“The coldest Winter I ever knew was a summer in San Francisco.”
It has been overcast, chilly and wet in my neighborhood throughout July. Monday the sun came out for about an hour in the morning, then again at sunset. I ran out of the house when that happened but it was too late in the day to get much sun. The midwesterner in me reminds myself that this is a temporary and “symbolic” Winter, without the snow. It is just weird the way the seasons work when you live adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
(No, I’m not actually depressed. Well, this gray does make me blue, and that is why I am conscientious about getting out doors any time the clouds break. I am supposed to be starting work next week, so I should be getting more sun during the week.)
I use the Amazon.com Chase Visa. I get a “point” per dollar spent, and three points per dollar on purchases through Amazon.com. Every 2,500 points, I get a $25 gift certificate. Pretty neat.
Well, they hadn’t sent me gift certificates in a while, so I called and got the matter cleared up. I am currently working my way through $350 in gift certificates.
If you do the math you may surmise that I spend an awful lot of money. I will offer a tip that if you want to maximize your credit card rewards, you should manage IT for a small company that relies upon you to charge equipment to your credit card and then be reimbursed. Especially if you have earned a better credit limit than your boss’ corporate card.
I just completed a feedback form regarding my AppleCare warranty experience. Question 12a gave me a chance to bitch. Question 12b made me smile at my ridiculous expectations:
12a Is there anything else you would like to tell Apple about your recent in-store repair experience at the Apple Retail Store? (NOTE: 2000 character limit)
Replacing the optical drive on a Mac Mini is a simple procedure that takes fifteen minutes, requiring a screwdriver and a putty knife. That I should have to drive to a God damned mall and explain to a “genius” that he doesn’t actually need my password to log in to OS X, wait for twenty minutes as the “genius” engages in manual data entry, then wait “seven to ten business days” for the part to be replaced is FUCKING SAD.
(Note: Hold down command+s during boot, run to the appropriate init level and type “passwd” to reset the password. Even someone who isn’t a “genius” can pull that off!)
I read this quote shortly after a significant personal setback. I believe the author is alluding to the Holocaust, which puts things in perspective. For me, the take-away is that if you want to shine, you must be ready to be burned.
I had rushed in to marriage, and consequently took a conservative approach to feeling my own love and expressing it. I figured we should take things slow. I got burnt anyway. Nowadays . . . I’ll give patience its due, but I must shoot for giving light. Keep the senses keen for that flame within, and if it seems right, throw gas on the fire . . .
A photo of Tunji around 2004, that I stole from Tim.
Tunji was a friend of mine back at Allen Hall. He came to school from Nigeria when he was sixteen, so he was always younger than everyone else. He never lost his deep accent or dark sense of humor. A one-of-a-kind kid who liked to play chess online and was studying to become a Doctor. I don’t know if he made his MD or not . . .
Tunji was truly a one-of-a-kind man, whose uniqueness was only magnified by his distinctive accent. I never met his family, but I can only imagine how hard it is for your intelligent son and future doctor to die suddenly, and far from home. . . I have great sorrow for his kin.
I will update with additional information or reaction as I learn more . . .
“They had been out there all afternoon and were there into the evening. Apparently (Mr. Toogun) had been in the water in the afternoon with a life belt on. At this time, he was on the boat with friends and lost his balance and fell into the water,” Green said.
Contrary to earlier reported information, friends noticed immediately that he fell in.
“We noticed after a few seconds that Tunji did not surface and immediately six or seven of us dived in to attempt to find him. It was not until 15 to 20 minutes later that we did,” said fellow student and friend Lauren Jakubowski in an e-mail to The News-Gazette.
I read about this movie in “The Week” and then saw an ad for the trailer on my very own website. I am totally looking forward to this movie:
Last year I read Imperial Life in the Emerald City after seeing Rajiv Chandrasekaran on “The Daily Show” . . . someone saw me reading it on the train and inquired. “It reads like a Vonnegut novel,” I replied.
What I read in “The Week” is that this film is less Michael Moore-style polemic and more along the lines of people involved telling their stories as to how we managed to screw things up, over and over, in the worst ways possible. This is exactly how Chandrasekaran’s novel goes, but with a sort of wry feel, which yes, reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut.
Sunday I slept in a bit because this is my last chance to do so for a bit . . . when I arose I bathed, then . . . I ended up writing about Tunji. I had learned of his death the night before. After my little impromptu memorial, I noted that I happened to be wearing black this day. I was dressed for mourning.
I headed out to the Tennessee Grill for brunch, it getting on towards 11:30. The Catholic church a few blocks downhill was ringing their bells: the call to mass. I detoured towards the Church . . . followed a lady in. Mass had just begun, and I followed other late arrivals into an adjoining little altar area.
They had votive candles burning, which had been what I had in mind. I lit one in Tunji’s memory and sat through mass. I enjoyed the community spirit, some of the songs. The liturgy was pretty light–the priest explained that temperance was avoiding excess. During one song I was overtaken by the beauty and the spirit and I cried quietly for my friend: the lives he had touched, the lives he would have touched had not fate taken him young. I lit a second candle for the lives Tunji touched: his family, us, his friends, and the people he would have served had he become a doctor.
A lady sat in front of me with two young sons. One she held in her arms and the older son, maybe four years old, played with her hair, casually trying to braid one side. I like the harmony: she was there for her purposes and he managed to entertain himself in a manner that hopefully felt pleasant to her.
The priest explained that Jesus had passed the bread around, take it. This is my body. By taking the bread you will spread the word. I figured out that people were getting up for Eucharist, and followed. I savored a Jesus Wafer to take communion for Tunji.
I walked down to the Grill, and had some French Toast and coffee. I had really wanted sausage. Yum!
