Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garbage In, Garbage Out

I was curious about this phrase as it pertains to the topic I want to write about and therefore gather some of your commentary on. So I “googled it” to see where it originated from and this is the Wikipedia entry:

Garbage In, Garbage Out (abbreviated to GIGO, coined as a pun on the phrase First-In, First-Out) is a phrase in the field of computer science or information and communication technology. It is used primarily to call attention to the fact that computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data (Garbage in) and produce nonsensical output (Garbage out). It was most popular in the early days of computing, but applies even more today, when powerful computers can spew out mountains of erroneous information in a short time.

If you have parents like mine or perhaps a teacher you’ve had this technological phrase used to bolster the idea that this is also applicable to us as humans. I used to laugh at this assertion. Whether Rock N Roll was being blamed for violent behavior or Video Games were blamed for increased bullying or suicide, I would call foul. I mean…don’t we have direct control over our own decisions? Isn’t passing the buck just another way to frivolous lawsuits and to dodge personal accountability?


Fast forward to parenthood as my children are now watching a decent amount of television and combine that with the continuation of maturing in my faith. TV has reached a point where it appalls me more than it entertains. I still believe we are accountable for our own actions and that music and games don’t force people to misbehave. But I constantly have to turn the channel for my kid’s sake and often times for my own. Honestly I don’t know what impact all the garbage that has entered into my brain may have actually had. At best it still distracts me from family, friends, and much more important priorities. At the very worst it may have molded and shaped my ideals or even influenced some of my decisions.

I don’t want to cross that line of Grace over into Legalism. But for me personally I want to try and “clean out” (perhaps debug) my system. And I have some favorite shows that probably need to go. I will prayerfully consider a solution. In the meantime I would love your two cents and even some examples of how your family has tackled this issue.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Attempted Napping – A Personal Phenomenon

I find it rather easy to classify people into one of two categories.

1. Those that enjoy and do take naps.

2. Those that would rather not and subsequently torture those of us that do.

I will give you a guess as to which category I fall into? Yes…I do enjoy taking naps but in my home there is a strange phenomenon that occurs 99.9% of the time that any attempts on my part to make such a lovely thing occur. I would love some feedback in the comment section so that I might know if this is just unique to my household or a commonly experienced occurrence.

It all starts with me stretching out on the comforter of my bed. It is at this point that I am quite certain all nap-killers are informed of my whereabouts and my deep desire for a bit of slumber. I am not certain how the message is sent out or why so many secret agents work for this undercover group but this cannot be a coincidence.

Normally I get to that beautiful place between conscious thought and unconsciousness precariously dangling over its edge, ready for a swan dive into some good rest when one of the following nap-killing techniques is employed. Another interesting but difficult to determine fact is how they always know when it is that I am at this important part of the “falling asleep” process.

Usually ALL of the following happen in ONE nap attempt. The order of things may change and occasionally not every item will occur. It also seems to depend upon what point I decided to give up…though I am rather stubborn and determined.

1. My Wife – we must start with her because I am certain she is the agent that sends out the memo to all nap-killing operatives that I am at it again. She falls into category 2 from above and has zero sympathy for a person trying to enjoy a bit of slumber. That is unless you are one of her children. She has three methods that she likes to employ to kill all nappage.

a. Walk loudly through the room. She won’t say anything but she also won’t make any effort to imitate a mouse either. Being on the second story her intentionally emphasized steps are even more accentuated by the creaking of floor boards. This is often accompanied by a loud sigh intended to communicate her displeasure with my choice.

b. Spontaneously decide to work. My wife works from home and takes care of the books for our business. For some reason she often chooses to tap away at the key board, file papers loudly, and get work done when I decide to nap. Keep in mind that our office is attached to the master bedroom, functioning as a nook to the room…not a separate room unto itself down the hall.

c. Engage me in conversation. Yes, folks when all else fails…she will decide to ask me a question. “Honey, I am balancing the operating account but don’t see the deposit you supposedly made on Friday. Any idea why that is?” I guess that is the part where I am supposed to act like we’ve been in conversation for five minutes and that its perfectly natural for this question to pop up. And yes…she times these when I am at that precipice and about to plunge into bliss.

2. My Kids – They only have two methods of nap killing but both are rather effective and one borrows from their mother’s method. Technique one is to play in the playroom as loudly as possible with the television at least ten notches above normal. Another variation of this is when they decide to engage one another in a very loud argument. I consider both techniques the same though with the only variety being which loud activity will work best. The second method is to march into my room, stand next to my bed, and say “Daddy. What are you doing?”

3. My Cats – Our cats are as lazy as they come. They get pretty active at night but hardly ever during the daytime. They are usually laying on our favorite piece of furniture coating it with a fine film of cat hair or too busy rolling around in a sunbeam to bother anyone. But they are part of this covert effort to kill my naps and they must receive their memo at the appropriate time as they will typically run through my room imitating the sound of a herd of cattle, pouncing on one another, and meowing their dominance as they fight it out.

4. Friends & Family Phone Calls – It is more difficult to know if they are truly in on the conspiracy or not. However, during a Saturday or Sunday (which are the most likely of days for me to even have the chance at a nap) we can go without a phone call ALL DAY LONG until I lay down and begin the descent.

5. Door Chime. On the rare occasion that it does not strike my wife to spontaneously do the business books whilst I nap, she may attempt to go out back with the kids so they can play outside as she reads a book. Sounds wonderfully considerate of her doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled…she is still in nap-killing agent mode. Our doors are set to chime every time they open. For some reason between my twins and my wife, they feel the need to open and close the door repeatedly. One has to go pee, another needs a drink of water, and still another needs to come back in briefly for a snack. The more reasons to go in and out the better.

6. Text Message. Last but not least and akin to the phone call situation we have the loud text notifications that burst through my phone speakers as if to say WAKE UP you silly napper! And when I do remember to turn off the sound, I assure you my wife’s phone is somewhere close by to take its place.

Methinks I might need to rent a hotel room just to get a thirty minute, uninterrupted, slice of shut-eye.

Your thoughts?