Thursday, January 28, 2010

Next Stop: Bangalore

I worked from home yesterday. My work laptop has an internal wireless card, and I have my cable modem hooked up to a wireless router so that I can work anywhere inside the house, or in the backyard if I so choose.

Yesterday afternoon, without warning, I completely lost my internet connection. I checked the modem and the router and both were working fine and sending strong signals (my wireless card even showed it as a strong signal). My home desktop PC connected to the internet perfectly fine. As a last resort, I checked with Thing 1. She has an iPod Touch, so I asked her if she was getting a signal.

"Thing 1, are you online right now? I can't connect to the internet," I said."

"Yeah, I'm online now and reading emails. Did you try turning it off and turning it back on?" she asked.

I stared blankly at her for a minute in disbelief, that she gave me the same suggestion dozens of IT specialists (literally) around the world (very literally) have given me for years, as a sign that they don't know what the hell to do to fix the problem.

"That's what I do when my iPod freezes up, it fixes it every time," she added.

Grumbling, I went back to my computer and fiddled around with it some more. By that, I mean I furiously hit the "connect" button next to my wireless connection. After 10 minutes, fed up, I shut everything down and rebooted. In minutes, my desktop was back up, and I received a signal that I have multiple wireless signals available (my neighbors all have wireless). I clicked on mine, and instantly it said "connected."

I couldn't believe it. An 11 year old girl provided the solution to my wireless problem. And it worked. I am fully expecting her to also tell me that my cables are too long, which is why my network is too slow. If that happens, I'm outsourcing to India for a new daughter. She will be beautiful, dark-skinned, have an insanely thick accent and answer to the name "Laura."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


*Operations Security

Definition: Operations security (OPSEC) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.

In other words....a completely foreign concept for a five year old.

This weekend, we went to the Ikea in Atlanta, in the hopes of finding bedroom furniture for Thing 1, our 11 year old that would be more befitting a girl that will soon be in middle school. As anyone who has ever been to an Ikea is all too aware, it is a cornucopia of chaos. Mindless suburbanites wandering throughout a massive furniture showroom cum warehouse are everywhere, so many that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one (and if you then labeled said dead cat with something in Swedish....Död Katt, for could probably sell it for $9).

It's also a brilliantly fantastic place to people watch. College students are common, in the ultimate paradox....they are horrified at the idea of shopping with their parents for college dorm furniture, but willing to put up with it for the prospect of getting new furniture.

One can also see lots of young couples, fresh out on their own, on tight budgets and willing to put together furniture with no written instructions, only pictures, with Swedish names. And one can also see urban hipsters who don't have a lot of money because they are willing to work low-paying jobs simply for the chance to live in a city. These types can be seen wearing eclectic clothing like combat boots, Ramones t-shirts, and funky hair styles.

Enter Thing 2. At five years old, she is a mixture of both discretion and excitement. While perusing one of the furniture sections, she spotted something which she simply had to tell me about. So she crooked her finger and signaled that I bend down to hear a message. When I did so, she whispered, "She has green hair!" I didn't quite hear her at first, so she repeated it louder, "She has green hair!" I straightened up and started looking around for someone with green hair. If it was important enough for Thing 2 to mention, then I owe it to her to stare.

Not seeing her at first, Thing 2 decided I needed help. So she pointed right at the young green-haired woman and said, in a loud outdoor voice, "RIGHT THERE!" Following her finger, I looked over and sure enough, there was a woman, about 25, with bright green hair. And she was looking right at Thing 2.

I believe the time has come to teach the concept of OPSEC to Thing 2. Never pointing, but rather using signals to alert me to the presence of somebody that is funny looking. "Psst...behind you. Behind me. Over my left shoulder. Don't look, but she's over by the water fountain." I think once she has this down, she will be a brilliant scout of funny looking people everywhere.

I think I'll take her to Costco this weekend for practice.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Complete Works of Shakespeare Can't Be Far Behind

My younger daughter, Thing 2, just turned 5. She is in Pre-Kindergarten, and will be starting Kindergarten in August. She knows her alphabet and her numbers, and spends a lot of time practicing her letters. Mostly, it's random letters thrown together. The only word she knows how to write is her name.

She has a miniature white board that hangs on her bedroom door, with a marker, and will often use that to practice words. Yesterday, completely by accident, she wrote the word ELF. When my wife pointed this out to her, she was incredibly proud of herself and declared that she would never erase that whiteboard.

Now if we can just team her up with an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number if typewriters, she'll be able to recreate all of Shakespeare's works, seeing as show she already has a good start on "A Midsummer Night's Dream."