I saved your life, j. Again. I thought you would have learned after the last time you almost drowned. But NOPE. It’s our fault I guess. Because there’s no way the human race survived this long without learning that water is danger. But thanks to modern culture, we have overriden Darwin. We have made water=fun with all the swimming classes. Smart parents in the past would have scared their children shitless about playing near water. And then kids grow up being afraid of the water but that is smart because then they don’t drown. But the problem with modern times is we don’t want kids to grow up afraid of the water.
And because of that, there is no rest for a parent. The other day we invited a family we’re friends with over. We’re friends with the parents and you two are friends with the kids. They always invited us to their place so we thought it was our turn now that we have a big enough place. And because it’s summer and we have a pool. Anyway after some swimming j you took your floaties off to have a snack. Mama was chatting with the other mom and the other dad was consoling their little girl. I was playing with you two older kids.
Then I looked up and you were not at the snack table. I scanned the backyard and I didn’t find you. You could have gone potty. I scanned the pool. Two kids, two moms, dad, other kid, and one head sank underwater. You were kicking toward the steps and I spotted you just as your head dipped under. I called j! No one looked. I shouted j! I was on the other side of the pool and now everyone was looking at me instead of at you even though you were right next to them. I tried to explain but nothing came out because it would be too many words. I ran. I didn’t want to jump from where I was because swimming to you would be slow. I kept running. I didn’t want to jump from the slippery edge because if I slipped it would be too slow. When I got close enough I jumped over all the parents who were right next to you and scooped you up. You cried and I hugged you on the steps. You kept crying. Mama took you and hugged you. This usually calms you down but you kept crying.
It was the 2nd time I saved you from drowning. And I’m thinking to myself, what if I wasn’t there? What if I had to go to the bathroom? And you know what? This wasn’t the last time either. You went under yet another time a few weeks later, because…
Swimming lessons by dad (and what I think is the best way to teach your kid to go underwater).
I thought I had some ideas about how to teach you monkies to swim. Ideas like I’ll teach you how to float on your back, so even if you can’t tread water or swim, at least you won’t drown. That didn’t really work. Neither of you felt comfortable lying on your back on water. I noticed it flowed into your ears too so that didn’t help. Then I tried the old classic kicking exercise. Hold a float, kick. Put your head down, hands forward, kick. You couldn’t put your head down, and with your head up you couldn’t keep your balance. So that was a flop too.
So I gave up. I thought maybe you’re not ready yet. Maybe Summer 2016 won’t be the summer you’ll learn to swim. Maybe you just need to play in your floats for a while to get stronger with kicking, and for your brain to get more comfortable being in water (unconsciously). I didn’t push after that. But one day you said you wanted to learn to swim.
So I thought let’s try something different. Let’s try playing the diving game. I challenged both of you to touch the 1st of the pool steps. No problem. Then the 2nd. Both of you could do it. Then the 3rd. Neither of you could do it. But J was close. I said if you put your head under real fast you would touch it. But you couldn’t.
So we worked on going underwater. I first tried teaching blowing bubbles. Since that’s better for your lungs and you will never get any water up your mouth/nose if you’re blowing. I said step 1 blow above water. Step 2 blow close to the water and make waves. Step 3 blow bubbles under the water. The water will splash up your nose, and I hoped eventually you would stop caring that it did. Again, that didn’t go to far. It only got your mouths under water.
So I gave up for a while again. Then one day you two wanted me to do things like spin you or tug you around the pool. So I said you need tickets for that. And the tickets are blowing bubbles. You did that gladly. Then I said the tickets are touching the 2nd step. Then the 3rd step. J you hesitated. I said you are right there. Just close your eyes and touch it very fast. In and out, wipe your face. I said blow bubbles. You took a deep breath and held it and touched the 3rd step. Your face touched the water for less than a second and you shot back up gasping and clawing at your eyes. You looked at me like I just made you do the most horrible thing in the world. But then you thought about what you just did and you were surprised you did it. You shouted to tell mama who was on the other side of the house and inside.
