Jul 31, 2008
"God" in Song
I'm surprised that few are jumping to my mind, but maybe that's because I'm typing from 10,000 ft. where the air is thin. Here's what's hitting me:
Dear God -- XTC
Closer -- Nine Inch Nails (thanks, TPB, for the correx)
Thank God I'm a Country Boy -- John Denver (which Barry R. reminded me of at Thanksgiving Mix Tape ).
Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts) -- Sir Mix-a-Lot*
God Will -- Lyle Lovett
What if God Was One of Us -- Joan Osborne
My God -- Whoopi Goldberg and the nuns in Sister Act**
Once in a Lifetime -- Talking Heads
Counting Blue Cars -- Dishwalla
What you got? Extra credit for songs where "God" does not appear in the title.
p.s. does anyone know how to make a two-column table in TypePad?
*Bonus -- the Alvin and the Chipmunks mix of Baby Got Back:
**which co-starred Kathy Najimy who of course does the voice of Peggy Hill.
Jul 10, 2008
Here are the addresses:
I'm guessing that few of the Archer Pelican's regular readers are heavy texters with AYCE plans. But maybe I'm wrong? (It seems that my friends come in two varieties -- either no texting at all, or they have a CrackBerry and/or iPhone.) I suspect that most of my friends will pay something between 10 and 25 cents per message, so I promise to be judicious with this new-to-me function. Even after discovering that there's a service for sending anonymous texts for free: AnonTxt.com.
Demographic disclosure: My all-I-need-to-eat AT&T media plan costs $10 a month and I use it to check email from my phone, and to send/receive very occasional text messages. If I text a full word (e.g., "see" or "you" or "fine") and then realize that I could have used fewer letters (e.g., "c" or "u" or "fyn"), I delete the full word and type the shorter one. It is annoying to enter Michael Bacon's last name into my telephone, and I've had to do it at least three times. I have a paper subscription to PCWorld and generally read it in the bathroom. I find their online version difficult to navigate. Text messages from the Obama campaign are, thankfully, rare. I'd still like to turn them off but I haven't taken the time to figure out how.
Image from 4Productions which offers yet more ways to insert yourself into someone's pocket.
Jul 09, 2008
Today at the Orange Congregations in Ministry thrift shop in Hillsborough:
When I brought the three books I wanted to the cashier, she said, "Today is our 'half off for fours' day. If you buy one more, you'll get all at half price."
Thing was, I only wanted the three books. So I grabbed a random book to make four, got all for the price of two, then put the random book back on the shelf before heading home with my three.
A perfect catalyst* moment!
Well not really.
I kept the fourth book** but it was cool to think of how it might have gone.
*from dictionary.com: catalyst -- Chemistry. a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
**not randomly selected, either. Transitions is a great book and now I have two copies. I'm sure I'll find someone nice to give the second to. Though I'll wonder if the author made radical changes in his more recent edition.
Jun 24, 2008
I Said 'Hop In'!
Best pal Dave next to our very small plane*, 6 a.m. on Utila just before scooting to La Ceiba by way of Roatan.
On the previous day, someone expressed surprise that we had been best friends for so long, and wondered if this meant we weren't good at making new friends. Interesting.
She had another theory that held maybe a little more water : if you're very smart, it's harder to make new friends because most other people aren't smart enough to be interesting. I could see where she was coming from, but I think she was arguing from an exaggerated sense of scarcity, and a constricted sense of what makes people interesting and/or appealing.
*Despite how it looks, the plane is not actually smaller than Dave's head. It's "perspective". But doesn't it remind you of Mr. Burns' Spruce Moose? "Smithers, I've designed a new plane. i call it the spruce moose, and it will carry 200 passengers from New York's Idlewild airport to the Belgian Congo in seventeen minutes!" Yoinked from here.
Burns: Now, to the plant! We'll take the Spruce Moose. [picks up the model] Hop in!
Smithers: But, sir --
Burns: [pointing a gun] I said, hop in.
May 17, 2008
For every moment we feel superior, we become less than we were a moment earlier.
How Well Do You Keyboard?
Last night while chatting over snacks* with friends in their early 40s, we had a lively few minutes talking about typing: how important it was, where we learned it, and how important it is for work.
So where did you learn to keyboard? How does this skill (or the lack thereof) affect your work? And do you know people who never learned how to type well and who have had to adjust their careers (knowingly or not) because of this lacking?
Digression: Here's an online typing test if you're curious: TypingTest.com. FYI, the interface is a little odd: once you pick a test, just start typing (you don't have to click anywhere special to enter your text). When your time runs out, it automatically grades for you. If you finish the text before your time runs out, something else goofy happens. Just chill out and it'll score for you. I scored much higher than I expected: net speed 115 wpm (117 wpm with 98% accuracy). I remembered much lower scores from when I was in high school. Then again, maybe everybody's scores are much higher now that we have word processors that greatly reduce the penalty for mistyping: we can type like madmen and fix errors quickly for an improved net speed.
One of my friends from last night is an attorney who commented that many older lawyers are struggling because their firms no longer expect to pay someone to type up their dictations. Younger lawyers have always expected to type their own briefs. Older lawyers are having to adjust. Another of our crew is the daughter of a doctor who never learned how to type, and had to struggle when he was retired and wanting to write, but without the benefit of an assistant.
