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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

Today is Jaden’s 10th birthday.  That’s right, no more single digits for this boy.  He’s moving into those years of character development, self-expression and peer pressure.  I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job so far, and I’m excited to see what he becomes.

This morning on the way to school we sang the following song from one our favorite bands, Trout Fishing in America.

Sing along with us, won’t you?

September
21
2010
10:52 pm
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I’m going to take a cue from Apple.

Look everyone.  My son’s fundraiser is awesome.  It’s about the best thing you could ever get your hands on and still not break any laws.  Unless there’s a new law against being awesome that I don’t know about.

You may have already heard the buzz about this.  Your GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN will be talking about “the awesomocity of the Jaden 2010 fundraiser” and you’ll be able to say you were around for it.  Chances are, though, that you won’t be able to take part in it yourself, but at least you could say you used to read the blog of the father of that kid who had the awesome fundraiser.  It’s too bad that this is so exclusive.

Tell you what – I’ll let you think and dream about the fundraiser for a little bit.  I won’t even charge you for the thoughts. 

This online fundraiser can change the way you see fundraising.  Wait, no – it can fundamentally change your life.  You will see the entire economics of the world in a new light.  Doors of understanding will swing wide open for your mind to occupy based on your participating.

If only you could get in.

You see, this fundraiser isn’t freely available to just anyone.  It’s not like there’s an unlimited supply.  Only a select few will be chosen to become a lasting and meaningful part of this once-in-a-lifetime service. 

If I were you, I’d start praying hard right about now. 

Not only is the fundraiser reserved for exclusive guests, it’s also only available for a limited time.  It’s so limited, in fact, that NOBODY can get in.  There is ABSOLUTELY no way you will be able to participate.  You just can’t possibly take part.

You might as well hang your hat now since you’ve got no chance.

You can go see for yourself – the link I have below was the link for the fundraiser, but like I said, it’s way too exclusive for just anyone.  There is a vast team of experts, psyhics, motivational speakers, gurus, NFL football coaches, high dollar lawyers and astronauts who have walked on the moon reviewing the people who try to get in, and they all have to UNANIMOUSLY agree to let you in. 

The chances of you being approved are basically zilch.  For the one or two of the people in the world who might be able to get in, well… just know their life will be set from that point forward.  You can only dream of being as lucky as those few people.

http://shopschoolservices.com/index.asp?PID=1468254

If you try it out, don’t be surprised to fail.  Nobody can get in, and even if the computer system let you through, what are the chances of all those people in charge letting you in?

I’ll put it this way – if you DO get in, you’d better thank your lucky stars and make the most of your visit. 

That’s all I gotta say about that.

Last night was Family Game Night.

For Jaden’s birthday, he got a Monopoly Transformers Collectors Edition.

monopoly-transformers

For the most part, it’s still Monopoly – the prices are the same, the board layout and property colors are the same, and the rules are the same.  It’s just Transformer-ized.  I haven’t ever played any of the “branded” Monopoly games, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was enjoyable.  To save us from dragging the game out into the wee hours of the night, we played the accelerated rules — hand out 4 random properties to each player at the beginning.

Jaden did well, especially with our guidance of when to buy houses (called Energon Cubes) and hotels (called Anti-matter).  He also was able to purchase the two dark blue spots, the most expensive and sought-after properties in Monopoly – Boardwalk (called Cybertron) and Park Place (called Earth).  He’s very good with money, and that made him quite a talent (called lucky) at this game.

However, there was one specific turn that really stood out in our minds.  Mom had landed on her own railroad (called Transports) on a previous turn, and was looking forward to passing Go to collect her $200.

monopoly-2-new

What does she roll? Doubles. But not just any doubles.  She rolls 1-1, and lands right on Jaden’s property Earth, with Anti-Matter (hotel) on it.

monopoly-5-new

For those of you who don’t recall what Park Place’s rent is with a hotel, let me remind you

monopoly-3

$1500 dollars.  Mom had to pay her son $1500.  This mother, who painstakingly brought him into this world, fed him, nurtured him, and is always there to protect him from the nasties, has to turn around and pay her own son rent. HER OWN SON.

Jaden’s eyes went big and LOVED the whole thing.  He was beaming with the big $500 bills and all those yellow $100 bills.  The kid loves money of all kinds, and Transformers cash is some of the best of all.

Well, as you know, in Monopoly, rolling doubles mean you roll again.

And she rolled another set of Doubles.

And you already know what’s coming, right?

dice-1-1

Ouch.

monopoly-6

She rolls the absolute worst roll out of 36 possibilities.  Twice.

