Thursday, November 06, 2008

Everyday Love Poem to my Wife

Over a year of marriage carries
Happiness, love, and sometimes cranberries
But eventually the pace slows down,
Work intrudes, some days a frown
And suddenly the world has changed.
What we must do is simply rearrange
The days so that other things fit neatly
In their own places, and move on sweetly
To the beauties of the everyday together.
Because there is love everywhere, wherever
You shall be - and perhaps also Rosie -
This is a good thing naturally,
So good to state it thus and remember
That only frigid mornings in November
Can keep us apart, but only so long
As the work day lasts because so strong
Is our pact that I worry not a wink -
Your loveliness is worth so much, I think.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rainy Day

The house is quiet, I am typing away with the patter of rain providing rhythmic backdropping to the pinging of keys. I am revising my resume for the first time in almost 3 years, just because it is a good time to take stock in. No worries on my mind, just enjoying the low murmur and quiet.

I suppose a rainy day can provide the backdrop for silent repose, I am not sure why such days get that sort of association. The point is less important than the repose that I am getting after one-day trips this week to New Jersey and Charlotte and late nights on presentations in between. Perhaps a rainy day is the best I could hope for to force a slowdown and gain some recharge time.

Finally, I suppose this recharge time provides a good opportunity to revisit the more creative parts of my brain which have seemingly gone dormant in the last few months. I shall resuscitate as necessary to balance the massive hours that are currently consumed by work pursuits. All these thoughts hold together simply to cause me procrastination from finishing this revised resume, and I guess it is now time to get on with it. Back to other thoughts, back to this rainy day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autumn Chill

I am in a wandering mindset these days, with the amount of work projects and random personal tasks that clutter my brain. At the same time, I sense better days coming. Perhaps it is the autumn chill that has suddenly fallen across Maryland and the portending of a winter close at hand. Halloween is nearby, which means the end-of-year holiday season is ready to start up again (Halloween to Thanksgiving to Hanukah/Christmas to New Year's). I wonder what has happened to the months in between, my one-year wedding anniversary celebrated on a whim in Ohio, and the submerge that my that current job position has placed me under.

Maybe less thought is needed to decipher this mood, as the onset of autumn chill is as good a cause as any for this state of mind. Alas, I will shake that half-numb feeling in my toes, a clear suggestion that the house is noticeably cooler than even a few days ago.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Stack of Business Cards

A business life is one of constant meetings, introductions, ideas, proposals, and decisions that bring one into contact with all sorts of people. Since I am living more of the business life these days than I would care to know, I am all too familiar with this stream of activities. I am also behind in a number of pursuits, both in and out of work, that are the result of this business life, and for this I am annoyed. But all I have is a stack of business cards to show for that 2 months, a very small consolation for the efforts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fleeting Thoughts

Tuesday on a Midnight, and my thoughts waver. I am laying on a hotel bed in New Jersey, gathering lucid thoughts that interspersed a drive up the NJ Turnpike listening to a Rufus Wainwright CD from 2003. Remembering past trysts in New York City, days of youth now burnt-out filaments of a bulb no longer lit. Dramatically said but not far from reality - and in the best sense of the analogy as I am unequivocally happy in this current life.

I try to catalog these thoughts for further inspiration as I realize their reminder is but a passing ghost. Thoughts such as Central Park coincidental meetings and all-night Alphabet City revelries are enchanting as they saunter through the mind in time with the soundtrack; I am speechless for their occurrence and mindless for what I try to remember of their essence as I drift asleep in this midnight dream state. Some day, I will have nothing left of this remembrance nor the half-coherent states of mind that produce such thoughts. I anticipate, though, that these fleeting thoughts will pile up like firewood for the winter, and their contribution will be much like wood on the fire to carry me through the cool of the late autumn of my future life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hello Again

For the first time since I started this blog in 2003, I have had a hiatus. A month passed, I noticed, without so much as a post. It appears that I have lost some inspiration, which does seem to come and go like any good rain cloud. I hope to get drenched again soon, but this should suffice to start the counter afresh for more posts to come. Hello again, it has been some time.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hello Beijing!

8/8/08 - it is a lucky number in Chinese, and a lucky day for those of us that find ourselves here in Beijing. The air is thick with smog, and the mood is thickening with anticipation of what is about to happen, namely the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics!

The summer is usually a hot time here in China, and this summer is no exception (feels kind of like DC, if you ask me), and we have been hanging out in Tianemen Square (National Mall) to soak in the cultural sights and sounds of this great capital city. But there is always watermelon (still some in the fridge), a Chinese summertime pastime it seems.

