Monday, January 31, 2011


Like raising an ADHD cat on cocaine. A 45-pound cat. That can talk. And that has thumbs.

I told Mama yesterday that's how it sometimes feels to raise 3B. There's the constant ping-ponging from one topic to another, back to the first, on to the third, all while ping-ponging among activities and locations. Then there's the talking.

Oh, the talking.

Like an avalanche coming down the mountain, he's going the distance, he's going for speed.

I can't blame anyone but myself for that trait, however. Mom made a note about me as an infant, before I could talk, that I babbled constantly, enough that the nurse at my pediatrician mentioned it. Bad enough that my mother, who'd already had five children, thought it notable, but worse that a nurse, who's probably seen hundreds of children in her career, found it worth mentioning.

And yet, all the shards of what appears to be a shattered mirror are reflecting one image. 3B will pull them all together into a whole, like assembling the pieces of a puzzle in one brilliant flash, like when I explain that Alpha Centauri is the nearest star after our own sun and 3B says to me, "You mean Alpha Sun-tauri?" with a sly grin.

And then there are all the other moments, when the ping ponging all stops and he focuses his tremendous attention on one item, usually a book. Recently, it's been the All-Star Superman books that his cousin gave him for Christmas. If we had the time, 3B would have us read them from cover-to-cover throughout the day, until he understood them completely.

Which could take awhile, unless you know why Superman loses his power under red sunlight.

And can explain it to me in small words.

Papa Bradstein is not Superman, he can't leap tall buildings in a single bound and isn't faster than a speeding train but he'll try to stop cancer with one bike ride.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Skating with a badger

If you're ever wondering if there are ice skates small enough for a 16-month old toddler, the answer is, Yes.

And if you're ever wondering if those skates are tiny and adorable, the answer is, Yes.

And if you're ever wondering if you'll can skate around the rink, doubled over so far you could touch your toes, but instead of doing that, you're trying to hold up a 25-pound child whose wearing so many layers of nylon winter clothes that keeping her head from cracking on the ice is akin to holding onto a greased badger while balancing yourself on knife blades, the best answer might be, I'll sit here and watch you two skate around.

We'd have pictures of skating at the National Art Gallery Sculpture Garden, but we had our hands full, literally and figuratively.

But the kids had a blast, so the feeling that my back was beaten with a bat and hamstrings that are as tight as harp's all worth it.

Or maybe that's just my memory of going to the diner afterward, where we all had breakfast for dinner, followed up with pie.

Papa Bradstein is ... what's that? Pie? Mmm. Pie.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bowl games: Souper and Toilet

My grandmother instructed me to never break my bread or roll in my soup. Obviously, I have failed to pass along the first part of this message to Jewel, but I have so far succeeded in keeping her from rolling in her soup. So far.

About 63 years ago, when we had our bathroom remodeled, y'all asked for pictures. We didn't put the finishing touches on for months, by which time we had a new distraction from taking pictures of the toilet. Now, however, I have a new toy that allows me to easily post not just pictures of the loo, but also moving pictures--in HD, no less. I'm sure this would make Mom proud. Moving ahead, we are.

To celebrate riding 200 miles on his bike, Papa Bradstein is going to roll in his soup and videotape a porta potty.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Walking home through the snowstorm, feeling lucky

I was on a bus that drove no faster than 5 mph. I was on a bus that got stuck in the snow. I had to walk home through the snowstorm.

When I got home, our power was on, so we could learn about all of our friends in the area who were trapped by falling trees and stuck in commutes that were somehow taking them farther away from home.

Now that I'm heading out to dig out the car, I'm not feeling so lucky, but really, I'm just wondering, Do I really need my fleece-lined Carhartts here in Virginia?

The answer is, of course, yes.

And once I'm done with that, I need to come back in, shake of the snow, have another warm cup of half-caf and figure out if any buses or trains are running today and hope I don't have to walk all the way in to work. Not that that's possible really.

Why bother?

Because I started my new job last July, which means that what little leave I accrued was sucked up by Thanksgiving and Christmas trips. I work at a place that, despite common perception, never really closes, despite what you may hear on the news about the federal government status in and around D.C., and I happen to work for the agency that's responsible for keeping that place operational at all times: roads and sidewalks clear, lights on, heat running and so forth.

