Eulogy for Paul Bang

January 30, 2015

The word eulogy has a Greek origin. It is a speech or writing in praise of a recent dearly departed. This is my first. I wrote this a few weeks ago and never had an opportunity to have it delivered. I share it here instead. These words are for my dearly departed friend Paul Bang. Paul died recently after what can be described as complications from cancer. Paul decided in what can in its best light be seen as a sort of act of bravery in his situation. I do not care to argue that in any way. Paul decided to call it a life, quits, on his own terms. For Paul.

Paul was a great storyteller. As I write this, I wish I could ask Paul, “Hey, how would you write this?” I would not ask him what he would write about himself. That would be too obvious. I would ask him about the broad strokes of what he would share, and maybe a little bit about how he would share it.

When I first moved to Southern California I knew exactly two people. Paul was my first new friend out there. We worked together. Offices in downtown Burbank. We stayed friends and in the end Paul was one of my oldest friends. He did things I found outrageous. He once flew to San Francisco to meet my wife and I for dinner. He rented a car and driver and had us chauffeured all over the city in style. Never mind Las Vegas trips. Never mind dinners in Los Angeles. Too many to share. Paul had style. Paul was generous.

Truth is Paul was most of the reason we stayed in touch for so many years. Paul was a friend keeper. Someone who does not let their good friends drift too far away. He would call from time to time, and for example, ask for my perspective on a situation. Sometimes it might be advice about how to deal with a workplace challenge. He would always thank me in a funny voice for “my white friend perspective”. I think I know what he meant. It did not require definition.

I have imagined many times over the past weeks, being able to say a real goodbye to Paul. To look him in the eye and tell him how much I miss him. The sadness from his leaving us. I would have used different words, harsher words to his face, and Paul would have appreciated the brutal honesty and emotion. I will tell him now, and imagine him here with me, I miss you brother. Good bye, friend. God speed you to your next, and if not or in the meantime, may your rest be peaceful.

Owen

Cutting Our Cord

September 18, 2014

There was a time when we watched a lot of television in our house. With a Toddler to keep up with we are now way below the national average which evidently is five hours a day if we are to believe what was reported by the New York Daily News.

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My wife watches less than an hour a day all while she gets in her daily workout. I watch about an hour a day in the evenings. We might also sorta kinda maybe watch an hour together after dinner in between bath and play time. As a result we decided to get rid of our cable and the bill that goes along with it. There is certain programming that we did not want to live without. With all of the options we were able to cobble together solutions that covered everything.

1. Netflix
2. Hulu
3. Plex
4. Tablo TV
5. ESPN3
6. iTunes

All of these combined might cost us $20 a month. Most of these are, or could be with a little negotiating, more or less free. I did pay for the Table DVR and OTA HDTV antenna but after that all of what I pull out of the air and record is free.

We have only been cable free for a few weeks. So far so good.

Owen

The Road to Henrik

July 3, 2013

Baby Henrik was due to arrive on Saturday, June 22, 2013. In my experience, Swedes are very rarely ever late. That means we can either blame my Irish English roots, or more likely, on the fact that we just haven’t had the opportunity to teach Baby how to keep to a schedule. All in due time.

As a result, we made an appointment at Chandler Regional Hospital for this past Thursday afternoon to induce labor. After a long process, including a lot of walking, Linda was diagnosed as being in ‘active labor’ and was officially admitted at midnight. The epidural was administered, other hoops were jumped, and by 2:00 AM on Friday morning we were able to get some rest. But not much. By 6:00 AM Linda and Baby were ready to take things to the next level.

Fast forward a bit. After about five hours of intense physical toil, the doctor recommended a Cesarian as the safest way to proceed. Linda got to experience it all! Inducement, certain aspects of natural childbirth, and Cesarian. What a lucky gal! All kidding aside, the most important thing is that Baby was born healthy and safe. Mom and Baby are home, recovering, and doing very well.

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Stick’em up!

Henrik Walker Brown

Thinking deeply.

Henrik Walker Brown

Owen

My list. Six straightforward items. Written down and time set. Primary goals for this coming year.

1. Put things back where they go when I’m done using them – I’m 36 so I should have had this dialed in at least a decade ago, right? Wrong. So, why now? I lost a few things in 2010 that were valuable to me. I can’t help feel that if I’d just had a specific place for them, I wouldn’t have lost them. Be that true or not, I’ve already saved a lot of time looking for stuff (or rather not having to look for stuff) just by virtue of knowing that the thing I’m looking for is where it is supposed to be.

2. Record all of My Workouts in 2011 – I failed at this last year only making it to the middle of March. I have a new simpler spreadsheet and a better plan for success this year. If you’d like a copy of my spreadsheet you can find it at the bottom of this post.

3. Complete an Olympic Distance Triathlon – The race is October 2nd in Scottsdale, AZ. It’s on!

4. Finish the Swedish Rosetta Stone Course Level 1 – This was another failure for 2010 but it’s getting pushed forward to 2011. I will get this done within the first six months of this year. Count on it!

5. Eliminate all White Foods from my Diet – This is my first dietary resolution. My doctor told me two years ago that I needed to eliminate all white foods from my diet. No, I’m not talking about cauliflower and yogurt. I’m talking about processed foods like bread, rice, and pasta. Making the decision to eliminate fast food, pizza (not made at home), and my weakness, chips and salsa, I have been able to comply 85%. However, this is the year I take that commitment to full compliance.

(Note: When I say diet, I mean “the foods eaten” not “a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight”. However, I am doing a month-long experiment eliminating all foods that could be white. I view experiments like a trial; testing it out before it becomes a permanent part of my diet. More on that in subsequent posts.)

6. Run a Full Marathon – I am anticipating doing the Tucson Marathon December 12, 2011. We’ll see if this plays out but since the plan is only really half hatched, we’ll have to wait and see. Yet, it will certainly be a significant achievement, so it makes the list.

That’s it. Just six things. Keeping it simple in 2011. Happy New Year!

Icke Family Portraits 2010

October 29, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I got together with the Myra and Pete Icke, along with their girls Alyssa and Karina to take some family pictures. Myra and Pete wanted some pictures of the family and also a shot or two of the girls in their princess themed Halloween costumes. We decided to meet in Tempe Town Lake Park in Tempe, Arizona.

The weather on this sunny “Fall” Saturday late morning turned out very nicely. The lake park is such a nice spot. Pete suggested including the Bridge in the family picture “In order to represent where we live”. Since there wasn’t a cactus or a tumbleweed to be seen anywhere in the park, I agreed that was a great idea.

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I half jokingly asked Pete if he had any back issues. Hey, you never know. I wanted to get a shot of him holding the girls. It’s probably not going to be too long before the girls will outgrow this opportunity so Pete gave it a shot. I believe this is him faking strain.

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Pete pulled it off and here is his reward.

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Myra wisely chooses to take a different approach. This is one of my favorites.

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After family pictures were done the girls changed into their costumes. I believe Karina is dressed as a Fairy Princess and Alyssa as a Dainty Queen Fairy God Mother? The girls told me but things like that just don’t stick in my mind. Ehh, close enough, right?

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It was a really fun time. Pete even picked up the tab for lunch! Thanks, Ickes. Hope you’ll enjoy these pictures for many years.