Monday, April 4, 2011


Here I am in Australia,

I've been here a week now for work. It's been a pretty good time. I spent the first week in Adelaide, which was a beautiful city. On Tuesday, I got into town, and the guys from the office took me out to dinner. On Wednesday, I walked the for miles around the city, it was a great and peaceful walk. I walked from Rundle Street and Frome, down to Central Market, and looped around and back. Then, I wasn't quite ready to go to sleep. So I went to the cinema. There was actually a french film festival going on. And who doesn't love those Australian French Film Festivals. Anyway, I saw a french movie that translates as "The Perfect Date." It was a dopey little romance comedy, but I laughed quite a bit. I picked the first movie that was showing and it paid off.

On Thursday, I went to Warrawong sanctuary, on the "sunset walk." It got dark really fast into the walk, but I was able to pet and feed a kangaroo, that was a special moment in my life. We went walking around the grounds and I saw a bunch of Australian animals that all look pretty much the same. There's Wallabies and Wallaroos and Potaroos and Possums etc, and they are all fun to see. The place had hundreds of them. It wasn't really a zoo, it was a sanctuary, so none of the animals are caged, and there are no guarantees about what you are actually going to see. They said that only one in ten tour groups get to see a platypus, and lucky enough, we were the one. We all stood there in the dark, by this time, it was just straight-up night-time, totally dark. The guide had a flash light that he pointed at the water, looking for bubbles. He found some, and then rising to the surface was the platypus. We actually got to see a perfect top-down view of it, and when it came to the surface, nobody could contain themselves, and the platypus got a huge round of applause. Of course, it immediately dove down again. Even though it was just 10 seconds or so, we got to see our platypus. Another highlight of the trip was the koala. We found a koala in the last 5 minutes of the 90minute tour. It was sitting up, about ten feet up, in the crook of the tree trunk and one of the major branches. It was very quiet and calm and just kind of sat there wincing (understandably). It was a great tour, and definitely one of the highlights so far.

Friday was pretty passive, I just kind of wandered the city on foot again. I went back to the french film festival and saw another movie, but mistakenly, the movie I picked was actually spanish (english subtitles). It was called Biutiful and was perhaps the most depressing movie I've ever seen in my life. Horribly depressing, good, but depressing.

I also went in to the office those days, but I'm going to ignore the work stuff, basically, I am preparing and giving a demonstration of the Data Access Layer. nuff said.

Saturday I just kind of wandered Perth on foot. I went to the mall and took a bunch of pictures of the city. On Sunday, I went to "Caversham Wildlife Park." This was more of a straight-up zoo. I got to feed kangaroos again. I've always loved kangaroos, and getting to meet them only has made me love them more. They are very tender and smart animals. They grab food from your hands so gently and chew it for sometimes several minutes before getting another bite. They look up and you with the most gentle eyes. They are also spectacular nappers.

I also got to see a ton of exotic owls and flying foxes (bats). And of course, there was a Koala enclosure, where I got to pet a bunch of Koalas and watch them amble about through the trees. They were impressively clumsy in the trees. They were oafish and lazy, but nonetheless cute. They aren't really as "cuddly" as they are normally presented. They are actually a bit rigid and have a somewhat icy demeanor. In person, there noses stick out more than they do as stuffed animals or drawings, this gives them more of a feel that they are designed to bite. One of the koala's crawled into the zoo-workers arms, and she described that the one specific koala was raised from birth by humans and actually craves human attention, but she said he is somewhat unusual for Koalas. Koalas have huge claws, and even when they want to be picked up, they look awkward. It was fine being held, but it just didn't seem particularly good at being held.

That was sunday, today is monday and the conference started. I sat through 8 hours of extremely boring presentations. I will be throwing my shit on the pile on wednesday. I guess they weren't all completely boring. But I will say that all of them were at least partially boring. But the food is free and tasty and I respect that. After day 1 of the conference, there was a gourmet bbq out on the back patio. It was a beautiful event and I ate happy. yum.

After the event, I took my ipod, grabbed a coke, and went out to the golf course to sit down and relax. I found a bunch of kangaroos hanging out by a tree on the golf course. I sat down by the tree, drank my coke, listened to my music, and hung out with the kangaroos. It was, simply put, one of the best hours of my life. I loved it.

Now, I am very very tired. I will go to sleep.

Also today, I got to skype with my family, which was a great great feeling. I'm really missing all the love and chaos.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ava Turns Two

A great week!