I've long said that the two most important things I ever did in a classroom were B-school and typing class (9th grade, with Mrs. Shepard, on Facit-brand typewriters.). That said, I think that a lot of people have taught themselves to type "fast enough." But are they happy enough with the result?
*fish balls and various hot sauces, sweet popped corn, almonds, candied ginger and avocado-coconut drinks all fueled by a random-sample grocery run at Food World in Durham. Plus some peanut-butter cookies from K.
Photo: yoinked from Sri Ramakrishna Vidyashala pre-university college.
May 15, 2008
A Short List of Virtues
In the dozen days since my friend Sonja's funeral, I've been trying to come up with good words to talk about what she's meant to me and to others. I had hoped for an essay by now, but it's not yet coming.
Instead, here is a short list of virtues she owned and lived for 39 years:
To smile always and laugh often.
To tease for fun without being mean.
To have faith and to share faith without hesitation.
To live by high standards.
To find the best in things, without being blind to the worst.
To struggle honestly.
To follow her heart.
To imagine new possibilities.
To create new good.
To trust others.
To take big risks.
To never feel superior, despite her status as a teacher, provider and star.
To share her joy and wonder. With everyone -- not just the people who make it easy.
To love animals with all her heart, and to care for them with all her skill.
To be wise without being old.
And to ask always, "What next, Lord, shall I do?"
Without context, I imagine that this list might look generic. But I hope you'll trust that there is much behind each item. If any remind you of the best you'd like to be for yourself, then I'll be glad to have shared these with you, and happier still that Sonja shared them with me.
photo: Happy Tails Country Club
Apr 26, 2008
Lawsuit Waiting to Happen
At your local discount club, a Playstation 3 set up for your free trial pleasure.
No harm in that, except for some clever person set the thing up on top of a pallet that really doesn't have room.
Note how the back legs of the folding chair rest right at the edge.
If this kid knew how to do things jusssst right, he could parlay his Playstation talents into a college-tuition-sized lawsuit. But how many kids do you know who can crack their skulls just enough to score 200,000 points (at one dollar per point) without doing permanent brain damage?
I enjoyed my try at the rock star game. But Neil Peart I'm not.
Don't let your sense of freedom be dictated by your circumstances.
(You know what I mean.)
Apr 03, 2008
Serendipity, Quakers, Birthdays
-- Me, ~1984.
My friend Stephen C. turned 40 on Easter, and his wife organized a "guys weekend" in the Blue Ridge Mountains to mark the birthday. Back in high school and college, it was our occasional habit to write letters to each other, and I remember scribbling this down in one such note to him. I seem to recall that it was inspired by a group writing project that wasn't starting smoothly.
This evening, I recalled this thought while sitting in a mid-week Quaker meeting for silent worship. The "coincidence" occurs to me just now: Stephen was my first Quaker friend.
Nickel prizes to those who get the meaning of the illustration.
Mar 20, 2008
Iraq Fifth Anniversary -- Chapel Hill Vigil
At 7, people stood in small circles to read letters written by vets and their families.
Later, folks gathered on the steps for a group photo:
Note the "Christ of Baghdad" at right, below. At the bottom of the sign, "God has laid upon him the violence of us all -- the prophet Isaiah".
Photos from the Durham vigil here at The Durham Bullpen - Tonight, we remembered. So many lost.
Mar 19, 2008
Puritanism and Jealousy
Lord help you if you want an actual citation for Mencken's quote on Puritanism, but it goes something like this:
“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy"
I think I heard it before as
"...someone, somewhere, may be having fun."
Which relates to one of my new definitions of jealousy:
Jealousy: the haunting fear that someone in particular may be having more fun than me, in some particular way.
Just a little something I've been wrestling with lately. Breathing and prayer help, followed by the brain reminding myself that I have it very good, indeed.
Do you ever get jealous? What ever do you do to fix it?
Feb 23, 2008
Off to see the wizard
Hi folks -- I am off to see Fidel! Back in a week. Will try to post from Cuba but I might not have easy internet access.
Feb 19, 2008
Fidel, Such Timing!
HAVANA - An ailing, 81-year-old resigned as 's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Sunday.
Ah, for the love of Pete -- I'm going to Cuba on Sunday and he frickin' resigns just before I get there. It looks like I won't be able to say I visited Cuba under Fidel. Technically, anyway. Dang.
Photo yoinked from The Onion with a clickworthy caption.
Feb 04, 2008
Greetings from Mexico where I've been talking with a few Brits today, and one guy from Portugal (loosely tied these days to Brazil). Which is to say, I'm thinking of the video for Creature Comforts, introduced to me by the beautiful folks at She Said / She Said.
Happily, you can find the whole 5 minute Creature Comforts short at AtomFilms:
I hope that the video is embedded, above (this is my first try at such). If not, click this link to the video at Atom Films.
Jan 29, 2008
You can't give someone courage, but you can give them encouragement.
-- I hadn't thought about the relationship between these words - "courage" and "encouragement" - until this weekend while talking about fear with Miroslav from Czechoslovakia. He agrees with the sentiment. I'll tell you his story sometime this week.
Jan 22, 2008
Scandinavia -- Siblings, Rivals, and Foes
When I was planning my trip to Mexico, I thought I'd avoid staying in hostels because there would be too many excuses to speak English, which would shortchange my "being in Mexico" experience. But I've since realized that a great richness hostel life is meeting cool people from all over the world.*
Yesterday I hung out with Annalee and Andreas, two very nice folks from Sweden, and we talked about Scandinavian relations. According to Annalee, the Swedes and Norwegians are much like siblings when it comes to national pride and identity. In sports, Swedes will cheer for any Swedish team against any Norwegian team. But in international competition not including a Swede, they'll cheer for a Norwegian team over anybody else. But screw the Finns. And the Danes? Meh. "They are more Continental, anyway."
