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The Continuing Adventures of Talos Woten
aka The Secret Ravassa Diaries
Recent Entries 
16th-Aug-2006 10:18 pm - Munchkim
Today was a lazy day of sweating and eating, not necessarily in that order. Bill forgot to turn on the AC during the daytime for me, so I was baking in the house. I also did a whole whopping gob of domestic stuff, like laundry, bills, and last but not least: food shopping. So I spent the rest of the day munching on some of my favorite foods. The grocery store here bakes, and they make a killer coffee cake-like muffin. Then Bill and Nik made a scrumptious dinner and I ate myself silly with that, too. ;-)
15th-Aug-2006 09:34 pm - Pre-sorted Foo Foo
So in computer science being able to sort things is a big deal. There are many ways to do it, depending on your resource constraints; one frequently interchanges memory and computation. One of the speediest algorithms is the quicksort, which uses a recursive divide and conquer technique to arrange the elements.

I thought of a different type of sorting algorithm today which I'm dubbing "pre-sorting". The idea is this: suppose you are given a bunch things to sort, and then a bunch more, and then a bunch more, and you don't know how many you'll get in the end. Is there a way to drop them intelligently into bins to either do a) sorting on the fly or b) make subsequent sort algorithms easier? My intuition tells me that we should be able to apply a similar quicksort like approach in a larger memory space to pre-sort entries as we get them.

In case this might be too high-falutin for some people (not mentioning any names, of course ;-) I also got a new pair of shoes at long last. I've been waiting for two years for the shoelaces to fall off my old pair. I got a new set of shiny black shoes that are a cross between dress shoes and high heels which I've decided to dub my Foo Foo Shoes. The left shoe is called Foo... and the right shoe is called Foo. :-)
14th-Aug-2006 09:44 pm - Nuts and Jam
The whirr of sirens. Seven ambulances racing by. Two helicopters perched overhead. And about 24,000 stopped cars.

Today I saw one of the worst traffic jams in recent memory. Something serious, I don't know what, happened on the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge. That clogged up four major highways on the west side... and the entire cross Bronx expressway on the east side. Wowsers!
13th-Aug-2006 06:42 pm - Who? Damn!
I saw my fifth Cirque du Soleil performance today: Quidam. It was fun! Seeing all the amazing acts of physical dexterity has made me want to perfect some stupid human tricks of my own... ;-)
12th-Aug-2006 07:15 pm - The Year of 1001 Books
So lately I've come to feel that I'm not reading enough. This year I probably won't even read 100 books, which will make it one of the (s)lowest years on record. I've always dreamed about taking a year to just read my little heart out...

... and you can help me make that dream come true! :-)

Here's the deal. In 2007, I'm going to read 1,001 books... books YOU recommend. Here's the four kinds of books I'm looking for:
1) "Bibles". Every field has its landmark, core defining book. Sometimes it's written by one of the pioneers; other times it's summarized by a surveyor. But if every Neurologist in the world had read Kandel and Schwartz, then that's a book I want to read. Recommend the book that everyone in your field recognizes by sight and can quote from copiously. (Caveat: I'm not interested in references, especially of the encyclopediac kind. So even though every doctor has a pharmacy reference on their shelf... that's not really what I'm looking for.)
2) "Top 100 Books". I'm trying to make a book list with exceptionally useful advice for modern people. Here's my
starting list to give you a feel for what types of books I'm looking for here.
3) "Can't put down"s. Some books capture your imagination and don't let go, or are so gripping that you -have- to find out what happens next. Others are just damn good reads. ;-) Fiction or non-fiction, either is welcome if it well written.
4) "Stuff I didn't know I didn't know". My very knowledgeable friend Kevin Luster once said: "All scaling the mountains of knowledge has done for me is show the vast ranges in the distance of stuff I don't know." Can't believe I haven't read the Collected Works of Rumi? Let me know!

To prime the pump, I'm going to list the Pulitzer Prize Winners and the New York Times Bestsellers that I've been wanting to read. After that, suggest away. I'll reply if I've already read the book(s) you are suggesting.

