Friday, January 27, 2012

On Wealth and Charity

I believe there are certain traits that are inherent in people, regardless of where we come from and who we are. For instance, when it comes to wealth and the obligation for charity, there are several basic principles by which we can measure others. Are we obligated to help others with our own wealth? I believe so. What is humanity but a brother and sisterhood, all of us alone on this small planet, and all our laws and statutes and declarations merely the "how to" of our living here together? I heard on the radio the other day that during one great ice age, the population of this planet was less than 2000 souls. All of us come from this tiny community in Africa many many millennia ago.

We are all in this together. That is why I believe that anyone who accumulates excessive wealth has a measure of guilt about the inequality in the world. They have this guilt because there comes with it an obligation to help their fellow man, as, in a closed system such as our world is, no wealth is accumulated without the efforts of others. That effort is worth the love and empathy for those who are suffering.

For those who accumulate excessive wealth and do not feel guilt, love, or inequality, they are weak, and in all definitions of social disorders, prevalent among them is a lack of empathy.

These people are broken, and need compassion to be fixed. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

I believe that more today than I ever have.

For those with wealth who do not feel guilt, should they have been brought up with religion, whether Islam, Animist, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Shinto, or Buddhist, they can learn empathy, as do we all when we learn the stories of our ancestors. It is in this way we are taught charity. For those who are taught these principals, and do not practice charity, they subconsciously reject the love of mankind, and they, too, are broken, and can only be fixed with compassion.

Those who accumulate wealth, and preach religion, and in these ranks we find the worst of politics, that still do not show empathy, especially if they are people who hold the reins of power, with the drive to create laws for others, these are the vilest of creatures, and yet are still not beyond inclusion. These see religion as a means to subdue others for their own profit.

They will use politics in the same way, a game to be played for their own gain, to put their name in history, and to shadow their actions with many words to make themselves look benevolent. I believe the main goal of politics in this century should be the rooting out, and excluding from politics of those people, until they learn the true charity of their religion, and perhaps hopefully, the true love of fellow humankind, and the healing of their rift from the collective heart of our people.

For in all this, the best of those people are those who succeed in accumulating moderate wealth, no more than they need to be comfortable, and share it out of compassion and empathy, not because of the teachings of a religion, but because they do so out of the natural state of being empathic and attentive to the humanity, the community around them. To these people I say their life is well done, whether or not there is recognition, for these should be the people leading our states, and our religions. 

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking  excellence." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

On Hyperlexia

Jenn recently asked me about what it is like to be Hyperlexic. I'd never thought about 'what it's like' before, as my oddity has  fueled my passion for writing. I saw it as a good thing, not something to explain away or try to overcome. I was an odd kid, yet nobody really put names to it or took me to the doctor over it. I don't remember much before ten years old, but Mom and Dad used to laugh when they told the story of my learning to read. The story is: I didn’t.

I can't remember not being able to read. Before I even went to school, relatives visited us in Havelock to find me on the living room floor with the Toronto Star splayed out in front of me. "How cute," they said, "he's pretending to read the paper." My parents laughed. "No, he's reading it." I even read aloud to prove it.

In Grade one, I could read at a grade five level, and by twelve years old I was devouring epics like 'War and Peace', 'Les Miserables', and was on my fourth or fifth reading of the old leather bound 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. I spent much time in the library in my first high school, and my inner world was interwoven with literature.

Nobody would have known much about this because my outer world lacked the social graces that I later had to painstakingly build from scratch while doing theatre in Montreal. Literature, though, was where I went to understand the world. Even recently I was asked by my chiropractor why I went from Engineering in first year to creative writing in my second, two seemingly unrelated disciplines. All I could explain, sheepishly, was that it came down to patterns. I understood both Engineering AND writing in terms of the patterns.

My experience in the mid-70’s was similar to what Owen’s is now. We first knew something was different with our little guy when Jenn discovered words spelled on the refrigerator. Owen was about two. She thought it was Cole doing it until she secretly watched Owen playing with them. It wasn’t so much a shock to us, because we remembered all the stories my parents had told about my miraculous learning when I was little.

