Jul 31, 2006
A Four Letter Word Meaning "Intercourse", Ending in the Letter "K"
My friend Erika and I once chatted about our best conversational partners -- the people who we most enjoyed talking with about things with meaning or things without. I was pleased to have made her top ten list -- something I didn't even know she had.
So who makes your list? Or more importantly, what is it about them or you (or them-and-you) that got them there? What sorts of variety do you have in your top ten? Some because they listen and some because they talk? Some because you know them from forever? Some you don't even like, though you like talking with them? And have people dramatically moved on or off the list in the years you've known them?
As for me -- my favorite longtime partners still include Erika (when we can find time), my best friend Dave, Kaudie, and Timmy (on our rare visits). There are, of course, others. And sadly there are those who were once on the list but who are are now gone because we don't ever see each other. For the ones still on my list, I appreciate how most of them speak clearly, teach me new things while still engaged with me as a friend (rather than an audience), and welcome the chance to listen and appreciate what I have to say, too.
I appreciate how they each have broad interests as well as numerous areas of deep knowledge. And I appreciate how they all are (reasonably and usually) modest about what they have to share. They don't think they know everything, or that the things they know are more important than things they don't. And (did I forget to mention?) they're all funny. Lastly, I appreciate that they all care about things and people outside of themselves. I suspect that's at the root of a lot of things.
Illustration: Matisse's "Conversation" from artchive.com
Courtesy of my high school teacher Branson Brown: the four letter word is "talk".
Jul 28, 2006
45 Seconds to Back Up?!
Is your blog backed up? How about all your other data? And do you have another copy off site? Huhn, huhn? Well do ya?
While you're at it, feel free to share stories happy or sad about backups, especially the off site kind. I keep reminding my clients to do it, but I don't have any anecdotes to help burn it into their heads.
Image boosted from MKBack-Up who wants to know, "Hoe goed is uw organisatie beschermd tegen dataverlies?"
Jul 27, 2006
FYI from M.
If you can find the Devil, my soul is for sale.
-- M. a new friend who, incidentally, has one hell of an idea for a screenplay.
Jul 26, 2006
C. Says She Smells Something Unfair
C., interrogating Tania while pointing at me and M:
But they're saying the exact same thing! Why am I the one who gets the finger?!
C. wanted to know why Tania was harshing on her, alone, seeing how M. and I were equally and simultaneously guilty of heaping scorn and abuse on Tania's latest idea.
Jul 25, 2006
Floyd Landis on Rare Experience
"Landis took note of the approach he learned in his years riding for Armstrong’s United States Postal Service team, which is now sponsored by the Discovery Channel. The objective was always to win the Tour, and the method was to believe the team could do it.
Landis said, 'It was an experience not many people have, to see a team work together and spend absolutely 100 percent of the time and energy believing that it’s a possibility.'"
-- Gritted Teeth Give Way to Smile for Landis in Paris by Edward Wyatt, New York Times, 24 July 2006
"The quote at the end" is one of my favorite parts of every good newspaper article. In minor articles, the quote is often just a quirky treat. But in major articles, the quote often lights the subject from a special, different angle from the preceding paragraphs.
There's much that I love about the above article's close.
I love how the NYTimes writer picked a quote that refers not to this year's remarkable race but to the work of his previous team (in which Landis was not the star).
And I love how Landis speaks humbly not about himself but about the specialness of the experience.
And lastly, I love that Landis helps me remember that rich experiences borne out of committed interdependence are rare jewels -- to be appreciated and hoped for.
USPS team photo copyright Matt Wood at Veloprints.com. Used with permission.
Jul 24, 2006
Ruined by Reading
Rarely does the daily paper move me to re-examine my life. But a recent New York Times piece quoted a Chinese scholar whose "belief in Buddhism...has curbed his appetite for books." Mr. Cha says, "To read more is a handicap. It is better to keep your own mind free and to not let the thinking of others interfere with your own free thinking." I clipped his statement and placed it on the bedside table, next to a pile of books I was reading or planned to read or thought I ought to read. The clipping is about two square inches and almost weightless, the pile of books some nine inches high, weighing a few pounds. Yet they face each other in perfect balance. I am the scale on which they rest.