Ava turned two last week. I've described her as my exploding goofball swan, and I believe that to be an accurate description. She has a mysterious little soul. You never really know what you're gonna get from the small fry. She's got a lot of facets to her personality. She can be outgoing, saying hello to every stranger. Or, she can be shy, refusing to make eye contact with anyone. She can be extremely task-oriented, focused, planning and working with her miniature kitchen. Or, she can be jumping around in circles, dancing (with no music on), talking to herself (like her daddy does).

I really like her little mind. She's got a good sense of humor, though, you can't really put your finger on it. She's goofy, yet oddly graceful. She can make these extremely studious and serious faces, and then suddenly explode into a full on smile. And her whole face changes shape when she smiles. She also sticks her head forward when she smiles, and it's a poetic experience, because she puts her grin right into your face.

She's a little life force. Her name means "life," actually, so does "Zoe," but in two different languages. Zoe is a somewhat rare name, but not extremely rare, you're likely to meet a couple Zoe's in your life. Ava's name is extremely popular. But we didn't pick either name for popularity or obscurity, we just liked the names.

Ava has a funny style to her movements and stances. Here's a picture of her staring down the winter with a wide-stance. She does cute little things like putting her hand lightly on her own shoulder (right hand on right shoulder). She does it in such a light feminine way. She also likes to make loose fists with both of her hands, and then she crosses her arms with them high and against her body.

I know I'm just gushing about my girl, and going into much more detail than socially acceptable. But hey, My Blog: My Rules.

Anyway, we had a great birthday for her. We went to this indoor amusement park called "Funtastic Fun (" It's this old run down place, but the kids love it there. I half expect scooby-doo and shaggy to show up investigating some sort of makeshift haunt job. It's kind of got that vibe. Not really creepy, but just, extremely "broken-in." They have a little ferris wheel there that probably goes twenty feet in the air, or maybe thirty. They actually have a little cut-out of the ceiling for it. The whole place is actually shutting down in May (I believe). It's being moved somewhere in east Denver.

Anyway, they had a little teacup ride, and a train ride, and this little cart ride that whips people around the turns, and a ball-pit (the fan-fave amongst the girls). It also had a bounce palace (in which Ava got landed on by a little girl, and somehow managed to not even notice). That's a result of growing up around Annie, a high-octane turbo-Labrador with an iron tail and battering-ram head. She's a great dog though, very good with the girls.

Anyway, I better get to sleep now. I just wanted to write something, because it's been a long while. I deleted a couple of my previous posts, which were half-envisioned poems that almost made sense at the time, and made zero-sense later. Anyway, I leave you with a photo of Ava from the vault (digging back to ancient October 2010, five months ago). Anyway, I like this picture, so I included it.

See ya all later, peace unto all!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


The new decade is here!

I look back upon the 00s with a lot of pride. I graduated college in 2000, so the main focus of the decade was definitely about starting a life with Jess, getting a career going, picking a place to live, and then ultimately, the girls. My biggest trials came early in the decade, when, weeks after putting a contract on a town-home, the company I was working for shut down the Boulder Office. Also, Jess and I were engaged and planning a wedding at the time. It was very stressful. The job market was destroyed because of the popping of the internet bubble. Technically, it popped in '99. By the summer of 2001, there were no technical jobs available. And there I was, basically a rookie with 1year of professional experience. I had to do what I could, and that meant signing up for a temp agency and working data-entry. I was the guy that typed addresses into the computer. The addresses came as a stack of those little cards that fall out of magazines. It was a horrible job, with the fear that I would have to wait years before re-entering the industry I was trained in. During this time, Jess and I got married in Virginia. It was a beautiful wedding, and though Jess and I helped out, her mother and father saved the day and made it possible. Finally, I just quit my job, and looked for another. First, I got a job proofreading mortgage documents, but that was about a billionth of a step up from data-entry. I quit. Then I found a job working for a guy who had started his own software consulting company. I was his first employee. It was a start up, and he couldn't pay benefits, but I was making more money than my temp jobs so I stuck with it. During that time, I still filled out hundreds of applications for software jobs. I finally got a job at Map tek, and it was a godsend. On December 1st, despite our financial woes, we got a puppy. It was our dream to have a puppy together, we had the name picked out from our college days. We adopted Marzie from the Brighton Puppy rescue. A year and a half-later, we adopted Yazzi, and the summer after that, we adopted a cat named Neeka. Being homebodies, we basically spent all of our time at home playing with our furry family.