At about two and a half years old, something happened in Owen’s brain that he looked at the alphabet, and knew which letters were which. Within weeks he was able to name them in random order, sing the entire alphabet song, and identify letters in everyday life, from signs and pictures. The alphabet and its letters were his 'first word'. It was actually the individual letters we used to teach him everyone's names. At three he could sing the alphabet backwards.

Owen in 2007, around 2 years old.

Jenn remarked this morning that this innate ability to read has made it very frustrating for Cole helping Daisy learn to read. He doesn't remember having to learn to read, and his experience is with Owen, who "just knew". He would show Owen a book, and his little brother would know the words and how to spell them immediately. Owen's ability to spell, with a keyboard mind you, is actually farther advanced than Cole's. We have to keep reminding Cole that with Daisy, she's going to learn at her own pace, and that he has to be patient. The other day, putting away the board games we'd had out, Owen rhymed off: "Risk, the world conquest game." and left Jenn thinking 'how the heck does he know how to pronounce conquest'? I don't know. I can't explain it.

We spent a lot of time in Speech and Language therapy at Belleville’s Children’s Treatment Centre. Some therapy was trying to get Owen to identify pictures on cards, but we couldn’t get him to focus on the pictures if there were words on the bottom of the card. In one of his group sessions they had a schedule written for the teachers taped on the back of the chair. Owen could not focus on anything except the schedule. At the end of each activity he would proudly announce what the next activity would be. They had to hide it during the next class so that he could focus on the lesson.

It seems to come as par for the course with Owen, to do everything in the "wrong" order, but still gets there. It feels to me, on the outside looking in, that the cart has been put before horse. Learning the words, as well as their pronunciations and spellings, for both of us came long before understanding the meanings, and even though I could read well, I couldn't understand fully what was meant in literature until later on in life, even if I understood the sentences. Does that make sense?

So how does Owen, 'just know'? How does this type of innate knowledge of language work in the hyperlexic brain? I am not a scientist, so I can’t answer that in depth, but one has to ask: why bother studying it at all if it’s a ‘bonus’? Who would want to research something that is a gift, and not a handicap? Well, it is fascinating in its links to ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders), and the study of it can help us to understand better the workings of the brain.

IS it genetic? Given our recent history, I have to ask, even if it doesn’t fit. Well, the ‘Sprung mutation’ on the eleventh chromosome is still undetermined. So far the only two people we can verify who have it are Owen and I, and we won't know about the rest of my family until the testing is done. The aversion to texture and sensitivity to noise (see the post on noise), seem to come from my father, while the tendency to hyperlexia seems to come from my mother. She was always obsessed with books. My grandfather Patterson, who was an avid crossword puzzler, also loved reading, but not in the same way. In fact, the only other person who was so obsessive about books in my family, was my mother’s sister, Aunt Chris, rest her soul, a school teacher in Duncan B.C. who passed away from Cancer in 2001, and gave me my first journal in 1983, writing a dedication in the front with her fountain pen.

Mom and I in 1972. I had just published my first novel ... lol j/k!

To be clear, hyperlexia is its own thing. It is not new, being that many of the obsessive oddball decoders in Bletchley Park in World War II were known to be hyperlexic. It is not an official diagnosis, more of a condition than a disorder, and not in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders). It can exist with all sorts of other conditions, being that some children with autism also have hyperlexia. I'm assuming, perhaps incorrectly, it must be the polar opposite of dyslexia. It is the hyper-awareness of the order of things and the drive to keep them in that order, while dyslexia is the inability to do the same.

What does that mean? Some experts see it as a 'useless' splinter skill. It is word recognition, but not comprehension. Some think that it is akin to decoding. It seems to fit a group of children who have disordered development. Of all the webpages out there dedicated to hyperlexia, none of them seem to work. (Is this also fitting, that there are probably some very intricate and brilliant webpages stored on hard drives, without the skills to get them online? Oh, the irony...)

One great definition I lifted from a link here...  "Children with Hyperlexia demonstrate an intense fascination with letters, numbers, patterns and logos, and a self-taught, precocious ability to read, spell, write and/or compute, usually before the age of five. They have difficulty developing language and communication skills and often exhibit unusual behaviours or interests."

