I was waiting for a light as a pedestrian at a busy intersection when a motorcycle accelerated through a yellow light (not necessarily speeding, just accelerating) then out of the blue the bike’s tires slipped one way, then the other and the rider went skidding off one way while the bike went another. It made an awful scraping sound and sparks went flying everywhere as the bike came to a stop. I was 100 yards away but pedestrians hurried over there to stop traffic, and a car stopped in front and put on its hazard lights to protect the rider, who was laying in the middle of the lane. A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived. If I had to guess, I’d think the poor driver lost a lot of skin and at the very least broke a few bones, including a leg. It was disturbing to see, and I was distracted the rest of the night and am thinking about it today. I mentioned it to a store clerk but there wasn’t too much interest there… For the rider, it must have been shocking for his bike to just lose control like that. It makes me glad I don’t ride motorcycles.
Am reading “Fur, Fortune and Empire” and am finding it to be an interesting book. For exampple, the settlers on Plymouth were more or less coerced at the final momnent to sign a new and less favorable agreement with their employer, and although they sought religious freedom their journey was paid for by investors who had them focus first and foremost on trading for valuable Beaver pelts with the Native Americans. The company that paid for their voyage was led by a sociopath, who didn’t give enough goods and supplies to the pilgrims, and made unreasonable demands of them. Also, they were supposed to settle farther south than Plymouth (and those lands had better fur trapping locations) but settled in Plymouth for safety reasons, then virtually hunted the Beaver to extinction in that area. Finally, they expected to find a thriving Native settlement in Plymouth, but found it nearly abandoned – most of the Natives had been wiped out by the diseases that Europeans brought with them (and wiped out much of all the native populations in the Americas).
SInce reading the New York Times article a few weeks ago that said up to 80% of laughter is fake (e.g. polite chuckle), I’ve been keeping tabs of when I genuinely laugh. It has been fun and I’ve noticed I genuinely laugh 1 or 2 times a day minimum. For example, I genuinely chuckled today when I heard Ken Wins’s voice on Better Call Saul, then later chuckled again at the look on the detectives’ faces when Jimmy told them the suspect was a pie squatter. What I’ve noticed is I laugh a lot when sarcastic Wife M and Daughter L tease me, since they are hilarious and I know they don’t mean it (i.e. they’ve earned the right, and compliment a lot, too 🙂 ). I also laugh a lot during the 1 or 2 times a week I play Grand Theft Auto (for example, when a sports car I was chasing spontaneously caught fire while driving full speed on the freeway).
It used to be that Veterans Day was a holiday for everyone. It was supposed to honor the veterans, but regardless it was a day off for most non-service employees. Now most companies are open, which means a third of the employees skip the day to care for their kids (who are off), a third make it an easy work day, and a third put in a normal day. Which all results in essentially an unproductive day where no one is rested. Americans (Corporate America) have forgotten the value in rest days, in the meaning work hard and play hard. It is another way that modern day Corporate America — for all its talk on efficiency — is not efficient at all. Wouldn’t it be better to tell everyone to take the day off, rest or honor the veterans, and come back feeling fresh the day after?
Our office was open, and I spent much of the day trying unsuccessfully to keep things moving. I got home at 6 PM thinking what a wasted day it had been 🙂
I was a bachelor last night (kids out or with friends, wife M out with friends) and I stumbled upon Gene Hackman and The Conversation by FF Coppola from 1974. I’ve watched that movie twice before and love it, and loved it for a third time. Here we have a lonely expert in survelliance (spying on people) who is obsessive about his own privacy to the point of neurosis; he is very human, and as the movie continues we see the foreshadowing that he is going to make mistakes and isn’t quite as “safe” as he thinks he is (e.g. the listening pen, later he receives a call on his unlisted phone number). His insecurity creates a lonely wall for him, and then when he finally (literally) unlocks the cage and opens up, he is first teased then has something stolen from him. And this is all before the plot twist at the end (which I didn’t make it to last night before falling asleep). What I love about this film in addition to Hackman’s performance is that it is a subtle, thoughtful and human film that doesn’t rely on drama to be interesting and compelling. It reminds me a lot in this way of the junior Coppola’s Lost In Translation, which I can’t watch since it makes me feel depressed (at times, especially since battling lung disease, I have to battle the detached feeling that Bill Murray’s character has in that movie).
By the way, the telescope in the Director’s office made me wonder how many hidden symbols there are in The Conversation relating to spying on other people (like a telescope). Sort of like all the criss-crossing things in the background of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Makes me want to watch again and see 🙂
I wish more movies were subtle and patient, like The Conversation.
Mom and dad flew Wife M and I down to Arizona last weekend to visit with them in there new place. It has been wet and windy in Seattle so it felt great to get into warmth and sun for a few days, and mom and dad really spoiled us at the same time (took us to dinner, breakfast, etc.). It was a nice weekend away and a much needed break, although I’ve been pretty tired this week (although wife M is telling me I’ve been really tired for awhlie now; hopefully it unrelated to the new spot in my lung :)).
Speaking of lungs, I see my lung doctor next week, and am hoping the new spot they found in my lung last spring has resolved itself. Have been truly drenching my PJs and sheets at night the past few weeks (have gone from waking up damp to waking up pretty wet) and again am hoping it is unrelated.
