Six years ago I wrote a post sitting in a park watching my daughter play. I called it "The Life" and the feelings in it spring from what seem to be an eternal longing inside me to live other people's more "glamorous" lives. For instance, I listen to a lot of different podcasts and I find myself wishing I could "do that". Whatever that might be.
For instance, if I'm listening to an adventure drama, I'll wish I could write something as engaging as The Red Panda and capture people's imaginations.
Or if I'm listening to two guys chatting I start imagining what interesting conversations I could have with my favourite people to share with the world.
If I'm listening to a something educational, I'll try and figure out what subject I know enough about (or could learn enough about) to be as engaging as Hardcore History.
Ultimately though, what they all share in common is the underlying model of making cool stuff and being your own boss. I don't know why this appeals to me so much, but it does, and always has. I don't really know where I acquired this romantic notion that self-employment in some creative endevour is what would make me happiest, because frankly the idea of putting myself in charge of anything sounds like a terrifyingly stupid idea.
There are a couple of things I spelled out in that post six years ago that I thought would make me happier:
to pad1 out my digital lifestyle with all the trimmings
I'm pretty content with my trimmings right now. I have enough disposable income to get "stuff" that makes my inner geek/child happy, and to get some fun stuff for my own kids that my own parents could never afford for me.
sit in a park and read and write
I still sit at a desk.
never fix another jammed printer or reset another password
I hear talk of mythical beings who enjoy their day jobs
This I've achieved! This is where I have to point out how fortunate I've been to get to a point in my career where I absolutely thoroughly love what I do. I used to weigh up taking a day off almost daily in previous roles and jobs, but where I am right now it never occurs to me. That isn't something I take lightly, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped push me into this position.
In case you hadn't picked up the news on the grapevine, I'm a daddy again! Twice more!
So, funny story... 8 weeks ago, one of the twins ruptured their membrane (Mil's waters broke essentially), and Mil was told she would be staying at hospital until they were born. When the membrane is broken, the most dangerous thing that can happen is for the mother or the baby to get an infection, so they keep the mother hospitalised so that they can assess it regularly and jump on it the minute there's any sign.
At that time, we were 22 weeks along, and the doctors were very careful to warn us that unless the babies stayed in Mil until 24 weeks, we might lose both of them. We tried to stay positive and Mil moved in.
After a scare at 23 weeks that the babies were coming, we were pretty wrecked, and didn't really feel like sharing too much with the wider world. We all dropped out of life for a little while, so if we missed any other amazing news, we're very sorry.
At 27 weeks our little boy couldn't help himself and literally started pushing his way out. Mil was rushed into surgery and both babies were born pretty quickly on the 1st August, only 1 day after Amelynne and my birthday! I kind of wish they'd come the day before - stupid leap-year.
Well today they're finally 30 weeks old and tomorrow is their three week birthday!
Merrick Hector Nunn is my strong boy. His lungs have had some problems since birth because he was the one who lost his fluid, but he's doing pretty well considering the complications that caused. The doctors say he's on track though, and he's absolutely lovely.
Evany Louisa Nunn is my sweet girl. She was a bit smaller than Merrick at birth, but has done so well since she was born that she's almost as big as he is now! She's holding her own so well, that we've finally been able to give her some cuddles this last week.
Sorry it's taken us so long to pass on this important news. We've been so wrapped up in it all, and scared for their safety and overwhelmed by the speed of it that it's been difficult to put it all down. They'll both be staying in hospital until at least their due date in late October/early November so we're in a sort of limbo-world at the moment - born, but not officially ours to keep!
I'm so glad I finally get to tell you all. We've been so scared to say anything, but now they're here, I'm really proud to announce them officially.
So welcome Merrick and Evany! Thank you all for your support and understanding. We look forward to introducing them to you all in real life soon.1
This post was originally shared on Facebook and added to the Geekorium on 9 Feb 2013 [↩]
Hi Rex fans1! The last week has been all over the place for me, with a scheduled holiday from work then the passing of my Grandma. The week of chapters I had banked up ran out and I didn't end up publishing anything for Thursday or Friday. I've got new stuff for Monday though, so prepare yourselves! Spoiler: Rex has hands!
Space Flight 704 - New chapters every weekday at 7pm!
I read an article the other day that actually made me want to cry a little bit.
It's an old Washington Post article from 2007 about violinist Joshua Bell, who as an experiment/stunt played for 43 minutes in a rush-hour train station for about 1000 people that passed through that morning. He was playing a $3.5 million dollar violin, and the best seats in his performance tonight will set you back $213.61, but on this day he played for free to anyone who stopped to listen. He played Chaconne by Bach, "considered one of the most difficult violin pieces to master".
The sad part is that about five people in 1000 actually bothered to stop and listen. Roughly five people made time in their schedule to stop and pay attention to the fact that this was a master, playing a Stradivarius for free on the street. And I totally get it. One gent had to be at work in five minutes, so he let himself stay and listened for three. Another was a violinist himself and could tell that there was something special about this particular busker. Another was a woman who worked as a shoe-shiner - he was the only performer she didn't complain about to management.
Actually, sadder still was the fact that every child who passed through wanted to stop and listen. And every parent they were with hustled them on without a glance at the violinist.
Saddest yet is that I know that if I had been there, I probably would have done the same. I like to think that I would have been the guy to at least spare a minute. Or maybe the one parent who didn't drag his kid away from the amazing music that neither of us will hear the like of again. I'm afraid that I would miss it completely and be the guy who "had no memory that there had been a musician anywhere in sight".
I knew after reading this that I wanted to be different. I want to notice things that others miss. My sister has a little side-blog where she captures something every day that she loves. I don't want to copy that, and I want to capture more than just pictures, but it certainly inspiring. Then while I thought about it, my 31st birthday came and went, and my sister1 got me the book above. It's called How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. While it wouldn't have been my first choice of book, as it doesn't involve space battle or time travel, it fits the bill perfectly for maybe getting me out of my own little head. What I need is something to force me to see things I take for granted, and perhaps over time, I won't need to be forced to do so.
So while the book is about taking notes and writing things down in the moment, I'm going to experiment and learn and explore and as I go, transcribe the things I do and learn and what-have-you onto the net, to share what I'm learning and doing and make myself do it. I will do it over on Explore with screenbeard on tumblr, and when I'm finished fold it back in here.
This post was going to start out negative, calling for nominations for "Unaustralian of the Year". And whilst typically Australian, its not a particularly celebratory way to see the year out.
So instead I want to spend December gathering stories about people who have been exceptional this year. I want to know about the hard working mums who are cooking dinner, washing clothes and potty training a 2 year old all at the same time, every day.
Tell us about the guy at the end of your street who climbed up a tree to save a cat and saw an old lady having a heart attack while crossing the street, so he rushes down and sprints to her side to carry her to safety, call 000 and start resuscitation, all before that lout in the Ute comes this close to driving over her face.
Introduce the people near by you who make your life excellent, or who help people they don't know, or who generally deserve a medal, but medals are expensive and not given out by a General for "Valor in the Face of Interrupted Sleep".
Share with us how people you know have been beautiful, hard working, loyal, brave, inspiring or delicious.
I want you to write a comment to nominate someone you think deserves a mention for being Bloody Good Bloke or a Top Sheila. Tell us why they deserve it. Then, if you read a story from someone that you like, give the comment a thumbs up so I can come back and post about the people you vote for.
Lets end this year on a positive note, giving thanks for the people in our lives who inspire us, make us happy, or put others before themselves.