Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Plus and Minus

One problem with blogging publicly, which I've once again started to do lately, is you open yourself to hackers and spammers and all kinds of grief. Lately, someone or someones have so compromised my Google accounts that I had to change my password just to get access to my own content! Just to read my email!

Here is the typical comment that has been lodged against this blog is recent days, dozens of times:

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Meanwhile, no real person chooses to comment here, which leads me to suspect no one actually reads what I write anymore.

So I ask you, what motivation would I possibly have to keep blogging when hackers are attacking me in this manner?

This has always been mostly a private journal, shared with family and friends and people I trust. A number of professional associates read it, I know, which is fine, because I trust they know from working with me that I'm doing this on all of our behalf, just trying to find common points of the human experience.

But as I now feel under assault from outsiders, I don't know whether I can be comfortable continuing with this method of sharing feelings and experiences. If the attacks continue, and Google can't shut them down, this blog will soon become history.


Before that happens, allow me to tell you about my day. It was 39 degrees when I picked up my youngest son at 6:50 to drive him and his carpool mates to Lowell. The city is one kind of environment at that time.

People who have jobs or children are up and about; everyone else remains safely resting. Mainly, as I crawled around Bernal hill, I encountered other carpool parents.

We all have a similar style. We drive cautiously, given our cargo, we honk lightly when we arrive at the next kid's address, not wishing to disturb neighbors, and we all are glancing nervously at our clocks as we gauge whether we are going to be able to deliver them to school on time or not.

During the day, as the temperature climbed 19 degrees or so, I pursued my usual routine, writing, interviewing entrepreneurs, and then, in the afternoon, picking up my daughter from school and driving her to her mother's house.

There I met my 18-year-old son and had a lovely conversation about his future. He is really becoming quite thoughtful about college and his options. And, given his new interest in economics, he is able to engage in a discussion about the difference about borrowing and saving, about interest paid and interest earned.

I told him the entire difference in my life, to date, is my interpretation of that key variable -- saving vs. spending.

Interest earned vs. interest paid.

In essence that is the dilemma facing our culture. We spoke about that too.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Random Moments

For his driving lesson yesterday I had my 18-year-old drive his little brother and me around town for a while, up this hill and down that, along this busy street and that very quiet one.

"You see some strange random things in the parts of town that are deserted," commented my 16-year-old from the back seat. "For example that guy over there who appears to be polishing that light pole. I wonder what that's about."

We stopped at a junk food outlet for the first time in months. "Our family doesn't eat a lot of junk food," he noted. "So it's not really an obesity problem for us."

(He is a bit over six feet tall and weighs just 148 pounds.)

"No, not in our case," I agreed. "I think it's mainly a problem when you eat it every day."

"For us it's more like a treat," he commented.

It's been frightfully cold here lately for a city not built to handle temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Our old drafty buildings often have no central heating, so everyone's wrapped up in sweaters and hats and such.

Futsal season is underway and though my son does not have a team, my daughter does. the problem is she and her teammates started playing before any practices could be scheduled and they don't yet understand the inside game.

Grimmacing through yesterday's contest up on Potrero Hill, which her team lost 3-20, I told the other parents, "They are playing soccer not futsal. But they are two different games. They'll learn..."

Today it was time to help my high school senior apply for financial aid for college -- never an easy nor enviable task. The website, though improved, is difficult to navigate in several ways, and I had to fill out and delete two complete applications before finally successfully (I think) submitting one.

Certainly he qualifies for substantial financial aid on a need basis. We'll see how that turns out...

Random moments from a parent's life.