Thanks in advance for your input!
11th-Aug-2006 07:56 pm - Watch It, Buster
Lots of little things happened today. I rode in a subway with the lights turned off, but the AC (thankfully) still on. I saw construction workers scamper with power machinery at 2AM. I performed a random act of kindness with Sonny's The Devil Wears Prada tickets. And I just got back from a lively talk at Dave and Buster's.

There's a D&B right smack dab in the middle of 42nd St Times Square now; the place was packed and bustling on this Friday evening. I got into a conversation with one of the security guards, which expanded to my waitress, to my waitress's trainee, and then finally to the chef when I ordered something that hadn't been on the menu for two years. We all chatted about the newness of the place and ways to improve it... my adviction came shining through. ;-)

Oh, and there's a Mary Poppins musical starting up mid November. I so want to go! "Let's go fly a kite... up to the highest height..."
So at long last I have given Carolina the journal that I've been keeping for the last, oh, 162 days. ;-)

When I was helping Vlad with Project Vlad we created a very successful experiment called the Login Page. The premise was simple: Vlad would login to a web page every hour and write a short blurb. After several weeks, the page became impressive... a palpable testament to the dedication that it took to create. I think that is part of the appreciation of some forms of art; distinct from the aesthetic appeal, there is a sense of how much vim something must have taken to bring into being. I hope Carolina gets a sense of that... and not, ur, say an obsessive compulsive fixation. ;-P

I just got back from dinner with Sonny and Carolina and something that has been simmering for awhile finally gelled: namely, that I wonder just how interested I am in my own life any more. We were driving back in cab and I was in the front listening to them talk in the back. I couldn't understand the words but only the tone... and the voices were a dull, soft, semi-monotonous hum. God, I thought, that's boring as hell; so I climbed in back with them and started some crazy talk and our voices became animated, pitch-changing, and vibrant.

I've been noticing a supressed tonal affect in my voice over the last couple years or so. I can still consciously employ tones, and when I do, it is usually delightfully engaging to my listeners. I realize now that that was the way that I used to talk almost all the time. Why? Because I was viscerally interested in even the smallest thing, about my life, about everyone's life, about the world, about everything. I'm still keenly interested in others... but my self-interest in my own day-to-day affairs has begun to erode.

Am I too comfortable? Accepting? My intuition tells me there is a double-edged sword here... that something I did on the path of freedom from suffering also disconnected me from self-interest. I've been skirting the abyss of becoming one-with-all for awhile now, because I've seen how achieving that level of spirituality burns away all concern for the material world, and I'd like to keep a healthy concern for real people in the real world. But another characteristic is also a disinterest in physical state... and anyone that has seen my vow-of-poverty fashion line, twelve-day-old beard, and van with that "lived-in" look could attest, I'm already there.

Who is this Kim before me? He is far from his appointed place. I will care for him... and shepherd him back to where he belongs.
9th-Aug-2006 06:09 pm - A Day in the Life
Well, since medyani asked about what was going on in my life, I thought I'd post some snippets.

I'm currently in NY, visiting friends and consulting for a long-standing client. I'm staying in Brooklyn and commuting daily into Manhattan... it's almost like I'm working! :-O

I'm at this very moment sucking on a "consolation prize" Jamba Juice. I lost a bet with my boss out here, with the wager being a jamba juice, so I decided to get myself one while I was getting his.

I picked up my suit from the dry cleaners earlier today... I left it behind in my somewhat rushed exit from NY a few weeks ago. It's the one that I wore to Candace and Matias' wedding, so it already has some sentimental value. With luck I'll be seeing them this weekend in their new digs and new life down in PA.

I started reading a book on the subway today called "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat" by Oliver Sacks. A useful read for anyone neurologically inclined... and a soulful one for the rest of us. I just finished reading "Power vs. Force" by David Hawkins, which despite the fallacies and psychobabble has a lot of interesting things to say. The upshot of my commute is that I get more time in the day to read... I wish I had more.

I had an idea the other night while talking to Carolina. (Yes, Caro, you are now in the third person ;-) I think we could create a "Top 10" list of common human mistakes that lead to tragedy (say, cheating on your spouse when you have a great relationship)... sort of a guideline of what to avoid. Maybe we could have people who've made the mistakes relay their experiences in a video or talk show format, to make the experience more real and visceral for viewers.