That means that our agency never really closes either. This would be fine if I had enough leave, but I don't, or if I was allowed to telework yet, but I'm not.

And when I'm just thinking about work, that's all fine. The place is important enough, and I am lucky enough to work there. But when I start thinking about all the snowballs, sled rides and snow angels I'll miss back here at home, that's when I wonder why I do this.

I think about how my pay is frozen harder and deeper than the ground outside, and about the millions of people who aren't getting paid at all, having been unemployed for years now.

I think about how I work in a windowless room underground where it's too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer, and about the guy I see who sleeps on the Metro vent grate under a mountain of blankets, just to keep from freezing to death at night.

I think about all the events that are part of the normal daily fabric of life of 3B and Jewel I miss during my hours commuting and working, and about all those kids whose normal is hospital rooms and hair loss.

I think about how lucky I am.

Papa Bradstein is hoping he doesn't have to walk his bike 200 miles through the snow, uphill both ways, into the wind, but he will, if that's what it takes.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!
Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yesterday was a good day

I got back on my bike after about two weeks off due to illness--mine and the kids'. Mama got to go to the gym, despite her injured knee. The kids were bathed and fed by the time I got home, so I got to play all evening with them and put them both down while Mama was at the gym. Our cleaning lady came, so I could stop chastising myself for five minutes about how I should be vacuuming or dusting or scrubbing the floors.

Yes, a cleaning lady.

We've been using her for years now, ever since we realized that it was worth it to pay her to do in a few hours what would take us weeks to get to...if we ever got to it. At first, it seemed like a defeat and an extravagance and a hassle, but now it's just a part of our lives. A hassle? Yes, I'm not the first to complain about having to pick up before someone comes in to clean up, but rather than chastise myself, I consider myself the bearer of a great tradition.

We have learned where to focus our efforts, hiding our valuables--and by valuables I mean our plastic pieces and parts, bibs and bobs, widgets and whoozits that we need for all of our variety of sippy cups. Somehow, although we have one cupboard dedicated to sippy cups, these parts get scattered across the kitchen and pantry cabinets by our cleaning lady. It takes us about two weeks to reassemble them all, which is just in time for her to arrive again.

I suppose I should view her as a bodhisattva, teaching me about attachment.

Which I'll get around to as soon as I find that @#$%ing little !@#$%! disk that goes with that other $%^* thing that I can't @#$^#$& find anywhere.

Meanwhile, I'm once again humbled as a parent by everything that Mama can do: get the kids up, dressed, packed up, out the door to two different locations, go to work, pick up the kids, get them bathed and fed, entertain our neighbor and her two-year old who came over to play--all in the time it took me to drag myself to work and back. She is the true master, teaching lessons about patience, compassion and stop pinching your sister #$%^&$%^&*! with grace and humor.

And while bath time is fun with the kids--until the pinching starts--and dinner is a good time to talk--until 3B starts roaming the living room like Cain in Kung Fu--it was nice to be able to do nothing but dance and play until bedtime last night.

Oh yeah, it was a good day.

Papa Bradstein has groove in his heart and and is dancing on his pedals.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Master(s) of the house

When 3B was an infant and toddler, Mama and I paid acute attention to every detail of his development. I noted here in this blog each breath, blink and step, it seems, complete with 8 x 10 glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one...or at least a video.

Jewel is, of course, the second child, which means that we check once or twice a day to ensure she's still breathing, only really look at her eyes if she's got a raging case of conjunctivitis, and have recently noticed that she can now beat us down the hallway to the elevator, so we suppose she's walking. Or something.

What fascinated me about 3B is that, despite all of our careful attention to each detail, he learned to do everything on his own. Sure, we talked to him, but we didn't formally teach him to shape sounds and words--he sorted that out on his own. Same with walking--he saw us walking, and we would hold his hands for him to pull up on and cruise around with, but he sorted out all of the falling and catching that walking entails on his own.

With Jewel, the learning seems even more miraculous, since we're often not even talking directly to her, but rather her brother, who's chatty enough that he could occupy all 535 members of Congress with conversation--and other antics--simultaneously. Don't be surprised if her first words are, "That's a time out." And we certainly weren't available as often as she wanted to offer support for walking, but now she's literally off and running.

