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I set up a proxy to contribute to the effort to get information out of Iran after the nutzo election. Whether Linux, Mac, or Windows, you can too.

cf. http://blog.austinheap.com/

P.S. I think you need a static IP address, otherwise when you reconnect your broadband the address you shared will no longer work.  It should also be a system that isn't closed/turned off.

I've got a relative who's been sick for a few weeks.  She's had nearly constant diarrhea (lost 20-25 pounds in the last 4-5 weeks).  She's off work now unpaid after using up her sick leave and vacation time. 

There's been no success diagnosing her illness so far.  She's getting a colonoscopy next week.  As is ever the case, I'm curious if her life-long smoking habit has anything to do with it.  (I quit 12 years ago, after smoking lots for more than 15 years, so I'm not saying that as a judgement, just a fact.)

Does this sound familiar to anybody?

Kids should all love musicals

We've got two movies handy for our 7 year-old to pick for watching: one about Indiana Jones, and the other is the movie version of "Mamma Mia!" with Meryl Streep and Pearse Brosnan. 

His choice?  Mamma MIa!  For at least the fourth or fifth time in the last couple of weeks.  He's addicted to Legos and we did just watch the Indy movie last night, so maybe it's weighed a little in favor of Abba-on-steroids.  But, still...I love that he enjoys musicals.

Something I have to be thankful to my mother for, actually ... I grew up with PBS and watching musicals and all the rest.  Lots of things to watch with the older one, now that he likes movies with actual stories in them.

And with musicals, he's singing along with "Dancing Queen".  Hee hee.  No, I don't think he's going to grow up being gay, though it'd be equally cool if he did.   (Everybody seems to jump to that conclusion, implying "normal" guys shouldn't like them?)

I hope he always has a really diverse taste in music, movies, plays, you name it.

Our seven year-old is enjoying his spring break from school.  Yesterday we watched Peter Pan with his little brother, age 2 and a bit, who fell asleep during the movie.  But then we asked if he was interested in watching a James Bond movie, and his eyes lit up.  (We've never brought up James Bond.)  So we watched Goldfinger, and he says he really enjoyed it.

Tonight, we watched Mamma Mia!, and he stayed up past his brother falling asleep and watched it with us.  I found I was really enjoying watching him laugh at jokes he shouldn't understand yet. We expected parts of Goldfinger to scare--or even bore---him, but he loved it.  How cool.

He's still afraid of the dark, and worries about people getting into the house or hearing noises.  But also he enjoys stuff like this.

How cool. :)  There's so much still to learn in this whole parenting gig.  Even if parts have been incredibly frustrating and difficult, I don't care, really.  The larger picture is really awesome.  I'm beginning to understand how people feel the joy of parenthood goes by too quickly.  And why people have lots of kids.  So much of it is so short-lived.  I'd love to do parts of this for a long long time.  I think we need twice the life we're given.  There isn't enough time to do everything.  One life would be spent enjoying all of the parenting fun.  Another would be with all of the stuff I want to do in my work and hobbies.  A third is being married to my best friend and doing everything we want.  And on, and on.

You've got to pick and choose, but it'd sure be nice if you were able to go without selecting.

Your greatest fear

What's your greatest fear?  What's the one thing that can make you feel like all of your holds on stability and confidence have disappeared?

For me, it's death.  Not the fear of heights I've had since I was little---too many rungs on a ladder and I can feel the nerves in my legs go crazy.  Looking from the top of a bridge or the Eiffel tower make me seem to lose my breath.

But I realize that my fear of death is awfully frequent.  My son, not yet eight, tonight said some little joke and finished it with, "or I could just kill you!"  For him, it's the killing in a video game on the Wii.  I asked him if he knows what "kill" means, to which he said "you'd go to sleep?"  A little explanation about I wouldn't be back, etc, helped, I guess.  He said he'd probably cry if he woke up in the morning and found I wasn't there.

This all comes from a recent article in Slashdot about a guy who wrote and maintained software I use a lot called Ad Block Plus.  The story said he stayed at a hospice and died "after a brief illness."  Two years ago I lost a friend in his mid-30s to pancreatic cancer.  As soon as I saw the word hospice I have to guess that  "Rick 752" had a condition that was quite similar, if not exactly the same.  I visited my friend at the hospice which was taking care of him---only once.  I regret not going back in the next two weeks before he died.

It's really unnerving, this idea that life can go so suddenly.  I regularly have bad dreams or sudden fears that my wife or one of my two sons will just suddenly die.  Driving away, going to a friend's house, walking down to the park with a friend, it could happen any time.  Maybe it's my mother who's got poor health and seems to have the impending shadow of doom hanging over her.

Maybe it's the idea that I'm completely defenseless against it.  I know, I'm not really since we make sure our kids are safe; we take great efforts to keep them in a safe environment and both parents are very careful drivers.  We know when we shouldn't be somewhere.  But, still...it's so random.

Someday I'll give in and get some therapy.  I think my friend dying impacted me much deeper than I'm really willing to accept.  I still see his face on other people.  I expect him to appear around the corner.  Once in a while I run into his kids at their school, where my older son is going, and flash back to times with my friend talking about being a dad.  My son loves Legos; I remember the amazing castle my friend showed me, telling me about how it took his son and him a good week to make it.

As we all do, I fear I wasted the time I had when he was around.

I've got a wonderful family, and some really great friends.  You get some, you lose some.  I just think I'm not quite able handle any more "losing" just yet.

Yours in anonymity...