Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas, and a Contest (sort of)

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! My daughter ended up with a broken leg a few days before! But she's got a nice bright pink cast now, which my wife stenciled with daisies and hearts, so she's all good.

This year, my wife and I did our "stocking game" again. It really is the best event of the holiday season. Spending limit: $20. But this year we had 7 Christmas words, and we each drew one out from a box and threw away the rest. Then, we had to buy presents that spelled the Christmas word for the other person. When it came time to open them, we had to try to figure out the word.

My wife had ANGELS, meaning, she had to buy gifts for me spelling the word ANGELS. I did the same for her with the word SHEPHERD. A lot of fun, and tricky, since we only had about an hour to find all the gifts. (I kind of cheated, though. I had trouble finding another H, so I had to pick Hazelnut Cappuccino Coolers, but Hazelnut really was the flavor, not the name of the product.)

Last thing. As I mentioned in my last entry, I was going to post my children's short story to my website. Well, it is now available. Go check out The Tri-Country Airplane Throwing Contest and let me know what you think. Better yet, print it out and give it to one of your children and let me know what they think of it! It is, after all, for kids.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Upcoming News

I'm not yet listing this news on my website because it is a bit early, but I figured I'd mentioned it here.

First of all, a few months ago I had a short story accepted for publication in Beyond Centauri, which is a science fiction/fantasy print magazine for young adults. My story, The Dreammaker, will appear in the January issue. I'll post when the magazine is available officially, but I'm excited because it is my first print publication credit, as well as my first young-adult credit.

Second, I had written a children's story (amazingly, involving absolutely nothing supernatural!), which I have shopped around to a couple major kid's publications. Neither accepted it, so I'm going to place it up on my stories section. Since it is for kids, I'll welcome anyone to print it out and give it to their children to read. In the next week or so, it should be up.

And, since we are approaching Christmas, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas now, in case I don't get a chance to post again before then!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Diabetic Role Model

When I was just a sprig in Tennessee (err, a kid in a middle school in Michigan...but I just watched one of the Christmas episodes of Little House on the Prairie last night), I was quickly turned into a diabetic role model.

See, I wasn't the only diabetic in my middle school. In fact, there were four of us...which, statistically speaking, is rather impressive. Anyhow, the school nurse thought it was important for us diabetics to form this special club or something, meeting once a month to discuss all the trials and tribulations of having the disease. She would also use it as a way to sneak in lessons on nutrition, but I was on to her about that.

Anyhow, the thing is, by the time I was in middle school, I was well versed in my disease, and was pretty much over any "issues" that might come along with it.

But there was another boy with diabetes who wasn't over it. He had been recently diagnosed and was bitter about it, to the point of trying to pretend he didn't have the disease at all. Given he was likely still experiencing a bit of honeymoon period (time when the body hadn't fully quit producing insulin), he would try to go days at a time without taking his insulin, and ultimately end up in the hospital.

So, I was elected (by way of an anarchy, was the single vote of the school nurse that mattered) to be this other boy's role model. I was to befriend him, talk to him about dealing with diabetes, etc. And I did just that.

I'm not sure how much of a role model I actually was, though, because mostly I thought he was kind of a whiny baby. I mean, get over it already. You're a diabetic! All your bemoaning isn't gonna change that!

But, regardless, he did confide in me, and I helped him through a few rough times over the course of about two years.

I've always been somewhat of a loner when it comes to my diabetes. I pretty much take care of it myself, only relying on my endocrinologist to write me prescriptions and run my A1c tests. But looking back in hindsight, having dealt with a great many more diabetics, I can see how important it is for some to have such a role model...someone to inspire them to push through the emotional turmoil it apparently brings. Someone to teach them. Someone who will listen and understand. And then I realize how even I, the loner, find myself drawn into diabetic-exclusive conversations when I meet with a fellow diabetic.

We are a club. We have something in common that those without the disease can't ever completely understand. For some, like myself, it isn't a big deal. For others, it is a major life-changing event. Regardless, there is an instant comradery among diabetics that seems to transcend other differences in personality and beliefs.

Like it or not, I'm a role model. I always have been. And those of you who have lived with diabetes for years are role models as well. You see it in the Diabetes "OC". You see it in such on-line groups as And if you have a child with diabetes, you just might want to encourage them to become a diabetic role model as well. Because there is something amazingly transforming when you realize that you have something to offer to others that they can't get anywhere else. Becoming a role model empowers that person by helping others.

I don't know whatever happened to the boy I helped back in my middle school days. We went to different high schools and never saw him again. But I can't help but believe that I made a difference in his life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Have you heard about the airport in Seattle that removed the Christmas trees?

The whole situation is kind of sad. Apparently, in response to the fact that there were Christmas trees, a Jewish Rabbi requested that menorahs be placed in the airport as well. Of course, the airport, now fearing that if they placed a menorah, would then have to follow with other holiday decorations, decided to just take down all the Christmas trees instead.

This wasn't what the Rabbi had wanted, nor the airport workers. The workers pooled their money and bought Christmas trees of their own and put them up.

What makes this situation odd to me is that idea that Christmas trees are a Christian symbol. They aren't, actually. Despite having become associated with Christmas, the Christmas tree is not originally grounded in Christian tradition. It has nothing to do with Christ or his birth. And, actually, the time of year we celebrate Christmas really has nothing to do with the Bible. It was originally chosen to coincide with some pagan celebration.

Perhaps I'm odd. When I see a Christmas tree, I don't think of Jesus. I think of the holiday season. Now, I suppose if the airport had put up a nativity, it is a different issue, as that is clearly religious in nature. But Christmas trees?

Not that I blame the Rabbi in this, either. I certainly would have no issue about there being a menorah. The festival of lights and the event that the menorah represents demonstrates the power of God in a time before Christ. Problem is, if you put up a menorah, you definitely are placing a religious symbol up...which could lead to Christians insisting on putting up a nativity.

Rather circular problem I think. And, as I understand it, up until this past century, the festival of lights was a rather minor holiday as Jewish holidays go.

Whether people think the Rabbi was wrong for asking to put up the menorahs, or the airport was wrong for taking down the Christmas tree, or the airport workers were wrong for putting up their own trees in protest...I think it demonstrates something sad. People seem to forget that these holidays are meaningful to individuals. The public display of such symbols are in response to individuals wanting them there. Isn't this supposed to be a world of "tolerance"? (Which, actually, I take issue with...but I won't get into that here.) Yet, rather than tolerating anything, we say, "Hey, they got their way...I should get my way, too!"

That's not exactly tolerance.

Well, really...I think everyone should stop worrying about who wants to display their Christmas tree or menorah and get back to the real reason for the holiday season: shopping!

(Uh, that's a joke, by the way. Sarcasm. You know?)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Getting It All Wrong

I was rather irritated with last night's episode of ER.

Actually, this entire season hasn't been all that great, but I've been watching the show since it's inception, so it is hard to give up, you know? Anyhow, if you don't watch, they introduced this character this season who is supposed to be a Bible-believing Christian. And, of course, they decided to cast this character as a stereotypical dumb-blonde. I've tried to tolerate that, because it is, after all, ER.

But last night made me mad. Because we got to "sit in" on a Bible study.

Apparently, the writer's of ER have never actually been to a Bible study. Because generally speaking, a Bible is involved. Here, it was more like a group therapy session. And while there isn't anything wrong with that...there is when the supposed leader of the Bible study is offering advice that is counter what the Bible says.

And then further, it is most frustrating when the one character who is sitting in who doesn't believe any of it sort of lies, making up a bunch of stuff about "purity of spirit", and suddenly everyone in the Bible study is swayed to his way of thinking, accepting the fact that everything they have been studying (presumably, even though they didn't really show it) is "antiquated".

I felt a bit ill at that moment. I mean, it was a blow to Christians who truly believe, who turn to the Bible, and yet have this show that just tried to imply that everything they believe is antiquated and irrelevant, etc.

One major flaw I saw was when the leader went around the room to talk about how you should deal with various sins. So, for the sin of pride, offer up humility, etc. Good. Fine. Then comes the issue of "lust". This is where, of course, the non-believing character says to offer up "purity."

Okay. Except the leader said, "Well, I was looking for chastity..."

Right there. That's where things went bad. Because, guess what? Chastity isn't the Bible's answer to lust. Chastity and "sexual purity" are not the same thing. (Oh, and when the guy said "purity", he wasn't talking "sexual purity", but this ambiguous "purity of spirit", which was meaningless, but apparently everything in the room loved because it meant they could go and have as much sex as they wanted or something.)

Anyhow, believe it or not, the Bible encourages sex. It celebrates it (Song of Solomon) in fact, and Paul actually instructs the church that they should get married and have sex! Why? Because of lust!

Sex is the answer to lust, not chastity. Of course, the Bible expects sexual purity, meaning that sex is kept within the marriage. But within that marriage, you're supposed to be having a grand old time in bed!

You know, I don't really have a problem if people don't want to believe that. What I have a problem with is ER making fun of the Christian belief, and even goes so far to get that belief wrong. Yeah. It's easy to poke holes at a belief that isn't actually accurate.

In the end, the Bible-believing Christian doctor decides that it is okay to have sex any old time as long as there is "purity of spirit", and the non-believing doctor decides, for the first time in his life, not to have sex. (Which is a portrayal I don't necessarily have an issue with, since that happens. Plenty of Christians fail to live up to sexual purity. It is one of the reasons, in fact, we believe...because we fail!)