My cousin Bent is Danish and when I visited him in Copenhagen some years ago, his national pride was easy to notice. Give him half a chance to point out a famous Dane and he'd do it. "Do you Karen Blixen, who was also known as Isak Dinesen? She was born near here. She's Danish, of course." "And do you know your American olympic team's men's soccer coach? He's Danish." "Oh, the inventor of [some important gizmo]? Everyone thinks it was a Swede, but that guy stole the technology from the true inventor [Mr. So and So] and he's from Denmark."
I once read in a travel guide that there were three steps to making friends with a Dane.
"What are they?", Bent asked.
"Step 1. Buy him a beer.", I said.
"Step 2. Make fun of the Swedes."
"Step 3. Buy him another beer!"
"Yea, that's true! That will work!"
Annalee and Andreas agreed. "Yeah, those Danes -- they like their beer."
Pamela from Saskatchewan asked if Annalee and Andreas knew the show A Prairie Home Companion which features a lot of Minnesotans with Norwegian blood. They didn't know Garrison Keillor's show, but they loved the hell out of Fargo. "And you know the actor Peter Stormare? [the guy who shoves Steve Buscemi into the stump grinder] He's from Sweden!"
In this moment, I wondered if Pamela and I were being too quick to buy the idea of Swedish and Norwegian solidarity, so I told this story:
Some time ago I worked with a Minnesotan named Ron Berglund. Thinking of a Prairie Home Companion, I wondered if his family heritage might be Norwegian. But not knowing how Swedes or Norwegians get along, I treaded lightly. "Say, Ron -- where's the name 'Berglund' from?"
"We're Swedish," he said. Vociferously.
"So... I was wondering... how do the Swedes and Norwegians regard each other?"
"Do you know what we do with retarded people in Sweden?"
"We send them to Norway." [pause] "Where they go to work as TEACHERS".
So. Somehow, I wonder if the rivalry is stronger in Minnesota than it is in Scandinavia? Perhaps in America, the Swedes and Norwegians have to do everything they can to not get lumped together by the rest of us who can't tell a Lundberg from a Lindqvist.
A related last story from Scandinavia: In the mid-80s, my Indonesian grandmother died while visiting my cousins in Copenhagen. According to my cousins, the Indonesian ambassador was just horrible when they asked for help in processing the paperwork to get my grandmother's remains back home. The ambassodor seemed to make every possible effort to distance herself from any Indonesian in Denmark. Why? I'm guessing that the ambassador was doing what far too many representatives of a lower-status group do when they enter the circles of a higher-status group: they start looking down on the folks they came from.
A few years later, our family and the by-then-former ambassador ended up on a long vacation together in the Ujung Kulon Indonesian wildlife preserve. My Danish cousins and the ambassador managed to avoid each other in even the smallest spaces -- like the tiny boat that took us to and from the camp.
All of the above stories, by the way, are just a preface** to something Valerie made me think of just now. This year in basketball, I'm cheering for NC State over both UNC and Duke. And UNC over Duke. And any of them over anyone else in the tourneys except for whatever Ivy team gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. And Davidson, which seems to show up year after year.
*Every one of whom wants George W. Bush out of the White House. Now!
**As Ron White once said on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour: "I told you that joke so I could tell you this one."
Map courtesy of freeworldmaps.net
Jan 07, 2008
If You Treat a Cold, it Will Last for Two Weeks...
"If you treat a cold, it will last for two weeks. If you don't, it will last for fourteen days."
-- quoted by my friend Bill.
I have a cold. And a big to-do-before-leaving-town list with many items not done. And a $273.61 charge from Continental for pushing my Mexico trip back by one week. So long as I don't squander the next few days, I can live with the delay. Meanwhile, I hope you are all having a germ-free start to 2008.
Image from the Singapore Government's Civil Service Club
Dec 26, 2007
Easily and Clearly Influenced
This afternoon on VH1 Classic -- "We Are the Eighties". And within ten seconds of "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean, I suddenly realized that way too much of my photo composition aesthetic was directly traceable to MTV in the 1980s. And you know what? A lot of 1980s videography really really SUCKED.*
Of course it shouldn't surprise me that my compositional sense was greatly influenced by 1980s music videos. I had been watching the stuff nonstop for 12 months when I picked up my first SLR. What bummed me out, though, was realizing that in many ways I still lean on those origins when I take a photo now, 20+ years later. Sure, I've seen and learned some new things during my fits and starts of subsequent photo work. But I think that the "learned more" all built off a chain that started ~1983 and never got cut. I think I'd be better off if I'd also learned from a few unrelated chains with different origins. Maybe I'll start doing drugs or something.
But maybe not. It's apparent that my insides are still so easily influenced by what I see and read. Two nights ago I watched an NCIS episode with a bludgeoning murder, and then I re-read some of The Day of the Jackal -- Forsyth's great thriller about a plot to kill Charles DeGaulle. So what should I dream about that night? Getting my head smashed in. And (later, after I'd been killed), participating in a plot to kill George W. Bush. Drugs would probably not help me see anything new. It would just be the same stuff, but in different colors.
