27 November 2011
21 November 2011
The tow service given me by the police was going to take an hour and a half, a friend recommended that I call Allstate since I was a customer, even though I didn't have their motor-club service. Allstate arranged a reasonable tow in about 45 minutes. As I was waiting I walked around the car and found the passenger side window had been pried outward which is how they gained access to the vehicle... more damage. As I sat in the cold waiting on the tow to arrive I noticed a bolder sized rock in the passenger side floorboard and idly wondered if that was to smash a window or if they were using that as leverage to smash the ignition lock.
The police office that waited with me was very courteous and seem pretty offended that someone had committed a crime in her lot. She seemed to think I was taking it pretty well and I guess I did, at least at first. The truth is that it's been worrying at me all weekend. It's the money and a sense of violation and frustration. Ironically the ignition they destroyed was just a week old. I'd just had it replace because it had worn out and the key was stuck. Right now I am out the $75 I've already paid to have it towed to Summit Auto Service. I suspect the guys over there will be calling me with the bad news later today. Insurance isn't going to pay for anything because I only carry liability. It's a 95 Accord and it wouldn't make sense to have a comprehensive policy.
I am frustrated with the whole thing and it's caused a lot of anxiety. It's inconvenient and money issue around the holidays are never any fun. On the other hand, it's just a car, I'm healthy, happy, life is going my way, and I am profoundly grateful for the multiple friends who either looked out after me this weekend or offered to help. Because of them I did have a nice weekend and perhaps was even more conscious than usual that it was a nice weekend. Certainly next time I drive somewhere in my own vehicle I am going to be consciously appreciative of the fact.
Note: In talking to the MARTA officer, she mentioned that the north lot at the Chandler Station might be the safer lot because of higher activity levels. This happened in the south lot where as you might guess, I will not be parking again.
Update: It looks like I will just need another new ignition. Yeah, to replace the one I put in last week. When the shop called me with the diagnosis on my car, they said it was that I needed to live in a better neighborhood. I love their sense of humor and I am really grateful the would be thieves didn't successfully steal my car. Now that would be a problem.
16 November 2011
12 November 2011
31 October 2011
21 October 2011
01 July 2011
I was destined to love Woody Allen's new film Midnight in Paris. I cannot think of a Woody Allen that I actively dislike and there are quite a few that I am outright in love with. I think Midnight in Paris will definately fall into the later catagory. It's a gem of a movie that I am glad I didn't know very much about when I walked into the theater. The movie kept surprising me and delighting me as it wasn't what I thought it was at all. Given this fact it's quite difficult to review, I don't want to spoil any of the things that came to me as wonderful little surprises.
The themes of Midnight in Paris are simple and the lessons learned by our protagonist timeless and oft repeated.
The movie should come with a warning label however. The next morning you will have an irresistable urge to get on a plane to fly to Paris for coffee, to walk the streets, to listen to some Cole Porter, to re-read some Hemmingway, and if you are really lucky fall in love. Unfortunately the plane ticket alone would be $4088. Not that I checked or anything.
30 June 2011
30 May 2011
28 May 2011
Pygmy, Chuck Palahniuk (2009) Pygmy is narrated by a foreign exchange student who has come to America as part of a covert plot to strike a blow against America. The language and the cadence of the narrative was initially a little off-putting. But once I got past that I found the book an increasingly funny look at our modern American society from the perspective of someone coming from a completely different ideology. A number of Pygmy's observations were uncomfortably spot on.
Choke, Chuck Palahniuk (2001) I didn’t like this one nearly as much as I enjoyed Pygmy. The humor was there, but a little more uneven and the story seemed to wander a little bit towards the end. There were elements of Palahniuk’s best work present; they just never seemed to come together. I think Choke was my least favorite Palahniuk book.
23 May 2011
07 May 2011
A friend posted this link on Facebook this morning, a TED video of performance poet Sarah Keyes which got my mind started on the right note. It's a little uneven, but there are bits of it I really like. A few clicks later I found an even more talk on TED, Steve Job's Stanford University graduation speech on How to Live Before You Die where he talks about having the faith to follow your heart and how you should wake up everyone morning, look in the mirror, and ask yourself if what you were going to do today would be what you would do if you knew if it was the last day of your life, and if your answer to that was no too many days in a row you had better make changes. He talked about how dropping out of school freed him to learn and how being fired from Apple opened up so many other doors. It's definately worth a listen.
I've had coffee with friends this morning to get the weekend off to a good start and have been spending most of the day relearning CSS and XHTML and have started delving into ASP.NET and C#. I'm thinking of making it a goal to become a training and educational web guru. And if that doesn't work out, maybe I can just become a web lackey, sell the house, move to Seattle, and spend my life biking between coffee houses.
