Ainara Maria Susan Nerad-Canet

Ainara Maria Susan Nerad-Canet
Please allow me to introduce you to Ainara. Mother and daughter are doing well after the birth. Ainara has a touch of red hair and a healthy set of lungs and it’s a cliché, but she’s just the cutest little thing. She was born at 7:41PM on the 15th at 7lbs 7ounces and 20 3/4 inches. From the moment Rosa broke her water to birth was 19.5 hours, with only the last hour being the pushing.

For those curious, her name is Basque for the bird we call a swallow in English. Maria is for Rosa (the mother of Ainara whose middle name is Maria) and Rosa’s own mother, who is also named Rosa Maria. Susan is my Mom’s name. We decided to do the family name in the Spanish fashion, where the father’s surname goes first, followed by the mother’s.

We’re exhausted but exhilarated. More to follow as we’re even able to come up for air!

8 Comments | Catergorized: kids  life


Another Kind of Memorial Day

Though it’s not an official Memorial Day, it is September 11th. Looking back at my posts from 10 years ago (I had barely started this site) I remember how anguished I was, yet how temporarily unified we were as a people. Now I wonder if the only thing unifying us is that that day sucked and that it changed everything. Aside from that it seems we barely have anything to show for it. We’re polarized like I can’t even remember. We have airport security that’s more show than security. Our taxes, better spent at home, have been used to fund two wars abroad (one of them under false pretenses). We’ve strained the economy to the point they are saying it’s as bad as the Great Depression (though I think the Depression was much worse). Has anything, one single thing, gotten better? It seems the answer, for America, is no.

So on to more positive musings. My wife, Rosa, is Catalan and today is the National Day of Catalonia. It’s also the due date of our first child, though she’s being shy and hasn’t graced us with her presence. Soon! Finally, Rosa’s parents are visiting for the birth (their first time out of Spain) and today is their 40th wedding anniversary. We’re all having a good time tooling around San Francisco (slowly, on account of a giant bubble on Rosa’s belly) and we’re looking forward to having the Little Monkey and relaxing, as a family.

These are the memories I would rather have: watching my parents-in-law touch the Pacific for the first time, watching my wife’s belly move when the baby moves, seeing my family on Skype which cuts the distance from them to me, seeing my friends do well and prosper. Let’s remember the events of 10 years ago, but let’s also find a way to move forward in a way that increases life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. After all, that’s the promise of America.

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Any Day Now

Any day now…
I know I haven’t written in a long while. I have been meaning to post all kinds of stuff but I’ve put it off; I am in anticipation of the arrival of our Little Monkey. Anticipation and not a little bit of denial. I know she’s coming, and soon, but I keep moving through my life like it’s the same as it ever was. I think I’m doing that because I know, deep inside, that soon enough it will never be the same again.

September 11th is the due date, but we’ve been full term for a while now. Tomorrow Rosa’s parents arrive. Them coming is a huge deal since they’ve never visited Rosa abroad. In fact, aside from her Father briefly leaving the country when it looked like there would be a coup d’état, they’ve never left Spain. I am excited to see them, though, and I’ve been reasonably seriously studying my Catalan in preparation. No us preoccupeu, ja veureu com tots anirá bé!

So, until further notice, I hope you’ll forgive me if most new posts deal with the foremost thought on my mind: the Little Monkey. I’ll try to keep posting as often as possible to keep those of you interested in the loop. For anyone else, please be patient and we’ll get back to the usual rants against whatever frustrates me the most in the moment as soon as it comes dominant again!

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Every Day is like Christmas

иконографияКартиниEvery day here at home has been like Christmas for the past week. Stuff is arriving everyday for the Little Monkey. All these things with foreign sounding names to me: pac-n-play, swaddling… It is official, the kid now has more stuff than I do. The only place I dominate is my movie and book collections, and she’s already acquiring several of those.

At one point in my life the thought of this baby invasion was overwhelming yet now that I’m here it’s not bad. Seriously, it’s like Christmas. I wake up in the middle of the night anticipating meeting this little creature. I come home and open boxes and try to figure out how to put them all together. I wonder, “Will she like this?” I feel this family closeness that comes only from family. Being a little boy and helping Mom make cookies for Christmas. My brother and I waking up hours before we were allowed to open gifts and quivering the hours until we were allowed to wake up Mom and Dad to open them. Watching my young sister’s amazement at a real toy from Santa Claus.

All of this, fresh as when I was little myself, and so much more down the road.


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Guns in Britain

One Texan in the London office of MSNBC asks, would it be so bad to issue guns to the bobbies to quell the rioting and looting that happened there recently?

Yes, there’s an argument for unarmed police, and yes the British police do have an armed unit, but I’m not going to get into the minutiae. I just want to know, what’s so bad about a show of force in the form of a gun?

I mean, you don’t see anything like this kicking off in Texas, do you?

There are so many things wrong with this premise.

First of all, you don’t see things like this in Texas because, while it’s true the police in America are armed, so is the citizenry. The Second Amendment was put in place partly so that if our government turned to despotism the citizens could rise up effectively. I believe, morally, that if you’re going to allow your police forces to have guns, you must allow your citizens to have them, too. Not that people need them, but there is good reason to allow it. Bear in mind I’m not even pro-gun; I think too many people here in America get them for no reason at all. I see no reason to have one myself, though I will say I would like to learn how to use one someday (though at four decades of age this is a low, low priority).

