Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Career Goal

I have two career goals.

1) Chief Learning Officer or Chief People Officer for a company.
2) Mrs. Kid's secretary when she becomes a rich and famous author. I'm here to support her.

Now, I can add a third option:
3) Stay at home father with a website that supports me and Mrs. Kid and the little ones.

Dooce: An Epic Vitriolic Screed is a very good blog. Check out her About page to learn more about her and to see the other ways she refers to her husband who is a Stay at Home Father. This is the life I want. All I need is:
  1. The ability to write coherent, interesting stuff.
  2. A more interesting life to write about.
Sadly, I am a functional illiterate who writes prose as interesting as a crossword puzzle. I also spend most of my work week sitting in an office writing and reading math. My boss isn't crazy. I rarely interact with our customers. I don't often interact with Marketing or Sales, both of whom can be counted on for lots of great stories.

Oh well. It's nice to have lofty, unattainable goals. Maybe the answer is to encourage Mrs. Kid to become the next Dooce. It's all about supporting my wife.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mixed Feelings About a Great Man: Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug, who passed away recently, was the father of the green revolution. His work to create and make available crops with insanely high yield and great resistance to disease is credited with saving a billion lives and a billion hectares of forest.

He was a great man and a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, but not just because he came up with the method to develop these crops. He was so worthy because he made it his life's work to encourage the use of the technology he developed. He didn't patent it and make a billion dollars off of it.

You might be thinking about the title of this post and wonder "How could anyone have mixed feelings about such an amazing man?" My mixed feelings stem from my concerns about overpopulation. It is great that we can feed so many people, but should we? I know it's easy for me to wonder about this. I have plenty of food. Still, overpopulation is something I think about. Here are some interesting reads about Borlaug:
He was a great and noble man, but I think it is reasonable to think about the ethical ramifications of our technological advancements.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Music Monday: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

As I draft this, I am listening to an album I have not heard in probably two decades, but it is still stunningly familiar.

I bought an audio cassette of Brian Eno and David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts in 1984. I was a poor college student, and I had never heard of the album, but there it was in a bargain bin and with two of my favorite artists, it seemed like a good gamble.

The album absolutely blew me away. I listened to the cassette so often that it became great studying music for me. The lyrics and tunes were so in my head that I could let it wash over me as I worked and it wouldn't get in the way. It just helped me get into my studying groove.

It wasn't until B-Sizzle told me that several modern artists have mentioned the album as an influence on their work that I realized Bush of Ghosts was not a completely obscure album known only to me. The Wikipedia page indicates that the album gets rave reviews from just about everybody (Robert Christgau must be a whack job). Anyway, check it out sometime.

YouTube videos:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Geek Scale

When I tell friends and family that I don't rank particularly high on the geek scale, they often don't believe me. They have no idea. I seem like a geek compared to them, but that's only because they don't know the geeks I know. Here is an IM exchange between two friends of mine.

HockeyKing (not his real screenname) is Chief Technology Officer of a small IT company. He is a computer geek who is like me: his friends and family probably think he is a super geek, but they have no idea.

VetteGeek (also not his real screenname) is a real geek.
HockeyKing: still liking the droid?
HockeyKing: or finding issues not happy with?
VetteGeek: oh yeah
VetteGeek: I installed a C-64 emulator
VetteGeek: I was playing "The Castles of Dr. Creep" on Sat
HockeyKing: what's a c-64 emulator?
VetteGeek: Commodore 64
I can't compare to that.... This is a guy who has installed an application so his new phone can act like a 27 year-old computer. Wow.

I'm a geek, but not that high on the geek scale. For instance, I:
  • am a math teacher (of sorts) who was never on a Math Team.
  • run Linux on my home machine, but I generally use the GUI instead of the text-based terminal and I don't compile my own applications.
  • have some superficial familiarity with Java, but don't know Python, LISP, or any low-level languages at all.
  • I liked the original Star Trek series and some other sci fi stuff, but I never watch SyFy network.
Anyway, I admit to being a bit of a geek, but compared to real geeks, I am quite the dilettante.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Monday: Xmas Music

I like xmas. I like the traditions, the cookies, the family, the egg nog, the decorations, the candy, the smells (pine, cinnamon, etc.), and much more. Slate's Jody Rosen brings us Why Bob Dylan's Christmas Album Isn't a Joke, which gets at the heart of why I like xmas music so much.

Some videos of Xmas music I like:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Taking Advice from an Old "Friend"

As a close, personal friend of mine (we both had the late Ernie Rabinowicz as our freshman advisor at college, though 17 years apart) once said:
Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day
Anyone? Anyone? Name the band and "friend" for mad kudos. Bonus points for anyone who can name the department from which my "friend" received his Bachelors and Masters degrees (without using Google or Wikipedia or any other Internet resource).

As I look at my rather lengthy list of drafted posts, I see a long queue of half-baked ideas and partial thoughts. Still, I think it's time that I got back to them. Stay tuned. "Today is the day."