October 30, 2004

Football Days

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of football, and especially the NFL. I play in a fantasy football league with two divisions, 'Marky Mark' and 'Funky Bunch'. I've been the Marky Mark champion three years running, but I've never won the big game, the 'Paper Bowl'.

I'm also a Detroit Lions fan which has offered me little but frustration for the past 10 years or so, but seems to be turning around a bit this year. They're winning games, more games than their losing, and it's quite weird. Weird, but great.

So, the point is that I was browsing ESPN.com, and I found this essay about football, and about the love affair that our nation has with it. It's really quite a good bit of writing.

October 29, 2004

Change in The Way

You see, you don't have to post just once a day. Not anymore.

I don't expect that I'll post more than once a day too often, and when I do, it'll probably be due to some little thing that I want to share.

You can always get to the other recent posts by clicking on the month name over to the left, that'll show you all of the posts in that month. Pretty nifty eh?

Right now, it's Friday morning at work, and I'm in no mood to get anything done, but I have to. I have to get things ready in case my work situation changes, and I'm hoping that it will.

Morning Poo

Marion has a poo-pattern, and that's great, because we always know that right around 7:45am (give or take 1/2 hour), she's gonna poo. Well, the fates decided that today would be a special day, a day for an extra early celebration. Marion woke up at 5:55am (read: too-damn-early), and began her early morning wiggles and smiles. At 6:25 it was apparent that she wasn't getting back to sleep, so her and I went to her room, and I proceeded to change her wet diaper.

I removed the diaper, and Marion's bowels decided it was time to move. Moments later, the changing table was a mess, but Marion was a happier girl.

So, here we are at 6:45am, she's getting ready to go back to sleep, and I'm being a daddy. And really, except for the early rising, I love it. And the early rising isn't that bad.

October 28, 2004

Shifty FMLA

(825.100) The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA or Act) allows "eligible'' employees of a covered employer to take job-protected, unpaid leave, or to substitute appropriate paid leave if the employee has earned or accrued it, for up to a total of 12 workweeks in any 12
months because of the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child[...]

(825.101) FMLA is intended to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child[...]

(825.112) A father, as well as a mother, can take family leave for the birth

(825.116) The medical certification provision that an employee is "needed to care for'' a family member encompasses [...] situations where the employee may be needed to fill in for others who are caring for the family member, or to make arrangements for changes in care[...]

(825.200) An eligible employee's FMLA leave entitlement is limited to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for [...] the birth of the employee's son or daughter, and to care for the newborn child

(825.201) An employee's entitlement to leave for a birth or placement for adoption or foster care expires at the end of the 12-month period beginning on the date of the birth or placement, unless state law allows, or the employer permits, leave to be taken for a longer period.

(825.203) leave may be taken "intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule'' under certain circumstances. [...] When leave is taken after the birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, an employee may take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule only if the employer agrees.

I want to reduce my hours to 20 a week, in order to take over Marion's afternoon care from Dyan (Keleigh's mom), until we find a nanny, or I get a new job that is a 20 hour position.

Yet, I'm hearing from the University of Michigan's HR people that "You are no longer eligible to use FMLA time for this purpose." I think this needs further investigation.

October 26, 2004

IM, You Know I Am

-Warning, crazy geek rant oncoming, feel free to disregard.-

Stinking stinking stinking AIM. I just can't stand it, and I especially can't stand AIMexpress, but it appears that I'm stuck with it for a while. Why am I stuck using the stinking instant messenger from AOL, you might ask? I'm stuck using it because, for some unknown reason, Trillian stopped functioning at work. It stopped working about a month or two ago, and I've been trying to figure out some work-around to get it back working since then. I've been unsuccessful.

You see, I don't like AIMexpress for a couple of reasons. The number one reason is that it's clunky. By clunky, I mean that it takes up a lot of screen space, and it's not very adjustable. I have to have a browser window open for the buddy list (and I can't stand the word 'buddy'), and another window for my chatting. The darn windows aren't resizable, which means that I have to minimize them (because the buddy list is huge), and then I don't ever see who's online, and I still have the stinking thing in my taskbar, which bugs me.

Then, there's the ads. I don't want to see advertisements. Yes, I understand that it's a free service, but there are plenty of other (better) free services that -don't- have ads...they just don't work on my computer right now. Stinking advertisement when I log on, stinking ad in the buddy list at all times.

I'm a guy that doesn't like to have too many windows open, or too many things on my taskbar. If I can minimize it, and it goes over into the little system tray thing on the right, I'm a -very- happy man (Outlook 2003, Trillian, Winamp, they all do this). AIMexpress does not let me do this.

And there's the whole AOL thing. I just can't feel good about using a product from this company, because I'm a geek, and geeks can't do this kind of thing. Both my mom and Keleigh's mom use AIM, now...seriously, how super-geek-cool can you feel when you've got your mom talking about this new feature that she found. Seriously, I'm supposed to be uber-hip, and this is slowing me down.

