May 31, 2008


Last month Liz and I flew out to Arizona to visit my Dad and his girlfriend, Beverly (more about that in a later post).  Now, just a few months ago we got a call from Bev letting us know that Dad was in the ICU and the doctors didn't expect him to make it.  I started to make plans to go and then, hours later, Bev called back and said Dad was out of the woods and would be fine.  I called Dad a little after that and he sounded amazingly good.  Good enough that we decided that I could wait until our already scheduled vacation.  He was going to need dialysis for a short while (everyone hoped), but other than that and the usual "old people" problems he was gonna be fine.

I prepared myself for the worst when we saw him.

I come from tough stock!  His kidneys had gotten going again almost immediately, so no more dialysis.  I knew he used a breathing machine, but didn't know it was only at night because of his sleep apnea.  He used a walker, but only when he was really tired and he never did during the week we were there (nor did I ever think he needed it).

In fact, he was the same old Dad.  We moved furniture from their old house to the new one, including a massive metal workbench that weighed a ton.  We hung two flat-panel TV's on wall mounts.  We put up a new television antenna on the roof, and ran the wire inside.  He showed me the extension he built to his workshop.  It was just like old times.

At one point, we were working on two different projects right near each other, and I told him that he was working too hard.  His reply caught me by surprise:

I don't work hard.  I work steady.

And it's true.  Dad gets more done than most people half his age, and he does it by methodically taking it a step at a time.  There are no frantic bursts of energy, no show-stopping surprises in mid-project, he just thinks things through and then follows his plan.  Give the man a hammer and a two-by-four and he'll build you a spiral staircase.  He's amazing that way, and his secret is as simple as "don't work hard, work steady."

I've been going through some fundamental changes in my personal life over the last year or so.  Call it a midlife crisis (like Liz does) or just finding myself (whatever that means), I've done a lot of thinking about and tinkering around the edges of my life.  Examining everything closely and figuring out what I really want and how I can change things to make it better.  That's part of what the new "Lifetoys" category is about, where you're gonna see some of the things I've looked at and experimented with.

Those five words, distilled down to their perfect essence, explain perfectly a huge part of what I've been trying to do.

Thanks Dad.

Posted by: Ted at 06:04 PM | category: Lifetoys
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Post contains 507 words, total size 3 kb.

May 29, 2008

Space Pen

So have you tried the PocketMod (I talked about it here)?  Visit that first link to at least find out how to fold the paper, it's worth the minute or so it takes.

All righty then, you've got a handy piece of paper or small notebook to jot down stuff, but what are you using to write with?  To me, the PocketMod is only half of the equation, because I also carry a Fisher Space Pen!

You know that bit 'o history about NASA spending a fortune on a pen while the Russians used a pencil?  It's an urban legend.  Fisher developed the pen technology on its own dime and then sold pens to NASA, hence the "Space Pen" name.

Works like a champ too.  Upside down.  In the rain.  Greasy paper.  No worries, because this puppy will write!

Best of all, you can get their little bullet pen and it's small and rounded and fits perfectly in your pocket without snagging or poking.  When it's time to write the cap fits perfectly on the back and you have a full-size pen.  I got the matte black one without the clip, and I love it.  It goes everywhere with me.

Check out the various types and colors at The Writer's Edge.

Remember, life is too short not to have cool toys.  And coolness does not have to be digital.

Posted by: Ted at 11:41 PM | category: Lifetoys
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Post contains 231 words, total size 2 kb.

May 25, 2008

Pocket Mod

Last summer I stumbled across Pocket Mod and started carrying the little things every day.  Basically, it's a cleverly folded piece of paper for note taking and jotting crap down.  When you fill it up, just print up a new one and you're good to go again.  I've found it to be very useful and I always have one in my pocket.

Now the link above is full of nifty little templates and such to customize your Pocket Mod to be just how you like it, and I used them for quite a while.  Recently though, I've simplified things even further.  I go here and print a sheet of graph paper and then do the folding thing.  No trimming needed.  A small hack I've done it to cut out a snippet of manilla file folder and slipping it inside to stiffen it up just a bit.

Pocket Mod. Making my life a little easier, one simple toy at a time.

Posted by: Ted at 12:27 AM | category: Lifetoys
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May 22, 2008

New Category


Let's see where this takes us, shall we?

Posted by: Ted at 01:05 AM | category: Lifetoys
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Post contains 11 words, total size 1 kb.

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