And while 3B, thanks to our constant reading of books, loves nothing more than to while away the day lost in stories--mostly books, but TV will fill in if we're otherwise occupied--Jewel never had that undivided attention. But she took that not as a loss, but as a gain, content to while away the day figuring out one system after another. She's pretty much mastered most buckles around the house and is able to easily latch or unlatch them. And it's her little hands and mind that childproof caps were made for, since screw tops are yesterday's news to our toddler.

The TV remotes remain, of course, the holy grail.

Having just upgraded our Dish to HD, Mama and I are still figuring out the remotes and interface, so perhaps we would do well to give them to her and her brother. She could sort them out and dictate for him to write down how they work and give us instructions we can understand.

You know, a stack of 8 x 10 glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one...or at least a video.

Papa Bradstein is going to post a stack of 8 x 10 glossy photos as updates on his ride.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chasing Yeti, catching Calder

It's 8.50 at night and 3B's still awake. He's been in bed for 50 minutes, but he's still awake. Recently he's been putting up huge resistance at bedtime, insisting that we leave his lights on and that someone stays in the room with him all night and so forth. We've compromised on leaving the Christmas lights on in his room and maybe going back in after 10 minutes to give him another kiss.

He's compromised by staying awake as long as he's possibly can by sitting bolt upright, talking to himself and squirming all around his bed until he collapses.

I swear that we should replace our entire diplomatic negotiation corps with four-year-olds. The U.S. would get everything it ever wanted and then some from anyone it was in talks with in under a week. Seriously, who other than a parent could withstand the relentless negotiating, pressure and compromising?

It doesn't help Mama and I that we're both working on 16 months of total sleep deprivation. Being Jewel's parents, and having her sleep--I use the term loosely--in our room, has been like working rotating shifts with a

But just because we're tired doesn't mean that the kids are. So yesterday I took 3B out to a playground. After stepping outside to check the weather, Mama came back inside, snapped the icicle off her nose, and declared that we'd be the only ones at the playground. Sure enough we were, and sure enough it was too damn cold to play, but 3B and I ended up running around for awhile, alternately chasing and being chased by Yeti.

I learned that Yeti cannot get to you if you stand on the roof of the toy boat in the playground. Who knew?

When the novelty of that wore off, we headed down the old railroad tunnel next to the playground. That sounds sketchy until you realize that it was long ago converted to a paved trail. It was fun to find ice in what 3B declared was a tomb--as he does in any underground space--and to walk along the canyon wall.

And about that canyon--having heard the word in Scooby Doo and the Monster of Mexico, 3B asked me as we were driving to the playground what one is. Simple words like that are sometimes the hardest to explain, but I went with, "A hole is round, but a canyon is a deep place, like a hole, but it goes in a straight line." That was good enough that when we came out of the far side of the tunnel, where the trail is well below ground level, 3B declared, "We're in a canyon!"

That realization made the tunnel all that much better, because now it was a tunnel and a canyon. It's the little things.

Speaking of little things, I'd like to point out to the Safeway at the end of the tunnel, that a little toilet paper and a little soap in your bathroom would mean a lot to this dad, even if it's a few days late now.

Then it was back through the tunnel, running from the Yeti, even if we were seemingly running toward the sound of the Yeti, which was the sound of planes on approach to National Airport over the Wilson Bridge. Having safely escaped the Yeti for an hour, we retired to Starbucks to reward ourselves with some treats. Well, one of us got treats, since 3B stole half of my bagel--at first to warm himself by holding it, and then to fill his belly by eating it.

Good thing he's cute.

Then we were home and it was time to play, watch a movie, take a bath, read some stories and go to bed...who knows what the kids did while I was doing that. Hope they had a good night too.

Today, we headed into the National Gallery, where we were meeting 3B's best friend from his former preschool for a program on Calder that included a story, an investigation and the supplies to make his own mobile. It was wonderful.

For those of you who aren't parents, this means that there was some fighting, acting out, whining and tantrums. But it also means that the kids were awestruck, amazed and lovely to each other, spontaneously hugging and holding hands as they walked along. So cute it makes my heart ache just writing about it.

Jewel in particular, who had never been in the East Wing of the National Gallery, with the massive Calder mobile in the atrium, was delighted by almost everything. She spent her first fifteen minutes wandering the wide open floors with her face pointed straight up, mouth wide open in a smile.

