Merry Christmas 2012

We had a great day of present-opening here at our house, and there’s still Christmas dinner to look forward to – yum!  Yesterday half the family came over to celebrate Christmas Eve, and tomorrow we’re heading down to Moscow to visit the other half.
Gifts + food + family = simply having a wonderful Christmastime!

I hope you’re enjoying the holidays, too. :)

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Saturday Snapshot: Sun and Tree

Sun and Tree by CRash

Another photo from the snowmobile trip to Mt. Spokane, taken while the boys were climbing through the fog to the top of the ski lift.  There was just enough room for the sun to peek out and join the flock of trees standing on the side of the mountain.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

(And I Feel Fine)

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Marvin the Martian's Lost Kaboom

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Saturday Snapshot: The White Tree

The White Tree By CRash

First snowmobile trip of the year!  That means lots of snowy pictures. :)  This spot on the mountain was treated to the full force of the wind, so my fingers went numb.  However, all that wind meant that trees like this one got a heavy dose of flocking.

I particularly like this photo because the white tree has a face: two dark vertical spots midway up the tree form the eyes and the larger horizontal spot below them serves as a scowling mouth.  The errant branch sticking out on the left side might be interpreted as a shaking fist.  Overall, I think its expression is akin to: “Get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!”

What Millenials Fear

Yesterday, hours before the elementary school shooting in Connecticut, I was reading an article on Tor.com discussing why many of today’s largest movie franchises have eerily similar villains: distinctive but mysterious individuals who wreak destruction on the world for their own pleasure.  Some replied that it was repetitive and monotonous.  But to me, this is the Millenial zeitgeist, our evil made real on the screen. We don’t fear world powers. We don’t particularly fear nuclear war.  Even armed combat is far removed for most of the generation.

Millenials fear individuals who have chaos in their soul and firepower in their hands.

We are not stunned by such acts as mass murder.  We are the children of Columbine, elementary students ourselves in 1999.  We were old enough to watch the towers fall but young enough to be unaware of the ramifications.

The enemy to us is a lone wolf lurking in the shadows: faceless until he strikes. Though the individual face changes, we know he is there.  We know the attack will come, but not the specifics.  An office building.  A school classroom.  A movie theater.  A shopping mall. We know that it will not be soldiers who are his targets, but civilians.  At any moment, any of us could be the victim.

Worse, at any moment, any of us could be the killer.

Millenials are young, with often undirected potential coursing through our hearts.  We have reached the age of danger: old enough to understand the infamy of lone gunman, young enough that we think we have little to lose.

Our own egos are often fragile, constructed on social networks, bolstered by cliques and relationship.   If we have careers, we have only just begun them.  Few of us have started families of our own.  Our lives are not yet rooted in reality and as such are vulnerable. We will trade them for causes that speak to our souls.  We are ripe for martyrdom.

For most of us, our passions will direct our lives in productive ways.  But for some of the children of Columbine, the peers of Jared Lee Loughner, James Holmes, Jacob Tyler Roberts, and now Adam Lanza, that unchanneled fire will send them careening into destruction.

The rest of us watch them crash and burn, rubbernecking at the carnage.  One more of the enemy has stepped from the shadows and carried out his selfish deed.  Innocents fall at his hands, and we mourn them.  We continue on.  Our enemy has not been mollified; he could strike again next week with different hands, at a different target.  This is no different than usual for Millenials, who have learned to live with the unknown terror.  If we do pause to dread anything, the lone gunman will be there in our thoughts.

Worse, we will be there, too.

Horrible Electronic Hybrids

Dell XPS Duo Convertible Ultrabook

There’s always been considerable inbreeding in the electronics department, but recently smart devices have been taking it to a whole new level. 2012 has seen the rise of “phablets” – weird hybrids too small to be tablets but rather large for phones.  Also gaining in popularity are so-called “convertibles” – laptops that morph into tablets and back.  (I affectionately call these “laplets”.)

These new hybrid devices are touted as being versatile, the best of both worlds.  But for every offspring that gets only the good genes, there are bound to be some that get the worst of the worlds – especially if one or both parents brings some baggage. Here are eight hypothetical hybrids that probably won’t fly off the Black Friday shelves:

  • Wartphone (watch/smartphone): Too small to really use apps, but has an excellent alarm setting.  Will beep obnoxiously at you from between couch cushions, under your car seat, or wherever you accidentally lose the tiny thing.
  • Terriblet (BlackBerry/tablet): All the worst parts of the BlackBerry have now migrated to your favorite tablet!  What?  What’s the problem?
  • Poddle (iPod/Kindle): Also known as trying to read a novel on your iPod touch. Swiping through the pages with your finger is known as “poddling.”
  • Tabvee (tablet/TV): Causes inadvertent hypnosis since you have to be within arm’s reach of your 52″ flatscreen in order to operate it.  Not recommended for more than one user at a time.
  • eRager (eReader/pager): The most frustrating electronic reading experience available.  Only displays ten characters at a time, and keeps beeping at you.
  • Blacktop (BlackBerry/laptop): One huge flat panel containing both screen and keyboard. Also named for the place where it is often tossed after trying to use it.
  • Snook (smartphone/Nook): Developed on the Jersey Shore.  No one’s really sure why it’s so popular or what it’s actually supposed to do.

Dilbert Strip: Market Niche

Happy Car-iversary

Crunched Car By CRash

My dad pointed out that today, 12/12/12, is the three-year anniversary of the purchase of my car. Apparently it  thinks that gives it license to be a diva for a day.  I spent a good 15-20 minutes in the parking lot of Target trying to get it to start, but it just didn’t want to get moving.  After what it deemed an appropriate waiting period, it deigned to start again, with no apparent problem.  (We have ruled out the battery but still aren’t sure what its issue is.)

Aside from this new starting hiccup, I like my car.  It’s a 1997 Nissan Maxima, bought used, and is holding up pretty well for being 15 years old.  It isn’t especially fancy – but then, neither am I. Sure, we’ve had our problems (like when the synchronized backing-ups of myself and a coworker crunched it a little – see above), but generally we get along just fine.  It’s been with me to Arizona and back, and I hope we can travel on down the road even farther.

Here’s to three more years!