*Need proof? Cringe to Billy Ocean's Caribbean Queen right here at YouTube.
So, What is the Pictograph for "Asian-American" Family?
As I understand it: For the traditional Asian, family is everything. For the traditional Asian's child-in-America, family is the beginning of everything. As I have yet to understand: which mindset has the greater challenge for assimilating in these United States?
"Family" in Chinese courtesy of ChineseNames.org -- free translations of names and many other words from English to Chinese.
Dec 25, 2007
If You Can't Get Chinese Food and a Movie...
This year for Christmas dinner: hanging with the folks at their favorite Senior Center for leftover potluck, a white elephant gift exchange, karaoke and ping pong. My folks' Chinese neighbors joined us for dinner and everything was great -- especially when I finally beat the room's best ping pong player.
The paddle-master in question had won ~12 in a row (including 2 on me) before I took him out. As usual with my rare sports victories, I let out a whoop. Unfortunately, I wasn't on the beat and I trashed my dad's videoke score. Just kidding. I was on the beat.
In any case, dinner was great fun and for an evening snack at the telly I had some excellent fruitcake washed down with brandy over ice. Oh heck yes, this was a very good Christmas. Happy birthday, Jesus!
Dec 03, 2007
Krispy Krispy Kringle
An original glazed donut has 200 calories which is perhaps not too shocking when you consider that a hefty slice of whole grain bread might have ~160 calories. But what's in those 200 Krispy Kalories? 3 grams of protein and whole bunch of you-don't-need-it. And the glazed kreme-filled? 360 calories. The apple fritter ties for highest-calories-per-unit at 380.*
In case you were wondering, Krispy Kreme donuts are vegetarian. Some are even Kosher. Nutritional information here at Krispy Kreme Korporate.
So. I still love Krispy Kreme but now I have the digits to prove that I need to love those things like skydivers love their hobby: with great joy and with great care.
*When I was a kid, my family and I probably would have thought the apple fritter was healthiest because of the "apple". No longer.
Nov 28, 2007
This happens every two years. I go to the eye doc for a new one of these and then realize, 30 minutes later, that I can't do any work the rest of the afternoon because I can't see. (We go to the eye doctors and they blind us. Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?)
Other things repeat: the semi-annual puzzle of "what do the 'S' and 'D' stand for in my prescription?" followed quickly by, "Oh duh" and "Of COURSE." And the every-four-years challenge of picking out a new set of frames after my existing ones have just worn out. This challenge is two-part. First, the aesthetic part ("I want something exactly like what I have now, but better."). Second, my vision is so suck (see scrip, above) that when I take off my existing glasses to try on the display frames with their fake lenses, I have no idea what I look like. I might as well be passing judgment on the the relative attractiveness of two moss-covered rocks -- at the bottom of a lake.
Solution? Buy contact lenses (that I'll use maybe one day a year). And after I've picked out one or two decent pairs of glasses, pester any attractive, nearby women for an opinion.
OK, so that's not the only solution, and the contacts are also useful (the lenses, not the women) as a backup for if I ever lose or break my glasses. But anyway. I feel silly every time I have to do this routine. I'm glad it only happens every four years.
Incidentally: I first met my current eye doctor two years ago, and man did I think she was a grumpy and prickly person. I've spent the last two years thinking that every time I passed by her office, and I didn't really look forward to coming again this year. But I told myself, "Don't let her bring you down, man. Go in there and be a cheery person." And guess what? This year she's as sweet and charming as can be. I'm guessing that she was in the middle of a really bad day the first time we met. And I'm hoping that in the future I'll remember not to judge so definitively off of one impression.
Nov 23, 2007
Tennessee Beach, Golden Gate National Recreational Area
Tennessee Beach is 1.7 miles from the Tennessee Valley parking lot, ~20 minutes north of San Francisco.
This beach had been closed (along with many others) after a ~58,000 gallon fuel oil spill in the San Francisco Bay, the previous week.
Nov 22, 2007
Thanksgiving Mix Tape
On the mind of my friend J: a Mix CD with a theme of thanks and appreciation. What to include? Can you help with a list of must-have standards and less-common tracks you know that she doesn't yet?
- Kind & Generous -- 10,000 Maniacs
- Mediate -- INXS
- Thank You (falettin me be mice elf again) -- Sly and the Family Stone,
- Dear Mama -- Tupac
- Without You -- Ayo
- Thank You For... -- Hall & Oates
- Thank You For Being a Friend -- Carole King
*recent J-mixes featured in her multimedia trivia nights: "States" (featuring Michelle Shocked's "Anchorage" <-click for nice video and mention of not one but THREE cities and states.**) and "Animals" (featuring Bruce Cockburn's "Wondering Where the Lions Are").
**Speaking of songs with state names...
Nov 20, 2007
Dolores Park on a Sunny Day
Last Thursday in San Francisco was extra sunny and warm for mid-November. Above, a view from the southwest corner of Dolores Park. The solitary skyscraper on the far east of downtown is new.
Nov 19, 2007
Fonts and Firearms
I like typography and I like Clint Eastwood*. So of course I liked it when I ran across Mitja Miklavčič's new "Tisa" font which won a TDC2-2007 award from the Type Directors Club. Click here for Miklavčič's detailed description of Tisa's design and intended use.
*I also like Clint Eastwood spoofs like the one in Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle. "Do fifty bullets in yo' ass make yo' day?"