She loved the mobiles, the massive color blocks of Rothko, the splattered Jackson Pollock...until it was about half a second past lunch time and we walked past Thiebaud's Cakes, which set off a squawking, squirming meltdown that made Jewel as easy to carry as a pillowcase filled with a caterwauling cougar and a rabid pit bull.

I handed her off to Mama for a trip to the cafeteria while I escorted 3B through the last part of the program, including the making of his mobile, which is now hanging in our window.

After that, we joined Mama and Jewel for a snack, a romp around the glass pyramids by the fountains at the top of the cascade that tumbles down to the cafeteria, and a frozen walk across the tundra that is the National Mall to the car. Then we dropped off our old Exersaucer--yeah, we're doing that now--despite the fact that we have a four-year-old whose bedtimes are harder than a toddler's and a toddler who still throws tantrums like a...well, OK, like a toddler.

But, given the size of the renovated phone booth that we live in, we don't have time to keep memorabilia around--especially memorabilia that's the size of a Volkswagen. Of course, we were lucky that 3B was asleep by the time we got to Mama's colleague's house to make the drop off, because he hates to give anything away--unfortunately, I can't claim that's Mama's side of the family.

And after an eventful weekend, I was too tired to negotiate with Danny Roman.

Papa Bradstein is in...are you?

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!
Or get new posts via email...

Enter your email address:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Puking, drowning, waving and blessings

On Wednesday, Jewel was up at 3 a.m., puking in her crib, following in the footsteps of her brother, who had horked at school the day before.

3B's appeared to be a five-minute stomach bug and Jewel's was really just gagging on post nasal drip--yeah, because that makes it more appealing--so everyone appears to be OK in the long term. But still, I could go a long time without washing another sheet or changing another bed.

For the record, however, I can change the bedding on a lower bunk bed in under three minutes...while eating breakfast, making lunch and putting on a Scooby Doo movie. Yes, I'm that good.

But really, while these emissions make for amusing anecdotes now, the week has been like many others. I've spent many a minute trying to determine if I'm drowning or just waving to everyone on shore as I swim out to a deserted island for a nap...and is that a box jellyfish up ahead?

As jarring and irritating as it is to be awakened by a screaming, mucus horking baby who's so angry she's trembling when I pick her up--you're angry, sweetie? you don't have to change the sheets--I do count my blessings that it's just a cold and that it will pass. And as disturbing it is to imagine the horror that throwing up in class must have been for 3B, who can be painfully shy--as in it's truly physically painful for me to watch sometimes as the world bombards him--I also count my blessings that it passed.

And that he has an amazing teacher and preschool staff who cared for him as well as we could hope for anyone to do who isn't us. They made it easier for him to go back, despite being scared that going back to school would make him chunder again.

Hopefully warmer days will be here sooner than later, so we can all get outside and run around a bit. I tried taking 3B out for a bike ride last weekend, but the wind was too cold on his cheeks, so the ride lasted all of about half an hour. I guess this means he won't be accompanying me next week when I finally get back to my 50-minute bike commute. In the dark. Both ways.

But I'll only be getting back to it if we can go two days without anybody puking.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Speaking in tongues

This weekend was long. Three days long. Two colds long. Long.

I came into it with a bit of a cold myself. Or not. I was either fighting something off or recovering from it. Either way, I needed to go to bed at 5 every night and not wake up until 11. Unfortunately, I was going to bed at 11 every night and waking up at 5 every morning.

Then Jewel got my cold. Or picked up one of her own. Only she knows, and she's not talking. Well, she is talking quite a bit these days, but mostly still to say only, "dis" and "dat" and "dese" and "dose." We may be raising a wise guy.

On Saturday she was OK. On Sunday things went slightly downhill. Yesterday the lug nuts came loose so that last night the wheels could come off and a crash and burn could ensue. She ended up sleeping--and I use that term loosely--in our bed for most of the night. Of course, by the time I got there, there was only the least of the night left, which means that I pretty much took a cat nap last night.

And so I continue to either fight off or recover from whatever this virus is that's plaguing our household. I'm not really sick, I just don't feel great. Then again, that could be the exhaustion talking.

