Heard my nephew played his first solo acoustic gig last night

And I heard it was great. I’m honored that he played one of my songs too.

Go Matt 🙂

Reviewing backups, I find Mom’s last words to me

Mom called and left a message 3 days before she died. She said that the latest tests were good. That everything was alright. To say hello to everyone and God bless.

A lot of folks don’t get the chance to say good bye, or their loved ones leave with too much left unsaid. Unshared. Unclosed. I think its that way for all of us. There’s no way to share it all all of the time. Life just moves too fast and then its too late.

I think maybe I ‘tripped’ upon this file because of something Rose shared today. She’s missing her Mom especially right now.

I think I’m lucky to have that message. And to have the Mom I had. And to have the family I have in the here and now. I’m the luckiest bastard on the planet. And I know it.

To all those missing their Mom’s today – my heart’s with you.

Emma’s first poem

My friend Howard Hall is a gifted poet who can coalesce a lot of truth in a few syllables. He’s been featuring among his poems handwritten pieces from others under the tag “secondhand haiku” on his blog (non-breaking space).

Emma has a way with words and stories which is just natural – all children have greater insight into the truth of our existence than we do I think. Over time, we simply forget, or we lose touch with it. I wondered if I could scribble down some sentences of hers, could they could be constructed into a haiku we could send? I had collected a pretty good list of sentences and phrases, but the eureka moment happened when I tried to share with Emma what a poem was. I don’t remember what I said, but when Emma explained it back to me, “When you draw with pictures and draw words, it’s a poem”, it was far better put then I had put it – I felt like I learned something from her. I retrieved “Color with crayons” from her list of sentences and phrases and read it back to her. I told Emma we were going to send it to Howard, that the two sentences were a certain kind of poem. She was pretty excited.

The next challenge was finding a way for her to write it. Emma can’t spell (except for a few words like her name, mommy and daddy) yet of course. She’s just 3 and 3/4 years old! But she can write each letter independently well. Richelle is very talented with visuals and Emma listens to her whenever they work on a project together, so she instructed Emma to write each letter of each word, reading them out as they went. Having her switch markers so that each line could be indicated by color was a smart idea. Emma drew some of her trademark characters (you gotta see the art all over the house!), and we scanned it in and sent it to Howard.

He featured it November 18th!

Emma's First Poem

Howard calls non-breaking space “a digital expression of an analog impulse”.

What better way to describe the core that drives so much of blogging, social networking, twittering, and just reaching out online? I can’t think of one.

Participants at Hacker News take Myers-Briggs

The results are interesting.

BTW – I consistently come up as a ENFPChampion.

A Thank You to Sesame Street

The Muppet Newsflash: Sesame Street Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Two New History Books

Old clips of Elmo with Kermit on YouTube helped me expose Emma to the Muppets a few years ago. Now Muppets are part of the Sesame Street universe for her, as it was me and Richelle when we were growing up. Here are two great ones:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Kermit Reports News On Elmo’s Idea:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Kermit And Elmo Discuss Happy And Sad:

Gotta love Cookie Monster:

YouTube: Sesame Street & The Origin of Om nom nom nom:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Cookie Monster Sings C is for Cookie:

Or Ernie:

YouTube: Sesame Street: Ernie and his Rubber Duckie:

I could post a million videos but you’re better off just visiting the Sesame Street channel on YouTube

And as Emma knows, Kermit’s my personal favorite. Its great that we can watch the old Muppet movies with her and she loves them is so much fun.

YouTube: Muppet Movie – The Rainbow Connection:

Lately on YouTube, the Muppets Studio has been posting new videos, this one is genius!

YouTube: The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody:

And one last one, not to show to kids, but too funny not share:

YouTube: The Song of the Count – Lemon Demon Version:

I wonder, now that the Muppets and Sesame Street are owned and operated so separately, will there ever be a moment in any future movie like the wedding chapel in Muppets Take Manhattan? When Emma saw Big Bird and crew in the pews, she yelled with surprise and joy.