Tonight I'm looking forward hearing my extremely talented friend Rheba perform at Ragamuffin Hall's during their open mic night tonight.
I have a couple of hours before heading out for dinner and music. Think I will spend it hitting the book again or maybe brushing up on my Gratuitous Space Battles skills.
So with the overload of projects both work and personal I realized that I need to be pretty serious choosing what I am going to focus my brain on at any given moment for the foreseeable future and budget my time carefully. There is so much I want to do, to learn, to explore, and experience and time seems so limited!
Cloning seems like an approach, but I think there are a couple of cautionary sci-fi stories out there about that.
03 May 2011
29 April 2011
Sent from my iPhone from MARTA's Red Line
26 April 2011
25 April 2011
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am not going to get anything accomplished on my ongoing projects today which is frustrating. I will have the chance to show up and be of service and be useful, for which I am grateful. Still I will be anxiously awaiting Tuesday when I can get back to the fun stuff.
I have a full to do list going right now and I am not making as much progress as I would like. I need to just take it one day at a time and keep my feet moving forward. It will all get done eventually if I keep that forward momentum going.
05 April 2011
It was odd. The heavy winds woke me several times during the night, but I awoke feeling particularly refreshed, and even, optimistic. I cannot help but think that the somehow blew some cobwebs out of my mind and spirit. It feels good.
After talking to a coworker yesterday, I decided to get back on the MARTA wagon, or more literally the MARTA train. This time around however, I am not going to catch the bus in front of my house, I am going to drive the few miles down the road to the Inman Park Station. This should cut at least a half hour to forty five minutes off the MARTA only option.
My reward to myself once I get back in shape and lose the excess weight that I am carrying around is to buy a fixed gear bike and use it to get between my house and the train station and on the other end, between the Dunwoody Station and my job.
I did stop by Starbucks to have a latte, surf the Internet, and get a little work done. It's a decent walk from Starbucks to the office. The broken little toe is much better, although still tender. I have become considerably more careful walking around my house, particularly in the dark. I expect this to last for a little while before I forget how painful a broken toe is anyway.
31 March 2011
I suppose given that all the power is out and I cannot really work as m project is on my desktop which is quietly cooling off in the dark corner, I could use this time to meditate. I have the guided meditation on my phone and I know where my ear buds are. It’s the perfect time to get it out of the way if I can get over the distraction that the power could come on at any second. Let’s give it a try.
Okay, I am back and feeling very… oh what is the word I looking for? Self-congratulatory that I took advantage of the power outage and made good use of the time. Okay, now I am ready for the power to come back on. I am waiting. Well I guess the universe has other plans for the time being. It’s still dark outside and honestly I am not sure exactly what time the sun comes up. I think I have awhile.
The cat seems undeterred in wandering around the house in the dark. It’s making the most interesting noises. If this was the end of a horror story instead of a blog entry, I would now end with “at least, I think that’s the cat...”
Okay, really, what part of lights action camera are you not getting?
So, after some more sitting in the dark our intrepid young hero decided to keep his momentums going even without power. Noticing that the sky was just beginning to lighten and one of his resolutions was to get more exercise he decided that a brisk walk was in order. By the time he returned, the power still wasn’t on. With web based training class approaching and no internet connection, our hero jumped into the shower, jumped into the car, and hightailed it to work. (With a brief diversion to Starbucks.)
27 March 2011
25 March 2011
24 March 2011
cause i need it hot and black
i got have my coffee
or i'm not coming back
i mean last night was nice
and all, i had a great time
you really are amazing and
i think you blew my mind
but morning is here now
and i gotta get to work
just tell me where you keep your beans
i'm not trying to be a jerk
sorry, i just can't get awake
and i just can't face the day
my brain's is on overload
i'm not sure what to say
it's cause i haven't had my coffee
and the wheels just won't turn
i gotta have my coffee
this truth you should learn
so brew me that coffee
make it hot and black
if you just brew me that coffee
you know i'll be back
cause life without coffee
isn't something i want to know
cause if i cann't have my coffee
damn it, i'd rather be alone
so you work in a coffee shop
sorry i was a jerk
i would like to make it up to you
maybe walk you to work?
22 March 2011
Suddenly I clicked the button to go to the next page and found I was at the end of the book. It’s like that moment of confusion when your car quits responding to your input and it takes you a second to make the connection that this means you are out of control. Then quite often there is a moment of pain while the laws of physics sort themselves out.
I mean I see why the story ended there and if I had seen it coming, I would have been okay with it. I would have put my mental seatbelts on. I mean it’s a perfectly reasonable place to break a longer story. I have no argument with the flow of the story and not much of a complaint that there wasn’t a bigger emotional payoff at the end of what I sincerely hope is volume one of a longer story. There is even something refreshing about a volume one that doesn’t have the simplistic episodic story arch of a television show.
