Is your mom or dad home?

Just a few minutes ago, I heard a knock on the door. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I was somewhat annoyed, but I opened the door anyway to find a guy standing there who said he was with DirecTV and DishNetwork customer service. It was misleading at best. Those are competing companies, so there’s no way he was employed by both. He was probably with a 3rd party company that installs and upgrades satellite TV equipment, and he wasn’t off to a great start with me.

He started to give me a mixed pitch for sales or upgrades, looking around the outside of my house the entire time. He was obviously unsure whether I was an existing customer, which annoyed me. I told him I was already with DishNetwork. He then informed me that he was in the neighborhood seeing if people were happy with their service and if they could upgrade anyone’s equipment free of charge. Not a bad pitch, but it was too little too late. However, you haven’t heard the kicker yet. He then looks straight at me and says “So, is your mom or dad home? Someone that I could talk to about your satellite service?”

Continue reading Is your mom or dad home?

X’s Web Show

One February 02, 2009, Xavier was wanting to take pictures with Christen’s phone. Unfortunately, the phone was almost dead and Christen and I had work to do. I saw the video camera on my desk, so I put a fresh tape in it and showed him where the red button was that made it start recording. It took only a few minutes for him to realize he could turn the screen around so he could record and watch himself. What resulted is the “I” show, which is Xavier’s web show. He says there are more to come. In short, this is what happens when you give a year old a video camera. The footage is uncut, exactly as he recorded it, and it had me laughing so hard I could barely breath! Keep an eye out for my favorite part…the “slime wipes” which he has to do after each trick he does with his tongue. It cracks me up.

Continue reading X’s Web Show

from 52 to 48 | 48 to 52 with love

I didn’t blog on the election. I avoided it on purpose. Not because I thought influencing people that way was wrong, let’s face it…I hold no influence here. Not because I worried about receiving backlash from those that didn’t agree with me. Nope, I avoided it because I wasn’t sure who I was going to vote for. There, I said it. I struggled because I thought (my opinion here) that Obama could probably run the country better than McCain. However, I think my morals are closer (not the same…just closer) to those of McCain, and that’s extremely important (even more so this term). In the end though, it doesn’t matter who I voted for. I support president-elect Obama.

This mentality is exactly why I wrote this post. Not enough people have it. Regardless of whether your candidate won, Obama is going to be our president, and our president needs our support. Even McCain agrees:

From McCain’s concession speech

I urge all Americans — I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

I came across an awesome site that is full of people with the right mentality. has put together a place to display images of support for both parties, it’s called “from 52 to 48 | 48 to 52 with love“. Check it out, and if you want to, please contribute.

A Glimpse of Boston

The View from Our Hotel Room at the Royal Sonesta
The View from Our Hotel Room at the Royal Sonesta

I know, I know. We’re on vacation. However, vacation or no, I’m still a geek and I’m still fully wired. As most of you know, I was at a conference for the first couple days, so today was the first full day of vacation. We enjoyed it by sleeping in until we couldn’t sleep any more, and waking to the beautiful view from our hotel, which overlooks the and then casually strolling down the street and around the corner to the Museum of Science. Christen and I both enjoy science and mathematics (sick and twisted, I know), so we had a lot of fun. They even had a section on the history of computers, to satisfy the serious geek within me. This evening we’ll be going across the street for dinner at Bambara. It’s pretty nice having a hotel that is so close to everything.

Tomorrow we’re going to be heading over to Boston Common, to walk the Freedom Trail.

This is going to hurt me, more than it’ll hurt you

As a kid, I heard this phrase more than a few times. Thankfully, I don’t think I ever heard it from my parents. I say thankfully, because I don’t think I would have taking so well. I’d have probably taken issue with them for saying something so nonsensical, and I was one to voice my issues. As I grew into a young adult, I would have still take issue with it. Even after I got married my feelings hadn’t changed. However, in 2003 I had a son, Xavier James, and my perspective has since shifted.

I still think that many people use this kind of phrase out of context, or to ease their own guilt. I even think that it’s common usage, just prior to a spanking, is probably no too realistic. However, there are plenty of things in life that hurt our kids a little, and hurt us parents a lot.

Take shots for example. Do you remember the first time you watched the pediatric nurse stick a needle into your kid’s thigh? Some kids squeal for a few seconds, Xavier didn’t make a sound, he just gave the nurse a dirty look. However, while it probably bothered him for a few seconds, I still remember it clearly. It most certainly hurt me more than him, and it’s a good thing for the nurse that logic tends to win over instinct. I was definitely conflicted, on one had I knew she was helping him, on the other hand she just stuck a sharp metal object in his leg.

