C and my Dad


This week as I am going through the Jr. Penetration Tester course on INE, we are covering programming in C++. This is leading up to a C++-assisted exploitation, the next section is much the same but using Python. Oh man, I am reminded of why I never got deep into C, despite my father having years and years of experience with it. It’s not C, it’s C++, but going through this course is really making me miss my dad. He passed away this year, exactly 2 years to the day from when my mom passed away. Tech and programming has always been a connection my dad and I have shared.

The Sabbatical has been both good and really rough. This time away from work has freed up headspace for me to really process a lot of stuff and deal with some roadblocks head on. I am so thankful for the company I work for and the care and attention they put into our happiness as employees.

Even though it’s rough going through this, it’s bringing up some good memories. I really wish my dad could see me embracing coding more these days. Cybersecurity is proving to be an incredible challenge that is a lot of fun. I wish I had gotten into this a long time ago. Dad would be proud.


My two oldest girls went to their high school prom tonight. Juniors and Seniors were at the same location. A lake resort about 40 minutes from our home.

It’s hard to get my head around the fact that they are getting so old. At the same time though, it does feel right, like it’s time to start marking these milestones. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. But I am also ready for them to start being adults and making moves towards their futures. These same two are learning to drive and getting cars and all the cool fun stuff involved in becoming an adult. One is enrolling in Jr. College and the other is going to Cal State East Bay after graduation. I can’t wait to see what they become!

Wow, prom. I am very thankful that both of my older girls are not boy crazy, at least not yet. The Prom was all about their friends and having a good time. Some of their friends have boyfriends and some don’t. I think COVID messed with that whole thing a bit, I hope things get back on track soon.

I am really glad that they had a wonderful time. In order to make it work, I drove most of the day. A trip to the Bay Area and back, then running errands, then taking them to the event and then picking them up at 11PM. Tomorrow it’s another round trip to the Bay Area. My wife was with 5 of the kids at Morro Bay this weekend, enjoying some cooler weather and the ocean. It will be good to reunite tomorrow night and watch some Downton Abbey until we pass out.

Dad’s LLNL Page

I added a section to my father’s memorial site that talks about his time at LLNL. The lab has an internal newsletter and the content of this page was provided by the article they will be running in the newsletter, including several memories from co-workers spanning the 45+ years he worked at LLNL.


Today was a life changing day. In January of 2019 my mother passed away. Today my father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, just two short years after my mom. I have never liked January, it’s the let down after Christmas. It’s the Monday of the year.

The feeling right now, aside from the loss and sadness, is a profound disconnect from who I am. A very large part of my identity was being a son. I was close to my parents in youth, into adulthood and deep into the years of being a parent myself. I feel like a branch disconnected from a tree. I am not sure how else to describe it. It’s loneliness and bewilderment rolled into one large and overbearing monster of a feeling.

I no longer have that connection to my past. Who I am is now changed. The me that was brought out by them is no more. It can’t be. Not without them. And silly things, like being able to call or text them for a detail from my childhood is gone. I am disconnected from that information and from that vivid and wonderful world of memories that sentimental people like me enjoy visiting. I don’t like this, I want to pretend it’s not real. That’s not possible though, that’s why I am writing this post now. As soon as my head hits the pillow, the floodgates open and it’s almost too much.

All that being said, I feel I am able to handle this. In fact my worries and my hurt center not around what I’ll miss about my dad but squarely on how my siblings and my kids are affected by the events of today. In our world, my mother and father were very close to us. This loss is huge. The future and how this plays out for the years to come is very much unknown.

You know, when I mentioned my identity before, how a large part of it was in being son, it’s true. I am feeling this deeply and it’s scary. Though in a much more real and eternal sense I still retain a sonship. It’s different, and it feels different, but without this knowledge and conviction, I don’t know how I would be okay. And I am okay. Some of my kids and family are not okay today, but they will be. Just as it was with my mother’s passing. There is healing that comes with time and life that comes from each other.

It’s cliche, but don’t forget to embrace your family and friends. Don’t take for granted the moments you have right now. My dad’s last post on Facebook was sharing a photo of kittens playing. It’s a cute share. I saw his last few shares and thought, “heh, dad and these silly posts”. I am going to miss those.

Candy Corn

White, orange and yellow from top to bottom, with an ultra sugary sweetness that is both intoxicatingly addictive and sickening at the same time. Fair warning though, they are hard to put down once you start eating them, and you always regret eating them. Well, at least I do. Eating Candy Corn is not something I intend to do, where as eating bacon is intentional. I am not sure I really even like Candy Corn, especially the ones that take the form of little pumpkins. (That’s even more sweetness per bite than a mock kernel of corn) The most important thing to know about Candy Corn is that for me, Candy Corn means the start of fall.

I remember when it started. It was the summer I moved away to Montana for 3 months, the first time I left home. It was right after graduating High School. I received care packages from my mom. I loved getting those! It was like home came to me! Opening the carefully wrapped package from my mom, shipped from my hometown so far away created a pocket of space just large enough to envelop me. For a moment in time, my family, their love, the smell of home, the feelings of security and acceptance, were as real as if I was home. There were always three things in these care packages. Pop Rocks, Candy Corn, and a letter telling me about life at home and encouraging me in what I was doing.

I moved back home after the summer, a few years later I started an internship a several hours from home, got married, had kids, and life marched on. One thing never stopped. Every year in October a bag of Candy Corn would show up from my mom. Every year I would eat that Candy Corn, and the Candy Corn Pumpkins and feel both happy and sick (sugar).

This will be the first October when a bag of Candy Corn will not arrive for me. I won’t stare at the bag and tell myself that my mom is sweet, but I just can’t eat that candy. I won’t resist for several hours before finally tearing it open and inching just a bit closer to diabetes. This year October will come and go without that pocket of home forming around me as I break open a package from my mom.

This year Fall will not be quite as amazing as it usually is. I cannot imagine the smell of the leaves being as sweet. The rush of life that comes from a bitter cold breeze against my face as it attempts to defeat my jacket, beanie, scarf … won’t be quite the same. All the fun small clues that winter is coming will be diminished this year.

It’s time to pass this little Candy Corn tradition on. I think this year I will send a bag of Candy Corn to one of my kids. All my kids still live at home, but I am sure I can find an excuse to send a package. The Candy Corn experience must live on.