Free range parenting – aka How my generation grew up

20000923 DCP 0459Last week in Utah a law was signed into effect that “would allow kids the freedom to walk to and from school, wait in parked cars (while their parents run errands in a store, for example), and visit playgrounds solo

Or what most of us did growing up.

While “it’s not explicitly unlawful for kids to play or walk alone outside; the bill, however, makes it harder to penalize parents for allowing their kids to do so“.

I remember as a kid in 3rd grade my brother and I would walk from home to the stables to ride our pony (yes I had a pony when I was a kid and my sister had horses – we were so spoiled). Distance was 1-1.5 miles.

I remember walking home from school when I was in in 5th and 6th grade in Utah. Distance was about 1.3 miles.

I remember going out to play in the forest across the street, at the school down the street, or at my friends house. All places we went to by ourselves.

Mom knew where we were and made sure we made safe choices, but we had the freedom to explore and be independent. I am not sure if all the things we are afraid of today existed back then but were not publicized, or it was really a different time.
I like to think it was somewhere in between. There were dangers but we made smart choices regarding where we went and who we were with.

Putting the GM ignition switch fiasco in perspective

Gm logoGreat opinion piece in this morning’s Quartz Weekend Brief.

The take away – yes the lives lost (13 or 74, depending upon who ask) are tragic – but

From 2003 to 2010, the period in question, 287,586 people died in the US in car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s 98 people every single day.

If we spent a fraction of the energy we have spent chastising GM on improving overall traffic safety we would have have saved way more lives. But then that is not as exciting of a news story.

Will history be a harsh judge?

Not that I am a “kick a guy when he is down” kinda of guy – but you reap what you sow.

Pretty much everything I read that is political I take with a grain of salt – some a really big grain of salt. So I read this article with that caveat and was not focusing so much on the drinking, but more the current situation in the US that might lead one to drink.
If the president is drinking or not does not really matter. I think the fact that “With less than two months remaining in office, George W. Bush, witnessing a devastating defeat for the Republican Party, worse favorability ratings than those of Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, and the most devastating economic situation since the Great Depression” – that could lead you to drink, or at least be less than happy.

We can argue that the seeds of what we are seeing now were planted years, if not decades, ago. We can argue that we are seeing/not seeing positive results in Iraq. We can argue that we are successful/not successful in Afghanistan. We can argue that we are in a recession/depression. We can argue that this is all the fault of the Republicans/Democrats.

Bottom line – the buck stops with the President of the United States and this President has not measured up. I find it hard to build a case that supports a claim that Bush will be leaving behind a positive legacy.

I hope that one positive that comes out of our current situation is that we learn that having too much power that pulls us too far in one direction – to the right or the left – is a bad thing. I believe that a significant majority of the citizens of the United States live in the middle. Not too conservative. Not too liberal. They want our country to do the right thing, be a good global citizen, and perform in a manner that reflects well upon it’s citizens.
I hope that the next administration can move us in that direction.

BTW – image from here.

He said it best

Sometimes Keith Olbermann can get a little, uhm, “excited” when doing his Special Comments.
Not this one. It is poignant. It is clear. It is to the point.

Why? All I can say is why does it matter who marries who.

More conversations with George

I know it may be a cop out to use emails as content – but these discussions I have been having with my family have allowed me to articulate my feelings about the election. I have really enjoyed these adult discussion (not that kind of adult discussion – get your mind out of the gutter. Yes that means you GSM) with my Mom and Dad.

And isn’t New Media all about repackaging content 😉


So the conversation started with me pointing to this article in The New Yorker. It is an editorial supporting Obama. It is a long read, but a good read.


[Dad’s response]

I would submit that the author(s) were just a bit biased, Obama, it seems, can do no wrong and McCain no right.