By the way: can anyone help me find a citation for a Clint Eastwood interview where someone asks him "what is the definition of a 'Clint Eastwood' movie?" His response was something like, "I always thought that a 'Clint Eastwood' movie was just a movie with me in it."
Nov 01, 2007
Corner of Church and Cesar Chavez (formerly Army)
"A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't"
-- Anonymous, quoted in Forbes Magazine's Thoughts on the Business of Life
Under the tree in San Francisco's Noe Valley, Dec 2005. Photo by Dave, from his apartment window.
Oct 25, 2007
Shearon Harris: Does Energy Conservation = Water Conservation?
I just read in the N&O that Shearon Harris and the City of Durham use about the same amount of water each day: 33 million gallons per day for the power plant vs. 28 million gallons per day for the Durham water system.
So does this mean that conserving electricity is an immediate method of conserving water? It's not clear to me. Shearon Harris draws from Harris Lake, while Durham drinking water comes from Lake Michie Reservoir and the Little River Reservoir. How tightly is Harris Lake's water supply tied to the other two?
Here's a primer on the hydrological cycle (how water moves around the planet). Scroll ~3/4 down the page for a graphic showing how US household water consumption compares to other countries. You won't be surprised.
Oct 22, 2007
Got the Memo
Keith generously shares out some of his extra office space at Brightleaf Square to me and Adam. We don't usually show up on the same day, but that's because it's a lot of trouble to coordinate clothes. Today we got it together.
"Three Amigos" by Nathania Johnson, Adam's colleague and coffee-driven online marketing blogger at BoldInteractive.com
Oct 13, 2007
Humanities Egghead Test by Laura Cubbison
Barry's latest post reminded me of the Humanities Egghead Test which I remember laughing at in the mid-90s after receiving it once or twice by email.
Imagine my surprise that something I remembered as brilliant and interesting in the early days of the internet was UNFINDABLE (by me) on the web (search terms: humanities egghead "allegory of the cave" 1 12 books black coffee shop glasses). Fortunately, I thought to look in the Newsgroups and was rewarded not only with the test, but also with what appears to be its original 19 September 1994 posting by author Laura Cubbison (then a grad student, now teaching at Radford University).
I give you the whole thing, below. And I hope that my little effort will get the Humanities Egghead Test back in action and web-findable as it always should have been.
After T-bone posted the scientific nerd test, I started thinking about a test
for eggheads (humanities geeks). Some of the questions on his test work for
eggheads too, so I kept them in. I wrote most of the questions myself, and
T-bone contributed a few more. Once I finished it, I figured up my score as 55.
I actually wrote this before the coffee house sketch on MST3K, but I did add
two questions inspired by the sketch.
For each of the following questions which you answer 'yes,'
add one point to your score. Your total at the end is your
percentage of eggheadedness
1)Have you ever gone to a coffee house?
2)Have you ever talked about being and nothingness?
3)Have you ever been to a Pinter play?
4)Do you know who Pinter is?
5)Have you ever done #2 continuously for more than four hours?
6)At a coffee house?
7)Do you wear glasses?
8)Are your glasses shaped like John Lennon's?
9)Is your vision worse than 20/40?
10)Worse than 20/80?
11)Are you legally blind?
12)Have you ever taught freshmen?
13)Have you ever answered a question in lecture after a moment of silence?
14)Have you ever corrected a professor?
15)Have you ever refused to answer a hypothetical question?
16)Have you ever had to sit in a circle in a classroom?
17)Do you save your lecture notes in file folders?
18)Do you never sell back your textbooks?
19)Do you own a black turtleneck shirt?
20)Have you ever used a microfilm reader?
21)Have you ever used a microfiche reader?
22)Have you ever used gopher to retrieve James Joyce's _Ulysses_ for a research
23)Is your weight less than your IQ?
24)Have you ever done #2 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the same
25)Have you ever done #2 past 4 a.m.?
26)Have you ever done #2 with someone of the opposite sex?
27)Have you ever done #2 for money?
28)Do you have own a copy of Thomas Pynchon's _Gravity's Rainbow_?
29)Have you read _Gravity's Rainbow_?
30)Did you understand _Gravity's Rainbow_?
31)Without Cliff's Notes?
32)Do you have a copy of the Riverside Shakespeare?
33)Do you have straight hair of all one length?
34)Does it fall in your face?
35)Do you admit to being a white male oppressor?
36)Do you express your rage against white male oppressors?
37)Can you define deconstructionism?
38)Do you know the Allegory of the Cave?
39)Do you know the words that follow "To be or not to be"?
40)Do you have them on a t-shirt?
41)Have you ever quoted Nietzsche?
42)Do you know who wrote _Waiting for Godot_?
43)Have you seen _Waiting for Godot_ in the theater?
44)Do you own more than $500 in books?
45)More than $1000?
46)More than $2500?
47)Do you stack your books in the corner of the room?
48)Have you ever seen a Merchant/Ivory film?
49)After you read the book?
50)Did you cry?
51)Did you fail the math portion of the GRE?
52)Have you ever done homework on a Friday night?
53)Have you ever pulled an all-nighter?
54)Have you ever written a short story?
55)Have you ever written poetry?
56)Done #55 in the last three months?
57)Done #55 in the last three weeks?
58)Have you ever memorized a poem?
59)Are your pants rolled up because they're too long?
60)Do you wear sandals?
61)Have you read _The Canterbury Tales_?
62)In middle English?