Next time, get it right, ER. Why not actually show Christianity, for once, how it actually is rather than trying to insult us with misrepresentation? I don't know. Maybe it wasn't intentional. Regardless, count me as one who found the whole thing offensive.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Family That's Sick Together...

Bronchitis. Fever. Sore Throat. Coughing. Runny Nose. Ear infection.

These are just some of the things in our house right now. Six people in our family, and six people with some degree of illness.

'Tis the season to be sick, I guess. I was sick a month ago, and got over it. But in the past day, my cough is returning. My oldest boy had avoided any signs of illness until two days ago, when he started complaining of a sore throat.

There is a positive to the family that's sick together...I just don't know what that positive is yet. I'm sure I'll think of something eventually.

It's a bad time for it, too. (Not that there's ever a good time to be sick.) I have a choir Christmas program this weekend. Three performances. Plus, Saturday, my family (well, those here in Michigan) is having the annual Christmas get-together where we over-eat and hand out gifts to our nieces and nephews. So, we'll probably end up contaminating their families in the process, just in time for Christmas!

And speaking of choir programs...I'm very excited about this year's program. See, it's not just a choir program. It is an entire drama. And this year, I wrote the script. Well, not all of it. See, our Worship Minister had these comedy "sketches" (apparently, no longer called skits) he found in this book. They were short, unrelated sketches. And then we had a choir program with a bunch of Christmas songs of various styles, but again, unrelated.

So, he called upon me to write a funny script to tie it all together. And so, in two months time, I had done just that. It was rather fun, because I'd never really written comedy before until this past summer. And that script was only about seven pages. This script was considerably longer, written for four main characters instead of one. The promo for the program (which I also wrote) goes like this:
It's Christmas Eve, you're trapped in an elevator with four strangers, and the mall just closed leaving no hope of rescue.

No, it's not a promo for Die Hard 10 - it's a hilarious peek into the peculiar lives of Randy, Martha, Stephen, and Mel. Can they learn to recapture their Christmas spirit? Or will the elevator music get to them first?
On Monday, we had our first full rehearsal...and it was my first chance to see my script acted out. What a feeling, to see something you worked hard on come alive like that. I've done other choir programs before, written narrations, even wrote a complete choir program, music and all...yet, this was the first time I wrote of this caliber something outside my usual comfort zone.

So, if you're in Southeast Michigan this weekend and want to come see something funny, let me know and I'll tell you where to go!

Monday, December 04, 2006

If They Could Just Stay Little...

So, my boys have outgrown their Carter's outfits. They are into Spiderman and Jedis, and have even taken a fascination with basketball.

And it seems my oldest boy is moving into a new stage of maturity. *Sniffle*

It seems, without consulting us (his parents) first, he has decided to become...responsible! It is a scary thing, because it means we (his parents) have to loosen our grip a bit more than we're ready to do.

But he's ready. He's all for it. A few days ago, I even assigned him his first home-improvement project: replacing an outlet cover in his bedroom. It had one of those child safety ones where you have to press a button to access the outlet. But, such a cover prevented the ability to plug certain things in. So, I handed him a screwdriver and outlet cover and let him at it.

Of course, I did this without telling my wife until after he was done, at which point she said, "But, he could have electrocuted himself!"

But she is handling it all quite well, having discussed with him how hard it will be for us to give him more responsibility, but how we know he's ready, so be patient with us. (My wife is always so incredibly perceptive of our kids, and actually, you know, talks to them about things like this, which they, of course, love. Weird.)

And so I have to wonder what's next. This is just a small precursor to such big events in his life, from ordering his own food at Burger King, going through puberty, to eventually learning to drive a car (eek!), falling in love, getting married, having children...

Uh. I'm getting ahead of myself. I can't take it in all at once. Thankfully, children don't grow up quite that fast...though it seems close to it. Still, I can't help but wish if they could just stay little until their Carter's wear out. Because this whole giving them responsibilities thing is hard.

I guess it's time to have that Spiderman talk. "With great power comes great responsibility." We'll tackle the birds and the bees later. *Gulp*

Friday, December 01, 2006

Great book, for teens, kids, and grown-ups, too!

Right now, I'm in the process of finishing reading my first book by author Scott Westerfeld.

Uglies is a story set in a future where being ugly (that is, normal looking) is practically a crime, where everyone, on their sixteenth birthday, is turned pretty. The main character, Tally, can't wait to be pretty so she can be with her best friend...who was already turned pretty three months earlier.

Generally, I haven't made many book recommendations here, but I felt Mr. Westerfeld's work deserves some recognition. It really is fantastic. The book is targeted as the young adult/teen, but it is written in a way that can appear to younger kids, as well as adults. In fact, since I was "reading" it in audiobook format, my older boys were really enjoying hearing parts of it. So much so, that my oldest said to me, "You'd better not listen to this without us!" (I think they were drawn in by the concept of the hoverboard, which plays a prevalent role in the book.)

I've really enjoyed every minute of the book, and am excited to finish it. (Only a couple chapters to go.) Mr. Westerfeld has a way of really capturing the thoughts and feelings of the 16-year-old protagonist, Tally. She is an imperfect character, whose flaws go beyond being "ugly". Yet she is a character you care about, and see her struggling with knowing just what the right thing to do is.

On top of this, Mr. Westerfeld paints a believable, albeit far-fetched, future.

One bit of irony in this is that my short story, "Buyer's Remorse", which can be found in the stories section of my website, has a very similar extrapolation of the future. When I first read a blurb about Uglies, in fact, I was a bit taken aback.

Fabulous book, however. Part one of a trilogy. If there is a young adult in your life who enjoys to read, you might consider this for them! Or, for yourself!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sportin' a 'Tude

Have you heard the phrase, "Sportin' a 'Tude"?

In our household, this phrase is particularly apt right now for two completely unrelated reasons...and in both cases, the reasons are, I'm here to say from the get-go, not genetic.

Let's start with the whole sportin' thang. See, I'm not really a sporty kind of guy. Generally speaking, if you made me choose between watching a Superbowl game on television, or having a cavity filled at the dentist, I'd be hard-pressed to pick the Superbowl game. I just don't like to watch sports on television unless it involves being timed to some sort of music. And gymnastics. I like to watch gymnastics...although, perhaps that still counts, since many of the events in gymnastics are, in fact, timed to some sort of music.

Anyhow, my boys have seemed not to inherit my distaste for televised sports, and so last night, while my wife and I were out in the living room watching House, MD, my three sons were all cozy on our bed watching football. And when the football game ended, they watched basketball. As I headed off to bed, I had to kick them out, to which they protested, telling me the game wasn't over.


But, alas, they were absorbed into it. (I still kicked them out, however. It was late and they needed to be in bed. Or at least I needed to be.)


Now, the 'Tude part involves our daughter, who recently arrived at the tender age of three. And, in due form, threw the biggest tantrum I've ever seen any of our children ever throw in their lives. Tantrums just aren't part of my parenting experience, really. Yet, there's my daughter, so upset because I wouldn't let her play Polly Pockets in our bedroom that she refused to move. I gave her a warning: come out, or go into your crib.

The next twenty-five minutes she spent screaming from her crib, so loudly that every time I saw tail lights passing by outside our living room window, I was sure it would be followed by two police officers knocking at our door.

Fortunately, she gave up, and I got her out, and she was sad and made me hold her and play Polly Pockets with her, and I had one of those pathetic parenting moments where I thought that maybe I had done the wrong thing, just see how upset she was, yada yada yada. Until she started Sportin' a 'Tude again a few minutes later, quickly quelled by a threat of going back to her crib. She seemed much happier after that.

A 'tude.

And this morning, I went to make myself breakfast, and there sat my family at the table, family room television tuned to basketball highlights, my daughter all upset because no one was getting her a drink.

Sportin' a 'tude, indeed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm Thankful...Really.

I'm a dweeb. Or else I'm just busy. Not sure which it is, actually. But definitely one of those.

Why? Well, because a week ago I posted how I was going to spend all of last week talking about being thankful. And a week later, I have not made a single new post.

So I'm a dweeb.

But I really am thankful. I'm thankful for my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my dog. Okay, not my dog. I don't have a dog. But I used to have a dog, and I used to love that dog, and he was a constant companion that I could turn to anytime I needed a listening ear. So I'm thankful that I used to have a dog.

Mostly, I'm thankful for a God to loves and much to overlook my dweeb-ness and offer forgiveness and salvation anyhow. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be thankful to Him, and for the ability to praise Him. I'm thankful for the ways he has guided my life, my decisions, and even bonked me on the head (spiritually speaking, of course) during a time when I wasn't talking to my wife (well, before she was my wife) and told me to get back together with her. He's a smart guy, God. Turns out, my wife is the most wonderful person in the world, and I wouldn't trade her for anything, and she completes me as a person like no one else could. I'd be a complete dweeb if it weren't for her, but because I married her, now I'm only an occasional dweeb.

I'm thankful for life's lessons, for unexpected directions, and directions very much expected and appreciated. I'm thankful that, even though my wife ended up in the E.R. overnight a few days ago fearing she was having a heart attack or something, that it turned out to only "potentially" be something worse, but ended up being relatively minor. (Well, minor in the grand scheme. To call excruciating pain "minor" when you're in the throes of it would probably result in her calling me a dweeb or something, so I feel I should clarify that.) So, wife's fine and her heart is in good shape.