Anyway, off to the show (work), I must be going where all the people are (in the office) so that I can continue dreaming about this Chinese spectacle of an Olympics (on the tv).

(Excuse the daydream, as I was remembering a trip to China in 2006 where the anticipation for the upcoming Olympics was already quite high - I will be watching on television just like most of the others here in the US. Handy picture for today, though, don't you think?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Remembering Disney via SMS

It's been a few months since my trip to Disney with Wendy, and I was remembering all those wonderful memories. What got me was the list of text messages that I sent myself to remember where we parked during the days. Here it goes:









+ Journey 9 back under the first tram pole
+ tb1 - self park
+ Pluto 16 almost at the end of the road
+ Amaze 31 - right near the front
+ Dinosaur 30 - first row, about 35 cars down
+ Film 33
+ Pluto 21 near the front!
+ Dinosaur 34 - about 20 cars down
+ Happy 87 - bleh, it's 8 cars in from the center

It's all coming back - where magic lives and where dreams come true as Disney would say!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upon Reading Letters from Younger Days


What words are used to describe the thoughts that no longer come,
Ideas of a prior life that once was brimming with angst and some

Ideals chased for the sake of love and beauty.

Now the same things trend towards duty

Of commitment and relationship, career,

Tending home, animals, finances, debts in arrears,

Promises replaced by practicalities,

Hopes supplanted by fears,

Balance subtracted by the same things that gave life instead.

What I ponder and somehow dread,

That memories chase me like ghosts,

Same fears that act as hosts

For what captures hopes and turns the scene

About what life can mean

When “settling down” means more than settling

And “taking stock” means more than stock taking.

Here it goes, as will suffice,

A soundtrack earned at great price

Of melody swift through dreams

Risen like phoenix from youth, seems

So far away to the extent reachable,

Today unthinkable,

Tomorrow even further from the march

Of time immemorial, away from harsh

Frame of what inspired these words anyway -

Letters from younger days packed away.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Contemplate

The next generation will likely never know what a rotary phone is, much less a "landline" as it is defined today. No wondering how to call long-distance without an operator (an innovation from the 1960's), no wondering how to self-install a phone in the house (an innovation from the 1970's), no marveling at how phones work without cables & wires (an innovation from the 1980's), no wonderment at how a phone takes more than voice calls (an innovation from the 1990's), and no bewilderment at the amount of information & services available instantly from the touchable screen of a mobile phone (an innovation for the 21st century and beyond).

As one who has worked around wireless and telecommunications for several years now, I contemplate the progress of these technologies within the context of the ever-changing face of society. What our experience has become is the currently acknowledged "way we do it around here". In the next couple of decades, these methods and tools will become as archaic as the switchboard operator is to my generation (and a contemplation that can still befuddle those over 100 years old, some of whom might have never dialed the prefix '1' before a long distance phone call).

We are of a generation that no longer has any living connection with the Civil War and, very soon, World War I also (an article from the Tampa St. Petersburg Times recounts only one US veteran left from the "war to end all wars", as far as can be discerned by records and investigation). The feverish pitch is picking up to save what is now left of the stories of the "Greatest Generation" and the WWII veterans that helped to make the US the superpower that it has become.

What becomes of these lives we lead as so vital today is nothing more than tired stories for future generations that will struggle to relate. Contemplate we must, but trudge on we will, for the progress of our generation will sustain us and relegate us all to the same dustheap of history to which our forefathers have already contributed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's Old is New

Somehow I got tagged to install phone lines the past few weeks. It has been an adventure climbing poles, skinning wire, and putting Network Interface Devices (NIDs) on the side of imaginary houses, becoming the true service technician I was presumably meant to be. I would have written off the past couple of weeks as trouble and tried to move quickly on from the incident, but I have taken a few gems away from the class. Namely, there are a lot of personalities in this world and a lot of perspectives just waiting to be heard.

Like last night. I spent an evening jabbing 25 cable pairs into a simulated apartment cable box, pretending to enable a building for telephone service. In the course of conversation, I stumbled upon some ideas long ago buried in my head - the idea of what's old is new again. I was talking with a former anthropologist & illustrator and current interactive producer about the trends in social networking. The idea that something is different this time around, we wandered to the subject of life stages. And the Roman Empire. And color theory (remember ketchup-mustard-pickle-pepper?). What was most striking is the commonality of the human condition, and the shared bonds we have as the psychological level with our ancestors. Above all else, we are social creatures and yearn to communicate with others. That's the whole point of telecommunications. Which led to a discussion of party lines from the rural past, but that's another story.

