Category Archives: Family

Mark, και, και ευθεως, and my week.

The gospel of Mark has an interesting little structure. A whole bunch of the verses start with και, which is often translated “and” but can be, and often is, left untranslated since it’s just there to keep the story going from point to point. So, it’s something like “…and then they did this, and then they did that, and then they did the next thing…” Occasionally you’ll see και ευθεως, which is “and immediately”. Overall, in Mark you get the sense of a very fast moving narrative.

Well, I thought I’d give my week’s highlights in Markian prose:

Last week I went out of town
και I needed to get back for a funeral
και the winds were high so taking a small plane back began to look iffy
και ευθεως we decided I should fly commercial
και there was a flurry activity getting me on the flight
και I got back that evening
και I showed up at church in the nick of time to set up for the funeral
και I went home and slept
και ευθεως in the morning I was back at church doing sound checks
και the funeral was lovely
και so was the rest of the afternoon
και we were all getting hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat
και, despite reassurances, my Spidey-Sense noted peanut oil, so I didn’t eat the fried food
και we took the kids to get our Christmas tree (a week later than usual)
και I lost my company iPhone somewhere
και ευθεως we called the restaurant and they found nothing
και ευθεως I searched in the dark tree lot and I found nothing
και I reconciled myself to buying a replacement
και we left the tree lot
και we realized that in our distraction we’d not paid for our Christmas tree
και ευθεως we went back to the tree farm
και taking one more look for my iPhone, a teen came up and asked “Is this yours?”
και I could tell it pained him to return it
και ευθεως we went home
και after a jam-packed Friday at work, the weekend came
και we awoke to snow
και the yard wasn’t ready for snow, so I got the yard ready
και one then another kid got something like the stomach flu
και ευθεως I did, too
και I spent 18 hours in bed
και I missed church (which is rare)
και Helen got it later on Sunday
και I’m tired

It’s been a fast moving narrative.

It’s me! Groucho Marx!

everyone at halloween 2007

Halloween was fun this year. We did our usual run up to Vadnais Heights, where the fire department has food and treats and clowns (not every day… just Halloween), and then we go through one of the neighborhoods there. Anna was a princess. Kenny was columbian coffee. Henry and Will were bears monkeys. But Jack, well, he stole the show as Groucho Marx’s Professor Wagstaff from Horse Feathers.

No, it’s not a real cigar. It’s a cinnamon stick.

jack 2 halloween 2007anna and jack halloween 2007Kenny, Jack, and Clownjack straight on halloween 2007

Yes, that’s Jack making the clown laugh.

We’re all fine…

…and we were thankfully not nearby, but the [35W Mississippi River bridge collapse]( is just stunning and horrible. It’s just unbelievable. There were no known problems with the bridge. No interesting or extreme weather. Just a second of shaking and then it fell; 64 feet down to the river.

Host unlimited photos at for FREE!

Here’s a [quick map of where it happened](,-93.233843&spn=0.035277,0.071411&z=14&msid=116932682035456861521.000436ad14ad2d7984cc4) compared to how I get to work.

**UPDATE:** A good friend came by this afternoon. Late in the afternoon she was planning to head home over West River Road. Guess where she might have been at 6:00? It’s in green on the map I linked to above. Yep. Directly under the collapse. She stayed for dinner. (The aroma of fresh rosemary from our garden drew her to the table. Yeah, it was the rosemary… If “rosemary” is the new word for divine intervention!)

**UPDATE (next morning):** I’ve always liked [James Lileks]( [Now I like him even better](

**UPDATE:** From [Wikipedia]( “The 35W bridge shares the same mile of the Mississippi as two of Minneapolis’ other spectacular catastrophes: the explosion of the Washburn “A” Mill in 1878 and the collapse of the tunnel under Hennepin Island in 1869, which nearly destroyed St. Anthony Falls.”

**UPDATE:** Yes, there’s (

**UPDATE:** I’m having a previously arranged “work at home” day today. I’m sitting outside on the patio on a warm, sunny, beautiful day. But it’s kinda spooky. I live about 7 miles from the collapse, but nevertheless I can hear the city abuzz. It seems like there’s a lot more small aircraft overhead (I live just up the bluff from a regional airport). I hear emergency vehicle sirens on I-94 over and over and over. It’s unsettling. Of course, I’m thankful that I’m only unsettled.

