Thursday, April 9, 2015


There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of.  There were loose threads... untidy parts of me that I would like to remove.  But when I pulled on one of those threads... it unraveled the tapestry of my life.
- Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek:  The Next Generation, "Tapestry", Season 6 Episode 15, Original Air Date:  15 February 1993

If it is OK for other software developers to rant publicly, I have decided that the world may be a better place if I share this...

It has been a very difficult time for my wife and I as we are struggling to come to terms with the sudden, and as yet and maybe never explained loss of a recently adopted rescue budgie that only in the couple of weeks before her loss, told us her name was Jade and wanted to be a heavily interactive member of what would have been a four member (or six if you count the humans) flock.

Even more devastating, after three pretty big scares, our beloved eighteen year old cockatiel was diagnosed Monday with cancer that is, with a high degree of probability, testicular cancer.  Cindy and I do not have children, for reasons that I may or may not discuss some other time.  All of our birds have been much loved and our children, however, there will never be another Sassy.  He chose us in a pet store by crawling up my arm, going to sleep on my shoulder, and refusing any attempt to return to his cage until it was clear to him he was going home with us. Based on knowledge we received from a vet we took him to at the time, pet stores were supposed to only have and sell fully weaned birds, which if memory serves, for cockatiels is around nine weeks.  The vet told us he was closer to six weeks old.  He was named Sassy before that initial trip to the vet after the cat from the movie "Homeward Bound", as his baby appearance made us believe that he was a she.  The name stuck, because it does fit his personality.

To avoid this particular post becoming uncontrollably, unreadably long, Sassy has been with us and a constant source of comfort and joy in good times and bad, over many miles, states, and many types of moves (too many) that he is beyond special.  As I have said on Facebook, he has been the center of our universe for eighteen years.

Our vet has told us that there are pretty much four options:
  1. Surgery.   My first budgie, Angel, around his (another he that we originally thought was a she) third birthday developed a tumor so rapidly, that we went the surgery route because he truly would have died the same day, surgery or not.  The tumor was found to be massive lymphoma.  I find myself marveling at, particularly within the best veterinarians out there, how far things have progressed since Angel's time, however, surgery is still considered very high risk and mortality for birds under 200 grams, which clearly includes cockatiels and budgies.  All of it is getting better, and quickly, but, unfortunately, it is just not there yet.
  2. Radiation treatment.  Considered experimental but promising, but, again, very high risk.  Another something that is just not there yet.  I can't let Sassy be a science experiment.
  3. Hormone treatment.  Without going into details that I am not even sure I fully understand, the treatment is unlikely to harm him, while showing promise in slowing the growth of the cancer.  This appears to give us the best chance to reinforce to him how much we love him for as many days as possible.  This is the path we have chosen. 
  4. Do nothing.  The vet said the prognosis based on her experience with budgies was to expect about three months even doing nothing.
Every vet we have asked about this says Sassy, in human terms, is about 70 years old.  The "official" oldest cockatiel on record, as stands out in my memory was 32.  "Internet anecdotally" there is a 36 year old living cockatiel.  Given that Sassy behaved vibrantly as a young adult cockatiel as recently as the first week of December, we privately thought it possible Sassy might some day become something more than an internet anecdote, as we would be the ones that know.  Intellectually, though, we both accept, even before this has all happened, that at minimum Sassy had more days behind him than he did ahead of him, much as we, ourselves, do.  We clearly did not expect something like this this soon though.  Short of discovering that treatment works even better than expected, that somehow it might be something other that what it appears to be and is more effectively treatable, or a divine intervention scale miracle, we are doing everything in our power to make the most of his far too few remaining days, both for us and for him.

What does this have to do with the introductory quote?

In what could best be described as irony, particularly regarding my reference, my life has taken a course to this point completely similar to the glimpse of the life of Lieutenant Jean-Luc Picard, rather than that of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  It is very hard to believe that this is not the case for most everyone.  I suppose that to inject inspirational points to entertainment, an effort is made to make the extraordinary seem more commonplace, to make you feel that it is possible for YOU to be whichever hero you choose.  There is nothing wrong with that.

But, again, without getting into too much detail, there are plenty of loose threads to my life where I may have ended up more outwardly successful right now.  Would I be a better person?

It wasn't long ago that one of my friends, who has just as much or more reason to be proud of his life and career as anyone, told me "I think you have a pretty cool life".  Even though we are going through a pretty rough patch right now, I can't disagree.

I really can't state it enough times, but I adore my wife, Cindy.  She is beautiful, intelligent, talented and has the most outstanding heart I could possibly imagine.  To me, it is truly a crime that she is not more outwardly successful than she is.  Simply put though, her influence makes me a much better person.

We have been transitioning vegan over the last several years.  This discussion alone is a topic for a very long blog post as well.  Cindy's transformation is considerably more complete than mine though.

