Walking The Dog

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CasperMy dog doesn’t understand the idea of taking a walk. I take him out on the leash and he pauses every few feet to sniff something on the ground or stops to poop. All before we’ve even make it to the end of the cul-du-sac. I dutifully bag his pile(s) in plastic to last forever in a landfill somewhere and because we’re still close to home, I opt not to carry them around for the entire walk and deposit them in the poop bin. As we reach the end of the cul-du-sac again I pass a neighbor raking leaves. She removes an earbud attached to a music player to say ‘Hello’ before she jokes about my slow progress. Smiling, I reply briefly in kind, but since I’m supposed to be taking a walk I don’t remove my own earbuds or linger beside her yard to visit. She smiles and with a quick wave replaces her own earbud and continues raking.

I take a few more steps and spot my next-door-neighbor in her car driving towards me. She stops and rolls down her window to ask if I have a new dog. I smile politely and tell her he’s the same old poodle she’s met before. She says his cut must have made him look different. I nod, but don’t pursue further conversation. I’m supposed to be taking a walk. She waves a friendly goodbye and drives on.

With my attention back on my walk it occurs to me Continue reading…

I’m a Yellow Magic Drafter! (The Black Prism)

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Yellow Drafter



Yellow luxin is most often a liquid that releases its energy back into light quickly, allowing its use as a torch or a trigger to ignite flammable materials or explosives. Yellow nourishes other luxins, extending the durability of luxin structures or tools. Like water turning to ice, when yellow is drafted perfectly, it loses its liquidity and becomes the hardest luxin of all. Yellows tend to be clear thinkers, intellect and emotion in perfect balance.

The results from your color matching test have also shown that you are one of the elite, a superchromat. The magic you do will almost never fail. Satrapies will compete to recruit you, and you will have a wide latitude in what work you choose to do once you finish your studies. You can expect your patron to lavish praise and honors on you. As a monochrome, you will master your color, and only have to defer to bichromes and polychromes and, of course, the nobility and the satraps who support us all.

What color is your magic? Take the quiz for yourself at Brent Weeks.com


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Bobbie Collier Williams (1910)A few months ago my grandmother, Alice Lee Hedrick, sent my oldest daughter a special package containing a 100-year-old family mini-treasure trove.  In that package was this photograph of her own mother, Bobbie Collier Williams (my great-grandmother), in her cap and gown where she was valedictorian of her graduating class from Martha Washington College in 1910.  The package also contained her graduation cap (seen in the photo), the monogrammed lapel pin she wore (not in the photo), and the original typed script of her valedictory speech.

The world has changed immeasurably since 1910 as has the way in which our culture views women in society.  This post, however, isn’t really about any of that, although there’s plenty that could be said.  Instead, I’ll simply let the words of my great-grandmothers valedictory speech speak for themselves.  The speech itself is not earth-shattering.  It doesn’t contain any cryptic prophecies for the future, nor does it speak to any political issues of her day.  It’s simply a voice from the past; one that carries with it the same sorrow of partings and hopes for the future as from 100 years ago that students graduating still feel today.

I hope this voice from the past speaks to you today.  Please feel free to pass it on.


Another year of our school-life is finished and many of us have come to-day for the last time. The occasion brings with it a comingled feeling of joy and sadness- joy because we have reached the goal for which we have so long been striving; sadness because of the severing of long and intimate companionships. Yet there is an end to all things “The shortest path and to the longest lane there comes and end”. The events of this day and of the past days are to be remembered and recalled with pleasure, perhaps with pride, when we have passed far down into the vale of years. As we hear the aged of to-day rehearse the scenes of their youth, so shall we revive the memories of our school when the battle of life had been fought, and we sit down to repose after the burden and the heat of the day are past. Then little incidents which seem no hardly worth telling will possess a deeper interest, and will linger longer and fondly in the imagination. To-day with its trials and it’s triumphs will be regarded as an epoch in the career of some of us; as a day worth remembering by all of us.

To you people of this historic old town, Continue reading…

Health Care Reform Passes – My Medical Insurance Saga

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(I had another post planned for today, but yesterday’s passage of health care reform legislation by the House has trumped that one for another day.)

My wife and I met and married during college in the 1990s.  Our goal was to get her through graduate school at which time she would take a full-time position in her degree field and I would transition to being the stay-home parent once children came along.  We hadn’t been married long and she had already begun graduate school when an newly diagnosed health condition required her to have surgery with a hospital stay.  We were uninsured.  The surgeon worked with us on a sliding-scale to reduce the cost, but it was still many thousands of dollars, much more than either of us could afford so we got on a payment plan.  Now, not only did we have college and graduate school tuition debt, but we had medical debt too.  A lot of it. Continue reading…

The Princess Bride’s Count Rugen: Why Daylight Savings Time “Sucks”

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And now, a public service message from The Princess Bride’s Count Rugen on behalf of Daylight Savings Time. . .

The Princess Bride's Count Rugen: Daylight Savings Time 'Sucks'


“As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that’s all this is except that instead of sucking water, we’re sucking time. We’ve just sucked one hour of your life away. We might one day go as high as five, but we really don’t know what that would do to you. So, let’s just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so be honest. How do you feel?”

. . .

*** UPDATED on March 14, 2012: ***

I am the proud creator of the
The Princess Bride’s Count Rugen Daylight Savings Time meme!

I’ve been BLOWN AWAY by how interest in this meme has taken off.  (And yes, I know it’s “Saving” time, but that just never sounded right to me.)  I revised this original blog post from 2010 with my newly updated and newly captioned image of Count Rugen on March 10th, 2012.  I decided to reshare it a few hours before the DST switch because I was afraid no one would notice it on a Sunday. (Guess I was wrong!) So, I posted it to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Then on Sunday, I posted it to Google+ too for good measure.

I watched with mild interest as my Tumbler post was reblogged or liked a modest 30 or so times.  Then, slowly, my blog traffic started to pick up.  It went from what was typically 3-4 hits a week to nearly 1,000 hits in three days!  I dug into my tracking stats and noticed traffic was referred from places I hadn’t posted, like Pinterest and still others I’d never heard of before.  Apparently, many of you really liked this and have shared it exponentially “in the wild”.  I spent a little time searching other sites where I thought it might turn up.  I’ve found it shared widely on much higher traffic sites and even one where it had already received HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VIEWS!

All I can say is…WOW!

I have no way to track this image now, but I’d love to hear where else it’s turned up!  Since you found your way here, please consider leaving me a note in the comments with where you are in the world and where you saw it.  A thoughtful comment from a real person is so much more meaningful than a collection of cold analytics statistics.

Don’t you think?

Google Content Squad

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Google BarsAn Italian court has convicted three current and former Google executives of privacy violations stemming from a 2006 incident involving students at an Italian high school who uploaded a video of they made while bullying a schoolmate with Down syndrome.  You can read more on that story on NPR or at the New York Times.

In essence, the charge alleges privacy violations by Google in connection with the posting of the video.  Google says it took down the video within two hours of being notified by police and that it cannot be held responsible to monitor all uploaded content by users given that approximately 20 hours of video alone are uploaded worldwide every minute.  The Italian court argued that while the video topped the “most entertaining videos” category with 5,500 hits and 800 user comments, Google should have noticed the video sooner.  Google further argued no one would file charges against the mail carrier for the content of letters delivered or against a telephone operator for what’s said during a telephone call.

So who’s to blame? Continue reading…