In terms of ASD, those who show a propensity for Hyperlexia, appear to have a better prognosis on the spectrum than those who do not. The theory behind it is that just because the comprehension doesn’t exist at the beginning, doesn’t mean it won’t come.

In simple terms, and this is the sum of what I know of it as it pertains to Owen’s and my oddities, hyperlexia is like a steel structure building. When building ‘normal’ buildings, you build from floor to floor, pouring concrete or putting up wooden walls, and building atop them, with all elements being put in place at the same time. In the hyperlexic, the whole steel structure can (and sometimes should) be built to stand alone before all the extras like cladding and floors are added.

As Jenn says: “We value people who can write, read, and do math, but if they can’t, we miss how brilliant they are. So what does that say about neurotypical social skills?”

Sometimes I wonder if all my “nice” tendencies, my sensitivity to injustice and my inability to lie, or to be politically clever, come from this. I see neurotypical people doing dastardly things that serve only themselves, especially in government, cutting social programs that are needed to put our world on the path to recovery, and doing things that blatantly destroy our environment, or downright evil political tactics like smear campaigns, presently directed at Bob Rae, or proroguing parliament or being found in contempt of it, and I think ‘if this is what it’s like to be neurotypical, count me out.’

I’d rather be socially handicapped than dishonorable.

My brilliant wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Previous posts about Owen are here:
Owen ii
Owen iii
Owen iv

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Numbers wonk with a crystal ball.

There are patterns to politics, especially surrounding majority governments. My disclaimer is that this post is simply an analysis of what *usually* happens, statistically after a majority government.

Of 41 sittings of Canadian Parliament, a full 30 of those have been majority governments. Broken down by party, it plays out this way:

Liberal majorities:

Conservative (including pre-1894 Liberal-Conservative) majorities:

Majorities since 1894:
Liberal: 11
Conservative: 6

Broken down statistically, the percentage chance of *any* party getting the following results after a majority are:
Repeat Majority: 52%     Minority:  10%
Opposition Majority: 31%  Minority:  7%

Thus, there is an 83% chance that we will have another majority in the next election, Liberal or Conservative (or NDP, if that's even possible), and a 17% chance of a minority. There is a 62% chance that the Conservatives will form the next government. These statistics, broken down by party, though, are skewed by the powerhouse that has been the Liberal party of the past hundred years.

Liberal majorities were able to be re-elected, as a majority, 8 times, or more than 51% of the time. And the other 50% is broken up equally between a minority re-election (twice) and a flip to the Conservatives, in majority (three times) and minority (twice).

The Conservatives are close to that statistic also, but with much fewer occasions, 50% re-election, and two flips to the Liberals.

I am much more interested in the pattern of Conservative majorities, post 1945, though, as I believe it has more bearing on what we can expect. Trolls, from the right, will say that I'm skewing the numbers by limiting it, but my retort will be that politics has changed. More and more power is being concentrated in the PMO, and less with Parliament, and voters are able to converse across longer distances, making regional politics more likely to influence re-voting patterns than a hundred years ago.

For those who say that this is a 'new and improved' Conservative Party, (the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, or CCRAP) I believe that while different from the previous Progressive Conservative Party, it is drawing on the same voter base as its genesis parties, and so I freely use the statistics from their predecessors. Don't read if it bothers you.

Using only the data since World War 2, Conservatives repeating their majority is much less likely:
Repeat Majority: 33%     Minority: 33 %
Opposition Majority: 33%     Minority:  0%

Liberals, have an overall record that is actually better since 1945 with majorities:
Repeat Majority: 55 %     Minority: 18 %
Opposition Majority: 8 %    Minority: 18 %

So where is this going? My completely arbitrary predictions for the next election, which, I must say, is three years away, and is based on all the related factors such as the Liberal chances in Quebec, the plight of the NDP to keep their party together, and the Liberal choice of leader.

The next election will also be heavily influenced by the actions of Il Duce.  Harper's ability to do vile things while nobody cares, historically, has been the death knell of parties, even if they suck up in their last two years.

Majorities that have generally been back-to-back have been the ones that acted like minority governments, engaging in debate. The recent ones to fall heavily into an opposition majority from their own majority have been Mulrooney, Trudeau, and Diefenbaker, all somewhat autocratic. All hinges, of course, on young people voting, which, if Harper pisses off gays and lesbians, and messes with the environment, is bound in itself to have him ousted. I think we can see which way this is going.