I guess holding your breath near water is more natural than blowing bubbles. Because for the next few weeks I noticed you’d randomly take deep breaths and then hold it while you were swimming. As if you’d go under, but you didn’t. It was as if you’re figuring out how to hold your breath. What helped was going to the zoo. We watched a hippo lie underwater for 3 minutes, then come up for air and go back under. And a flock of penguins fly through the water. We’re all mammals. We can’t breathe underwater but we can hold our breath and come up when we need air.
Then one warm evening I came home from work early and was feeling good about myself. The back sliding door was open and all 3 of you were in the pool. I threw my clothes off and jumped into my trunks. I snuck to the pool and cannonballed in. Mama was surprised for a split second because she didn’t know I came home at first. I imagine she just saw a half-naked man run to the pool and jump in. We played for a bit and then once again you said you wanted to learn how to swim. So I said hmm let me think. You two continued playing Marco Polo with mama. When you were done I brought back j’s goggles (J’s was missing). I said they were diving goggles and it’s only for divers and we’ll take turns using it. You put them on and first I said look underwater to see how many fingers I am holding up. You both cheated and looked from above the surface. I spotted a pipet and I sank it and said try to pick it up. You held your breath and put your face in! Then it was j’s turn but you cheated and picked it up without going under. I asked mama to find a toy we can dive for with underwater. She came back with Zuma.
We took turns diving for Zuma. The rule was the person who brings him back up has to sink it for the next person. J’s goes to the 3rd step, j’s goes to the 2nd step and when it’s my turn one of you throws it into middle of the pool. After 15 minutes of this J is getting really excited that he’s mastering going under and being able to see. You kicked around while sticking your face underwater and come back up sounding like you’re drowning. But you kept doing it. Then j decided you want to dive for Zuma in the deepest part of the pool. I said to J I need help spotting Zuma because you’re the only one with the goggles. j shouts “THERE! THERE! THERE!” because you really can already see it from the surface. But J is all into it and you go “OKAY! I’LL DO IT.” And you took a deep breath and searched under and came up pointing. Then I dove down and you watched. We did this for another 15 minutes.
By the time we made it back to the shallow end, J wanted all of us to pretend to be sea creatures. Your face like you were drowning but you were giddy with your new-found abilities and the underwater world you unlocked. Then I had to go pee and that’s when mama came out to find that both her children had turned into fish:
j feel asleep laughing like he used to
mama couldn’t make out what it was about but she didn’t care
And how did you go under again, k? Well, the day after the video above, J felt ready to dive without his floats. And he made it all the way to the bottom of the shallow end, blowing bubbles all the way. Since he was doing so well, he did doggy paddles from the steps to me to mama. Then you wanted to take of your floats too and we passed you around, except we kept your head above water. Then one time I passed you to mama. And then I passed J. And then I saw your head bobbing up and down and I shouted. Mama had sent you to the steps and switched to receive J but didn’t realize you didn’t make it to the steps. When we got you, you were struggling not to cry and you said, “I’m O–KaY :(” You were sniffing and shaking. Then you said, “I think – I’m not – ready for that yet,” almost breaking into tears on each word.
WHAT THE FUCK. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
The kitchen sink clogged up. It wouldn’t drain no matter what we did. I tried to look under the sink to check the J trap. As I was twisting it, the rusted pipes broke off. So I had to fix the new thing I broke first. Not too bad. Our neighbor Mr K gave me some advice, I went to the store, found a PVC kit, muscled it in, easy. But the sink still didn’t drain. I had tried shoving our garden house into the cleanout port behind the sink in the yard. But the hose couldn’t go in more than 2 feet. I did my best to spray inside with water. Lots of muck and gunk and decomposing waste came out, our backyard smelled like a fishing port swamp, but the clog remained.
So I went under the house to see what I could see. At the very least, I wanted to map out my plumbing.
When I came back up from under there, my respirator was coated with dust, and my coveralls were soaked with sweat and dirt. I was dreading having to replace the rusted metal pipes and I had no idea how bad the clog was. There was a cleanout port below, but opening it while the pipe was clogged would mean I’d flood my crawlspace with kitchen and sewer water. I was ready to give up.