Xavier's X-Ray showing the Greenstick Fracture - 06/02/2008
Xavier's X-Ray showing the Greenstick Fracture - 06/02/2008

Now, flash forward to June 2008 (just three months ago). Xavier bent his arm while we were on vacation. It’s called a Greenstick Fracture, and it meant that his bone needed to be straightened, which would cause more small fractures. Christen and I both went to the appointment when he got it straightened and got his cast. It was horrible. The doctor explained what was going to happen, and I help Xavier’s had to help him be strong. The doctor’s assistant held up the arm as the doctor wrapped it in the first layer of cast. While the cast was still wet and pliable, he put his hands on either side of Xavier’s fore arm, and pushed really hard. I hear the bone fracture multiple times as it straightened, and I felt Xavier’s hand clamp down on mine. As soon as Xavier caught his breath, he screamed. He didn’t cry, he didn’t yell, he screamed. Ten minutes later, the other layer of cast was on, we had re-X-Rayed the arm, and Xavier gave the doctor as smile and a high-five when the doctor asked Xavier if he still liked him.

That’s it! Ten minutes later X was fine! I however had a hard time describing the above, because it’s the most painful thing I’ve ever endured. I was hit by a truck when I was seven, life-flighted to the hospital, spent days there, got reconstructive plastic surgery to fix my face (including more stitches than the doctor and his nurse could count), wore a cast for weeks, etc. Still, sitting next to Xavier was more painful. I can’t imagine what my parents went through with me, and I’m a little scared at what else may be ahead in the life of an active little boy (he’s only 4, he’s got time!).

So there are definitely times when the physical pain belongs to the child, but the greater pain belongs to the adult. Please don’t cheapen this by misusing the phrase “This is going to hurt me, more than it’ll hurt you” …you’re not helping anyone.

So, what prompted this post? Jason and Nikki are in the hospital with Drew because of his Jaundice, and I think they are in a place where the majority of the pain clearly resides on the parents. As does the exhaustion.

Drew: get well.

Jason & Nikki: sleep well.

A new update from Jason: Hiccup

A Geek’s Envy

Hi, my name is Aaron, and I have creative-envy. I’m a very technical, analytical, left-brain type person. The extent of my artistic skills lies is writing “beautiful” code. That’s it. I envy those that are gifted with creativity. Not because I want to do the things they do, but because I want to be able to do the things they do. Unfortunately, they seem to be brimming with some sort of magic. Magic of which I am completely devoid. Magic that I wish I had.

I envy the artists, the ones that have the ability to create graphics that you can’t help but love. I enjoy visiting place that provide “design inspiration” just to see people putting this mystical magic to good use. It’s not that I can’t do any of the things, I can use the tools those guys use, I can recreate but can’t create. I even seem to be missing the magic when it comes to color combinations, but I do love to see the beautiful work of others!

While some may think that was enough, I’ve barely gotten started. I also envy those who are creative geniuses with words. The truely eloquent. Don’t get me wrong, I have a perfectly good vocabulary. I’m not lacking the necessary knowledge to write beautifully, I’m missing something else entirely. I’m missing the magic.

I’m not entirely sure that this “magic” can be found. I’m not even sure it can be learned. I think some people just have it. My wife can create amazing color combinations and make a room seem so inviting that you never want to leave. My friend Mike can write comics that I can’t put down, and neither can my 4 year old son. Now that’s an impressively diverse audience. Luckily, I envy these people, I wish I was able to do what they do, but I’m not completely consumed by it. If I was, then I think the thing that made me write this article would have drove me insane! I was browsing through some old data, looking for something from years ago, and I happened across a poem that my friend James wrote in Junior High. Were were studying Edgar Allen Poe, and for his project he re-wrote “The Raven” from the raven’s point of view. I remembered being quite impressed with it in Junior High, so I decided to read it again when I found it. I’m still impressed:
Continue reading A Geek’s Envy

What this place isn’t

My name is Aaron Campbell, and yes I’m the same guy that has all the WordPress plugins, themes, sites, etc. I’m a web developer, but that’s not what this blog is for. If you’re here looking for technical advice, you’re in the wrong place. This is my “Geek Reprieve,” a non-technical place offering solace to this haggard geek. For those of you who were looking for technical information, I’ll give you a break just this once. Consider instead checking out WebDevNews, Xavisys (my business site), or even just contact me to get work done. Please respect the fact that this is not a programming/technical blog, and limit your comments accordingly.