Roma

Some scenes from the Roman leg of this summer’s honeymoon, with stops at the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and a cat napping comfortably on a stack of pashminas.

Pictory—Life Lessons

Stop whatever you’re doing now and go visit the latest edition of PictoryMag—Life Lessons. Gorgeous pictures with heartbreaking stories.

Here’s my favourite:

My mother, who is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, had always told us that her one and only true love was our father. But we recently learned of a secret love from her past while organizing her belongings. Lieutenant Walsh sent her letters, pictures, candy and a locket — until one day when the letters stopped.

She taught me many things in life, but I learned through this recent discovery thatlife has so many chapters, and we grow from each of them. I can hardly believe that the no-nonsense woman I knew so well was once a day-dreaming girl … pining for a soldier who never came home.

—via Lorrie Callison Watson

Hitched

Although she said yes several months back, I was still quite pleased to see her at the church on the day of. After just a few short weeks, I can confirm that the ring is starting to get comfortable.

New Paint

Inline with the ‘launch now, fine-tune later philosophy’, the old version of this site was sent forth, as is, over a year ago. While I’d hoped to make some tweaks and changes along the way, things stayed status-quo for the most part. This new design is essentially the result of spending a year thinking things over.

It feels like this thinking has been worthwhile. I hope you think so too.

A Dream Job

A delightfully refreshing response to the question, “What’s your dream job?” But while it does a great job at contextualizing our ‘dreams’ for a ‘bright’ future in a hate-infested, soul-consuming corporate Americana in an office building out by the airport, it doesn’t actually address our desire to find the dream job.

A desire to find work and a workplace you enjoy hardly seems trivial – it’s where we spend a third of our lives.

I was just speaking with a fellow faculty member about how odd it is that we have dreams and aspirations that are really just jobs. I often wonder if at some point in time, some stodgy old adults decided to falsely glorify the work of the everyman. I mean, really, when a young man/women says, “I would LOVE to work in marketing for a large corporation,” I almost want to reply, “Really? I mean, really?” For some reason, the day-to-day work of non-stop phone calls, floods of emails, inter-office politics, outsourced HR, glass ceilings, computer meltdowns, backstabbing, difficult clients, unrealistic expectations, decreasing budgets, and the comical notion of a work-life balance is something that we dream about?

I’m not trying to sound overly cynical, I just wonder about this a lot. I think a lot of us have actually already realized our dream job/dream parameters, but because it isn’t as glitzy as we thought it was, there must be ANOTHER dream job out there somewhere. I know full well that I have already had the blessing of experiencing two of my three dreams: to design and to teach. The only part left is to write and be published by a book or magazine.

Believe me, I’m buried in the notion of dream job just as much as everyone else. I just think it’s odd, that’s all. My real dreams are for my son’s autism to disappear, for my daughter to be born healthy, for my wife to find her calling and serve it with excitement and ambition, to own a house, for my sister’s cancer to go away, for my mom to be recognized for her achievements and challenged to achieve even more, for my dad to get off the concrete floor and into an office, for my brother-in-law to get his license back, and for my sister-in-law to meet the man of her dreams. These are the real dreams I have. My dream job? Eh, it’ll happen I’m sure. A little bit of hard work, time, opportunity, and prayer should be all it’ll take.

A computer for Nan

I got a Facebook message last night from one of my great aunts wishing me a happy birthday. It was a fairly typical annual note – happy birthday, looking forward to seeing you, have a great day, etc – but there was something extra at the end. She was talking to my Nan earlier in the day and, not owning a computer of her own, Nan asked that she send a message on her behalf too.

—Put a message on Facebook for Terry, she likely said.

There’s a whole pile of reasons why Nan and Pop don’t own a computer – the cost, having another monthly bill for internet access, finding somewhere to setup a desk, and most importantly, finding someone to teach her how to use it. Several times I’ve heard Nan dismiss the idea of getting a computer outright.

—Too much trouble

In a Perfect World
In an absolutely perfect scenario, Nan would get up in the morning, make coffee and browse the latest posts on Facebook. Pop would have the news and weather read to him, and look up a few troublesome answers on his crossword. After lunch Nan could Skype with her grandkids, look up recipes, see all the new pictures on Facebook, and send birthday wishes. She might also play Scrabble with my mom, read forwarded jokes from me, and even see in real-time the great-granddaughter that she’s never seen before in real-life. All these things are so mundane and easy to do now technologically, that they seem silly to even talk about. But yet, as technically yawn-ish as they are, there’s no way Nan and Pop would be able to get from where they are now to there.

The interface is the message
As the US and Canada debate and legislate the right of all people to have broadband internet access, I really hope the conversation does at least a brief diversion to issues of interface. I’m not just talking about the Facebook interface, or the Hotmail interface; when I talk about interface with respect to Nan and Pop, I’m talking about the whole experience.

I’m talking about them having something that’s easy to setup and use, easy to manage, easy to type into and speak into, easy to look at, easy to listen to. I’m talking about something that makes their lives better, not more complicated. Sadly, the modern ‘computer’ that we know today isn’t it. Our modern computer has to be setup, has to be upgraded, has to have virus scanners and anti-phishing(?) software. It has to come with huge technical overhead; it has to be learned.

What’s sadder still is that until we have something better and easier to use, Nan will continue to send me birthday wishes via my aunt, and will continue to miss out on this huge opportunity to make her daily-life in a small, quiet, sleepy rural town a little bit richer.

The false hope of creativity

The very best of your plans, intentions and ideas are absolutely worthless. At the end of the day, when someone says “Show me,” and you can’t, you’ve already failed.

Creativity isn’t a product, it’s merely another tool.