And at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if my fatigue started talking to me. Or if I started talking back.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bitter and sweet

When I leave for work in the morning, Jewel blows me kisses and smiles at me from wherever she is. This morning she was in her high chair, eating breakfast, so it was a fairly easy departure.

On days when she's not restrained and sated--or at least distracted by her favorite pasttime--she knows when I'm about to leave, be it on my bike or on foot to catch the bus. So she heads for the foyer to block my exit, blow me kisses and throw a tantrum.

Her tantrums are classic--throws herself to the ground, usually over backward, kicks, cries, screams, bangs her hands and feet. The only problem really is that we're second-time parents so we stand around and sort of cluck our tongues at her and say things like, "Well, that does seem a bit much now, doesn't it?"

Or, "Methinks the baby doth protest too much."

Yeah, she doesn't think we're all that funny either.

If Mama can, she'll walk Jewel down the hall to say goodbye to me at the elevator, where Jewel repeats much the same scene, except with Mama holding her. This means that Jewel launches her now-hard skull straight back into Mama's clavicle like a blacksmith's hammer raining down on a thin twig.

A thin twig full of nerve endings.

As the door closes, I hear...
"Say, 'Goodbye' to Daddy."
The sound of kisses smacking into Jewel's hand and her little giggle.
"Say, 'I love you, Daddy.'"
"We love you, babe."
A wail.
A thud.
"I hate that."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Monday, 3B got up, walked out to the living room and assumed his usual prone position on the couch.

After coming over to say, "Good morning," and tell him that I love him, I asked if he had any dreams.

"Yes. I dreamed I was Cleopatra."

"What happened in your dream?"

"I was rolled up in a carpet, the ends were folded over like this and then tied shut with a rope. Then I was picked up and carried over someone's shoulder into the palace to meet Julius Caesar."


I'm dreaming in the wrong head.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Some days

Yesterday, when I got home from work, Jewel was crawling through the nylon, pop-up cubes and tunnels that we set up for the kids and 3B was walking toward the front door while mouthing off to Mama, pointing at her and making his angry face.

Trying to defuse the situation, I asked if he would come over and give me a hug, but Mama cut me off, "He's going to time out."


Yeah, some days are just that way. Cuteness on the floor and trouble in the hallway. But overall the kids were good yesterday, despite a four-hour visit from a DishTV installer who upgraded us to HD, which meant that I could watch the beginning of Oregon's loss in painful detail. Dude, every texture on their uniforms--the wings on the shoulders, those screaming yellow socks, and the faux fabric of their helmets--was visible. Someone should really tell them.

But I couldn't watch Castle in HD because the HD local stations come from a satellite that isn't visible from our condo. So, we still have our local stations...and now two dishes on our balcony. Yeah, some days are just that way. HD on the TV and a mess of dishes on the balcony.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Friday, January 07, 2011

What kind are you?

I want to clarify and expand on my post yesterday about boys and girls. It's easy for me to say that my son can wear whatever he wants.

Good lord, after some of the horrific clothing choices I've made, I'm not in any position to critique another's apparel affinities.

But this thread runs deeper in 3B. For some time, he's identified as a girl about half the time, and he almost always identifies with and becomes most attached to women in stories. After watching Scooby Doo for the first time, he wanted to play Scooby Doo with us. Who was he? Daphne, of course. After seeing Toy Story 2, did he want to be Buzz or Woody? No, Jessie, of course. And so on.

I've often said that if you think you don't have any buttons to push, your kids will find them for you and then tap dance on them, and in these transgendering moments, 3B has found one of mine. Not that I'm opposed to transgendered people, but that I can't wrap my mind around my own son being a girl.

Part of that is because his gender is part of my identity: I'm the father of a boy and a girl. But what if I become the father of two girls?

Now, to be honest, one of my first reactions when this thought crossed my mind was that we paid a doctor $4,000 dollars to reach up into his abdomen, pull down his second testicle and sew it into his scrotum, so I'll be goddamned if he's going to cut the thing off now.

But I was really just kidding.

And my second reaction was a question to myself: Dude, why are you buggin? I mean, c'mon, I grew up in the androgynous 80's and loved Prince, David Bowie and a slew of hair bands that all bent gender stereotypes so far that they broke most of them.

