Thursday, December 31, 2015

Go Caps!

Cash & Luke's Seventh Year & a Half

Well Cash, you are famous. Mom took you to a caps game and your face wound up on a prominent blog about the Caps, RMND (Russian Machine Never Breaks)! Your enthusiasm was captured and remarked upon as being what's awesome about hockey!

Indeed, you are into hockey these days. You've been taking both skating and hockey lessons; your ability and patience with the process is very unWellerian.

When I was young, I fought any and every lesson of any and every kind -- I hated novelty and stepping out of my comfort zone. You follow your interests with enthusiasm with no fear. I admire how chill you are about your hobbies and you endure practices with ease. Its annoying.

As you can see from this blog, watching your favorite sport played professionally at such a high level motivates you. You are a wild and crazy fan! Take a look.

Much of the blog is hard to read, so I'll try and sum it up for you:
A Front Row Seat to Tom Wilson’s Melee Made One Kid a Caps Fan For Life (Photo) 
Wednesday night, the Capitals extended their latest winning streak to nine games and it appears they gave one tiny Caps fan a thrill of a lifetime in the process. During a first period melee which saw Tom Wilson get a double minor for roughing, the Caps and Sabres mucked it up near the glass. Check out the fantastic photos. Dude is so happy. That's what hockey is all about.
And from the comments:
devildoll:  Same, little dude. Same.
Sage Confucius:  The kid on the left in the first picture looks totally unimpressed. I'd rather sit next to the kids that is having fun. Rock on, little dude!
You remind me of your great grandfather Harry Deets Weller Jr. (who my dad, as guest blogger, covered in an earlier entry). Even after a devastating stroke, he would light up when in a crowd as if he was absorbing all the energy around him.

Watching you at these games, I see the same exact trait of parlaying and amplifying the energy around you. And its not just at Caps games, but also at the Denver Broncos games.

[Picture of Cash with random dude]

Invariably, you become the celebrity of our section at hockey and football games. Within a quarter or two, you are off sitting with rabid fans who have adopted you, or you wind up in a blog!



Monday, November 30, 2015

Fall 2015 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Tippet the Parrot arrives!
2) Grangy's Birthday in Caneel Bay.
3) Churchill passes away. We miss him.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) These Boots are Made for Walking, Nancy Sinatra, (Released 1966)
2) Reality (feat. Janieck Devy), Lost Frequencies (Released 2015)
3) Return to Moon, EL VY (Released 2015)

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Luke & Dad's Ninth Year and a Half

You are in your final year of River School. Your mom has kicked ass as the Chairman of the Board and has been working hard to expand the River's influence. Simultaneously, we've been preparing you for the application process for your next phase of schooling.

Damn, this process is harder than applying to Duke in undergrad or Harvard Business School! Its every bit as selective and a lot more work. Its stressful for your parents, and we are stressing you out too!

However, one nice product of this effort is the essays Rachel wrote about you for the applications. Unlike your father, who is capable of wild fantasy and exaggeration, Rachel is unusually direct, honest and as result, really credible. She also is able to capture you at this moment of your life better than anyone.

So, rather than waste your time with me, I thought you should see what your mom wrote about you in the fall of 2015 ...

(By the way, don't tattle on me. She doesn't know I'm doing this!)

What is your child's attitude toward school?

Luke looks forward to each school day with a mixture of excitement and some small amount of apprehension. The River School is his second home, although he doesn’t quite realize it, and he feels confident and safe there. The excitement you can sense on our drive to school: he’s plotting how he will make his friends laugh and what he’ll contribute that day to the Falcon class’s ongoing project of the month, and what he’s going to talk to Mr. Leigh about in science. To succeed, however, Luke has had to learn to plan, to make lists, and to believe in process. These skills aren’t second nature, and the dose of apprehension comes in because every morning he’s also donning his school armor and preparing to do what doesn’t always come easily. But this apprehension has had its compensations. The flip side to having to find ways to cope with ADD, as Luke has had to from early on, is that Luke has a mental toughness and perseverance that was not as present when he was younger. Luke is friendly and seeks affection, but he is single-minded and determined. When he has an objective, academic or otherwise, he attains it.

How do you think your child is doing in school?

Luke is performing above average or on par in all subjects. Among his strengths is that he is a strong, voracious reader and an imaginative and comic writer. He chose a 500-plus page Skullduggery Pleasant series book for his book review earlier this year, despite his mother’s protestations that it would take forever, and delighted us by finishing it well before the deadline so he could get to work on the review. His reading comprehension is excellent, especially when he enjoys the topic, such as science, animals, history and, especially, fantasy fiction.