I'm also thankful that with each passing year, I'm simultaneously becoming less and less a dweeb in many areas, and more and more a dweeb in others. Ah well. I guess I should be thankful for that, because it means I have opportunities for growth still ahead of me. It would be boring if I had "arrived" and was completely dweeb-free.

So, this post is to let you know that I'm thankful...really. I just was busy last week.

Or I was a dweeb.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Give Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

For those of us in the United States, we are just a few days from Thanksgiving Day. So, I thought it would be a good time to, you know, be thankful and stuff.

So this week I'm going to talk about things I'm thankful for...even those things that aren't easy to be thankful about. But before I begin, I was thinking about the act of being thankful, and how it requires that there is a receiving end. I mean, what point is there in thankfulness if there is no one to thank.

I might say that I'm thankful for having a house. But really, what did the house have to do with anything? It isn't really about the house. It is about all the opportunities I had growing up where I learned, got a good education, eventually a job and income to pay for the house. It is about all the people who buy cars who need the parts that my company makes, which gives me a job.

I might say I'm thankful for my wife. But what that really means is I'm thankful for all the effort my wife puts into being my wife, for loving me, loving my children, even when I'm acting like a doofus. It means I'm thankful for the parents who raised her to become the person she is today, as well as all the other people who helped shape her.

I might say I'm thankful for living in this great, free nation. But that means I'm thankful for the men and women who died to not only protect this country, but for the men and women who didn't die, as well as those who had the intelligence and vision to draft our constitution, etc.

I could say I'm thankful for my diabetes, because my life has grown out of that part of me. I am who I am because of a disease. But the disease isn't something worthy of thankfulness. And perhaps I'm not thankful for the disease at all, but to a God who helped me to grow strong in the adversity that diabetes brought me.

I guess the point is to give credit where credit where credit is due. Give thanks where thanks is due. Think about the things, people, and circumstances you are thankful for...but don't leave it there. Think about those who made those things, people, and circumstances possible.

I'll have more thanks to share tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why I Write, Part Two

So you have this idea. This really great idea. But you know, like all great ideas, unless you do something with it, it will eventually be forgotten...until someone else comes along and actually does something with the same or similar idea, at which point you are hitting yourself over the head for not having done anything with the idea when it was your own!

Did you follow that?

I get ideas all the time. Once, when I worked at a Little Caesars pizza place, Little Caesars decided to introduce flavored crust. So, they shipped these giant rolls of stickers with the letters C, B, S, and P on them. When someone wanted, say, poppy seed on their crust, you stuck a little "P" sticker on their ticket so the person making the pizza would notice.

Thing is, there were four giant rolls, and we often had four people answering phones at the same time, and the stickers would end up unraveling, getting in the way, or we'd lose one of the sticker rolls or something. So, one evening when business was slow I started tearing apart a cardboard box and folding it this way and that, stapling it here and there, until I had created a dispenser that held all four rolls of stickers very neatly.

One of my co-workers was in awe. "How do you come up with ideas like that?"

(Honestly, it was no big deal.)

But that question seems to be a common one to authors.

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Well, you see, there's this idea factory... Okay, okay. Who knows? Ideas just come. Some times they come by purposeful observation of the world around you, and sometimes they just sort of pop into the head out of nowhere. I think everyone has ideas. But what makes an author an author is that they don't just brush off the idea. They file it away, or nurture it, and grow it until you have an entire garden of ideas to draw from.

And if an idea is strong enough, it doesn't leave you alone, and you either have to ignore it, or write it down.

I think any writer will also tell you that not all ideas that they write down are necessarily good ones. I have a folder on my computer full of short stories with ideas that I thought were good, but when I bothered to write them down, they were rather disappointing. Of course, I keep those files around in case someday I wish to revisit the idea, maybe placing a new twist on it.

But regardless, exploring those ideas is really a huge part of why I write. It is asking, "What if?" and then playing it out, seeing if it can reveal something unique, or entertaining, or profound. Often it doesn't. But sometimes it does.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why I Write

I once read somewhere that in order to be a good children's writer, you have to still be a child at heart. The idea stuck with me, because in many ways that's true. I still find myself drawn to the things of my youth...yet at the same time, I definitely see how some of that childhood has eluded me as I've aged. It helps to have children of my own, though.

My wife once noted how when a little girl asks to play Barbies with an adult, for the adult it pretty much amounts to bouncing the Barbie-doll around in front of the child while she plays along, acting everything out. It's true, too. In fact, it made me self-conscious of the fact that I tend to do the same thing with my own daughter now. I guess grown-ups have a harder time getting into the roll of Barbie and really playing it out.

Yet, when I was a kid, my friends and I would spend hours with our Matchbox cars, which it seemed could talk to each other...except that we knew that it was the little people inside the cars talking to each other, despite the fact that there weren't any little people inside the cars. Imagination.

All this is leading somewhere. Because I thought I'd share a moment from my childhood.

When I was a kid, as I wrote in a previous blog entry, I was fairly obsessed with superheroes. My next-door neighbor, Shelley, was also my best friend, and we played superheroes practically daily. (Either that, or "kidnapper", for some reason.)

Anyhow, there was a time period where the two of us tried to convince the other that our superheroes were real. Not just constructs of our minds, but real, in-the-flesh people. It started innocently enough, having our imaginary super-friend that we, of course, could only see. But it grew from there. I remember once going into the bathroom and having this conversation, loud enough for her to hear, with myself. Of course, I disguised my voice, which I'm certain fooled her into believing my superhero was with me. Soon, she did the same thing.

And then, there were the infamous "Autograph books". Do you remember those? It seemed that everyone had one...expensive books with nothing but a bunch of blank colored pages to have your friends (or famous people, I suppose, if you knew any) sign. So, my superhero signed my autograph book. I disguised my handwriting, of course. So there it was...proof of the existence of my superhero.

Except she didn't believe I had to sneak and swipe her autograph book and sign it using the same disguised writing, never letting on that I had gotten my hands on it.

This whole thing went on for an entire summer. Neither of us would budge, and both of us became increasingly clever at how we were trying to prove how our superhero existed. I revealed facts and secrets about him that of course only a friend of a superhero would know. She did the same.

And finally, the day of revelation...the day we both fessed up and admitted it was all a hoax, which we both already knew anyhow. Yet we believed that we had made the other believe it all.

Isn't that so typical of childhood imagination? Not just the worlds and situations we imagine...but the self-delusional things as well. Truly believing that we have convinced someone that something is true (in this case).

Sometimes I miss that...because I think that it is a power far greater than super-strength or being able to fly. It is the power to exist in a whole other world.

And that is why, today, I write.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Heroes, of the Super Kind

From the time I was six years old, I've been fairly obsessed with superheroes. It started with Superman and Wonder Woman and Batman, of course. I mean, how could it not? I even watched some of those old black-and-white Superman reruns where the guy is filmed laying on a table with a fan blowing his cape, and made to look like he was really flying. Of course, to the eyes of a six-year-old...he really was flying.

And a year later, my next-door neighbor and best friend and I moved one to creating our own superheroes. (Actually, you can read more about that on my website under "About".) But my love for superheroes that weren't my own creation never waned, and I was drawn to not just superheroes as people, but superheroes as in vehicles. Lemme see, there was Airwolf and Knight Rider and Street Hawk and Blue Thunder and, of course, the Transformers. Oh yeah...and this weird cartoon about this teenager who accidentally drove into this beam of light some scientist was working on that made it so that he and the car sort of became one and he could transform from human to car and back anytime he wanted. As stupid as it sounds, I really loved that show. Nevermind, I have no idea what it was called.

Anyhow, as I grew up, I never lost that love, and to this day, I rarely get more excited for a new movie than one involving superheroes. Even bad ones, like the recent version of The Fantastic Four. (Sorry...but come one can do better!)

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on the show Heroes. You know. "Save the Cheerleader. Save the world." Now, I had seen some ads for the show, but I never realized it was about superheroes, and so I felt a bit put out that I missed the first six episodes as a result. But I tuned in to the last two and I'm really really enjoying it.

But, I'm also really really hating it. Because I swear the writers of this show are stealing my ideas. I've now had no fewer than 4 specific ideas that I either have used or plan to use in my own books. What's up with that? And by the time my book is published (eh-hem...and of course it will be published one day...I hope), people are gonna go, "Oh, he's just copying that show Heroes." But really, I'm not. Because I started working on this thing like three years ago.

My story is my story, however, and so I must swallow my pride and except the fact that I'm not entirely original in everything I do. *Sigh* So, I'll sit back and enjoy Heroes, and hope that the seeming popularity of the the superhero genre will be a boon to my book. I hope.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Visiting Heaven

Several years ago, my wife and I splurged and bought ourselves a new, king-sized bed. It was wonderful having a decent mattress, for once.

And by "decent", what that really means is, it was relatively cheap. We got a great deal on it, going to this little mattress shop that insisted that their mattresses are identical to the big-name mattresses, only cheaper. The folks were friendly, and so, I mean I...I decided to go ahead and buy from them.

A few years later, of course, we learned the hard lesson that you get what you pay for. This finally came to a head last week. See, my wife hasn't really slept in our bed for quite a while. It is too painful. I've tolerated the bed, but even I was waking up throughout the night having to take ibuprofen. It was getting ridiculous. So, we took a trip to a real furniture store. One that sells real beds made by brands you've heard of before, like "Sealy" and "Simmons" and "King Coil".