As I reflected on this question, I realized that my being the father of a boy or my son being a boy--or a son, for that matter--aren't what's most important to me about his identity. It doesn't matter so much whether he has, as my father used to say, indoor or outdoor plumbing. What's most important to me is whether or not he's kind and compassionate.

This thought reminded me of the Dalai Lama's question: What is a Tibetan? It's a poignant question for a man banned from his homeland and who can easily foresee that his reincarnation will be born outside of Tibet.

And so, indeed, what is my son? In answer, I have only one question: are you kind?

Truly, I don't believe that 3B is transgendered. I believe that he's exploring all that the world has to offer him as he discovers it, just as after he sometimes likes to pretend that he's a kitty cat or a scary monster or Zorro. But I'm forever grateful to him for teaching me such a profound lesson about the meaning of our identities and how to view people in a meaningful way.

Now, if he could teach me to carry a tune, that would be a true miracle.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Simple and complex, boys and girls

Apparently there was a segment on the Today show yesterday with a boy who likes to wear dresses and his mother, who explained that she lets him do it because it makes him happy. Perhaps the feedback has been more balanced that what I've seen on the innernets, but mostly I've seen people criticizing the mother for letting her son do this.

As a father who lets his son dress up in whatever he wants, I wanted to explain why I do. There are two reasons: the simple and the complex.

The simple reason...
It makes him happy. So why don't I let him eat cake all day, since that would make him happy too? Because that would also make him sick and and I don't like to clean up barf. I don't mind picking up a taffeta dress every once in awhile, however.

I also let him do things that make him happy that I don't agree with, like playing guns. He's a kid, fercrissakes, trying to figure all this stuff out. Just because he shoots all of the stuffed animals on his bed, I don't think he's going to grow up to be Michael Vick.

The complex reason...
Because girls and women are valuable too. We often celebrate girls and women who do things that are traditionally male activities in our culture, like go to war, play football and drive race cars. If we don't celebrate boys and men who do things that are traditionally female activities in our culture we send a clear, if implicit, message that male activities are valuable and worth celebrating and female activities are not valuable and should be avoided, unless required.

Just as people are quick to say that playing football makes their little girl a more complete person, wearing dresses makes my son a more complete person too.

Because if you think for a minute that he doesn't pursue all of the traditionally boy activities, as did I, such as playing guns, war, dinosaurs, construction equipment, planes, dirt, swords and so forth, then you've never been shot dead in a fierce sword battle with Zorro in a wedding dress.

And you're poorer for it.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Every day

Every day I learn something. Not always something new, but something. Today I learned--again--that when I ride the bus/Metro, I don't get that hot-chisel-hammered-into-my-eyebrows feeling that riding my bike in 20 degree weather gives me.

Yeah, I don't know how it is that such cold can feel so hot, and I don't particularly care either...just make it stop, make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

And yes, I've tried pulling my skullcap lower and pushing my sunglasses up. Dude, there's just going to be some bare skin there, and it's going to hurt. Until it goes numb.

I also learned that it's far easier to read books on my iPhone while sitting on a (too) warm bus than while pedaling at 100 rpm while seated, if you can call it that, on a saddle that could be mistaken for a bird perch.

Then again, on the bus/Metro, I didn't get to see the sun rising over the rivers, the geese winging overhead, sweeping left and right as they form and re-form their echelons and V formation.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a metal word display that says, "simplify." That's fitting, because on Christmas Eve, at 4 a.m., I was struck with an epiphany--good day of all days for that to happen, I reckon--about our website redesign that we're going through here at work. I won't bore you with the details, but the upshot was that we needed to simplify our new design.

Specifically, we needed to simplify by removing those items that our readers aren't interested in. Too often, websites have what I call "security blankets," which are those menu items, buttons and features that are there simply because they've always been there.

Which is how you end up with a link to the weather forecast on every page. But, you know what? If I'm, say, looking for the HR policy on employee discipline, I'm probably not that interested in what the weather is like right now.

What I am interested in is everything about employee discipline, so it would be more helpful to have, say a link to an HR specialist rather than a link to the Weather Channel site.

OK, so I did bore you with details...but the point is that I also realized that I need to do this in my home, my work and my life. I need to strip away those things that I'm not really interested in, which will reveal both those things that I am interested in and new opportunities.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!