As a child most days I saw my father rest in an easy chair by the fire,
letting the worn green fabric slowly pull away the aches and pains
from his daily physical sacrifices to keep our table laden.
When I became a teenager and knower of all things,
I vowed I’d never fall into the simple stereotype of a recliner
that hibernation station for calloused men to waste away minds and bodies
in front of mindless electronic light and noise
while they contribute nothing of lasting impact to humanity, or so I thought.
Now I am a father and I toil for my own children;
the threat of poverty keeps my back bent in labor.
What once seemed banal and unsophisticated has finally taught me a lesson:
In future years that will seem no more than a few days hence I will see my children’s children,
and my joy will wax as my strength wanes.
In those days I will yearn for an easy chair by the fire with a grandchild on my knee or just my own book and pipe for a moment of quiet contemplation.
Like that old riddle asking what creature walks on four legs, then two, then three I see the circle closed and while I watch the last of my youth stretch into early elderhood when a threadbare, dated recliner will become as trusted a friend and companion as is possible of an object inanimate.
Zeitgeist tells me I should not dwell on the passing of time and desperately hold onto youth that slips away like a handful of sand, but I welcome maturity and wisdom like an old friend thought lost but in whose life mine now intertwines.
While on a church camping trip this weekend my pipe-mentor Fr. Jacob Kulp was kind enough to give me enough Capstan Medium Navy Flake (blue tin) for two pipefuls. This is a typical Virginia flake that has the distinction of being JRR Tolkien’s preferred pipe tobacco.
It’s a good Virginia; complex and very strong. That said, Virginias are not my cup of tea so I probably didn’t get as much out of it as possible. Since I’ve only been smoking my pipes infrequently it was quite a lot of nicotine as well.
I’m glad I tried it, but I’ll be happier later tonight when I go back to my latakia blends.
From time to time I am asked to lend a hand and update software, remove bloatware, and help clean up the computer systems of my friends and family. Here are links to a lot of applications I use for your edification and so I have ready access to them.
Revo Uninstaller – the best way to remove programs without leaving behind fragmented data and folders.
Dropbox – Yes, this is my referral link to Dropbox. Please use it if you need to sign up for an account.
Belarc Adviser – The easy way to know what hardware a particular system is cobbled together from.
Soluto – finds out what is slowing down your boot time and how to fix it.
CCleaner – Removes temp files, log files, caches, etc.
DiscSpaceFan – Analyzes your HDD to find where your storage space is being used.
Update OS/Browser/Security software
My eight year old son, Joshua, is currently on a big Star Wars kick. For Christmas he asked for and received several action figures, all six movies on DVD, the LEGO game for his DS, and a few outfits. Ever since Penny was born in November Josh has been a great big brother and I’ve seen no evidence of him becoming jealous of her, at least not right now. For this and for good behavior at school we decided to reward him by having a boys night out and seeing Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace in 3D.
Josh behaved very well throughout the film. When we arrived he and I played the Terminator shooter video game with rifles, he got to pick out one concession item (giant popcorn), and we settled in watch the flick. I did have to make him take off his shoes as they light up whenever he takes a step and he was subconsciously kicking the back of the seat.
How did the film age? Considering I haven’t seen it since shortly after it originally came out while I was in college (this was before midnight releases in my area, we took turns standing in line from the day before to get 12 tickets for the 8:00pm showing in THX) it aged better than I thought. It still has a lot of warts (Jar-Jar, Jake Lloyd) but now that I’ve had several years to reflect on all six movies I realize that Lucas had to fit a lot in this one film to satiate fans of the original trilogy and I think he did a good job on that especially with the final half hour that played out in four different battle zones (Queen trying to capture the Viceroy, Gungans vs. Droids, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul, and Naboo starfighters vs. the Droid control ship).
I still would love to see more new Star Wars stories on the big or small screen; hopefully they’ll get around to the TV show but make it Old Republic instead of Clone Wars.
This was originally written for the forums at The Road to 100k but I thought it I should put it here as well:
I can understand everyone’s frustration over finding their passion. I wanted to share my story to see if it might help someone else.
My trouble has been that I’ve always been the “jack of all trades, master of none” kind of guy. I’m interested in too many things, which means that I never achieve real competence in most of the hobbies/pursuits I take on. If you’ve ever seen the movie Rushmore, I have a lot in common with the main character.
Since I want to everything, I end up doing nothing. Which is why I never really picked a career field but bounced around from shitty job to slightly-less shitty job. That’s also why it took me nearly two years to decide whether or not I wanted to marry my girlfriend (who had a young autistic child), because that limited my options. After waffling for way too long I finally decided it was time to make a freakin’ decision and in about three years I’ve gone from being a bachelor renting an apartment to being married with a stepson, a new baby, and a house.
