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A Tisket, A Tasket

If I were to poll the three to five regular Souzek Republic readers (hi Grandma), my guess is that more than half would be doubting my woodworking skills at this point, specifically my ability to produce a cradle from raw materials before the baby arrives in the next month or so (!). They have good reasons to second-guess my ambitious project: I announced it almost four months ago and haven't mentioned it since, I have done only one other project before (a humble bookcase), and time is certainly short. But I'm here to quiet the naysayers. The basket (in other words, the hard part) is done. I will offer you only a glimpse as proof, as if this project was some terribly exciting concept car, but the work will be unveiled in its entirety soon enough.


June 30, 2003 | Comments (1)

Old School

Will Ferrell as commencement speaker? Sounds too good to be true but those Ivy League bastards Harvard got him. If only I wasn't a Midwestern male of northern European descent, I might have had a chance there. Anyway instead of smothering you with a legion of quotes from the address (it is highly quotable), I suggest that you go read it yourself.

But hey, he's no Richard Lugar, with his inspirational, paranoid ramblings about how the government needs us to learn Arabic and crack codes for them. Where were you on that one, Valparaiso?

[via the morning news]

June 26, 2003

Take a Left at the Light

If a tourist or out-of-towner asks you for directions or information and you are either totally inept at providing it or have no idea what you're talking about, swallow your pride, admit to the kind people that you honestly don't know and wish them luck in finding a person of reasonable intelligence. By fumbling your way through a fuzzy, perhaps fabricated explanation, you are only doing the people a disservice by misleading them and quite possibly causing them to wander around aimlessly in a place like South Bend, Indiana for hours. Just do the right thing.

Other than that, vacation was great.

June 22, 2003

Happy Friday

In honor of what a former coworker dubbed Admiration Day (in which you sit back and admire the work that you did earlier in the week), here's a gem from Skot's archives on office productivity on Fridays. Enjoy that.

We're off to Michigan for the weekend to savor what little is left of our time without children by holing up in a cozy bed and breakfast to obsessively plan for/worry about the baby. Perhaps a name will result from this extended brainstorm session. Sing it with me: "Yes, Michigan, the feeling's forever...".

June 20, 2003


I am not a baby person, and by that I mean I don't immediately melt into a pile of baby-talking mush at the sight of any and every baby. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with babies, I thin they're as cute as a button, or something comparably small and adorable. I recognize and accept the things that people are traditionally annoyed with (crying, etc.) as part of what babies are and I do not fault them for that. It's just that I do not have strong and immediate feelings for babies that I do not know. I used to wonder if this made me a cold person somehow. I warm up to puppies without hesitation but I cannot muster a mere "coochie-coo" for someone else's baby.

In addition to this, in the past few months I have been noticing more and more couples with their babies and, to my surprise, I have been unable imagine myself in their position. It makes me pause every time, dumbfounded and a bit scared. Does this mean that I am unprepared for fatherhood and all its responsibilities? How can I not picture myself as that guy with his daughter? That's going to be me in a matter of weeks.

But now I think I know why. It's because that's not going to be me. I'm not going to be that overweight, pasty, thirty-something-year-old, mustached guy in the park with the young child. I'm going to be the skinny, pasty, twenty-something-year-old, possibly bearded guy with his daughter in the park; that is, I'm still going to be me even though so many other things may change. And our baby will not be the strange one of people we barely know, it will be our own flesh and blood, with some strange combination of our quirks and odd body parts. And my wife will certainly not be the mean woman that sat in front of us at mass, it will still be the Dinka that I know and love.

So call me cold-hearted and unfeeling if you will, I don't want to hold your baby or coo over it. I don't think it is an indicator of much at all. Besides, my wife and I are making our own set of new friends anyway.

June 18, 2003 | Comments (3)

Father's Day

the brain trust

Pictured above are three fathers (and me) that I am very grateful for today. If I can do a fraction of the job that they've done and continue to do, I will be just fine as a father. Happy Father's Day, gentlemen: I salute you and look to you for inspiration and guidance.

June 15, 2003

Photographic aspirations

From the wonderful person that brought you The May Day Project comes 26 Things, the international photographic scavenger hunt:

"the assignment : to seek out the twenty six themes/objects on the list and photograph them over the given period of time.

the aim of this photographic project is to make us open our eyes and get creative with the things and people around us, to see how we each interpret themes.

on tuesday july 1st 2003, 26 things to hunt for will be posted on this website and you are free to complete the project on or before thursday july 31st 2003."
Sounds like a good project for a (pretend) budding photographer like me. I'm down.

June 13, 2003

Dedication like no other

Less than a month after the release of The Matrix: Reloaded and the subsequent excitement over the credibility of the hack, I noticed yesterday that the ssh exploit sequence has been added to the popular xmatrix screensaver for Linux (because I'm running it full-time now, of course), presumably by its creator, Jamie Zawinski (blog!). Click the image below to see a larger and more readable version.

Knowing the nature of Matrix fans and geeks in general, this shouldn't have been a shock but nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised. It is good to be a geek.

June 11, 2003


Dooce has news of the most exciting variety. Congratulations and all the best wishes to Heather and Jon. It seems like just yesterday that we made the same announcement, if with less enthusiasm because of a month's worth (at that time) of morning sickness weariness. I sincerely hope the Armstrongs' path will not include debilitating nausea.

June 11, 2003

Play Time

On nights like tonight, when I'm up later than Dinka because of work or a relentless weblog deadline, I often get into bed and put my hand on her belly, just to get a little time with the baby. Amazingly, almost every time she wakes up and has a little kicking/playing session with me (the baby, that is, not my wife). She'll kick my hand a couple of times, I'll poke back in the same sequence. This goes on for up to ten minutes and I'm happy during every second of it. I usually come to bed with a heavy head full of the worries of the day and this just makes them all disappear. There's no thinking about the troubles to come or going to class to learn how to get her out of there, just a kind of joyful and carefree playing. Plus it's the closest thing we've got to our own private time to hang out, just me and her.

It is so nice (as if I had to say it).

June 10, 2003 | Comments (1)

Sunday Funnies

A day late but still very much worthwhile:

June 10, 2003

Two Great Things about Weekends

Saturday salad

Sunday shrimp

Notes on the weekend's meals: June 10, 2003 | Comments (1)

State of Mind

One of the most important things I have learned thus far as an adult is that sleep deprivation and hunger can drastically alter the way you think and feel, just like a drug or chemical imbalance. This may seem elementary but it was (and still is, to a certain extent) very difficult for me to accept. After all, what can you trust if not your own perception? In fact, I even went through a stage in high school in which I hypothesized that perhaps the longer I stayed up, the closer I got to my true self. I feel sorry for those who had to put up with me in that state.

But with a little effort and few more years of experience, I think I have a healthier outlook now. I don't categorically rule out all thoughts, ideas and feelings that arise from my sleep deprived or half-starved self, I just try to get a good night's sleep and have a good meal before I evaluate them further/torture myself with them.

And with that, I'm going to sleep.

June 02, 2003 | Comments (2)