63)Have you ever attended a Shakespeare in the Park production?
64)Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play in a theater?
65)Have you ever entered a writing contest?
66)Did you win?
67)Can you identify Jacques Derrida?
68)Have you ever read anything by Derrida?
69)By Michel Foucault?
70)Have you ever used a colon in the title of a research paper?
71)Have you ever applied literary criticism to a television show?
72)Have you ever used inter-library loan?
73)Have you ever had to justify your field of study to your parents?
74)Have you ever used the word "hermeneutics" in a conversation?
75)Do you view participation in extracurricular activities as a violation of
76)Do you dress exactly like your non-conformist friends?
77)Do you know more than 1 modern language?
78)More than 2?
79)Do you know an ancient language no longer spoken?
80)Have you ever made a literary joke?
81)Did no one get it?
82)Have you ever attended a conference?
83)Did you read a paper?
84)Did you attend all the presentations?
85)Did you ask a question?
86)Have you ever used the word "verisimilitude"?
87)Can you count in Roman numerals?
88)Have you ever had a book review published?
89)In a newspaper?
90)Have you ever MSTed a textbook?
91)Have you ever attended a RenFest?
92)Do you pronounce "Sorbonne" like an American or a Frenchman?
93)Have you ever bought bottled water?
94)Have you ever drunk Perrier?
95)Is Guinness Stout the only beer you drink?
96)Did you major in philosophy or literature?
97)Have you ever read Beowulf?
98)In Old English?
99) Have you ever bought Let's Go Europe?
100)Do you apologize for the existence of Western Civilization?
I hope you enjoy. (Oh, and 42, by the way.)
Oct 10, 2007
Aieeee!!!!! Web Server Down
If you hear a strange noise, that's me going nuts while my marsosudiro.com server remains down. No email. No website. No fun. And the folks at lunarpages.com are not fielding my (very first with them) help request nearly as fast as I want. Their first response seemed off base. I haven't heard back since I wrote them a followup, some 14 hours ago.
In any case, I'm doing my breathing and centering exercises, and trying to work on tasks that need to be done (and can be done) regardless of my marsosudiro.com status.
Okeydokey. Gonna live. This is not the end of the world. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe...
Oct 07, 2007
Customer Service, International Style
That said, I do try to make the experience a little better for me and the vendor. Last January I had a pretty fun time talking with "Peter" at Dell tech support while we were running diagnostics on my machine. I guessed pretty quickly that "Peter" was actually "Pedro", and after a few pleasantries exchanged in Spanish, he took me on an (English-speaking) virtual tour of Panama, home to him and 2,000 Dell tech support staff. I had a second computer nearby, so Pedro toured me through all sorts of Panamanian websites while we waited for the four- or five-minute tests to finish. It was fun. And we figured out my computer problem, too.
On other customer service calls, it's common to hear a Filipino accent on the other end of the phone. A quick "salamat, po" ("thank you, sir (or madam)") always gets a surprised giggle from the other side. I tell them that my mom is from Pampanga, and they invariably tell me that they're talking to me from Manila. And that news invariably makes me visualize them sitting in a white cotton shirt, crisply ironed and still clean despite the fact that the city is both hot and dusty. I don't know how Filipinos stay so clean. It's magic.
At some point I should try to learn a little bit of Hindi, so I can give appropriate greetings to "Jim" or "Bob" on the other side. Tech support people need their giggles, I'm sure of that.
Image from the York Entrepreneur's Diary
Sep 30, 2007
LocoPics at the Market Street Plaza
Above, maybe one quarter of the folks who came by the LocoPops 2nd anniversary party in downtown Durham.
Pops, agua frescas and horchatas were all great. Music was great. Weather was perfect.
Sep 14, 2007
So here's the question: am I going straight to hell, or do I have to stop by the SAG office on the way?
1. I was at a local psychiatric ward.
2. She laughed.
3. No, not to her knowledge.
Sep 09, 2007
Sprint Mobile Wireless
I just signed up for Sprint Mobile Wireless. $59.99/mo for moderately-paced broadband anywhere Sprint has coverage. Works for me, especially since my current housesitting gig (Sep through Dec) has no internet.
A nice thing about the Sprint shop at Patterson Place -- the sales guy installed and tested everything on my laptop before I left the store. I really appreciated that. I hate tech installs. I always worry that they're not going to work right, or at least that they're going to be a major PITA.
Sprint Mobile Wireless has funny online tech support. Here is the feedback tool that shows up with your search results:
Find What You Were Looking For?
o Pretty much
o Sort of
o Not really
o Not even close
In other things -- I'm thinking about an extended trip to Guadalajara at the start of 2008.* Apparently Iusacell is already offering their "BAM" high-speed EV/DO-Rev.A mobile wireless in Guadalajara -- long before we're scheduled to get it across medium-metro USA. Rates are about the same for what I'm paying for Sprint's low-speed EV/DO, without the long-term commitment.
*Yes, feel free to remind me how lousy I am about following through with plans for extended trips -- I do feel shame. But I'm actually making progress toward this goal, in part by postponing other travel hoped for in fall 2007.
Aug 31, 2007
Teachers and Theories, Thinking and Trust
I think that the way it should work is that we spend our time among teachers who give us tools for thinking on our own.
I fear that the way it does work -- too often if not always -- is that we spend our time among talkers, from whom we select a few whose words we'll take as gospel truth. In this case we are not students, but lemmings with large vocabularies.
