Malcolm Tennant Cometh

Tonight we head to Providence Hospital to begin the induction that, hopefully, will result in Malcolm Tennant making his first live appearance outside Sara’s belly.

Needless to say, I’m nervous as heck, but before we head to the hospital I wanted to get some words on video (however awkwardly) that have been beating around inside my head for the past few days.

Wish us luck! I can’t wait to meet Malcolm Tennant, and for you guys to see him too 😀

Love you Sara!

Dad’s Not An Idiot – He’s Me!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that just as there are stereotypes that (some) men impose on women, and criticisms that should never be leveled because they are sexist, the pendulum swings both ways and it is perhaps most evident in the area of parenting.

As you may know Sara and I are expecting the arrival of our first child in early August. This will be my first child, and Sara’s fourth. With babies and parenting in mind Sara linked me to an article by Aaron Gouveia over on the HuffPo – It’s time to stop treating dads like idiots.

Aaron reached his breaking point when sent a picture of a onesie that said “This shirt is Daddy-proof!” and I find myself totally sympathizing with him.

The same people — mostly moms — who claim to be overworked and desperate for dads to do more are all too often the first ones to criticize them for not doing things right when they do step up. And by right, I mean their way. I’ve seen dads criticized and made fun of for how they dress the baby. For how they feed the baby. For how they handle things differently than moms. Despite the fact that most first-time moms are just as clueless and confused as first-time dads, it’s chic to make fun of the dads, while moms are assumed to know absolutely everything. As if the parenting instruction manual is imprinted in the female DNA. The fact that mothers face an unfair societal expectation to be a perfect parent from the get-go is a separate, albeit deserving, issue. But it’s no reason to crap all over the very same people you just asked to help more.

I’m a very lucky guy in that I have a very supportive wife, who has more faith in me than I do myself, and is already experienced at navigating the oft-convoluted and confusing paths of child rearing. I shall have a guide.

That said, I like to think that even without Sara to back me up, as a reasonably intelligent person with a fair degree of common sense, the ability to use Google, and to read and comprehend above a fifth grade level, that I could do just as well as most first time mothers. Heck, with the exceptions of giving birth and breastfeeding, I’m willing to bet that I could do better than a fair chunk of first time mothers, and many repeating mothers.

Let’s face it – not all mothers are great moms/parents!

What I’m saying here is that first-time dads deserve some slack. Within the space of a few weeks two of my friends shall join me in the becoming first time parents and one of them shall be the stay-at-home parent. I’m confident that we’ll all do rather well even if I am also rather terrified.

Sure we’ll make some novice mistakes. Sure we’ll drop some bottles, get peed on, feed the baby beer and do something terribly stupid at least once, but be honest, doesn’t everyone? After all, that’s how mommy learns!

Tumultuous

Tumultuous – I like that word. Tumultuous – Say it out loud! It rolls off of the tongue. Tumultuous.

It’s a rather apt word for how life has been lately between preparing for the arrival of Malcolm Tennant, the demands of clients, family, podcasting, and the slow but deliberate revival of our network of sites.

I would like to say that all of the excitement has left me with little time to write, but I would be lying. I’ve had plenty of time to write. I’ve just had great difficulty in organizing my thoughts into any kind of coherent order and I’ve had even more difficult in prioritizing what I should say if I could organize them. That may not be a bad thing…

I’ve been expending my creative energies in other areas lately. Podcasting has been getting a lot of my attention. We’ve even been experimenting with live video podcasts on Nothing Serious, but after repeated crashes of my podcasting laptop whenever I used Google Hangouts (even though 3 way video chat on Skype works without a hitch), we decided that wasn’t the route to go. Daniel, Steven and I did actually record one hangout, but upon reflection we have decided to go “audio only” and not split our attention. We’re simply going to produce the best damn audio podcast we can. Period.