Luke excels in science, particularly life science and engineering science: circuitry, building, fluid dynamics (goo vs slime!), and anything involving rocketry or fire. Earlier this fall, he and his partner devised the only paper towel-roll and plastic-liter-bottle stomp rocket that reached the roof of The River School, and he is still proud of this accomplishment.

Luke likes math games and projects but doesn’t enjoy memorizing. He enjoys math insofar as it’s used in the service of a problem or a project.

He might be a little embarrassed to admit it, but Luke also loves being on stage, and his (obviously biased) parents think he’s a natural. At the River School, children act in the Spring Play starting in kindergarten, and Luke has always enjoyed the camaraderie and pomp and circumstance that go with the two months of rehearsal and the attention he gets when he’s hamming it up on stage. He’s spent three summers attending a “Shakespeare Sprite” camp, and he’s loved learning how to die on stage, how to sword fight, how to play up the slapstick side of Shakespeare, and he even got into the Elizabethan language after one of the cool, charismatic festival actors told him, “‘Prithee, peace’ means shutup! Say it like you’d say ‘shut up’ to your brother!”

What are your child's interests outside of school?

Luke's favorite activities are

drawing comics, scenes, and blueprints for machines and toys,
building anything,
inventing board games with his brother,
playing video games, especially with his friends, as well as programming in Minecraft,
reading science fiction and fantasy
practicing karate, and
playing guitar.

Among the activities that were initially parent-mandated but that Luke has come to enjoy through the years are karate, soccer, and music (first piano, now guitar). Luke is a blue-belt in karate and attends class twice a week. He's proud of each new belt he earns, and we have been delighted that karate has had the side benefits that “Mr. Ricky” promised us: it has increased his confidence and improved both his mental and physical discipline. Luke asked to play guitar after taking piano for a few years, and he has found his instrument. He likes getting his teacher to show him how to play simple versions of hit songs and movie soundtracks that he likes.

What are some of the qualities that you appreciate about your child?

Both of us read this question and said, “His imagination!” He loves imaginary worlds – from The Hobbit and Skullduggery Pleasant books to movies like Tron and video games like “Minecraft” – and he spends a lot of his free time incorporating them into his own games and comics. Luke really wants others to like what he likes, and as his social motivation has grown over the years, his enthusiasm for these pursuits has become infectious to his peers. Luke is a “maker” and has become a ringleader in the neighborhood who gets groups of kids to enter his imaginary world, plan adventures, and go on “missions” for his Pranksters Rule! Club. He’s also got his friends playing a game he made that he calls Galaxy Wars 8000, set in the future. It has levels and “bosses,” like video games, and role-playing, like “Dungeons and Dragons.” Each level is a picture he’s drawn, with challenges and probabilities infused into the story arc.

We also love that Luke is big-hearted, playful and has a strong sense of justice. He’s sensitive to others, and even though he can be silly and boisterous, he’s aware when a friend or an adult is feeling down and wants to make things right for them. We’ve been told that he is like “glue” in his class, helping others come together and find common ground. Luke has sometimes struggled, and he has a helping hand for anyone else who struggles.

What are some areas in which support may be needed?

The most significant challenge of Luke’s early years has been cutting out the “noise” so he can access his awesome mind. He’s distracted by an ambulance siren 5 miles away, laughter in the next room, his own impulse to get up and move around. Learning skills to help him pay attention – and accepting that he needs help (e.g., a tutor, medication, and early on, occupational therapy) – has been the struggle of his childhood. Yet each year has been better than the year before, and now Luke has the assurance that when you work on something, you can overcome it.

But Luke hasn’t done it alone, and support from school has been and will continue to be important. We’ve learned that contact with his teachers before problems arise is critical. As one example of support we might require next year, Luke is currently on an ADD medication that wears off at about 1 PM. As the afternoon workload in 4th grade increases, and as he grows, we can expect to need to adjust his medication. Having teachers fill out a short, standard survey once a week for a few weeks has been a good way to assess how things are going. We try to be respectful of teachers’ time and systematic and efficient about how we approach our support needs, such that we do not require more classroom or out-of-classroom time than other families.

And we’re quite open to suggestions. We have been upfront with teachers and friends about Luke’s ADD and what that means, and have come to feel that transparency and flexibility are a key component of the success he’s had.

What qualities about our School make it a good place for your child?

