Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Bloggiversary To Me 

I've never written a post that was picked up by the bloggiverse at large; never been origin for virus or vision, though I have been among the earliest to note numerous memes before they hit critical mass.

Been recipro-linked plenty of times, I suppose, and by several that I admire. Was recognized by a few at BloggerCon2.

But that was never the point.

Three years, and my written voice has become that much more polished through the exercise. Three years of externalization, and I understand the inner workings of myself so much better. Three years and my understanding of the world has expanded immesurably. Three years, and a dozen friends, virtual and real, both refound and newly made, for each.

The space which blogger has provided me -- however frustrating in the early stages of the technology -- has helped me become who I can be, and know myself in the universe.

It is no longer impossible to say just what I mean -- and though it remains really, really difficult, I have learned to appreciate that difficulty as both the high stakes and the evidential proof of making sense in a world of insanity, for what value meaning it if comes so cheaply?

And, best of all, I've got three years of logged life to remind me how we got where we've gotten to, and show the kids one day.

It's been three years to the day since I began blogging. Three years, almost 1400 posts, and fast approaching a half a million words.

So I got that going for me.

posted by boyhowdy | 7:51 AM | 3 comments

Monday, November 21, 2005

Baby Mine 

Up late with the peanut last night -- she had unconsolable gas, and for some reason insisted that I handle it. I kept trying to hand her back to her mother, but she just screamed and reached for Daddy. The only way to keep her calm was to bounce her gently, one hand on her tiny diapered butt, in front of the mirror. By the time we finally made it to bed, she had burped hundreds of times, and seemed very well acquainted with that other baby on the other side of the glass.

Weird that she chose last night of all times to become Daddy's little girl, though I'm honored nonetheless. 7 months is early for a kid to reject her mom under in-pain conditions; though Mom appreciated the extra sleep, she's not the one who has to get up in the still-darkness every morning to be in a classroom two towns over by 7:30.

But that she surprises us is no longer a surprise, I guess. Ever since she pulled the oxygen tube away from her own mouth in the delivery room, we knew we had a strong and independent thinker on our hands.

My little redhead is a handful sometimes. At 15% weight for her peer group she's tiny, but stronger than the average 7 month old; she can scoot around corners and out of sight like you'd never believe, though she's not technically crawling yet. She gets set off by her sister's tantrums, making it that much more difficult to calm down the household. Given time and space she gravitates unerringly towards the least appropriate floor-object, from lint to dog hair, with total disregard for the usual qualities (shininess, bright color) which make tiny objects attractive to babies. Given her druthers, she'd rather eat a shoe than anything else.

But she shares her pacifier, stuffing it into Daddy's mouth in some early instinct towards generosity. She kicks and giggles when we dance together, holding her hand in mine ballroom-style or looking out at the world from above my belly, laughing with glee as her sister's hair comes by in a whirl. She can stare at a fire with the wisest of meditative ones, is awed into silence by radio voices. She settles easily, eats everything so far save sweet potatoes, appreciates tickles and attention more than most.

Her first word is "hi," just like her Daddy's was. And she smiles -- wide, crinkly, and sweet -- a hundred times more than she cries. I've never been so happy to be a father of daughters than in those rare moments, like yesterday's woods exploration, when the two of them grin at us, and at each other, as if sharing a secret joy with the world.

That said, giving up two hours to stare at my blurry self instead of sleeping has made for a pretty cloudy morning. Even a half hour standing out in the cold with my homeroom while the fire trucks came to confiscate some teacher's toaster oven wasn't enough to reach full consciousness. Thank goodness for a shortened week. Nice, too, to have the extra days with the wee ones, some time to grow closer still as the world outside gets colder.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:48 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How Not To Blog 

No worries that the home computer is still FUBAR -- I've developed a foolproof working method of blogging sans working technology that seems to be working out great! Here's how it works:

First, whenever you get a bloggable idea, concentrate on it so it won't go away. Concentrate hard, to the entire detriment of anything happening around you, for as long as necessary to commit the raw material to memory. (Hint: You'll know you're doing it right if you call your child by the dog's name. Experts may find themselves passing cop cars on the right while using this blogging method.)

Second, the next time you encounter a scrap of paper, index card, or spare bit of space on the back of your hand, write the by-now totally crystallized blogfodder down in shortform. Later, you'll find these pieces of paper totally unreadable (rev blu @ F? What the heck was that supposed to mean?).

Assuming you find them at all.