Expending energy, not just the creative kind, is a priority. Not that I have an overabundance of energy, but I do have an overabundance of overstuffed adipocytes. Needless to say I’m back on the low-carb boat and working out every day. I don’t know how well that’s working yet. I’ve been back at it for 5 days but lack the courage to stand on the scale.

The lack of desire to stand on the scales is not because I don’t think the diet changes and exercise is working, it’s because I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed by the results. Silly I know, but what can you do? At least Sara puts up with me, eh?

Maybe the exercise will shake loose some of the grey matter that occupies the space between my ears and I’ll start writing more? We can hope!

Please Support The Kim Hodson Cremation Fundraiser

I extend my deepest condolences to my good friend and mentor Steven Hodson, who’s beloved wife Kim passed away this morning.

Kim had been struggling against cancer and several chronic conditions for many years.

Steven has been unable to work outside the home for several years due to the caring for Kim during the course of her illnesses.

Throughout this time Steven has given a lot of himself to the tech community. He’s worked on many projects, podcasts and contributed to many sites with me, and I’m sure that if you read tech online you’ve probably encountered him at some point or another.

Sara and I would like to give back and support Steven in his time of grief and ensure that Kim’s cremation expenses are not another burden on him during this difficult time.

Steven has been a mentor to myself and others online, and we would very much like to see the online community give back to someone who has given it so much over the past decade, by contributing to this fundraiser.

The New, New Office

The impending arrival of a new baby causes one to deal with many changes to life, and last night I surrendered my office so that Malcolm Tennant could have a nursery.

Our home is 4 bedroom, with an office space (off of  the kitchen), however my (previous) office space was actually larger than the guest bedroom (which is back to back with the master bedroom. Sara and I wanted to have Malcolm’s nursery closer to the master bedroom (once he stops sleeping in our room), but we also wanted to keep a guest bedroom as it gets used a lot by friends and family that come to visit.

So, the decision was made to move the guest bedroom to the room where my office was, and to put the nursery where the guest bedroom was.

As a result I’ve moved my office to the  8 x 17 (136 square foot) raised, unused section at the end of our bedroom. Since we moved in to the house the space has been unused (except for storing boxes that hadn’t unpacked) so it feels like a good solution. The area is well-lit, has a window at either side, plenty of sockets and most of my equipment fits in with room to spare.

There are still a few kinks to work out, such as where I’m going to set up my green screen for recording, but that’s a minor issue.

The pictures below show what the layout of the office space is currently like, as I test my podcasting rig (after dismantling it for the move) ahead of tonight’s Nothing Serious podcast. Speaking of the podcast, the new space is also better acoustically than the previous space.

New Office SpaceNew Office SpaceNew Office Space

Stormageddon Week #11 – Heartbeat (Video / Audio)

Sara and I took a little time today to hook the fetal doppler up to my podcasting rig in order to get a clear recording of the babies heartbeat.

It took us a couple of tries as Stormageddon refused to “perform” when Sara was in a sitting position, but once she got down and stretched out on the office floor with some pillows under her, then Stormageddon put on a show 😀

Resolutions Aren’t Easy…

Cat New Years Reolutions2013 managed to sneak up on me in much the same way as a bullhorn abusing, wailing baby doesn’t sneak up on someone with hyper-sensitive hearing.

It’s not that I didn’t have an idea that 2012 was trundling towards it’s Gregorian predetermined end, things have simply been so busy that I haven’t had time to pay it much heed.

2012 was an utterly exciting and amazing year. I got my Green card and became a permanent legal resident here in America. Pushed my consulting work out to not just being a full time endeavor, but being a “more time than I have on my hands, how the heck am I going to do all this and my other work, and be a husband?” endeavor.

We moved house, the kids have grown, the rats have passed away, the new cats are awesome, Gabby is dating (second long-term relationship – scary stuff), asshole frog is still an asshole, we survived yet another apocalypse, and did I mention that Sara is pregnant? Talk about a 2012 bomb that is going to rock my 2013 world!