We want Luke to develop the mental, physical, and spiritual strength to find and pursue his passions. Great, innovative, and well-supported teachers are a critical part of that equation. Maret has the best teachers we have seen among area schools.

Beyond that, you are our first choice for Luke for many of the same reasons we have loved The River School: You try new things; you are not afraid to mess with the recipe; your teachers seem skilled, kind, and encouraged not to be complacent; and you foster thoughtful innovation.

The Case Institute comes to mind as an example of what makes Maret vibrant. The world changes, technology changes, our expectations of our kids change. In order to grow and improve, we think schools and teachers have to be open to change. And to do it well, they have to be systematic about it. Of all the schools we have encountered through our work with The River School or have visited over the last few years, Maret seems to best put into practice this principle.

We also think Luke will do well in Maret’s supportive, smaller-size classrooms and in your well-rounded program where he can develop his interest in science and computers as well as in performing and music.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blanket Thief

Cash & Dad's Seventh Year and a Quarter

When I was little, an ragged orange “blanky” accompanied me to bed every night. This behavior has passed to you, stuffing unnecessary fabric into bed, and unsurprisingly you’ve added flare to the practice.

Putting you to sleep is a ritual of placing a series of not just one but eight blankets in specific order, exacting placement, on top of and tucked around a certain Prince Cash.

If the rite is not perfectly performed, its scrapped and restarted. Again and again, over and over, sometimes two, sometimes five times!

Why do Rachel and I put up with this egregious ending to every evening?


If this ritual is perfectly executed (with an additional 30 second back rub), we are rewarded with at least one child immediately off the playing field! You cocoon up and pass out.


Where for Luke sleep is a place to avoid, Blanketfest properly performed results in Cashy slipping quickly into coddled dreamland. We get peace.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Lately, however, this process has taken a dark turn. After your dream ship is well out to sea, I’ve been retiring to my own bed only to find …  my own blanket kidnapped.

You are a Blanket Thief!

Yes, embarrassingly, I still need a blanky. No, I have not matured emotionally beyond your seven years ... and you know it.

I must say, however, my taste in blankets is exquisite.

Only a sensibility refined over forty years of trial and error would sniff out my most recent treasure, a grey and white specimen made of the softest German wool imaginable that I found in Munich during Octoberfest. I take this masterpiece with me everywhere!

Apparently you've either inherited my taste in fabrics or more likely you've got a keen sense what is most cherished by me. Either way, swiping such treasures from me has proven irresistible to you, bringing purpose to your life.

Your diabolical thievery is usually uncovered when it hurts most, when I go to bed AFTER you are asleep. After pounding my fists into my matress, I'm always stuck facing the same tough decision: do I weather a night of fitful sleep because of my missing blanky or do I risk an infiltration into the devil's den?

Despite my training in the navy, my SEAL-like incursions into your room almost always fail. Luke and you are deep, but somehow keenly perceptive sleepers. No matter how careful I am, these adventures always end up with not just one startled kid, but two reanimated demons! Demons who relish a parent getting caught and who will never, ever go back to sleep!

Lately, I’ve taken a new approach to containing your thievery: mirror your dastardly behavior. I too have become a Blanket Thief! I’ve been celebrating the Capitals wonderful season with a sinfully comfy Caps blanket! Its your favorite.

Go Caps!



Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer 2015 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Second, Telluride Summer!
2) Luke & Cash try skateboarding!
3) You guys rocked Theater in Colorado.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Regret, New Order (Released 1993)
2) The Devil Went Down to Georgia (Released 1979)
3) Love on a Real Train, Tangerine Dream (Released 70s)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Screen Crack

Luke & Dad's Ninth Year

Due to the inefficiencies of cross Atlantic travel, today I find myself with free time and an ability to appreciate it. So, after visiting my company ElasticSearch, I’m in Amsterdam with a half day off!

This is very rare. When I traveling for work, I’m in such a hurry to get back to you kids that I pack my schedule sardine tight. I never make room to wander around and take in my surroundings.

One thing I’ve noticed today noodling around the canals of the city is that while there are lots of restaurants, coffee shops and bars, and no one seems to be on a computer. Go to any coffee shop in America and you’ll see blue-lit zombie faces in sheer silence. Quite the opposite here. Perhaps its the weed.

The lack of computers got me thinking about our own family struggles of late. You see, you guys friggin LOVE computers and video games. So much so it takes away from your desire to engage in other creative activities — one of your greatest strengths! Right now, every weekend, we allow you two kids a couple hours of “screen-time." The thing is, computers games are like drugs for you boys. You want it insatiably. Weekends have turned into a street-scrum for screen-crack.