It hurt my pride, since I’d been at this for a while now. But I asked mama to call a plumber to at least get a number to see if it was worth our trouble.
And the plumber didn’t even want to take our money! We said it was clogged, I tried a snake, there’s rust under there… and he said, “Go get a 50 ft snake and I guarantee you it will work.” I said we flushed the cleanout, lots of stuff came out, I crawled under and tried to open the cleanout and it was rusted stuck… He said “Look, trust me. Go get a 50 ft snake, snake it and it will work. Bye.” He hung up!
So I said FINE! I guess I’ll do it myself! I went and got a snake. I found a 25 ft one instead of 50, but based on my measurements that would be just long enough. I snaked it, and it worked. Sonofabtch he was right.
This is what I pulled out:
“You have what we call Home Warts”. That’s what our neighbor said when I told him about our sprinklers failing and our pipe clogging. I was upset at first, that he was saying our home had warts when I had worked so hard to fix the broken things. But he meant it to say, “Don’t worry kid, all homes have them.”
Father’s day – We spent it at the zoo. I have pictures below. It was a long drive but we had a good time. We were there from when they opened til when they closed. The day before we played in the pool. That was the first time we started breathing exercises and practicing blowing bubbles.
Lemony Snicket’s Advice on How to Write a Nice Thank-You Note:
1. Do not start with the thank you.
2. Start with any other sentence. If you first say, “Thank you for the nice sweater,” you can’t imagine what to write next. Say, “It was so wonderful to come home from school to find this nice sweater. Thank you for thinking of me on Arbor Day.”
3. Then you’re done.
Christians are atheists too. Stephen F. Roberts sums up the argument nicely: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
What I’m working on. The hardware acceleration and cluster projects are going as well as could be. It’s still a mess but we’re making progress. Some days I feel good at the things we’ve made. Some days I am disappointed by how terrible things are. And each day I have to steer my ship to move a little closer to a harbor I cannot see.
Spark Optical Flow
In any case, there’s enough demand in this area that we’re hiring. I wrote this “help-wanted” ad:
Software Engineer, FPGA Accelerator Scale-out
As an FPGA Accelerator Scale-out Engineer, you will be part of an R&D team that develops high performance low power FPGA acceleration hardware and software. This position focuses on designing and deploying solutions to scale FPGAs out to private and public clusters. You will also develop software stacks for integrating FPGA accelerators into high performance applications.
You will work on projects critical to growth, with opportunities to move among various teams and projects as you and our FPGA acceleration business evolves. You are versatile, display leadership qualities and are enthusiastic to tackle new problems across the full-stack as we continue to push technology forward. Most of all, you are driven to find creative solutions where solutions may not exist yet; and to transform noisy components into reliable systems that scale.
· Work closely with FPGA kernel developers, software developers and data center customers to build FPGA-accelerated solutions
· Develop FPGA libraries for standalone and cluster applications (e.g., BLAS, Caffe, Spark and Tensorflow)
· Develop & manage FPGA clusters for internal experiments and production scale-out
· Develop runtime systems to deploy FPGA accelerators in data centers
· Integrate runtime systems with cloud computing frameworks
· Work at multiple layers of the application, from back-end (FPGA & system) to front end (web applications, UIs and visualizations)
· BA/BS degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science or equivalent practical experience.
· Experience or coursework in FPGA Digital Design or EDA optimization tools
· 5 years of general software programming experience in C++ or Python
· Experience with software stack from hardware to application.
· Experience working with two or more of the following areas: big data, computer vision, distributed and parallel systems, machine learning, information retrieval, data mining, natural language processing, networking, developing large software systems, and/or security software development.