Watched the debate last night. Obama has the ability to tell a good story. McCain didn’t do as well in my view in articulating what he proposes. That said, I am concerned that what Obama proposes is essentially socialism, tax those that have to give to those that don’t. While there are those who really need a hand up, there are also many who won’t take advantage of it when they get it and they will always be a day late and a dollar short. The policy of what I will generously call encouraging lending institutions to loan mortgage money those who have no hope of ever being able to pay it back has its roots in this sort of philosophy. It is also what got us into the financial mess we are in I believe. Bankers used to be known as hard hearted business men but that is what we want looking after the money we deposit with them to invest wisely. Subprime lending with all sort of encouragements to borrow beyond ones means does not in my view constitute good management of my dollar.

Quite frankly, I am concerned that while Obama talks a good line, some of what he is proposing may weaken the country more than strengthen it. On the other hand, I am not sure McCain will really promote a new vision, his ability to articulate his vision isn’t as good as I had hoped. If I had to prioritize my personal concerns, I guess it would be fiscal responsibility first, foreign policy tied with reform of the education system second. Energy policy is right up there at the top but I think it is thoroughly tangled up with fiscal responsibility and foreign policy.

Well, whoever is elected he is going to have a very rough time ahead.


[my response]

Random thoughts – too busy to be coherent.

I was trying to determine if the New Yorker was a left or right leaning publication – left is my guess 😉

Missed the debate last night – hope to watch it online this weekend.

Agree that there is a tough row to hoe for whomever is elected.

I think that we need to invest in our country. From what I know of the sub-prime mess, we might have gone too far to the left. Hopefully there will be some lessons learned that the future administration(s) will apply. But there is so much that needs focus – transportation infrastructure, medical, social security, energy – we have to find a way to focus and fund these items. As the “greatest nation on earth” why do we have so many people living in a world of hurt. Agree that some people will take advantage of the system but got to think more will be helped than “harmed”.

I am not proposing we go as far down the socialist road like we see in the Nordic countries, but it seems like in general the population is happy and well taken care of (Scott – please jump in on this one) [ed. – my brother, Scott, lives in Norway]

I am not proposing we become isolationist – there are a lot of wrongs in the world that we can affect in a positive way – but we need to get our shit together before we go off solving everyone else’s shit. Also think an administration that is more focused on diplomacy would be able to work with allies and leverage everyone’s resources to resolve a number of the world’s issues.

Everyone is talking about the need for change, but the pessimist in me says that by mid next year we will be back to more of the same. I don’t see a significant change taking place in the way Washington works. Too much $$. Too much greed. Too many lobbyists. Too much of doing what is good for my district so I can get re-elected. I mean come on – they added approx $150B on top of the $700B package so they could get the votes. What a load of crap. Managing by committee is a crappy way to do anything. Never works in business and sure as hell does not work in Government

Enough for now.

-Jess


[Dad’s response]

Maybe the New Yorker was just trying to make amends to Sen. and Mrs. O for the cartoon they ran a few months ago. My guess is that both the New Yorker and the NY Times are pretty left leaning in the view of us here in the west.

I too am of the pessimistic bent. More than likely by mid 2009 things will be back to business as normal in Washington DC. As you point out there are to many there who have as a first priority their own pocket book and getting reelected rather than doing things for the good of the country. One can pick just about any subject from energy to immigration to social security to health care to steroid use in the baseball world and find that little has been accomplished by the politicos in the past decade except talk and grandstanding. I don’t know what the solution is but I would advocate just throwing out the whole bunch of rascals and scalawags if I weren’t concerned the new bunch would probably turn to the same old group of lobbyists and other assorted ‘experts’ to figure out what they should be doing and things could easily be worse than before!! Not a happy state of affairs.

Dad


Well said Dad – well said. Not much more I can add to that.
It is interesting to find out that our political leanings are closer than I thought to be – like Father, like Son.

Jesus Made Me Puke


Excerpt from The Great Derangement by Matt Taibbi in The Rolling Stone magazine. Definitely tongue in cheek.

My money quote :
“again, there is something very odd about modern Christian men — although fiercely pro-military in their politics and prehistorically macho in their attitudes toward women’s roles, on the level of day-to-day behavior they seem constantly ready to break out weeping like menopausal housewives”

Not making a judgement on religion in general – just think some people go a little over the top.

