I think ... I think the time has come to take this blog down.
And replace it with a new one.
Maybe you could let me know what you think?
I think ... I think the time has come to take this blog down.
And replace it with a new one.
Maybe you could let me know what you think?
That's a big question. Along with "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" it ranks up there in the list of Big Questions. Sadly, I am not here to answer that question (as if I could).
What I am here to discuss is where I have been all this time. Yes, I know, it's been a long long time since I wrote anything here. Partially that's my own laziness at fault, but partially it's due to the fact that I have been busier getting married than I thought I would be. Who knew it would take so much time and energy?
Obviously, not me.
Anyway I think I want to try and get back to this blog, and forcing my half-baked opinions on an unsuspecting world.
And I want to answer that first question.
Larry (aka the Defender of Pin 13), this is for you based on our conversation about hip hop this weekend. It starts with a few songs to warm you up with some old friends (De La Soul) who kinda grew up with us. Then there's a few new kids (Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt) with their friend (Frank Ocean). That follows with the fun outsider (Childish Gambino), he's not substantive but great beats and some fun lyrical play. Finally there is the pallet cleanser (Pharcyde and Dead Prez), who are on point. Hope you enjoy and good luck with the Haitians.
Crab cake report:
they were delicious! Definitely a good recipe and I think very successful, especially with Dr Germ's discovery of a lovely creamy avocado dipping sauce! There were only two problems with the recipe as written. First it doesn't yield as many crab cakes as I thought it would, especially considering how delicious they are. Second, your recipe tried to kill me. Seriously. The oil starts to burst and pop and send geysers of superheated oil in. Every. Direction. I narrowly escaped being blinded and by the time our guests showed up I had to have a towel wrapped around my neck to hide the massive burn mark where the oil went for the jugular. Sweet Lord! I survived though and let me tell you those were the best crab cakes I ever ate, at least partially because I nearly paid for them with my life.
That's the sign that greeted me in the cafeteria about two weeks before the company picnic. I sort of laughed and shrugged it off at the time, but it was certainly strange. Where had these ridiculous team names come from? Was the email about uniforms serious?
Things, of course, proceeded to get stranger. What I had thought was a friendly match up with our colleagues at LiteBrite West Campus, was taking on a more serious tone. Word filtered down to us that our opponents had started practicing three days a week and in the week prior to the game they'd practiced twice. Rumors started reaching us of ringers, players brought in to improve the level of play. Had they been hiring based on this? It was hard to tell but it was clear they were taking it all very seriously and were prepared to play hardball. People around our office were getting slightly nervous, especially when there was a call to bring the trophy (yes it's a real trophy, a cheap one, but still real) to LiteBrite West, ahead of the game. Pretty serious.
More wedding info at http://www.lofatmo.com/somebodys_getting_married/ - man all this wedding stuff seems like a lot of work!
Am I the only one out there disturbed by this news of a mercenary army being gathered in the desert in UAE? It seems like the latest in a series of events/actions around the world that harken to a return to a more medieval way of doing things. Mercenary armies, the increasingly feudal behavior of the super wealthy. It makes me wonder whether the 19th and 20th centuries were just a blip in an otherwise bleak run of human history. Could the 20th century really be "the good old days"?
The other day I came across this article in the NYTimes that really had me thinking, but I hadn't really had time to put my thoughts down about it. It's an editorial about the prevailing fear in America - ad indeed, the world - of Alzheimer's disease. The timing on this article was uncanny for various reasons, or perhaps I have also been caught up in this fear.
My very good friend Angry O is the son of a prominent Sudanese man back home. His father is very accomplished, very well educated, and by all accounts quite formidable. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's probably 2 or 3 years ago formally, though Angry O was noticing his slowly deteriorating state. They've been on the lookout for an experimental treatment of any kind to slow the progress of this disease but have had no luck. Days are good or bad, with periods of lucidity alternating with confusion, anger and lashing out. Angry O bears it patiently, and takes the load on himself. He is stronger than I imagine I would be in the same position, praying with his dad, prompting him to recite poetry, and talking about what's going on in the world. It's a tough position to be in and it frightened me at a level I hadn't thought it could. It made me think about ...
My Dad is my hero, and I don't mean that in the "I want to be a fireman" sort of way, but in a more substantial way. In some ways I have always wanted to be like him, and of course as I get older I find that I am more and more like him, more in fact than I wanted. He's older now, and more ornery than I remember, quieter as well. He forgets things, but you can never tell if he genuinely forgot or whether he's just being contrary, and forgetting things on purpose. He passes everything off with a smile or a smart aleck comment, so I'm left to wonder how much is bluster and how much is really forgetful. What if he forgets me?
What if I forget everyone? My memory has been bad for as long as I can remember but if you're forgetful that's not a very long time. It feels like it's gotten worse lately, but it's hard to say. So this article came at the "right" time. While the fear that it talks about does not take notice of the rarity of this disorder, it strikes at a universal soft point: without my memory, is it still me in here? And if it isn't then what does any of it mean?
This seems overwrought and it probably actually is, but it's something that keeps me up at night.
I don't know when it started exactly but at some point, probably in college, I realized that I wasn't inhabiting myself. I mean to say that, although I was me, I was also aware of myself at a remove. At times I felt like I was watching myself in a movie, or reading a book where the main character was eerily like myself. It began to really get to me, and I asked many people (some of them "professionals") if this was normal. They all assured me that it was, to a certain extent, but that didn't allay my fears.