In the meantime, in what looks like data from 2004, 1364 were murdered in Texas by handguns. That puts Texas alone in 14th place in murders per capita for States. England and Wales, in 2008/2009 had 651 homicides (I assume that’s all homicides, not just with guns). Maybe it’s a good thing for the British not to run around willy-nilly with guns (whether the police or the citizenry).

There could be completely different reasons for the lack of riots and looting in Texas, as well. In America, unfortunately, we are a bit jaded by police killing someone (deliberately or accidentally, whether the person was innocent or guilty). Also, our rate of unemployment is much lower than in England, especially for young people. This was a vector contributing to the incidents in London recently.

Would arming the police have made a difference? Possibly. The Texan wonders what would be wrong with a “show of force” but this implies that the police would be willing to pull the trigger. Personally, while I deplore the violence that ensued, I think the police showing up with guns would have made the matter worse. London is not Texas, even if there is a London, TX. This guy might as well ask if the murder rate in Texas would go down if everyone in Texas gave up their guns; it’s just not culturally conceivable so don’t be an idiot and wonder about it.

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Three Day Novel Writing

Православни икониI thought this was an interesting thing. Michael Moorcock, possibly best known for his Elric series, wrote many of them in three to ten days by developing a crazy simple formula. Sometime I’ll have to try this out. The story might not have tons of depth but it would be a way to get things done fast…

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Wealth Entitlement

A lot is said over and over again about entitlements in America. From Medicaid and Social Security to public schools and libraries. Conservatives want to axe entitlement benefits for unemployment, feeding children in poverty, a clean environment and scientific research that could save lives and better everyone. If they could they would even deny you the “entitlement” of freedom of religion; after all, they are all Christian and that’s good enough for them so it should be good enough for you. Do I need to make links for all of these issues or are we basically on the same page?

The one entitlement they will defend with their dying breath is wealth for the already rich. Partly this is because they are already rich and their Congress members make $174,000 a year minimum (in the private sector many of them make loads more). Wow, I’d like to make that much! Another reason they defend the rich is because the wealthy pay for their campaigns, whether individually, as PACs or as groups (lobbyists, corporations, etc). And what do the wealthy want? Aside from a very few who get it, they want to keep their money and grow it at all costs. Wall Street creates a financial disaster and cries, “We’re too big to fail!” So they get bailed out with tax money, grow their business with that tax money and give themselves fat bonuses. Yay money!

As America approached debt default in recent weeks, it’s notable that tax increases were off the table. The rich don’t feel obligated to contribute to the society that allowed them to make their money. They don’t want to help anyone else make money when it could be theirs. What money normal Americans do earn we are encouraged to spend. Seriously? Isn’t government spending exactly what they are railing against? Well, so long as we buy their shit they won’t complain. After all; yay money!

Kill the country already. Bankrupt us. Convince some minority like the Tea Party to keep fighting for your rights. Make us tear our throats out, distracting us from your gluttony and greed, and keep making your money. The Tea Party, most Republicans and not a few Democrats are going to fight anything that will actually save this country till they are dead.

Sadly, it seems no one has the balls to fight this wealth entitlement. There hasn’t been a fighting Democrat in my living memory. Libertarians lack the moral compass to guide their financial system (where amorality is beneficial). Republicans long ago bent over to the wealthy. I hope it feels good for them; it sure hurts the rest of us.

Sadly, the bulk of America is apathetic, ignorant, zealous, or too busy living paycheck to paycheck. So someone put me on that wealth train already (vote me in to Congress!) so when the time comes I can cry that I deserved my wealth rather than earned it and can pass it on to my kids who absolutely deserve to not earn anything but still be outstandingly rich.

Yay money! I deserve it! More than you! Give it to me! You love me, you really do! Yay money!

PS: What’s sad is it isn’t any better anywhere else it seems, at least right now. Better the fracked up system you know than learn a new one?

1 Comment | Catergorized: grrr  political  rights


Best Dual Sport: Tiger XC

Cycleworld has released this year’s best motorcycles list and the Triumph Tiger 800 XC has won best dual sport. Having test driven this bike, I can say that I really, truly want one. I don’t know if it deserves “best” but it certainly earns serious credit…

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Top 100 Speculative Fiction Books?

I love to read. I particularly love reading what I call speculative fiction, within which I group science fiction and fantasy (and a few others like alternate history, horror, myths, fairytales and magical realism). I also like discovering new titles that come highly recommended, which is one of the many reasons I love going into Borderlands Books and reading their recommendations, right there on the bookshelves. Discovering new books is one of the many reasons I was excited to see this list that NPR is compiling a list of the best science fiction and fantasy books. Even better, they are letting visitors vote on their top 10 favorites. Go vote! I was surprised by some that were included, and happy to see many that I’d never even heard of before.


UPDATE: The list is now online.

1: The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
3: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
4: The Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert
5: A Song of Ice and Fire Series, George RR Martin
6: 1984, George Orwell
7: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
8: The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
9: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
10: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

And more!

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Book Covers for Technology

I really like the look of Twelve South’s BookBook iPhone, iPad and Macbook covers. I’m not sure if I like the iPhone version; creating one location for my iPhone, ID, credit cards and cash seems like a bad idea.

Still… book, leather, and all that’s missing is actual paper like the Moleskine case.

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