But I feel there needs to be more awareness about the possible psychic injury that can be caused by carelessly reading eBooks and unexpectedly hitting the end. It’s not something that usually happens with bound books where the simple act of holding the book and turning the pages is telling your brain how much story is left in the volume you are holding. Actually this is why I despise long preview chapters in the back of books. To a less degree those have sometimes caught me unawares. But it’s been a long time since I have had a violent collision with an acknowledgements page as I did this morning.
I sincerely hope Ms. Harkness is hard at work writing the rest of the story. If the continuation of the story is as good as its beginning I will happily forgive her the throbbing pain currently behind my temple. In the meantime please read safely and keep an eye on the page counter.
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel*
*Amazon Associate Link
16 March 2011
27 February 2011
In the Social Network I saw in Zuckerberg as a new generation’s Gordon Gekko, one even more terrifying than the original. In Wall Street Gordon Gekko was clearly supposed to be the villain of the piece. But there was something in Gekko that made him this weird kind of anti-hero, perhaps because he embodied so much of what was and is still counted as success in America. He so embodied so much of who we are as Americans, it was hard to see him as the bad guy. We could see him as a bad guy, but secretly or not so secretly, we would love to be him.
The character of Mark Zuckerberg in the Social Network shows what’s changed and what hasn’t in the 20 plus years since Wall Street. Gekko was easier to attempt to demonize because he seemed so motivated by money. It’s harder with Zuckerberg; his motivation seems more to be the success of his idea. It’s much harder to demonize someone who’s had a really great idea and really wants to see it succeed. There is so much of ourselves in our ideas, whether we have written a novel or just come up with a suggestion for the office. A trait shared by both Gekko and Zuckerberg are their willingness to sacrifice human relationships, most particularly friendship and the loyalty that goes with it for the sake of success. But there is something about their drive and commitment to success that pushes me to excuse this aspect of their character. It reminds me of the argument that an athlete’s character off the field doesn’t matter at all, that what matters and has meaning is only their on field performance.
Watching these types of films used to be simpler, the bad guys were the one’s that wore the black hats, betrayed the guy in the white hat, robbed the train, were pursued, and the got their comeuppance in just enough time for the hero to kiss the girl and ride off into the sunset. Then movies came along where you could root for the bad guy because you knew at the end that justice would be served. You could cross your fingers that the robbery would go as planned partly because you knew in the end, someone would pay the price, the moral scales would balance.
However, in the Social Network it’s ambiguous if justice is served. Certainly it illustrates a world where it’s acceptable that success has further diminished the importance of personal relationships, loyalty, and even ethics. The Winklevosses look like complete idiots when they try to complain about Zuckerberg’s ethical behavior. The Dean almost laughs at the Winklevosses and tells them that the ethical code of conduct only applies to students’ behavior towards the school; it doesn’t apply to each other. It’s reminiscent of Gordon explaining to a wide-eyed Bud Fox that he’s in a dog eat dog take, no prisoners world.
The Social Network avoids making any heavy handed judgments. The image of Zuckerberg sitting in the conference room after most of the lawyers have left working on his laptop is one of the most ambiguous movie endings I have seen in a while. Is Zuckerberg damned and alone after all he has done? Or is it the ultimate validation of his success that one of his assisting attorneys, his peer in age and background, tells him he’s seems like an okay guy, and friends him on Facebook? It’s a victory, but I am deeply conflicted about what kind. To me it seems there is potentially something very hollow about it, although it’s not clear if Zuckerberg or society will ever see it that way. Standing alone in the end a field of victory, friends and foes defeated, is Zuckerberg in heaven or hell? One wonders if he will feel the same in twenty years. Has our society really come to the point where putting success over friendship is a socially acceptable decision?
I hope the answer is no, but as Gekko advised Bud Fox in 1985, in this business “if you need a friend, get a dog”.
My friend Kris posted some great comments here about an aspect of the Social Network that I have not mentioned. A good part of the movie is about the idea of Facebook, where it came from, who had it, and most importantly, who did something about it. I think that it's easier than we would like to admit to come up with a great idea, but actually doing something with it? Let's just say that for all of his flaws Zuckerburg does possess one of the qualities of the classic hero. He does something. But Kris says this all pretty well.
14 February 2011
02 January 2011
in with the new
no time to be sad
no time to be blue
the old year is gone
the new one is here
no time for regret
no time for fear
for the old has been written
in permanent ink
and the new will start filling
quick as a wink
so take a moment to pause
but don't take too long
for suprisingly soon
another year will be gone