halloween 2009

here's some pics and videos...

ginger and willow declined the photo op, but I did manage to capture some video of the corbin coven...

our construction project update

much of my time in the last few months has gone toward the design and implementation of this construction project.

I even drafted the plans myself... here's some pics and video. Sorry it's taken so long:


will's back - all is well

just in case you haven't heard:
we brought Will home from his 3 night stay at hackley on Sunday afternoon.
Pneumonia and Asthma are to blame.
he's doing much much better.
His brother is receiving a similar treatment orally.
They both have a follow up appointment tomorrow.

thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.


another media fast

sorry i haven't blogged much.
several projects have been keeping me busy.
but my energy has periodically been poorly directed.

Being self-employed is great.
but not a great environment for those with difficulty focusing.

So a vow made publicly is sometimes helpful.

Therfore, effective immediately, I declare a fast from all solitary viewing of entertainment media (including but not limited to: hulu, tv, movies, youtube).

This fast shall begin at the time of this posting, and persevere through the duration of august and the entirety of september.

There I said it. Now I'm going to go cry a little.


post lent - lent

be it resolved:

in light of important and incomplete goals, in the realm of business, organization, and creativity, I shall abstain from the viewing/surfing/consumption of all television, hulu, movies, dvd's, youtube (and the like), until the end of this month (commonly known as april).

the only exception to this resolution shall be date nights with my wife, and the screening or editing of the short film "Multi-Level Relationship", or "Stick in the Mud".

upon breach of this resolution the following shall occur in no specific order:
  • I shall make equal and intersecting cardiac incisions (with four right angles at the center)
  • I shall aspire within myself for the permanent cessation of all willfull and autonomic bodily functions
  • I shall propel the sharp end of tiny stainless steel stake into the tender regions of my ocular assembly.


live blogging from the corbin home

So I'm at Ang and Ryan's house observing Katie playing with Maya.
They both have little people in their hands, but Maya is orchestrating the script:

Maya: "ask if you can have a friend over"

* (and... Action!)

Katie's character: "mom, can I have a friend over."
Maya's character: "no punkin."
Katie's character: "ok mom, I'm dissapointed, but I'll obey."
Maya's character: (sternly) "go to time out!"
Katie's character: "do I have to? I asked so nicely and said I'd obey."
Maya's character: "go straight to time out."

clearly, Angela runs a pretty tight ship...


Will's Epic Tale of Glory

Will's been turning out impressive quantities of fiction lately. I copied this story directly from Katie's notes last week:

When I was four, Dad(that guy), built me a bike with two seats (the second seat is just for Katie). A bike with training wheels. It had two seats! And you can come.

(We have matching track suits, and matching helmets, girl and boy helmets.)

Dad & Will & Willow & Ginger & Isaac & Bampa can ride with us too.

In trailers, behind us, and we pedal really hard.

WE ride all the was to a Michigan state football game, ride into the stadium, down the steps(still a bike parade)

All the people have been waiting for Will

We put in mouth guards.

When they see us, the whole crowd cheers

Will goes out on the field and makes the winning play, just in time, and all the fans go crazy.

All of us share his glory.

Then Will quickly changes into his marching band uniform, grabs his tuba, and does a march around the field.

He then does a giant jump-spin with the tuba. And does not fall.

Again. Of course. The crowd goes wild.


the worst kind of drainage, the best kind of downsizing

since my last post, the rudd six have been ravaged and persecuted by:
colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, ear infections, the gout
(ok, maybe one of these didn't really happen, but the rest did)

it seems now that these invaders have, for the most part, been vanquished by antibiotics and/or antibodies, with only the remnants of my sinus infection remaining.

Before our family was transformed into a breading ground for disease and plunged into sleepless nights and zombie-days, we were celebrating the climactic end to Tony Petty's eight years of employment under my merciless thumb.