**UPDATE:** I heard from a friend that a friend of his was expected to be in that area at that time, and that he and his daughter are still missing. Prayers coveted. Sounds like they’re OK.

**UPDATE:** Here’s the [current traffic camera shot of the bridge]( (with reference images of what it used to look like). With everything having fallen, a lot of the photos we’re seeing now don’t really show how high the bridge was like I think this one does.

Martin Island. Shell Island. Whatever.

Here’s a 3D panorama I took during our trip to South Carolina. It’s of us visiting a tiny little island in Lake Wylie.

Click and drag in the image to look around.

Various members of our family have labeled it Martin Island and Shell Island. The naming issue was hotly contested while we were there, and so by a one vote margin the name “Shell Island” was upheld.

Until next time, I’m sure.

The thunderclouds rolling in were an afternoon staple of our visit. It was very warm and humid, and every evening spotty, strong storms would roll through with some of the oddest thunder I’ve ever heard.

And back again…

Kids sleeping in the van going to South Carolina

We’re just back from our family vacation driving to South Carolina. It was very nice. It was a long drive. More later, but I just wanted to say hello.

Note for next time: I will *not* actually be able to get a hotel room on the Sunday evening before the Fourth of July. Anywhere.

“Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss”


**Big news!**

**Today was my first day at a new job!** Two weeks ago I resigned my position as VP of Production and Technology at Simply Retail, where I’d been for over two years. I hadn’t been actively looking for a new job, but one day about a month ago I got an email from a friend and former co-worker saying “we find ourselves continuously saying ‘we want to find someone like Ken Martin.'” (It’s nice to hear you’ve left a reasonably nice impression.)

Well, we had lunch and talked and it turned out they had what seemed like a nice possibility. We continued through the process, and voila, it turned out to be a very nice opportunity. And I said yes.

**So I’m back at [Digital Cyclone][5]!** I wrote about them a few months ago [noting][1] that they’d been bought out by [Garmin][2]. I’m now a Garmin employee, as Digital Cyclone is a Garmin subsidiary.

My job title is Web Application Developer. Why would I go from a [VP position][4] to a developer position? Well, there are a few reasons, but the basic summary is that I’ll have better compensation in a familiar company, in an industry I find interesting, with people I enjoy, in a technically challenging environment. I will miss interacting daily with the folks at Simply Retail, and there are parts of my leadership role that I will miss, but I plan to apply what I’ve learned in that role and blow the socks off folks at DCI. :)

What a blessing it was to be presented with the kinds of challenges I saw as VP, and to find that, previously unbeknownst to me, I could meet those challenges. That’s probably the biggest thing I’m taking away from Simply Retail.

[Simply Retail][3] has been wonderful in many ways. They, too, are in an interesting industry (healthcare retail), and I worked with fantastic people there whom I will miss. It was nice to leave on pleasant terms, and it’s likely I’ll be doing a little freelance work here and there for them. And it will be great to watch from afar as they continue to grow.

So there you have it! See, there really was a reason I’ve not posted much lately. :)

Pedantic note: Though the Who allusion was kind of a fun post title, in the song it’s a sad reflection that once the “revolution” came, nothing really changed. That’s *not* how this change feels. Web technology, mobile apps, weather, aviation, and now GPS… this geek is going to have fun. No negative reflection on either company intended. :)

Storybook snow day

As unimpressive as the reporters (*twice*) were showing me their foot plunged “deep” into 2-inch snow, the actual snowfall that came over the next 36 hours was prodigious. Saturday was a perfect storybook day for the kids. Deep, sticky snow lent itself to snowballs and half a dozen forts. Occasional periods of heavy snowfall; big, fat flakes. Papa out there battling the slightly underpowered snow blower.

More snow fell Saturday night. Church was called off. More play. More snow-blowing. More storybook.

Monday morning found our streets still unplowed, so I declared a snow day for them. You can imagine their heartbreak. You can imagine Helen’s heartbreak.

I made it into work just fine, and I came home to the Hump at the End of the Driveway. Just looking at it was exhausting. A snow blower won’t touch that stuff. It’s been compressed into impermeable blocks by tons of snowplow. I cleared half of it and went in. Tired. Friday was a sixteen hour day at work, and the weekend just kept coming. It’s all a blur. A pleasant blur.

When the kids think of winter in years to come, my guess is it will be this one. There’s always one that leaves its mark. The snow was so high! The flakes we so big! Wonderful.