July, 2008: 22 posts.
I underestimated Camper Van Beethoven when I was younger. Yes, I loved this song, and also Good Guys and Bad Guys, but I missed how interesting they were, probably because their sound is so organic and folky. But I’ve rectified this by picking up their new “best of” collection called Popular Songs Of Great Enduring Strength And Beauty. It’s been an extraordinarily busy week this week at the dayjob, and for several of those days I enjoyed some major CVB.
With that prep, I invite you to watch and listen to the wonderful Take The Skinheads Bowling:
So I went almost a week without blogging, then the 4th of July happened, and now it’s the weekend. Now I can catch up with some blogreading, and perhaps I’ll share some of the things I find with you. Perhaps I’ll even share some of my own thoughts about this past week. Let’s start, shall we?
Cliff Chiang is an illustrator and comics artist whose style I like very much. His style is an interesting mix of subtle realistic touches and interesting graphic touches. Take a look at some his commissioned sketches from Heroes Con.
Also in comics and fine art is the flickr stream DECONSTRUCTING ROY LICHTENSTEIN. I am a big fan of Roy Lichtenstein, and have been since I was a teenager, and this is the kind of wonderful resource that the internet enables.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about how the internet inherently changes things like scarce information or difficult connection. Jason Scott has a thoughtful, deeply personal post about his own fanhood, obsession, appreciation for The Art of Noise. His description of always seeking Art of Noise product at every record store he went to resonates with me. That means I DID THAT TOO. Not for The Art of Noise, but for Talking Heads, New Order+Joy Division, They Might Be Giants, and the like. The last bands I did this over were Christina Aguilera and Frank Zappa. Of course now Tower Records went defunct, and record stores mean almost nothing. It’s an entirely different world of music and fandom. My the media I consumed in my teen years and early twenties would have been entirely different had I had ready access to the utilities and fansites and retail venues on the internet. Once again I’m reminded that we live in this future.
Audrey Kawasaki has a new print called Okimiyage, and in her post about it she includes some closeups and photos of the process of getting it made. Check out this post about the printing process as well.
I’m not vegan, but I like the idea of a Vegan joint map of Los Angeles.
I had no idea that the Boys & Girls Club Gym here in Moorpark was damaged beyond use, but I’m glad it was repaired: Club gym opens after 6 months of repair . I’m also happy to see that the Moorpark Acorn moved to color photos on the web. I still don’t read the print version.
Did you notice that after a long hiatus, Leah blogged? Nice to have her post again, if only for a minute.
Doc Searls, a person who I look up to as a blogger, has been blogging about the Gap Fire. He’s also twittering the gapfire at twitter.com/dsearls. The sunset when viewed from Thousand Oaks last night was very pretty — I think partially because of particulates from that fire.
When Jason Calacanis criticizes Nick Denton, that’s noteworthy to me. Background: At one time, I thought I wanted to be one or both of these men. Now I don’t. I’m no blog impresario. Unlike Charles Foster Kane, I don’t think it would be fun to run a newspaper.
I also think Rachel Maddow is super-awesome.
The other day I got a comment via email about Evil GIFs: Partial Same Origin Bypass with Hybrid Files is a taste of the nastiness that’s available. via Simon Willison.
That’s enough for today.
Matt & Beth Lee are now parents. I’m so happy for them. I expect this was an amazing 3 day weekend for them.
Baby, check this out. I’ve got something to say.
Man, it’s so loud in here.
When they stop the drum machine
and I can think again,
I’ll remember what it was.
And also, James K. Polk:
in four short years he met his every goal
he seized the whole southwest from Mexico
made sure the tariffs fell
and made the English sell
the Oregon territory
he built an independent treasury
having done all this
he sought no second term!
This post is inspirational for me as a programmer: Call Me Fishmeal.: Pimp My Code, Part 15: The Greatest Bug of All
Software is written by humans. Humans get tired. Humans become discouraged. They aren’t perfect beings. As developers, we want to pretend this isn’t so, that our software springs from our head whole and immaculate like the goddess Athena. Customers don’t want to hear us admit that we fail.
The measure of a man cannot be whether he ever makes mistakes, because he will make mistakes. Its what he does in response to his mistakes. The same is true of companies.
We have to apologize, we have to fix the problem, and we have to learn from our mistakes.
Leah and I are going to BlogHer this weekend, now I, not being a woman, and wanting to relax anyway, am going to be chilling in San Francisco Friday and Saturday (Thursday night and Sunday morning too, but to a much lesser extent obviously, since we’re driving from and to Moorpark those days). So I’m speculating on stuff to do in San Francisco. I’ve made a map with some possibilities. Do you have other suggestions? I made this list based on San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay 2007. Please note: I have been to the Embarcadero, I’ve been to Alcatraz, and I’ve been on the cable cars before. I may do them again, but I think what I want is to get the feel for how the city lives more than anything else. Suggestions, comments, and maybe offers of lunch (Hi Al and Ingrid!) are welcome.
If this map works, I’ll be pleased.
I just can’t get this song out of my head, and I don’t care one whit, not one jot.
Chemical Brothers, Let Forever Be
The whole thing is going pretty well. Tired but in a good way, San Francisco has been hospitable. Meeting many people, places, things. I will post more when I am able.
In the meantime, my twitter stream is a pretty fun representation of stuff I’m up to.
Had a fun time, did not get to do all I wanted to do and all you suggested I do. But I had a good time and am feeling good. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to start the week!