I try to keep in mind that when printed books became widely available in the early 18th century, novels were vilified as a disease atrophying the minds of the populace. All those people sitting around doing nothing but staring into paper! Funny how, nowadays, reading has attained near godly status.

Will our opinion of computing follow the same path from suspicion to pariah to achievement?

Its clear that computing is entering a new phase, bifurcating into two very different use cases. The first is what I call Injected Computing where computers are infused further and further into our everyday lives. Phones, watches, thermostats, cars, oh my! Its what many call Internet of Things these days or “IoT” for short.

The second case is a sort of inside-out view of injected computing (or perhaps outside-in is more fitting) that I call Immersive Computing. Instead of computers being injected into our world, we humans are infused into and engulfed by the computer’s world, an environment otherwise known as virtual reality, or "VR." The first real mass market VR headsets, like Oculus Rift, are entering the market next year in 2016.

As you are aware, I’ve been playing a role in the development of virtual reality content and platform with my board memberships. So, I’m a believer in VR’s inevitability and potential. Hell, I’m super excited to take you and your brother to Reykjavik, Iceland later this summer to visit Hilmar at CCP Games!

Still, I have concerns, in part because simulated environments like video games constrain variables versus real life. Why else can you play soccer like Pele on Xbox after just a few minutes? Furthermore, the “risks” thrown at you are logic generated, not natural and therefore not nearly as wild.

Trust me, the real world behaves in unfathomable ways requiring amazing agility and adaptability from us living things. Its amazing our universe doesn’t just fall apart.

I worry that a life immersed in computing might not allow for the full symphony of human capability that is required to survive. Or, seen another way, what makes a pro sports player or a virtuoso violinist so delightfully impossible is the sheer number of variables they have harmonized for their art.

I say that, and yet, the largest growing “spectator sport” is folks watching other people play video games within online platforms like Amazon’s Twitch. Watching other people play video games through your computer, what?

That’s unfathomable to me. But then again, so is most consumer behavior on the Internet. I’m on the board of DuoLingo where 3 million people per day engage in language learning on their iPhones and Androids. I can’t fathom that either, but I invested.

So, while concerning, computation is our future. In the 1990s, Steve Jobs likened the computer to a “bicycle of the mind.” Just as a bicycle extends the human ability of self-transport, by limiting variables and focusing energy, modern technology is dedicated to extending the abilities of the human mind. Perhaps its that focus and channeling of energy in refined yet forceful ways that makes it so powerful. A further tool of human specialization.

So, like the novel, I think the path of computing might end well. And I realize, despite my fears, I should seize your interest and harness your passion somehow.

But how?

My challenge is figuring out how to capture and guide your passion all while knowing that I’m more likely to be horrified by the next great thing than pleased you might be a virtuoso.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Cash & Dad’s Seventh Year

The ending of River School kindergarten brings to a close a most storied Cashy scholastic experience, “Rest and Read.” As we all know, you are renowned, non-stop talker, thus R&R imposes an insidious restraint, the requirement to stay silent. You've used every weapon in your armory — screaming tempers, kitty eyes, prison escape, teacher strong-arming, hard nosed negotiation, school room mutiny — and still been trapped into R&R.

When you were younger, we spent many a morning consoling you, trying to ease your fear of the impending horror of R&R. The worst part was the pre-school whining.

Recently, however, something has changed.

Machismo has entered the scene. Acting like a baby is no longer acceptable, likely cascading from your older brother who no longer wants to hold my hand in front of his friends. These kids are becoming more aggressive, more boyish, more competitive and that has seeped into our household.

Whatever the case, I overheard this conversation this morning:

Cash:  “At Rest and Read yesterday, they got mad at me and I got sent to the principal’s office."

Luke:  “Wow. What did you do?"

Cash:  “I wouldn’t stop talking at Rest and Read!"

Luke:  “Like, right, I hated Rest and Read."

[Quick commentary here: The word “right” has entered school verbiage evolved from the British show, Monty Python, in the 1970s where, “Right!” was used to reinforce a notion just said that one wasn’t so sure of. The use case here has the same function, but as a prefix to, rather than following the sentence.]

Cash:  “Yeah, my teachers told me to be quiet! So, right, I told them to shut up!"

Luke:  “What did the principal say?"

Cash:  “Nancy said I had to be quiet. But I said no and took some candy."

Luke:  “You got candy?!?"

