Monday, March 09, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

This week's Economist shared some figures on obesity in West Virginia in light of a discussion of health care reform.  Among the figures is that in one metro area, 77% of adults are overweight and 46% are clinically obesce.
Personally, I find those figures to be among the most depressing and demoralizing I can find in the news today.   Yes, our economic woes are regrettable, and yes, in many cases economic strain goes hand in hand with poor health, but I think we'd do well to start with our bodies and worry about our banks afterword.

I'm no health-nut, and my freezer looks a lot like Tony Hseih's, but I'd feel awfully bad about myself if I didn't feel more fit than most folks around me.  Sure, it's all relative and too-easily sated by the plumetting health-standards around me, but at least we're better than most.  

When asked why they buy (and eat)such huge amounts of lard, West Virginians simply respond that "we always have", yet West Virginians havn't always been fat.   Working in coal mines 12 hours a day doesn't leave time for getting fat (just getting emphazima).

Kurt Vonnegut dogs on West Virginia in Breakfast of Champions, which, coincidently, I just finished. I wasn't remarkably impressed or enthralled. I've read only limited Vonnegut, and none recently, but it struck me as heavy-handed and self-indulgent. It rings of a wildly-liked only because of it's author's existing fame. As a stand-along work...I'm unimpressed, though I won't pretend to have considered it too deeply. It just didn't seem to warrant it.

Code Complete is actually looking quite a lot more promising...and part II of Don Quixote may be on the way.

Monday, March 02, 2009

hard facts, bad resumes

The story goes that a resume should show results. Words ending with 'ed' are supposed to be good:    ...saved, completed, increased, launched...

Figures, too, are to be applied liberally:     ...300,000 dollars, 100% of projects, sales by 30%, 6 new products...

Doing so is meant to indicate real value, real productivity, and real accomplishment.    Humor me while I share my alternative: the gerunds and sunflowers approach.

Use -ing words only:    ...Planning, Teaching, Writing, Managing...

Sprinkle with whatever toppings go with them:   ...for expansion, good decision-making, user-stories, during transition...

For example...

Say I were hiring an investment portfolio manager last summer for a bazillion-dollars stuffed under my mattress: Those submitting resume's of the -ed type would show me how much they earned, how their assets were valued, and whether their portfolios had increased during their tenure.  And lo and behold, the marketplace would be rife with well-qualified candidates.

And, had I choosen one of them, and let them excercise their proven talents on my previously safe money-bags, I'd have lost a great deal of cash in the time since.   What did all their -ed words mean?   Doodley-squat.

But what if I had choosen an odd apple from the bunch, the one wall-street whacko who put forcasting, advising, and modeling on a resume?

I'd have kept my money under the matress, and had my own weather forecaster to advise me what to wear each day while wearing alluring outfits!

The point is....

1) Accomplishing stuff means doodly-squat unless you can articulate how you accomplished it. 
(If you can't articulate it, how are you going to do it again?)

2) Articulating how you did something requires gerunds.   
(I wrote this by writing without properly planning)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Disruptive Technologies

Today was all about disruptive technologies.   Not the Clayton Christensen kind.  Rather, literal gadgets and gizmos (technologies) that distracted (disrupted) me from whatever I was "supposed" to be doing today (in this case, watching the Superbowl, which I failed to do).   Instead of joining my fellow Yankee's in watching football today, I mussed about and "achieved" the following:

1. I twittered.   Or tweeted.   Whatever you call it--I'm there.
2. I did some scripting to solve some trivial problems.
3. I read some software development blogs, including this one, which lead me to this post which I trumpet as a defense of my pseudo-coding approach to "software"
4. I futzed with my iphone, most disruptive of all technologies (in every sense).
5. I authored a blog post.

Tomorrow, I may use my favorite browser to suss out how I might use my iphone to compose and post blog entries and auto-tweet the posts.   If you know how to do that, twitter me, so I have more than one follower.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why I can't vote for Obama

I must confess, Mr. Obama, that you have eroded my already-waning faith in the American political system.

