Monday, February 26, 2007

Cien? Si.

This makes 100 posts here at the blog. Here are a few that people have mentioned as favorites:

That's a suitably random and inconsistent grouping of "best of" postings for someone as weird as me. :)

Rodeo News

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo has begun. This thing is absolutely huge, and is a ton of fun for the kids. It runs for about a month and started with a parade last week. For a few nights before the parade, ranchers and farmers come from all over the country to camp out in various places around Houston, preparing for the month-long show.

One of those campsites happens to be right behind our house, in the open area around the little league baseball fields. So last week, when people started showing up, we took the kids for a walk behind our house to meet some real-life ranchers. And their animals, of course.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a nicer bunch of people than these ranchers and farmers. They told us about their animals, played with the kids, and just displayed a genuine love for everybody around them. Why do you think that is? I wonder if life on the ranch just has a way of building character.

Physical labor builds strength of body and spirit. Cattle generations and slow-growing crops might have a knack for building patience. Weather, infections and pests may build a stoic acceptance of things beyond our control. Life outdoors might build a deep-seated appreciation for the beauty of the earth.

I may just be full of dung with all this, but maybe there's something to that lifestyle that provides some life lessons missed out on by urbanites. We'll be hitting the livestock show at least twice this year, and we can't wait! You may think it sounds boring or redneck, but trust me, it's like the best zoo in the world. I'll post pictures and stories after we've had our fun there.

Music News

On the way to the gym yesterday, a local radio station had "Turn Back the Clock" hour. Their first song was by the Smashing Pumpkins. Smashing Pumpkins for turn back the clock? The song they played was released during my senior year of high school. I guess it's finally happening... the bands I love are getting old. Good thing I'm not.

But everyone knows what the huge, huge, music news is from last week. No, it's not Brittany Spears and her new imitation of Kojak on crack. It was the bombshell that Van Halen was reuniting, again, with David Lee Roth, only to back out, again, on the reunion. You know, after the 14th or 15th failed reunion, the fans are eventually going to stop believing it'll ever happen.

I leave it to our tongue-tied President to speak for Van Halen fans everywhere:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What I See

Last time I posted this picture from the Hubble telescope, which shows an unbelievable amount of galaxies in a pinpoint of the sky. To give you a sense of scale, if our sun equalled one grain of sand, then the universe's stars would equal all the rest of the sand on all the beaches on earth. All of them. That's how big the universe is. For some reason NASA's image had a profound impact on me, and I wanted to get some of it out in writing. This is what I see.

I see the second law of thermodynamics at work, yet I see us breaking that law here on earth. The law says that heat and energy tend to disperse until they're in equillibrium with what's around it, like the warmth of a fire working its way through your house, instead of focusing itself three feet from the fireplace. Yet the human race continually harnesses energy for our own uses, often concentrating it exactly where we want. And we keep getting better at it.

I see a place where we are almost certainly not alone, but almost certainly are too far away to ever meet our neighbors. Going back to the second law, I think that our planet, our existence and our progress makes humanity special, but not necessarily unique. I see a place so big that it will demand technology far beyond today's science fiction to even begin exploring the closest quarters around us. I think one day our descendents will do exactly that.

I see a place that will teach us more about ourselves as we explore it. Finding "The New World" didn't solve all Europeans' problems, and it created many horrible new problems for Native Americans. I don't like the price that was paid for this land, yet I am acutely grateful to live in this country. Expansion tends to bring new situations to people, and these situations expose new character traits we may not have been aware of. This is when we learn and grow. There are human beings living on every continent of the world, living under the surface of the sea, and even living in orbit. When we combine this scientific knowledge with similar growth of the human spirit, life gets better.

Author Gregg Easterbrook has a wonderful thought experiment in one of his books -- if you could trade places with a random person alive 100 years ago, would you do it? How about 500 years ago? 1,000? In general, most people say no, because the average life today is longer, safer and better than it was back then. Again, in the midst of a massive universe, where energy tends to dissipate and unfocus... we're moving forward.

I see God in the picture. I see a being so incredibly out of my league that I'm sure he laughs at our petty doctrinal disagreements. Yet I believe he cares about us, and has placed some of his spirit in each of us, and when we pay attention to that, we improve. I believe we're a very important part of some kind of beautiful project happening in this universe, and it will be eons before we have an inkling of understanding what this is all about. I can wait, and I have faith it will be amazing.