Helpful tip: don't forget to remove these index cards from your pockets before putting the jeans in the wash, as a) this method of blogging is much more effective when your blog entries accumulate on top of the dryer, and b) explaining to your wife that regularly replacing the dryer hose will be a necessary albeit expensive aspect of your newfound, easy-to-handle bloglife is only likely to cause subsequent [finish sentence].
  • (You'll note, by the way, that this method not only saves time and stress while computing, it also helps organize the way you think and write, causing all future blogentires to be especially linear and clear. Guess practice makes perfect!)

(Note to self: should that last paragraph be italicized? Where does spellcheck fit in all this? Also, say something about backdating entries before piblishing.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:05 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Claim To Fame 

Because sometimes you just need to remind yourself how much you rock. In roughly chronological order.

I was a street urchin in the original Boston Christmas Revels, and a wharf-rat kid in the original Boston Sea Revels.

I played Peter in the Boston Children's Theater run of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

As Lord Admiral Sir Nelson Drake Victory, I was directed by James Ivory in his first theatrical production, the Peter Maxwell-Davies opera Cinderella.

With the help of Tom Bergeron, I once interviewed Jon Cryer for Boston CBS affiliate WBZ.

My naive paean to divorce was published in the very first issue of Teen Ink.

As a sophomore, I was the lead in the Newton North presentation of Pippin.

I studied poetry under John Ashbury, Robert Kelly, and Joan Retallack at Bard College.

I was "the lightning guy" at the Boston Museum of Science.

As part of folkrock trio Not Earthshaking, I played a headliner set in the Hard Rock Cafe Boston surrounded by the same Liverpool bricks which housed the early Beatles.

I share a songwriting credit on Boston folk artist PJ Shapiro's first CD.

For three years, I held the record for the highest writing placement score in the history of Marlboro College.

I was the first undergrad to have work published in Kairos, a Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

I have been a guest speaker, panelist, workshop presenter and seminar lecturer on the subject of technology and media pedagogy at colleges, conferences, and classrooms across the globe, from MIT to Dhaka, Bangladesh.

I am the best damn Daddy in the universe.

What's your claim to fame?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:16 AM | 3 comments

Monday, November 14, 2005

Word Problems in Exurbiana 

One unseasonably warm long weekend
+ $650 in bright orange Home Depot giftcards recieved for buying a new home through a Lending Tree-recommended agent
= All the tools needed to produce one finally-deleafed front yard

Two days dangling a leafblower
+ Not enough rest breaks
= Ten numb fingertips and a hand that won't grasp properly

One stay-at-home spouse
- One teething infant
= Ten days to put up two roomsful of Ikea shelving, subdivide and reorganize the basement into a combination play/craftspace

Two roomsful of shelving
+ Time to finally unpack and organize a dozen bookboxes
= Plenty of newly revealed carpetspace

Three consecutive days home
+ One precocious three-year-old
= Daddy, do you still go to work?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:15 AM | 2 comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ReciproAds Denied, Pirates Accused Of Resale Piracy 

Fave middle-of-nowhere, pirate-themed wine/beer bar and low-key freshfood gourmet hang-out The Lady Killigrew reports via monthly newsletter that their recent local-media ad campaign -- "in which we advertise for other things: other restaurants, bars, books, music, dentists - anything that impresses us and we feel deserves our and others love" -- will soon cease.

Serious bummer, here -- the ads, which showed a kind of relationship tree of local user-friendly services and hangouts, were always entertaining, and often informative. Alas, it turns out celebrating one's own local favorites as part of a network of cool stuff in one's own advertising is illegal. Snip from The Lady Killigrew newsletter:
The Valley Advocate recently got in touch with us...to tell us these ads were not appropriate; and that we would need to change them according to the rules of The Secondary Brokering of Ads (a rule concerning some shady (and confused) person buying an ad and then selling off the pieces). We are not selling off the pieces, we told them, we are trying to create a community and a network through advertising, rather than tear everybody else down and proclaim ourselves the best. They said they understood, but we would still have to change the ads. This made us sad. And while we are going to be slightly changing the ads over the next few weeks, we will also most likely be writing various letters explaining our situation and thoughts. Which are mainly this: so I could run an ad featuring a very busty, scantily clad blonde, but as soon as I run an ad praising my dentist, that's no good? And that's a sad state of affairs, crew. A sad state of affairs.

Pirates acting on purely positive and social intentions, spending their own cash to promote their faves (and incidentally make connections between themselves and other positive, mostly small-scale networked services and companies, thus illuminating their user base, and spreading the good cheer), accused of piracy? Isn't it ironic...

posted by boyhowdy | 11:10 AM | 0 comments

Other Voices, Other Blogs 

Too busy this morning for homeblogging, and my shoulder hurts after hours of assistive shelf-construction until the wee hours with Darcie. More later, I hope; in the meanwhile, feel free to check out my other, more publicblogs: workblog and new hydra-headed collegecrowd blog.

