Latest Stories

Posted in Hard Things

Crash II: The Invitation

It was a Friday in March and the Spring was just trying to scrub the cold bleakness of Winter from the world.  Cooler days would come back in a last-ditch attempt to keep Winter’s grip.  But it would be without vigor as the inevitability of warmer weather made any real effort futile.  Spring was going to win in the end anyway.  It always did.  The skies were clear and bright with the sunlight that had become decidedly more yellow and warm, promising the awakening that I liked so much about Spring when it wasn’t raining or gray as Springtime in Colorado often is.  I was sitting at my desk, the only one in the lab this early and it seemed that it would be a quiet Friday.   “Light day today,” I thought, picking up a piece of video evidence which had come in the day before.  “A good start to…

Posted in Humanity

The Cat and the Camera

The bag in my inbox was different than what I was used to seeing.  It wasn’t flat and it wasn’t a small manila envelope with tape around it.  This was a real piece of evidence with red tape and marker over the tape to indicate tampering should it be opened.  There as a barcode label as well, official, clean, intimidating. As the new guy in the lab, there was still much that I needed to learn.  I knew the basics but I could sense on a daily basis that there were things I needed to know but didn’t yet.  It was unsettling but exciting at the same time.  A life-long learner, I never got tired of finding out something new.  Especially when I was interested in the subject from which that information flowed.  But, I felt tentative whenever handling something I wasn’t quite sure I should be handling, but no…

Posted in Hard Things

Crash I: Cracks in the Armor

This is part-one of a multi-part series on a particular experience I had. It may or may not prove to be interesting. But the writing of it was and was necessary. I was not expecting to break down when Diane and I came to Home Depot, but I did.  We were there to pick up wall hooks or shelving or some such minor item to fulfill an equally minor need.  When it happened it felt strange, sudden, and utterly foreign in the moment.  I had cried before; I wasn’t immune to feeling emotion.  But there was the oddity of being in that place, so public, hard, and yet feeling such a surge of raw emotion was seismic in its duality.      There were the usual suspects in the store that day.  The gardeners, the ambitious, the handy, the more serious general contractors.  The isle bisecting the shelving with the product…

Posted in Holidays Love

A Love Story

It was the early nineties and the first time I saw Cortni, I was blown away. She had eyes like a cat with a regal aire that command the attention of the young men in the office. Carla, a co-worker, and I were across the room one day watching this phenomenon. She leaned over to me and whispered, “look at those wolves.” I turned to her and said “I’ll get her.” And I did.

Posted in Family

The Myth of Quality Time

About a year ago, I wrote an essay called Living the Hyperopic Life.   It was a dissertation on the ideas of balance, living for now, living on purpose and making sure, when you looked back at the end, you are certain in your heart that it was a life well-lived.  One part dealt with taking time and making it worth something.   Blocks of time, snippets of time, anything you could carve out between the important things and responsibilities you had.   These little bits of time, strung together, would weave the tapestry of your life.  The more meaningful the time spent, the tighter the weave. If you could paint a picture of this tapestry, it would not be pretty.  It isn’t one of those neatly woven, ornate fabrics you see in stores.  The resemblance is more like a rag but with different kinds of thread and materials all woven together in…

Posted in Holidays

Santa Physics

A note about this essay: It’s not mine. And it’s been around for quite some time. If I recall correctly, I’ve known about this from the early 90s when email kinda first became main stream. But I haven’t seen it around lately, always liked it for its mix of serious physical principles and dry humor and so I thought I’d dredge it up and post it for anyone who might not have read it before (although that might not be possible with all the chain mail that has gone around over the last 15 odd years.) We’ll see. If you’ve read it…enjoy it again, if not, have fun. No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen….

Posted in Holidays

Santa Physics – A Rebuttal

Originally posited by Jim Mantle, Waterloo Maple Software Come on, ya gotta believe! I mean, if you can handle flying furry animals, then it’s only a small step to the rest. For example: As admitted, it is possible that a flying reindeer can be found. I would agree that it would be quite an unusual find, but they might exist. You’ve relied on cascading assumptions. For example, you have assumed a uniform distribution of children across homes. Toronto/Yorkville, or Toronto/Cabbagetown, or other yuppie neighbourhoods, have probably less than the average (and don’t forget the DINK and SINK homes (Double Income No Kids, Single Income No Kids)), while the families with 748 starving children that they keep showing on Vision TV while trying to pick my pocket would skew that 15% of homes down a few percent. You’ve also assumed that each home that has kids would have at least one…

Posted in Big Numbers

The Lottery

There is the old saw that says the lottery is a tax on people who don’t understand math.  And, to be honest, that is the absolute truth, albeit a bit harsh.   Sure, people win.  But considering that most of the time it’s a single person and there are millions who play, those are pretty long odds.  Besides, it’s not about how many people play.   You knew that right?  I’ll get to that in a minute. But there has been a recent uptick in the revenues that lotteries across the country are seeing.   It’s really no surprise with the economy in the tank like it is.   People just want a little of that magic to take away the sting of the headlines or that mortgage bill or the feeling that their retirement savings are just not going to cut it in the end. But what about that math? Wait, time out! …

Posted in Humanity

A Hard Lesson Learned

There is that saying that if it doesn’t kill you it only makes you stronger.   That’s what people say, anyway, right?  And if you learned from a bad experience, at least you got something out of it…yeah, that’s cool, but when you’re in the midst of that hard lesson and you DO nearly get killed, I’m not sure that’s in the forefront of your mind. So, as experiences go, getting punched in the face is one of the more unpleasant ones and one of those times where you’re not thinking, “ah, can’t wait to find out what I learn from this.” A punch in any general proximity to your head is fairly crappy and multiple hits takes it beyond horrible.   Your head’s hard and for a reason.  The brain is an important organ and needs a lot of protection.   Thus the up-armored nature of the skull bone.  I guess, too,…

Posted in Humanity

On Being Poisoned for Profit

This is a bit of a rant, so if you’re one of those who takes things personally, or gets all hot and bothered by things people write, well, maybe just pass on this one. I do a mental exercise every so often.  If  a commercial comes on while I’m watching TV, I try to put myself at a remove from it.   The goal here is to be more an observer than the passive participant that is often how we experience TV.  Doing this allows for evaluating the commercial more objectively and I can tease out the subtle message the marketers are trying to send.  Sometimes I do it for fun, sometimes to tell my kids so they understand that it is not reality, just marketing to separate people from their money. One group who has mastered the ability to manipulate us by preying on the phobias, inadequacies and especially desires…