Did I rise to give you a standing ovation after watching your address at the 2004 Democratic national convention? Yes. Did I leap to my feet mid-way through your most recent debate with Senator Clinton to declare game over in your favor? I did. Did I get misty-eyed during more than one episode of your recent address in Philadelphia? Absolutely. But now, with the afterglow gone, do I feel as disenchanted with the politics of my country as at any point in the Bush years? More so.

You see, Mr. Obama, you are much better than they are, and that's why I can't get behind your campaign. You speak with so much more gravitas than our politicians; you inspire so much more empathy than our pundits. Your speeches inspire us to re-consider our perspectives, our prejudices, and our politics. For that reason, you are good for America and good for the world, but you are not good for politics. You've mixing your art with your agenda, and it risks fanning the flames on growing executive liberties and special-interest allegiances (among the criticisms your supporters have made of the Bush administration).

Your defense of America against the defeatists who say is irreparably a nation of racism and unequal opportunity crescendos in your passionate declaration of your own widespread political success as proof that America is slowly overcoming its bigotrous history, and I, with two-million other YouTube viewers felt your energy and your message. We were there with you, we felt your sentiment, we felt the pride that accompanies the acknowledgment of atrocity, and it was great, but you perverted the message and sullied our moment. You cannot deliver that message from that pulpit, Barrack. You cannot evidence the progress of our people with your political success and then ask for our vote! You have put us in an uncomfortable position, and it ruins your too-important message.

You dismiss the those who claim you're capitalizing on white voters who support you to cheaply pay off the weight of their debt to minorities (and I want to dismiss them, too, Barack, I do) but you're handing out the forgiveness notes. You have told them that their support signals the healing of America and in the same breath, asked for more support. Your decision to exploit a parallel between the racial health of America and the health of your own campaign will no doubt prove an effective one, but is no less regrettable than the politics of hate and fear you so often criticize--no matter how much more eloquently delivered.

You, too, are attempting to trick us, Mr. Obama. You are doing so no more than anyone else in politics or in the media, and you are doing a supremely more artful job of it, but you--like them--are soliciting from me my money, my attention, and my vote.

I will read your books, I will listen to your speeches, I will think about and discuss your ideas, and I will let your stories turn my emotions, but if you want that part of me, you cannot have my vote. You can drive my politics, you can drive my philosophy, and you can move my heart, or you can have my vote and execute my own ideas, but you can't have both.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Is SportsCenter the best-written and most well-executed News program on Television?

Signs point to yes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Let loose

Like the arrow from the bow, ideas are things drawn taught against reality and let loose in a single release, and it is this moment--man's letting go of the arrow with such care and grace that the bow's rigidity and arrows trueness are coupled in flight--that is art.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Car trouble

So.....I meant to write, but I got stuck in Bozeman, Montana when my car broke down. I changed my fuel filter by flashlight in the wall-mart parking lot, but sadly, that did not get it started again. I am currently still in bozeman, at a coffeeshop with a computer. My flight to europe leaves wednesday morning. my car is in the shop. They are "really busy". I gave them my sob story. They said they would do their best. I believe them. The girl who checked me into my hotel room wants me. Lonely, dejected, and covered in gasoline and motor oil, i briefly thought maybe i wanted her....then decided, wisely, against it. I got gasoline all over my cell phone--and now the microphone doesnt work. I can hear the world crystal clear...but to them...I broadcast nothing but silence. I lost my credit card. And then found it in the hands of an autoparts store employee who laughed mockingly at my misfortune. I discovered that if I use my hands-free headset for my cell phone, people can hear me. Unfortunately, I've also discovered that using a hands-free handset for my cell phone while walking around Bozeman Montana is an invitation to have my ass kicked. So, all I'm saying, is that I would have written sooner, if the oldsmobile hadn't had to stop to take a monstroshit. Sweet mother mary, it's time for a fucking newsmobile.