Soul Meets Body

Yesterday was a pretty full day.
Most of the work day was full of meetings. Meetings are sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, but always exhausting. I’m far to introverted to deal with that many people in that many different places (we had Toronto, Edmonton, Green Bay, Albany and Foxboro represented yesterday) without being drained by the end.
The evening involved about 3.5 hours of actual manual labor, which while tiring in its own way, is usually something I relish after sitting at my desk all day. Then immediately following that, it was off to a debate for 2 hours.
The debate was on whether or not God matters. As in, is His existence even relevant any more. The theist, was unfortunately, drastically out-classed by his opposition, who’s credentials took almost 5 minutes just to read. He took every opportunity to make cheap shots on the theist, but by the end it started to back-fire on him, as it just made him look more and more spiteful. It didn’t help his case that he also kind of looked like Satan.
Nonetheless, the in-favor-of-God guy managed to pull out some great points, and in an odd way, presented a pretty compelling overview of the Gospel.
And did you know that an absolutist naturalist point-of-view doesn’t allow for a soul? Or even an id? Can you imagine that the person you think you are is really just collected and atoms and firing neurons? That you don’t really make decisions, and in fact, your existence is no more significant than that of a rock?
I can’t.
By the time I got home, I was thoroughly exhausted in every way, so I crawled into bed, and was out cold by 10:30. I intentionally turned off my alarm so I could sleep until my body didn’t need any more. Its easier to stay at work a bit later the next day than it is to catch up on sleep. In all, I estimate I slept like a rock for about 9 solid hours. But I woke up feeling better than I have in days. My back, my legs and my attitude are all significantly lighter.
Maybe I should sleep for 9 hours every day!

Blog about something

That’s been on my to-do list for awhile now, but my brain has been too scattered to come up with anything. So here’s some random things:
Abi can crawl up stairs now — up, but not down. If you turn your back on her for a second, she’ll be scooting up them as fast as she can. We’ll try get it on video, because its adorable. Its also a pain in the butt.
Abi is cutting her first tooth. This is right on schedule — assuming Benjamin dictates the schedule. It isn’t really bothering her much, but I guess she’s a little less giggly than usual.
Ben is still working on talking. He hit 100 words only a couple days past our deadline, and occasionally puts two of them together — but not very often. He’s also spending time on the potty. Nic takes him to the bathroom for 10 minutes once or twice a day. So far he’s managed to pee on the floor, but not in the potty. We’re in no rush.
I spend a lot of time in meetings lately. A lot.
My legs have hurt, from my quads to my ankles, almost every single day for the past two weeks. My back hurts too, but its been a lot better since Nic flipped the mattress.
College students are ridiculously difficult to pin down.
Speaking of college, my college roommate and I are going to a debate at a near-by University tonite. I’ll be exhausted by the time I get there, but it should be interesting.
I may be developing OCD related to making sure my TV is perfectly level on the wall-mount.
I derive a sense of pleasure and satisfaction from vacuuming the floor on par with a cold glass of tomato juice, a perfectly done steak, or brushing my teeth the day after Halloween.
Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans album has been on repeat in iTunes for the last 5 days. Its wonderful.
Today was one of those perfect winter mornings where everything but the roads were covered with a sparkling sheen of snow and ice. However, I’d trade this morning for one in July in a heartbeat.
Why do good TV shows get cancelled while crap like Survivor and American Idol repeat every year? Who decides to pull the plug on interesting shows, while regurgitating the same plot for 24 season after season?
Having a big church is only useful if its resources are used to help people and love others. Otherwise, its just a big tree that never grows any fruit.
I’ve gotta get back to work…

Lunch

At lunch time today, I went upstairs and lay down on the couch with Abi on my belly. Ben brought dinky cars to put in my mouth, which I’d hold there for a couple seconds and then spit out across the room.
Both kids thought this was the funniest thing they’d ever seen. Ben would cover his mouth in astonishment before laughing uproariously. Abi would just laugh until she couldn’t any more, then put her head on my chest and sigh as if to say “Oh daddy, you are so silly!”
Working from home rocks.