That's right. I'm downsizing my company significantly. I'm canning Tony's Caboose. Not today, or tomorrow, but at the end of this month when he moves to Buffalo, NY and starts his new job where he will be making more money than I do.


After working together in some capacity or another for almost a decade, I will definitely miss having Tony as an employee, but several months ago, it seemed clear to all parties that our current arrangement wasn't sustainable for Stock20, or the best path for Tony's career.

So Tony started looking for a new gig.

As you all know, jobs are in short supply these days.

Tony was concerned about his lack of formal education or certifications.

But he caught the attention of growing company in Buffalo, NY (that seems to take very good care of their programmers).

He was pessimistic through numerous phone interviews, and even when they flew him (business class) to their headquarters for more interviews.

But once they offered him the job, and salary that was substantially larger than the number he had given them, there was less room for self-doubt.

With the exception of one freakishly fortunate year, I have never enjoyed a yearly income greater than Tony's starting compensation at this new company.

When he told me that he got the job, and what they were going to pay him, I was not necessarily surprised. I had told him all along that I thought the right company would pay top dollar for his services. So I wasn't all that surprised, but I was feeling very strong emotions.

Part of the emotional response was probably because I knew they would be well taken care of (a point of concern which had been growing inside of me at a rate to match Tara's uterine passenger).

But I think I may have been even more happy about the demonstration of confidence in Tony's ability. Lots of executives, experts in the field, who interview scores of programmers each year, gave Tony a great deal of scrutiny, then they worked very hard to make sure Tony understood: they *really* wanted him to work for them.

Somehow, over the last eight years, that's become something that I really wanted for Tony.

Back when he was a teenager, doing an internship for me at Orchard View Church, Tony's talent has been obvious to me. He's worked hard to develop a set of impressive skills. He's had his share of obstacles. Nothing's been handed to him.

Both He and Tara have really grown as individuals, they've earned my respect. They aren't teenagers any more.

They've cared for my children. They've run my business for me. They've become my close friends.

They are very good people and they are going to be great parents. I'm really proud of them both.

I think this move will be good for them in many ways, but I will really miss having them close by (and I know our kids will too). But right now, I'm just very happy for them both.


long weekend

here's the weekend post. a bit delayed. (but I started it on the weekend)
worked through the night on friday to make film submission deadlines.
I think we sent in a pretty decent film.
We definitely learned a lot which will be helpful on the next project.
My brother is a very good writer. We're going to make a very good film (and soon).
a regular night's sleep is in short supply as of late.
some kind of stomach bug has munched its way through our entire family (except me).
Katie and I have been up with kids (or personal pain) many nights in the past week.
(This early morning blogging is brought to you by Isaac's 4am sanitary requirements).
I have reason to hope that I'm nearly finished having regular interactions with both the legal system and the corporate bullying which drove me to engage it. I've learned a lot and survived. I'm beyond ready to be done with that.
Ginger has entered the world of "homework". She gets a week's worth on Monday. She brings it home with the reverence and anticipation of a sacred scroll. She completes it (all of it) in about an hour with fury and precision. Then she giggles for about five minutes.
Willow is gaining independence (occasionally with a 1700s colonial flair). She's handling things on her own. She makes solutions. She includes and entertains the 3 year-olds. She makes food for herself, her siblings, and her grownups.
Will's theological frustration continues as he persists in his inquiry to ascertain the physical whereabouts of Jesus.

He is more often attired as a drum-major than not.
Isaac's voice has changed and he's growing a mustache. Our dialogue reflects the expansion of his consciousness.


Conversation With Will 4 days ago (special story time):

Will: Does Jesus have a belly? For me to.. Can I rub Jesus Belly?
(this isn't for "good luck". Will finds great pleasure and comfort in having his belly rubbed, he assumes everyone else does too)

Me: Sorry buddy, you can't rub Jesus' belly.

Will: Why not? Why Jesus not have belly. Does he eat?


Will: He had a belly when the soidiers kill him on the cross. I saw his belly.