If you thought rent on Earth was bad, wait until you see the cost of living on Cybertron:

monopoly-4

In one turn, she’s out $3500.

Amazingly enough, she was able to survive for a few turns after that.  However, she was the first one out, and Jaden ended up with all of her properties, hotels, houses and cash.  I was the next casualty of the Autobot/Decepticon battle, and it was left to Caitlin and Jaden to duke it out.  They kept playing for a while and decided to leave the board overnight to continue this morning.

Another game we play is Trivial Pursuit on the PS3.

Got any suggestions for our next Family Game Night?

Wow.  Jaden’s now eight years old.

We had a great birthday weekend.  Instead of the typical invite-a-dozen-friends-and-host-a-party thing, Jaden thought it would be cool to just invite one person and then go do a bunch of stuff all day.  And stuff we did.  8 hours we spent at Austin’s Park and Pizza, where he and his friend rode go-karts, bumper boats, games, pizza, and all-out-fun.

I was able to work for most of this time, so that was an extra side benefit for me 🙂

He got an authentic Magic wand, some incredible Transformers toys (boy does he LOOOVE Transformers), Star Wars Wii Remote Converter thingies(boy does he LOOOVE Star Wars) and a few other special gifts from friends and family.  He even got some cards in the mail (boy does he LOOOVE getting mail!), and Mom is bringing cupcakes at school today for his class to celebrate (boy does he… wait, actually he’s not that hot on cupcakes).

However, I must brag a little.  The BEST gift he got was from me.  Jaden loves Iron Man (boy does he LOOOVE Iron Man). In honor of Iron Man 2 coming out (the trailer was released this weekend I believe), I contacted Tony Stark and was able to have him fund a surgical implant of a little Arc Reactor into Jaden’s chest.  That way, he could fire his repulsor transmitter at anyone who gets in his way.

jaden-arc

It was a lot of fun, but I gotta say, the most excruciating part of it all was teaching Jaden not to fire the repulsor cannon at just anyone.  Save it for the real big bullies, I told him.  Save it for when someone is mugging an old lady.  Save it for when the machines rise up against us and need to be subdued.  Save it for the stupid counter clerk who can’t get off a personal call on her cell phone as she jabbers “am I coming over to your house tonight or what, oh my GAWD I can’t believe he said that to you and do you think this color looked good on me last night and oh hold on oh em gee these customers keep coming in and I swear I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap but my dad is being a total doofus by keeping my trust fund away from me. I know, right?

You know the comic book saying: With great power comes great benefits, but if you overdo it, people will eventually get sick of you and come take your power away.

I love you, buddy boy!

Chances are, you know someone affected by Diabetes.  I personally know a few people close to me who suffer with it, and the numbers of people who succumb to its grip are increasing every year.

Recently, the American Diabetes Association visited Jaden’s school and taught them all about Type 1, Type 2, foods, risks, the importance of exercise, and some great information to help the kids NOT be at risk.  In fact, evidence suggests that as much as 90% of certain forms of the disease are completely preventable, and are largely caused by lifestyle and behavioral choices.

Well, let me tell you – Jaden is super excited to raise money for the American Diabetes Association, with the School Walk for Diabetes fundraiser.  He’s walking and raising awareness for the disease and he’s hoping you can help him out.

There are three ways you can help

  1. If you know me and trust me, you can send me the money directly via paypal, and then I will include that in my donation.  This will double your effective donation because my employer matches 100% of all donations to tax-exempt organizations.   Normally, employers require a minimum donation (usually $25) in order to qualify for the match, but because I’ll be combining multiple donations, we can all be twice as giving.  I’m happy to provide a receipt showing your portion for tax deduction purposes. (update: the deadline for the fundraiser is over as of Friday 3/5/2010, so I’m not accepting direct donations any more)
  2. You can go straight to Jaden’s fundraising page.  You can donate anonymously or publicly and be listed on his page.  Be sure to check if your employer does matching (it’s part of the contribution form).
  3. You can send people to this post to raise awareness.

jaden-diabetes

Thank you!  Your participation is greatly appreciated.

This morning as Jaden and I were waiting for the bus, I popped in one of our favorite songs – Adiemus‘ Adiemus.

Note: I’ve not seen this youtube video until this morning as I was searching for something to embed.  It’s pretty cool, but the emphasis for this post is the music itself.  I recommend putting on headphones, starting it and closing your eyes.

This song appears on a CD I’ve had for a looooong time called Pure Moods

puremoods

The version on the CD is only a shade over three minutes long and this youtube version is more than five minutes long.  The CD also features Enya, Enigma, Jan Hammer, and even the X-Files theme.  Relaxation is a lot easier when this CD is playing.