Before our 7:30pm "lunchtime" was over, this dialogue resolved itself so that we could all get on to our inside wiring of jacks and wall mounts exercise. But the point lingers, and my mind is opened for a brief moment again.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nostalgia

I remember watching "The Wonder Years" when I was in junior high school; it was a show that followed my own progression through the awkward adolescent years. I came across the show's ending again on YouTube and was transported to those younger days when life was more carefree. In the moment, I journeyed through so many memories that passed between now and then. I remembered distinctly a connecting moment when I studied abroad in Milan, kicking a futbol back and forth with my flatmate Rico. I was cherishing that moment at the time, particuarly after hearing an "oldie but goodie" on MTV Italia - Bob Seger's "Night Moves."

To revel in such a moment is to feel connection to the human experience and the series of moments in between that define each of us. Some are shared, and some are unique to the individual. But all the moments add up to define one person's story, and it is a story that has a separate arc than any other story that had ever been told before - or since. I can feel this strongly, and it is powerful, gut-wrenching, and comforting. After all, it is the human condition.

My week ends with this feeling as I wander off to bed. I am grateful for all my moments, and I am lucky to have the memories on which to build my future. A pleasant and profound thought to carry my dreams tonight.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Inspiration

There are unique moments in time where inspiration grabs a writer. It is not possible to know when these moments will arrive - they just do, like a random wave tumbling into shore. I have felt these moments from time to time and what effect they have on my psyche. For that instant, I am transported to a world where possibility stretches out beyond the conceptions of my mind and into places unknown and exciting.

It is an adventure when inspiration comes because creativity follows rushing in to force. The pulse quickens, the ears perk up, the eyes dart more quickly, and the mind races to orchestrate all the movement. For a writer, this is the time for haste - inspiration is powerful yet fleeting. When inspiration dissipates, it leaves as quickly as it strikes. A writer can be left hanging on inspiration's cliff, fingernails dug in to avoid the mundane crash to the canyon below.

Fruits of inspiration's labor are often sweetest once they are pulled - and never more will they taste the same afterward. Every harvest is different, and it is possible to cultivate more of what inspiration's bounty brings. In this way, a writer must react to the dictates of inspiration so that creativity can find the light of day beyond dark recesses of the psyche. I can only hope that inspiration visits more than once-a-moon as the times between can be barren and cool.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to Me...



I look outside, and it is a beautiful day. I look into my email box, and it is full but promising to be cleared. I look across my desk, and I see some working room to get some things done. I look forward to what the end of the day means - some celebrating with Wendy and Rose outside of this stuffy office environment.

After all, it is my birthday - and I have un canzone da (ie. a song by) 883 in my mind. For those not as familiar with Italian culture, 883 is an iconoclastic Italian rock band led by Max Pezzali; his work acts as an anthem for many of my generation, catchy pop tunes with a bit of a clever edge in lyrics and hooks.

I'll let Max take me into a happy and reflective mood - uno in piu', happy birthday to me, happy birthday to you...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Celebrating Home

We all have one place we call home - be it a birthplace, place of hardship, place of kinship, or current place of residence. Every place leaves its mark, and we respond to what we connect with and what we feel most strongly about. Of course, that one place we call home can change - but it is always that one place above others. In the case of my current situation, home is feeling more like the townhouse in Maryland. As much as Ohio has special memories and San Francisco captures my imagination, I am rooted in the place where I take up residence with my wife.

I was reminded of this sensation when I returned last evening from a weekend visit to my parents' house. Rose (our special new family member) signaled the return from our long car ride with a certain vitality - she was almost bouncing off the walls in recognizing her familiar stomping ground. Her visible excitement in celebrating home was a good representation of what we were both feeling - a calmness and a connection to the place we lay our head these days. It was later made perfect when Wendy returned from the store, and we were all together... home.

It was a great feeling. No matter where life takes us, there is always home to where to return.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Talking Heads

I am in a conference call right now. There are a number of people talking, and I have a headset on. I am trying to check some emails, but I am not able to complete the tasks in front of me. I am wondering what happened to the week (it is now Thursday), and I am wondering what my wife is doing at home. I am somewhat disposed on what it is that I need to accomplish today, and I have an action item that I have been tracking for weeks now that needs to be completed.

So I will leave this entry where the day starts - the end of this conference call. Now that it is done, I have no excuses for the talking heads!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Media Overload

I was looking for the news of the day - whether the Federal Reserve was going to lower its interest rate. As a homeowner who carries various forms of debt, I suddenly care about the movement of the interest rate on my personal life. But when I went out to find the news, I stumbled and got lost in the middle of my quest to get a simple piece of news.