I see strangeness, which makes me instinctively cling to what is familiar and what is like me. Namely, other people. Especially my family. Show a child the view from a skyscraper and they will grab a parent's hand and hold it tight. My emotional reaction to the Hubble's view is the same. It's a big, foreign place out there, and I'm glad we're in this thing together.

I'm a sub-atomic particle spinning around a single grain of sand, in the middle of all the world's beaches. And that suits me just fine. I hope to make my little microscopic neighborhood the best it can be. And have fun all the way.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Do you really know where you live?

At the end of this post is one of the most amazing pictures I've ever seen. It's from NASA's Hubble telescope, and shows levels of substance and activity in space that we've never imagined. Here's a little bit of background on the picture:
  • It's focused on 1/10,000,000 of the visible sky, and what was thought to be a particular "void and boring" section of the sky. If you took a dime, drilled a hole in the "O" of In God We Trust, then held the dime at arm's length, this picture is of that tiny visible section in the "O" of the dime.
  • Each light or speck in the picture is an entire galaxy. There are more than ten thousand of them in the picture.
  • Our Milky Way galaxy has over 200 billion stars like our sun.

So basically, in the tiniest point of supposedly empty space, there are at least 2 quadrillion stars (that's a thousand trillion). The numbers are so big that they're basically meaningless to me. All in that little speck of visible space.

Douglas Adams is one of the only writers who can do it justice, in the introduction to his classic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big
it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store,
but that's just peanuts to space."

So here's the picture. On Thursday night I'll write about what I see, but for a few days I'll just let it sit here so you can think about how it impacts you, if it does.

(Click on it for a bigger view)

Image Hosted by

Friday, February 16, 2007

Curse of the firstborn Birthday

Last year on Samantha's 4th birthday, I ran into this incident, a shooting and murder of a 16-year-old boy. It happened in the morning, so by the time the afternoon/evening rolled around I had been able to get removed from the investigation activities and try to give my daughter a fun BD party. She might've been able to tell that daddy was a little different, but I gave it my best to act "normal".

Yesterday was my nephew's 2nd birthday, and my brother had quite the stressors too. He works for ConAgra foods, and was recently promoted to the grocery division. Well, in the last week there have been two Class 1 product recalls -- one for meatballs and the other for Peter Pan peanut butter, which you've probably heard about on the news. He's only been in the grocery division for one month, and they've had two national recalls. One of his colleagues has been there for 20 years, and had only worked on one similar incident during that time. So of course my brother is absolutely swamped, on his son's birthday, with a huge business crisis that is not his fault, but is still his cleanup responsibility. Fun.

My birthday's in August -- I'm the firstborn. Bet my parents can't wait!

Julian news

Since I brought up the shooting, might as well mention a couple of the other related events from the past week. First, we've noticed a return of the graffiti in our neighborhood, some of it even on the school grounds. After repeatedly following the city's instructions on how to report this, and repeatedly being ignored, Jamie called the school directly.

Jamie got connected to a vice-principal, and urged her to prioritize the removal of the graffiti, especially after what happened to Julian. The VP answered, "Julian who??". Jamie reminded her of the shooting and death that happened less than 3 months ago, less than 50 feet from the new graffiti. The VP said, "Oh, that. Well, it was never proved that the incident was gang-related."

EXCUSE ME!??!? The boy was killed by confirmed gang members -- fact. Julian himself had gang connections, and used to run with gangs -- fact. Julian's tatoos were not merely decorative -- fact. How was that not gang related?

Jamie was upset enough to then call Anne Clutterbuck, who is on the Houston City Council and has been very helpful and vocal about turning around the neighborhood and the schools. Anne couldn't believe what the vice-principal had said... then Anne laid this gem on us: "Of course it was gang-related. Julian was lifting up his shirt and showing those guys his tattoos when he was killed."

I can't believe I never thought of that. Julian's shirt had no holes in it, but his chest and stomach had bullet holes. The only way this was possible is if he was lifting up his shirt when he was shot. It makes perfect sense, but I'd never figured out why his shirt was in perfect condition.

The graffiti's still there, on the baseball dugout at the high school baseball field. Their season starts soon.

