Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear #OccupyWallStreet,

Yesterday the world lost a great man.  Depending on who you talk to, Steve Jobs was:
  • a genius
  • a control-freak
  • a brlliant marketer
  • a perfectionist
  • a jerk
  • etc...
What is beyond dispute is that our world would not be what it is today had he never lived.  The products of Apple Computer have enabled and shaped the technological progress of the entire world.  Who hasn't heard of iPods?  That brand is not very far behind Coca Cola for being recognized around the world.

And yet, I fear that Mr. Jobs passing will be overshadowed by the spectacle that is taking place in our headlines today here in America.  In New York City, your grassroots movement has taken up residence in the streets and alleys in lower Manhattan, protesting the very institution that Mr. Jobs used so very well to leave his mark on the world; capitalism.

Mr. Jobs (and Steve Wozniak, but let's focus here) started Apple Computer in his parents' garage back in the 1970's.  He was taking on the established computer industry with his ideas.  IBM was an industrial behemoth back then, and everyone thought he was nuts.  But we know how that story ends.  Apple Computer's market capitalization as of today is 350 billion dollars versus IBM's 211 billion dollars. (I'm hoping someone in #OccupyWallStreet understands the relevance of market capitalization and can explain it to the rest of them).  Apple Computer's success (and rescue from almost certain bankruptcy, but that's a different story)  is entirely due to Mr. Jobs' obstinate refusal to stop trying at everything he did.

So, it is with stark contrast that I look at what you are trying to accomplish with your protests in Manhattan, and elsewhere.  End capitalism?  End the very thing that enabled Steve Jobs to bring you the device that allows you to broadcast your story to the world?

Steve Jobs would hold you all in contempt.

Wealth is not a zero-sum game (look it up on Wikipedia with your iPhone/iPad).  Steve Jobs carved out his wealth from an industry that at first laughed at him, then tried to shut him down, and then desperately tried to emulate and catch up.  Wealth is hard work.  Happiness is hard work.  Yes, I know that we can't all be Steve Jobs, but if you don't bust your ass trying, you have no one to blame but yourself.  If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at your parents and teachers who didn't teach you this.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I fear the wrath of Meredith...

...for the entertainment for this evening and for the foreseeable future are classic Disney movies from the cache of VHS tapes that Emma unearthed in the basement today. Tonight's feature presentation: Pocahontas. Emma and Deidre are transfixed by the previews of all the other Disney movies.

This isn't all bad, as Deidre has never really seen most of the Disney movies. I think this is going to guarantee that we buy the re-release of The Lion King on Blu-ray this fall.

Off to get the popcorn.

Literally following in her big sister's footsteps...

Deidre is now the proud owner of a pair of Skeletoes. She is a Mini-Mere.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Night at Windy Oaks

It's been a long week, and we're just taking it easy and hanging out talking about life/politics/etc.  Deidre is watching Netflix and cuddling with Ayiah (Egyptian god; Google it).

Life is good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Camellia-sinensisphilia is on the rise in Pepperell

I arrived home this evening to a tea tasting.

For months now, Meredith and Emma have been becoming tea afficianados and ardent patrons of Teavana. Somewhere along the way, Deidre also become a fan of tea, so it didn't surprise me when she wanted to spend the money she raised selling lemonade this weekend at our yard sale at Teavana when we were at the mall this weekend prior to my ill-fated visit to NTB. The prices at Teavana were quite dear ($18 for a few ounces of tea!!) so Fiona decided to channel Deidre's interest in a different direction and took her shopping at the local Asian market and a health food store today.

When I walked into the kitchen, spread out before me was a regular production line for making loose-leaf tea, and several samples waiting in line with sheets of paper for each, giving the name of the mix (Fiona's favorite is #10, Fruity Tutti), detailed ingredients list and some notes about the quality of each as a hot tea and an iced tea. Deidre had already made seven different mixes and was working on the eighth while she was asking Fiona if she could run a loose-leaf tea stand at the next local fair to sell her own mixes.

As the evening progressed, she ended up with ten different mixes (five of which I thought were quite good) and a promise from me to try to sell the tea to my fellow commutants. Quite the little budding entrepreneur we have here.
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A Budding Artist

Deidre was selected from her classmates to have a piece of art she made included in an exhibition at school. Here is the finished product after Fiona framed it today.

Pretty darned good for a 10YO if you ask me.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Things to do in Nashua when your brakes are dead

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been stranded in Nashua since 9:00 AM, but with a current estimate of a completion time of 5:00 PM, 8 hours for a simple brake job seems a little excessive.

We dropped off Meredith's car at 9 this morning to have all four brakes replaced. Two hours later (after going to church, hence I haven't been stranded *all* day), we got the call from NTB that the car would be ready in an hour, so we went for lunch. Fee dropped me off and headed home with the girls. I went inside and settled up with the guy at the customer desk, got in the car, and headed for home.

"That doesn't feel right," I thought as I came to a stop at the first light, after reaching maybe 25 mph. I caught all of the next few lights, so I had no reason to use the brakes until I reached an intersection about 1/2 mile from NTB. At that point I had to slow down from 45, and the shuddering/shaking was pronounced. I made a u-turn and headed back to NTB.

After taking the mechanic on a test drive, they agreed it wasn't right and would take another look. 30 minutes later, they told me that their decision to re-use the lightly worn springs didn't work out and that they would replace them at no cost to me, and that I should be out of there in another 30 minutes.

So there I am 30 minutes later when the guy comes out of the back with a rather pained expression on his face. He actually was quite hesitant to start speaking. 

"The new drums we installed were warped, and the closest replacements are in our Chelmsford store (30 minutes away)."


So, I'm sitting in the UNOs next door enjoying a Sam Adams Octoberfest or two waiting for them to finish up. So much for the honey-do-list stuff I had planned for this afternoon.