Aug 03, 2007
Main Street Durham, from the Ringside Roof
Main St. Durham (looking west) from the roof at Ringside.
This pic taken on July 4, 2007, ~11 p.m, shortly after the fireworks display at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Two cool things to note:
First, there's actually traffic downtown at night.
Second, the westbound cars can keep on driving all the way to Brightleaf Square and beyond. Until a few days earlier, they would have had to turn right on Morris St. because of the screwy block of one-wayness between Morris St. and Great Jones St. (in front of the departed Joe & Jo's). Things are better now. Except for getting used to that wacky huge "X" of an intersection.
Aug 02, 2007
Your Friends May be Cool, But My Friends Are...
Cory and Tania, fire dancing at Ringside, downtown Durham.
Click to turn up the heat.
Aug 01, 2007
Friends and Friendship
This is what I think I'm learning: my life will be much richer when I learn to expect less of my friends, and to ask more of our friendships.
Followup: thank you to those who attempted to parse the previous version of this blog*. Adam's comment illustrated in part what I was trying to say, which is something like this:
I suspect that I've often thought or unconsciously hoped that my friendships would be good all the time simply because I picked great (and greatly suited for me) people to be friends with. The thing is, of course, that even the great and greatly suited people will not always be what I want them to be: they will not be mind readers who know what I want, they will not always be in an appealing mood, they will not always be healthy, they will not always be fair, they will not always be heroic, they will not always be without an unreasonable need, they will not always be perfectly patient with me, and they will not always be the person I was attracted to and thought I knew when we first met. They will not always be what I want them to be, where I want them to be, when I want them to be.
It is a gift to grant myself this disillusionment.
And the next gift will be to live with the faith and understanding that friendship is not only built from acts of asking, giving, taking, and erring; but that it also grows stronger from the mix of things that result: receiving, pleasing, surprising, forgiving, correcting, and understanding. And maybe even at the end, accepting and appreciating.
It's not that I don't do some of these things now. But I think I'm ready to peel another layer of the onion -- which comes, like all good onions, with sweetness and tears.
*which read, "my life will be much richer when I start having lower expectations of my friends, and higher expectations of our friendships."
Jul 31, 2007
Watch any collection of 80s music videos, and you'll know how some pop culture doesn't stand the test of time, going forward. But I've always wondered, how would other bits of contemporary culture do if we sent them back in time?
- What would the WWI Doughboys think of tunes by Christina Aguilera, 50 Cent, or maybe Guns 'n Roses?
- What would Bach and his fellow church members think about Stravinsky or even Haydn?
- What would the court of Constantine think of paintings by Caravaggio or Tintoretto?
- What would the Globe Theatre think of anything by Jerry Bruckheimer or Peter Greenaway?
- And what would Edith Wharton's peers think of food by Mario Batali or even the folks at Peter Lugar steakhouse?
Bonus points for people who remember the McDonald's jokes from the 1979 flick Time After Time.
Jul 24, 2007
"As it stands, America is the only industrial nation that offers no legal protection for vacations. The average vacation in the United States is now only a long weekend, and 25 percent of American workers have no paid vacation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compare that to Sweden, which mandates 32 vacation days...
"'We see overwork as a social, legal problem that needs political legislations,' says [John] deGraaf. 'We are utterly unique in our dismissal of the need for time and the environmental costs; not to mention, the costs to our health and our families have been enormous.'"
-- Dara Colwell, "Work Less, Save the Planet", in the Triangle Free Press No. 72, July 2007.
I've just started researching the topic of why and how to work less, and this article came across my desk. I'm not endorsing everything it says, but thought it a take worth looking at.
Jul 23, 2007
I've been seeing a hypnotherapist for past couple of months, and it is helping with some of my anxiety and ADD issues, though it hasn't been the magic bullet I might have been dreaming of.
Among the messages in our prep and in our trance time:
avoiding challenges is often much more costly than dealing with them. And when I begin to deal with them, they often turn out to be much less painful than I thought they might be. And even when they are as painful as I feared, the work of dealing with them actually gives me a shot at making them go away.
Depending on the day, this message can be my locomotive, my sag wagon, or my life preserver. And other days, it sits by itself while I immerse myself in six to ten hours of avoidance. Today was a sag wagon day. I'm appreciative.
Jul 18, 2007
Ten Weird Things About Me(me)
Per the Jerry tag, here is a drunken baker's ten weird (or at least distinctive) things about me, in no particular order:
- Headaches make me forget that analgesics exist.
- I am sort of homeless. I sold my house two years ago with plans to buy elsewhere but then plans changed, and I turned into a full-time housesitter. I use my parents' place for a permanent address and a place to store my books and off-season clothes. Patty dubbed this the "home-free lifestyle".
- My parents invented my first name (Philindo) and my paternal grandfather invented my last name. I'm the only person I know who owns the domain names for my first and last name.
- When I'm with a bunch of white people, I think I'm white. When I'm with a bunch of black people, I think I'm black. When I'm with a bunch of New Yorkers, I think I'm a New Yorker. Etc. etc.
- I live on West Coast time but I do it on the East Coast (i.e., I tend to go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake at 11 a.m.).
- My fingers bend way back. (See pic).
- Seeing how I've worn a black t-shirt 6 days a week for the last two years, I'm surprised that no one has ever asked me why.
