Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Closing Out The Year

Well, folks, I did it.  I did it and then some.  52 weeks in a year and this is my 63rd blog entry for 2010.  I resolved to make at least one entry per week, and I hope the habit has stuck; I'd like to continue this journey with as many of you as care to come along.

I would also like to share a few thoughts here at year's end that inspire me when I am depressed or discouraged.  Maybe they will have a similar effect on you sometimes.

• When you look up at the night sky, your mind is touching light that comes from other stars.  Light that comes from other times as well.  The stars may be unimaginably far away, but we walk in their light just the same as though we were walking on their worlds.  That we are able to do this, and to appreciate it, is a gift from the universe.

• Speaking of stars, Carl Sagan said it best:  "We are all made of stars."  It's true.  Any element higher on the Periodic Table than iron can only be made when a star explodes.  Think about it.  Stars exploded, and their force pushed these elements through space where they ultimately condensed into planets around our Sun.  Every atom in your body was made in the heart of an exploding star.  We are star stuff.  This is ridiculously amazing and humbling all at the same time.

• If there is a more remarkable event in this life than love from another person freely given, I would like to hear about it.  I am so fortunate in my wife and daughter.  I remember being profoundly moved the first time I laid eyes on each of them, and they have blessed me continuously since.  Lucky, lucky man.

• The world, as another wise man once said, is not only stranger than we imagine -- it is stranger than we can imagine.  If you don't believe me, go watch a cuttlefish.

There is so much more I would like to say, but perhaps it might be best if I save it for some of next year's entries.  :)  Happy New Year, everybody.

Monday, December 27, 2010


We had some very nice holidays this year -- absolutely the best blend of intimate time with the immediate family on Christmas morning, followed by the arrival of family for a very good (if I do say so myself!) traditional dinner -- turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and homemade cranberry stuff.  Followed, may I add, by more cookies, pie, pumpkin rolls, egg nogs and chocolates than anyone could wish.  Just lovely.

I myself had a very respectable haul waiting under the tree, but the best part of the holiday for me is seeing how well I have done with selecting gifts for others.  Olivia seemed to actually like her new clothes -- she is just not a girly-girl; she hates shopping and fashion -- and she loved her books, art supplies, and all the goofy stuff I find to fill her stocking.  This year it included a little stuffed Batman plushie, some Lego minifigures (a man in a Lego Gorilla Suit and a Native American warrior, if I am not mistaken) and various other little trinkets, snacks and goodies.  Megan got a necklace she had been wanting and it appears I picked an acceptable style for it -- something I always fret over way, way too much.  She also liked her books and clothing.  (Just about everybody gets books from me -- you can take the librarian out of the library, but good luck removing the books.)

I think my favorite present this year is a tie, between the game of Go that Olivia gave me -- a game I have always wanted to learn how to play! -- and the hand-held music synthesizer Megan gave me.  It's from the Korg company and is called a Kaossilator.  It has more music programmed into it than I have ever learned, including some scales of which I've never even heard.  I hope to learn a lot more about music and have a bunch of fun in the process -- I love electronics, I love music, and I especially love techno music, so this wonderful little toy will have me in heaven.  Best of all, I can jack it into my headphones and play all I want without bothering anyone else.  The hype on the Kaossilator refers to it as the "twenty-first century hand-held lute of the future" (I know -- wow, right?) and I can't wait to explore its possibilities.

I also found the Hal Jordan Green Lantern/Thaal Sinestro two-pack of action figures that I wanted, the one I mentioned in the previous post.  It's terrific!

I hope everybody reading this who celebrates the holiday got to be a little bit of a child again and experienced the magic of opening some unexpected gift on Christmas.  And I hope everyone got to feel the wonderful satisfaction of giving someone a perfect present.  I know that it's the most fun I get to have all year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oooh!! Pretty!!