It has been a little challenging to be around friends and family this week, as everyone is up in arms about Donald Trump being elected. Emotions are running very high, and people are posting all kinds of stuff and going to the protests and professing strong emotions/crying. We are a funny breed – people are in near hysterics about our President, but with a few exceptions I heard little more than chitchat when I went through my serious lung disease five years ago (i.e. some family was there (especially my sister), my wife and kids were there of course, and a few friends reached out, but I definitely didn’t see an outcry 🙂 ). Again, we are a funny breed – someone we know goes through a serious illness and we send a few “let me know if I can do anything” notes, but Donald Trump is elected and there is an outpouring of emotion. It is hard not to feel something about that, in essence that my life is less important to most people than the presidential election. Kind of strange to think about, and again gives me a sense of perspective as to how much to invest of myself in those people around me. And that I have to be my own best ally and best friend, and can’t invest my sense of self-worth in the emotions or care of the broader base of people in my life.
From my perspective, Donald Trump is less real and less scary to me as a person than the disease that lurks in my lungs and which can erupt at any time. Donald Trump might be crazy, but he is far less likely to kill or maim me than the lung. Thus, I feel a little less emotionally invested than the devestated people around me.
When I used to sponsor a lot of technical demos, where I’d have a sales engineer present technology to a room full of techies, I was frequently reminded that techies speak a lot of gibberish, even to each other. For example, I’d listen to a few techies talk in Greek to each other and not be able to discern what they were talking about but feeling impressed at their level of knowlegdge. Then, almost invariably, later I would mention to one of the techies later in private what a great conversation that seemed to be, and they’d say, “Oh, he/she doesn’t know what he is talking about” then explain how most of what they were saying didn’t make sense.
I’d forgotten about this, but yesterday, I sat in a room where four techies talked to each other about the cloud, including SaaS and Lambda and other things. I heard them talking about latency and instances and data collection and so on, and in general couldn’t string together the general meanings although I know what each of the phrases were. Then, after the meeting, one of them said, “I didn’t know half of what I was saying” although all the other guys int he room were nodding the entire time he was talking.
So, once again, I am left thinking that most of what techies talk about is truly gibberish, even to themselves. They are masters at baffling people with BS.
I remember the election of 1984 when Reagan absolutely routed Mondale. This year, I always wondered if Trump would win, but I woke up today fully expecting Clinton to route Trump today, that when the emotions settled down and when people went to cast their vote they’d vote for the “safe” choice of Clinton (like I did 😦 ). So I am stunned that as I type this Trump is probably going to be president of the USA. To me, people aren’t really voting for Trump – they are saying they want change. They are saying they are tired of making 8/hr and having to work Thanksgivings at Walmart while fleets of rich people get richer and richer and ship more and more jobs overseas, turn it over to automation or hire slave labor and fire 1000s of people without penalty while paying themselves millions. Today’s election was a cry for change, and the funny thing is that even if the stocks tank tomorrow it won’t hurt the 401Ks of the people who voted for Trump since none of them can afford 401Ks anyway. In most ways I am terrified today, and I am upset overall, and I am sick to my stomach that we elected a racist and sexist president, but in some small ways I am proud of America for making a statement. Trump is the wrong execution of the right idea. 😦 Unfortunately, Hitler was a wrong execution too… In the 18th century we had the Shay’s rebellion when the poor felt extorted by the rich – today the USA voted for Trump.
Wife M and I rarely — if ever — yell at each other. At times we might get sarcastic, express displeasure at something or even bicker, but we rarely actually yell (and 99% of the time we are lovey-dovey :)). So I’ve always wondered, how does someone start yelling in a relationship? In those relationships where a person is moody and raises their voice — how does it progress from the first date and the honeymoon period to actual yelling? I could never quite figure that out. But after a meeting with my boss last week, I think I know…
My boss actively courted me for over six months. We had coffee, he sent me notes asking me to come work for him, and when I started working for him he stopped by several times a day to make sure I was okay. Then after a few weeks he stopped popping by. Then he started coming in through the other door so some days I didn’t see him, and if I popped in his office for a moment to ask about something he had a look of tolerance on his face, like I was interrupting him. One day he didn’t make eye contact as I passe dhim. In the meantime, he made a flippant comment about an employee or two, and I heard him yelling twice at other employees through the office walls.
Then last week, he raised his voice at me during a meeting. Not actual yelling, but he was visibly frustrated and his voice was over a conversational level. I hate yelling. My family yelled at each other a lot when I was growing up, and over time I came to really hate it. So when someone yells at me I genuinely want to punch them, and when the yelling is over it is hard for me to not distrust them (although he is not a bad guy, per se). Last week, my boss didn’t actually yell at me, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the escalation over time, over hear the yelling at others, and to see that eventually I too will be yelled at.
But what is most interesting, is that *now* I see how people start yelling at their spouse – it happens gradually, like the foot in the door principal. So in baby steps you go from whispering sweet nothings with someone to their hollering at you and blaming you for their problems. Wild!
I am glad Wife M and I don’t yell at each other (I think our last genuine yelling match was almost 20 years ago). And I don’t know how someone can spend their life with someone — and sleep with someone — who yells at them. I think I would have to leave that person. And because I was an adult before yelling truly started to repulse me, I am lucky that I met Wife M young and it happened to be that we’re not yellers.