Dear Js,

I was going to title today’s letter “How to cheat your way to success.” I wanted to boast about my latest wins and how got them by being the laziest person of everyone around me.

But something happened. Last night, I opened the garage door to take the trash out while I walked Kimi. Then, as usual, I came home through the front door, washed Kimi’s paws and joined all of you for dinner.

This morning, you asked me a strange question, “Why is the ball there?” as I strapped you into the car seat. Huh? What ball? “The green ball.” I don’t know. I didn’t put it there. Did you put it there? “No.” Then maybe mama put it there. “Ya. Maybe she did.” So I slid into the driver’s seat with my laptop, and reached over to slide it into its bag…

… but my bag wasn’t there. Hmm. I don’t remember taking it out. Confused, I went inside to look for it. Then I noticed the green ball you mentioned. It was mama’s big green 3′-diameter exercise ball. That’s not usually there. I scanned the garage. My toolboxes were missing. Our suitcases were gone. I didn’t see my bicycle.

We had been robbed. I peeked into mama’s car and it had been turned upside down. I opened the door and yelled, “Someone stole from our garage.” Mama shouted something I couldn’t understand and asked me if her diaper backpack was in the car. Nope, gone. The car key was in it. She searched for her wallet. Thank goodness she didn’t leave it in the backpack this time. I had my wallet, my cards were all there and the TV was still on the wall. They didn’t break in. And even if tried to, Kimi would have woken the whole neighborhood up.

So it looked like they grabbed whatever they could carry. Or whatever they could fit in a small vehicle. But they weren’t pros and they weren’t very smart. Probably just opportunistic kids, which makes me more relieved. Because, that means just closing the garage door would prevent this from happening again. They left me my favorite sunglasses (sweet). Our cars had the keys in them, but they didn’t want to steal our cars. They also left your strollers and car seats, which are more valuable than everything they took combined. Small bounty, not pros. Now that I think about it, it was as if they made an effort to steal the least valuable things we had in the garage. How considerate.

I had to take you to daycare, so I asked mama to call the police and left.

All in all, for getting robbed in our own home, the inconvenience factor was tiny. We could go on with our lives and pretend nothing happened. It was a bigger inconvenience when I broke my phone. I joked with mama that they helped us clean out the garage. If only they took out the trash too.

Now back to what I really wanted to brag about this week…

It’s Alive! From zero to department-wide standard in two months. Not bad, right? In my last couple of letters, I’ve tried to outline the key plays I made to maneuver this new technology (Achilles) toward universal adoption. I wanted to show you how it started out as an idea, a conversation, a prototype, and the politico-persuasive shucking and jiving. Hopefully it’s been instructive.

This week marks the milestone of Achilles going prime-time. It’s no longer just my project. It’s no longer just something a handful of people are tinkering with. The Director has proclaimed Achilles the design analysis tool everyone should use. I arrived at work at 10.30 am today after discovering we’d been robbed. I had to print a new badge, and then I went to get my Friday morning bagel and coffee.

Before I could set my bag down, another director intercepted me and said we need to talk. He pulled me into an empty conference room. He seemed to be excited about something secret. He said he’d never seen Mr Director so excited about something since that thing we did 3 years ago. And now we want to make Achilles official. There are executive reports that go to everyone in the department. Including up to the VP and sometimes the CEO. Achilles reports will now be there too. And since Mr Director loves it, he’s going to tell every manager to stop being silly chasing your tail lost and confused, and for god’s sake look at this new report that will give you all the answers.

So I say consider it DONE. He asked me, “What do you need?” I said, “A computer with an internet connection.” He gave me the Wizard of Oz key to the Emerald City and I head toward my desk, hoping to get to eat my bagel. Before I can sit, Mr Systems Master came over and smiled, “I’m here to help you with anything you need. What do you need?” I guess someone had a party earlier and didn’t invite me. Something happened, everyone got excited and it was only 10.30 am.

Anyway, the story is just beginning. Christmas break is coming, and with the new year comes everyone’s renewed determination to hunt for fame and glory. In other words, The Gold Rush. In a gold rush, the people who get rich are the ones who make the tools. And I happened to have slipped into a position to supply just the tool everyone needs 🙂

New book I’m reading. Profiles of Genius – Thirteen creative men who changed the world. By Gene Landrum. The men are Ted Turner (CNN), Tom Monaghan (Domino’s Pizza), Fred Smith (FedEx), William Lear (Lear Jet), Akio Morita (Sony), Soichiro Honda (Honda Motors), Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), etc. I love stories and I love reading biographies to try to find out what makes these guys tick. And I love uncovering what they might have in common. This was like 13 stories for the price of 1.

“Daddy, why do you have to work?” You two visited me at work for the first time! There is a children’s haircut place less than a mile from my office. You sit in chairs that look like cars and you have a TV screen in front of you.