I worked at Map tek for a while, and Jess and I got back on our feet. Then, we decided that we wanted a bigger place than our townhome, and we hit the housing market. We found a great deal on a "fixer upper." Actually, it was a dump, but it was a lot of house for the money. I'm terrible with tools, and design, and pretty much every skill it takes to remodel a house, but Jess and her family are amazing. After giving myself a delusional pep-talk about how most people decide what they can/can't do too early, and I wasn't going to be that way, I signed up for the project of the century. We worked on the house nonstop. And by nonstop, I mean getting home from work at around 6 and working till at least 10pm, sometimes after midnight. On the weekends, we worked from 8am to 10pm or midnight. Every day. No exceptions. It was crazy and we did this for 6 months or so. Jess' grandmother, yes GRANDMOTHER, was the leader of the pack. Her energy level was amazing and she showed us how to do everything. She was inspirational and I am forever grateful for her help (this makes it sounds like she's passed away, but she's not, she's alive and well). Now, we have a house that I feel is an extension of me. I can't find a square foot of it that I didn't work on in some way, including ceilings and floors. We touched every inch of the house. Although there will always be projects to do, I basically consider the house project done. I also learned that it's possible to spend hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours on something and never improve. I truly have no talent for tools or fixit thinking. But at least I can do a few of the basics on my own (I installed a dimmer switch in the living room today, that's a really easy one.).

After the house project, we had a medical scare in the family. I don't know the technical term, but my dad (diabetic) got very sick and was taken to the ICU. His boss called me up at work and said that she talked to him and he wasn't making a lot of sense. I rushed to his house to find him panting and staggering around his bedroom. His blood sugar had skyrocketed for two reasons...1) He had strep throat and 2) he was out of sorts and was unable to refill his insulin pump on his own. His blood sugar was so high that the doctors said their instruments were unable to get detailed readings at his level. They said it was the highest they'd ever seen. He was in the ICU for 5 days or so. When he came out, he came to live with Jess and I. It was a terrifying and disastrous time. I was terrified every single day he lived here. I was always sneaking into his room to be sure he was ok, and I was constantly calling him and worrying if he showed up 5 minutes later from work than usual. Ultimately, he ended up moving in with my Aunt (his sister). Now, he is doing much better and is living on his own.

At the very end of his living at our house, we received the first bit of good news of the decade. Jess was pregnant! We found out she was pregnant in fall 2006, and Zoe was born on June 21, 2007. Zoe is an amazing and inspiring person. She's brought so much love and energy into our lives. In March 2009, Ava was born. Now, we have two little girls, and they are two little geniuses of spirit. They make every day a miracle.

On October 14, 2009, little Marzie passed away. She was our little baby girl and we will always miss her. By the end of her life, she probably had accumulated 30 or so nicknames, one of her major nicknames was Loomis (a variant of Mrs. Marzie-lou, Lou Lou, Mar-lou, and Lou Miss, and finally reverse, Lou-Miss, which just got shortened to Loomis). We will plant a small commemorative tree for her in our backyard in the spring of 2010. It will be called Bloomis.

We have now adopted another puppy. Her name is Annie. It's such a strange name for us, very simple and feminine and from the book, but it's right. We all love her very much.

I am so thankful for my life right now. I am thankful for the health of my family, a stable job (been with Maptek for almost 7 1/2 years now, knock on wood), and most of all, my ladies three. It's a great time to be a Rapp (knock on wood). It's easy to say "I take nothing for granted," but you always are always taking things for granted. So I'll just say that I take much less for granted than I used too. Every day on this earth is a miracle, and I'm so thankful to be part of it. I had a lot of ups and downs financially and psychologically, but now it's all coming together (cue Here Comes the Sun).

So the next decade, what does it have in store for us? Who knows. But I'll be ecstatic to be able to spend time with my family. That's all I want.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Zoe's 2/Father's Day

My two little ones

I don't know why I'm writing this now, because I don't have any pictures yet. I'm basically in the eye of the hurricane. Zoe and Ava are both napping, and when they wake up, we're gonna party. We got a baby pool (with a rainbow and a slide), We got a little tricycle. We got a little microphone. It's gonna be a good time. Oh, and it's also father's day.

I am so happy and proud of my little girls. They are the most amazing gift that anybody could ever receive. They are beautiful and sweet and courageous and funny and innocent and wild. They are awesome. Every day when I look at them, I think of how amazing they are. Their charm has never worn off, or even faded in the least bit. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of parenthood is watching how these little spirits transform without ever losing their magic. One day it's just a passing glance, Next, they're shaking a rattle, then crawling and squawking and talking and walking and playing hide-n'-seek and then tellin' you about Peter Rabbit and the scary white cat by the fish pond.