I think by now it's become obvious that I am just a little crazy for all things Green Lantern, the DC Comics superhero.  Well, Mattel Toys has just come out with the ultimate Green Lantern toy and is selling it exclusively through Toys 'R' Us -- action figures of Green Lantern versus his arch-enemy Sinestro that come complete with six -- six! -- green and yellow "energy constructs" which you can use in recreating their many battles.  Or, as the box indicates, at least one famous comic cover.

As Liz Lemon would say, "I want to go to there!"

So far they haven't shown up east of Indiana (I'm in Pennsylvania) and the prospect of trying to scour the toy stores for it in the last couple of days before Christmas definitely has no appeal, in spite of how badly I want this.

So, if you should run across it in your travels and are feeling that ol' holiday generosity....  ;)

I hope you find everything you want under your tree, in your stocking, or otherwise in your hands this holiday season!  And thanks to everyone who has dropped by Oa to check out my blog here -- I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!!  I never dreamed I would have over 750 visitors -- thank you all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Looking Forward

I just bid a near-tearful morning good-bye to my lovely daughter, who is, probably for the first time in her young life, feeling a little overwhelmed by all that she needs to get done before Christmas break.  Just one more hoop we all jump through on our journey to the adult world, but it's the kind of thing that a parent would spare their child if they could, but never can.

It was very hard for me the first time I realized that I might not be able to do everything I was supposed to do within the time that I had.  I was not used to that kind of failure.  That first time that things don't come easily, when they always have before, or if they haven't, there was always somebody there to bail you out, is a rough slap in the face for some.  I know it was for me.

While I have never done her work for her -- and believe me, in my career as a reference librarian, I had more than my share of encounters with parents who were doing their kids' work for them, so I know that it happens -- I have made myself available to her at times as typist, editor, chauffeur, scut grunt, you name it.  Can't do that any more.  Not "won't" -- "CAN'T."

College applications have to be finished this week.  Only she can do that.  All her various holiday want-to's and need-to's must be finished before Thursday.  Again, only she can do those.  Not to mention all the various homework projects that need to be in before winter break, from English papers to computer animation projects.  I guess her teachers want to use the break to grade big projects.  (When I was in high school, they used the Christmas break to hit us with work; that appears no longer to be in vogue.)

I am always amazed at the depth of feeling I encounter when I run across these situations where I cannot take the pain of the life lesson away from her.  On some level I appreciate the fact that in order for the lesson to be effective it must be experienced personally.  But what parent has never inwardly wished they could trade places emotionally with their kids in order to take on their child's pain themselves?

Yeah, I know, there was a "Twilight Zone" or a Ray Bradbury parable about doing that, and it ended badly for all concerned.  I just hate the helpless feeling as I stand by, watching her grow up, and away.

Monday, December 13, 2010

These Are The Droids You Are Looking For

Been too busy to come up with very much, and yet I am dangerously close to breaking my resolution to average one post a week for all of 2010, so, rather than break my streak so late in the game, I submit for your winter viewing the Star Wars swimsuit collection, courtesy of an Australian couturier.:


and C-3PO:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hard to believe that it's already December.  2010 is just about gone (and still no flying cars or jetpacks, but that's another story!) and we are starting to get ready for the holidays.  It'll be the last Christmas with my daughter as a full-time resident of our home and it feels weird, and a little more depressing in some ways than the holidays can usually be.  Yeah, she'll continue to come home for the holidays, from college or grad school or whatever, at least until she puts down roots of her own.  But once you head out to college, things are never quite the same.  They weren't for me.  "Home" slowly devolves into the house where you grew up, as your new sensibility of "home" becomes where you are now.  The loss of the day-to-day experiences of just living in a place make that change inevitable.

But until then, I soldier on.  The exterior of the house is decorated already, with lights on the shrubbery, garlands on the porch and a wreath welcoming folks at our door.  Red bows and green swathes and candles in the windows to let the neighbors know how festive we are.  Soon the tree will go up and gifts will start to appear underneath it.  I plan to savor every second, atheist or not -- I'm always up for a good solstice celebration.  Yet I can't deny the underlying tinge of sadness that always accompanies something ending.