As the cliché goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
These photos are from my series of photos of the murals at the base of Coit Tower, from last week when I visited San Francisco.
So here’s the deal kids.
Today, Monday 28 July, 2008 was my last on-site workday at Sierra Online. Working at Sierra was a pleasure. Altogether pleasant and professional people there, and several new friendships formed. Alas, like most things, it had to come to an end. There are changes afoot for Sierra, and I hope all there have the most best things happen for them.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 29 July, 2008, Leah and I will fly to a tropical island for a vacation with several other members of my extended family. For a week. I am hopeful that I can chill out and not think about what my next job might be, and jQuery, and YUI, and FBML, but it’s likely I will be thinking about those things, but if it’s with a lovely view, that’ll be a net win.
I’ll probably be lining up times for conversations, phone screens, and phone interviews with recruiters, hiring managers while I’m there. Let’s hope I also get some beach time in.
After a week of that, Leah and I and the kids will be driving in a northerly direction to visit Leah’s sister’s place in rural Washington State for even more chill out time. It will be a relief to go on a family vacation that is not, in actuality, a visit to Utah. Utah is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve needed to branch out for a while. The kids are looking forward to seeing their cousins and I’m looking forward to sleeping.
I still owe many new BlogHer acquaintances emails and a roll-up blog post. I’ve had fun friending them on twitter and flickr and starting to read their blogs. Lots of cool people.
Maybe tomorrow before we fly. Oh, and I should pack, too. We’ll see.
Nine months ago I went to BarCampLA4.
Now it’s July and I find myself wondering why I never posted this draft. I guess it got superceded by this post.
I brought in ice and some grape soda and 7-up. Also, Nilla Wafers! I didn’t go the first day, but came the second, Sunday. It was awesome.
I had a really great time, learned what a Chumby was for the first time, saw great code demos, and got smarter.
After BCLA4, I ate dinner (Sheperd’s Pie) at Royal Clayton’s on Industrial around the block from the Greyhound Bus terminal.
I got to shake the hand of RMS, who also had closed the unconference.
I guess I intended to write more, but I never did. I think the thing about drafts that I intend to spend time on is that I just need to push them out there, because I always seem to have more to write about.
I’m in this photo!
Another unearthed post, half-thought, half-written, and now posted, post-dated.
I suppose some folks can just quit blogging. The main story of bloggers who stop blogging is that they can’t actually stop.
I’m not talking about the sad characters who read they need a blog, do it for a week and then their sites sit on blogspot.com for eternity.
I’m talking about people who manage to get blogging several times a month for years. In my experience these people get hooked on blogging and even if they quit, they come back eventually. Maybe it takes years, but they come back. They always come back.
I thoroughly expect to see Leahpeah start blogging again, for example, though my saying so probably will delay her further.
Despite the old posts that will be showing up some mornings, I’m actually here, on the 12th floor of a vacation spot on the Island of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands, formerly the Sandwich Islands, and according to Wikipedia, “at about 1,860 miles from the nearest continent, the Hawaiian Island archipelago is the most isolated grouping of islands on Earth.”
So this where I’ll be for the week. The photo below is looking west southwest from our spot in Kahana on Maui. The island you see is Lanai.
I made this graphic as part of a promotional page for the event. I think it still looks pretty good for being thrown together with the MacOS 8 tools available to me at the time.
A few observations:
Payments to the IRS seem to be processed very fast. Like faster than any other payment we make.
Our stimulus payment from the IRS was credited to our outstanding balance too (nice!) and they sent us a nice letter to that effect.
Budgets are not as bad as the ten-years-ago me would have thought.
In ten years when I have real wealth I’m really curious about what I might be doing. I suspect I’ll be taking lots of classes and travelling much more. This trip we’re on now is an anomaly. It’s generously being paid for by my Aunt. And next week we’re taking a family vacation that I think is the kind of thing we’ll be able to do more of in the future, and sooner than ten years.
Following my bank accounts daily is rather like looking at the power level in a fighting game. You want to see how much reserves you have so you can keep punching.
The other morning I found two alien transactions in our joint account. Not me, not Leah. And if that happens, it’s fraud. I know MAS will chide me for banking with them, but WaMu took good care of me, credited me for the fraud, and put it all in motion to get it resolved.
In two years we’ve retired about $35k in debt. Still about $68k to go. I feel like we can keep this pace. We need to get smarter about taxes though. Otherwise that’s going to be a bite every time, all the time. We are working on it.
Chill time in lovely Maui has not caused my brain to atrophy. If anything it gives me time to think about things more deeply.
In 1988 I, along with my pal Chris Greazel, saw William Gibson read at a bookstore in La Jolla, above La Jolla Cove. It was intimate, maybe two dozen people in the audience. We had a great time, and it felt like we’d had an audience with the pope. I’m not sure why it was that we were so compelled by science fiction, but we lived and breathed the thing that excited our brains more than anything else. Well, maybe we pined for women more, but we had no hope there, so what we had was design, futurism, Blade Runner, and especially Cyberpunk.
A few months ago Leah and I went to Pasadena and watched William Gibson give a short reading from Spook Country, his latest book, and now in paperback.
Here’s a blurry photo in which Mr. Gibson is a small smudge in the lower right corner:
William Gibson still inspires me, but it’s a measure of my ability to sustain my priorities that I did not pick up Spook Country in hardback, and will get to it in paperback eventually. My eyes are on different goals. Fiction ends up taking a back seat to autiobiography.
I’ve written about William Gibson before: see other posts tagged William Gibson