When asked how he balances work and family life, SpaceX founder Elon Musk explained how he makes an effort to find common ground. “For example, I spent the last forth of July with my children and we all put our heads together and came up with a system for reuseable fireworks.”
The first step in planning a trip to Europe is deciding where to visit. My first idea was to map out an itinerary that faithfully recreated Matt Daemon’s adventures in the first three Borne movies. After closer examination, however, this plan requires travel to four separate continents and would probably not be suitable for small children. Also, to be honest, I don’t think Katherine would be willing play the part of Marie who ends up getting shot and driving a jeep off a bridge in India. Similar logistical issues arose when I considered other movies such as National Lampoon’s European Vacation and Taken.
The scaled down version of our trip took us to Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam which form a equilateral-ish triangle served well by high speed trains.
Since a trip to Europe is more involved than, say, just about any other place I’m ever going to visit, carefully planning what to bring is crucial. While a cooler full of soda and crunchy potato chips might provide a refreshing snack, such an approach might not prove to be cost effective given the current state of airline baggage fees.
After deciding what clothes to bring, I told Katherine to make sure everything was washed and would fit into the designated luggage. Our washing machine, sensing the importance of getting our clothes clean, decided to rebel. “The washing machine is broken” is not the text I wanted to receive at work the day before our big vacation. But what fun would that be?
A little home appliance side note here– all I needed to do to fix the washer was to clean out the drain trap. However, the way Whirlpool designed the machine I had to unstack the washer and dryer, tip the washer up, and remove screws on the bottom of the machine just to reach the trap. Thanks Whirlpool for adding several hours to what should have been a ten minute project. Also, I called customer service to have someone come out and help me lift the dryer back on top of the washer but they informed me that… OK, I didn’t actually call, but I fantasized about it. Obviously the entire design is a result of the small appliance repair mafia.
You might not believe what happened on the nonstop flight from Denver to Frankfurt– nothing. We all just sat in our seats and watched a bunch of movies. Being on a plane for 10 hours and crossing 8 time zones did take a toll on us when we arrived. After checking into our hotel in Heidelberg, Germany, we stopped at a local fast food type restaurant called “The Heidel Burger.” No, it wasn’t really called that. This is where Samantha’s body decided, in no uncertain terms, to be asleep.
Our next stop was Paris. We might have enjoyed this city more if I hadn’t been pick pocketed on the Metro. While not any fun, Katherine managed to keep her wallet the rest of the trip. So I was just a gentleman and let her pay for everything the rest of the trip. She did give me a modest cash allowance each morning.
While in Paris we visited the usual tourist destinations– the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph, the Soc duh something, and Notre Dame. We also stopped at the Chocolate Museum, a few random playgrounds, and about 5 local bakeries. After hauling our kids on the Metro for three days I really feel like they are ready for anything else life has to offer.
Next town– Amsterdam. Since I had lived in Holland for 6 months back in the day, I really took over the tour guide duties. Our hotel room, I think by total chance, ended up being the coolest room in which we have ever spent the night. It had floor to ceiling windows and jutted out sideways from the side of the building.
We spent one day visiting Haarlem, the town where I lived. While I generally preferred fast food while on the trip, I did insist that we have a nice steak meal at my old hangout Wilma and Alberts. We also tried to rent bikes to see more of the city, but we couldn’t find bikes with kid’s seats. Side note here– Haarlem is a lovely medium sided town in Holland and Harlem is a much, much, less lovely borough of New York City. I dream of scraping together enough money so I can get out of this shit hole and move to Lovelaand.
We acquired two bicycles with kid’s seats in Amsterdam. We rode around the outer most canal of the city. Most of that time I spent being completely confused about who had the right of way and riding carelessly into the path of oncoming trams. We also took a break at a playground so the kids could stretch their legs. Apparently riding on the back seat doesn’t wear them out too much.
Frankfurt was our final city to visit on this trip. Our hotel was a small hole in the wall with beds made from surplus WW2 mattresses. We all missed this hotel in Amsterdam, but it was too late to turn back. The highlight of this town was a small playground near our hotel. I didn’t think it was that great, but the kids loved it and we ended up going there three times just to keep them happy.
By the time we arrived in Frankfurt I was tired of navigating foreign language public transit systems, so we just walked around places near the hotel. One thing I noticed is that people in Germany don’t jaywalk very much.
So after 10 days it was time to head back to Denver. While waiting for our connection in Washington, DC, Samantha told me, “I’m not tired sleepy, I’m tired complain-y.”
Depending on the outcome of the upcoming Ecuadorian Presidential election, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may need to find a new place to live. Assange has been living in the Ecuador Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid facing sexual assault charges in Sweden and the possibility extradition the the United States to answer to espionage charges. Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker has gone on record to evict Assange while government-backed leftist candidate Lenin Moreno vows to let Assange stay.
This explains the flyers appearing near the perimeter of the embassy encouraging everyone to come celebrate the election results with a Guinness World record breaking “Julian Assange look-alike contest.”
Countless people– well, OK, maybe three or four– have been asking about what happened to my 2015 Christmas Letter. Was I abducted by aliens who erased my memories? Perhaps, but I have no way of knowing. Was I too lazy to spend 0.03% of the time I’m on my computer to stop playing Candy Crush and just get it done? That does sound like something I would do. Have I been spending way too much time playing mad scientist in the basement? Highly likely. While the entire population of the universe could spend the rest of the life of cosmos speculating on this mystery, I will now set the record straight.