As a final note on all this junk, here's a picture of a Christmas ornament we made for Julian last year. Our church displays two trees every holiday season -- one is a "family tree" and the other is a "remembrance tree". This ornament went to the latter:

Image Hosted by

Monday, February 12, 2007

Favorite dialogues -- Action Films

No one-liners, these are my favorite verbal exchanges in action movies. And no, they’re not from memory – I definitely solicited some help from the internet:

Quigley, Down Under
They’re stranded in the Australian desert, and she’s “half a pebble off plumb”, or not quite right in the head, hence her name:

Crazy Cora: You know, if we're lost, you can tell me.
Matthew Quigley: We're lost.
Crazy Cora: I can take bad news. Just tell me straight.
Matthew Quigley: I don't know where the hell we are.
Crazy Cora: No sense takin' time to make it sound better than it is.
Matthew Quigley: I reckon we're goin' in circles.
Crazy Cora: Wire things up and I'll see right through. So, just tell me honestly. Are we lost?
Matthew Quigley: Nope. I know exactly where we are.
Crazy Cora: That's good, 'cause, frankly, I was gettin' a little worried.
Matthew Quigley: Don’t know where we’re going, but no sense bein’ late…

The Last Boy Scout
Grizzled private investigator Joe Hallenbeck meets Jimmy Dix, former NFL quarterback:

Joe Hallenbeck: Leather pants.
Jimmy Dix: Yeah.
Joe Hallenbeck: What's something like that run?
Jimmy Dix: Six-fifty.
Joe Hallenbeck: Six hundred and fifty dollars?
Jimmy Dix: Yeah.
Joe Hallenbeck: They're pants.
Jimmy Dix: Yeah.
Joe Hallenbeck: You wear them?
Jimmy Dix: YES.
Joe Hallenbeck: They don't, like, have a TV in them or something?
Jimmy Dix: Nope.
Joe Hallenbeck: I am very old.

Tango & Cash
The movie’s title is the last names of two cops, played by Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone. In this scene they’re talking to a witness that was just interrogated by Cash (Russell):

Witness: Detective Cash assaulted me. He put a chair on my chest and sat on it.
Gabriel Cash: [Tango looks at Cash accusingly, Cash shrugs] I couldn't find a piano.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
With Sean Connery as Indiana’s dad – a perfect casting decision:

Professor Henry Jones: They're trying to kill us.
Indiana Jones: I know, Dad.
Professor Henry Jones: This is a new experience for me.
Indiana Jones: It happens to me all the time.

Two police officers discuss interesting tactical scenarios:

Harry Temple: All right, pop quiz. Airport. Gunman with one hostage. He's using her for cover; he's almost to a plane. You're a hundred feet away. Jack?
Jack: Shoot the hostage.
Harry Temple: What?
Jack: Take her out of the equation. Go for the good wound, he can’t get to the plane with her. Clear shot.
Harry Temple: You’re deeply nuts. You know that?

Lethal Weapon
From a time when Mel Gibson was much less controversial:

Martin Riggs: I do it real good, you know.
Roger Murtaugh: Do what?
Martin Riggs: When I was 19, I did a guy in Laos with a rifle shot at a thousand yards in high wind. Maybe eight or even ten guys in the world could have made that shot. It's the only thing I was ever good at... Well, see you tomorrow.
Roger Murtaugh: Yeah. See you then.

The Matrix
Great movie, with admittedly disappointing sequels:

Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to.

So how about it, action buffs? What are your favorites?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gooooooooaaaallll! Or not.

Part of the fitness/nutrition program Jamie and I are following (The Metabolism Advantage) was a section on goal-setting. It said that there were two main types of goals -- result-oriented and behavior-oriented. It also said each type was essential to making progress in health and in life.

One problem. I have no result-oriented goals I can think of. None.

I used to have results-oriented goals. High GPA in college. Get my MBA. Buy a house. Those big things are done with, and my whole focus now is on behavior.

Here's a sample list of the kinds of things I strive for:
  • Work hard at my job, while being positive and having fun.
  • Love my kids and wife with all my being, even when I don't feel like it.
  • Eat well and exercise.
  • Learn about people. Listen better and pay more attention.
  • Enjoy life. Strive for balance in all things.

