Monday, April 29, 2002

A certain amount of sadness. I was really, really productive last week and now find that really difficult things to do are not as plentiful. Sometimes there are periods of work that are stable and round and compact, and I have to re-orient myself, just think and write and reflect. I'm so used to pushing and pushing and now I don't need to push and it makes me feel sad and awkward.

Again: what are your goals? Do you even have any?

Friday, April 26, 2002

I'm finding it possible to tolerate people being mad or irritated at me. I can be arrogant and thoughtless, and I make lame excuses. It's only natural that people would be annoyed with me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

I keep thinking that having a PDA will make me more organized. In reality a PDA will make it easier for me to write while I sit in boring meetings.

Peter Sis is appearing at a local bookstore... should I go and see Peter Sis or swim? I'm thinking swimming would feel better, but getting Peter Sis to sign a book, kind of better in your once-in-a-lifetime category.

"My lies are always wishes" - Wilco

I like the new Wilco cd. But then I'm the demographic.

I am also reading the Tom Frank book that came out last year. I disagree with him, and his almost lyrical rants grind on in an awfully familiar way. He likes to make ironic lists like:

The scions of ancient banking families were said to be finding their smug selves wiped out by the streetwise know-how of some kid with a goatee; the arrogant stockbrokers of old were being humiliated by the e-trade masses; the WASPs with their regimental ties were getting their asses kicked by the women, the Asians, the Africans, the Hispanics; the buttoned-down whip-cracking bosses were being fired by the corporate 'change agents'; the self-assured network figures were being reduced to tears by the Vox Populi of the web.

This sort of list-making gets awfully tired.

But he is right about a lot of things, and his footnotes are good (seriously). But sometimes humorless self-righteousness can't overcome astuteness (or even being right!). For this reason, he reminds me of Christopher Lasch, railing against something all by himself, with good footnotes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I need to learn mySQL because I need to create a publishing system that works. Period.

I had a friend who, when I recommended a good book on music, complained that my interest in reading about music clouded the enjoyment that music should bring. "Why don't you decide for yourself what you feel about the music? Why read about it?"

He was wrong, of course, because reading about music and art allows you to experience things anew, to see colors that may have been apparent but still escaped you. I thought about that when I found Alan W. Pollack's series of notes on Beatles songs, a pretty amazing dissection of most of the important recordings, sort of the flip side of Mark Lewisohn's great, great book, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, which is sadly out of print.

There are times when writing something down makes things better. But I'm not always certain of that and sometimes I contemplate it to no end, while the thing, the thought lingers and then fades from view. In essence, I'm frightened of actually failing so I never actually start, to the end that thinking of something becomes much easier than doing it.

Of course it's always easier to have considered something than to have actually done it. Maybe I should read Lord Jim again to understand the importance of action.

While we humans bomb the bejeesus out of each other, ants form these continent-spanning societies. Then again, maybe they are not so different. Laurent Keller of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland: "When ants of the two supercolonies were placed together they invariably fought to the death, while ants from different nests of the same supercolony showed no aggression to one another."

Monday, April 15, 2002

"You know, Hannah Arendt was always writing about the fact that the more involved you are in corruption or evil, and the more areas of your own existence there are that you therefore don't want to think about, or that you can't face, or that you have to lie about, the more distorted your perception of reality will be in general. In other words, we all have every reason to hide from reality, and it's a terrible problem." -- Wallace Shawn from My Dinner with Andre

I was trying to learn how to play Ugly Bug Ball on guitar, but those old Burl Ives songs are actually a little tricky. I have it down, but I'm still unsure about some of the changes.

I'm thinking that Burl is about to be my newest obsession, after my Wilford Brimley period.

Sometimes I'm convinced that people think I'm stupid.

I keep thinking that the answer to everything is another notebook. (And by "notebook" I mean bound paper, not "notebook" in the webgeek sense). If you have another notebook, everything gets recorded, and the notebook becomes an indexing system, a defacto folder. So if you want to record ideas/facts/conversations on a certain subject area, go to that notebook (say, the blue one), and write down everything. At work, I have two notebooks, one for software support and one for documentation projects. Problem is, some things worth recording cannot be boiled down to one discrete subject. Life is at variance with the simplicity of my system.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Now, I saw the trailer for the new Cameron Diaz movie, and it looked really horrible. How can people really be interested in seeing a movie that looks so stupid? Then again, summer is almost here, and that's when the bad movies come. I guess my tastes are getting snobbier. Or I'm growing old.

People understand you, they just understand you a little better than you understand yourself. The see the cues you give off.

You are listening because it actually means something. Something about time.

Something I want to build: simple text editing web page that allows me to write pages that are appended with my stylesheet data and saves the files where I want, based on the category I choose. It should take me very little time, and it isn't very sophisticated, but it would save me time.

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