I had a long converation with George today about phones... both he and I are thinking about getting new cell phones. He's going to try out the HTC Wizard if he can find a good plan out here (in NY) that supports it. The verdict is still out for me... I think I have to spiritually accept a migration to Windows Mobile.

The place where I work has a bunch of glass windows and yesterday I did a semi-strip show in front of the upper balcony. I think one of the new guys that works here is gay... and was turned on by the show. :-O At least, he's been showing me a -lot- of attention since then.

I'm considering taking a spastic trip to London next week to visit Sonny while he's out there. To buy a ticket on such short notice is exorbitant, so it is completely up to the whims of last-minute fare fate whether I go or not.

I'm just about to step out to go to dinner with Arno, Deepanjana, and Ellora... or more rather, shopping at Trader Joes and a night spent in. Cya tomorrow!
8th-Aug-2006 11:47 pm - Anticipation
Here's a funky question for people. Suppose you were going to get a gift that you really liked. Would you prefer to get the gift as soon as convenient, or would you want the gift giver to wait until the "perfect moment" to give it? Assume that the perfect moment will, in fact, come around, but it could be weeks or months after the gift is ready to be given. Further assume that giving the gift at just the right moment will enhance the experience of getting the gift.
7th-Aug-2006 11:50 pm - Zaniness
I've found the best way to live life is as yourself, with little regard to public opinion about it. That's because, for most every human trait, there are people who approve of it, disapprove of it, and could care less about it. Given that that is true for virtually anything you might care to name, why bother worrying about what other people think?

However, I had a great talk with Sonny tonight that got me curious about proportions... namely, exactly _how many_ people like and dislike certain things? So, in a completely unscientific fashion, I'd like to get the ball rolling zaniness. Suppose you met someone that was clearly off the wall, socially "out there", and having a ball. Would that make them more appealing to you, less appealing, or not alter how you felt toward them at all?

Alternatively, are there traits that you clearly respond to, and others that uniformly turn you off?
6th-Aug-2006 10:07 pm - And now... the future?
So I'm in NY and looking forward to seeing you again. Soon I'm going to give you this journal as a gift (assuming, of course, that you haven't been reading it daily for months already ;-) and I've been thinking... what next?

What do people think? Should I keep journaling? Is anyone even reading this? ;-P
5th-Aug-2006 10:12 pm - Moirt
I was thinking about Moire patterns earlier today, and it occurred to me that we could create a new form of art with them. If you were to shine two different wavelengths of monochromatic laser light through a specially constructed mesh, then you should be able to get two different overlapping moire patterns. Better yet, if you made the mesh out of a conductor and got them to conduct current uniformly, you could change the local magnetic field. So you could have multi-colored overlapping moire patterns that pulsated. Personally, I think that would be cool as all hell. ;-)
4th-Aug-2006 11:24 pm - Killer Bunnies
I spent a great night over the Hansen's tonight, along with a bunch of old friends. We capped off the night with a game of Killer Bunnies... which had five expansion sets mixed in, and was mighty complicated to say the least.

So why are some games simple and appealing... and others complex and appealing... and others just muddled? There seems to be optimal ranges of complexity. For example, the barrier to learning dungeons and dragons is large, because it's a pretty complex game. But, once people have made the investment, it is very fun to play. Other games you could learn in two minutes and still give a lifetime of enjoyment. But those games in between... meh, most aren't even worth looking at.

What are your favorite games?
3rd-Aug-2006 09:52 pm - Phoniness
Bill and Nik got some new phones today and we were oohing and aahing over the bright screens, catchy ring tones, and nifty gadgets. I've been thinking about getting a new phone myself... my latest Treo is on its last legs. I've already decided to get something different besides the Treo, which I've been using for the last decade or so.

What should I get? Any suggestions? I'm looking for something that integrates a pda and a phone.
2nd-Aug-2006 07:41 pm - Double Trouble
I've got a new game that I've been playing at restaurants recently. I tell the waiter that I want one of two dishes, and then have them choose which one. Often times it shakes the server out of their normal routine and starts up a nice rapport, often a good conversation.