There are no results in that list above. It's all behaviors, and I'm totally cool with that. I don't really care whether or not I get a promotion this year... I just want to work hard. I don't care if I develop a rock-hard body with 6% bodyfat... I just want to exercise and eat well because it makes me feel good. I know well enough that I can't control whether my kids become astronauts or window washers... I just want to do my best as a parent.

Some of the self-help gurus may label me lazy or unambitious, and they might be partly right. But mostly I just feel contentment with my life. There are no major hurdles, issues or injustices I have to overcome. I'm just doing my best with each day and letting the results flow naturally. It's a fun place to be.

Personality-type may also come into play here. The stereotypical "Type A" personality is always pushing ahead, and would probably be miserable without goals to strive for. That's not me. In fact, most of the personality tests I've taken have shown me to be a chameleon, or someone who doesn't really fit well into any particular group. I just float from type to type over time.

Perhaps that's why I have no results-oriented goals. I'm not the type of person who forges ahead and overcomes his environment to achieve something. I usually just roll with the environment and let the achievements take care of themselves.

Think of David in the bible. What was he, really? Was he a shepherd, poet, musician, romantic, warrior, king? He was all, of course, and I believe none of them was a charade. He truly was those things, depending on the situation and his stage in life. We all are like that to some degree.

So I'll just keep on truckin' ahead, trying to make sure my daily behaviors are in line with who I want to be. But I really couldn't tell you what results it will lead to, nor do I care to even think about it much.

Houston Miscellany

  • Jack is sick again. Congestion and terrible cough that's keeping him awake. He got more antibiotics today (surprised he hasn't drained the world supply yet) and Jamie will probably sleep with Jack in his room tonight. They have a fold-out thing set up in there they can share. She's a good mom, and will surely be tired tomorrow.
  • I went to Macy's to buy a pair of jeans today (had a gift card from Xmas). I do this approximately every three years, so it's kinda a big deal. I find jeans I like and I wear them 400 times until they develop holes. Then I wear them more until the holes are in places they shouldn't be. Then I relent and buy a new pair. Today I picked out Calvin Klein relaxed fit, which was the only brand that had my size (33/34, which are always tough to find). They were listed at $70, but were 50% off. Good enough deal, I guess. Imagine my surprise when it rang up at the cashier as a price of $7.44. She checked it twice, but that's all it was. So with sales tax I walked out with great jeans for eight bucks. A few dozen more deals like that and I can start a little side business.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Book Review -- "American Theocracy"

Since I have a good-sized daily commute to and from work, I decided to try a book on CD. "American Theocracy" by Kevin Phillips was the perfect candidate because it was educational, challenging, and way too freakin' long for me to read in the normal book-like fashion. 17CDs later... I finally got through it.

The full title is "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century." The title pretty much tells the premise of the book. Phillips looked back on world-leading empires throughout history (Rome, Spain, Britain, etc...) and examined the dynamics of these cultures that preceded their downfall. Three common themes came up in his analysis:

  1. Too much dependence on a resource that was either scarce, out of the empire's control, or both.
  2. Radical religion that eventually worked its way into domestic law and international relations, polarizing the empire's citizens and the rest of the world.
  3. Shifting from a manufacturing/production economy to a finance economy, basically trying to manipulate markets to profit from other countries' efficiencies.

He proceeds to illustrate how each of these three factors are already evident in the United States, which is undoubtedly the world's "leading power" today, at least in terms of economy and military. I'll give a brief review of these three sections and then a final wrapup.

Section 1 -- All Oiled Up and Nowhere to Go

The US consumes nearly 25% of the world's oil production today, yet we hold only 5% of the oil supply. This is an inevitable source of tension, and at least partly explains why we have been involved in turmoil in the Middle East for more than a century. There's just too much at stake here at home if we didn't have vast, cheap access to the oil fields of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc...

Two points were most interesting to me in this section:

  1. "Peak oil" is less and less debated these days, and is generally accepted as imminent. With the huge growth of China and other countries, demand for oil as an energy source will only continue to skyrocket. And pretty soon production will plateau. Alternative energy sources just aren't ready yet.
  2. Iraq was noted as a country with huge oil fields, but also with very low-level technology. In other words, most of the oil in Iraq probably hasn't even been discovered yet. And the field that are known are not being tapped by the best drills and pumps. There are billions of barrels of oil sitting in that country... think it may continue to be a hotbed of conflict?