Two words to describe my stumbling: media overload. The internet certainly magnifies this trend, but it has been happening for several decades now when one takes into account cable television and niche-oriented magazines. The benefit of a wider variety of available media is both choice and value. I can now connect with Italian radio stations that I might have listened to from the past - and I can find some arcane forms of entertainment - classic 50's television like "The Twilight Show" and classic 40's radio like Dragnet - that were seemingly lost in the analog media world of previous decades and certainly out of my price range. The detriment, though, is an overwhelming sea of information that only becomes harder to navigate by the day. I can picture in my mind some movie like "The Perfect Storm" and the image of a fishing boat bracing for a wave the size of the Empire State Building rising up to smother everything in its wake.

Perhaps I am in control of what I watch, listen to, and read, but my discipline vacillates depending on how much focus I can muster - and how much sleep I can manage from the night before. In either case, I have to watch my own media consumption habits lest I get consumed in site after site after channel after station of content. After all, media overload is an unique benefit of the digital age which also happens to be a growing affliction.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A New Direction

A couple of thoughts passed through my head this morning:
1) The romanticized days of the "Lost Decade" generation - I was picturing the book cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night" and recalling the South of France

2) The general health of our new dog Rose, who got sick yesterday morning (don't feed dogs corn - or at least this one) but appeared quite lively this morning and quite her usual self

3) The chilling winds of a post-but-not-pre-spring morning - it seems that the Mid-Atlantic refuses to accept the well-blossoming trees as signs of warmer weather

4) The bowl of cereal that strangely complemented a review of the work presentation that I needed to publish before the 8 o'clock hour

5) The enthusiasm of aspiring MBA applicants who are looking for the "magic answer" to ease their angst and open the door for a place at their business school of choice (ie. my prior evening spent downtown talking to prospective IMD participants)

All these things were sitting on the front of my mind as I wondered how to focus clearly for the day. Now that the day is a few hours in, I am off in a new direction and catching these thoughts as they wander about to catalog for inspiration.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another New Family Member

I have never been much of a dog person but that is nothing against dogs - I just have not been much of a pet person, period. Sure, there was the rabbit that I had in secondary school who mysteriously ran away in the middle of one sweltering summer night. And there were the cats that hung around my parent's house, first to catch rodents and then to amuse my siblings. But after moving out for college and going on my own, I had traveled alone without animal companionship. That is, of course, until I met wife-to-be who turned my pet-free world upside down.

Needless to say, my family has expanded - but it is not just the in-laws 10 minutes down the road. Last summer, three new family members moved in to the koi pond in our backyard, who somehow brought along a fourth. And when my wife started begging me for more life around the house, I finally gave in for one more - a particular Pomeranian pooch named Rose.

Having Rose around has been an initial shock to the system, but she has made herself at home hopping up and down the steps of the townhouse. And as I have gotten to know this sassy lassy a little bit more, she has started to grow on me. Although it is an adjustment having a new little one to take care of around the house, I think I might turn out to tolerate dogs more than I might have cared to admit. But I think it is just Rose and the way that she cocks her head when looking at me to melt my resolve.

So, we have another new family member, and it looks like my world will be pet-free no more.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apologies

For those who have followed this blog for some time and have experienced a lull, apologies for the "light" reading. For those who are wondering what happened to the writer, apologies again - he has been indisposed from the online realm. For those who have been caught up in the same daily travails and the mundane as said writer, apologies for joining the same state. For those who would like to see the pen lifted from the pad, apologies that I will likely try but not quite be able to do that as often as you would like.

For those who find this sort of entry a bit, well, muffled and disheartened, apologies that I do not have more to say. That being said, I do intend to share more words as they become available to share. Which is to say, I'm working on writing some more moving forward. To which I would add, apologies if I do not quite follow through. I'm working on it. Apologies, but nobody is perfect - or as prolific as hoped!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some rounds of golf in sms

A running commentary on my sister's rounds of golf over the weekend...

