Welcome to my blog.

Thanks for visiting. This site is where I write about things that interest me. Feel free to share articles. If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you.

Enjoy your stay,


Don't Pity the Second Child (too much)

My youngest son, the second of two, is learning to count. When he sees a collection of objects in a book he's reading, he'll grab my finger and point to each while saying: "One, two, free, pour, pibe, sis". He's still working on seven to ten.

I'm so proud of him and I encourage him to count whenever I can. And yet, I have no videographic evidence of his feat. I'm sure I have a handful of videos of his big brother doing the same around the same age, but the poor baby of the family doesn't.

My wife and I lament this sometimes. We have fewer pictures and videos of #2's milestone events than we do for #1. We joke that it's clear who we love more, but of course that's not the case.

When your first child learns to walk and talk, it's the most amazing thing. This little person, who once lived in his mother's womb before emerging, squinting in the light of the world; who once fit easily in the crook of his parent's arm; whose only daily activities were eating, sleeping, and excreting; is now an agent who can take action in the world and communicate their needs. It's just as amazing with Baby #2, but perhaps the novelty has worn off.

But our pity for the second child is overwrought. We should celebrate that we're satisfied to live in the moment. Every new activity does not need to be documented with the meticulous care that has become common in the age of social media and ubiquitous smart phones. I'll content myself with a kiss, a snuggle, and a "Good job! Can you show me again?"

Why I Left Social Media

In January, I deleted most of my social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn were deleted permanently. Twitter held on for a bit, but as of this evening, it's gone.

I joined Facebook in 2007 when it was the New Thing. It felt interesting and exciting. It allowed me to connect with new friends at university. When I spent a year abroad, I could share pictures of my adventures for friends and family back home to see. I spent a lot of time on that platform.

Over the years, I drifted away. I would endlessly scroll my Facebook feed but not interact with any of it. The connection with "friends" was superficial and the feed was increasingly cluttered with corporate advertisements and trending posts from people I'd never met. I noticed that it was affecting my personal happiness. When I saw pictures of old friends having a good time together, I felt sad that I was missing out, even though I was perfectly content before I saw the pictures. I decided that the drawbacks outweighed the benefits. A few years ago, I logged off and only rarely resurfaced.

More recently, I've been concerned with personal privacy. I'm uncomfortable with the amount of information that large tech platforms have on me. I've lost trust in their ability to protect my data and not use it for nefarious purposes. I don't have evidence that this has occurred, but I view the possibility as too great for comfort.

In the end, it was an easy decision to delete Facebook. Instagram was even easier and LinkedIn the easiest. But I still held on to Twitter.

I started using Twitter regularly at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the only place to find truth about what was happening. When public health institutions...

Nemo Found

Nemo is an only child, born from tragedy to a single father, Merlin. Merlin is protective and is nervous to see him join school with his friends. In defiance of his father, Nemo swims out too far into open water and is caught by a scuba diver. Merlin sets off to rescue him with his hapless, forgetful companion, Dory. Along the way, Merlin overcomes obstacles, Nemo learns how to fend for himself in the world, and, fortunately, Nemo is found.

I recently watched Finding Nemo with my four-year-old son. I was struck by how differently I saw the movie compared to when I first watched it in my early teen years. Back then, it was a light-hearted story of a boy who wants more freedom from his overbearing father. He gets into some trouble but gets out of it with his dad's help. Now it's the story of a father who has to confront his only son's new need for independence, with the backdrop of enormous personal loss. When Nemo is abducted, Merlin will do anything to get him back.

One scene in particular, with commentary from my son, illustrates the difference in how children and parents view this movie.

Merlin and Dory are trapped in a large whale. For Merlin, this is how it ends. He laments that he's failed in his duty to protect his son.

Merlin: I promised him I'd never let anything happen to him.

Dory: Huh. That's a funny thing to promise.

I laughed at Dory's line. Because she's right. There's no way to uphold that promise. Sometimes things happen that can't be helped.

My son's response was the opposite: "No, that's not a funny promise! That's an important thing to promise!"

For a child, their parent is always there to save the day. Nemo is never in any real...