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On a trip to visit family, my grandma made a stop at the graveyard where her husband and parents are buried. It's important to remember the ones you loved, but for myself I don't want to be remembered exactly like that. A small patch of grass in a location that I never spent time doesn't really appeal to me.
They have companies that will shoot some of your remains into space, so one day you might (again) be a shooting star. Or other companies that build some ash into a "memorial reef". One of my favourite is one of the simplest: putting some money towards a bench by a scenic lake, river, or lookout where people can stop and reflect.
Perhaps a more accurate way for me to be remembered would be to eat some tasty bread, drinking a coffee (or Earl Gray, hot), while writing something riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.
One of the things that I want now is a intelligent agent. I want something that stops me from getting calls when I'm at a movie. Something that knows (from sensors) that the furnace needs to be cleaned and reminds me when it's noticed I've refreshed slashdot for the 3rd time in an hour get up and go do it. Something that knows from the calendar that I'm planning a trip and suggests appropriate things to pack (e.g. a suit vs a sleeping bag). It would also recognize that I usually want my metal 1978 Star Wars lunch box for overnight trips that involve me wearing a suit, and suggests it when I forget to add it to the list.
The location services are there. The learning algorithms exist. The sensors are there. Networked devices exist. The basic idea of this is already a running service with if this than that. There just needs to be more glue, more polish, and the biggest hurdle of all: to get over peoples laziness and cheapness. I think that the funny thing is that an intelligent agent would probably save people a lot of money and time as time went on. It's just that the first steps on a journey are usually the most difficult to tell yourself to take.
One of the things that we've been doing a lot lately is reading. Not just "how to be a good parent and not screw up your kid" books either. We've been reading so much that it I don't think that we've watched cable in a month (we're long overdue to cancel it). I've enjoyed each of us reading a book, then discussing it. It's interesting because any two people can read the same thing and come away with a different interpretation. For instance, I had a mental image of Rue being blond and blue eyed like Prim, despite the description to the contrary.
With our eReaders (which from now on I will just refer to as "readers") we can both be reading the same book at the exact same time. And when I say "same time", it's "Hey, you're a paragraph ahead of me, don't spoil it! Let me catch up first." It's like a realtime book club discussion.
The other day Laura and I were looking for some old posts on this blog. Of course they were written by me, just not me as I am now. Me as I was then. A different me. A me with different worries, feelings, goals, different experiences. It's very weird re-reading stuff that you've written close to 10 years ago because it's a mixture of "I remember that" and "who was that guy who wrote that?".
Then it occurred to me: this blog is a time machine. Not one that I can sit in and has lovely brass and steam and go visit the Eloi, but one that I can visit a past me.
This is great because memories fade over time. Things that you think are important you learn aren't. Others that you didn't think were, are. Like this morning: I'm listening to Alice laugh and talk to herself after she woke up. It's really wonderful to listen to, but not something that you want to disturb because she'll learn that she's wet, and then when you've fixed that that she's very hungry. It's best to wait until all her needs are ready to be addressed before waking the tiny sleeping giant as it were.
So, not quite the time machine that I had always hoped at using, but one that I never expected at having.
When growing up I never really understood why my dad liked having a bird feeder. The earliest memory of a bird feeder that we had was made out of some juice cans and a garbage can lid. Looking back it must have looked horrible, but it worked. Now we have a bird feeder and I love it. I can sit in front of the window and just watch the birds for an hour and not be bored.
I must be old.
Yesterday we saw robins, a sparrow with a red cap (apparently a chipping sparrow), chickdees, a different type of sparrow (at least one), a "yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker, and cardinals. I have to say that cardinals are my favourite. There is a pair hanging around and the male goes to the feeder and picks out the tastiest (I assume) seed. Then he flies over to the female and feeds it to her. Now that's romance.
When my grandfather was dying and his body was shutting down, he started to see things. My mom told me that one of the last things that he said was that he could see a beautiful cardinal on a beach. I find that a really beautiful image and a comforting thought. Every time I see hear or see a cardinal, I mentally stop and remember my grandfather.
I find it funny when people don't think that they have accents. Everyone has an accent, just most of the time you don't notice because everyone around you has the same one. However I'm surprised when people from the same area say things differently. Like, for instance Barrhaven. Most people I've heard say it like "Bar haven" (notice the capital B). However my wife and family pronounce it slightly differently. To me, all I hear is a flamenco singer saying "barrr HEY van". It's important to visualize flourish of the hands as well and ideally a stomp of the foot. People will only hear themselves do these things if other people point it out, which can lead to awkward yet hilarious dinner conversations.
I must say a ton of things funny, but I don't really have a good idea what they would be. After traveling I can now hear myself say "eh?" all the time - but I don't plan on stopping. That wouldn't be good, eh?
We recently traveled to Australia for 4 weeks when our baby daughter was 2 months old. I'm writing a series of posts in the hope that this will help others. The other parts can be found here: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
When planning a trip yourself, it's always hard and time consuming to come up with an itinerary, especially when there are a lot of unknowns. Like "how slow a pace do we need when traveling with a baby" and "where will I be able to get baby supplies" and "if I get tried, will I be able to get the baby to do some of the driving". Unknowns are scary. I found unknowns with a baby terrifying.
Here's where we went:
1) Flew to Sydney, stayed 8 nights to explore and get into the proper time zone
2) Flew to Cairns and stayed 5 nights. It was pretty hot and humid, but it gave us a chance to see the GBR
3) Flew to Melbourne and stayed 5 nights
4) Rented a car and went to Phillip Island for 2 nights
5) Drove past Melbourne and to the Great Ocean Road, staying in Torquay, Apollo Bay, Warrnambool, and then Apollo Bay again and finally back to Melbourne for an overnight. Staying at each place 1 night a time and driving the next day was a bit hectic. Looking back at it I think that it would have been better to stay 2 nights at each place.
6) Flew from Melbourne to Sydney, rented a car and drove to Katoomba in the blue mountains for 3 nights
7) Drove back to Sydney for an overnight right by the airport
Overall we were lucky with the weather for the most part and most of all that our daughter traveled fairly well.