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Friday, January 25, 2002

Q: Was Enron smart or crazy?
A: Yes

Sometimes I get ahead of myself. I think "that would be good," and move in that direction, even though I should finish going in this direction first. Yesterday's example ocurred when my boss told me that Perl by Example was a good book if you wanted to learn Perl. I've always wanted to learn Perl (and, by extension, regular expressions as they are used in the real world). So I was about this close to going on Amazon (through Schoolpop, of course) to buy it. Then I stopped myself.

The fact is, I have too many computer books as it is. I just got four of them of Christmas, and I'm still working on the ones I got last summer. I'm better than I used to be; I used to buy books for whatever I was feeling, only to watch each title collect dust as I took another detour and pursued something else. I'm still too eager to engage in something new, only to blow off what I'm just starting to understand.

So many inputs exist at once, plus all the books on your bookshelf. There is never any reason to be bored or restless. Is there?

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

The Recession Chic Lie is what I've been waiting for someone to write. At my last job, when we were thrown out on the street, it seemed as though I was the only schlub scrambling to find new work. "I'm not in a hurry," one PHP programmer said, "I'm going to go to the Yucatan and do some climbing, and otherwise just drink lattes and read." Uh, great. On the one hand, it makes sense: I was the only father on staff. But I often wonder what kind of support systems some people have. Maybe I'm so near to true poverty that I actually worry about finding work, and that's an unusual thing among the 30-40 college-educated demographic. [thanks to Dooce for the link]

Monday, January 21, 2002

My head is killing me and I know it's neck strain.

Funny how sometimes if someone decides not to email you anymore you don't actually notice how often they emailed you. That silence is an interesting marker.

Over the weekend I came across a notebook that I started in 00. Journal entries. The strange thing about reading old journal entries is that you see how awfully repetetive you are at the present moment. "You mean I whined about that two years ago?" (As if I should be suprised.)

At writer's group we discussed Lord of the Rings and we were as mixed about it as most critical reaction has been, and of course someone slagged Star Wars as being "not that big of a deal." I found myself really taking issue with that. But why defend Star Wars to people? I don't defend it because I think it's better than X or Y. I defend it because means something to me about my childhood. Which is a pointless defense, really. (Another marker: I knew I had left my late twenties when I started working next to people whose birthdays postdated Star Wars' theatrical release.)

Work is getting awfully busy and I don't think I know enough, have enough knowledge, to really respond to all the nutty things that are going on. But I'll do it anyway. As Yoda said, "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try."

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Per Kate's advice I bought an Odwalla. Now, this site does not currently enjoy sponsorships, but Odwalla would be on my list of potential sponsors.

I really don't know what to say about this other than that the web supports all forms of information. Good, bad, you must yourself decide.

My writer's group met on Saturday. A great bunch of people, super talented. Talking with them I realized that I am terrified of success.

Not feeling great. Throat is incredibly sore. I have a big meeting today, presenting some drawings and I don't feel up to showing them. Arg.

Yesterday stayed home and watched movies, including Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation and Romance on the High Seas. Watched Romance twice. Good Michael Curtiz Warners musical. Curtiz keeps the pace fast, almost ruthlessly so. And Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne wrote the funny and memorable songs, including "It's Magic," which won an Oscar for Best Song in 1948. Maybe the most significant reason why the movie is good is that I.A.L Diamond wrote it with the Epstein brothers (Diamond wrote a lot of movies with Billy Wilder, including Some Like it Hot).

Friday, January 11, 2002

My new favorite game: blaming Israeli oppression on Yassir Arafat. Yeah, it all started with him. So when the Sharon government washed its hands completely of any obligations made to you during the last presidential administration and bulldozes your house, it's Yassir Arafat's fault. FISHDO. Jeez louise.

And I missed this yesterday: Bush calling Pakistanis "Paki's"

Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman, did his best to mollify hurt feelings, without actually apologising. "The president has great respect for Pakistan, the Pakistani people and the Pakistani culture. Pakistan has been a strong member of the international coalition in the war against terrorism," he said.

However, there has long been a sense that Mr Bush's respect for Pakistan has never extended actually to knowing anything about the place. During the presidential election campaign, he was famously caught out when asked to name the Pakistani president, General Musharraf, now one of his most important allies.
My friend Bill writes: "I'm now preparing myself to hear the following: Russkies; Micks; Krauts; Polacks; Iraqians; A-rabs. The possibilities are endless with this guy." And coming soon: Israelians and just plain Frogs. Didn't he say "Grecians" once? I seem to recall that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

I'm having a hard time coming back to work. Unable to concentrate.

Saw Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man last night. It was very beautiful, visually one of the most striking things I've seen. But I sort of didn't digest it at first. The level of abstraction kept me at arm's distance. But now, thinking about it and hearing that wild Neil Young music, I feel like it's sticking to me. Especially the images of death, and that feeling of vulnerability you have watching it. Watching it, Bill Blake's death is very close, you always expect bullets and destruction. I think that's what the film wants you to realize, that death is near and certain and part of life.

Monday, January 07, 2002

Saw The Royal Tenenbaums. Good, but it lost steam in the second half. I loved the world that Anderson/Wilson created. But the fact that the kids generated their own miseries made it hard to root for them. Kate perceived more of the sadness in the movie, I perceived more of the humor. Especially at the end.

Anjelica Huston is a very beautiful woman.

Well, vacation is over. I really liked Ice skating with Ivy and Sidney at Iceland. It was hard work, and I fell down about two dozen times, but I can see why so many people enjoy it. Ivy and I also had fun with the hot glue gun. Another highlight was Kate, Ivy and I at the Exploratorium. That place really doesn't get old for me, and Kate and Ivy are so much fun, you can be guaranteed of a good time with them.

My only vacation regret is that I didn't do more C++. But I discovered that being a dad all day long is far more tiring than working at my paying job.

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