Monthly Archives: September 2010

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It’s a nice day, today

It might not seem like it, but you may just need to open your eyes.

An Open Letter to my First-born Son

September 25, 2010

Dear Son,

It is Saturday morning, and I have been sitting in the rocking chair with your little brother, while your mom sleeps. It is nice and quiet, but the fact that you are not next door in your room is weird. You are at your Grandma’s house. It is only a few minutes away, but right now, it feels like light years.

I wanted to write you this letter to let you to know that you are always on my mind. Why? It is because I love you more than anything in the world. When I look at you, I see hope, promise, and the opportunity for a bright future. I see the best parts of myself and your mom, rolled into an eight year-old body. I also see kindness, love, and intelligence. You have the potential to be very intelligent, and I promise to help you reach your potential however I can. You can be certain your mom will, as well.

I know that sometimes it is hard for you. You feel and think things that probably confuse you. Unfortunately, you just do not understand why it is there or from where it comes. You know that you should not do something, but you just can’t seem to help yourself. Everyone feels like that sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes, too. The important thing is that we learn from it, so we don’t make the same mistake again.

You can be sure that your mom and I will always be here to help and support you. Help can mean a lot of things. Right now, it means helping you to, not just do your homework and learn, but really understand what it is you are doing. Other times, it means helping you learn how to be a good person when you grow up. No one is born knowing everything. I tell you this because sometimes people think others will think badly about them if they don’t know something. This is not true. People like and respect people who are honest, trustworthy, nice and willing to learn. Being funny and making people laugh is nice, but if you prove to people that you can be counted upon when things get hard, you will earn their friendship.

From the time you are born, you begin to learn from the people around you. The important thing is that you learn from good people who set a good example. Your mom and I try to set that example. Sometimes, though, we make mistakes, too. Just like you need to learn from your mistakes, we must learn from ours. Seeing that we are not perfect should help you see that you don’t have to be, either. We are all humans. We all have successes. We all have failures. What begins to separate humans into two basic groups is how we handle both success and failure. There are learning opportunities in both. We just have to be smart and aware enough to find and take advantage of them.

Though I do not expect you to understand how or why now, sometimes what looks like success can be the beginning of a road that leads to failure. There is a poem by Robert Frost, called “The Road Not Taken,” that is always in the back of my mind, ready to remind me of its wisdom when I need it. The final lines read:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

One day, I trust that you will really understand the profoundness of both these few lines and the poem as a whole. Life is about choices. Regardless of what happens along the road we take, we choose to be happy or sad about it. No one or nothing can change how we feel, unless we let them. One day, this will make more sense to you, and when it does, you can be certain that your mom and me will still be right there with you.

Every morning that I wake you up, I tell you how happy I am to have another day with you. When I drop you off at school, I tell you, “Go forth and do great things.” When things go badly for you, I tell you, “Choose happy.” These are not just words that I repeat daily for fun or to annoy you. They are small examples of my overall way of teaching you to be a good… no, better yet… a great man.

For now, at the wonderous age of eight, know that we are here with you for the good times and the bad. We love you more than life itself and would give our last breaths to give you or your brother just one more. Why did I write this letter to you? I said a lot, but it is probably hard to understand what exactly what it means. Just tuck this away in a safe place. One day, you might pull it out, reread it, and see exactly what you needed to see at that exact moment in time. If you do, I hope you’ll also realize how much I really love you.

For today, we’ll just be happy to be here, as a family. We do not have to worry about what tomorrow holds. As for me, I am happy with the knowledge that I have you for a first-born son and that your little brother has such a great big brother to help him grow up. Thank you for being my son and the chance to be your father. I would not trade the opportunity for anything in the world.

With all my love,

Your Proud Dad

Motivational iPhone wallpaper or political propaganda?

Photo

(Thanks to Hans U.D. for passing it along.)

A Tale of Two Monkeys

Little Geek Shui and I got a monkey. It was small and cute. He also had a nice smile. The package said he would grow if you gave him water. It suggested that a few days would be enough time.

So we put him in the water, and within a few hours, he did start to grow. We let him soak for two days. At the end of the second day, we took him out. He was still smiling, but all was not well.

It seemed our little…well, now big…monkey had become squishy. He was large enough to hold but too gross to really want to. We had been misled in believing our monkey would grow big and strong…not big and with a sticky sponginess. All the hopes and dreams for our monkey’s future seemed to have leaked out of his very porous body.

Thus ends the tale of our monkey friend. We waited another two days to see if the sticky sponginess would fade into memory. Alas, it did not and had to leave. Where he or she (we never had a chance to find out) is now, we know not. Hopefully, it’s a happy place where stickiness and squishiness are socially acceptable.

So what is the moral of our story? Hopefully, it serves as a warning to others:

“It’s all fun and games until your monkey gets squishy.”

________

(Don’t complain if you’re left confused. The page does say Random Geek Shui, after all.)

