There aren’t many times you can look back on your life and say with certainty that a decision changed you. Usually we exist in the sort of gray muddle of cause and effect that you can’t notice (see Sliding Doors). But today is such a day.
20 years ago today Erin and I started dating. Having the DTR talk while sitting on a park bench on the side of a river (a propitiuous location if you know me) and making a commitment to give a relationship a try. 20 years ago I won a best friend for life. She’s talented, beautiful, funny, caring, compassionate, a good listener, and a loyal friend. She’s not just everything I could have wanted in a partner, she’s more than I could have ever imagined in one. 20 years ago today I won the biggest lottery of my life and I wouldn’t change a single thing. I love you, Erin.
For the past two weeks we’ve been deep in the throes of Sing rehearsals and performances. Tomorrow night is the final show and, as much as I’ve loved doing the run, at this point in the process everyone- performers, musicians, crew, etc- is pretty much ready for a break. It’ll be bittersweet when it’s all over, but 24 hours from now I can’t say I’ll be disappointed. Need the rest.
Speaking of rest, I’ve had an annoying cold for the past few days with a hacking cough that just will not die. DIE ALREADY. The biggest problem is that, at this time when I most need rest and sleep, the stupid cough is keeping me awake all night. Every 90 seconds I have another fit and have to cough just to relieve the tickle in my throat. Pretty much existing on caffeine and cough drops. Yuck.
5:30 and still no sleep tonight. But hey, at least the hotel coffee is free.
Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End – NYTimes.com: “People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time. According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected ‘to cost around the price of current smartphones,’ or $250 to $600. The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.”
About time. We can soon go from staring zombie-like at our smartphones to staring zombielike at… nothing. Lack of connectivity will soon become a defining feature that you pay extra for. Still, I’d love these!
Let your voice be heard! Just fill in blanks on this convenient election template and be a contributing* member of your representative democracy**!
Now that ______ is the candidate for the ______ party, I could never vote for him/her. I mean, the other potential choices were bad enough, but that man/woman (is crazy/is scary/is a fascist/hates women/is fundamentally unelectable/goose steps for [fill in scary deity of choice]). Have you heard that he/she said (pick sound bite [bonus points if soundbite more than five years old. Extra bonus points if out of context]).
Even though I’m not happy about it, I think my candidate, (fill in blank of candidate/party you voted for last time, and until recently was dissatisfied with), is SO MUCH BETTER than this crazy person we’d have as an alternative. The devil you know, you know?
Fun*** for the whole family!
**those with memories that last more than 4 years need not play
Book Review: Abundance – WSJ.com: “If every image made and every word written from the earliest stirring of civilization to the year 2003 were converted to digital information, the total would come to five exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes—or just think of it as the number one followed by 18 zeros. That’s a lot of digital data, but it’s nothing compared with what happened from 2003 through 2010: We created five exabytes of digital information every two days. Get ready for what’s coming: By next year, we’ll be producing five exabytes every 10 minutes. “
*UPDATE* I just installed it and rebooted Firefox. In just the boot process, DNT+ prevented my info from being shared with 41 different requesters. Pretty cool.
There’s an opt-in “gentlemen’s agreement” idea floating around out there in different browsers. It’s basically a box that you check that says I don’t want to be tracked. It was championed by browser companies and the like as a way to pacify people who want to keep their business private. Here’s the thing: it’s not mandatory, nor does it actively prevent companies from tracking you- it just expresses your preference. Companies are free to ignore that little box and go right on tracking you.
But now that DoNotTrack+ has moved the enforcement mechanism into consumers’ hands, some companies are starting to cry foul. Makes their previous agreement to honor that little voluntary box seem a bit suspicious, doesn’t it?
I, for one, am happy that the option is there. Kind of like opting out of junk mail.
Sorry for the lack of posting the past few weeks. The truth is that this is my annual Sing crunch and I have very little energy for anything outside of rehearsals and performances. The first weekend is over and we’re in mid-week rehearsals now. It’s amazing how many tweaks and little improvements you can do to a “finished” show. I’m sure we could keep improving it and improving it forever, but alas, this Saturday is the final judging night. Months and months of work will come down to the results and we’ll find out who makes Pigskin (the “bonus show” in November for the top 8 acts out of the 17 currently competing).
It’s been a great year with a wonderful show full of zany creativity, oddball ideas (some that work and some that don’t), and lots of new friends. I am thoroughly blessed that I get to do what I love and that I get to do it with fun, encouraging, and enthusiastic people. Even though my job takes a pretty big toll in energy and work, I’d be a fool to complain about it. What fun!
83-Year-Old Woman Gets the World’s First 3-D Printed Jaw Transplant | Popular Science: “Once the team designed the jaw, it was just a matter of sintering it together, according to LayerWise. A high-precision laser heated titanium powder particles to melt them together in successive layers. It took 33 layers to build just one millimeter, so the whole jaw consists of thousands of layers, BBC reported. Doctors coated the jaw in a biocompatible ceramic layer and attached it to the woman’s face in a four-hour surgery. That’s one-fifth the time it would have taken to perform a reconstructive surgery using the patient’s own mouthparts, BBC said. It weighs 107 grams, which is one-third heavier than her previous jaw, but doctors said she’ll be able to get used to it.”
“The failure of communism should have been, after all, not just a turning point in geo-political power – the ending of the Cold War and the break-up of the Warsaw Pact – but in modern thinking about the state and its relationship to the economy, about collectivism vs individualism, and about public vs private power. Where was the discussion, the trenchant analysis, or the fundamental debate about how and why the collectivist solutions failed, which should have been so pervasive that it would have percolated down from the educated classes to the bright 18-year-olds? Fascism is so thoroughly (and, of course, rightly) repudiated that even the use of the word as a casual slur is considered slanderous, while communism, which enslaved more people for longer (and also committed mass murder), is regarded with almost sentimental condescension.”
“In today’s America, government benefits flow to large numbers of people who are encouraged to vote for politicians who’ll keep them coming. The benefits are paid for by other people who, being less numerous, can’t muster enough votes to put this to a stop. Over time, this causes the economy to do worse, pushing more people into the moocher class and further strengthening the politicians whose position depends on robbing Peter to pay Paul. Because, as they say, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Paul’s vote.
But the damage goes deeper. Sykes writes, ‘In contemporary America, we now have two parallel cultures: An anachronistic culture of independence and responsibility, and the emerging moocher culture. ‘We continually draw on the reserves of that older culture, with the unspoken assumption that it will always be there to mooch from and that responsibility and hard work are simply givens. But to sustain deadbeats, others have to pay their bills on time.’ And, after a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers.
I think we’ve reached that point now:
* People who pay their mortgages – often at considerable personal sacrifice – see others who didn’t bother get special assistance.
* People who took jobs they didn’t particularly want just to pay the bills see others who didn’t getting extended unemployment benefits.
* People who took risks to build their businesses and succeeded see others, who failed, getting bailouts. It rankles at all levels.”