The historical connections here were mostly to Britain and their heavy use of coal in the 19th century. After making their entire economy dependent on coal, while America's fledgling system was in flux and better able to adapt to oil, the Britains were eventually forced to hold onto old technology while America flourished. Now it is America who sits with power grids, transit systems and suburban city planning that relies on oil far more than any other country. Will we be able to adapt as the resource supply dwindles, or as more efficient energy sources become available?

I liked this section, and thought the analyses and connections were accurate, but it didn't really scare me. I am an optimist when it comes to the human race, and while change is never easy, I think we will solve these energy issues as they arise.

Section 2 -- A Revival Up In Here

Welcome to my least favorite section. Not because I'm a Christian and felt attacked or defensive, because I didn't. This was by far the longest part of the book, and the least reliant on analysis and objective research. He clearly has some big, big bones to pick with religion and the Republican Party. Hey, I've got issues with both groups too, but there's a time to show some restraint. One of those times is when you're writing a big, visible book that's supposed to be impartial in its approach.

His historical tracings of Protestant and Catholic groupings were excellent. I daresay that most regular church attendees today don't even really know where their church came from and how it was formed. It was fascinating to follow the changing tides through the decades of Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist and Episcopalian histories. I've read histories from Christian authors that weren't nearly as clear and accurate as Kevin Phillips, an atheist, achieved here.

Unfortunately, he soon descends into tirades against rednecks, right-wing extremists and Republicans, and eventually says that all three groups are one and the same, and that they're taking over the country. He says that a religious culture based on "Left Behind" theology will inevitably make bad decisions, banking on the rapture to save them all from earthly consequences.

I think his historical connection for this section was mostly Rome and Spain, but both were poorly done. I totally understand how an evangelical approach to international relations is generally a bad idea (Crusades, anyone?), yet the parallels with Rome and Spain just didn't seem very strong. Overall there was some good stuff in this section, but it was an arduous and painful process to siphon it from the glut of bitter attack on religion in general.

Section 3 -- Show Me The Money

Another interesting section, although not very convincing as a whole. I agree that the soaring national debt, combined with low levels of personal savings and a potentially shaky currency, all make for a scary economic mix. But I don't buy his argument that our shift to a Finance economy, no longer strong in manufacturing, signals our doom.

Alan Greenspan was with me on this one (he always followed my advice). One thing you gotta like about the service and finance sectors -- they consume a lot less oil than the manufacturing sector. And the profits are usually better, and competitive advantage can often be sustained for longer.

The reminders about government spending and personal savings were timely and important. We've gotta balance the budget, both in Washington and at home. But I don't really think that Korea is going to overtake us because they can make plastic monkey toys cheaper and better than we can.

I think his historical connection here was with the Dutch in the 1700s or something, but it all sounded like jibba jabba by this point. You try listening to 15 hours of this stuff and see how you feel.


In the end, this really was the perfect introduction to books on CD. And I got a lot more out of my commutes for a month than I normally would have. Somehow, listening to Phil Collins' "Sussudio" and commercials for laser hair removal just don't seem to make me any smarter.

But I never could have actually read that book. Way too long and dry.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What world do YOU live in?

I've recently gained a deeper appreciation for the fact that each of us lives in a unique universe. Your universe is shaped by your perspective and the way you experience things. So is mine. Nobody has quite the same perspective, therefore none of us lives in quite the same place. Yet somehow we have all been interacting for many, many generations and haven't annihilated ourselves yet. Good job, us!

The fitness quest continues to go well -- I'm back to deadlifting more than my bodyweight (200+ lbs) for reps, just in the second week of training. Definitely possible to be lifting over 300 pounds by the end of March... muscle memory is a beautiful thing! And the nutrition plan is the best I've ever done. We find ourselves not even using all of our available "cheat" meals, because we like the food and we like how we feel.

Back to the perspective thing. My time in the gym has provided me a chance to observe some interesting people. Here are a few examples of people I've encountered recently, with guesses about what world they were living in when I met them. Yes, I realize and love the irony here... this is all based on my perspective, so I could be wrong about the whole thing. My blog, my rules, my hypocrisy. :)

#1 -- Fit Man

A guy was talking with his "homeboys" in the gym when he lifted his arms out wide and declared, "I am the fittest guy in here!". Oooookay. What exactly does that mean? What's the definition of "fittest"? He sure as heck wasn't the strongest guy in there, nor was he the fastest. Maybe he had lots of endurance, but does that make a marathon runner more "fit" than a decathlete?