After your haircut, we had lunch together. Then you visited the fish for half an hour. There was a pond in the atrium and some fish lived in another pond above the waterfall. You said one was where the pout-pout fish were and the other had the kiss-kiss fish. I guess Koi are pouty.

Development milestone. You’re doing something you didn’t do before. Just a few days ago, when you built a bridge with your blocks, you’d put any piece together – big, small, sloped this way, that way, whatever. Then when you rolled your car or train over your bridge, if there was a drop, gap or step, you’d say, “green car flies over the bump.”

I woke up one day and noticed you started building smooth bridges. All the segments matched in height, and you used triangle pieces for ramps. More amazing than that, the triangle blocks were right-angle triangle volumes. When they are placed on their hypotenuse, there would be a gap. When this happened, I sat back to see what you would do. Well, you stared at the gap for 3 seconds, then flipped it over to the right-angle base so there was no gap at the top.

Did you just manipulate a geometric object in your head?

We went to the park today. It’s been a while, now that it’s cold and dark early. You conquered all former challenges easily. You must’ve grown 3 inches. You can reach without stretching and mama noticed you peek out the top half of the window instead of the bottom.

And you sat in a swing for the first time!

You loved it

You loved it

J – On Friday, you said you didn’t want to go to Jump Bunch. At home, I asked you how Jump Bunch went. You said “I learned how to soccer”. Oh yea? How do you soccer? “You put the ball between your legs and you kick with the inside of your foot.” Like this:

So I asked, “Do you like Jump Bunch?” You said “Yeaa.”

Mama tuned us to the Christmas radio station. You’re learning the songs:

Incidentally, while looking after both of you when mama worked out, I found this most efficient way to kill time. I would play the ukulele and sing. J – you’d sing along with me and, J2 – you’d stare at me and bounce and smile. So, instead of having to play with both of you at the same time while breaking up fights when you two tried to play with each other, or taking videos of you doing this…

… I could just sit and mesmerize both of you like the pied piper. Genius.

J2 – you have a tuft of hair on your head. You’re pulling up to stand but you 2collapse to your knees.

J you do the sweetest thing before going to bed every night. It’s become our routine. After we’re done with potty and bathtime and PJs and floss and brush, mama’s usually done with J2 so she comes over and tags me out. I hang out in our room to make sure J2 doesn’t fall off the bed (again), while you two chat, read, laugh, play a little, until it’s time to sleep.

Then, I’ll close my laptop as soon as I hear your footsteps thundering down the hallway with your toys rattling in your hand. You stop outside the door and tiptoe in, then squeal when you see me. You try very hard to be quiet because we’ve been trying to help you understand that if you are loud you wake Julie up (and then mama has to go put her back down.) I’d scoop you up and hug you and you put your head on my shoulder and hug back. Mama smiles when we return to your room because she sees you with the goofiest smile in my arms. Then I’d put you in bed and say good night.

You do this every night, and you’re getting good at not waking your sister up.

Funny convo from mama: I felt something hard again in his tummy. I said, “Joshua, I just want to touch your tummy.” He said, “Mama, I don’t have kaka in my tummy anymore. The sup-p-pository fixed it. I’m just strong.



P.S. – J you’re getting into the words when we read. It makes it more painful, because you stop me and say, “Daddy, can you point the words?” So not only is my voice eviscerated from reading and talking, now I need more energy to focus and point to each word while you fidget and sway to the rhythm of the words.

P.P.S. – This year’s top 200 posts on Reddit – think of it as a snapshot of humanity in 2013:

By score. Scores decided by votes from readers.

By score. Scores decided by votes from readers. Notice that Humor is the most popular category, followed by Pictures and Videos. Glance at the headlines to get an idea of what people love to read (but not necessarily participate in).

Top 200 posts by comments.

Top 200 posts by comments. President Obama broke the website when his PR team carted him over. Skipping over anomalies and celebrities, the post that garnered the most interaction was, “What’s your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out?”

With this knowledge, I’ve shifted the theme of my project from “the Inn Between Worlds” to secrets. I believe that, especially now, when everything online is going down the path of “Social” and dragging your real identity into every interaction, the rarest (and most valuable) thing in the future would be privacy, anonymity and freedom. I predict that since so much of our relationships will be public, there will be a painful desire for a place to communicate freely and “off the record”, as someone other than yourself. So, you can speak without the burden of your next sentence destroying your life or public judgement choking your voice.

I was thinking of making the theme about “Stories” and “Secrets”. So I thought of calling it “Daily Secrets”, or “Daily Campfire”, or maybe “Secret Campfire”. We’ll see where this goes. I’ve been back at the workshop stripping it down to the core and rebuilding to this one single, coherent theme.

P.P.P.S. – Sad news. Great grandma whom we visited in Puerto Rico is at the hospital. She’s having blood transfusion. She’s down to 20% brain function. Abu can’t let her go. What would you do if it were you?

P.P.P.P.S. – on a lighter note, hehehhehehe