Day one
12 down, 8 over
Refreshing... +8 thru 13
golf on the rocks: we have lost track of what lauren's score is, possibly +9, +10, or +11 thru 14
unsolved mystery - par makes it now either +9 or +10 thru 15
an easter miracle - +9 or +10 thru 16
a stub a day keeps the pars away: +10 or +11 thru 17
sand and sprinkler, ends on a double tinkler: +12 or +13 after 18
a ray of sunshine: a finish of 84 (+12)

after day 1, lauren was t-64th (out of 113) with her 84; team was t-14th (out of 20) with 332

Day two
happy easter - the lord has risen lauren's doubles from the grave - praise god, +2 after hole 1
this little light of mine, i'm goin' let it shine... +3 thru 2
hallelujah! +4 thru 3
jesus saves! +6 thru 4 and we are driving back to dc - have a wonderful easter morning and talk to you later

...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Shopping Poems

SMS poems from my mobile phone on an afternoon shopping trip with my wife:

1: dressing room to think of sizes short and color tall - many racks of fabric creation with buttons and frills to try many on

2: waiting room to play with phone and witness body creations one at a time - this is anticipation and boredom

3: time for quick and happy thoughts, background music helps the mood with all the others browsing at a certain speed

4: success comes slowly but swiftly mood rises with success - shoes upon shoes ahead and more clothes to try for finding all exuberance

5: memory is short for the next piece but somehow related to all the retail cities of the world - remember london paris and rome all the same

6: looks like success, call the registers, ring the joy buy wait for more exuberant pieces please, anticipation and boredom still remain

7: clothes are becoming the mood and color matters much as music strums the emotion - remember the intention hidden for purchases

8: suddenly forgot the theme and filtered post-punk pop rhythms to toe taps and finger snaps as statuesque reveals her - the song now changes




9: forget the clothes and remember the mood - music color feeling anticipation boredom exuberance purchases connection repeat

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Contracts

A normal person likely never reads any of the "fine print" for the product & services that she buys. Terms of condition, liabilities, obligations, indemnification, rights & permissions - these are all concepts that most of us unwittingly agree to when we click through a website or sign a waiver form for new merchandise.

Lucky for me that I get to spend some time occasionally drafting such agreements - and figuring out exactly what we sign up for without really knowing. Crazy stuff, to be sure, these contracts. All I can say is think twice before you sign off or click through the next legalese - you might not realize what you have just done!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nothing Really

So this is what life is like on the other side. As a single guy, I had the time. It was always there. Yeah, I was busy - but it was my time. Work out? Done. Go out to eat? Fine. Fly to Chicago for the weekend? Sure, why not. A quick jot to the blog? Ok, can do it before dinner.

The situation now is a bit different. I have a real job. I am married. I have a house. Somewhat unlike my prior days where I traveled around with a consulting job (read: did not seem like a real job). Of course, I was single (read: self-sufficiency, no?). I lived out of a suitcase (read: not much "responsibility", just a rent check here and there). The world was my oyster, sometimes with a seat in first-class thanks to the air miles.

I think of this transition for a moment, just trying to throw up a blog entry to get on the board. Because many days I just run out of time and frankly, do not have the energy to make some noise. Nothing really, except that the world has changed - and that darn song "Cats in the Cradle" rumbles in the back of my brain...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Netscape, We Hardly Knew Ye...

In 1995, I started using email. In my first college days, my friend Virge anointed me with a playful email handle - toddity. She never told me that your email address was somewhat permanent, and I spent the rest of my university days with an username that amused most who got a message from good, old Eudora. At that time, I used Netscape as my web browser.

Fast forward almost 15 years. I moved on first to Internet Explorer (Microsoft had a monopolistic hand in it), and then to Firefox from which I am penning this blog entry. Somewhere along the way, Netscape was acquired by AOL and sent down the river on a slow obsolescence. Until next week, when Netscape will end up on the scrap heap with Prodigy, Compuserve, and Excite@Home.

How much the internet has changed. I can wax poetically on blogs and social networks, but I can also remember messageboards, usenets, IM, forums, web 1.0, HTML, and the world wide web when www. was a foreign concept. The concept is still the same - connecting to the world through a common language. The kids will never know Netscape, but they will know each other better than we could have imagined in the heady 1990's when Eudora was my lifeline and toddity was something of a novelty.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Happy New Year! (a poem to Wendy)
As January ends, outside is windy
I'm leaving the office, and blog is empty
For this year's entries, this is the first -
Of all the droughts, this might be worst
Of sparse words and spells of creativity.
Much as there is to praise, I can't complain
Of the life that now occupies my brain
In these winter days - and nights often too -
When work, life, and love make strange brew.
Happy birthday to my dad,
Lest I forget this as well
As I pack my things at hand
And reflect for trifle spell.
Enough of this, I shall resolve
To write more for hopes absolve
The state I'm in - all work and no play -
Dull boy I become is what some say.
A few thoughts, these, I make as mark
As a solemn pause to act as lark,
For this entry portends what must come -
Poetry and story should be in great sum!