Will: (turns and looks at me to see if I'm looking)

Me: (deep breath). Well, Jesus had a belly when he lived here on earth. But now he lives as a spirit. It's kind of like he doesn't have a belly, but it's kind of like all the bellies in the whole world are his.

Will: I touch it?

Me: Whenever you do something nice for someone who needs it, You are really doing something nice for Jesus. That's kind of like rubbing his belly.

Will: (thinking)

Me: (hoping this will be good enough for now)

Will: Is heaven messy, or is it pretty clean.

Me: I think it's pretty nice.

(last night my phone rings. Isaac and I are preparing a bedtime snack for he and his brother. The girls are upstairs)

Me: Sounds like my phone is ringing

Isaac: I think it's your brother

Isaac: or maybe it's Maryanne, or David, ... or Jesus.

Me: You think it might be Jesus?

Isaac: (pause) ...or Goliath!

Me: Sheesh! ...I hope it's not Goliath


Well there's your post. Hope your happy!
(please send me $4)

Congratulations to the Beans, I love you guys.


empty words and broken promises

sorry. the film wasn't as close to done as i thought.
willow got sick.
katie got sick.
isaac got sick.
and for a few days i didn't feel very good.


the postmark on festival submissions must be Jan 30th.
so it *will* be done.
I will blog *this* weekend!

And I will get 2008's book-keeping done.

And i will have my third generation mini-van plow ready for the February deluge of snow.
(ok, that last one probably won't happen, but you never know...)


ok seriously

i'll blog this weekend.
maybe even post some videos.

i've been enslaved
to projects with deadlines
that would-not/could-not be delayed
any further
not even for a brief
moment of

On the upside:
-I think I'm ready to take the bar exam section on corporate collections.
-1 of our 2 Short films (shot summer of 2007) is [pretty-much] complete.


Out of Order (but coming back soon)


sorry for the silence.
when self employed people take a break for the holidays
they get really behind.

i'm starting to get caught up.
then i'll blog some more.
and you will all be able to have meaningful lives again...


see you soon.


new headshots

either my photography skills are improving dramatically (with no practice)
or my wife is getting hotter by the minute...


wow wow wow

much like a car accident in the median
you know you shouldn't keep watching
but you can't turn away...

now, who's willing to "sign the comments" as a petition for my father (The Reverend Doctor William Rudd) to learn this routine and perform it on Sunday morning in his church?


belated apology, and advice from a hypocrite

This December, I'll be spending the advent season with the good people of First Baptist Church. Their pastor is recovering from an operation, and I've always enjoyed filling in there (especially for advent).

Since I'm feeling pretty rusty in the pulpit (it's been 3 years since my early retirement from pastoral vocation) I thought I'd listen to a few old recordings of my advent sermons for some ideas.

When I was a pastor, I knew my sermons were too long. I'd always talk about it apologetically (probably hoping someone would be gracious enough to say -- "ohh..but *your* sermons are so interesting, I never notice the time...."), but I rarely demonstrated any progress in moving from 50 minutes to 30 minutes.

I'm sure I had an inflated sense of the importance of my words and the necessity for people to hear enough of them. I've since learned that every pastor has *someone* who will tell them that they aren't preaching too long. I guess that was all I needed. One person to stroke my ego while everyone else was over-informed, bored, or asleep.

From the age of 18 (part time youth pastor during college) until three years ago, there was no extended period of time when I was not in some form of church leadership (almost always vocational).

A "break" from that has given me some clarity on the matter.

And listening to my own sermons from 4 years ago, I'm once again reminded I owe lots of people lots of apologies.

If you were a victim of mine please accept my apology: I'm sorry.

PS. If you're a pastor, here's my suggestion:

Most sermons I hear actually contain 3-5 sermons.
Why not land on the first main idea that emerges?
Offer that idea from a few angles so that it connects with more of your audience.
Pose some questions to catalyze ongoing exploration.
Then give the idea some space to breathe.
Give it some time to find a place in the minds of the people who are listening.
Don't knock it loose with additional ideas.
Demonstrate your confidence in the text by resisting the urge to give it elaborate support.


Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama

I'll be brief. I know you're busy.

I suggest that you appoint Seth Godin to be:

"Secretary of 'Let's-not-try-to-build-a-New-economy-the-Old-way'"

Seriously. I think we'd all find ourselves knee deep in the types of ideas we need to be cultivating for a new world.

I think that some of the best and brightest minds could be engaged in dialogue and leveraged for a better and brighter future.

I think we'd have a national catalyst for rethinking some of the habits that get us stuck.

At the minimum, I suggest that you make his blog and books required reading for your staff.

And consider this thought very seriously (not just in thinking about the automotive bailouts):
'What to do about Detroit'

Sincerely, Daniel Rudd
Small Business Owner, Michigan

PS. Thanks for your hard work. Congratulations.



Lost Footagej from the Archives

So did I ever tell you about that time when I took Will and a big tank of helium to Philadelphia? It was a couple years ago but I just found the tape from my video camera.


the [happy] end[ing] of [my] political blogging

1. McCain finished well. I was impressed by his concession speech and his demeanor. I particularly appreciate his obvious disapproval of his supporters who would "boo" at the mention of the new president elect.

I'm obviously happy with the election results, but I recognize that John McCain is a person worthy of great honor. I don't think a presidential campaign is the most fertile ground for cultivating virtue, and I wonder how much control or awareness either of the candidates had for many of the poor campaign decisions that were made.

2. I voted for Barack Obama because I believed that (all things considered), he was the best (but not the perfect) candidate with the best (but not the perfect) plan.

The fact that he is an African American had (as far as I can be sure) little to do with my decision.

However, it seems that it has a *lot* to do with emotions I've experienced after the election.

Having lived a privileged white life, and not having been closely connected to anyone who has experienced racial injustice in its most powerful forms, there isn't really a great explanation for the powerful emotions that I have been experiencing since November 5th.

I'm just more happy than I can express. Not just for those members of my human family who are not white (although very much for them), but for everyone. Even those of us (myself included) who have been complicit (by the benefits we have enjoyed) in creating a world of inequality.

The work toward a more just and equitable nation/world isn't done.
Barack Obama is not the Messiah.
I'm sure he'll make mistakes.
And, I'm sure I'm still unaware of prejudice and bigotry within my own habits and assumptions.

But I'm feeling a lot of pure happiness about what's happened.

3. To those with different ideas about our nation's future and some of the critical issues in this election, I am sorry for any disappointment you may be feeling.

I'm also sorry for any ways that I, or the party I support, have been disrespectful or combative in this emotionally charged election.

I'm still just as interested in hearing your viewpoints even when they are different from mine. I'm optimistic about the future. I hope we can all find ways to move forward more cooperatively, and I believe that our government will ultimately reflect *our* posture in doing this.

-Happily returning to silly videos and cute pictures, I remain:


(it's a long speech (40 minutes); but it would not be time wasted, even if you've already heard it.


Is Obama a Socialist?

First, lets consider the McCain/Palin assertion that Barack Obama may be a "socialist", wishes to "experiment with socialism", or that his tax plan resembles socialism in any way.

1) Higher taxation for people in higher income brackets is not socialism. It's called progressive taxation. It's used by most governments and overwhelmingly favored by economists.

2) The tax plans of both candidates are based on progressive taxation. They both tax wealthier citizens at higher percentages than they tax the lower income brackets. Obama wants to restore the former tax rates on the two wealthiest tax brackets (which were lowered by George Bush in 2001) while retaining or increasing the tax cuts that were given to the middle class tax brackets.