I think we used Sesame Street as a guide for what constituted ‘good’ children’s television for us. The Backyardigans, Jack’s Big Music Show, The Wonder Pets, Blue’s Clues (did you know Blue’s Clues was created by former Sesame Street writers?), Dora and Diego, all are in its spirit. No Baby Einstein, and nothing that had more quick shot cuts than Sesame Street for example, Yo Gaba Gaba. Good songwriting, flow, encouragement of imagination and *thinking*. That’s what we were looking for in children’s television. And I think we can say thanks to Sesame Street for that.

Related Articles:

NPR.org: Lessons Of ‘Sesame Street’: Letters, Numbers And TV

NPR.org: 40 Years Of Lessons On ‘Sesame Street’

NYTimes: Same Street, Different World: ‘Sesame’ Turns 40

NationalPost: 101 Muppets of Sesame Street

Relating to… Drew Barrymore?

I’m kinda surprised, but then again I don’t know enough about her personal journey. In any case, I found myself relating to her in this interview: Parade Magazine: “Drew Barrymore, America’s perkiest star, reveals The Truth Behind The Smile”:

“Were you ever secure in the fact that someone loved you?”

“No,” she says quietly. “Not yet.”

Barrymore has been married twice and has cut quite a sexual swath through Hollywood with an array of boyfriends. A serial monogamist, she always seems to come to the point at which each affair must end. Could that be because she purposely ended the most formative love of her life, the maternal one, early on?

“I’m going to call my therapist later and talk about this,” she says, trying to joke but then pausing to consider the theory. “No. I don’t have a therapist. But I think I’m going to find one now.”

“Okay. Let’s stay on the couch,” I say. “I know that long-term sobriety is the hardest thing to sustain after someone’s been in rehab. Are you completely sober?”

“No, I’m not,” she admits. “And I don’t claim to be–quite the opposite. I’ve tried to find the balance. I hope it’s balanced.”

“Would you have a child as a single parent?”

“I always thought I would, but everything feels different now,” Barrymore says.

“Are you, in fact, single these days?”

“I don’t know,” she answers. “I’m not anything. Sexual love is secondary to me right now. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life dedicating myself to love or the pursuit of love or the understanding of love. But for the last few years, my life just hasn’t been about that for me. It’s just not about the mother baggage. It’s not about the boy. It’s about something completely different, and it’s very refreshing. I’m trying to understand it and relish it.

“I’ve stopped believing in happy endings,” Barrymore continues. “I’ve started believing in good days. At the end of my movie, there’s honesty. There’s truth. There’s peace. What tomorrow will bring is still in question. There is a joy that’s earned by failure or triumph. All those things add up to teach us, if we are open to it.”

Buying a laptop for a 3 1/2 year old is harder than you think

First off, there are the requirements:

  1. Must be able to view videos on YouTube (cute movies, funny movies, music, and more), Hulu and Fancast (kids movies, Sesame Street clips) smoothly.
  2. Must be able to run MIT’s Scratch with a resolution that the interface actually makes sense (1280+).
  3. Must be able to play Flash-based games on websites such as PBS-Kids

Then there is the buying experience.

Last week with Emma to try out various machines:

  1. Went to Kids R’ Us to try out a Disney Netbook. No dice, none on display to try out.
  2. Went to Best Buy and took a look at a Asus EE, which the Disney machine is based on. Downloaded Scratch and took note that 1024 resolution won’t do (noted above). Tried YouTube and was appalled at the performance (could be network based issues here though). Tried PBS-Kids – and while the site seemed snappy, the game experience resembled that on my wife’s old G4 based iBook – which is really, really bad.
  3. So went to try out some true lower end laptops since netbooks resemble one another on the hardware side closely. All stop – no network. Asked for help and was told that they could only have so many machines on the network at one time and they were maxed out.
  4. So went to another local Best Buy and ran into the same problem.

This week, again with Emma, to try out various machines:

  1. MicroCenter. I was really interested in trying out a Aspire AS1410-8414 or a Dell Inspiron 1545. Both these machines *should* do the the trick. But I wanted to take a look at Hulu, Fancast, PBS-Kids to be sure. And no dice. The network is locked down to prevent troublemakers from surfing ‘bad’ web sites. Like Best Buy there is a restocking fee of 15% if you purchase something and want to take it back if you’ve made a bad decision. So reconsidering a purchase is very expense and wasteful.
  2. Staples. Nothing applicable here.

And the adventure continues.