Sometimes, though, it backfires and I get both dishes. :-O That's what happened tonight... I was out with some friends at a Mexican place and got two obscenely large dishes. So I dug in... and ate them. It's nice to see I've still got an appetite when I need one. :-)
1st-Aug-2006 10:33 pm - Meet the Normals
I was chatting with a friend today about some tv shows of our youth. Sanford and Son, The Jefferson, Maude. It struck me that many of the memorable shows were centered around crazy characters. Many of them weren't even nice, they were simply extreme in some way. Years ago I was a member of the BAMBAM club (Byron And Mike's Book A Month) and we were reading the Top 100 Books in English. It struck me then how many of the books were simply about distinctive cads.

Do we find the off color more memorable than the paragons? There are definitely memorable paragons... say, King Arthur. But then you scratch the surface and wonder: do people remember the story because of his shining goodness or because of the juicy affair between Guinevere and Launcelot?

In fact, how many tales do we have the center primarily on the well adjusted? We've got Aesop's fables... but they invariably involved a contrast, or the conversion of a bad trait into a good one. Would people even be interested in seeing examples of such things... or are we inexorably drawn to the fiery car crashes?
30th-Jul-2006 03:56 pm - Let me be your Handyman
Today Bill and I installed a bunch of stuff around the house. Towel racks, door hangers, ceiling fans, etc. They were all small jobs... but I felt good about them. Actually, I always feel good about home improvement. There's a definite something to fixing something, or making something new, so that it makes someone happy.

If anyone out there has any home improvement projects, let me know. My price is cheap: room and board while I'm there. ;-)
29th-Jul-2006 09:07 pm - Down and Out
So the place where I send my e-mail and host my website is a small undergraduate cluster at the college I attended. It periodically goes down and causes me no end of grief. Right now it's down... and there are undoubtedly people anxiously trying to contact me. (sigh)
28th-Jul-2006 09:20 pm - Friends with Benefits
Tonight I went to a benefit for a friend's niece. The friend (Mike) is an old buddy from high school, and while I was there I bumped into some more old friends. We regaled each other with our current lives and waxed nostaligic over times past.

The niece has SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and is basically on machines waiting to die; the benefit was basically to raise enough money so that she could do so comfortably. The entire experience put many things in perspective again for me. I think I have problems? There are people in the world with a lot more serious ones... and they are rising to the challenge of meeting them the best they can.
27th-Jul-2006 07:00 pm - Ades
So Nik brought home some lemonade mix recently... and oh god, is this stuff good. I've been avoiding sugary drinks for awhile now, but I have a weak spot for ades. In fact, for about a decade straight all I drank was Kool-Aid in varying strengths from sludge to aftertaste. I really shouldn't be drinking this lemonade but... (slurp)
26th-Jul-2006 08:45 pm - Permiability
I think we are entering a permian extinction phase for portable devices.

In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn remarks that science cycles through cambrian explosions and permian extinctions. (In fact, as a general rule, that's the paradigm for evolutionary competition under resource constraints.) We've already seen the proliferation of handheld devices... and now it's settled down to a stable few. People was cell phones, digital cameras, pdas, and music players. Many of those are collapsing: cameras are becoming standard on phones, for example.

Now we can get streaming video to our cell phones... how will this new player change the landscape? Will it converge (i.e. be rolled into existing players) or is it distinct enough that it carves out its own category (like the portable dvd players are now)?
25th-Jul-2006 10:53 pm - Missing: Clear Whistle
So I was fooling around with some lip balm today and discovered... I've lost my old whistle! I used to be able to produce a clear tone both inhaling and exhaling, but now I can only do it inhaling. Where did my whistle go? Did I drop it somewhere? Did some lady nab it while smootching me?

If anyone finds my whistle, please let me know. :-{}
24th-Jul-2006 07:38 pm - The Blinking Cursor
I've been thinking quite a bit about cursors and their impact of the formation of alternate realities. :-O

All the things we think of as standard today (cursors to type in text, mice to move around pointers) were at one point created and then caught on. Some became prevalent because they were the only solution... others just got lucky against competitors. There's an evolutionary principle called "entrenched dominance", meaning that a suboptimal solution can ofter prevail over a more optimal competitor, simply because it happened to catch on first.