· Experience with large-scale distributed data processing systems such as Spark
· Working knowledge of docker
· Experience with production or personal projects that required hacking to make pieces that don’t fit together fit together
· Solid foundation in data structures, algorithms and software design with strong analytical and debugging skills
· Interest and ability to learn other coding languages as needed
“it has to come together in the reader’s head”
reader has to experience the joy of figuring it out
it’s impossible to be an engineer and an artist
I get inspired by milton and al jaffee and it takes a while to get into that frame of mind
of surprise and thinking about the reader
in engineering you are always trying to eliminate surprises. to control the chaos, to make it consistent and reproducible and maintainable
What we’re making: our own patio furniture. Mama brought out the sewing machine. She practiced making a few cushion covers. We bought some wood and a pocket hole kit. We’re recycling an old couch. Mr K let us borrow his miter saw. First time I used one. He showed me how to make a cut, and then I unplugged it to glue some cracks. Then he stuck around and we talked. Then J you came into the garage to see what we were up to. And Mr K said WHOA! I looked behind me and you were spinning the saw blade with your fingers. I was glad I unplugged the power and we laughed about it, but with these things you laugh because you know how badly you fucked up. I had made sure I was safe when I was using it, but I forgot that safety is never over when you have kids. *EXHALE*
We had a close call with our finances. I hadn’t been poor since I was a student and I was reminded how it felt last month. I had missed a property tax payment that was due in April. All of a sudden I had 9K due in a month and I had just sent 4K to grandma/grandpa. Funny thing is they just sold a house so it turned out that we needed the 4K more than them. I felt hit with the stress of barely making it. I had to borrow 5K from Abu to bail us out. I felt embarassed that we had to ask her, and I promised to pay it back within a month. I just needed something to hold us over til July, when I’d get my mid-year chunk of income. Anyway, we managed to scrape through, and our heads are back above water now. And you know it’s strange. I noticed that whenever we scrape through a rough financial patch, when we get some breathing room again, I make some emotional impulse purchases. Almost like I’m rebelling and proclaiming, “I’m a grown man I can buy whatever I want! I can’t be broke, I have money!” Which is scary how much money plays with your feelings. It also makes me feel like making even more money so that I never have to feel that stress again.
j: Mama when can I wear a two-half bathing suit like you (bikini)
J hit j, mama explained you’re bigger older and stronger and you hurt her
j, with tears welling up, exclaimed, “But I’m smarter.”
Mama tried not to laugh but you said it with such conviction, “BUT I’m SMARTER”
When we swim sometimes we like to pretend to be sea creatures
Me: I’m Captain Otter
j: I’m Captain Dragon
J: I’m a shark
J: j you’re peeing in the shower
j: it’s okay I caught it
J: Mama, the pool is like a gigantic bathtub
J: Tell daddy
Mama: I think daddy knows
“I don’t want to go to first grade”
You’re growing up to be such a beautiful boy. In spite of me. You’re so open with thoughts and feelings. You brought your activity book to work on it next to me. You were cutting twenty dragonflies out to glue onto a page. The tube of glue was near empty but I showed you how to get it out. You said you were starting to get tired of cutting the dragonflies. I showed you how to cut many out at a time by rows and colums. You got excited with that discovery. Then you tried to count twenty trucks but you kept losing count. You said, “Daddy, I don’t want to go to first grade.” Because you like Bing. Because you like Jack. I said we can’t be there forever. Imagine if you never left Bing and you were still there at thirty. “I think I’d be bored.” I said, besides, you can always visit because j will still be there. So it’ll be like you get to explore two new places. You get to have adventures in two different places. You kept scratching your pencil into your activity book.
I feel sad when you are mean to j.
… from captin underpants
I had a good intervew and j pooped in the potty!
Mama’s email instructions for me to get j ready for Saturday ballet
j needs to be ready to go by 9:30am. So you might need to dress her, brush her teeth and her hair.
When she wakes up you need to remind her to take her diaper off and change into undies. She should eat a fruit and then whatever else she wants, and milk.
Dressing: undies then tights then leotard. Slippers should be in her closet. Tutus are hanging with her shirts.
Hair: spray it with the coconut leave in conditioner in the yellow bottle until damp, then part it on the right and detangle.
L is feeling better but since A has mahjong today we’ll just do the class and go home. If it is not too hot maybe we can go hiking after nap time since sunset is so late.
I’ll be looking into the other activities for the weekend to see which day is best for each.
I didn’t get to any of that because I was still sleeping. I thought you’d wake me up but you didn’t.
js same class together for the first time. Last semester for J before Elementary school.