So my predictions are as follows (not to be altered as the three years play out):

Conservative Majority:  5%

Conservative Minority:  25%

Liberal Majority:  20%

Liberal Minority:  50%

There you have it. Let's see if I have a crystal ball after all ;)

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Sunday, January 08, 2012


From that first goat who ate the 'magical beans' in Ethiopia nearly a thousand years ago, people have understood the greatness of coffee. It was seen in the Muslim world as an acceptable alternative to alcohol, and enjoyed a long, storied history before being brought to Europe by early traders.

Georg Frantz Koltschitzky, for one, is considered a hero by the people of Vienna for his actions at the 1683 Battle of Vienna. According to a popular legend, he opened the first café in the city, using coffee beans left by the retreating Ottoman Turks.

My own discovery of coffee was much less exciting, and came much later in life than one would think, given my fanaticism. See, I was raised in a household that outwardly did not seem so English, but retained the most civilized of traditions, the love of tea.

As a child with moderate asthma, sweetened hot tea was one of the things my Mom could give me late at night that would clear my lungs and allow me to breathe. From those practical origins, my tea ritual was already well developed by the time I was an early teen. I still love a good hot cup of Tetley, with milk, not cream, and no sugar.

Looking back, I think I've narrowed down the time frame during which coffee supplanted tea as my caffeine delivery system. After I studied at Concordia, and very shortly after I moved to the Plateau of Montreal, I had a crush on a young artist named Rose. On one of our first walks together, she took me to a Belgian chocolate and pastry shop, and then across the street to a french cafe called Porte Disparu. (or, "Reported Missing" - fitting for what Coffee shops would do to me the rest of my life.)

View from my first apartment.
My friendship with Rose lasted only a year or so, and I never did go back to the cafe, but the cafe-au-lait that I had there was exquisite, and led to my ordering one at a little Italian coffee bar called the Olympico. This little sports bar is farther north on the Plateau, on Waverly and St. Viature, and is known to locals as 'Open Da Night' because of the half removed sign over the door. ("Open Day and Night" had been painted on the glass years earlier when it had been a depanneur, or corner store, and they began scraping it off with a razor, but never finished.)

My first plateau apartment, which has since burned down.
I quickly became a fixture at Open Da Night, not just because it was cheap, but also because the coffee there, done right, became the benchmark for great coffee for me. I can say with the confidence of an eight year quest that it is by far the best coffee in the city. It had undertones of caramel, and not too much froth, served in glasses, not mugs, and they even stirred the sugar in for me, as they still do. Also for a few dollars, I could get hours of writing done out of the cold and nobody ever questioned my being there for long periods of time.

My roommate Tanja in our little kitchen, ca. 1995

In our tiny apartment, and broke, doing theatre, I dug out an old glass percolator that had been left me by my grandmother. It made great coffee, but making it at home I was never able to replicate that espresso flavour. Steam takes so much more from the grinds, and leaves the bitterness. It is fuller, and richer, and when mixed with milk gives a much better roundness, for complete coffee.

My roommate Sam smashed the coffee pot in petty bitterness one day just before I moved out, and I nearly cried, more for where it had come from than for anything. I still never forgave her.

I left Montreal for a time, and after writing my first novel, found myself in Toronto. Just down the street from my apartment was the stretch of College that is packed with coffee bars, old Italian men huddling around a tiny television drinking espresso and complaining about politics, sports, and their wives. At that time, I used a french press at home, and my new roommate and long-time best friend Christopher liked his coffee as strong and bold as motor oil. He would drink cup after cup every day, where I could only handle a cup or two. It was here that he introduced me to a love of coffee brewed at home, a way of sampling different types, and making them right, that I've continued to this day.

Just after 2000, I moved to Los Angeles, and was unable to find a connection to any small, family run coffee houses. I discovered Starbucks out of necessity, as at that time there were few places to get actual espresso coffee, and that dependance on the chain came with me back to Belleville when I returned, and the newly opened Starbucks in the Quinte Mall. I have been a regular there since.