If we could somehow travel to alternate realities, I think the confusing thing would not be that everyone spoke german because the nazis won world war two, it would be that every small thing that we've come to expect in our own world would be replaced by something functionally the same but completely foreign to us. And then I think, wait, that's exactly what everyone else's perspective of the world is right now. ;-)
23rd-Jul-2006 04:20 pm - Arrrgh!
So I saw the second of the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy today... and it was great! They had amazing action sequences, hilarious comedy scenes, and some intriguing chemistry. I can't wait for the third one!
22nd-Jul-2006 09:27 pm - Built To Last
There's a great business book out there called Built To Last that identifies the attributes of visionary companies. One of them is the BHAG, the Big, Hairy Audacious Goal. It's the stars you shoot for so that you land comfortably on the moon.

What is the BHAG of our times? Fighting Nazi aggression, putting men into space and then on the moon, eradicating polio, these were the BHAGs of previous generations. What is our BHAG? I feel like we need a badass vision to clarify our purpose and focus our energies as a society.
21st-Jul-2006 06:35 pm - Fast Fowl
Today we ordered out from the Kiszka's favorite sub shop... and I've found my new favorite sub. It's called the Russian Chicken. Big chunks of tender chicken, wrapped with strings of bacon, lettuce, and tomato, all swimming in russian dressing. Ahhhhh...

"And he wept, for he knew not that such earthly pleasures existed." ;-P
20th-Jul-2006 09:21 pm - Games, man
So I'm something of a gamesman. They're fun, you get to hang out with people, and there's a definite je ne sais quoi pour moi to figuring out optimal strategies.

I'm thinking of restarting my role playing campaign once I can focus on it again. Have you ever been in a role-playing game? (outside of acting, that is ;-)
19th-Jul-2006 11:38 pm - Weird Al
So tonight Bill put Weird Al Yankovic on his e-jukebox and I chuckled myself silly. Weird Al basically does two kinds of songs:
a) brilliant parodies of famous hits, with the same tempo and rhyme scheme
b) the same lyrics of big hits... done polka style ;-)
I'd love to meet Weird Al some day; we've got a similar sense of humor, and I think he'd be a blast to hang out with.

Do you have a favorite off-the-wall artist?
18th-Jul-2006 05:03 pm - Find Your Strengths
I just browsed a book called "Now, Find Your Strengths". It's aimed at businessmen who want to improve their effectiveness by catering to their strengths and the fortes of their employees.

Many of the traits they listed are connected to the enneagram, and there is considerable overlap with some of the primitives I indentified in the Model of Basic Minds. When I have time, I want to sit down and see if I can cross index all three of them. My strength? Finding new projects for me to do. ;-P

What do you feel your strengths are?
17th-Jul-2006 07:58 pm - Earth Shaking
So the house I'm staying at is part of a new complex where active construction is going on across the street. In addition to the rumbling of the big CATs, every so often they do excavation... with explosives. Woohoo! :-)
16th-Jul-2006 10:27 pm - Collector's Items
So Nik is something of a collector of the cute. She's got tons of adorable animal pics, as well as stuffed animals galore.

I've been bitten by the collector bug myself a few times. I had a ginormous comic book collection, as well as a huge library.

Do you collect anything? Stamps, toys, broken hearts? ;-P
15th-Jul-2006 05:15 pm - The Proximity Principle
I have a heuristic called the Proximity Principle which states: "People are affected more by what's nearby than what's farther away." It's basically a modified form of "Out of sight, out of mind." That "nearby", by the way, is psychological as well as physical.

What's interesting is how technology has punched holes in our concept of nearby. Cell phones make every friend as nearby as your phone. E-mail, TV, Skype, each one is a small warp of connection to other people and places.

At the moment, I'm most affected by my comfy bed and box of tissues. :-O
14th-Jul-2006 07:58 pm - Stormchaser
We've been treated to a number of rain, thunder, and lightning storms out here recently. Not many people know this, but for years I was a member of Stormchasers. An organization of fools that get together... and chase storms. :-) I find being rain soaked in swirling winds being chased by Thor to be exhilirating.