Spirituality vs Religon

I have been involved in several discussions recently regarding faith vs religion vs spirituality with a group of guys I hangout with and wanted to share Fred’s thoughts in reference to the Rev Wright/Obama issue.

Money quote – “I believe in god but not in relgion [sic] organized by man. And I think the men (and women) who have cloaked themselves in the name of god have often done great harm. Religion is not the root of all evil but the people who traffic in it sure can be..”

Fred Wilson is a VC in NYC and I have been reading his blog for awhile now. He blogs about politics, the venture capital business, music, and whatever else strikes his fancy.

Drinking and Drugs – what do we teach our kids

Great article by the Gotham Gal regarding how our kids interact with drinking and drugs.

I don’t plan on encouraging my boys to drink/do drugs (no duh), but I want them to be aware of their responsibilities and limits if they do chose to partake. I acknowledge that they will experiment, and probably make mistakes, but I hope that I have given them the foundation to make smart choices and prevent them from finding themselves in a position that could have long term consequences.

How do I do this? Setting a positive example, not “freaking out” when they do partake/experiment, having open dialogs regarding why someone would drink/do drugs, talking about the stories/examples we hear in the press and from their peers about making wrong choices, and letting them know I trust them and what my expectations are.

How are you going deal with this issue with your kids?

An awesome perspective on mental health

If you are depressed, suffer anxiety attacks, or have any other “mental health” issues and have not talked to your doctor about drugs or counseling – you MUST READ Heather’s latest post.

If you know anyone that has these type of issues – you MUST HAVE them read this post.

I am not ashamed to admit that I take Zoloft. I was having anxiety attacks and my stomach was always killing me. Visited my doctor and she put me on a low dose of Zoloft – felt much better. I have stopped taking the medication, but within a few days I start to get edgy. Don’t know if I will be on drugs forever, but if works don’t change it.

Are you happy to see me, or is that a ….

I have spent sometime in the south, and for the most part the folks there are ok. Not someplace I want to live, but parts of it are ok to visit.
But this takes the cake as far a being asinine. What I/you do in the privacy of your home is mine/your fucking business (pun intended). If no one is being injured – why does the government care.

This kind of stuff makes me REALLY glad in live in California.

BTW – the picture to the left is of a massager – just wanted to be clear.

Anita Manzano : 1935 – 2006

A few of you were aware that my mother-in-law, Annie Manzano, was diagnosed with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) earlier this year.

On Friday, July 28th, she passed away.

Annie was a wonderful woman and the best mother-in-law you could wish for. She was caring and sensitive and was always concerned about others. When I first started dating Beverly and would go to their house for dinner, Annie was always asking me if I had enough to eat, needed anything else to drink, etc. – and ignoring her daughters ;-). The guests were the most important.

That all changed when the grandkids were born. The joke was that when ever Annie called to the house, the first thing she asked was how were my boys. Then she would ask about Bev. And then about me, if I was lucky – but usually after she asked about the dog 😉

She lived for the grandkids – they were her pride and joy and she loved them with all that she had. One of our greatest regrets is that she will not see the grandkids graduate from high school and college and get married. I like to believe that she will be there in spirit though.

I feel pain on her passing, but it is really hitting her 3 daughters hard. One of the questions I have asked my friends who have gone through similar experiences is what do I do? The general response is to just be there to listen and provide support. Do not try to “solve” anything or use logic to explain/resolve it (as most engineers want to do).

This is the first time I have been this close to death and it has been a surreal experience. Seeing her pass did not effect me as strongly as I thought it would – it was harder to see her struggle with the disease the last couple of months. Her mind was there, but she could not get her body to do what she wanted, including telling us what she was thinking.

I believe she has gone to a better, happier place and her suffering is over. Now it is up to us to adjust to life without her, deal with our grief, and move forward.

p.s. If you so desire, Beverly requests donations be made to the ALS Associationin her name in lieu of flowers or any other recognition.