As a result I would sometimes "come to", or suddenly "realize" that whatever was happening at the time was, in fact, happening to me right then. The sensation was unsettling, but it would fade, usually quickly. At the same time as one bout of "realization" I was starting to think about photography, which was something I was doing a lot of at the time. I was taking a photography course, I'd recently acquired a second manual camera and was about to buy a brand new digital camera.
In particular I was thinking about how photography removed me from the events I was recording. I was very sensitive to this remove, due to my experiences, and wondered if one caused the other or if they were mutually reinforcing. Was I taking pictures in order to build a framework where I could hover above my life, or was the hovering making me take more pictures since I was already detached, or did the detachment make me take pictures which made me more detached etc?
This morning I ran across this NPR blog post. It asks one of the questions I asked myself succinctly but doesn't really answer it. It did make me think, though. As we all become producers of pictures (and other content), are we increasingly packaging and framing our lives for consumption? Even if that consumption is by us? If so, what does that make our most meaningful moments actually mean? Is a happy occasion truly happy when the main point of it is pretty photo? Will the experience of seeing something extraordinary be captured as easily as the image of it is? If, as we tacitly assume we will, we share our images, is that really an attempt to share an experience or are we shaping the experience mainly in order to share it? With Facebook and Twitter and forums like this blog you are reading right now, I feel like the purity of the experience is sullied since the likelihood of sharing images from it increases, or worse since the first thought when you see/do something interesting you think "this would look great on Facebook". I may be over-thinking the whole thing or caught in a tautology based in my detachment, but it's making me think pretty hard about my upcoming wedding. It would be easy to let it turn into a series of "staged photo ops" as the article mentions, but what will that do to the experience of the wedding itself?
It's been about an hour since we first started hearing the news of Osama Bin Ladin's death. Scanning through the major networks, the first thing that everyone was talking about (in the absence of any facts from the White House) was the feelings of the correspondents, which is irritating at the best to times, and also not "news". The President's speech was measured and more or less even, considering how close he must have been to high-fiving the Joint Chiefs of Staff and such when the news finally came through. After all this has been a major goal of US policy for almost a decade. Once again he shows himself to be the classiest guy in the room. I did start to feel uneasy, though, with the crowd gathering outside the White House, waving flags and chanting "USA! USA!". If I didn't know better, I would have thought we were seeing video from Tehran, circa 1985. Since when have we been the sort of people who behave like this? Sure, we're all feeling relieved at the figurative end of a chapter in American history but it's unseemly to be so over the moon at the news of a person's death isn't it? Especially when it most likely won't change the course of actual events on the ground. It's not like we leave Afghanistan tomorrow on the news of Bin Ladin being dead.
Lots of blood and treasure lost on getting this guy. Let's hope we reap some benefits for our effort.
I stepped out of the BART car, having slouched from Fremont to my downtown Oakland transfer point. As I stood on the platform, I patted myself down in my daily ritual and as I did I realized what the muted thunk I'd heard 10 minutes or so earlier was. I turned in time to see the train leaving the platform, with my cell phone on it. My cell phone with everything that I need at my fingertips. On a train. Headed to Richmond. Without me.
There was the cold panic, the bargaining, the rushing upstairs to ask about lost and found, and the profound realization of how useless that was. There was self-flagellation: I had looked back to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything, but hadn't patted down; what was I in such a rush for? That peaked after getting to the apartment and realizing I had no way to contact anyone or even text or call myself to beg whoever had the phone to return it. And the long evening.
I went to bed last night and reminded myself that I had only had a cell phone a short time. That there was a time when I resisted the pressure to get one, and to be contactable all the time. I reminded myself that it's only a phone. How many other leashes have been attached to me without my feeling it?
So now here I am, without a phone, trying to get the old one disabled remotely and feeling strangely adrift. I try to remember that sometimes drifting isn't so bad.
I have an on and off addiction to TED talks. I go through long periods when I have a TED talk on in the background as I work, as I drive, as I sit in my living room. You get the idea. These periods are interspersed with long silent periods where I pay all of this no mind. In these periods I question the whole concept of existing within a realm of ideas. How is it different from navel gazing? Are we all supposed to reside in this Platonic realm of ideas, or does that automatically lead to a world where no one is picking up the trash. Or maybe not everyone needs to live there, which makes you question if you're a natural resident of that realm or should stick to things more your speed, like baseball punditry.
But then I see a talk like this, and it all makes sense again, and I root around in the archives, reminding myself that not all that glitters is gold and most talk is cheap, while marveling at the shininess of this particular nugget in front of me.
Kids. I am getting married. I want to keep you posted on the wedding details. I have created a blog specifically fot that purpose, which you can access here. So go there for details and such.
I am excited.
That is all.
I just got back from my weekly Thursday night soccer game, and I am in a foul mood. It's not the fact that we lost that gets to me, though that's never a good thing. The saying "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" is one I am more and more comfortable with. I am still competitive but I realize that I'm an aging sorta-athlete, and really the point is to get out there and run around. So my main challenge is to try and play a little better than I played last week. Which is what I didn't do. I was slow, felt heavy, a step behind and unable to make up for it with hustle. To compound my shame I behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner, going so far as to hang the turf with my tiny fist after missing my chance to redeem myself with a last minute goal. Then I just walked to my car after the final whistle without so much as a good bye.
Anyway sorry folks, and all you kids watching, sportsmanship is the mark of a gentleman/lady. Practice it.
Now I'm going to head to bed and pretend this never happened.