This morning’s routine was different because Jaden actually woke up tired.  He’s usually chipper, early and ready to do stuff in the morning before school but today it was a challenge to get him going.  One thing that got him up eventually was the thought of getting out to the bus stop early, waiting in the car, and being able to sleep again.  I said I’d play “our song” and he immediately brightened up.

We got through it twice before that infernal bus showed up.

But it was a good time.  Man I love that song.

And that kid.

I’m going to take a little time right now to declare my gratitude for technology.

Watching old stuff

Today, I took Jaden to Extreme Fun, one of those unlimited-bouncy places where he actually gets a ton of exercise and loves it.

extreme-fun

While he pumped up his adrenaline, made friends and sweat it up like a 7yr old should, I was able to watch episode 3 of The Fantastic Journey on my laptop.  I’ve written about this old 70’s TV show before, and I’m FINALLY making the time to catch up on it.  There were only ten episodes made of this show, and I remember it from my childhood.

I’m thankful that technology lets me do this kind of reminiscing.

iPhone video

I’ve mentioned a few times the lack of mobility my wife has due to recent knee surgery.  It still sucks, but she’s healing up about as fast as you can from that kind of thing.  Because of this temporary mobility impairment, she can’t see everything she normally would, like Jaden having fun being a robot.

Jaden is a robot on 12seconds.tv

 I was able to take all sorts of video with my iPhone of Jaden sword fighting, lazer tagging, robot-ing, and a bunch of stuff like that.   My wife would never get to see those moments, and it was kind of special, laying in bed that evening and me showing her a bunch of video of Jaden having a great great time.

I’m thankful that I can share these memories with my wife.

Online school things

Our school district gives us three cool online things – GradeSpeed, MyMealtime and Transfinder.

GradeSpeed gives us a login to see our kids grades and homework.  I can interact with their teachers, see what test scores are, homework scores, and evaluate everything that makes up my kid’s report card.  I can nip problems in the bud, and there aren’t any surprises come report card time.

MyMealtime allows me to deposit money in their school lunch account and get alerts when it runs low.  I can also set limits.

Transfinder is the online bus routing system that gives me reports, notices, weather and alerts about our kids’ bus.  We can even get notifications for late arrivals.

I’m thankful that our school district is ahead of where I thought they would be by this time.

What technology are you thankful for?

 

My wife’s knee surgery was 2 weeks ago, and she still needs assistance getting up and down from the bed, chair or wherever she’s resting and healing.  I’ve been working from home for that period, and will continue to do so for about another week, depending on how she’s able to fend for herself in this wilderness we call home.

I call it a wilderness because A) the kids are home from school now and B) just look at these weeds!

Now if you’ve ever worked from home (I mean really working from home not “quote” working from home “quote”), then you know that there are tons of potential distractions.  Not everyone is cut out for telecommuting.  It takes a special type of discipline to avoid the perils that await.  Most of them are right there, available to you at any time in any capacity.  There’s TV, Wii Fit, food, blogging, Guitar Hero, reading blogs, movies, commenting on blogs, youtube, organizing your closet, general video games, lottery scratchoffs, home computer, playing with wireless settings, testing the fire pit, household chores, reading books, roller skates, taking DITL footage, snacking, converting VHS to DVD, testing older pantry food for freshness, experimenting with new dessert recipes, working on super secret blog projects, finding things to sell around the house, and filing.

The ability to resist these temptations is a learned habit; one is not born with this talent.  It takes years of practice and constant refinement.  Being raised with a good work ethic is an important factor, as is a hunger for excellence.   

Fortunately, all of the above items have something in common.  Can you spot it?

They are passive interruptions.

It’s not like the TV walks up to you and pokes your shoulder and nags you to turn it on and watch it.  The pantry doesn’t cry at you from across the house saying the fridge is being unfair and besides, is too cold.  The books don’t throw themselves at you in self-defense from the guitar hero controller.   To put it in scientific terms, these interruptions are potential energy.

Contrast that with kids.  Kids are kinetic energy.  They *do* walk up to you, poke your shoulder and proactively nag you to watch it.  Dogs can also be proactive with expressing their needs, but with dogs you can plan ahead, walk them before work and they leave you alone for hours on end.

Kids represent active interruptions.

Knowing this, I sat them both down ahead of time.