- I sleep with earplugs and with a t-shirt over my head to keep out the light. For years, I would often have difficulty falling asleep because I was anxious that something (like a telephone or a car alarm) would wake me up in the middle of the night and that I'd have trouble falling back to sleep. Things have improved.
- When I send text messages, I try to 2 use fwr kystrks by drping vwls whr I cn. The weird thing is that if I've accidentally texted out "a few complete words like this", I often compulsively delete those fully written words and re-text "a few cmplt wrds lyk ths." You know, to save effort.
- I have chest hair on my left side only.
- I had some persistent, occasional RLS (restless leg syndrome) for many years and was finally diagnosed in January 2006. I took the pills for a week, but they didn't seem to do anything -- the RLS was still acting up half of the days that week. So I quit taking the pills. And whaddya know, the RLS has been pretty much absent ever since then. Geez, I hope I haven't jinxed this.
- I used to be a semi-competent and competitive tennis player. But now if I take a month or two off, it will take me fifteen minutes of spastic approximation before I can predict whether my forehands will stay inside the fence.
- I cannot remember faces to save my life, but I can recognize a TV show or movie from a nano-second glance at the screen. It doesn't matter if I only saw the movie once, ten years ago: flash me a frame or two and I'll recognize it.
So, there you are. I'm supposed to tag other people but I'm feeling lazy. If you'd like to self-tag, please let us know through the comments.
Jul 02, 2007
States in Song
If you know the one obvious song for the state shown at right, you'll get a dozen states straightaway. But after that...
Here are a couple to get you started:
By the way, did you know that the official state rock song for Ohio is "Hang on Sloopy"? Well now you do, and I apologize.
Jun 27, 2007
Bill of Rights
Stop. Before reading further, see how many you can remember (if you're an American, anyway. If not, skip ahead.) In particular, see if you can remember all six different rights provided under the First Amendment (you might have them clumped into two pairs and two singles, but there are six.)
OK, here you go:
The Bill of Rights
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Jun 22, 2007
El Perro Interplanetario Va A La Taqueria
Now and then you get an authentic Mexican restaurant -- like Taqueria Lopez -- that also has an English language menu. Most of the time, though, you're stuck unless you know Spanish. Or unless you've got your handy dandy "Gringo's Guide to Mexican Food Terms", or "Everything You Need to Read a Taqueria Menu", by Dave at DogsInSpace.
Excerpt below. En todo aquí:
- Cemita = sandwich on a fluffy, seeded egg roll
- Chalupa - fried soft corn tortilla, stuffed with various
- Chicharrones - deep fried pork rinds
- Chilaquiles - Fried tortillas, topped with salsa or mole and cheese; typically a breakfast item
- Chilorio - tender pork fried for a long time in chile sauce.
Related: Calvin Trillin -- who loves Chinese food -- is reputed to carry a small card in his wallet that says, in Chinese, "I'll have what the gentleman at that table is having."
Jun 21, 2007
Money, Judgement, and God
"Yes, Your Honor." My words last week to the friendly judge who asked, "are you pleading to 'improper equipment'?"*
If I'm lucky, that'll be the last time I ever have to say "Your Honor" to anyone.
But how about "Bless you?"
The friendly clerk who took my money (and issued my receipt) had decorated her office most Christianly -- with two angel statuettes and a big honkin' copy of the Prayer of Jabez.
Anyone have an opinion on this in plain view at the County Courthouse?
As for me, my only concern is that the courthouse do its work fairly and be perceived as doing its work fairly. If the first is done well enough, the second usually takes care of itself, and I don't have an issue with personalized office space. Others may surely differ.
*earlier, related post here. The "improper equipment" charge was a the lesser offense that I qualified for after reading the book Disciplined Attention, which I've blogged about over here at the ADDexecutive.com.
Jun 15, 2007
Me in the men's room at Jujube.
Yellow lamp, red walls, phone came gets exactly this image without adulteration.
Speaking of "redrum" have you seen the Angry Alien's The Shining in 30 Seconds (and re-enacted by bunnies)?
Oh you should, you should. WARNING - opens with a sound.
Jun 01, 2007
How High the Moon?
Today, a quizlet in three multi-part parts (answers in the Comment section):
1.a Let's say you have a globe the size of a basketball (or maybe you just buy one) and you want a matching-scale model of the moon. Which of these objects is close to the right size?
(a) a pea
(b) a grape
(c) a baseball
1.b And if you wanted to show the moon in its proper orbit, more or less how far away would you put the pea, grape, or baseball from your globe?
(a) arm's length
(b) opposite corners of the your living room
(c) opposite corners of a basketball court
2.a According to a recent article in The Economist, approximately how many Jewish people are there in the world?
(a) less than 1 million
(b) ~13 million
(c) ~54 million
2.b How do the Jewish populations in Israel and the US compare?
(a) far more Jews in Israel than the US
(b) far more Jews in the US in Israel
(c) about the same number in both countries.
3.a Imagine taking everyone in the world and stacking them into a cube. How big would that cube be? For the "stacking", assume that the people are racked up shoulder to shoulder, heel to toe, and standing on each other's heads. What does your intuition tell you? How about your calculator and some estimating?
(a) ~ 3/4 mile on each side
(b) ~4 miles on a side
(c) ~8 miles on a side
3.b Pretend you have a model of the Earth that's the size of a pool ball, with the cube of people (at the appropriate scale) glued somewhere on the surface of the pool ball. Would you be able to feel the bump?
(c) yes if you were blind and could read Braille.