While Occam’s razor Razor states that the simple explanation is usually the correct one, Omar’s Razor cuts in the opposite direction and claims that everything that I’ve ever read or been told by someone else is automatically assumed to be a highly questionable source and the only way to really solve a problem to disassemble it and examine every single nut and bolt in the highest possible detail. After repeating the process at least seven times I will consider the problem answered subject to my general finite knowledge and limited physical resources.
So here is what happened: Some time in the future I signed up for an online file storage service called the “Infinity Cloud.” While current cloud services store existing files on external servers to help manage valuable work, the Infinity Clould stores every sinlge file you will ever create during your lifetime. So this is the point where you ask “doesn’t that violate the concept of free will, like telling your high school self not to take Stephanie to the Prom because the whole night will be awkward and disappointing?” While I didn’t directly find an answer to this question, I suspect the problem was resolved by including a “you aren’t allowed to tell your younger self to go kill Hitler” clause in the Terms of Service agreement that nobody reads.
So sometime during my lifetime I misfiled some of my Christmas Letters. I’m not sure when 2015 is going to show up, but an interesting side effect from this error is that I have been able to access my 2039 files, or, as I call it, “The Ghost of Christmas Letter Future.”
After writing these crazy letters since 1995 I finally get to write “Woohoo I’m officially retired!” But before I get into reminiscing, would like to take a moment to elaborate on the eight ways my android servant SXY-19 is trying to kill me after she discovered I will be granting her freedom upon my death. Also, the weather forecast was off by 0.1 degrees last Tuesday. What is the world coming to?
So I feel some kind of need to evaluate all of my working years before my memories start to fade an I’m legally obligated to upload the contents of my brain to the Global Observational Device for the overall advancement of the planet.
I must admit my favorite milestone was solving the Travelling Salesman Problem. Who knew that finding the shortest path through a set of cities was such a big deal? While I did let the solution bounce around my head for 20 years before I got around to spending a weekend writing the actual computer code, everyone thought I was the man for solving this 120 year old puzzle. That honeymoon period lasted for exactly three weeks when hackers started to use my work to quickly render all prime number based public key encryption algorithms completely useless. Sure, it plunged the entire world of international banking into chaos for several years, but to my credit the situation did jump start both the quantum communication network and the unique photon security protocol. Does this make me a big a-hole? I’ll leave that for GOD to decide. (I’m referring to the Global Observation Device here and not the other One.)
The other “big” thing in my life was building the “Lutfey Loop.” For anyone that just woke up from a 23 year long coma, I built a little gizmo that sits in your basement and provides all of your reasonable heating, cooling, and electrical needs for both your house and Tesla Hovercar. While the technical term for the process is “creating liquid based temperature differentials and electrical gradients through ultra-efficient ground source heat pumps,” the technology gained widespread acceptance in a scientific paper titled “How The Hell Did A UPS Driver Build This In His Spare Time?” I still remember the day I gathered all the Public Utility companies on the planet on a conference call that went something like this: “Hey, you know all those big networks you have to send electric and gas to everyone’s homes and businesses? Well, I’ve found a better way, so we aren’t going to need anymore.” Boy were they pissed.
While my career choices have included KFC cook, computer programmer, aspiring writer, unmotivated writer, angry at myself for being unmotivated writer, UPS driver, sloth, mathematician, telegraph operator, and professional carnie (just to name a few), people like to ask me “How should I find the ‘thing’ that I’m supposed to be doing?” My approach has always been the following: Imagine you are a cat. Inside an inflatable sphere. With 100 laser pointers. Before you get a chance to take a nap someone carries you to the top of a mountain and gives you a push.
While my Christmas Letters are usually a bit longer, I’m afraid I must cut this one a bit short due to the fact that SXY-19 is approaching me at a high rate of speed with a running chainsaw and bottle of arsenic. Both of these items shouldn’t be needed until Saturday, so I need to either check my schedule or prevent myself from being murdered. Cheers!
Welcome to the post-race wrap-up for the 37th annual Longmont Kinetics Race! I’m the team captain of team Infinities, but to keep things simple you can call me Infini-tease. I’m the one with the pink hair and the fishnet stockings. The other members of my team include Infini Tea, Infini T, and Infini Tee. The differences, being obvious to everyone, will not be elaborated upon.
Here is the junior team member examining the competitor “We Like Turtles.”
The race starts out with a confusion-inducing loop around the wood sculpture close to the beach.
The water portion of the race really separates the [INSERT DOMINANT NOUN OF CHOICE] from the [INSERT CORRESPONDING SUBMISSIVE NOUN HERE]. Here I am during one of the longer water portions of the race.
With the help of my support team I crossed the finish line in 6th place (out of the 14 teams which started the race). For this accomplishment I ranked first place for a solo team.
On the trip back home I realized I was feeling the burn. In addition to my support for Bernie Sanders, I also forgot to apply sunscreen over my fishnet stockings.
Governor of New Jersey and Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie recently elaborated on his position regarding legalized marijuana in his home state. “Yes, I understand that 58% of the population supports this change, but you have to balance that with the 14% of the state which is directly employed by organized crime. If you were me, which group would you be more worried about keeping happy?”