In other words, my two midgets are at the formative stages of thwarting authority. Ever since the beginning of time, young people say "NO!" to the older generation, to what's happening in the world. And, disconcertingly, I’ve discovered I am a cornerstone of the authoritative institution.

More specifically, I am no longer “Dad.”

I am “Harry."

I probably deserve this for continuing to call you “Cash Machine” despite many cease and desist demands. Nonetheless, I suspect this is a symbol, a rejection of my fatherhood.

I am the dad in Tugenev’s Fathers and Sons where the son, Barazov, turns to his conservative father and says,

"We base our conduct on what we recognize is useful. In these days, the most useful thing we can do is to repudiate, and so we repudiate. Everything."

The father asks, “Everything?"

The son replies, “Everything."

The father realizes his son repudiates him too, as father.

This sort of philosophy is called Nihilism. In Fathers and Sons, Barazov defines nihilism outright, “A nihilist is someone who bows to no authority, who accepts no principle at face value, no matter in how much respect that principle may be held.”

The rise of nihilism rose from many forces, but foremost were the horrors of world scale war and the advances of science. Both were collapsing traditional morals and values, showing them inert or just plain wrong. God, long regarded the source of absolutes, was “dead" concluded Nietzsche.

Nietzsche was the first to treat nihilsm as a serious philosophical matter though he was commonly misidentified as a nihilist himself. He meant “dead" in the sense that traditional religion no longer held sway over modern culture. In the absence of absolute values, a vacuum had been created and, for a time, it would seem that nothing existed, nothing was real.

For Nietzsche, though, this nothingness was temporary, a momentary void from which the more evolved human, the Übermensch, would birth something entirely new. He saw the collapse of absolute values as an opportunity for us to reexamine our fundamental truths, to retool our systems. Nietzsche also makes a point that the "overman" is not an end result for a person, but more the journey toward self-mastery.

In that light, I am pleased being called Harry.

If your self exploration means a rejection of authority, even to the base idea I am your father but instead just “Harry," I am ok with that. I see courage in the willingness to defy things, even the most scary like death. I do suspect there is self realization the other side.

I also feel no restraint in my willingness to defy the youth that will inherit the earth! Dropping you off at school in front of your friends, I’ll be in a bathrobe and flip flops with a final wave yelling, 

“I love you Cash Machine!"



P.S. I should point out that the term Übermensch was stolen by Hitler and the Nazi regime to describe their idea of a biologically superior Aryan or Germanic master race. Its another contortion by the Nazis. Nietzsche himself was critical of both antisemitism and German nationalism.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring 2015 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Rachel assumes Chairmanship of River School!
2) You guys survive Rogan's skiing instruction in Telluride.
3) We acquire our first property in Colorado.

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Freewill, Rush, Permanent Waves (Released 1980)
2) Waves (Robin Schulz Remix), Mr Robz, Single (Released 2015)
3) A Girl Like You, Edwyn Collins, Gorgeous George (Released 1994)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Cash & Dad’s Sixth Year and a Quarter

World War II has become a fascination for you. The Pelican class at River School introduced the subject and you were consumed immediately.

I too was entranced with World War II early in life. I loved its weapons and warfare and it was not ancient history. Being brought up in the seventies, the war was a mere twenty years past. Today, college was twenty years ago for me. Ugh.

As computers evolved into gaming platforms, I started seeing the weapons I read so much about show up in video games. I thought that was so cool.

In your case, the opposite is true in that you are fascinated to see the weapons of your mobile games show up in historical reality. “You mean they really had these things?!” This strange reversal says a ton about our future.

As you learned more about World War II, you soon identified with the greatest victims of the war, culminating in this:

“Dad, I’m Jewish.”

My buddy Gregg Brown would be proud.

This plus your stated faith in Jesus, rising from a yet identified influence, and I see the wonderful choices of childhood unencumbered by the mutually exclusive. Life is a candy store for the young.

I parlayed your interest in World War II into board games that emulate the various struggles of WWII. Our favorite is called Memoir ’44. I also exposed you to an Apple iTV production of ten episodes showing rare video footage of World War II. I was hoping the videos would both add more depth the games and bring to bear some of the realities of what we were simulating.

Needless to say, the violence of all this is probably unhealthy. But, hell, I was watching Lord of the Rings with Luke when he was two. This stuff is just too good to hold back on.

In our very first Memoir '44 game I was in for a shock, however. Despite your religious convictions, you insisted on playing the German side on Sword Beach of D-Day. I had assumed you’d stick to the defense of your new tribe and side with the Allies.