Now, I must interject here that prior to visiting said furniture store, my wife and I did some internet research. And you know what? It turns out it is really hard to come to any firm conclusions on any given mattress. A mattress that one person loves another hates. Take the Sleep Number Bed. You know, the bed advertised by Lindsay Wagner? I've heard a few people say how they love theirs. Then I check into more reviews, and it seems to be almost universally loathed by others. Fine, check that one off the list.

Then we looked into the Tempurpedic "memory foam" beds. Good reviews, bad reviews, and not to mention prohibitively expensive. Traditional beds? Same thing.

Fortunately, we got to actually try out the beds in the store. We even got to try out this cool computerized contraption that you lay on which measures your personal pressure points and figures out which bed would be best for your body. My wife and I were analyzed, and we found an absolutely wonderful bed.

But then, we tried a natural latex foam mattress by King Koil. Wow. It was like visiting heaven. The bed sort of just enveloped you in luxury. Of course, the salesman declared that he just convinced his own parents to buy that very mattress. Sure...and had we chosen the Sealy Posturpedic, he probably would have told us how his brother just bought that one. Regardless, it was an incredible mattress, well beyond our price range. So, of course, we bought it. Delivery in a week!

The hope is, of course, that my wife and I will be able to sleep comfortably for years to come. So, watch this space in about 20 years and we'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Curse of the Vocal Cords

Sometimes I think I've been cursed. And I don't even believe in curses.

See, next Wednesday, our church is having its annual all-church Thanksgiving dinner. And part of the evening includes a concert presented by the ensemble group I sing in. And two of the solos in the concert are mine.

I love to sing. I even had vocal training from my very own brother, who is a professional vocal instructor. And, as this concert approached, I felt a tad nervous. Why? I'll tell you why. Because it seems that every time I'm scheduled to sing anything at church, be it a concert on Thanksgiving or special music on Sunday morning...I seem to come down with a cold.

So, what do you think happened to me starting two days ago? Yeppers! I came down with a cold. And, with advice from my wife, I started popping Cold-Eeez right away. Yet, this morning, I woke up able to sing so low that humans can't even hear it. This wouldn't be a problem if I were a bass. But I'm not a bass. I'm a tenor. Tenor mean I sing high, not low.

I tried to squeak out one of the songs I'm scheduled to sing during my drive in to work today. It sounded an awful lot like Peter Brady when the Brady Kids sang, "A Time for Change."

And so, the curse strikes again.

Fortunately, in almost every case, I recovered just in time to sing, although once I had to modify part of the song in order to hit the notes. But usually the cold hits about two weeks before when I'm going to sing. This time, I only have a week. A week! Even if I can get over my cold, I usually need a few days to strengthen my voice.

And so right now I'm wondering if I can convince the rest of the ensemble to lower the songs a couple octaves...

Monday, November 06, 2006

For Best Results: Drive With Eyes Open!

This post is about me. And I should start out saying that I was, in fact, driving with my eyes open...technically.

Okay. Let me back up a bit. I'm in this singing group at my church called OneVoice. There are eight of us, and we're doing a concert on November 15. This year is a concert all about praise. So, as you can imagine, most of our songs are either praise songs to God or about praising God.

For the past few months, I've been listening to the CD in my car that has all the songs we're performing in order to learn the lyrics. I'm horrible about memorizing words. Music? No problemo. But lyrics take me forever.

Anyhow, now that we are a couple weeks away, I have the songs mostly learned. Flash forward to this morning. I was driving along, singing along with the CD. I pulled up to a stop light. And that is where things got messy. Because I have this horrible habit of closing my eyes when I'm singing. See, when I sing, I'm singing to God. I don't like distractions, so I tend to close my eyes when I'm praising Him. Now, when I'm driving, I obviously must keep my eyes open. But here I was, stopped at a stop light, and so what did I do? I closed my eyes and started singing. I'm not sure how long passed, but next thing I know, the light is green in front of me, and there are cars behind me pulling around me.

None of them honked at me. At least, I don't think they did. But the cars that were in front of me at the stop light were long gone, and even the left-turn traffic from the opposite direction was taking advantage of me just sitting there.

So, I guess the only thing worse than a driver distracted by talking on the cell phone is a driving distracted by talking to God. Or singing to God, in this case.

Lesson learned here. For best results, drive with your eyes open. I'm sure your fellow drivers appreciate it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Top Ten Disappointing Moments

My post yesterday where I revealed that I'm still bitter about Misfits of Science going off the air got me to thinking about disappointing moments you experience in your childhood. So, I thought I'd do a bit of Letterman here and list my top-ten list of disappointing moments experienced as a child. And, of course, in true Letterman form...just being I call them my top ten doesn't really mean they are my top ten. Just a random list of ten.

So, here goes:
  1. It's summer, and your favorite television show is on at 8:00. Captain America! (Okay, I have this thing for superheroes.) So, you're out playing with your friends and then it starts to get dark. You hurry inside, check the clock and discover it is now 10:00! You played through your favorite show! You were out having fun when you could have been a vegetable in front of the television! And, since the summer months are all reruns, it means you won't get to see the rerun at all!
  2. For a month, the family has been planning a trip to Cedar Point. There is nothing more that you look forward to. Then, you wake up early, ready to go...and it is pouring down rain. You click on The Weather Channel, hoping the rain hasn't hit Sandusky, OH...but alas, it has. You try to convince your folks that maybe it'll stop raining. Maybe by the time you get there it will be clear. But they don't listen. They never listen. And so, you have to wait another week. (Which, since the rain lingers for the next four days, turns out to be a wise decision on your parents part...but you'll never admit it to their face.)
  3. You studied for your upcoming math/science/English/history test, and know the material backwards and forwards. This is the time you're gonna ace the test. This is gonna pull your grade up into A territory, keeping your GPA high enough to remain on the Honor Roll. You sit down to take the test, and nothing makes if you studied the wrong subject or something. You get your test back the next day, and it is a B-minus. A B-minus! Suddenly, your hopes of getting into your favorite college are dashed, and you know you're destined to wallow in mediocrity the rest of your life.
  4. Finally, after months of bugging your mother to death, you convince her to buy you that box of Honey Combs cereal, because now is the time they have free bike license plates inside the box. The next morning, you race down to the kitchen and see a grin on your older brother's face because he already dug out the license plate for himself.
  5. Lasers! There is nothing cooler than to think that you can own a real-live set of laser guns! The game? Laser Tag...and it is the top item on your Birthday list. You review the list with your folks, and they seem to get it. If they get you only one gift that year, you want Laser Tag! Then your Birthday arrives, and there is a big box there. Just the right size! You know what it is. You start to open it, and sure enough, there are the guns...then you peel away the rest of the Scooby-Doo wrapping paper, and find it isn't Laser Tag, but the "Laser Light Game Set." A cheap knock off. It barely works, and it doesn't even use lasers. And the next year, when you ask for Laser Tag again, your parents say, "But you never played with the one we bought you last year!" So, instead, they buy you a new pair of jeans.
  6. The newspaper is holding a Thanksgiving Day Parade coloring contest. The best submissions will be displayed on live television during the airing of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, you sharpen your crayons, buy several copies of the newspaper for that day and start coloring. You pick your best one. It is incredible. You've never colored better in your life. Rudolph's nose is the perfect shade of red, and you really believe that Santa's belly is made from a bowl full of jelly. You send off you entry, and then sit watching the television screen, never even getting up to use the bathroom. But when they announce the winner, it is a pathetic-looking entry that only won because the kid who colored it has been a quadrapelegic for most of her life. Come isn't your fault you aren't paralyzed from the neck down!
  7. You sit down to watch Misfits of Science. But it isn't on. Week after week, you wait for its return. But three years later you try to accept the fact that it is off the air for good. Fortunately, I still had MacGyver to watch. (This disappointment was repeated several times with such great shows as Probe and The Whiz Kids.)
  8. You sit down for family dinner and discover it is Pepper Steak night...again! (Which means spending the first ten minutes picking out each and every pepper by hand.)
  9. Worse, you sit down for family dinner and discover that the menu includes sauerkraut.
  10. You go to the doctor's office, your mother telling you that you probably have a bladder infection. This, because during the drive home from Florida the previous week, you literally stopped off at every single rest area between Michigan and a few stops alongside the edge of the pee. Bladder infection. Just get some antibiotics and go. Until they inform you that you have been diagnosed with a disease. Diabetes! And, as any intelligent nine-year-old can tell you, having a disease means you are going to die a horrible death in a matter of days...or a few weeks at best! And then the truly horrible news: you won't be allowed to eat sweets any more!
Go ahead and share some of your disappointing childhood moments!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tag, I'm It

Have you played tag recently? Actually, I did. With my kids, a few weeks ago. It was a very bad idea. I was sore for a few days afterwards. Apparently, running around when you're 33 isn't the same as running around when you're 10.

But, here I am, playing tag again. Fortunately, the only thing I have to exercise this time is my fingers, since it is Blog Tag. (Actually, giving my recent RSI to my hand, perhaps it isn't so fortunate.) I was tagged by Nichole.

Rules are (apparently) that I must reveal five typically unknown facts about myself, and then tag five other people. First part is easy. It's all about me! Second part is harder, because I don't got no friends! Let's give it a whirl.