Back home, read about bonobos in the New Yorker. Then scrubbed the shower out and bathed again after the dirty work, to head out to a date in the East Bay. I met the lady I have been dating the past three months, and she dumped me. I could see it coming and we settled things amicably. She paid for dinner. Classy lady, and too bad . . . I walked away feeling alright for having made a good effort and for having participated in some good times these past three months, and thought about how to work my next approach to dating.
Back home, I’m listening to the Avett Brothers. Surprisingly good bluegrass. They are singing now:
And I love you but I can’t remember why
And I’d love to find a reason to deny
I was a one hit wonder in my own home town
And I guess I might have made a few mistakes
But maybe that’s exactly what it takes
To get a little happy in this big sad world
How many have you made?
And which of those have you laid on down to die?
Well didn’t I say I need you?
I try to move on but I can’t
I try to think of bad times
Good memories are all I have
Not the most apropos excerpt for the moment, but a good tune anyway.
And so it goes. To bed soon, and up around 7am tomorrow to head off to the new job. The new company is about the last place I would ever have thought to look for work, but with an open mind and no agenda I went to interview, and I got on well with the team, and they got on well with me. I have good feelings, and I must make a sincere effort. :)
Bush escalates the war while Democrats hem and haw. I don’t get it: with a majority in both houses, is a “nonbinding resolution” really the best they can do? It sounds like something a timid married couple dreamt up to invigorate their humdrum sex life.
So, sometimes I talk to other single folk who would rather not be single and there’s whining about what a drag it is dating all these random people and how scuzzy / weird / annoying / random is online dating and how much of a pain meeting people blah blah blah. I figure if I want to be not-single then I have to learn to enjoy the art of being single. You need to have hobbies, right? So, writer-type that I am I love ever-rewriting personals ads. (more…)
I was slow in getting away from Pueblo. The Colorado side of the family isn’t a hurried bunch and especially with Dad in the hospital nobody but me felt any haste in leaving. “Only the weekend,” I demure. Dad’s second stroke arrived just as I went to my first lunch with new co-workers on Monday. After not-working for nearly five months, I had selected this fateful day to get started at a new job?
He’s doing pretty well, for a guy who can’t talk and who requires 24-hour nursing assistance, a guy who has several weeks of therapy at the hospital before he gets to return home, and years more of therapy ahead. (more…)
In the financial industry, generally accepted accounting practices call for double-entry bookkeeping, a chart of accounts, budgets and forecasting, and repeatable, well-understood procedures such as purchase orders and invoices. An accountant or financial analyst moving from one company to another will quickly understand the books and financial structure of their new environment, regardless of the line of business or size of the company.
There are no generally accepted administration procedures for the IT industry. Because of the ad-hoc nature of activity in a traditional IT shop, no two sets of IT procedures are ever alike. There is no industry-standard way to install machines, deploy applications, or update operating systems. Solutions are generally created on the spot, without input from any external community. The wheel is invented and re-invented, over and over, with the company footing the bill. A systems administrator moving from one company to another encounters a new set of methodologies and procedures each time.
[. . .]
This means that the people who are drawn to systems administration tend to be individualists. They are proud of their ability to absorb technology like a sponge, and to tackle horrible outages single-handedly. They tend to be highly independent, deeply technical people. They often have little patience for those who are unable to also teach themselves the terminology and concepts of systems management. This further contributes to failed communications within IT organizations.
Caveat SysAdmin. It’s just the price we pay for working in a nascent field.
Today I took myself out to a movie. I couldn’t find anyone else who was interested in “The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai” at the Red Vic. But now I know the answer to the question of what might happen if a Tokyo call girl gets shot in the forehead, giving her super intellectual powers, and then finds in her possession the cloned trigger finger of George W Bush, and is thus chased by North Korean agents looking to control a Russo-Uzbek doomsday device. I’m not sure if it is a porno or a porn parody, but especially the early part of the movie involves excessive quantities of semen. For that reason I am glad that I was shy about asking friends to go see it. This movie is wrong in so many ways that I see why it has become a cult classic.
If you live in San Francisco and possess a sufficiently perverse sense of humor and politics, its run at the Red Vic concludes tomorrow Monday August 20, with showings at 7:15pm and 9:15pm.
Big companies like to try to control consumers with new technology. Consumers invariably defeat this technology. Copy-protected video cassettes, CDs, DVDs . . . DVD “regions” so that a DVD bought in one part of the world can’t play in another part of the world, and of course, you can’t play DVDs on Linux . . . but faster and faster all these restrictions get hacked away with software. The geeks have an understanding that a new technology isn’t really useful until the “Digital Rights Management” has been defeated.
The big corporation Google has been trying to fight, ostensibly, on our behalf as well, convincing Congress to sell new radio spectrum for use with open standards, which would give us more raw material to work with that isn’t managed by the big telephone companies. Exciting, esoteric struggles afoot, and you know who I’m rooting for!
“In fact, it’s a running joke amongst my friends that to be a true bay area hipster god you have to move to San Francisco, work in tech, and if you’re a white guy – have an Asian girlfriend. Bi-racial couples are pervasive in San Francisco. But then again, so are all kinds of couples . . .”
I never figured I could be seen as a true bay area hipster god, but once my foreign bride left I was able to move to San Francisco and complete the puzzle. Now I must confound expectations and date non-Asian women . . . a true hipster god defies easy understanding and sets his own trends by defining the next big cliché.
For the generation before mine, “miscegenation” was a crime, and one movie that the Japanese wife and I enjoyed was “Sayonara” . . . we have come a long way now for this to be trendy! I recently heard an account on the radio from a bi-racial man whose parents had difficulty being legally married, and now that he is openly gay, he carries the burden of his own generation to open our minds and liberalize our laws.