Great Speech

And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
I think most of the world would really like to that statement to be true.
If you didn’t see it (and I did not, unfortunately) you should read it. Here’s hoping the man is who he says he is!

It sucks but it doesn't suck!

I spend 20 minutes of every day face down on the ground. I tell you this to provide some context for my blog post today. If you know my dad, you’ll need no further explanation. For those that don’t: I’ve inherited his horrible back. Sure, I’ve slipped a disc now and then, or over-extended myself helping someone move. I’m not talking about accidents. I’m talking about a daily, persistently troublesome back. The only treatment for which is a routine of stretches and strengthening exercises. Most of them done on the ground.
Now that you understand my relationship with the floor, perhaps you can appreciate how much its sucked for me that we haven’t had a vacuum in over 8 months.
Our trusty Hoover died as we were packing up the apartment in New York, and it didn’t make any sense to run out and buy a new one. Since our residences were temporary for most of the year, it didn’t make any sense to buy a new one then either. We got by borrowing one from some friends when the situation got dire enough.
When we moved into our house, we were delighted to find that it had central vac… then disappointed to learn that the previous residence has never bought the hose or head to go with it. There’s a handy slot in the kitchen that you can pop up and sweep dirt into it, but otherwise, they’d never bothered using their central vac.
We looked into getting the necessary equipment, but with all the costs of moving, it just didn’t get priority. We went out and bought a $50 piece of crap that couldn’t suck up dirt if you picked it up and held it in front of the hose.
Then the car sold, and while most of the profit went to paying off this summer’s repairs, there was a little bit of money left over to buy the necessary pieces to make our central vac useful. We had to settle for the bottom-of-the-line equipment — both the hose and the head are unpowered — because the proper gear would have cost more than $500. So when we finally got word that it had arrived, I was a little nervous that it wasn’t going to work well.
nutone_air_turboImagine my delight then, after daily putting my face in cookie crumbs, cheerio bits, cat food chunks, saw dust, and other tiny but annoying bits of detritus scattered around the house, to feel and hear all of it being finally sucked up the hose. The unpowered equipment uses the vacuum pressure to create a turbine which spins the beaters. The result is both powerful and virtually silent. The hose and head are light and easy to carry — the powered stuff is not. It takes a few more passes to clean the more stubborn dirt, but its massively convenient and totally functional.
And it only adds to the coolness of our house to having a working central vac. On top of that, last night I got the TV wall-mounted on the articulating arm. It floats like a window to the universe in my newly renovated TV cabinet, pointing where ever you happen to be sitting.
Anyway, my back hurts now, from the vaccuuming and the TV-lifting, so I think I’m going to go nap in my incredibly cool, and now incredibly clean, basement…

Automating an Apple TV with Cron

Copy and enable Cron from 10.4.
Schedule Cron jobs using crontab at the command line. Use Ctrl+D to exit crontab once all your jobs are created.
Examples:
Restart the AppleTV at 8:10am every morning (say, to re-establish network connections with computers that were off during the night):
10 8 * * * sudo /sbin/reboot
Shutdown the AppleTV at 1:00am every morning:
0 1 * * * sudo /sbin/shutdown -h now
You’ll need to enable the frontrow account to use sudo without a password.

Organizational Update: Videos

Google Video is closing its doors to new videos, obviously intending people to migrate to their recent purchase of YouTube. YouTube has its pros and cons, and I do have an account, but I’ve decided I’m going to move over to Vimeo. The quality is higher, and it generally services a different (less juvenile) kind of users.
It’ll be a long while before I get all the pages on the site updated with new embeds, but until then, you can see our library of videos, and watch our kids growing up, at:
http://vimeo.com/jonandnic/videos

Adorable and Useful

If this video doesn’t turn you into mush, you’d better visit your doctor and make sure your heart is still beating…
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2838586&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=d8d8d8&fullscreen=1
Nic was making lunch, Ben was watching TV and Abi was fussing in her high chair (I was at work in the basement, and came up just as it was happening.) Suddenly Abi was quiet, so Nic turned around to make sure she was OK, and found that Ben had pushed a chair over, climbed up on it, moved Abi’s food and was spooning it into her mouth — much to her delight! It was incredible!
Now, if we could only train him to change her diapers…