Thursday, May 30, 2013

Being the FATHER

You guys already know about being a father.

I'm not talking about test results on "Maury".  This is about taking responsibility for your child/children/family.  Making the necessary sacrifices and ensuring a good foundation to raise offspring.

I've seen two posts today about moms who make more than dads and its effect on a household:

An opinion piece by Peggy Drexler:  When mom earns more, it's tough on dad


Fox News reaction to recent Pew study on more women being breadwinners

OK.  The YouTube FoxNews video is just....well, I won't say what it is.  But that first link - I gotta vent about that first link.

It mentions two couples.  The first dad stays home while the mom works full-time as a Dean of Admissions.  He lets the laundry pile up and expects her to cook dinner after her full day working at the college.

The second dad stays home while his wife works full-time successfully selling houses.  They were both artists before drawing straws on who would find a full-time salary.

So, the article goes on to explain how there's this underlying resentment toward their spouses for being breadwinners.  The husbands and their bruised egos consider therapy and antidepressants.  There's this subtle question of whether women should be feeling guilty for excelling in the workplace - that the shattering of the glass ceiling is cutting dear hubby stuck on the ground floor.

You have got to be kidding me.  Time for my inner R. Lee Ermey to step in.

Dudes, this isn't helping the family.  Make yourself useful.  You've learned how to deliberate a case in court and paint/sculpt/whatever.  Learn how to cook and work the washer/dryer.

I know - learning can be physically taxing.  You have to resign yourself to this new role.  Do it for that woman you love.  Do it for that child you FATHERED.  This is all about sacrifices now.

From the article:  [the source of fatherly depression may be] "..that their spouse may have less time to spend at home"

You know what would give the wife more time to spend with you?  If she didn't have to do laundry all the time!

My wife makes more than I do - and I am thankful for every extra cent.  I've learned how to cook, grocery shop, clip coupons, separate whites from colors, change the drum and the serpentine belt in the dryer...we share kid dropoff-and-pickups.  All for the good of my family.  She shattered her glass ceiling and I cracked open a cookbook.

My kids are doing well in school.  They are healthy and happy - when they're not driving each other up the walls.  Sure there are other challenges I have to address, but cooking and cleaning just seems so elementary.  You don't have to be June Cleaver with the frilly apron and pearls - you can be Anthony Bourdain instead (preferably without the heroin addiction).

Don't fail us.

UPDATE:  Greta van Susteren thinks the Fox News males have temporarily lost their mental faculties.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Religious Correlation

Last night, an EF-4 tornado struck the state of Oklahoma.

There are at least 54 dead with more expected as rescue efforts continue throughout the week.

The devastation is immense.  Several survivors report that there was nothing else to do but take shelter and pray.  Radio newscasts echoed the same advice.

Now, I'm wondering, because of the sheer power of such an event, how religion plays into this.  You can't help but try to attribute this kind of event to something beyond our comprehension.  People might say it was the work of a god.  And what is the correlation between tornado alley and the Bible Belt?  I'd venture to say there's a lot of overlap.  It's a pretty good system, actually - pray to a god so that you survive.  If you do, then you take that as proof of existence and your faith is strengthened.  If you don't, well, you get to ask for an explanation face-to-face.  People crying and screaming while hell is funneling around them - asking for mercy from a low pressure system.

If you think that's ridiculous, wait until more-creative individuals start placing human motives behind the tornado.  You'll read articles about how God sent this tornado to kill dozens or hundreds because two women love each other.  They believe this and preach this to others to believe it as well.  Granted, that's a more-radical approach and more-reasonable members of the clergy will denounce such a position.  But they are still faced with entire communities asking "why".

I suppose the only answer that will make any sense is to ask the god yourself one day.

On to the next question of "what", as in "what can I do to help now".  I'll be finding my nearest Red Cross blood donation event.  They're gonna need it.  Those of you who are needle-averse can:

text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.00.
give online at

Monday, May 6, 2013


It's what we're supposed to do.  Each day we have on this Earth, we're supposed to learn.

I'm starting this post because of a reddit AMA.  It involves a student who was enrolled in an alternative educational curriculum, called ACE - or Accelerated Christian Education.  I knew nothing about any of this before today.

Judging by the responses in the reddit, a lot of the enrolees think very negatively toward the program.  The source material, lack of socializing, independence or lack of guidance, no accreditation, and even corporal punishments are just some of the reasons why those who have gone through the program despise it.  The redditor confirms her ACE school is now closed - alluding to lack of funds.