Facts about Ryan you probably never wanted to know:
  1. To this day, I am bitter that the television show Misfits of Science was taken off the air. It was, of course, a clever take on the superhero genre. At least, I thought so. Apparently the viewing public disagreed.
  2. I didn't attend my own Prom. I didn't even want to attend my own Prom. Instead, I worked for double-time at Little Caesars. And despite the warnings from my friends that I would someday regret not going to my Prom, thus far I have yet to experience even the slightest tinge of regret.
  3. I've dated exactly two people in my life. My wife, sure. But there was also this horrible moment during a time my wife (well, before she was my wife) and I weren't talking and this girl asked me to take her to Meijer (doesn't sound like a date...but it was definitely intended to be a date). I originally said no, but my parents told me I needed to go out, so I called her back and said yes and had one of the worst evenings of my life. We spent 45 minutes at Meijer, most of the time yelling at the store manager for the service charge of one penny by utilizing their mailing servies. I was so embarrassed. I'm glad I got back together with my wife, believe me.
  4. In Junior High School, three years running, I won the "Standing Long Jump" competition at this annual class competition. Basically, there were various sport-related events such as wheel-barrelling each other across the gym, trying to knock down the most plastic bowling pins with a bean bag, etc. I was on the team specifically for my frog-like legs, and I usually outdid the other teams' best efforts by at least a foot. It was a proud moment, indeed.
  5. I once sprained my ankle. (Actually, twice.) But it wasn't for anything noble, like scoring the winning kick in a soccer game or anything. No, instead, my friends and I were taking terms jumping off the roof of their wood-shed, seeing who could jump the farthest. It was about twelve feet high, and we had this nice three by three cushion to land on. We would move it out a foot at a time until it was somewhere between ten and twenty feet out. We'd run, jump, and land on the cushion. But then, one last attempt, I missed the cushion, slightly off center, and landed one foot on, one foot off. I ended up with crutches for several days, and a weak ankle for years.
So, there you have it.

As to five people to tag? Uh...let me think on that and get back to you. I'll edit this post later...

Okay...updated. Here are the people I'm tagging...ready or not!
  1. Sandra Miller, A Shot in the Dark,
  2. Scott Johnson, Scott's Diabetes Journal,
  3. Kerri, Six Until Me,
  4. Martha O'Connor,
  5. Kristin Nelson, Pub Rants,
Now, Kristin probably is a long-shot. She's a busy literary agent...but I LOVE her blog, so I figure the worst that can happen is some of you might head over there and check her out! Many others I would have tagged appear to already have been tagged. That's fine...although, I think that means I'm one of the last in my social network to be tagged, which is kind of like being picked last by the captains of the baseball teams back in my school days. (Sniff, sniff.) It's okay. I'll get over it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Something New...Kind Of

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? See, several years ago, a small group of folks set up this idea of trying to finish a draft of a novel in a month. Tall task. The point wasn't to have something ready to be published, but to have something, period.

The movement has grown, and this year I know several fine writers participating in the event. Me? No way. Minimum word count is 50,000 words. There is no way I could write 50,000 words in a month...particularly a month like November when I'm busy with my singing group, and choirs, and Thanksgiving...not to mention all the other stuff that entails being a husband and father of four.

I do wish luck to those attempting the task. But I am participating in another sense. I've just about finished up my last round of edits to Mindburst, and so I'm jumping back into writing. I have two other projects in the works, but another that I decided I'm going to start. Something new. Kind of.

See, it all started several years ago while I was busy directing my choir and writing diabetes-related software. I had this epiphany of sorts for a novel. I have ideas all the time, and usually if I ignore the idea, it goes away. But this one didn't, and pretty soon, I had conceived the story line for three interconnected novels spanning about 200 years.

I did a bit of writing, but time prohibited me from doing much work on it until I dropped choir and finished working on my software. I started writing, and got about 15,000 words in when I came up with this great idea about kids with mental powers living trapped inside this asylum. So, I shifted gears and wrote Mindburst.

Along the way, I decided that I wanted to write for the young adult audience, which means my fabulous idea spanning 200 years was on hold, indefinitely. Flash forward a couple years to several months ago, and I figured out an entirely new story that utilizes some of the ideas from that original trilogy, but does it in a way that is aimed at young adults. A lot has changed, but I'm excited about it and so I've decided, after much indicision on the matter, to go ahead with it.

So, November, for me, is the start of Lockdown (working title). I won't get 50,000 words written. I'm not sure I'll get even close to my goal of 20,000 words. But it is always fun to jump into a whole new world and see what happens. (Actually, I know what happens...but that's beside the point.)

Anyhow, if you've always had some inkling of a novel rummaging inside your head, this is the month to sit down and just write!

(In the meantime, as my blog post from yesterday points out, you can read chapter one of my novel Mindburst on my website now. Go check it out!)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mindburst, Chapter One!

I have a special treat for you! Well, I'd like to believe that. Actually, I've posted on my website the first chapter for my novel, Mindburst! You can read it, and then wait with hopeful expectation that I'll secure an agent, sell it to a publisher, and then read the rest in about two years.

So, go check it out here!

Pumpkin Day

Friendly reminder: If you are on an insulin pump, don't forget to change the time to reflect the change in Daylight Savings!

Tomorrow's the big day. The day my kids are really looking forward to. Pumpkin Day.

Oh. That's not what you call it? I know, I know. But we aren't really doing the same thing as a good portion of the world. Pumpkin Day is, in our family, a celebration of God's Creation...of the world he provided, including pumpkins!

There are no costumes for us. No trick-or-treating. No ghost stories. We just aren't into that. Instead, we go out to dinner as a family. Well, that's just the start...but let me just say that if you ever want to have absolutely no wait, go out for dinner on Oct. 31. Last year, we went to Bob Evan's, and there were only two other tables with people. I don't understand it. I guess people are busy doing other things. Can't imagine what.

So, we have a nice, leisurely family dinner. Then we head home for the carving of the pumpkins.

There is a book we read called The Pumpkin Patch Parable. It compares how the carving of a pumpkin symbolizes the salvation offered through Jesus Christ. We read this book together, and then carve our pumpkins, always in a way that is happy. No mean or evil looking things. We are celebrating, here!

Finally, we have our treasure hunt. We have clues. The kids have to solve the clues and find the next clue until finally, at the end of the hunt, we have a bag of goodies.

It is a wonderful family time, and my wife and I look forward to it every do the kids!

And this year, we're planning on spreading the fun across two days. It really is too much to do in one day. Last year, we had to rush through the treasure hunt because it was so late. So, this year, we're having the treasure hunt on a second day. I guess we'll have to change the name to "Pumpkin Days".

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Definitive No

Controversy alert. This post deals with a subject that has raised heated arguments across the political field lately. However, my post isn't politically motivated, but personally motivated. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but figured I should bring it up. This is, after all, my blog.

I don't support the ADA. I also don't support the JDRF. Kind of odd, considering I've lived with diabetes for most of my life. These organizations do a lot of good, I don't deny that. Yet there is one very strong reason I can't, in good faith, lend my financial support their way. Quite simply, it comes down to embryonic stem cell research.

Both organizations support it. I even called to find out if they financed such research, and the answer was a definitive yes. Which means my support is a definitive no.

I suppose if you don't share my views on "life begins at conception", then you don't see the issue. But for me, life begins at conception. Which means that embryonic stem cell research in any form is destroying one life to potentially benefit another. If you want to understand how it feels to me, consider this: if the issue were dealing with killing a newborn baby rather than an embryo, would it seem reasonable to say, "This baby's life isn't as valuable as the millions who might benefit from it's death."

Perhaps to you it isn't the same thing. But to the millions of people in this country vehemently opposed to embryonic stem cell research, that's exactly what it is. It isn't a matter of pushing our religious views on society, or taking a political position (although, granted, I'm sure there are some out there where that is the case). For me, and those like me, it is about saving a life.

Thing is, to date, all this talk about embryonic stem cell research is just that: talk. There have been no therapeutic advances made. Yes, part of that is due to lack of funding. But part of that is because progress is being made in adult stem cell research.

For whatever reason, that seems to be lost in the debate. Because today, there are treatments that make use of adult stem cells, and I'm constantly reading about new advances in adult stell cells which are showing them to be far more flexible than once believed. They may be harder to work with, but progress is being made.

If funds start going to embryonic stem cell research, then funds will be taken away from the adult stem cell research. That would be a shame, because there are actually reasons why adult stem cells might be the better route. One major reason has to do with rejection. If there is a way to harvest a person's own stem cells and use them for treatment, then you have eliminated a major hurdle in any kind of treatment. The body rejects foreign substances. If I were to be treated with cells derived from someone else, then my body will very likely attack those cells. Which means I would then need to be placed on anti-rejection medicine for the rest of my life, which has a host of health implications itself.

But I digress. Because I don't mean to go into all the benefits of adult stem cells versus embryonic, or vice versa...because ultimately, for me, it doesn't matter. What matters is the life that is ultimately destroyed.

As a diabetic, someone who theoretically could be cured by embryonic stem cell research, I just don't want it. I'd rather live my life out with all the risks of complications. I'd no more ask for a cure from an embryo than I'd ask some baby to die so that I could live a healthier life.

I honestly don't have ill feelings towards people like Michael J. Fox, who wants to return to a normal life, and so sees the embryonic stem cell research as their only hope. It isn't their only hope, of course...but I understand their position. But there are many, like myself, who also suffer from diseases, who don't want that kind of research done.