What about you? Do you like storms, or would you pass on them?
13th-Jul-2006 10:05 pm - Sick and Tired
Bill and Nicole took a weeked trip recently, and Bill brought back an infectious souvenir. I've been trying to practice some prophylaxis, but I think it might be too late...
12th-Jul-2006 10:47 pm - Settling For Less
As of today I'm officially settled in here. I've pared down my earthly goods yet again, and shuffled stuff around so that the van is less loaded. Now all I need to do is make a clothes donation and I'll be set.
11th-Jul-2006 06:47 pm - Viyote
I have a lot of history with the couple that I'm staying with; we grew up together in Dracut. It's got me to thinking about the web of connection that's floating out there.

When I wear a t-shirt underneath my formal shirt, I always tuck it in my underwear and the long shirt over it. That's the way that Mrs. Burne (the kind lady whose house we waited for the bus stop in) said it should be done. I apply underarm deoderant right out of the shower, because John White (a college friend) recommended it works best when applied to wet hair. I eat my sandwiches with pepperoni slices, because Brian Burkholder (another college friend) got me hooked on them.

There's all this small snippets of other people that affect my daily life... for years and years after the actual physical interaction. I'm aware of the history of a many of my mannerisms... how many more have been unconsciously adopted from those around me? But then flip that around: how many pieces of me are floating around in the minds and daily lives of other people?

The ancient toltecs had a word for the miasma of collectively generated illusion that humans create: the mitote (mee-toh-tay). They used it mainly in the context of negative energy that people thoughtlessly create by binding other people, and it leads to the concept of casting white and black spells (words that help or hinder others).

I think there's actually a shade of grey in there... that people are also affected by a viyote (veye-yoh-tay). That's the general ruboff of other people's manners by association, extending into techniques and even attitudes. The viyote is less about liberation or binding (topics near and dear to the toltecs) and more about just the diffusion of shibboleths and peculiarities. The viyote is a meme-pulsing web of connection.

Being an actress, you'll be in the heart of the viyote. What would you want to spread far and wide?
10th-Jul-2006 09:19 pm - Stupid Human Tricks
David Letterman used to have a great skit called Stupid Human Tricks. People would come on the late night show and do all manner of stuff, ranging from the neat to the bizarre. The tricks clearly required considerable practice to master... though in some cases, one wondered what drove them to do so.

I can pick up a dried pea with chopsticks. I can drink through my nose. I can belch-talk. And each of those... I actually trained myself to do. :-)

What stupid human tricks can you do?
9th-Jul-2006 09:27 pm - Bookworm
One of the people I'm staying with right now is a really bookworm. In fact, the room I'm staying in right now is filled with boxes of books.

So I've taken to reading for the nonce. She's got a great selection: thrillers, mysteries, screenplays, romance, and even trade paperbacks. I've been having a ball. ;-)
8th-Jul-2006 07:11 pm - Living in Oblivion
So I've discovered that my cell phone reception here at the new place is less than desirable. Actually, it's almost non-existent; I have to drive down the road to get good reception.

That means that I'm almost at the oblivion point: laptop down, cell phone down... all I'd need is e-mail and internet to go down as well and the set would be complete.
7th-Jul-2006 07:44 pm - The Day The Earth Stood Still
Today is a day that will live in infamy. One of the fans on my laptop went kaputz!

I disassembled the whole thing, and went to Radio Shack to get a replacement, whereupon I discovered it is a specialty part made only by HP. I bought a fan anyway trying to jerry rig it... but it is a special side blowing version. I had to order the part online.

Wha... wha... what will I do without my laptop? The mind boggles. %-{
6th-Jul-2006 10:00 pm - Cinnaman?
A female friend of mine mentioned recently that liking cinnamon was a "male thing". It blew my mind. How could anyone not like cinnamon sticks in hot chocolate, glazed cinnamon rolls, and spicy cinnamon cookies? Mmmmmmm...

Do you like cinnamon? Let's get an informal poll going... state your gender for the record. :-)
5th-Jul-2006 05:56 pm - Grand Theft Auto
So as I was unpacking more of my van today I discovered that it had been broken into while in NY. My van gets broken into periodically, so it wasn't a big surprise. I made a careful catalogue of the items to see if anything was missing.

