Oct 312011

Whew!  We’re near the end of a bang-bang-bang eight days or so at our house.  Lea told me two days ago she was having a margarita tomorrow night, if that tells you anything.

Our church’s fall festival was yesterday, and was a blast as always.  Thanks to our church family, and the youth in particular, for the effort!

I’m not sure what the rules of this are, but as it involved eating donuts and close proximity to a pretty girl, I have to think it was a good thing.

Nathan doing the “feel the grossness” routine.  The kid running this station had the carnival barker thing down.

Happy Halloween to you!

 Posted by at 6:01 pm
Oct 302011

I recall the point during the development of handheld electronics when electronic spellers first became available.  Now these weren’t dictionaries; they didn’t have definitions or pronunciation guides.  They just showed you how to spell words.  They’re still out there, now that I look.

I can remember thinking “wow, what a dumb product.  It’s possible to bring such a thing to market for a small amount of money, so they are.  No one asked the question this answers.”

I try hard to cultivate a similar skepticism now, with all of the electronic offerings available to us.  We’re being hit with so many choices, and so rapidly.  I think sometimes it’s easy, and even natural, to forget to think about whether the choices are even ones we want to make.  “Do I really want to do that?  Or does someone with a financial interest in me thinking I want to do that want me to do that?”

When I figured out I could upload my entire music collection to the Amazon.com cloud, and then access it at my leisure on my phone without needing 75+ GB of local storage, that was cool.  That fits the way I want to operate.  When a song or album in my collection pops in my head and I want to hear it, two finger taps, and I’m hearing it.  That rocks.  Bring that.

Conversely, I saw a Siri commercial this week that invites me to think it’s indispensable, when it isn’t.  Mr. Busy Guy is clipping along and says to his phone “what does my day look like?”  Then Miss Aerobicized wants to know “will I need an umbrella in Boston this weekend?” or something.

Now I guess that may be superficially appealing, but pick at it a bit.  Don’t we have extremely effective answers in hand for these questions already?  How hard is it to check the Boston weather forecast?  To look at your calendar?  Am I to believe that Mr. Busy Guy is so unbelievably strapped that he hasn’t two spare seconds to click an icon and look at his schedule himself?

Think a bit further.  Have you real confidence in the quality of these answers?  The whole “talk to the computer” model, while a science fiction mainstay, really hasn’t taken off.  It’s truer than ever that computers are only as smart as we make them.

So how good could Siri be?  Can’t you kind of see the man behind the curtain, no matter what Siri comes up with?  Can’t you correlate its results effortlessly with what you might have been able to get from a search engine yourself?  Would that have really taken much longer?  Do you have any problem getting exactly what you need from such a results list?

Are you getting something you want?  Or something someone wants you to think you want?

 Posted by at 5:53 pm
Oct 282011

Tim Tebow played his last season at Florida in 2009.  Not since Bo Jackson, 24 years earlier, had I been so pleased to see an SEC player graduate.  Tremendous athlete; wonderful young man; go forth; prosper.  I am delighted your opportunities for continued excellence shall occur somewhere besides opposite Alabama.  Good luck.  Now beat it.

Tebow’s in the news right now because he’s gotten the nod as the starting quarterback for the Broncos.  His first game out in that role he dug a deep hole, but then climbed out of it.  He’s 1-0, but it’s ugly.  So this has inflamed all of the usual can-he-make-it-in-the-NFL talk concerning his release, his drop-back ability, and so forth.

Fine.  Fair.  But he’s getting a different sort of attention, too.

If you know anything about Tebow besides that he’s a gifted athlete, you probably know that he’s an unapologetic Christian.  However, he is outspoken only to the degree that he talks about it freely when asked.  Mostly, he simply appears to live his faith to an admirable degree, of which most of us fall short.  (Ever been to the Philippines to help poor children (three years)?  I haven’t.  Save yourself for marriage?  I didn’t.)  He is a young man who appears to be genuinely, sustainedly motivated to try to be the hands and feet of Christ.

And he’s hated for that.

I’ve been chewing on two pieces this week, both posted on Facebook where I could see them.  First I read this one, and wasn’t sure what it was talking about.  Though I pay more attention to the NFL than I have in some time, I’m still not a big fan/voracious reader on it, and hadn’t encountered any non-football anti-Tebow sentiment as this piece discussed.  (I mean, there was the Super Bowl commercial, but I’m talking about sustained, standing around hating on the guy.)  Then I saw this one.

Wow.  How have we gotten here?  Is it really as simple as Tebow makes us see our shortcomings in unusually clear focus, and that’s not pleasant, so screw him?  Part of me fears that it is.  Another part of me thinks there are folks who would delightedly associate sick freaks like Westboro Baptist with Christianity in an effort to discredit it, and Tebow is an overwhelmingly positive witness for Christ, so he must be denigrated.  (I kind of wonder whether those sentiments aren’t two sides of the same thing.  Might be another post coming on that sometime.)

Have we really come to a place where we have so obvious a hero for our young people—indeed, for any of us—and he must be trashed and dismissed so we can get back to discussing the finer points of Lindsay Lohan’s probation?

 Posted by at 7:08 am
Oct 272011
  • I am going to be a fall festivalin’ fool this weekend—both the boys’ school and church.  I’m glad they had the good sense to do this on a weekend when Alabama is off.
  • Speaking of, you may have heard there’s a big football game next weekend.
  • I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a worse game than a lot of people think.
  • Good beer elevates cheap food, but cheap beer drags good food down.
  • I’m going to see a movie with BamaDan next week.  Had a look at what’s playing, and saw The Thing, Ghostbusters, and Footloose.  That’s just wrong.
  • Lea used to work with this guy who, when he called in sick, would say “I’m just not feeling my best.”  I love that.  It’s funny because it’s vaguely prissy, but it’s also ingenious, because how often do you really feel your best?
  • Looking forward to my Kindle Fire.  I thought the Wi-Fi-only thing might irritate me, but I’ve found with my mobile blogging rig that there’s an awful lot of Wi-Fi out there.
 Posted by at 12:01 am
Oct 262011

Impromptuest of impromptu lunches with Saintseester.  We tried Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.  Initial impression:  mostly, I felt old.  The music was really loud; the hostess/greeter-type was too young to be dancing that way.

Damned kids nowadays.

I had the Cabo cobb salad, and she had a steak taco and a bowl of black bean soup.  It was all competently prepared, but quite bland, and certainly not a good choice for the budget-conscious.  For this fare, it’s Moe’s next time; for Bridge Street, it’s…I don’t know, just somewhere else.

‘Seester didn’t have the shoes to walk—like I said, we didn’t plan this—so I’m just enjoying this sapphiric day from the Technical Writing Express, waiting for a meeting to start.  I was about to call it tranquil, but then there was a distant jake-braking.

Hope your Wednesday is going to suit.

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
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