couldn't be bothered to watch to begin with would cost me about $34.99 for the privelage of watching them on my iPod. From what I gather, you also cannot "burn" a dvd that you already own to your iPod, as you can your CDs....maybe I am wrong. Wait, I will check with my tech guru...

..alright, apparently you can do it, but it cost like $30.00 or so for a program. Alright, enough on that.

Our XM radio just got jacked from my car by the silliest of all theives, considering one phone call to XM rendered the unit useless. So I could get a new XM unit, which I will ahve to get anyway, and perhaps upgrade to a portable XM unit that also plays MP3's like an iPod. No video, but also no other extra expense.

Back to the iPod, i could just get the Nano, pay my $150, and be done with it....nice and simple.

I could buy new dress shirts.

I could get a puppy.

I could..I could...I could...

I could absolutely fillet the person that gave me the gift that keeps on chewing on the back of brain in the form of a gift card....when you care just little enough to throw money at a problem.

maybe I will just wrap the card up, and give it back to him next year! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year, the longest night. Were I a poet of some kind, and not some hack wannabe wordsmith, I would have better imagery to bring to you regarding the importance or significance of this planetary event.

But, ya know what folks? The recent go around with Giggles imparted to me something quite profound, to some obvious, that I will relate to you. I had to question how I viewed science, religion and God in the last week or so, as we were contemplating terminating our pregnancy. Sorry TAC, I still am cautious about using some words, so just erased "abortion" from that sentence. I did just add it here though.

And just like how I, and most folk, give importance and weight to words, so do we as humans indulge in the sometimes selfish luxury of assigning "meaning" and "cause" to things that "just happen".

Diseases just happen. Sunshine just happens. You just "happen" to find ten dollars in your jeans pocket. Good things happen, and bad things happen. They don't really "mean" anything other than you have to deal with them.

Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and the longest night. Like all stellar phenomena, many folk in history assign "meaning" to this event, like its a time to celebrate, a time to fear, or a time to atone for past sins or plan for future joys. I am sad to say that it really doesn't MEAN anything. Its just something that happens. There is no God out there looking to punish or reward me for being good or bad, No Jolly Fat Man handing out presents (except my dad), and no all encompassing "Fate" that is directing me through this life so that "Karma" can be fulfilled.

All of that seems rather dour, of course. People have been searching for the Meaning of Life even BEFORE that great Monty Python joint of the same name, and here comes Robbyblog (right down Robbyblog Lane) to tell you yet again that there is no meaning to it.

Well, I still believe (and encourage you to as well) in a meaning to my life, but not the random events IN my life. Treating people well and being kind is still its own reward, and not some way to keep a cosmic scorecard. Being a jerk, well, that engenders its own penalties without worrying about whether the Universe will mete out its judgement against you. The Universe could care less.

So although there is no "meaning" to why Yahweh has decreed that we must live in a long darkness on this day, I will still use this night as a marker and a checkpoint to take a look around and perhaps usher in a time of dedication for me to my friends, my family, and my family to be. Work, you are still out of luck. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I stared into the Abyss...

..and the Abyss crawled into my lap, and tweaked my nose.

Hello everyone, it sure has been a long time temporally and a long way metaphysically from the last time I posted. Maybe it is my new glasses, maybe it is a new late thirties growth spurt, but I feel like a new man. Tall, pretty and capable.

What happened, you may ask? Well, a few weeks ago, we found out that our unborn baby has the Spina Bifida. Basically, the baby has a hole in its spine, and a bunch of neural networking is hanging out of there. Said hanging pulls and puts some pressure on the brain, and pretty much scares the little baby Jeebus out of yours truly.

We talked before we got pregnant, the Goodely Wyfe and I, and I remember stating, and her hearing, that having a child with special needs was my worst nightmare ever. I can be honest with you that even though I have been around handicapped kids and adult enough in my life, they always scared me, gave me the wigguns and even creeped me out. Here I was now, faced with the idea that I would be the parent of a special needs child, one that could be in a wheelchair for the rest of its life.

Yeah, see that? "Its" life. I tried to distance myself, considering the options that were before us. The doctors, counsellors, specialists, ministers, family and friends all were sympathetic and supportive in what we now faced: Would we terminate the pregnancy, or would be continue?