So, for me, that means foregoing support for ADA and JDRF.

I half expect there to be responses to this trying to "educate me" on the subject. Go ahead. But I'll just state that I'm not at all uneducated. I've read both sides of the debate quite exhaustively in the past several years, following advances, etc. So, talk amongst yourselves, if you want. I just wanted to clear the air on this, and make it clear that for a great many people, the "stem cell issue" is not at all important thing to realize in this politically-charged time.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Being Disabled

I'm having some repetitive strain issues in my right hand, so my blog will be sparse for the next couple weeks as a result. I hope to be back in full form soon. In the meantime, I'm learning to type one-handed. I'm glad to know this is only temporary.

But it actually serves as a good intro to something a fellow writer asked from me involving disability. I suppose most of us take for granted that our children can choose from the million and one toys available from Toys R Us or Wal-Mart, etc. But parents with children who have disabilities have more limited options.

That is where AblePlay comes in, a non-profit creation that helps filter through the toys by providing ratings and reviews specifically geared towards special needs kids. Check them out.

And if you know anyone who has special needs children, please tell them about

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Wide, Wide Weird of Sports

Professional sports events brings out the "weird" in people. Particularly big-time events such as the Stanley Cup, or World Series, or Superbowl.

Detroit is no stranger to such events. Well, okay...I don't know that the Lions have ever come close to the Superbowl, but we have won the Stanley Cup and World Series a few times, and both Michigan and Michigan State have been to the Rose Bowl.

Despite this, it still surprises me.

Several years back, the Red Wings were on their way to win the Stanley Cup, and apparently people were throwing dead octopus on the ice and driving around with brooms tied to their cars. I think the broom had something to do with wanting a "sweep", but I'm not entirely sure. The octopus? Not a clue.

My wife and I walked out of Meijer late one evening, and there were cars honking like mad driving along the road. It was my wife who realized it probably meant the Red Wings just won the playoffs. (She turned out to be right.)

Now, Detroit is in the spotlight again. The Tigers are in the World Series. Personally, I couldn't care less. But apparently, the rest of Detroit does care. And last night was one of the sightings of "weird".

There I was, sitting on a bench at church with my four-year-old, and in the hallway comes this big, burly, and balled-headed army man. That isn't a typo. I don't mean bald-headed. I mean balled-headed. (Although, he happens to be bald as well.)

He had painted his entire head white, with red lines curving around his face like the stitching of a baseball. My first reaction was he was trying out an early Halloween look, where Uncle Fester from The Addams' Family, must have had surgury gone horribly awry. But no. As he approached, I realized it was more horrific than that. It was actually a person turning their head into a baseball!

My four-year-old laughed at him, but as the balled-headed man walked away, he said, "That man's gonna scare someone!"

I just don't get it. It is a game. And painting our heads, or wearing giant foam-rubber hands or evening throwing out octopus onto the ice isn't going to make the team play any better. It is almost like people honestly think that the more excited they are for the game, the louder they yell at the television screen, the more people they have at their sports-watching party, the better the team will do.

I've tried to break to folks. I've tried to tell them that when their favorite sports team wins a game, they had absolutely nothing to do with it. They do not have any magical powers over the athletic abilities of the athletes. Nope. The athletes did it all on their own.

Yet, when the team wins, I notice it isn't, "The Tigers won!" Instead, it is, "We won!"

We? We. Weird.

It'll be interesting to see what happens as the World Series progresses. Not because I care one iota about how the Tigers do. But I am interested in seeing just how weird the weirdness will get from the Tigers fans.

Friday, October 20, 2006

How Gray Is Our Gah?

I'm in this ensemble group at church. We've been preparing for a concert we'll be performing on November 15, which means I've spent most of my time in the car listening to the songs and perfecting (eh-hem...or a reason facsimile thereof) the nuances of the parts I'm responsible for.

One of these songs is a praise song that is fairly popular right now called, "How Great Is Our God." Some of you with more contemporary worship services just might have sung it on a recent Sunday.

Thing is, I'm really irritated with this song. Well, not the song itself, but the artist who sings this particular song on the album. See, in recent times, the "breathy" sound in voices is rather popular. Sometimes it can give a song an ethereal feel, or a passionate feel, or a raw feel, maybe even a heartfelt feel. (Heartfelt feel? Hmm. Kind of redundant sounding.)

Anyhow, the guy who sings this has that rather breathy sound to his voice. But all too often, being breathy also means that the singer doesn't actually pronounce the words.

I'm fine with breathy. Really, I am. I enjoy to sing breathily myself. But please, make sure you actually a-nun-ci-ate your words. Otherwhy ih migh soun lie thih! (Translation: Otherwise it might sound like this.)

Anyhow, this guy doesn't enunciate. At least, not well enough. And as a result, rather than a praise song to God, it is a praise song to Gah! And Gah isn't so great in his version, but he is rather gray.

Fortunately, I know how the song is supposed to go, so I'm not so confused by it all. But I can't tell you how many songs I've listened to where the artist doesn't pronounce their words clearly, and I end up listening to the song for months never quite sure what they are saying.

Of course, there are plenty of other songs with similar problems. Have you ever wondered, for example why people are "Bringing in the Sheets"? (After all, that makes more sense than "Bringing in the Sheaves" to this generation, doesn't it?)

Or have you wondered just who "Jose" is when you sing the Star-Spangled Banner? ("Jose, can you see?")

Anyhow, I'm still trying to figure out just how gray our Gah is. Let me know if you find out. Oh, and if you want to read more funny misheard lyrics, there is a website devoted to them. Check out for a lot of laughs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Father-Son Not Equal To Father-Sons

As any parent will tell you, parenting is hard work. And if you don't think so, then you just might not be parenting hard enough.

I say that last part with a bit of self-accusation, because in the last few weeks I have started to see that I was missing out on a fundamental part of parenting. That would be alone time.

No, no. Not me having alone time (although, now that I mention it, I certainly would love more alone time), but me having alone time with one of my sons (well, or daughter).

As we have told our kids, there are positives and negatives to having a relatively large family (and by "relatively", I mean we have four kids, which by today's standards seems large, but historically speaking is quite small). One of the positives, of course, is always having a sibling or sibling to do things with. A built-in friend, so to speak.

The downside is that we have a lot of laundry. And dishes. And just generally, not enough room. But even more than that is the time factor...the opportunities for Dad (that's me) to spend time with each of his kids individually.

For quite a while now, we've had "Boys' Nights", where my wife goes out with a friend I get to spend supposed "quality time" with my boys doing the kind of things boys like to do.

But, as it turns out, a father spending time with his sons is very different from a father spending time with his son. My oldest son had made this increasingly clear with some rather pointed statements (nicely disguised under his keen sense of humor), and requests to do something alone, like playing a game of chess.

So, I sat down with my wife, as we often do when something is nagging us about the state of our parenting, and discussed the issue. I love to talk to my wife about these things. She is absolutely the greatest mother on the face of the planet. She just has this sixth-sense about how our kids feel. Me? Well...I'm ashamed of the times I've dismissed their feelings just because I wanted them to get the playroom straightened up.

Anyhow, my wife helped me determine what was missing in my fatherhood, and then we worked out a game to have more father-son time on a regular basis. Fitting it into an already tight schedule is difficult, but I consider the effort worth it.

And so, this week began the one-on-one time. While I enjoyed the ability to connect with my boys on an individual basis, the true joy came in just seeing their faces, their excitement, just to be with Dad. And I'm looking forward to getting to know my own kids at a whole new level, carrying forward, hopefully, into adulthood. Because I don't want my boys to grow up one day and wish they had known their father better, or that I had listened to them more. Time to start, today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Questioning My "Real Man" Status

There are certain times in my life that I fear that maybe, just maybe, I'm not a Real Man.

Oh, I've fathered four children and all that goes along with that, and I am instantly turned into a zombie the moment a television turns on within ten feet, but there are a few nagging issues.

One has to do with who is going to the World Series this year. Or, more specifically, the fact that I don't really even care. The only reason I know that my home team of the Detroit Tigers made it is because at work and at church and even at my physical therapy, that's the subject of conversation.

"Did you watch the game?" is the frequently asked question from the last few weeks.

I try not to look like an idiot. I mean, it is one thing to not watch the game. It might even be okay to not necessarily want to watch the game. But to live in Michigan and not even know that the Tigers are playing...well, your manhood is thrown into question.

I'm a rare breed, I know. A few years back, the Associate Minister was teaching a Bible School lesson. He was quite a jokester with a wry sense of humor. Anyhow, for reasons that allude me, he said, "Wild horses couldn't drag it from me!"

My first reaction was, "Cool! An Anne of Green Gables fan." But then I realized he said it with a tone of contempt. And he quickly added, "Boy, do I absolutely hate that movie."

Apparently, his wife adores the movie...and his knowledge of Anne was the result of her punishing him by making him watch it. (He really is a sweet husband, though. He ended up suprising her with a vacation to the real "prettiest plot of land on the North Shore".)

See, I love Anne of Green Gables. I even watched it with my boys a few months back, figuring I should enrich their lives with good and virtuous movies. They claimed not to like it, mostly because there were no light sabers or explosions, but I'm here to tell you that they were fixated on it while it was on.