Lying in the shadow of the books, I brood on my reading habit. What is it all about? What am I doing it for? And the classic addict's question, What is it doing for me?
-- opening lines from Ruined by Reading by Lynne Sharon Schwartz, 1996, Beacon Press.
I kept this book on my shelves for years and years, thorougly annoyed by the irony. Lately I have been less inclined to read -- hoping to spend more time in fewer but more meaningful moments -- but I won't credit the Buddha. I also won't say whether I'm having any luck, but I thought I could at least share the quote.
Jul 22, 2006
Voices and Visions
In even the shortest
Just a bit of doggerel to describe the life of a consultant who takes calls from clients with or without money and without or without options :-)
In other things: this week's dreams have been stranger and longer than usual, perhaps due to codeine-induced sleep patterns. From last night:
- a dream in which I became the messiah, or at least something like the Dalai Lama, touching disciples and hanging out with statue-fans at a baseball game.
- a dream in which I evaded a cop by pretending I was a server at the restaurant he was searching. In this dream, I discovered a new recipe -- a pair of crepes sandwiching flavored rice.
FYI: Both of dreams were influenced by the visuals in Sin City which I viewed (in part) before bedtime.
Jul 21, 2006
Anon. on Eavesdropping
Eavesdropping is your number one communication tool in a small office. Eavesdropping is a job survival skill.
-- Anon. (The same one as yesterday.)
Jul 20, 2006
Anon. on Anon.
We could all use a little anonymity from time to time.
-- Anon. With apt timing.
Jul 19, 2006
What do you give a sick ant?
You can save more co-pay money when you start hacking away from bronchitis this winter -- another study found antibiotics don't speed recovery from uncomplicated infections of the lower respiratory tract.
The survey of 500 patients found that whether their doctor gave them antibiotics or not, they all suffered through the nasty cough for an average 12 more days after the office visit.
-- quote and image* from UPI** article, June 2005.
Well dang. Because I was just thinking how happy I was to have gotten some antibiotics for my bronchitis/sinusitis that sprung out of a bothersome cold. I'll let you know in twelve days whether the cough hung around.
*Do you wonder if this image accurately represents what's in your bloodstream (or bronchi)? Me, too. Reminds me of a time back in the early nineties where I told some colleagues, "I know what mold looks like! I can draw it!" and the next thing you know, my drawing is published in an EPA publication. Granted, the drawing was part of a schematic (not an illustration of mold) but it still bothered me.
**didn't UPI go out of business a couple of years ago?
Jul 18, 2006
No Parking. I Mean It.
Also seen in Denver, on cardboard held by a street beggar, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You've heard it all before. Please give money. Thanks."
Anyone see the King of the Hill episode where Bobby and Joseph become cool street beggars? I saw part of last night, but not the end.
Every now and then I want to get a begging permit and hit the streets of Durham to see what it's like and how I'd do. Of course, I'd probably see a lot of people I know, and that would be kind of awkward. (Like when it happened to Rick Redfern in Doonesbury.)
Hilary and I plan to go busking when the weather cools. That should be interesting.
As for now -- no staying up late. Sleep is inevitable. (I have a cold.)
Jul 17, 2006
Esse Quam Videri
North Carolina's motto, "Esse Quam Videri" means "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."
-- JDW, wiseacre and former colleague.
Sometime tell me again why I didn't stay in Denver for another month or so?
Jul 14, 2006
Longfellow (not Bacharach) on Peace
What the world needs now
If we could read
the secret history of our enemies,
we would find in each person's story
enough suffering and sorrow there
to disarm all hostilities.
Posted on the Denver International Airport shuttle.
Jul 13, 2006
Things That Are Orange
Driving down the road, I started wondering -- what things are orange?
- Oranges and orange-derived food products
- Pumpkins and other squashes
- Temporary plastic fencing
- Traffic cones
- Candy corn middles
- Counties that contain Chapel Hill, NC and
Los Angeles CA
- Syracuse, Princeton, and Clemson sports stuff
- Goldfish (which I just now realized was odd)
- Several of my former favorite shirts
- Sweet potatoes and yams
What am I missing?