Riding a bike on Venice Beach

For Christmas 2002, my (now ex) wife bought me a Starbucks Saeco espresso machine. Now ten years old, it still works brilliantly. I calculated that over the years I have saved about $13,000 in lattes. And I make it the way I want it. Of course, I still go to Starbucks, because espresso machines make a lot of noise early in the morning, and cafe's always offer a comfortable place to get in out of the cold, and not the least of reasons, is that the people are great when you need good conversation.

Here is a progression of a home-brew latte in my house:

Good beans make good coffee.
These beans are Costa Rican, and roasted by my father in law in his basement. The fresher, the better, and these were probably about two days old when I ground them. I then put them through a burr grinder, as blade grinders can go too fast, causing friction that then scorches the beans and seals the flavour in.

The grounds lightly tamped into the cup.

Milk frothed. I go by sound now, rather than temperature.

Mmmmm goodness.

As with everything in life, there may be a set of rough guidelines for preparing good coffee, but it all comes down to taste. I have my favourite ways of drinking it just as anyone else does. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good cup of tea, but for me, the love affair with coffee will be lifelong.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Beyond the Digital Crossroads

As an update to my post of April 22, 2011, entitled Digital Crossroads, I have taken the plunge and replaced my beloved Minolta X-370. It was not an easy decision.

In the end, it wasn't the processing that got me, as I had complained in my previous blog post. No, I had looked around the city and found a couple of places that processed the film, colour and black-and-white. It was the quality of the film itself. I had not taken into account supply chains in the whole process.

You see, with so many people switching to digital in such a short time, the 'normal' ways of purchasing film won't work. From the time that film was brought into the mainstream using universal cartridges, through to the invention of digital film, it was relatively easy to get properly stored and "fresh" film. There was little loss of quality because it didn't sit on the shelves a long time.

Now, however, there are so few people buying film, that in all but the most specialized shops, film is not stored properly, and sits on the shelves for so long that it expires. I can't tell you how many times this year I have been disappointed by grainy, washed out photos that otherwise would have been great. Perhaps if we lived in a major center, like Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal, we'd be able to pick up 'fresh' film. After nearly a year of thinking on the issue, though, and trying different retailers for our film purchases, we broke down and bought a DSLR. We're hoping to be able to also find old Canon EF and EF-S lenses in thrift or pawn shops.

Canon Rebel T2i.

We love this camera. We're very much looking forward to experimenting with lenses and settings to see how artistic we can get. The first thing I noticed was that in taking pictures in the dark, as long as we use the tripod or otherwise stabilize the base, it takes near pitch black clear photos, which is something I could only accomplish with a super long shutter, or with high-sensitivity film in the Minolta.

The Rebel? Point and click.

Our backyard a few nights ago.
I'm not a camera geek. I still have to have some of the finer points explained to me, but what I hope to do is take good photos that I can use in other projects, put on the wall, or use to stretch my skills. I think the Canon will do that nicely, without doing everything for me.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Oh the Noise!

When I was a kid, my brother and I would open our presents on Christmas morning, and would play with them, thinking that nothing was amiss. Our neighbours, the Coopers, had moved to Havelock at the same time as my parents, having been high school friends in Scarborough, and had two kids relatively the same age as my brother and I.

Later that day we would go next door to their house for a big Christmas dinner, and we kids would compare toys and play, and Larry and I would be shocked to find out that often they had the same toys, and ours were quiet while theirs made all kinds of cool noises.

My father, when I was older, made a confession. He had carefully opened all our toys before they were wrapped. He took the ones that made electronic noise, and covered the speakers with clear tape. The cars and boats and planes that clicked, rumbled, or whirred, he took apart (gasp!) and removed the mechanism so that it ran as smooth as possible on our shag carpeted floors. Then he carefully reassembled everything, packaging and all, for Mom to wrap and put under the tree. All this to sleep in a little over the holidays.

This brings me to Pinkie Pie. Daisy saw a commercial months ago, and asked for a pony that talks and sucks a bottle, and burps, and does all the things that anthropomorphic pink baby ponies with too-big anime eyes *should* do. We thought, okay, what the heck. We bought Pinkie Pie. We made a little girl happy.

As we speak Pinkie Pie is building a toy refuge in our attic.

