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2020.01.12 Thoughts On Iran

Just to state up front, I recognize that Iran's leadership is arguably one of the worst actors in the globe with respect to supporting acts of terror and violence. But a people is not it's leadership, especially in a mostly-totalitarian theocratic regime.

In the wake of the seemingly-arbitrary US missile attack to kill Qasem Soleimani, there was worry that the main effect would be to galvanize the progressive segments of Iranians into supporting nationalistic anti-US jingoism. And indeed they did swear retaliation. But that retaliation came in the form of 6 hours of advance warning, and resulted in no loss of human life. It struck me as being incredibly, well, civilized.

Then there's the horrific shooting down of a civilian airliner with anti-aircraft missiles, killing a bunch of Canadians. If this had happened in another country, (like, for example, Russia) it would have been denial layered with no response at all. Instead, after a small delay, Iran admitted to the act and apologized. Even though it may make them lose some internal political coherency, and give fodder to their enemies propaganda machines. But it is the act of a coherent member of the world stage, and I think it will serve them better in the long run.

2020.01.03 "I Know"

Went and re-watched STAR WARS: Rise Of Skywalker with Simon, this time in IMAX 3D, and saw a bunch of new detail with this watching. But one piece of dialogue stands out.

Way back in EMPIRE, Han Solo famously responded to Leia's "I love you" with "I know". A bit of dialogue that was later reversed in JEDI. This tidbit makes me think that it was being directly referenced in RISE when Han Solo appears to his son, Ben Solo.

The moment when Ben says, very uncharacterstically, "Dad..."
Then there is a pause and Han Solo says, "I know."

I like to think this means that, in the idiom of their family, Ben told his dad that he loved him.

2020.01.03 Hello 2020

I've already made the pun to Simon about 2020 being a year of improved vision; he was not impressed.

But it is certainly true that after the Great Sorting of feelings and directions in 2019, the holiday season has allowed for a great deal of peace to be unfolded over most of my life. And nurtured in that space there are many plans unfolding, with a certain sense of optimism.

Life is good.

2019.12.24 The Joy of Violet

This whole half year has been a time of stress and difficulty, weighed down by many things that are sad. All of us in the Castle family are feeling the effects, and try to be mindful of them. One of the hardest parts is the worry about how the changes to our family will affect our quality of life. It has the insidious effect of making our own sadness exacerbated by having to witness the manifestations of sadness on our people.

But then there's Violet. Yes, she is sad, and unsure, and affected as the rest of the family. Yet she is also such a fundamentally happy person, that she will tend to revert to playing, and skipping, and humming with her usual overflowing innocent joy. The bright bloom of her regular happiness is the most magical gift, and I treasure it.

Thank you, for being you, Violet.

2019.12.18 Fredmas

I was asked by an important new person in my life, "What do we need to do special for Fredmas?"

It made me pause, because in typical Marshall McLuhan-ian fashion, I had always sort of just assumed that the very existence of Fredmas was sufficient to convey the important honouring function. But a more pragmatic answer was needed.

So I said,

"It's a day to be like Fred Castle. Enjoy working, savour playing and relaxing, bury all complaints under sarcastic wit."

2019.12.17 Complete Classic Sayings

Saw a Tumblr thread on this that reminded me of how much I like the original versions, and have an emotional annoyance with the popularly-remembered shorter versions.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.

Jack of all trades, master of none, but better than master of one.

Great minds think alike, but fools rarely differ.

Birds of a feather flock together - until the cat comes.

The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

If you starve a cold, you'll have to feed a fever.

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong to be set right.

Rome wasn't built in a day, but it burned in one.

2019.12.13 Ode To Joy

Fridays are now my one school-day morning with the kids, so today we all landed at the Chestnut House ready for heading to school. With about 20 minutes to fill before the expected arrival of their walk-to-school buddies (the Dobratz kids), Simon decided it would be a good time to practice his flute.

So he breaks out his flute and his nifty new budget music stand, spreads out his music book, and starts tiptoeing through Beethoven's Ode To Joy.

My heart immediately clasped and tears sprung to my eyes. Violet was skipping nearby, and I swept her up into a hug and squeezed her and let my tears dampen her hair. When he paused to take a breath, I did the same to Simon. Hell, I had to pause writing this because recalling it made me choke up anew.

This music has always affected me profoundly. Which is why I had it played as the recessional for S and my's wedding - another layer of the feels to mingle in. It's good to find the threads of joy in the midst of all the difficulty these days.

2019.12.10 Simon: "...Hey Dad."

Simon got sick at school yesterday. He started feeling not well, and went to the bathroom. There, he started feeling even worse, and so he called me on his watch-phone.

It appeared on my phone as a number not in my contacts, so I answered with my standard: "Engineering. Clayton here."

When I heard the sad, timid "...Hey Dad" I immediately knew it was Simon and that he was distressed. My black little heart leapt up into my throat with worry, especially when he paused to throw up.

I instinctively reassured him immediately. "Hang on kiddo! I'll be there as fast as I can!"

Except I had walked to work yesterday. And I still had a tonne of work to do. So I jammed my laptop into a bag, and sprinted up the hill to my apartment where Ghost was parked (making record time - should have Strava'd it).

As I hustled up the hill, I felt a further wash of appreciation for how much I like the fact that he reached out to me in his moment of need. It settled in a fundamentally certain place in my soul: I will always be there for Simon and Violet.

2019.11.25 Guess I'm Ready Now

Three months ago I was still not ready to discuss my divorce on this medium. But it's been a long year of discussing all this stuff with people, so I suppose it's about time to open up my processing on this here too.


In high school, I would have declared "PSYCHE!" But really this is just a reserved spot for sneaking in commentary aimed at the curious. Sort of like a turtle.