When j has trouble sleeping, you stay up. You wait for mama to finish biking on her exercise bike. Then you her follow into shower and you narrate everything.
“Now you are going to brush”
“Mama how many lotions do you have?”
The current night time routine is mama bikes while she waits you two to fall asleep. This is after shower and teeth brushing and stories. J you can work the shower alone now. You turn it out, set the temperature, “soap” and rinse, then dry and get dressed.
Mama hung a hummingbird feeder in our backyard. We now have over 4 hummingbird visitors. They visit many times each day.
j is intense with inflections and volume
J declared he’s into math. You’re revisiting notebooks you skipped. Mama has been giving you arithmetic exercises. You said multiplication is the hardest.
J I got stickers to label the piano keys because you wanted me to show you how to read notes. I said it’s like a secret message, just like your puzzles. If you find the right notes and play them, you can make music. You’ve been asking to practice on and off. You like being able to make music but after about 5 minutes, you ask me to play instead because you say you get too frustrated. You’re starting to get a better sense of how the piano works and your sense of tone is improving. When you play a wrong note, you say, “I don’t think that’s right.”
Two fish and one shrimp have died. Mama researched and concluded it was our water. She then tweaked the ecosystem over the next week or so and nothing else has died yet.
j you had a nightmare one night. You were afraid mama will die.
J one day you pinched j. Mama was upset and j was hurt. Then you pinched yourself all the way to school. Then you started talking about wanting to kill yourself. This went on for a few weeks. So mama decided to take you to a child psychologist. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was good. She came up with a few suggestions and homework that I liked. For example, an ABC chart
We have also started a reward chart. Every day you get stars for being good to yourself and to others. At the end of the day you get to exchange your stars for a reward. There is a basket full of rewards by the fridge with things such as a Simba the lion soft toy, a Paw Patrol robot dog, activity books and snacks. You call them prizes. I almost ate all the snacks one night before I found out what they were for.
J: “Daddy my snaps are getting louder”
You asked me how to snap and I showed you the other day. You’ve been practicising since. They don’t quite sound like snaps yet. More like snips.
I taught you two Rock Paper Scissors. Because you keep fighting for who gets to do what first. I thought I’d show you a game that could help you resolve that sometimes. Or not. Who knows. I bet someone’s going to cry about losing Rock Paper Scissors soon.
Diving to get Zuma. I set it for you, you set it for j, j throws it into the deep end for me.
Goggles, putting head underwater, holding breath underwater swimming.
Every time you emerge you sound like you’re drowning but you are so happy you want to do it again. Had to take a break – “Dad I think have to pee.” Later: “I pooped. That’s why I felt so uncomfortable.”
J you have 2 adult teeth coming and your milk teeth are wiggling.
This month in pictures
Hockey – skating backwards
Lawrence hall of science
Father’s Day zoo
Ballet big girl class
“I’m making a balloon eclipse!”
“Spot Mini” robot
Dog catches fish
Figure 8 endurance race track
Quadcopters filming RC planes
Chick Corea & Gary Burton jamming
T-rex on American Ninja Warrior
Safety glasses vs angle grinder
Crocodiles do not die of old age
NASA engineers narrate rocket launch
‘Objectified’ – documentary on industrial design
You are two brains
Francis Coppola’s Godfather notebook
How to look at art
Another Falcon rocket landing On-board camera
Swimming with seals
Security hacking challenge
Best gymnastics coach save
Everything is a remix
Milton Glaser – the guy who designed I «3 NY
Kid fails at obstacle course
“I am his hands, he is my eyes” – together they built a forest
Remote controlled robot stingray made from rat heart cells
The ingenious design of the aluminium can
Ambiguous cylinder illusion
Honey badger houdini
Stunt camera car
Crow vs eagle
Almost winner of Darwin award
Hanging With Al Jaffee, MAD Magazine’s 95-Year-Old Journeyman Cartoonist – YouTube
Lesson: do the opposite
“I’ll tell you a secret.
Something they don’t teach you in your temple.
The Gods envy us.
They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.
You will never be lovelier than you are now.
We will never be here again.”
– David Benioff dialog for Achilles the movie
Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling:
I was looking at old photos.