I sincerely hope that you never have to face this decision. If you do, let me know, and I will tell you how it went for us. I will not relate now however, the things that were said, the tears that were shed or the heartbreak that we went through to get to where we are now, as we have made our decision, and are going to move forward into the future confident that the decision we made was the right one.

Papa don't preach, we are going to keep our baby! :)

Giggles may be born without the ability to walk, but (s)he will still be born, loved, cherished and respected as the wonderful little bundle of joy that (s)he is. It wasn't an easy decision, and it won't be easy to be special needs parents, but then again, from what I understand, it isn't easy to be any kind of parent.

I guess what tipped the balance was a little girl we met named Brianna, a toddler with Spina Bifida similar to what Giggles is diagnosed with, who was able to use her wheelchair at age two, was cheeky, all up in our faces, delightful and positively engaging and precious. If the Abyss was my fear of not being man enough to care for a special needs child, Brianna pretty much let me know that she would like to be my friend, if not my daughter, and that if I hung out with her for just a few minutes more, she would love me.

Yes, Giggles may not walk like you or me, but (s)he will certainly be able to play games, go to the renaissance faire, sing with pirates, climb with her Aunty Hulahoop, eat dirt and cuddle at night. Forgive me if the blog here becomes a bit "spina bifidacentric" as we move forward, but obviously, its going to be on our minds quite a bit in the future.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

They just don't make enough....

Christmas lights to satisfy me! Great googly moogly, I have like a thousand up already at the ole Clutterhut, and I show no signs of stopping. Hopefully, I can get some photos when it is all said and done. I know, I am always promising photos, and so far....zippy.

If you need me, I will be festively festooning foliage for freedom! Alright, for the holidays, but that didn't work with my alliteration.

Oh, hey, I was thinking as I was stringing and restringing lights about we all try to borrow a tradition from another land, and incorporate that into our celebrations? You wacky Jews, go out and hang some pretty lights, and I will learn some of your songs and get a (watch this goy spelling) manorrah! I think I will see how the Chinese and the Muslims celebrate this season, and try to bring all that together. Couldn't hurt, and perhaps it will add even more facets to our holiday jewel!

Not a

Monday, December 04, 2006

Family, the Great Equalizer.

How can I have so much fun with so many people that I have so little in common with?

It was an amazing Thanksgiving this year, so amazing that it is taking me this long to actually post about it. The charge and buzz surrounding the carving of the turkey and the enjoymentof the marshmallow mashed sweet potatoes at the small and intimate gathering of thirty three or so screaming EyE-talians this year was due the following day's planned trip to beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada.

That is correct, faithful reader, (and I thank the faithful out there what bear under the strain of my very inconsistent updates) we went to Las Vegas for the second of Cousin Jeff's bachelor parties on Black Friday. It was an incredible trip, and so much fun to laugh and giggle about in front of our wives and girlfriends at the dinner table. Our spouses and significant others trust us, of course, but at the same time, what is the fun of being naughty if you aren't perceived as being more naughty than you plan on being? We snickered, sniggered and giggled like conspiratorial jackals in some animated movie.

The trip itself was inspired. As the seven of us boarded the plane, I took a look around at this motley of fools and started thinking, dangerous, I know, but the thoughts came nonetheless. With the exception of Cousin Marc, who was my friend before he became my cousin, I really doubt that any of us would have met, let alone become close enough to travel together without having our grandmother's uterus in common. I know that any group of men can get together in the cause of the bachelor party and have a really good time without knowing each other, but here were six guys that, no matter how much we kid each other and make fun of each other, these guys HAD MY BACK no matter what. We were all aware of each other, and meeting up, tracking each other down and playing together came so naturally and effortlessly that you would have thought we had been doing it for thirty or forty years. Oh, wait, we HAVE been doing this for thirty or forty years.

Friends and lovers come and go, but it seems that the power of this particular family binds us all together with commitment, intention and heck, yes...even love. The best part of the trip for me was having the Big Dinner at a Maggiano's in Las Vegas. yes, maybe i travelled a few thousand miles to have dinner with my cousins in a chain restaurant in a shopping mall, but to be honest, I would travel much farther, and at greater expense to be in a shabbier location, as long as I could share the table with this fine group of men, all of which I have so little in common with, but love so much.