Anyhow, the point is, my love of Anne-girl is another mark against me and my right to being called a "Real Man". "Real Men" don't love Anne. They loathe her. Instead, they are supposed to skip out on ER visits to watch the big game. (Seriously. There was an article on about it last week.)

But I do take relief when my wife says something to me, and I can give an appropriate grunt in response while absorbed in the latest Geico commercial, only to have her ask me to repeat back what she said, and I can only say, "Hmm. I got nothing!"

I guess I am a Real Man. After all, I bet my wife hasn't noticed that the gecko from Geico has a different accent now than it did a few years back. And that's important information. At least to a Real Man.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ramblings of a Poindexter

I have a wonderful, loving wife whom I adore, and I was absolutely certain adored me. That is until two days ago. Because it was two days ago that her true feelings came out. She, very politely mind you, informed me that under no uncertain terms am I allowed to use the good toilet paper in our bathroom. No, I must use the bargain toilet paper, the same toilet paper that the kids use. The good toilet paper is hers and hers alone.

And so now I know where I rank. Somewhere below the stuff you wipe your bottom with. Rather unflattering, I should say...but it's okay, because she bought some Ben and Jerry's ice cream for me and me alone once that was "to die for", so I know she loves me. Just not as much as her toilet paper.

And yes, this little experience got me to thinking about the whole grand scheme of life. Or, at least, it got me thinking about a seemingly unconnected event in my life that nearly destroyed my self-esteem.

You see, I had to make a little stop-off home from Cedar Point one time. I was really sick, probably from something I ate, and went in to this gas station to use the bathroom. On the way out, I picked up something to drink and got in line behind this rough-and-tough truck driver. He glanced back at me, looking me up and down, and said something like, "Hey, Poindexter, you don't look so good."

Now, I know I am a geek. I take pride in my geekhood. But did I really look like a character from "Revenge of the Nerds"? Apparently so. Of course, I was delirious, and my judgment may have been a bit off, but I figured the guy was a jerk. That was until I got out to the car and glanced in the mirror. I did look like a nerd, because I still had on my sportstrap that held my glasses on while riding the roller coasters. Being as it was night time now, and nowhere near any coaster, I suppose I did look like a Poindexter.

That night I went home and cried.

Or else I just fell asleep. But I could have cried, if I hadn't been so exhausted...and sick...and well, pretty much so well-adjusted that I thought the scene was rather funny.

I generally don't worry what others think of me. Except when I do.

For example, when you are on your way back from the cafeteria carrying your 24-ounce container of yogurt parfait with fresh strawberries and blueberries and kiwi, and you go to open the door and you drop the container of yogurt parfait with strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi, splattering yogurt and fruit across the floor right in the very path every person coming from or going to the cafeteria takes.

Not that such a thing has ever happened to me. But if it did, I would be embarassed, and rushing trying to get it cleaned up with few people noticing.

I have to wonder why that is? Why should being called Poindexter mean nothing to me, but having an accident like dropping yogurt parfait (eh-hem, hypothetically speaking) all over the floor is terribly embarrassing?

I think, ultimately, it is somehow my mother's fault. I have no clue why. But I figure if I come to that conclusion now, on my own, it'll save me thousands of dollars in therapy later. Which is good, because I'm going to have use that money to buy my wife some more "good" toilet paper. Shh! Don't tell her, but I used some to blow my nose this morning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Symptom Game

Okay,'s it going in guessing your BGLs based on your symptoms? Learned anything? And yes, if you found it proved to be a worthless exercise, and you learned I'm nothing but a dweeb, that counts.

I have two topics to discuss today related to diabetes. The first is regarding yet another symptom to watch out for.

In general, going high for a short while is no biggie. But staying high can be dangerous. So, what symptoms can you look for? There are the usuals, such as extreme thirst, frequent urination, feeling a big sluggish. But how about feeling full?

I realized this past week that I've never mentioned this one. Well, at least I don't remember mentioning it. If I have, consider this a refresher. Because when your BGL goes high, your body attempts to halt the digestion process. It doesn't need any more food, since there is already a backlog in your bloodstream.

Generally, if you eat, within an hour or two, you tend to feel normal in, not full. But if you are high, an hour or two later, you may feel like you just finished Thankgiving dinner. For me, this is a sure sign that I'm high. It means my digestive system has shut down for the time being, and usually, I'm pretty safe to give myself a large bolus...first, to cover the already high BGL, and second, to cover the food that remains undigested in my stomach.

And the second topic is in response to a news item I read today where a diabetic man, 35 years old, was confronted by police. The man was hallucinating and experienced seizures. The police weren't aware of his diabetes, however, and they had to use a tazer to get him under control. Problem is, the tazer ultimately killed him.

It is sad, but not altogether unusual. (Well, the tazering and dying might be unusual, but I'm talking about the fact that the police misjudged the man's actions.) This is a danger diabetics face...that if they experience a particularly bad low, the symptoms that result could be mistaken by others for improper behave, such as being drunk or violent. And, in some cases, the response taken by others to protect themselves could be dangerous or downright deadly.

I don't blame the police. How are they supposed to know the difference unless diabetics wear bright read tattoos across their forehead with the Medic Alert symbol or something? They can't. Which means it becomes our responsibility as diabetics to do what we can to prevent these situations.

As much as we work to keep ourselves from being high...being low is worse. I've mentioned it before, but the reason my doctor ultimately put me on the pump was not because my A1c levels were horrible (since I was managing about a 7.1 while on 4-5 shots a day). It was because in order to achieve that level, I was experiencing frequent lows. Lows are dangerous, sometimes from external sources.

So if you could do anything to improve your life as a diabetic, the first and foremost place to start is keeping your BGLs up and not down.

Monday, October 09, 2006

X-Men Revisited

You may not believe this, but I like science fiction. I know, you're probably thinking, "What? That can't be! Not Ryan!" But it's true. And I'm particularly fond of the X-Men movies.

It if funny. I spent my childhood playing superhero games that are surprisingly similar to X-Men. And my novel has some definite similarities. Yet, I wasn't really introduced to X-Men until the first movie came out. I never read the comics, since I've never been much of a comic-book kind of guy.

Anyhow, I loved the first two movies. Bryan Singer did a fabulous job of not just giving us action, but giving us strong depth of character. But then he was called off X-Men 3, and a new guy came in to take his place.

I saw X-Men 3 at the theater, and I'll admit, I was terribly disappointed. It was lacking something. That Bryan Singer touch, I guess. I was so disappointed, in fact, that I didn't really care much about seeing it again.

But, sitting on my shelf were X-Men and X-Men 2, so I had no choice but to buy the third movie to complete the trilogy. And, since I bought it, I watched it. Let me tell you, I'm glad I did.

See, there is always a danger going into a movie with certain expectations, because what might otherwise turn out to be a good movie doesn't seem to due to expectations. Of course, that's not always the case. I had expectations for Star Wars 1, 2, and 3, and later watched them again and again, but still find myself utterly furious at George Lucas for pretty much ruining the series. (Okay, Revenge of the Sith was pretty good, even if he cheated and ignored some of the rules he had laid out in the original series. But I digress...)

Anyhow, in my subsequent viewing of X-Men 3, I decided that it actually is a pretty good movie. Oh, it isn't as good as the first two. But it is enjoyable, and there were definitely things I missed the first time through that added some depth the second time.

Oh, by the way, if you do end up watching the X-Men 3 DVD, please take the time to watch the movie all the way to the end. And by end, I mean including the credits. Yep, sit there until the screen goes completely black as the last bit of text crawls out of view. Why? Because there is an relatively important scene they show that changes something that happens in the movie. And that's as much as I'm going to tell you. (See, I was talking about the movie with a friend of mine, and he wasn't aware of this scene, so I had to tell him about it.)

What's the point of all this? Nothing earth-shattering. Actually, I have no idea whatsoever, except to say that I enjoyed my second viewing of X-Men 3. That's it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Secret (Pathetic) Garden

Last year, I had this little play tent set up in the backyard for the kids. It was there all summer long, and so by the time the weather had completely destroyed it (either that, or it was the kids who destroyed it!), the grass underneath was non-existent.

So, what do you do with a dead spot of grass? I suppose I could have just planted seed. But I had this fabulously educational idea. As my family was wandering through K-Mart, I found the rack with seeds for flowers and vegetables and pumpkins and thought to myself, "Self, we should plant a garden!"

My boys helped pick out what the plant. Carrots, corn, beans, peas, red peppers, and a couple packets of Zenias for the front yard.

Thing is, our little splotch of land was precisely three feet by four feet, which mean foregoing the recommended "18 inches between plants". I also had to mix into the clay that serves as our dirt with some fresh top soil. And one fine day, me and the kids spent several hours tending our own little secret garden.

My boys were very good caretakers of the garden. They watered it every day, and got all excited when a tiny plant would pop up through the soil, only to have their excitement dashed when I had to inform them that it was only a weed.

Eventually, though, the plants did start to poke up through the soil. Of course, it was about this time that their interest waned. Or at least, my interest waned. I kind of lost the passion, and ignored several of the larger weeds that were taking over.

At some point mid-summer, we had our first crop. Peas. Due to the small space, we grew exactly one meal worth of peas. We cooked them and ate them, but I couldn't help but notice that our little garden looked nothing like the gardens my mother grew when I was a kid with corn taller than me, and going out everyday to pick a fresh bowl of green beans.