Alternately, Forbes online is really heating up right now -- almost anything "there" is worth ogling.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:34 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

When Last We Spoke 

Yesterday they were doing construction on the detour over the mountain. I got stuck behind a yellowbus, which in turn slowed to a crawl as it tried to eke past roadside leafblowing, recycling pick-up, and the other sundries of early-morning town maintenance. Late for work, then, though accompanied by my much of my own homeroom crew -- I'd been following them for miles, and never thought to look at their faces as they peered out at me.

Today the autumn leaves glowed in the warm sunshine of a post-daylight savings universe. The washed-out bridge has been reopened, albeit as a narrow one-lane passthrough over which last week's rockpiling is visible, a new dam up against newly laid, barriered asphalt. No bus to follow; time, upon arrival, to check in with the principal about yester afternoon's junk technology removal, the subsequent space it makes available, and the potential for that space to be harnessed for new research and techproduction labs and presentation spaces.

And time to begin again here, too.

It's been a while. Halloween in our new smalltown turned out to be a downtown-only affair: two hours candy-collecting up and down main street followed by a parade of costumed young'uns from municipal building to town hall, where we drank cider, paraded in costume across the stage with the rest of Willow's age group, and left early when she threw a tantrum because we would not let her cross the stage yet another unwarranted time. Definitely my child, proud of our matching bee costumes and her tiny sister's sleeping sunflower. Even the dog got yellowstriped. Hoorah, as always, for costume and stroller designer Darcie.

More general familynews in-house and out (no potty jokes, please) includes the emergence of baby Cassia's first word: Hi! The exclamation is used deliberately, though indiscriminately, for those she loves and strangers alike; even the cat gets a cheerful greeting, and responds with headbutts of love. Interestingly, this was my first word, too. Looks like we've got another socialite on our hands.

Back home babyCass gets armcarried to library playgroups and storytimes with her big sis Willow almost daily while I toil. Willow's started getting carsick, which she gets from her mother, so we've been trying to keep other excursions few and farbetween, but most afternoons find us shopping before dark, a perfect nuclear family in newtown, just me and my girls out and about.

Though most shopping is the necessities -- supermarket milk, batteries for the babymonitor, pallets from the lumberyard -- we're still going out, too, for the lastditch hardwood. Not much -- the furniture is almost organized -- but enough to keep us outgoing even when the fridge is full.

Last night, for example, the family drove into upper Connecticut, weaving through the pitchblack early evening on our neverending search for the perfect dining room table and chairs; we liked what we saw, though the cherrywood is both expensive and, to my chagrin, probably too delicate for daily use in a household of wee ones.

But even if we cannot find the perfect shakerstyle woodblock in time, Friday through Sunday of this coming weekend will see me navigating the greater New England area, picking up the rest of our chosen furnishings, most already purchased and waiting, patiently, for my arrival in a rented truck.

And so it goes, and so it goes, and so will you, soon, I suppose, if blogging doesn't pick up instead of catching up, so seldom seen. If nothing else, I'm hoping to post newly loaded flickrpix anon. And maybe a draft of the bedtime story I've written for the elderkid, a horribly anti-PC tale tentatively titled The Ladybug Who Had No Spots.

In the meantime, here come the kiddies for yet another round of computerclass -- we're talking form-follows-function with the seventh graders this week and next. Until we meet again, my friends...

posted by boyhowdy | 7:37 AM | 5 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mea Culpa 

I remember thinking, three weeks ago when we first started up the hand-me-down computer, that it was odd to see a computer fully loaded with software yet bereft of viral protection.

And then I sat down and started loading the iPod. And dumping the camera to hard drive. And surfing the universe after a long absence.

It would be easy to claim ignorance, except I'm a pretty techsavvy guy (and an instructional technologiest). It would be easy to claim a lack of time, except I spent a good couple of nights there burning the midnight oil on shockwave jigsaws and iTunes back catalog retrieval (and, incidentally, using sleeptime I could not spare, but managing the new schedule is a tale for another week).

Instead, unfortunately, it seems the universe of busyness and ADD-rooted procrastination is no match for my tendencies towards high-risk online behavior.

And now the darn thing is totally fried -- spyware laden, bugheavy, stuck at start-up with no access to even the start menu. Now the dead machine looms in the corner like the spectre of last week's lunchmeat in a middle school locker.

And boyhowdy, don't I feel stupid.

Too busy at work to blog this week, really -- it's grading time, I have no curriculum planned for this morning's classes, and as always, I'm a full term behind on paperwork.

Apologies in advance, then. It's gonna be a light week for blogging. Feel free to check out the workblog or, as always, fun randomness from the archives if you need a fix on my voice.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:01 AM | 19 comments
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