I would tend to agree, just on the source material alone.  From wikipedia:

"If parents want their children to obtain a very limited and sometimes inaccurate view of the world — one that ignores thinking above the level of rote recall — then the ACE materials do the job very well."

OK, call me narrow-minded, but this single statement was all I needed to know.  As parents, don't we yearn for our children's curiosity?  Don't we treasure that potential to teach?  My wife and I both graduated with scientific degrees.  We owe our livelihood to critical thinking and problem solving.  Faith has its place, but so does reasoning.  Once you start espousing inaccuracies of the world - that's truly damaging to the child.

What parent does this?

I can take comfort that there is one less ACE school in operation, but to know that there are still active facilities practicing this - well, it gives me something more to consider when my kids start interacting with these kids.  Sure, this happened in Georgia, but the internet makes the whole planet small.

I've learned something today.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I didn't want this to get lost.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gratification versus Denial

I post these various life-challenges for your entertainment - and maybe receive some constructive feedback.  Here's the latest one:

Dad, I want an iPhone.

There was a time where I would have dismissed my son's request outright.  I saw Apple and their iOS as totally incompatible with the familiar Microsoft Windows environment I had based my life and career on.

Then I received a Nook tablet as a gift from my parents.  I researched it, rooted it, loaded a variant of Android onto it - and was sorely disappointed at the performance.  But, it was a free toy and for what it was designed to do (display e-book files), it was great.

But that left me wanting more from a tablet.  So, I turned to "the enemy".  Not because I saw their product as superior, but I saw them like a condor sees a fresh roadkill.  See, I'm all about saving money and learning.  I already posted about my exploits repairing iPod touch music players.  This one skill led to another skill - repairing iPad tablets.  In much the same circumstance, eBay is LOADED with people selling their broken devices.  There is no shortage of broken iPads to buy and an almost limitless supply of new, inexpensive replacement parts.  I've refurbished about eight tablets now - I know what potential mistakes can be made and the methods to correct them.  That's how the Apple slithered its way into my life.

So, from a serviceability standpoint, the Apple products are high on the list.  They are the most-popular phone which means they are the most-commonly broken and, in turn, the most commonly-repaired.  If I've learned one thing it's that kids will break their stuff - I know, because I was one.

Back on topic.  I have to now research cellphone plans for my son.  I've already interrogated my social circles about appropriate ages for a child to have a phone, data plans, pricing, quality of handsets, etc.  I had a few options:

1.  Add a new phone to my existing plan
2.  Purchase a prepaid phone from a separate carrier
3.  Ditch all the mobile phones and start fresh with a new carrier

While option 1 may sound like the most-convenient solution, it really wasn't.  I'm still part of Sprint's nearly-extinct SERO plan.  It still remains the best deal today - which is why Sprint wants to kill it.  They've essentially locked the plan and prevented any phones newer than the William Jefferson Clinton Administration from participating on it.  I've hacked this handset, tried a third party version of Android on it, tethered from it,  hotspotted it - it's lived a very productive life for a phone.

But now, faced with this opportunity of upgrading (that would be option 3 A.K.A "The Scorched Earth Directive") - the warts are starting to become apparent.  I'm cursing every dead battery each morning.  I can't load anymore games or apps onto it because the company closed the phone's marketplace.  Nobody writes software for this handset anymore.  It wasn't meant to be a capable social phone or a GPS.  I view my years of stretching life out of this device as entitlement - and now I want to collect.

I want reliability and security first and foremost.  That means:  battery life of 8 hours (24 hours standby), no missed calls, no dropped calls, immediate text or voicemail receipt.  The call quality doesn't have to be pristine, but when my wife leaves me a message on the phone, I want to see it that very second, not ten or fifteen minutes later (yes, we suffer through this).  AFTER that's established, then we can get into the other features - GPS and social networking, NFC and tethering, expandability and third party software - my list goes on.

Remember that joke about how the iPhone is great at being everything, except being a phone?  Yeah, me neither.

It's a lot to consider.  My son and wife have faith in me and my research, so I want to get this right.  I've already got a couple handsets and data plans in mind.  After this, we'll be more-connected with each other and to the world.  And instead of updating this blog in a basement, I can be doing this from a beach towel.  Indeed, my new smartphone's sole purpose will be to make y'all jealous.