Why Friday the 14th sucks

Last Friday went to lunch with GSM and BL at the new Wahoo’s in Cupertino (which btw has great food). I parked in what I thought was a great spot – right next to the structure where they have trash bins. Thought parking there was a good idea because could move over slightly so my doors would not get dinged.

Went inside and had a great lunch. As I was walking past the back window on the drivers side I noticed my briefcase was missing. My first thought was I had left it home (I worked at home in the morning and stopped for lunch on the way to work). Then I looked across the car and saw that the rear window on th passenger side was busted – and I had not forgotten my briefcase, it has been stolen.

<Insert lots of words that are not said in polite company>

After I pulled myself together headed to the Toyota dealership to get the window fixed, which they said they would have done by Saturday afternoon. Caught a ride home and called work so they could turn off passwords and badge access and called the insurance company to get the claims started.

Ton’s-o-thanks to GSM for loaning me an older TiBook until work can order me a new MacBook Pro. This weekend I will be spending time on-line and at the stores to replace all of the “little” stuff that was also taken.

Morals of the story – DO park in more visible places and DON’T leave briefcases in the open

The election

Not much to say except my guy lost :-(. I think Bush camp did a better job of focusing on what was important to Mr & Mrs middle america – Guns, God, and Gays. The issues, or values, are what drove Bush to victory. On top of that, Kerry did not take an opportunity to set himself apart and stand up for the issues he believed in. He tried to walk the middle of the road and could not get the middle of the road voters to back him.

Bush believes he has a mandate from the people and is going to drive his agenda. Wake up and smell the latte – over 50 MILLION voted against you and you won my 2 percentage points. I don’t think that qualifies as a mandate. Heard today that Bush received more votes for president than any other president in our country’s history – but that was not what was most interesting – it was the fact that Kerry also received more votes than any president. Just go to show that the numbers of folks voting was way up.

What he is going to do in the next 4 years does not scare me as much as the long term impact any new justices he is able to appoint during the next 4 years – they will be around a lot longer and have a significant impact.

Oh well, what are you going to do – move to Canada If only I had kept my dual citizenship between the US and Canada 🙂

Balancing home and work analogy

Found this on the web and really liked her analogy of balancing home and work.

Taken from the commencement speech given by Sandra Pianalto, President and Chief Executive Officer Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, at the Ursuline College Graduate Commencement on Friday, May 21, 2004

“I want to conclude my remarks this evening with another important way to care about yourself and others: Remember to maintain a sensible balance between work and personal life. Careers and work responsibilities consume too many people. The most effective people find a way to carve out a healthy balance in their lives.

Here is a technique that I find very helpful in reminding me to keep a work/life balance: You will have many responsibilities simultaneously in your life?like having to juggle several balls at once. Visualize that in one hand you hold a rubber ball and in the other hand you hold a beautiful, fragile, glass ball. The rubber ball represents your career, your work, and your volunteer activities. The glass ball represents your family, your friends, and your health.

What happens if you drop the rubber ball? It will bounce. Someone will pick it up for you or it will stay put until you are able to pick it up again. What happens if you drop the glass ball? If you’re lucky, it will only crack. But it may smash into a million pieces. Either way, it will never be the same.

So, along with everything that you learn, there is something you should learn not to do. Don’t let your justifiable concern about your career cause you to drop the precious ball that represents your family, your friends, and your health.

As you leave here today, diploma proudly in hand, I wish you the highest possible rewards as you continue to invest in your learning and leadership. I am excited for all of you. You have a wonderful future ahead of you because you have learned how to learn, and I know that you have embraced strong values that will serve you well in your work and personal lives.”

Political Point of View

One of the regular blogs I read is Wil Wheaton’s WWdN. It is very open view on his life, his thoughts, and his family. He is not Wesley Crusher any more.

I started reading it a few months ago and it is now on my must read list. I am planning to get a copies of his current books – Dancing Barefoot and Just A Geek. He will be doing a book tour for Just A Geek on the West Coast this summer – I think it would be cool to see him in person.