It is generally considered taboo to discuss faith, but in this instance it is germane to the overall topic.  Not only because it is considered taboo, but because I feel that many of the problems of the world are a result of exploitation of religious intolerance, this is probably the only time I ever talk about it.

My faith has never been stronger in the creator and his son,  Religion, as it is practiced far too often, greatly overestimates man, and greatly underestimates God and all of the rest of his creation that is not man.  All of our birds, but, of course, especially Sassy, have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to me that they have all have a soul.  It is perhaps the primary reason why I am transitioning vegan.

It also means that much greater effort needs to be placed on, for lack of a better definition, balance, understanding and empathy on a universal scale.  My faith even tells me that even if I am wrong, I am forgiven through the son.

Ultimately, what that means is that I know Sassy will be flying as fast as he can to be the first one to greet me in the next life.

View life through a different lens...


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A great example of someone else viewing life through a different lens...

A significant source of frustration for me in the type of creative sharing that appears to be so important to our society currently is the time commitment.  Yesterday's entry, as it may or may not be obvious, was originally drafted and edited in early to mid December.  It was re-discovered a couple of days ago when drafting an entry that hopefully will be published before the end of next week.  The entry published yesterday was re-edited to update its currency, as the primary content remained valuable to share to establish the narrative for "View Life through a Different Lens".  This secondary editing consumed an additional three or more hours on top of the initial drafting and editing.  I can only hope that with practice the process gets quicker...

However, while I am purposely trying not to have perfection be imperative, it is not pleasant when tools that I thought I had configured properly don't appear to work the way they did in the past.  I don't want senseless, or worse, offensive comments that I am required to weed through.  My wife, Cindy, who has a Blogger blog and account and in the past been able to leave comments, posted to the comments of my Facebook link post that she was unable to directly post comments to yesterday's entry.  This is basic functionality that was working.  This is not a demand for blogging functionality perfection, just consistency... Sigh...

Annoyances aside, I will share, however, that I discovered a great example of someone else viewing life through a different lens.  Sorry if you can't leave comments here just now...

As Cindy documented several months ago, we have (re-?)discovered Legos® as a creative outlet.  (A third link...) To some degree, I have become intrigued by Lego® mini-figures.  Early on, we accumulated a number of mini-figures trying to get the mini-figure wearing the chicken suit from Series 9, but many sets come with "participants" or "operators", and these characters further expanded the collection.  I suppose it is the alternative perspective and vicarious participatory aspect that really intrigues me.

The Lego® Mini-Figure Gang

No, we haven't seen "The Lego Movie" yet, but plan to before it leaves the theaters.  Maybe this weekend...

On Monday, an article and slideshow on Today News by Samantha Okazaki documents a photo project by Andrew Whyte of Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom offering a "Legographer" perspective.  I can be succinct in my thoughts this time and will share only one word:  BRILLIANT!

Yes, I know.  That was VERY trite.  I loved the subject matter, had to say something, and sometimes being trite is really the most effective statement.

View life through a different lens...


LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

News from the creatively constipated

At varying times, I have posted about personal impediments to the rapid development not only of my blogging endeavors, but to the development of a significant number of creative ideas that I have in general.  Fortunately, Stephanie Peterson for The Daily Muse (found on Mashable via a Code Project Daily News link) posted something recently which again indicates I may not be alone. 
"Now, I realize the difference between those times when I was honoring my introversion and times when I was caving into fear, and how important it is to separate the two before the latter threatens to hold you back."
- Stephanie Peterson, "How Introverts Can Stand Out at Work", Mashable, December 1, 2013
There are elements to my personality that on a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test actually show a slight (very slight) tendency towards the extroversion end of the spectrum.  However, I am probably one of the most introverted-appearing extroverts you will ever meet.  Stephanie's article is applicable and helpful to me as I recognize that while I am energized by participation in extroverted situations, absorption and quiet contribution are certainly satisfactory for me.  Best described, particularly using a sports analogy, is that I love being part of the team and contributing to winning, but I am certainly content with not being the star.  As an ice hockey player, I am perfectly happy with assists that help us win, in baseball-type sports, base hits and solid field play are the main goal for me, not home runs. 

It is worth mentioning that Stephanie's article provides reference to another, older article with networking advice for introverts on The Daily Muse by Anna Runyon.  This article has some helpful ideas that do translate to my situation, as well.

So, having said all that, there are a couple of things that I will share that, hopefully, are signs that  things may be different in this new year.

One is, as I have posted before, that my wife, Cindy, is an amazing artist. Why do I say this again here and now? Well, as she announced in a post a several weeks ago, we were, and now, have moved to a location.

What has greatly impressed me once again, though, is that in the midst of implementing the move, she created an incredible mural segment in just a few hours, as part of a project for the Phoenix Festival of the Arts. I am once again floored (and maybe newly inspired?) by my wife's talent, but I regularly am. The event itself was something that, had I not felt as uncomfortably creatively inhibited that I have, I would have liked to participate in with her.  Maybe I will if and when this opportunity comes around again later this year.