I wish I could type out exactly how I feel about my little girls, but I'm gonna need a keyboard with only exclamation points.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ava Karey Rapp

Well, an update has been long overdue.

The big news!! Ava Karey Rapp was born on Tuesday March 3 at 5:17 AM! She's such a beautiful little baby and I love her very much. Zoe was very excited to see her and gave her many kisses and hugs as well as several miscellaneous coos and ahhhs. It's been a really amazing week.

I'm here with Ava right now. It's midnight and an impromptu slumber party has surfaced. Participants: Me and Ava. Jess just fed her a bottle and went to bed. Of course, Ava was wide awake and ready to play as only a 3 day old can. I make faces at her, rock her along to the music, talk to her, etc. Every personality is a mystery, and little Ava packed tight with odd expressions.

She's a lot more active than Zoe was at this age. She likes to kick and throw her arms about. Zoe wasn't much of a kicker. Jess has been aware of Ava's kicking for a long time, but it's been funny to see it in person. The pictures of Zoe and Ava are pretty remarkable. Comparing similar pictures from 3 days old, it's really hard to tell them apart. Ava has a slightly different shaped nose, and her cheeks aren't quite as chubby. Other than that, they are pretty much identical.

The pictures of the family are available at

I'm so thankful to have my kids. They are the most inspiring people I know, and have ever known.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Various pictures of Zoe over the last few months.

Zoe's birthday (June 21st).

Zoe falling asleep at a Rockies game.

Zoe eating a tube of diaper rash prevention ointment (Desitin, not Boudreaux’s Butt Paste®, for more info, check out .

Zoe playing with the fridge. (Did you know that fridge has a "d" but refrigerator doesn't?)

Zoe sits on floor, believe it.

A recent picture of Zoe.

If for some reason you want more pictures, go to

Also, I've announced it pretty much to everyone, but just in case you missed it, we got another one on the way. Due date is March 13, 2009! Don't know boy or girl yet, give us a month or so on that one.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Songs with Strange Uplifting Energy

Songs with Strange Uplifting Energy (some calming, some toe-tapping):

"I'm Happy, She Said" - M83
One of my favorite songs is "I'm Happy, She Said" by M83. It's a great song. I used to give Zoe her middle of the night bottles while listening to it. It's beautiful, it builds nicely, but at the same time, it requires and inspires and little bit of patience.

"Nutshell" - Alice in Chains
I like their original band name better "Alice and the Chains." It's a complete meaning shift to shorten it. This is a sad and somewhat unnecessary song that came about because of an alienation of some sort. Strangely, the singer seems to understand a lot of his feelings of injury. I'd be inclined to say that the song is not just a product of ignorant rage or blind self-indulgence. But has an actual element of transcendence in the actual music. Layne Staley was great, he's another dead artist, but we notice that artists never die when performing, just when they have too much time to themselves.

"If It Be Your Will" - Leonard Cohen
This is kind of backhanded thank-you note for life. I'm not christain or jewish or buddhist or anything, but I love all people, and I treat their religions as I treat any poem that's sacred to someone I love. I may be loved or hated for it, and I'm not necessarily proud of where I stand with it, but its where I find myself when I'm really truthful to myself both emotionally and intellectually. This song is addressed to his G-d, and he says if you want me to be quiet, I'll be quiet. If you want me to sing out, I'll sing out. But the fact that the song exists and is being sung pretty directly indicates that he's received his order. So it becomes kind of a love note or a thank you note of some sort, and at the same time a commitment to surrender. Anyway, that's what I think when I listen to it.

"Headphones" - Bjork
This is an avant garde song. And to be honest, it's actually a perfect description for what happens when I listen to the first song listed above (The M83 song). She listens to a new tape with new sounds and it just opens up her mind. and intermittently she sings, "these headphones, they saved my life, your tape, it lulled me to sleep." If you've ever fallen asleep to calm alienlike music you can totally relate to this. It's kind of like a form of meditation. I like to put this song on my mp3 player, lay on my back, close my eyes, and just calmly listen. It's a great song.

