I got back to my desk at about midday on Thursday after a meeting, looked at the news online and saw that Steve Jobs had died. It made me sad. But I’m still not really sure why I’m sad, and why I’m even still a bit sad now a couple of days later.
Yes, I’m a fan of Apple’s products and have been ever since I bought my first iPod back in, I think, 2003 (although I might have been on my way to becoming a fan when I bought Tegan an iBook (which in those days was a laptop – not an ebook) in December 2002). But at the end of the day they’re just tools and gadgets that enable the things I want to do or make them easier. I don’t think I have a particular emotional attachment to my Apple gadgets. When an iPod or laptop has died (usually after extensive service) I’ve been disappointed because it meant I needed to spend money to buy a new one, but that was it. And my fondness for Apple gadgets isn’t intrinsically linked to the CEO and founder of the company that made them. In fact, I was never very impressed with what I heard about Steve Jobs as a person – based on the old stories about how he had for years denied the paternity of his first daughter or how he had scammed his friend out of what should have been his rightful share of the proceeds from creating a game for Atari. Basically, I had the impression that he wasn’t a particularly nice person.
The sense of sadness and loss I feel confuses me. One could put it down to the old John Donne line – ‘any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind’, but I don’t think that’s it either – plenty of people die about whom I don’t feel sad. Maybe I’m just tired and feeling a bit fragile – and there is some truth to that, although it doesn’t explain the full thing either. I think what it is, for good or ill, is that I’ve developed a significant respect for Steve Jobs over the last few years and that the sense of loss is because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about his views and actions. There is an attachment for me because he is someone I have engaged with, albeit vicariously.
At one level, this is because of my attachment to Apple’s products. I have started typing this on an iPad, which is connected to the Internet via a personal hotspot on my iPhone, and I will include an image I edited and stored on my iMac. Later today I will watch a video that will be streamed from my iMac and displayed on my tv via an AppleTV. I will do more work typing this up using Tegan’s Macbook Pro while sitting on my couch watching the Rugby World Cup. The more I have read about Apple, the clearer it has become that the connectedness of all these gadgets – the way they work together almost effortlessly and the way they enable me to do all these things – the beauty of their design in both looks and usability – it was Steve Jobs that drove this. He was the visionary who saw the possibilities and pushed people to make them happen, not to mention structuring a business and manufacturing supply chains to put them in my hands at prices I can afford (albeit, that I can afford only because of my comfortable middle class job and lifestyle).
I’m also very interested in the reports about what Steve Jobs was like as a manager. Having worked for detail-obsessed micro-managers, it’s typically a frustrating experience, yet that was something that Steve Jobs was lauded for. Perhaps there’s message there that it’s good to micro-manage details, as long as you pick the right ones to manage and as long as you can actually contribute and make your product or whatever better by doing so. Personally, looking at the possibilities of being a senior manager in my field in the not too, too distant future there are obviously useful lessons to be learned from watching one of the stand out entrpreneurs and managers of my lifetime.
The other aspect of the sadness, I’m sure, is because I’m a Christian and Steve Jobs wasn’t. Since his death, his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 has been quoted many times. It included the following line:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
I find this so sad – it’s close to the truth, but wrong enough to be very, very sad and disappointing. Death is not the greatest invention of life. Death is wrong. As he said, despite eagerly awaiting eternal life I don’t seek death now and I do enjoy my life. But in contrast I think that Jesus’ victory over death is the greatest thing ever and I more eagerly look forward to a day where there will be no more death and no more suffering:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:2-4
But in the meantime, I appreciate Steve Jobs as visionary and I can internally mourn for someone who had such big, good and intelligent ideas and who appreciated the bigger picture, but just had it so tragically wrong.
Isaac is now seven weeks old. This is an update of what has happened in that time. It’s a long read, so perhaps grab a cup of coffee first to keep you going and awake if you want to read all the way to the end.
Tegan recovered really well from her caesarean. In fact, she recovered so well and so quickly she somewhat shocked the midwives and the obstetrician and received some renown for being able to get out of bed and walk only about 12 hours after the operation and then move out of her surgical bed and into a normal room the next morning. Personally, this didn’t surprise me as she recovered quite quickly from her caesarean after Anastasia was born and this time around she wasn’t in labour for over 30 hours first.
The only complication, if it can be called that, in the first few days was that we had to start feeding Isaac formula in addition to breast milk on his second night. As was the case with Anastasia, Tegan couldn’t produce enough breast milk and Isaac needed additional formula to supplement what Tegan could give him. This came to a head on the second night when Tegan was looking at the colostrum she had been expressing and realised that she wasn’t expressing 3mL in the 40 minutes after a feed, but just 0.3mL. At least this time we were prepared and picked it up while we were still in hospital rather than several weeks later, as we did with Anastasia. Consequently, Isaac lost only about 200g by the end of our stay in hospital, in contrast with Anastasia who lost about 700g in her first week and who didn’t make back her birth weight until she was four weeks old.