Pondering this, I wondered if the videos had something to do with it. We had only seen the first two episodes, and in those the Germans pretty much kicked royal ass including the Blitzkrieg of Poland and France.

Could it be that your desire to win overcame any of your religious convictions?! Could you be that competitive, that shallow?!

I should pause here and admit that you carry a five-to-zero undefeated streak against me. So, to be fair, my worries about your competitiveness are on reflection and maybe the fermentation of sour grapes. By the way, I say a five-to-zero streak with a great deal of hesitation because of a scrap we held in the wintery Adriennes. I won decidedly only to realize my tank firepower should’ve been penalized -2 dice fighting out of forests (which was the core of my strategy). I disqualified myself. You counted it as win, which is questionable. Its more of a revoking of a win than a loss for me in my view.

Whatever. At this point I should also mention that the Wellers are not graceful at the deciding moment of competition. We are gleeful, gloating winners; we are downright ugly losers. (I should additionally note that Rachel, who considers herself more a Moore than Weller therefore immune, is indeed infected by this disease though with a style her own. Her celebration volume is an unWellerian quiet but betrayed by a shiningly jubilant face.)

However, you, Cash, are at an entirely different level and this says a lot given my legendary post game antics. A Cash victory is a frenzied jig followed by a sprint to the nearest ten human beings, friend or random stranger, to recount your victory. Defeats are crying tantrums, slamming of fists and the occasional destruction of a MacBook Pro.

Now when introducing a new game, my newest innovation is to lose the first few games outright. That way, when you face defeat for the first time, you quickly apply ego-saving math, “yeah, but I’m still winning overall!” and I’m saved a few thousand dollars and infanticide.

All this because I introduced these games to you ... never let a good deed go unpunished. I sometimes wonder if I know what I’m doing.

But just when I despair, I get a text from your aunt Keara:



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter 2015 Roundup

Top three household events this quarter:

1) Sold the MacArthur house!
2) Rachel went to Barcelona.
3) Rachel's second River School Auction succeeded!

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Nuke 'Em

Luke & Dad's Eigth Year and a Half

We are wrapping up what has been a challenging 2014 for us Wellers. We didn't leap the hurdles with grace, but I’m proud we finished alive and kicking. Your mother was a hero of course.

We spent Christmas in the Dominican Republic with your favorite family, the Kramers. Dealing with the energy broiling out of you and your gang of Motts, Lars and Luke was as tolerable as staring into the sun. I wouldn’t have a it any other way I guess.

I made things worse by introducing a science fiction role-playing game from the eighties called Traveller. The game was a huge hit with your clan and in-between gaming sessions I was relentlessly pestered to return to the game. I reluctantly traded hours of peaceful lounging in the sun for the role of sole babysitter and “Gamemaster" to four hyperactive kids in a laser infused imaginary world. The other parents were delighted.

Gamemaster is a combination of referee and storyteller with god-like powers to facilitate the game and, like any god, stuck with his creation whether he likes it or not. I considered abusing my god-like powers to nuke your party of elves, aliens and cyborgs to set myself free.

My sense of fair play stopped me. I figured my created universe should be governed by laws and a good god would maintain those laws. In deism, god creates the universe and its laws like a programer scripting his code and pressing “enter” to set the universe in motion never to interfere again. If Traveler were a computer game, that’d be the right approach.

But immanentism seemed a better model for a live role playing game. Here, god creates the physical universe and laws but doesn't just stand outside them but is the driving force behind them. That sounded more like my role as Gamemaster ... if I was behaving.

But my ego demanded I was a god and should act like one. I shouldn’t be limited by constraints (even if I created them). I would be an interventionist god occasionally interfering with its predictable function. Miracles and royal disasters -- that’s more my style!

So, I'll nuke’em!

Or I'll take a more subtle approach. Taking a page from the Old Testament story of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, I orchestrated a dilemma where you, Cash, the elfish and creatively named Elven, had to kill Luke, Android ST-10, or die yourself. ST-10 had been infected by an virus driving him to eliminate you.

This scenario smelled of Gamester interdiction and you eyed me as you lifted your blaster at your brother. I was appalled by your cold-bloodedness.

I had a revelation. Perhaps as Abraham lifted his knife, faith wasn’t what compelled him to sacrifice his son. When you aimed your blaster, I realized I wasn't testing you, but rather you testing me. Was Abraham testing his god?

Are you a god with empathy? Otherwise, you are no god at all.

Long dormant McAfee software saved the day.