For You, Son, on the Last Day You are Six Years Old

Benjamin,

Remember that night I recorded you while you read one of your bedtime books? You read Slip, Slide, Skate, and then you asked me to record myself reading the next one.

In my hotel room on Tuesday night I listened to you reading the one about the little girl who goes ice skating. I listened to the whole thing, and you did a great job. I smiled when I heard your voice and the pages turning.

I thought that on your last day of being six you might like to hear the recording of me. If you are at home, then pull out Duck and a Book and follow along; if not, then just imagine the pictures. It’s only a little more than a minute long.

I am sorry my work trip got extended by a day and I can’t be there to read it to you in person. I will see you on your birthday.

Love,
Daddy

Sporadic Sabbaticals

I started blogging when my small family and I moved to a place a minimum 6-hour drive from where we had ever lived. Rather than sending long missives and online photo album links in e-mail, I could just publish the text and images (and more) out here.

It was the perfect outlet for a reporter/photographer who had left journalism but still had the bug.

I quickly ramped up to between three and five posts per week, often mining my past for a “Drama in Real Life” approach. When that wasn’t enough I created my own drama by making a music and voice-over video of cups that had spent an inordinate amount of time occupying a street drain. In addition I occasionally wrote serial fiction, publishing each chapter on my story blog as I wrote it, often falling asleep at the keyboard.

I was way too busy.

Unexpectedly, Regular Life became part of a multi-blog community where I got to know several people — some of whom I have met in person more than once, one of whom I barely missed in Boston. I even helped one guy move, and that’s serious.

Others have fallen by the wayside, and once they disappeared digitally they became unknown to me. In a few cases it was a bit like losing a friend but having no closure.

A few I maintain contact with via methods outside this space, including e-mail, phone, and, dare I admit, FaceBook. That last one, I suspect, is responsible for the veritable ghost towns that now inhabit so many personal blogs’ comment areas.

Apparently reading 15 words from dozens of people is better than reading 415 from a few.

I also have added several local friends to those already here when we moved. Nothing can substitute for breathing the same air in the same room.

On top of that, I am making an effort to turn my eyes away from the computer screen, which I already stare at all day in my job, and around which too many of my hobbies already revolve.

I say all this not as a farewell, but to let you know why I might not be out here as often as in the past. I hope most of you have my blog in your RSS Reader. For sporadic publications such as this, RSS is a much less frustrating way to stay current. You avoid checking the site and seeing the same old thing you saw two days ago.

Here’s to stops and starts!

Enough to Drive Charlie Brown Crazy

The Internet is making more people feel like Charlie Brown than ever before. Or maybe it’s just me.

Remember when Charlie would go to his mailbox hoping to find a letter, only to be disappointed by an empty box?

It happens to me when I check my Gmail, then my Yahoo! Mail, and then my FaceBook, and then my Twitter. I’m setting myself up just like that world-renowned blockhead.

At least I don’t have to go all the way outside to check. And, because they aren’t limited to delivery once a day, I can be disappointed several times a day, or, heck, several times an hour!

Do I check only after I have written something that requires or suggests a reply? No. Does that change my hope that I might see a number in parentheses beside my Inbox indicating there is something new? No.

Notification of comments on my blog posts go to Gmail. Alerts to activity on FaceBook go to Yahoo!, what I like to call my “online forms” account. Apparently I felt I could trust my blog (run by me) more than I could FB.

Since switching from our minitower PC to a used laptop I bought from Alvis, I rarely use my home e-mail account. That’s mostly because I don’t remember the password for AT&T’s outgoing mail server. At least I’m sparing myself a little disappointment there.

In fact, I just now checked it, and all but about four of the 140 new e-mails are from me. I use that account to forward myself links that I receive but can’t view at work. Only an old friend from high school and a few folks who are mistaking me for a realtor use that one.

I tell myself that it is not a letdown if I receive nothing new, but I’m sure on some level the fruitless checking is pecking away at me.

If Charlie Brown had this many mailboxes, message boards, and social networking sites, and could check them as many times a day as he wanted, would he go insane? How often do you check?

Trippin’ with Green Eggs and Ham (a multimedia journey)

Remaining Red
(Click to enlarge.)

 
Sound Clip – Ben explains how some spiders catch their prey.
 

It wasn’t what I had in mind when I started the car Sunday morning.

After my son and I played catch and other games in the back yard early, I decided we needed to get out of the house, to one of the places I recently discovered while wandering away from work.

On past walks and bicycle rides to the donut shop, Benjamin had toted along books in his backpack. The tradition became this: move a while, then stop and sit on the sidewalk for me to read him a book. Benjamin decided to continue this tradition on trips that don’t involve deep-fried breakfast food.

This time there was a twist that, while initially undesirable, turned out to be pleasant. (as usual, please use headphones or earbuds for maximum immersion)

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