And finally, I just don't like the fact that AOL tries to convince people (successfully in many cases) that AOL=Internet. There's a commercial out for AOL that says, "When one of our customers comes to us with an idea to make the internet better, we listen." AOL can't make the internet better, all it can do is make AOL better (and, really, they should get on that). They don't own the internet anymore than I own Blogger.com.

Please, I must find a way to get port 5190 working again, or whatever it is that's stopping me from using Trillian. I must have my geekness back.

October 25, 2004

Here's the (Political) Thing

I'm not against elected officials having a religion (or a 'faith' as we seem to be calling it these days). I'm not opposed to elected officials using their religious beliefs to help them make decisions. I'm not an atheist.

From what I know of most religions, they teach pretty good things. The whole 'love thy neighbor' thing, I'm a fan of that. Most religions are at least somewhat based upon doing good things for others, and being an overall nice person. Now, these are things that we should be doing without needing a religion to suggest it to us, but really, however you get it, that's fine.

Having a good set of morals, caring about people, and having faith in one's self are all very important to being a leader. Having a religion doesn't necessarily mean that you have these qualities, anymore than having a puppy makes you considerate of cleaning up your dog's poo, but it does give a bit of a push in that direction.

What I am against is the legislation of religious ideas. Our country was founded by religious people, but they understood that religion and government should not intertwine. The government should not intrude into the workings of the church, and the church should keep out of government affairs.

About 56% of the people of the United States are Protestants. A leader that legislates, or works towards the legislation of, religious ideas could assume that since a majority of people are Protestants, that there should be a law that everyone must have ash on their forehead on Ash Wednesday. Now, they certainly have the majority, but is it -right-? No.

The idea that gay and lesbian people should not have the same rights as heterosexual individuals is a religious idea. This is an issue of faith, and just because the majority of the religious beliefs in the U.S. suggest that homosexuality isn't right, it is wrong to put this into law. It's just as absurd as mandated ash.

Don't push your religious ideas on me, don't make the Constitution of the United States (or of a particular state) your missionary. You may be in the majority, but that doesn't mean that you have the right to push people around. Love your neighbor, don't limit them. Reach out to other people, don't create a divide.

October 22, 2004

The Rise of the Frogs

It's pretty exciting, I must say. I had a guitar strapped to me on Wednesday, with the cord snaking it's way over to the amp that JP was sitting on. I felt musically alive again, in a way that I haven't felt in a long time.

The Naughty Frogs made music, in a way, and we had a great time. We recorded a bit of our practice, and if you so desire you can take a listen over at NaughtyFrogs.com. It's not the best music you'll ever hear, and it's rather repetitive, but I feel good about it. We haven't really practiced in over five years, and to come together and still be able to stay in tune is a victory.

We set up some goals as well, which I think is pretty important. We each chose one song that we'd like to play, and we're hoping to be able to practice these songs as a group next week. All three of the songs are new to us, and we're switching instruments for each song (I play bass on one, guitar and harmony vocals on another, and guitar and lead vocals on the third), so it's going to be a challenge.

The new Frogs are up for challenges though. We're tough, and we're ready to rock.

October 21, 2004

Parenting Team

There comes a time in every man's life when he has to decide what it is that he wants to 'be'. This time has come, and I want to 'be' a dad. I've talked about this before, but it's worth revisiting. Marion is wonderful, and while I understand that not all children are so easy to handle, I'm ready to take on the task.

I used to talk about how I was going to put a team together to take over the world. When I met someone that I thought was especially intelligent, or charismatic, or whatever, I'd say that I wanted them to be on my team. (Now, I wouldn't necessarily say that out loud, but I'd make a note of it in my head.) While I no longer have the desire to take over the world (and I wouldn't want to compete with Mr. Bush anyway), I still have that team-building thinking going on. I am part of an excellent child-raising team. I can't say that I built this team, but I'm part of it, and I'm proud of it.

I believe that with enough rest and plenty of bagels, Keleigh can accomplish anything. She really is the kind of person that you'd want on your team. She can coordinate complex schedules and tasks, she cares about people an incredible amount, and she has the discipline to get things done. Were it not for her, I'd be about 1/4 of the father that I am now (even putting aside the fact that I wouldn't have anyone to be a father to).

Ann Arbor offers us a great community of like-minded individuals for us to brainstorm with, and to compare notes on how best to parent. We've met another couple that even had a home water birth, just like us (and we have to give them a call...) We're in a great place, a great community that gives us the chance to raise our children the way that we want to raise them, and with the help that we'll need.

We've also had an amazing amount of support from Dyan (Keleigh's mom). She's been the best friend that Marion could have, coming up from Toledo each day to babysit for the second half of the workday. We really couldn't have done this without her help, and we're lucky to have her.

And me. I really think that I'm good at fathering, and I believe that fathering is important. Too many children grow up with distant fathers. The recent tradition of fathers puts them on the work-discipline-sleep track that doesn't leave much room for establishing connections in the family. It leads to the "just wait until your father gets home" style of paternal relationships, and that's not healthy for anyone. Fathers aren't just surrogate mothers, and their place in the family shouldn't be limited to bread-earner/iron-fist leader. We're good people, us fathers, and we need to be given the chance to show it.

And it all makes sense when Marion is in my arms.