Financial records? check
Electronics? check
Books? check

I finally discovered what they took was... some windex and paper towels. Well, actually only the windex, because they left the dirty paper towels in a small bag behind my driver's seat. :-O
4th-Jul-2006 09:11 pm - Changing Places
I moved to Fitchburg, MA today to stay with my friends the Kiszkas. A late night spent packing and escaping NY, with an afternoon unloading in their new house. That evening was spent pleasantly meeting their circle of friends.

My only regret was that I missed the fireworks on the Esplanade in Boston. I love fireworks, and usually make them every year. Boston has perhaps the best music to fireworks choreography in the world. Someday I want to rent a boat and sneak it past the perimeter and watch the fireworks from near ground zero... the entire sky ablaze.
3rd-Jul-2006 11:42 pm - Building Blocks
Some friends of mine are thinking about buying a new house in Brooklyn and they wanted my opinion on their new block. So we all took a drive in my van to check it out at night.

There were pairs of police officers walking beats almost every square block. We passed over a dozen patrolling squad cars, and several were parked on the streets. A few paddy wagons were making the rounds as well. A lot of warmth was on the streets, hanging about; music blared every so often from a boombox or house. Bright lights flooded the sidewalks, and police security cams were on several streetlights.

Amazingly enough, if you went a mere three blocks away from their newly intended place... the streets were clear, quiet, and classic residential. Needless to say, I told them moving there was a nightmare waiting to happen. :-O
2nd-Jul-2006 05:38 pm - Superman
I saw the Superman movie today. The special effects were to die for! The plane scene was worth the price of admission by itself.

They revamped the storyline for a more modern audience... one in which divided families and complicated love triangles are the order of the day. I think I preferred the original series better. :-)
1st-Jul-2006 07:18 pm - How Far Would You Go?
So at my work I've come across a truly intriguing question. How far do clients, on average, walk their dogs to and from the locations each day? If this is a small number, it has a big impact on placement of new locations; if it is a large number, it means there is greater freedom to consolidate fixed resources.

There is a maxim in business: the only three things that matter are location, location, location. It will be interesting to discover how much it matters in this particular line of business.
30th-Jun-2006 09:32 pm - Barometric Pressure
I used to read a series of books featuring a character called Jupiter Jones. Jupiter was a sleuth, inventor, and prankster, and never let a mystery go once he solved it.

There was a time when he took apart a barometer and tried to figure out how it worked. He tried putting it back together and found he couldn't get it to work again. He puzzled and puzzled and couldn't figure it out. Finally, he asked the professor about it (his mentor of sorts) and he told Jupiter that barometers have a vacuum inside them. You can look at all the pieces, but it's the missing vacuum that makes it actually work.

I took that small vignette to heart. Often, it's the missing piece, the one you don't actually see or weren't aware of, that explains everything. And quite often, the total is more than the sum of its parts.
29th-Jun-2006 06:01 pm - Shadows and Light
There was a time when I thought that growing older was a huge gyp. Every day I saw my own capabilities diminish... I felt like a inexorably fading shadow of my former self.

Then, I realized that growing older is actually a tradeoff. Some thing I can't do as well as when I was younger, but a great many I do better... and continue to get better at.

I have been in a dark place for awhile... but the light is beginning to shine. Curiously, the light looks a lot like Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. ;-)
28th-Jun-2006 07:54 pm - Mortality
It's a long standing joke that all old people talk about is their bodies and their medications. I can already feel the tightening of my joints, the slowing of my reactions, the dulling of my senses. Is this it? The long, slow inevitable decline into decrepitude and senility?

I have never been afraid of death... but I have felt the betrayal of my own flesh before, which to me was a horror worse than death. "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." My mind races around and around the problem of old age... one that hasn't been solved, merely staved off.
27th-Jun-2006 06:16 pm - De-railed
"Life is the thing that happens to us while we are busy making other plans."

My life falls into two distinct pattern... one, where everything happens according to plan, including the stuff I specifically didn't foresee; and another, where so much random stuff happens at once that I am nothing more than a fireman trying to put out fires before the whole building burns down.

I am entering phase two... and I have no idea what is going to happen next.
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