‘Snugglebunny’ is one of Anastasia’s favourite toys. He was a gift to her from friends of ours, Ally and Nathanael, when they visited us in hospital in the week she was born. Since Anastasia went to child care, he has been the toy that she slept with and used for comfort. When she switched child care centres in around April 2010 he took on added importance as the toy that gave her additional comfort when she was in a new surrounding. He also started coming home each night, whereas previously he had just been kept in the child care centre.
Just after Isaac was born, I accidentally left Snugglebunny at child care one Monday night after picking Anastasia up. When we discovered at bedtime that he wasn’t there, Anastasia was devastated. She wanted us to go back to childcare right then to pick him up, to which we had to explain that all the leaders had gone home too and that we couldn’t get in. It took her about an hour to calm down and settle after this discovery and only after we promised to go in first thing the next morning to pick him up, which of course we did. Anastasia proudly proclaimed, “I’m happy with Snugglebunny back.”
A couple of weeks after that, Snugglebunny once again was left at childcare. This time, however, he was just nowhere to be found when we went to leave. Anastasia and I and the leaders in her room looked everywhere for him but to no avail. I expected Anastasia to be devastated once again but she actually took it in her stride, explaining to Tegan when we got home that she lost Sungglebunny at child care. We called a few time during the week and he still hadn’t been found, nor was he there when Anastasia went back to child care on Friday. Despite taking it quite well, Anastasia was a bit disappointed when she thought about her missing Snugglebunny and a few times on the weekend said, “I want Snugglebunny back.”
We made this poster to put up at child care on the Monday to see if we could enlist additional support in finding Snugglebunny, but it was never actually needed as, lo and behold, when we arrived on the Monday morning Snugglebunny had been found and the leaders proudly presented him to Anastasia as soon as she walked into the room. She was ecstatic and didn’t put him down again for some time. Along with her Kaloo bears and a very old baby doll, he remains her favourite toy and still goes to childcare with her every time, although we are much more careful now to make sure he always comes home again too.
Isaac Samuel Johnson
Born 8:17am, Monday 14 February 2011 at Calvary Hospital, Canberra
He weighed in at 3.9kg, was 53cm long and had a 33cm head circumference. This puts him at roughly the same size as was his older sister Anastasia when she was born, however she was 2 weeks overdue and Isaac was born one week before his nominal due date. In other words, he’s likely to be a very big boy.
Thanks be to God for this wonderful blessing in our life.
Having a planned caesarean was much better than Tegan’s previous experience of being induced, being in labour for a day and a half and finally having an emergency caesarean. Tegan recovered very quickly this time around – she was able to get out of her surgical bed for a shower the same day and was up and walking and able to move into a normal room the morning after the operation. All the doctors and midwives were quite astonished at how quickly she recovered – she earned a reputation as a bit of a superwoman.
Anastasia is very sweet with him as well. She is coping with the changes in her life pretty well and she says that she likes being a big sister. She likes giving Isaac little cuddles and kisses too.
I’m posting more photos of Isaac at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mistertim/. Some may be marked as private for friends/family only, so if you want to see those and can’t, let me know.
The three of us went to the ‘Close Up‘ exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery yesterday. This is an exhibition of works by a photographer named Martin Schoeller and was quite enjoyable. Every photo is almost identical – they are more or less composed, lit and photographed in exactly the same way (though I noticed a few where the post-processing was noticeably different, for example in a photo of Henry Kissinger). About half to tw-thirds of the exhibition are portraits of celebrities, ranging from Paris Hilton to Barack Obama. The remainder of the exhibition are photos of people from tribes in South America and Africa. The effect is very interesting – in theory the work should be a great equaliser, with there being no real difference in the end between the celebrities and the tribespeople. However, to my mind the celebrity portraits were more engaging. I’m not sure why – maybe I’ve just been conditioned to find those people interesting, or maybe they really did have more of a presence in front of the camera. Whatever it was, the exhibition overall was great and worthwhile visiting.
Outside the exhibition they had a bench set up (more for kids, I guess) with shaving mirrors, paper and pencil so that one could sketch oneself. The three of us all had a go at it, though Anastasia finished first and spent most of the time eating her morning tea.
This was the first sketching I had done since art class in early high school. I was terrible at it back then, but perhaps not so bad these days.