Me: Kids? come here, I need to discuss something with you.
Them: *collects themselves*
Me: Ok, I need you to understand something. Daddy’s going to be working from home to help Mommy while her knee gets better.  That means I actually need to work here like I work at work.  It means I need to be free from interruption all day.  Do you understand that?
Them: Yes
Me: I need you both to take care of yourselves as much as possible and not ask me to do things while I’m working.  Don’t ask me to play with you, don’t ask me to help you, and don’t ask me to feed you.  I’m supposed to be dedicated to my job and Mommy is the only one who can interrupt me.  Got it?
Them: Yes
Me: And something that’s also very important – while I’m working, I don’t want to hear the two of you arguing or fighting.  I might be on the phone, or I might be working on something important and the distraction is something I don’t want to have while I’m working.  If I have to stop working to break up an argument or whining, it’s going to be bad for you.
Mommy: Don’t just tell them it will be bad, tell them what will happen.
Me: I don’t know what it is now, but it will be bad
Jaden: You mean, like you might take something away from us?
Me: Yes, definitely.  At the very least, that will happen.
Jaden: Can you take away something, like a toy, that we don’t like?

What’s cute is he was completely serious with his question.

May
28
2009
11:31 pm
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Today I decided to do some of those “stumper” questions on Jaden.  It’s how I teach my kids valuable lessons, like I did with Caitlin and the word “gullible”.

Play along!

Me: Hey Jaden, what color was George Washington’s white horse?

Jaden: I don’t know. What?

Me (repeating with emphasis): What color was George Washington’s WHITE horse?

Jaden (smiling): Oh, White!

Me: Good job.  What do you put into a toaster?

Jaden (thinking): Toast!

Me: No, you get toast out of a toaster.  You put bread in a toaster.

Jaden: Oh… (smiles again)

Me: What do cows drink?

Jaden: Uh, milk!

Me: No, you get milk out of cows.  Cows drink water.

Jaden (pauses): Baby cows drink milk…

Me: (stumped)

Dangit.  I hate losing this game.

(side note: those of you who follow me on twitter know that my wife underwent major knee reconstruction surgery on Friday, so my online presence and blogability has been hampered a bit while I help her out with her healing process.  As a result, I’ve reduced the housework she’s responsible for by about 7%.  I know. I’m a saint.  And I told her to just skip mowing this week. Sure, it might be harder on her knees next week, when the grass and weeds will be much higher due to the recent rains, but what’s important is that she heal safely)

Jaden adores Fred.

You’ve seen Fred, right?  He’s one of them thar “Internet Sensations.”  He’s also called “Youtube Fred.”  He’s kind of like Star Wars kid, but on purpose and not nearly as sad, once you know Fred Figglehorn is NOT really a 6yr old pumped on on drugs and pining for a fictional girl named Judy.  Or Wendy.  Who knows.

You either love Fred or hate him, kind of like Rush Limbaugh or Ben Stiller.  Wait, I take that back.  I like Ben Stiller in some things but hated him in others.  But wouldn’t it be neat if they married and had a kid and named it Rush Stiller?  Because that would be like an oxymoron – stand still while rushing?  Or Ben Limbs? Sounds like you’re flexing your muscles.  Heh, or Stillbaugh Benrusher.

Wait a second, where was I?

Oh yeah, Jaden, my 7yr old son.  He loves watching all the Fred episodes.  He watches many over and over, like the one about going to the dentist.  I’ve heard it said that Fred was the first to hit 1,000,000 fans on youtube.  Jaden just sits and watches and laughs and laughs and entices us to come over and watch the hilarity.  I guess if I’m going to introduce my son to the dangers of  medications, this is the way to do it.

So.

One morning Jaden told me he wrote a letter to Fred.  And sure enough, in MARKS-A-LOT, there it was – a big 8.5×11 sheet of paper holding Jaden’s letter to Fred:

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

In case you’re having trouble reading it, here it is transcribed:

Hi Fred, this is Jaden.  I am your biggest fan.  I like you.  You’re really funny, so I am going to watch your videos every day.  I like the part when you said “Oh My Gosh! I just peed inside the pool!”  So write back, Fred.  From: Jaden Wayne Hall

I told him we could mail it to Fred.  We got an envelope, folded it up, and found a stamp.  I taught Jaden how to self-address an envelope.  Then I told him I’d take it to work and mail it off.

However, try as I might, I couldn’t find a snail-mail address for him at any of his websites.  I didn’t want to let Jaden down, so I PDF’ed the letter and found an email address for Fred. I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m hoping there’s some kind of response for Jaden, even if it’s canned and cheesy, like cheeze whiz because, well, who doesn’t like Cheeze Whiz?

We also bought Jaden a Fred T-Shirt, which he wears as often as he can.  It’s his favorite shirt.

Who did you write a letter to as a kid?

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