The other item to share is that I am altering my closing branding and tagging, both to step away from Apple branding ("Think different"), but also to more accurately reflect the direction of my creative focus.  Or, at least, I hope so.

It certainly appears that our new home is beginning to do a number of positive things to ease the creative constipation that I have felt for some time.

This is still just a work in progress, though, but isn't life?  So...

View life through a different lens...


Saturday, January 26, 2013


The weather here in the valley of the sun is normally very nice this time of year. Because of this, it is normally very difficult to think about doing "indoor" tasks. However, this photo was taken this morning:

We have really needed the rain. Last year, I am fairly sure we got less than half our normal amount, and the year before was pretty much the same.

As of 3:15p this afternoon, WeatherBug reports that the Phoenix airport has received 1.12 inches of rain and the Scottsdale airport which is a little closer to home has received 1.25 inches. That would be about double the normal amount of rainfall for this point in the year. Hopefully that makes the concept of taking ourselves and the birds for a wildflower tour in the high country in February or March as we did in 2010 more compelling.

That has also created the situation where indoor tasks have come to the forefront, like posting this image here.

Think different.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I will never buy a player shirt from Manchester City again...

This would have been more timely about a month ago. It is only timely now because Manchester City is beginning its second UEFA Champions League campaign later today facing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu after being assigned to another "group of death".

My wife and I have a running joke that any time we decide we like a product, the company producing it either ruins it by degradative changes, or discontinuing the product altogether. As this photo indicates, I seem to have the same effect on soccer players.
I admit that my Martin Petrov shirt was a late season discounted quixotic vote of support for a player whom, by injuries and management changes, I knew was probably on his way out. He was released by the club less than two weeks after I received my shirt, and moved to Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer about three weeks after that.

I liked the style of last year's away shirt, and was interested in purchasing one throughout the entire season.  Again, selecting a quick winger, Adam Johnson was chosen both because his play had made him my favorite player and the prevailing actions and language coming from both club and player suggested a longer term relationship may have been pending.  Lo and behold, Johnson's move to Sunderland ended up being not that big of a surprise either.

I continue to wish both Petrov and Johnson well.  Except when playing City.
In Umbro's last year as City's shirt supplier, (City announced in May that Nike will be the new shirt partner) they came up with a very nice home shirt, while the Premier League away shirt can be best described as "BORING".  I will say that even the old jerseys still get worn, as they are very comfortable to wear in the desert.
Sports being the uncertain thing that it is, while I certainly hope and believe that more Premier League Champion's badges will appear on shirts in the future, one must strike when the opportunity arises. 
Player jersey?  Not this time.  Carlos Tevez has a history of hot and cold with the club and its management.  David Silva did not get an extension until yesterday.  Javi Garcia was not signed until late in the transfer window, well after the pre-sale free scarf promotion.  Besides, who wants to see any of the current players leave the club?

OK, all in good fun, but still...

Think different.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Whining about writing...

Already, on a couple of occasions, I have, for lack of a better word, whined about some of the difficulties to the type of endeavor I am aspiring to.

I have stated that my own perfectionistic tendencies hamper me, particularly with regard to spelling and grammar.  The odd part about this is that some of the mass market technical books that I rely on contain numbers and types of errors that I would regard as embarrassing had I written them, yet these books continue to be trusted sources of information. I have, also, already stated that I am harder on myself than I am on other people, so this fact should not be terribly unexpected for me.

I suppose, to some degree, I am sensitive to this, because I am trying to enhance credibility and brand by utilizing a skill that I believe is, at the very least, an asset for me.

All of this notwithstanding, late last week a colleague of mine wrote something in a blog post that I found interesting.
"I had, at one time, believed that novels just flowed from mind, through fingers to page in perfect order and fully formed from chapter one to the end. Boy was I naive."
- Vincent A. Alascia, "So You Think You Have Guts, Do Ya?", posted 13 September 2012
It is not that I truly thought I was alone in my perceptions. I never really quite had this expressed thought either. I do not know Mr. Alascia well enough to really know what his issues are. I know mine revolve around the fact that my brain works faster than I can type which creates considerable difficulty getting the initial thoughts on paper. THEN, the editing is really annoying.

I have always known that editing is necessary. I have always hoped my initial drafts could be closer to the finished work than they tend to be.

Even though my ambitions are not to be a novelist, I mention this more because it is comforting that someone who has done a lot of writing appears to have similar struggles.

Maybe I can make this worth while after all...

Think different.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Another WOW moment this morning...

As my profile states, I am a professional enterprise software developer.  This post should appear on my planned software and technology blog, but that isn't ready yet.  As a previous post indicates, things get brought to my attention because I read the Code Project Insider Daily Developer News newsletter.

Unlike that previous post, I feel the need to share this even prior to having a detailed analysis why it is significant and important to me.

Ultimately, this is simply evidence that we live in times with unbelievable potential, but there IS more to it than that.  This will be discussed on my S&T blog later...

Think different.