3) In 2001, while defending his vote against the Bush Tax Cuts, John McCain said,
"I cannot support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief."
I don't know what changed McCain's mind, but his position eight years ago sounds like a good argument for Obama's tax plan. Now he's insisting that we need a change, that he's just the maverick to make that change happen, but for some reason we should make the Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy permanent?

4) When Barack Obama used the phrase "spread the wealth" (a regrettable choice of words) in his conversation with Joe the plumber, the contextual meaning was "spread around the *tax breaks* so more people can benefit from them". This is clearly understood if you listen to the entire conversation between Obama and the infamous plumber.

5) John McCain understands that Obama is not really proposing class warfare or the redistribution of wealth. And he understands that the tax proposals of both candidates are more similar than they are different. He knows that neither of them resemble true socialism. The 700 billion dollar bailout plan, which both candidates endorsed, resembles socialism far more closely than either tax plan.

In that light, the repeated assertion that Obama's plan resembles socialism feels pretty dishonest. I'm disappointed that John McCain would allow it to enter the conversation, surprised that he would embrace it, and even more disappointed that it has become such a centerpoint of the final stretch of their campaign.

6) John McCain truly believes that reduced taxes on the wealthiest Americans (and their estates) will ultimately strengthen our economy via the trickle down approach. I'm not questioning his motivation. And it's not a ridiculous concept. Lots of people agree with him. Even I think it may have been a successful strategy in the past (when the world was a very different place). He's entitled to his opinion and he's earned a platform to promote it. I think he should argue the merits of his plan and stop wasting time on unsubstantiated claims of socialism.

Some Important Facts About the Candidate's Tax Plans (I believe these assertions are mostly undisputed):

1) Unless you make over 250,000 per year, Obama's tax plan does not raise your taxes.

2) If your small business does not make a *profit* (not gross revenue) over 250,000 you are better off under the Obama tax plan. Even if your small business *does* make a net profit over 250,000, you may still pay less taxes (especially if your growth includes new employees or capital gains). If you are self-employed, you will have access to better more affordable health care under Obama's plan.

3) About 95% of Americans would be taxed less under Obama's tax plan, than McCain's tax plan.

With this in mind, I'm frustrated that John McCain and his campaign continually state that Obama will raise taxes. This seems pretty dishonest.
Factcheck.org debunks claims that Obama will raise taxes.
Here's a tax calculator which will allow you to estimate your taxes for 2009-2013 under the plans of both of the candidates. This web site is helpful in comparing the tax plans of the candidates; and here is another comparison.

Also: The plans of both McCain and Obama will have a virtually identical impact on the national deficit (neither will fix it; we'll basically end up another $150 billion in the hole either way). I haven't found a non-partisan research group that indicates otherwise. McCain's projections about Obama's spending do not seem to be based in the actual economic plans he has published.

Further: Obama's tax plan includes a comprehensive battery of tax credits and incentives for the middle class tax brackets (encompassing roughly 95% of US citizens). I believe that cultivating a more financially stable sector of professionals and small businesses will stabilize the US economy in much more effective and sustainable way than the "trickle-down" philosophy which has been tried for the last eight years--giving substantial tax breaks to the a few of the wealthiest Americans.

Interestingly enough, an unprecedented number of very wealthy Americans are leaving the republican party to support the Obama/Biden ticket. These are the citizens who know that McCain's tax plan will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars. But they also know that the value of the assets they hold relies on the future prosperity of the US economy. They are willing to pay more in taxes, not neccesarily as a matter of fairness, but a matter of survival.

Finally, Obama's budget does more for education, more for healthcare (I might actually be able to get decent health insurance as a self-employed person), more for senior citizens (no income tax on seniors who make less than 50,000 per year), and more for the technological developments that will make our nation cleaner, more independent, and more competitive.

When it comes to the economy:
What I'm hearing from Obama is a plan for the future. A plan that makes sense. A plan that is changes our course in some very important ways.

I'm not hearing that from McCain. And I'm not hearing where he is offering something substantially different than what we've got now.