Jul 12, 2006
Pat Conroy on Travel
Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
— Pat Conroy
Jul 11, 2006
BodyWorlds2 in Denver
Today I visited the Body Worlds 2 exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Just bloody amazing. I wish I could plastinate my body and still be able to look at it. But since that seems unreasonable, maybe I'll ask my dad if I can plastinate his when he goes.
(More or less related -- I spent a lot of time looking at shoulder, neck, and upper back muscles to get a better sense of all my muscle problems and my dad's neck surgery. Learned that there were even more muscles to get screwy than I originally thought.)
Jul 10, 2006
Digs in Denver
Vacation in Denver is nothing but a good thing. Especially when I'm spending time with many sets of friends who have coincidentally wound up here. They all have great houses with plenty of room for me when I visit, but in case I ever want a deluxe in-town apartment with a nearby tennis court, I could buy something here -->
-- pic from Denver's Craiglist. The apartment is ~2000 sf for ~$300k.
Jul 07, 2006
"What's Happening to My Body?"
A dear friend bought this book for her adolescent son, and I had a browse on a recent visit. Good book. Lots of information in there on things like testicular growth, shaving, acne, etc. -- and stuff about female parts, too. Stuff I would have liked to known when I was his age for sure.
I told my friend that I could write a complementary book for related issues -- a shorter read for days when the boy didn't want to dig through What's Happening to My Body? My book would be titled "WTF?!" and its text, in its entirety, would go something like this:
Chapter 1: You're weird. Your body is weird. And guess what -- so are everybody else's. Anybody who says different is an idiot.
Chapter 2: Some day, no matter what, you're going to be attracted to someone who digs you and will want to sleep with you, and everything will be great for at least a while, maybe longer. Don't fret. It'll happen.
Friends have subsequently told me that this would be a great book for most boys but not all. One friend said that for his son (one of my popular godsons), the book's first chapter should pretty much read: "Keep it in your pants."
Any co-authors out there? What would you suggest?
Jul 06, 2006
Grasshopper - Durham NC
At Grasshopper restaurant in Durham, one of George Bakatsias's latest.
Had this last week on my first visit to Grasshopper which has received mixed reviews in its first year. As for me: I enjoyed the food (particularly the Bun, above - a surprising $7.50), loved the patio, and had nothing but good and fun service which included a special request to substitute the catfish from one recipe in for the tilapia in another.
I'll definitely return for business and casual lunches. Pal M treated me last week. Next one's on me.
Jul 05, 2006
Oh, So That Explains It
Sexual arousal, whether it involves romance or pure lust, is highest when there is a tension between the attraction pulling us toward the partner, and one or more barriers standing in the way. The formula for hot sex is:
Attraction + Obstacles = Excitement
-- Jack Morin, in the essay "The Four Cornerstones of Eroticism"
I reckon there's some sense to what he's saying, but it's far from complete. Further, I wish he had used some word other than "tension". So now that I think about it, why did I choose the quote? Perhaps because it's brief and because it's the thing that caught my eye while flipping through the book that contains the essay.
Jul 04, 2006
Leadership and Popularity in Wartime
The declaration of American independence on 4 July 1776, the end of the war with the surrender by British forces in 1782, and the defeat which the loss of the American colonies represented, could have threatened the Hanoverian throne. However, George's strong defence of what he saw as the national interest and the prospect of long war with revolutionary France made him, if anything, more popular than before.
Jul 03, 2006
Alfa Crunch -- Alas, Not a New Italian Breakfast Cereal...
Last Monday, eastbound on Mt. Sinai Rd. A downhill curve, a little too much speed, and a wet and bumpy spot right where I started braking.
My gratitude list is long: no one was hurt, many people stopped to offer help, a nearby jogger gave me a hug, I had orange pool floats in the trunk that turned into nice substitutes for pylons, and I had a cell phone to call the wrecker. The wrecker guy was nice and the troopers were sympathetic (even as they gave me a ticket for driving too fast for conditions). I have an extra vehicle, some funds to fix the Alfa (enough, I hope!), and a good and fair mechanic. I'm self-employed (with a flexible schedule for when stuff like this happens) and have a cool self-employed friend who gave me a ride home from the mechanic's. I have friends who have been most sympathetic. Yep -- plenty to be grateful for.
Oh, and please pardon the fuzzy pic: some condensation got stuck between my camera lens and the skylight filter.