The red peppers never did much of anything. The corn never grew more than four inches tall, and the beans were dried out and dying before we could harvest a single one. And even now, we have this lovely pumpkin vine stretching out across the lawn. Notice I said pumpkin vine. No pumpkin. Not even the hint of a pumpkin.

And what about my Zenias? Thing is about Zenias is I loved them as a kid. I thought they were pretty in their multi-colored blooms. And how cool was it that you could pluck them and have next year's seeds all ready? But, like the garden behind the house, the Zenias in front of the house never bloomed. Oh, I have these nice tall green little stalks, but no flower.

My garden is pathetic. My Zenias are pathetic. Okay, okay. I'll admit it. I'm pathetic. I'm one of those people who likes to find the shortcuts to something, rather than invest the time and energy it takes for a decent crop.

And so I think about this in terms of parenting. It is so easy to take the shortcuts in life with do what is easy, hoping it will all work out in the end. But it doesn't work out. Shortcuts mean you aren't investing the time and energy into the kids that it takes to raise them into highly successful and well-adjusted adults.

I have to constantly remind myself of that. Take care of the weeds that are infesting their attitude, spend time with them, watering and feeding them the love and attention they need. If you don't, you end up with what I've heard called "credit card parenting". If you don't do what you need to do to parent your child today, you'll have to deal with the bill later...with interest.

And so while my secret, pathetic garden might not bear any fruit, I will endeavor to ensure my kids do.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Life B.D.

I was "born into" diabetes more than twenty-four years ago at the age of nine. And at some point between then and now I have forgotten what life was like Before Diabetes (B.D.).

I have said before, and I'll say it now, that I think diabetes is worse on the parent than it is on the child who is diagnosed. Oh, sure, I had my ups and downs early on. I was a wimp when it came to shots, for example, and so I went one-and-a-half years before I finally gained the courage to do it on my own.

Well, okay. I didn't have courage. Rather, my parent were so fed up with my refusal to do it myself that they gave me an ultimatum. Prior to that ultimatum, I twice before started to give myself my shots. Once, in order to be "rewarded" with a new bike. Of course, shortly thereafter I miraculously froze up and couldn't do it. Another time, they uped the ante, and bought me a new computer if I jabbed myself. I did, and I got the computer, and once again froze up.

The last time, however, was a bit more compelling reason. I either started to give myself a shot, or else my backside would experience the belt. Some might consider that a form of abuse. But guess what? It worked, and never again did I have any trouble injecting myself. Amazing how that works.

Anyhow, the point is there is the early learning stuff, the lifestyle adjustments, and the bouts of jealousy when your friends are eating M & M cookies or having a second slice of chocolate cake, but all in all, you just deal with it.

Parents, though...they can never let it go. They can never stop worrying about their son or daughter. They can never stop wishing a better life for them, wishing away the finger sticks and constant jabs, and wishing they could live a "normal life" again. There is that passion there for diabetes research, and the hope that they will, within their own lifetime, see their child cured from this hideous disease.

But I can't help but stand back and advise parents to relax. There are far worse things your child could be going through, and guess what? In time, diabetes will become no big deal. A time will come when they, too, don't remember Life B.D. I certainly don't.

I do remember the false hopes that my own mother's passion for a cure gave...and the ultimate let downs that resulted. I followed the progress of research for years, seeing each small step forward an indication that a cure was "just around the corner". But over and over again, that hope resulted in far worse pain. And to this day, I see such hope as harmful to kids. But kids have to come to terms with their disease. They have to understand that they are likely stuck with it for the rest of their lives. Only when that happens can they get past the jealousy and self-pity they will experience at times.

It isn't beneficial to think there is a cure soon. Perhaps there is. Perhaps five years from now, I won't be able to blog about my life as a diabetic because I'll be living a normal life. Perhaps. But most likely not. Instead, I deal with my disease as just part of who I am. It is the hand I was dealt, and now I have to play the hand out the best I can.

I can't tell parents not to worry. I'm a parent, and since there are life-threatening food allergies and asthma, I can understand that worry. But please, for the sake of your child, don't pass that worry on to them. Don't ever, for once, think that by highlighting all the "bad things" that could happen to them or does happen to them now (shots, BG testing, etc.) that you are in any way helping your child. You're not. Guess what? For 24 years (well, actually more like 22, since when I was dignosed, BG meters weren't really around for most of us), I've lived with those finger pokes and jabs with the syringe, and I'm stronger for it.

My Life B.D. is gone. A distant memory. And I'm not sorry for it. You shouldn't be sorry for it either.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not a Sound From the Pavement

Before my wife and I were married, she told me this heroic story about her father, and how while he was serving in Vietnam, he narrowly escaped being blown up at some munitions compound.

Then, sometime later, as we were sitting with her parents talking about whatever we talked about back then, and my wife brought this story up. As it turns out, she had a few itsy-bitsy details messed up, and he didn't narrowly escape. He wasn't even on duty at the time, and no one was hurt.

It seems that our minds like to fill in details to a story to make it more exciting, or at least make us feel more important than we really are.

That would be me. Mr. Important. Or not, as it turned out.

See, here's the thing. I play the piano. I started lessons when I was five, and continued through most of high school. I got to be quite good. Well, at classical pieces, anyhow. So good, in fact, that I went to Festival one year and played a piece by Mozart...Sonata in C I believe it was...and was told by the judge that I had the best grasp of interpretting Mozart he had ever seen.

It was a proud moment. And yes, that part of my memory is quite true.

In the coming year or so, my piano teacher challenged me with new things, until one day she told me that I had learned everything she could teach me, and there was little point in taking lessons from her. I was ecstatic to think I had reached such a stage.

And then, I went to the subsequent Festival playing yet another piece by Mozart, originally picked out by my piano teacher. Fantasia in D minor, or something like that. I loved that song, but was disappointed when, while my performance was excellent, the same judge that I had the previous year told me that I really needed to work on my interpretation of Mozart, because I had taken far too many liberties with it.

And I had. I knew I had. Frankly, the stylistic decisions that Mozart had jotted down for the song weren't right, in my mind. So I spiced it up a bit. While I played every note as written, I had my fun with tempos and interpretation.

No biggie. All that is true, too.

And for years afterwards, even after I had moved, and lost my piano, I would tell people the story about how I had become so good that my piano teacher felt I didn't need her any longer.

Then, a few years ago, my piano teacher came to a program at my church. I forget what it was, but afterwards we had a nice time catching up.

And the truth was revealed. I was never as good as I thought I was. No, it seems my teacher's decision to break our ties had nothing to do with my advanced abilities, and everything to do with the fact that I wasn't listening to her. Sonata in C? Great interpretation because I actually listened to her. Fantasia? Well, I stopped listening. I decided it was time to be "creative" the point that her advice fell on deaf ears.

This was all news to me, and I was devastated. Well, okay, I found it vaguely humorous, though somewhat surprising. All this time I had convinced myself that had I not moved and lost my piano, I could have been the next Horowitz or something.

But no. I was just a schmuck who wouldn't follow directions.

Funny the kinds of things the memory creates...including an inflated ego.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It Was My Idea First

About four or five years ago I had an epiphany. A complete story idea sort of plummetted into my skull and couldn't escape. This happens frequently, actually...but in this case, it was an idea for a novel.

At the time, I was busy with other tasks, and so the story sort of simmered in my brain on low, taking form until the day came that I finally sat down to start writing. I wrote about 15,000 words of this story, a science fiction tale set 200 years in the future in a colony on Mars. I won't go into details for this story, as some of the ideas I've since pilferred for other stories and even a young-adult science fiction novel (not set on Mars) I may write some day.

But one itsy bitsy piece of this story was an idea I had. The future of computing. In my mind, there will be a day where individuals don't own their own computers. There is no need. Instead, there are "dumb terminals" everywhere, basically generic computers with all the processing power, but no actual data on them. Instead, each individual carries with them (perhaps as jewelry, or an implant, or something) that contains your personal computer files, operating system, and any other data. You simply walk up to a terminal, and wirelessly the terminal reads the data from your implant and you have your own custom computer system with you at all times.

So, today, I read an article...and it seems there is a company doing just that. Oh, it isn't so advanced as what I envisaged yet, but it is the first step. But let me make this clear: it was my idea first!

I know I have no rights to any monies associated with the product, but I feel I deserve at least a little fame for making this technology plausible in my uncompleted, abandoned novel.

If you're really interested in what the real-life software can do, go here. Read all about it. Pretty nifty idea, actually (if I do say so myself). I think it is a matter of time before such a technology will grow ubiquitous. Yes, you heard it here first, but I think this is the future of computing.

If you follow the progression of computing, it only makes sense. First, there was the mainframe. Then, someone had the bright idea of making "dumb terminals" that allowed multiple users to access the mainframe computer. Basically all computing power was on the mainframe.

Later, we started to see personal computers enter the market. Quite a shift. But we also started to see "distributed computing", where users could use their personal computers as "dumb terminals" to access a network of workstations. This eventually grew into the internet that we know today. But the PC still remains a mainstay. Still, with all the computer power scattered across the landscape, why not give access to each user's "personal computer" environment no matter where they go? The PDA was one attempt at this, but it wasn't quite right. As much as the PDA was a cool gadget (and still a useful one at that), it still can never fully replace the personal computer (be it a laptop or desktop).

At least not until this new technology is fully developed. It is a start. Kind of cool, though, to think that my idea might actually come to fruition. Too bad I didn't file any patents or anything. Oh well!