Around the time I was trying to figure out what to do, the original 5MWJ video podcast came out, and I tried to figure out my passion. I love helping people and I am a self-classified geek so I created a blog for personal finance from a geek point-of-view. Mixed in with the usual debt snowball stuff were articles like “Going to ComicCon on the cheap” and “Economic Lessons Learned from Firefly.” after a couple of months and two dozen or so posts the newness wore off and I decided not to continue the blog. Shortly after that I got my next “great idea” for a podcast that focused on local food production and locally owned businesses. I got two interviews, four episodes total, and about a half dozen people signed up for the forum when I had a bad turn of health and was in the hospital for almost three weeks. During this time and the few weeks of getting back up to speed once I got out of the hospital all my momentum died with the podcast.
When my wife was a little over halfway through the pregnancy we decided that it didn’t make sense for her to work since daycare for two kids would eat up her entire salary. Since we’re not completely debt free yet that meant that I needed to step up and take a second job. My dayjob is working in accounting M-F 9-5 farming a cube so I had to find something better than minimum wage that didn’t interfere with those hours. I started out waiting tables at a Sushi place but quickly managed to get a gig writing weekend posts for a huge blog. I saw a job opening on one of my favorite blogs for a weekend writer. I sent them my three best posts from the geeky personal finance blog and that got my foot in the door. After a couple of trial days I got the job and have been working there since.
Now I find myself with another problem – time management. I leave my house at 7:30am during the week and get back around 7:00pm and work from home for pretty much those same hours. Our baby is 2.5 months old so she needs a lot of care right now. I’m trying to power through and work on building a business, but it’s difficult. I’m sure many here know what that’s like. My wife feels like time spent trying to build a business is choosing to not spend the few free hours I have each day with her and the kids, so I feel guilty whenever I try working on my own business.
That’s why I’m in kind of a holding pattern right now. I’m hoping that by the summer we’ll be mostly debt free and I won’t be working seven days a week. If that’s the case I can have time to actually try and develop something of my own. I’m very much looking forward to it.
For a guy who is pretty wired into technology it’s amazing how drawn I am to certain antiquated items such as fountain pens, straight razors, pocket watches, and pipes. Sometimes putting pen to paper can be much more conducive to creative thought than my computer with a million distractions.
I bought a large ruled Moleskine. I actually don’t like the thinness of the paper and would prefer to buy an alternative with slightly thicker paper. Moleskines are mostly sold on marketing (the notebook of Hemingway, Van Gogh, and Picasso) but I like that the marketing has made them available in any Barnes and Noble.
Since each page has 31 ruled lines I am setting up the first 12 pages to be monthly overviews. After this I am devoting two pages for each week. My goal with this is have a setup where I can put brief notes on the monthly overview (meet Jack for coffee 4pm) and I can put the full details on that day’s section in the weekly view (Coffee w/ Jack 4:00pm @ Coffee Underground, bring the book Shantaram to loan, remind him to return other borrowed books).
That section takes up roughly half the book. The rest will be divided into Tasks, Lists, and brainstorming. I will use the pocket as a mini-inbox and to contain a few business cards. I’m hoping to use the weekly section to track progress in many of the areas I’m trying to improve (daily posts on my project blog, staying within my daily calorie limits, exercise, daily prayers, etc.) similar to how Ben Franklin kept track of his effort to live 13 virtues in his notebook.
If you’re interested in creating a similar type of notebook here is a huge page of resources that will get you started.
Since the beginning of the year is all about goals and resolutions, I thought I would officially commit myself to Goodread’s 2012 Reading Challenge to the tune of 50 books. Back in the days before having a family and multiple jobs I would breeze past 100 books easily in a year, but given all my other commitments I think 50 is a good goal.
I’m in the midst of two Joel Salatin books at the moment, The Sheer Ecstacy of Being a Lunatic Farmer and Folks This Ain’t Normal. Salatin is a widely-lauded farmer in Virginia who eschews industrialist farm practices and monocultures and instead focuses on diversity of lifeforms, weaving together systems such as having pastured chickens follow pastured beef in fields to cleanup cow manure, and biological distinctiveness which means letting pigs live like pigs and not being stuck in a cage for months. He is a self-described “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-Farmer” and is both entertaining and enlightening to read.
The first book I’m listening to on my commute and the second I read at home when I get time. I’m also reading one of the Hardy Boys mystery books to Joshua and I plan on counting that as well. I also have to read The Hunger Games on my Kindle before the end of the month.
My family will tell you I’m notoriously hard to shop for. I thought I would aid any friends and business partners who wish to send a small gift by adding a widget on the site with my Amazon wishlist. Amazon giftcards are also always welcome.
I wanted a fairly basic WordPress theme, and so far I’m liking this one.
I added a Facebook Subscribe button to the right sidebar, but I can’t get the faces of all 6 people who are subscribed to me to show. After an hour of wading through the bug reports I’m going to give up on it for now.
Of course, I’m just killing time until I can start working on Agrimundi on the 15th.
Since I’m a sort of a problogger now I figured I needed to register a URL for my name and get a real blog up.
Too bad DavidGalloway.com was taken, but for my purposes .net will suffice.
I’ve imported all my old posts from my blogspot personal blog. I’ll probably eventually import some of the posts I made for the now-defunct Geekyfrugal.com as well.