"One More Cup of Coffee" - Bob Dylan
People are really likely to write abstract descriptions of Bob Dylan songs. You basically can either 1) write abstract blurbs in an attempt to weave a poor man's version of the song, 2) quote lines verbatim as if you understand them or 3) come clean. I come clean. What the fuck? Hmm, A girl rejects someone. I guess someone has been groomed to fight. We got a family of gypsy psychics. And then there's the prosaic coffee and the mysterious valley below. Death? War? Just a valley? Who knows. Perhaps there's a direct meaning and reference in here somewhere that I haven't properly researched. Either way, It's a great song and I am soothed by its mystery.

"That I Would Be Good" -Alanis Morisette
I have no business liking this song. It's clearly written by a young women for other young women. I can just pretend that I'm researching good art to pass on to Zoe when she's of age. What a lie. I like this song. It's honest, and extremely straightforward. She's got a beautiful voice. It's got a flute solo. I really like this whole album a lot.

"Plucky's Lament" - Bela Fleck
An instrumental. It feels like I grew up on this song even though I heard it for the first time 10 years or so ago.

"Going Home" from the Local Hero soundtrack (Mark Knopfler)
I love this song. It's so unobvious (not a word, but I use it regularly). The whole album is built off of this beautiful and calm riff. It's amazing. The theme actually picks up and carries you off on the back of some angel of 1980's saxophone music! Don't let yourself get distracted by the cheesiness of the happy ending. It's just a vehicle for relaxation. You'll smile when you listen to this song.

"Race Among the Ruins" - Gordon Lightfoot
Bob Dylan said that when he hears a Gordon Lightfoot song he wishes it would go on forever. Lightfoot carries tunes in such a soft egoless (another non-word) manner. You almost forget there's a person actually performing the song. And he carries it so lightly and smoothly along. It's a great song, and the lyrics are good too.

"Attics of My Life" - Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia is America's wacky uncle. He's always got that goofy smirk underneath that beard. He writes humble songs. I don't know who wrote this melody, or who's idea it was to get the potheads to harmonize on it, but it worked!! It's so simple and easy. It almost feels like they're making it up as they go, and just picking out the same lyrics by happenstance. I love hippie music. I'm always extremely aware of its hippiness, but it never distracts from the fact that its an awesome song. I could have seen this song debuted by a bunch of grungy old men with toe tickling beards on America's got talent. They'd get a standing ovation, smile their rotten tooth smiles, and then get booted off the next week. Hey buds, get back in the van, I need to talk about the next song now.

"Run Free" - Hanz Zimmer
A song from the "Stallion: Spirit of the Cimarron" Soundtrack. Really! This is probably as bad as Alanis! This song is the quintessential triumph of the human spirit song. Play it before a test, a job interview, a thumbwar, whatever? This song will get your blood pumping like no other. I like to play it so loud that I can't hear myself scream. That's the proper way to play it. Play it when you're dishing out some rocky road ice cream. Play this motherfucker. And when you're done, buy the dvd and watch that horse fly!

"Hide and Seek" - Imogen Heap
Nothing can really follow that last song. But this is just a collection, not a playlist. This song has some weird effect that kind of steals the show. The lyrics are a little too forced for me. But that's fine. It gets oddly rhapsodic at the end and kind of sparks your mind a little bit. I got addicted to it at one point.

"Shine" - Joni Mitchell
This is an unbelievable song. It has an unbelievable ability to unpack stress and frustration. It's a pretty simple song in which she basically prays for the best and worst of mankind. It's got a "Leaves of Grass" quality to it, with a little bit more truth about some of the ugliness of it. She's got some lines I don't really agree with, but that's fine. I really love this whole album.

"King of May" - Natalie Merchant
An elegy for Allen Ginsberg. But really for all the virtues that Allen supposedly embodied. To her, he definitely did. You can feel the real emotion that she feels for him in this song. It's not an overtly sad song, as "River" is. But a celebration of his life. The strings build up slowly and perfectly.

"The Teacher" - Paul Simon
The version of this song on the Paul Simon dvd in Paris is incredible. The lights are perfect. The sound is perfect. The audience is perfect. He's got that ridiculously awesome-looking guitar player. He looks like he rose out of some sort of mist with his robes and his guitar. His fingers are so long, it looks like he can wrap them three times around the fretboard. Anyway, the song and the performance are magical.

I better stop here. These are just some songs that have a strange way of sneaking on to most of the mix-CDs that I burn. They are great songs. I thought I'd share them. I can totally understand if you give 'em a try and hate them. That's just the way it is.

Anyway, I gotta work tomorrow and it's 1:04 am. See you later!