Anyway – the reason I decided to talk about this blog was because of an interview he recently did with Sequential Tart (Part I and Part II). The interview is pretty lengthy and covers a number of topics, but what I wanted to share was a discussion on his political philosophy. I think he articulated very well what I believe – well said Wil.

Because of the length of the quote, I have posted it as a new page .

Microsoft’s Sacred Cash Cow – Article about Microsoft by ex-Microsoft employee

Just finished a great article in the Seattle Weekly by Jeff Reifman. He worked at MS ’91-’99 and was a died in the wool Softie. But after leaving the company his point of view has changed – actually it started changing while still at the company. Now he is fan of OS X, Linux, and open source solution.

It is a long read, but I thought it was very interesting.

The section on Missed Opportunities is very interesting. MS’s missed opportunities = .Mac

Some notable quotes:

. . . hasn?t upgraded his PC from Windows 98 or Office 2000. ?I?d just as soon have a stable operating system?my time is more important.?

. . was surprised to learn recently that Jim Allchin, Microsoft group vice president of platforms, didn?t realize that many users don?t buy new computers because of how hard it is to move all their data and applications. ?He was totally oblivious to this,? Andrews says. ?It?s a couple-day process. His head was in the clouds.?

“I know I won?t waste as much time making the technology simply work. In most ways, OS X is superior to Windows XP.”

?The open-source business model is the one trend Microsoft can?t follow,? says Edward Jung, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures and a former senior software architect at Microsoft. Microsoft?s need to preserve its enormous ongoing Windows revenue is a burden that other companies don?t have.

Microsoft is so concerned about Windows XP security that it will likely give away its next upgrade to fix vulnerabilities and make it easier to deliver future fixes automatically.

The Longhorn slip might be Microsoft?s biggest failure ever. It is beyond comprehension how the company could let five years lapse between major upgrades of its flagship product. Microsoft?s missteps have opened a gaping window of opportunity for competitors.

With the rise of the Internet and e-mail, many computer users just don?t need the full power of Windows; they can get by with a Web browser, a search engine like Google, and Gmail.

Keith Rowe, my former manager at MSNBC.com, used to say that the most important skill of a manager is to know when to kill your own project. I don?t think new, better ideas that would take business away from Windows or Office really have a chance at Microsoft. The company is addicted to the revenue from these flagship products and is afraid to go in new directions that might initially hurt the bottom line.

In an age when retailers hire consultants to analyze what hip kids do, you?d think Microsoft would care more about what the hip kids are doing. They?re running around with iPods, using Linux and OS X. A Groundspring intern e-mailed me recently about his new Apple PowerBook: ?I think I may be smitten by a computer.? That?s the kind of passion I?m talking about. In its search for market share, dominance, and profits, Microsoft lost the ultimate battle for our hearts and minds. For now, though, it?s still laughing all the way to the bank.

The 9-11 Commission and my 2-bits

I downloaded the audio from the hearings last week off of Audible.com and have been listening to them the past few days. I have listened to Rumsfield, Powell, and am halfway through Clark.

Thoughts so far – Powell came across ok. Rumsfield – not as good. Really loved the “… a briefing I’m told was presented to me …” comments. Heh – I was told I was laid off – and you know what, I remembered that it happened.

I saw Clark on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago and thought he was very credible. What I have listened to so far continues to support that assessment. And can you say blunt – just a little. Also liked that he apologized to the families of the victims – and admitted that he failed them.

Seems to me there are 2 issues that Clark is raising. 1) did we do all that we could have prior to 9/11; and 2) what was the reason for going into Iraq.

From what I have seen/read so far, I believe that the Bush administration did not do it’s best prior to 9/11. Could they have prevented 9/11 – don’t know, probably not. Only way would have to been pick up enough of the hijackers to prevent them from having critical mass. And if we would have attacked Afghanistan and/or Iraq prior to 9/11 – the attack on the US would have most likely still happened.

It seems we are spending a lot of energy to close the door after the horse is out. How about spending energy to keep the horse in the barn. I want to know what they are doing to prevent the next attack?