His comment was totally meaningless, but even if it was possible to see who was the fittest, and even if he was numero uno, it still shows amazing amounts of ego and self-doubt. His world, at least at that moment, was a world filled with people who were competing with him.

#2 -- Dubious Inquisitor

When I left the YMCA on Tuesday, I was approached in the parking lot by a woman. She started asking me lots of questions about the YMCA -- its service, cleanliness, safety, equipment, crowd levels, and on and on...

I patiently and honestly answered every one of her questions, but each answer seemed to make her more stern, and cause her eyebrows to drop lower. It appeared she didn't really believe me, and was looking for any excuse possible to not join the YMCA. I didn't have any dirt on the place, so I didn't fit her agenda. She finally thanked me gruffly and went inside. I have no idea if she is now a YMCA member.

Her world, at that moment, was a place she already had totally figured out. She just wanted one other person to agree with her so she could feel good about her assertions.

#3 -- Grey Snow Woman

The free weights part of the YMCA is on the second floor, with windows peering out onto a new walking path that was recently built. The walkway is very nice, with gentle curves and slopes, landscaping, ponds and fountains, the whole bit.

Anyway, I look out the window during a rest between sets, and there's a woman walking out there and using ski poles. To walk. On the sidewalk. In Houston, Texas. At first I thought the answer was simple -- she's clearly unbalanced and off her meds. Next thing you know she'll probably hurl a pole at an imaginary unicorn while using the other pole as a sword to defeat the squirrel army as she sings "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles.

But I was wrong. This was just my very imperfect perspective jumping to conclusions.

Instead, she's obviously hip to the latest trends. "Skiwalking' is all the rage in Europe. Her world is fast-paced and changing, and she's not about to fall behind.

#4 -- Mr. Redneck Immunity

Last night Jamie and I got to go to the Houston Rockets basketball game. Both of us enjoyed it greatly, although we would miss some of the on-court action due to our incessant people-watching. We just love observing people, especially in crowds or groups. And adults are also fascinating to us, since we spend most of our time and obervational energy on kids. And here at the Toyota Center were more than 15,000 adults... and we didn't have the kids with us.

Yet we need not look far for interesting people. On the row right in front of us was a guy, maybe 30 years old, who wanted to pass for 20. His jeans had fashionable holes in all the right places, his earring was just right, the hair was frosted, and the shirt... ooooh, the shirt. It was pale blue, slightly worn and frayed, and he had the collar popped up, Elvis-style.

Common enough, sure. But when the collar was up, you could see large letters on the underside of the collar, only visible when that sucker was straight up poppin'. And the letters spelled the following genius: P-R-E-P-S-T-E-R. We were sitting right behind The Prepster! What fortune!

I don't know exactly what world this guy lives in. And I'm not sure I want to. That's my right and my perspective, and in my world Mr. Prepster will always be on the fringe, sort of blurry and unknown. :)

#5 -- Slave or Seer?

I saved the best for last, and this one's serious. In fact, I'm going to give you a warning right now:

If you don't have 10 minutes available to watch the following video all the way through, please don't start it. Come back when you can finish in one sitting.

I'll post the video below, but if it doesn't work for you, the link is here. And the girl's blog is here. She has an amazing story and perspective on the world, and only in the 21st century, and in a handful of countries, would she even get a chance to tell it. How many thousands before her never got the chance?

You will want to skip forward after the first minute or so -- don't do it. Stick with it; there's a reason for the pacing of the clip.

Questions I Now Ask Myself

When I'm with Jamie, am I really with her? Am I paying attention, aware of her presence? Am I communicating love and appreciation? How about when I'm with Jack or Samantha? Do they really know I'm there, in the moment with them, or do I go through the motions too much? How is my view of the world shaping their view?

When they get older, what do I want them to see?

And what about everyone else? And the planet itself? Do I remember that we're all connected in a completely mysterious and amazing way? That somehow, even after the chaos, drudgery and isolation of suburban life... we're all in this thing together?