Archive for December, 2011

Devil’s Advocate

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

As someone in a fairly technical field, a big part of my job is to figure out why something broke. Sometimes, that’s the entirety of it. And when that’s your job, it helps to think of every possible explanation as fast as possible, even if they’re implausible. One time, I spent several hours trying to fix a broken header file include only to discover that it was because of a missing semicolon in a different file. The only reason I found it was because I started thinking of increasingly unlikely things that might cause the problem.

Unfortunately, this tendency carries over into my real life as well. Whenever someone brings up something, I tend to play Devil’s advocate and come up with all sorts of other explanations. I’m not even conscious of it but I know I’ve always done it.

The problem is that people are not computers. And when they talk about problems, it’s not always because they need to get fixed. Sometimes it’s more important to just hear what the other person has to say.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

The very best thing about Christmas when you have a kid is that you get to experience it all again, through the eyes of the child.

I don’t think Dyson quite realizes what’s going on, but he does seem to like the tree. I hope he likes his gifts. I got him a little bear puppet and Tracy got him a giant tool bench set.

That’s a little bit of a spoiler, but I don’t think he can read yet.

The Great Santa Debate

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Spoiler alert. You may want to skip this blog post if you’re, like, 12.

So, Santa Claus doesn’t exist. (“Wait, whuah?” Dude, I told you “Spoiler alert.”) I’ve always known this because I grew up in an apartment in LA and we didn’t have a chimney. Come to think of it, I don’t think any of the other neighborhood kids believed in Santa either.

But now I’ve got a kid of my own and I’m trying to decide whether or not to do the whole Santa thing with him. On the one hand, it’s generally good policy not to lie to your kids. On the other hand, I don’t want him growing up like me.

See, my dad was a pretty literal guy and my mom is from Japan, where they don’t really have things like sarcasm. So I grew up kinda not getting certain social cues. For example, I was super gullible. Also, I had a hard time understanding humor, although I was obsessed with it. I’d spend hours pouring over the Sunday comics trying to figure out what was funny. (Mary Worth was particularly challenging.)

So I’m wondering if maybe lying to Dyson about Santa Claus and then having him figure it out on his own is just part of the growing up process. But if I’m going down that path, I think I’ll just go all the way and tell him that we’re descended from Elves.

Flute Practice

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The trials and tribulations of trying to practice playing the flute when you have a baby.

Big in Japan

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Check it out, we were on national TV in Japan! If you missed my earlier blog post, NHK came to our house to film a bit for a segment on Japanese baths in America and this is the segment that aired. They used a still image of us at the beginning and a short clip of us around 3:42.


Monday, December 5th, 2011

Last night, my wife and I were out on the town and waiting for a couple friends for dinner. A man named James approached us and started to tell us his story. It was a long one involving several years in the armed forces and several years in jail. He also said he spoke three languages and was spoke about his modest plan to get an ID so that he could get money recycling cans. And at the end he asked for money.

Now, I used to have a policy of not giving cash. But I’ve started to rethink that. I mean, I have no idea how much of this guy’s story was true. But there was a chance and regardless, I do know that the money meant a lot more to him than it did to me so I gave it to him.

Ohayo Nippon!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

A couple weeks ago, some people from NHK came and interviewed us for a segment on their morning show, Ohayo Nippon. Well, it looks like it’s going to air in Japan on Monday, December 5 sometime between 6am to 8am.

If you happen to be in Japan, check it out! Otherwise, I hope it’ll eventually be on the internet in some form or another…