None of what was good in 2012 would have been possible without the support, love and friendship of so many wonderful people. My beautiful Sara, her family, my family, our army of amazing friends… You guys made 2012 a success for me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe and any credit for success I’ve had this year should be laid at your collective feet. Well, except for getting Sara pregnant. I’ll claim THAT success myself, thanks.

New Year’s resolutions always pose a challenge for me, as I rarely stick to them. About the only one I’ve ever kept was  a joint resolution with Sara, where we promised to try out at least one new restaurant a month during the past year. I think we more than succeeded on this one.

There are things that I could put here as resolutions but, the simple fact is that they’ll happen this year because I have to do them – get an Alabama drivers licence etc… You know, not exactly resolution material.

Instead I’m just going to resolve to these choice things (in no particular order):

  • I will start a new business venture in 2013 .
  • Make a trip to Ireland with Sara to see my family
  • Be the best person I can be for myself, my family and friends.
  • Be the best friend and husband I can be to my beautiful wife.
  • Be the best father I can be to the kids and Stormageddon.

The rest as they say, will be played by ear.

Happy New Year my friends. I hope it’s everything you make it and more.

Holiday Reading List 2012 / 2013

Holiday Reading

While some folks are enjoying days and days off this holiday season, some of us have to work (grumble, grumble, grinch, grumble..) but it doesn’t mean that we can’t take a little time to flex the old grey matter by indulging in some good books.

Thanks to Sara raiding my Amazon wish lists, these 4 books are going to make up the bulk of my holiday reading for the next week or two.

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed – Ray Kurzweil

Futurist, inventor and author Ray Kurzweil was recently hired by Google as their Director of Engineering , as such this book should be on the list for anyone with even a passing interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The bold futurist and bestselling author explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brain

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential—and often controversial—futurist. In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization—reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.

Kurzweil discusses how the brain functions, how the mind emerges from the brain, and the implications of vastly increasing the powers of our intelligence in addressing the world’s problems. He thoughtfully examines emotional and moral intelligence and the origins of consciousness and envisions the radical possibilities of our merging with the intelligent technology we are creating.

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You – The Oatmeal

Everybody loves The Oatmeal, and Sara took a stab at in the dark guessing that I’d love this collection of some of Matthew Inmans most popular cat jokes. I’ve not yet read it, because Gabby (our 14-year-old) swiped it from me and brought it to “the pit of no return: (a.k.a. her room). I’m informed that it’s hilarious!

If your cat is kneading you, that’s not a sign of affection. Your cat is actually checking your internal organs for weakness. If your cat brings you a dead animal, this isn’t a gift. It’s a warning. How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You is a hilarious, brilliant offering of cat comics, facts, and instructional guides from the creative wonderland at TheOatmeal.com.

The Physics of Star Trek – Lawrence M. Krauss

In a book that (as a Trekkie) I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read when it was first published in 2007, theoretical physicist and Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Dr. Lawrence Maxwell Krauss, dissects the science of Star Trek.

What warps when you’re traveling at warp speed? What is the difference between a wormhole and a black hole? Are time loops really possible, and can I kill my grandmother before I am born? Anyone who has ever wondered “could this really happen?” will gain useful insights into the Star Trek universe (and, incidentally, the real world of physics) in this charming and accessible guide. Lawrence M. Krauss boldly goes where Star Trek has gone-and beyond. From Newton to Hawking, from Einstein to Feynman, from Kirk to Picard, Krauss leads readers on a voyage to the world of physics as we now know it and as it might one day be.

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel – Michio Kaku

Over the past year I’ve become a big fan of futurist and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. It was his talks on Big Think that initially drew me in, so this book was an absolute must for me.

Teleportation, time machines, force fields, and interstellar space ships—the stuff of science fiction or potentially attainable future technologies? Inspired by the fantastic worlds of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Back to the Future, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku takes an informed, serious, and often surprising look at what our current understanding of the universe’s physical laws may permit in the near and distant future.Entertaining, informative, and imaginative, Physics of the Impossible probes the very limits of human ingenuity and scientific possibility.