And that was when Pinkie Pie busted out the plan to drive us stark raving mad. She never shut up! I knew we were in trouble the night after Christmas when I was cleaning up and she "sensed" me in the room, and started to talk to me. From twenty feet away!

Jennifer then found a switch in the back, and turning it from 'demo' to 'play' mode, we thought we had found some relief. (I even for a moment envisioned the Toy Story 2 Buzz Lightyear panicking when the evil Lotso Huggin' bear does that to him and erases his memory. "Take that, Pinkie Pie," I thought.) No such luck. It probably turned her evil.

Dr. Pork Chop

I revisited some of my Dad's old tricks. I brought out the clear tape with plans to silence her. I looked everywhere, and so did Jenn. Well, Pinkie Pie has gone missing somewhere in the basement, and not a moment too soon. When I threatened to eviscerate her with a butter knife in my last post. I wasn't joking, and perhaps she stayed up late at night in horror looking at the monitor in the dark, plotting revenge.

Her little friend, Teacup Piggy, is probably her spy. Not nearly as cloying and cute, this little pig makes up for it with the constant banter. He likes to talk whenever his little nose is pushed. He feigns sleep and then snorts awake, saying "Oh, oh, is it time to play now?" (which I find highly suspicious...)

Daisy has just now informed me her name is 'Teacup Piggy'

I think they are planning something, so from here on in, replacement batteries are going to be in very short supply.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 resolutions

You say you want a resolution ... wellllll, you know... we all dooooo what we can....

So it's 2012, and I was so busy I didn't see it coming, (or 2011 going) until it was nearly too late. In my jammies, fighting off sleep (Jenn would say losing) I watched Dog the Bounty Hunter, and switched to Buffalo New York's New Year's Eve celebration, with fifteen minutes left to spare. The Beiber was there, and I easily could have done without Lady Gaga at yet another photo op with yet another outlandish costume (shocking - yawn) and I rang in the new year with my lovely wife.

I didn't even think of resolutions until this morning. I have always thought resolutions were like an admission of guilt or fault for what happened in the year previous. I have never said to myself "I resolve not to wake up on the neighbour's lawn in my underwear with a hangover ANY MORE" ... My resolutions always seemed so tame and silly in comparison. So what DO I want for 2012 for myself and my family?

I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't speed. I don't hit people, or get arrested, or eat too many unhealthy foods (although that's debatable), or yell, or argue excessively ... so what do I resolve?

First, I resolve to write more blog posts. I know, anticlimax. But I've been terribly remiss in December, what with three negotiations, Christmas, and all the running around, I had been putting off my posting until my "vacation", which ended up being even more hectic than work, with some work to boot. I will still call it as I see it in politics, even if it pisses off so many Conservatives. I am Liberal. It comes with caring about people. I also resolve not to be silenced by those who hate. That's a big one, I guess.

I resolve also to finish my novel. No surprise there. It's nearly finished, but inherent in this resolution is to make the novel amazing ... to polish it like a gem, and bring the last 120,000 words up to the same crisp level that the first 30,000 are. Lots of work to do there.

Next, I resolve to continue some things that have served me well in life and in temperment. I will get sick less, get more sleep, sing at random, eat well, love much, live well, forgive, forget the slights of others, and try to teach my kids how to be great people.

I will love my kids, even more than I already have. They are great kids, and even if I get frustrated I will remember that I was not an angel when I was little...

(If 'pinkie pie' pony is going to have her batteries eviscerated with a butter knife one night when she's not looking.... well, things happen.) Deep breath, it's all part of childhood.

At work, I will continue to do what I do for the members, and will do it with compassion and diplomacy. I will keep working toward returning to operating cranes, which is what I love doing, but I won't abandon the members in this area until I am sure my parting won't affect them. That may be never. Who knows...

On that little piece of property in the north country, I will try to build a house. It's my first time, and I'll try not to screw it up. Is that boring? I guess. It's not quite as crazy and shocking as someone who resolves not to shoot people, get off meth, or out of jail, or to see their kids instead of going to the clubs, but then, our resolutions are a reflection of who we are, no? I count my blessings that I have no catastrophic things to resolve. Maybe that's the only thing worth resolving, to continue to live well. I wish everyone health, happiness and peace in the New Year.

My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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