Before social media and web 2.0,
we took pictures for ourselves. not to show off
when I took that photo I wanted to keep it for me. I didn’t care of no one else saw it.
I remember I used to feel things. It made me realize how I’ve become just a shell of a human. I don’t feel much of anything anymore. Is this what growing old means? Looking back at old pics, I remember how much younger and dumber I was. I was sillier. There were people I let myself be silly with. I don’t really get silly anymore. Could one reason be because nothing is private anymore?
I think you should fall in love with someone who makes you feel comfortable enough to be your silliest. After looking at the pictures, I put my computer away. I didn’t want to browse, code, read watch videos or anything I usually waste time with. I wanted to hold on to the feelings. They were rare feelings and I knew they would soon disappear. I wanted to write. I opened the door to sit in the hammock but it was too cold.
It’s trouble to fall in love. To have feelings. To remember how it felt when you were younger. To remember what home feels like. And old friends and girlfriends. I used to say she felt like home. For a while since, I forgot what I felt when I said that. Now after 10 years I just felt flutters of the feeling. They come and go. I remember how free I felt being nobody when I first arrived in America. When everything is possible and you can be anyone you want. I want to be nobody again. I don’t want to know about the world. I want to be nobody with the people who love me and I don’t want to know about anyone else or what anyone else is doing elsewhere in the world.
I want my world to be small and private and quiet. The photos made me remember. I couldn’t stop looking because the more I saw the more familiar it became. I felt more feelings and I felt like I found pieces of me that I had lost. One of the curses of being human is you can imagine what life could be like if things were different. Which does no good because it can’t be different. But we imagine it anyway.
I love the life that I have. I forget sometimes but I know I do because I don’t want to lose it. But I imagine anyway.
Mama took her ring off. I found it in bathroom medicine cabinet. I don’t know if I messed up somewhere because she’s stopped wearing it for a few days.
Update: sex was good yesterday so I think we’re okay.
Update 2: she has her ring back on
P.S. Here’s your swimming/diving progress a few days later:
P.P.S. We all have bikes now! Mama got a hybrid bike, then a trailer. The lady who sold us the trailer for $20 gave us a purple/white bike too (for j)! Then I bought a used Gary Fisher bike last. We couldn’t fit my bike anywhere so I rode it 10 miles home. Google estimated it was going to take 45 minutes but I took over an hour. I had to stop a lot. Not because I was tired — the bike was great and the route was flat — but because I was afraid of getting hit by cars. I even managed to fall down. I looked down at the pedals and saw, “Hey toe straps.” So I tried them, then immediately forgot about them. The next time I stopped, I tried to put my foot down but it stayed stuck to the pedal and I fell on my side. Years of breakfalls kept me safe. I checked my phone that was in my thigh pocket and even that was fine. Phew. It was a nice ride home. At one point I rode through a creek trail that had no lights, and I could see the stars clearly in the sky. And of course mama was worried and she asked me to come home ASAP. Even you two kids were worried about me. “How will daddy come home?” “But it’s dark!” “If it takes so long for us to drive home, how will daddy get home on his bike?” “What if he can’t make it back?” Mama said you finally relaxed when you received my status update in your beds. Well, thanks for your concern. I made it back safely. The bike was in one piece too. Although later that night when I checked on the bike, the front tire was flat. That would have sucked if I lost that tire while I was on the road. My trigger shifter’s pawl was also sticking and not grabbing. It wasn’t really a problem because I only used 1 gear all 10 miles. But I ordered new tubes, some degreaser and some lube. I’m looking forward to make our old bikes like new again.
P.P.P.S. It’s never easy to find the mood to write. The best trick is to make it a regular routine. I.e., give yourself a time and place to write a little bit each day. Of course, I am not following my own advice. I usually put it off long enough that I hate myself for putting it off, and then I’ll start writing. Just a little bit, I promise myself. I still hate myself after because I’m disappointed at my progress. But soon the little bits become bigger bits and soon something. And then one day I see how close I am to finishing and I decide to finish it. And then feel relief and I hate myself less. But then time moves forward and it starts over again.