On Writing

4:43 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (1)

st-dupont-fountain-pen-usb-key So it turns out my son has problems writing. He’s in the second grade and he’s very smart but he is more technically-minded (like his old man) and these abstract, liberal-arts type of classes confuse him. What is the correct answer to “Write about flowers”? There is none and that’s the problem. He wants there to be a correct answer and since his mind is filled with possibilities he never decides on a single answer and ends up not doing his work.

I should have been helping him with this sooner but it turns out I’m too wrapped up in my daily to-do list to notice that my son’s in trouble. This isn’t a lament, it’s just my nature. I like to fix problems, not feel. In my mind he was doing well at school except for the one little problem of writing; no big deal. He’s smart, he can figure it out.

What set me over the top is the news that not only was my son in danger of not going to the gifted classes but that he might have to repeat the 2nd grade because of his lack of completed writing assignments.

ObamaHellNo I’ve never repeated a grade in my life. I was always a smart kid and my kid is just as smart, if not smarter. That time that I got kicked out of college (and that other time) wasn’t because I was dumb, I was just learning the piano that year… and playing a lot of Street Fighter. A lot of Street Fighter. See the new one yet?

paparazzi With the tenacity of a broke-ass photographer air-dropped into the middle of a celebrity-ridden Beverly Hills neighborhood, I set upon my son with a long conversation. I hit him upside his head with the Socratic method; explaining to him that there was a reason he didn’t like writing and that we were going to figure it out. I framed it like a machine to which we were missing the manual; you just have to try things until you figure out what works.

I kept asking questions and he kept answering them. We figured out he didn’t like writing mostly because it was something in which he had little interest and he also didn’t know how to do it. I decided that he should write a paper that night. The topic ended up being baseball. I kept on again with the questions. “Why baseball?” “What do you like about it?” I tried to get him to write down his opinions instead of instructions on how to do something (again, abstract vs. technical). He started to get the hang of it slowly, needed direction at times and finally had a full page of content to show me. I was very proud.

The take-away here is that

  1. I need to keep up with his weak areas at school because I understand what challenges he has
  2. Writing, and the fine arts in general, can be deconstructed so that a technical person can approach them.
  3. I discovered a little more about why I wanted to blog in the first place, besides “getting the hang of it”. I want to be able to stay connected to the part of me that wants to write things down. Way too often my job involves writing technical documents that have very little in the way of opinion; and anybody that knows me knows that I am not without opinion….shut_up

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6:03 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)


So my kid goes to Jiu Jitsu classes because I believe that it’s the best martial art out there. Then he goes and looses his training pants. This severely inhibits his ability to look intimidating to any would-be sparring partners.

I just went to check him out in his class and his mother dressed him up in these bright yellow jogging pants until the new ones from KarateDepot.com come in. Not only are the pants lame but yellow is a cowardly color. Now you may think that I’m old-fashioned for thinking such thoughts, but I’m still not even comfortable with the thought of pink dress shirts for men! And I read GQ!

Progress is made one step at a time…

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Windows Live Writer Rocks

5:59 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)

overview For three days now I’ve been searching for a way to post blog pictures to Blogger with Word 2007 with no success. The problem is the Upload Url and Source Url parameters required by Word 2007. The I tried several values for the Upload Url field; both the url from blogger and from PicasaWeb but still no success. The Source Url was even more difficult to figure out.

In the end I found out that Windows offers the Live Writer tool which is basically a tool for posting to blogs. It worked seamlessly, as you can tell by this post. I won’t be using Word to post to my blog anymore.

Also, I’m beginning to wonder why I’m using Blogger instead of Live Spaces since I’m a Microsoft guy and all… I’ll probably host my tech oriented blog there and compare the two. I do know off the bat that Spaces offers trackback and Blogger does not.

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Fed cuts rate again

3:05 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)


I recently sold my house in VB and I've got three days until the closing date. Then I'll be free to look for a new house but I'm inclined to wait on the new legislation that the Treasury is crafting. If the Obama camp gets with it then I might qualify for a 30-year fixed rate as low as 4.5. That's more money left at the end of the month! Always a good thing.

So this probably won't affect me in the short term, but it's good to keep your eyes on it. I know current homeowners won't care since you don't get to refinance an existing mortgage but there are a lot of guys like myself who are on the sidelines waiting for the right opportunity to jump back into the market.

Mobile blogging

1:07 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)

So i signed up for Blogger mobile and am now posting from my windows mobile phone. If you're reading this then it worked. That's me at my office, btw.

Craig Ewert

1:48 AM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)

I feel like I've been skating for a while now in my professional career and I want to up my game, so to speak. In my field (IT) that means getting more involved with the techno-communities out there and claiming your space on the blogosphere to get some street cred. This blog will be my personal blog and I'll create another, tech-oriented blog.

It took the video of Craig Ewert committing assisted suicide that got me back on this blog thang again. As noted above I wanted to start a tech blog but the video of Mr. Ewert filled me with thoughts about life, death, freedom and family so I wanted to write them down. Digitally, of course. You know I'm not down with pen and paper.

I support his choice. I've had a will for several years now that says that if I become comatose without reasonable hope of recovery that the plug is to be pulled. I don't believe in submitting my family to a prolonged period of suffering that should be mine alone.

I don't mean to diminish the matter; this is a wrenching choice to have to make, but freedom is defined by what Mr. Ewert exercised: choice. Far too many people die in ways they do not choose and would not, given an opportunity.

Mr. Ewert's journey ends with dignity, in the company of the woman he loves. Hats off.


First post

2:08 PM / Posted by Supermario / comments (0)

Just trying out blogger. Nothing too exciting here. Currently trying to sort out stsadm.exe extensions in Sharepoint.