Things Khan would disagree with…

The secret to happiness [Catch-22 Style]

Dear [Redacted],

I have finally discovered the secret to achieving life-long happiness. All you need to do is look inside your [Redacted]. There, you will find [Redacted]. Once you have [Redacted], you will be able to go to your [Redacted] and [Redacted] it. Sharing the [Redacted] with [Redacted] and [Redacted] is the key to [Redacted] it further. Upon doing [Redacted], your [Redacted] will be full of [Redacted], which, in turn, will carry you through the rest of your days as a happy person.

Sincerely,

[Redacted]

—————
Note: If you don’t get this at all, it means you need to read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. You might have read it in high school (or at least the Cliff Notes) or completely cheated and saw the 1970 movie. If you’re still lost, read this and buy the book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22

Goodbye, iPad

Today, I sold my iPad. Why? I hadn’t used it in more than a month. Usually, one doesn’t go around selling everything they don’t use, during the previous month. Honestly, though, I think they should. Yes, call me crazy, but if you don’t use it, get rid of it. How do you think the people on Hoarders got their start?

Back in 2007 when I first came up with the Geek Shui concept, the idea was that our real and virtual lives require balance. A shift either way can cause one side to apply pressure to the other. The resulting strain on our time can easily lead to strain in our relations with the actual real-life people. That of course is a bad thing.

In this case, it was thankfully not about strained relationships or an audition for Hoarders. Between a BlackBerry, iPhone, MBP, iPad and iMacs at work and home, I just had more gadgets than I could reasonably use. Sadly, the gadgets were causing a slight strain on each other. Which deserved more quality time and geeky love? I can’t answer that. I love them all for who they are.

The creator of the Geek Shui concept and the Geek Shui Living website should set a positive example, right? So, I sold the iPad, and lest you wonder, I wasn’t sad. It is just a thing…an ??ber-cool gadgety thing….but a thing all the same. So for now, it’s the BlackBerry and iPhone for me.

If you do come across my old iPad in a Starbucks one day though, give her a big smile and tell her the other gadgets and I said hello. As long as there’s no Richard Marx playing in the background, all eyes should remain dry.

09/11/01: What do you remember?

Yes, today marks the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Lest we forget, there was also the crash of infamous Flight #93 in a Pennsylvania field. I don’t need to recount the statistics regarding lives lost, injuries sustained, etc. I’m sure you know them all too well. Unfortunately, September 11, 2001 will never be just another day for Americans.

Image


What I will recount is where I was on that fateful day. Though I lived in Puerto Rico, I was on a business trip in Baltimore, MD. Yes, I was in between both Washington, D.C. and New York City. By no means was I in harm’s way, but I was far too close for my own comfort. In the facility I was in, other visitors and I were receiving a presentation when an employee rushed in and turned on the conference room’s television. I distinctly remember it was one of those older big-screen ones because it made the horrific events unfolding on the screen seem like they were close enough to reach out and touch.

As everyone in the room sat, transfixed on the live coverage of the burning tower, we were television witnesses to the second plane hitting the other tower. Then, to make things even worse, we witnessed the collapse of the towers. In retrospect, I suppose that, like my grandparents had Pearl Harbor and my parents had John F. Kennedy’s assasination, 9/11 has become my generation’s awful “Where were you?” moment in time.

I said where I was, but I also remember my wife was in the DMV back at home when it happened. She was two months pregnant with our first son. I remember I finally got through to her on jammed lines about an hour after the first plane hit the tower. That call was on a Motorola StarTac that I used to tell her everything would be fine. I remember I was wearing a blue pinstripe, Polo Oxford. Later that day, I remember sitting in the Embassy Suites Hotel during happy hour discussing the sheerly unbelievable nature of the day’s events. My final memory of that day is lying in bed watching the cable news coverage and wondering, “Will it happen again tomorrow?”

I remember many details from that day. While the events filled me with fear and horror as they happened, the memories don’t make me angry. This isn’t to say they make me happy either. Moreover, my memories of 9/11 make me grateful.

Yes, as odd as it may sound, my memories reaffirm that I wasn’t one of the husbands, fathers, friends, or firefighters lost on that day. I’m still here and able to enjoy my now eight-year old son, as well as his two-month old brother. I’m able to retell the story to my beautiful and loving wife on the ninth anniversary.  So many others lost that day never got the chance to do these things or anything else.

Our memories of 9/11/01 shouldn’t be filled with rage that is fueled with spite. Bad people did bad things and good people died. Remember those good people, as well as the loved ones they left behind. I’ll close this post with a note I shared this morning on Twitter and Facebook. I hope it helps those whose minds may still be clouded with anger to realize that intolerance solves nothing. It summarizes my memory of 9/11 in less than 140-characters, yet, in my opinion, speaks volumes:

I remember 9/11 not as an angry, intolerant man, but as a father, husband, veteran, and, above all, a caring human being.” – Me

I wish everyone could wake up to this

The rainforest to the west…

Perhaps you can tell me what I did to deserve this because I haven’t the faintest idea.

Ben & Jerry’s: One scoop of chocolate, One scoop of philosophy

Benjerry

One of the bohemian touches inside a local Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor. It struck me as another one of life’s little signs meant to remind one that happiness really is a choice.