Sunday, December 25, 2005


Peace, everyone. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


I have 88 photos uploaded on Flickr, the popular "photo sharing" service that was recently purchased by Yahoo!. I modified my BLOG template to show off three pictures at random on the left-hand side of this page. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope to see some of your photos on Flickr.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Life. My Card.

American Express has been running an ad campaign called "My life. My card.", and it's in the style of those quick-quiz profiles. I first saw this ad a few weeks ago in my Sports Illustrated. I've always been fond of these of these little snap-shot portraits. In the style of these ads, here's me:

childhood ambition: to become a writer
fondest memory: trip to Paris with my wife
soundtrack: theme to Star Wars
retreat: uncrowded movie theater
wildest dream: to publish a book
proudest moment: hearing my daughter say "thank you", "please", and "I love you"
biggest challenge: getting the next job
alarm clock: lately, my Palm Pilot (6:20AM)
perfect day: a round of golf
first job: computer operator
indulgence: taking the long way while running an errand
last purchase: take-out pizza for me and my wife
favorite movie: one of them is Cinema Paradiso
inspiration: people figuring things out

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Strike

I had been working on a long blog about the strike by the Transit Workers Union in New York City, when I learned this afternoon that an agreement had been reached, and the strike would be stopped. So much for topical blogging on my part. However, Tom Evslin wrote a strong piece that has aspects of my position on pensions, which was a major sticking point in this strike. I hope the spotlight stays on pensions even though the strike has ended.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Wow, what a dense movie this was!

I saw this tonight and wasn't prepared for the movie to finish the way that it did. There was a slight buzz when the credits started to roll. I characterize it as the sound of an audience scratching their heads. My immediate reaction was "is that it!?" I wanted the director, Stephen Gaghan, to step in front of the screen and ask us if we had any questions. Still, the main characters in this movie (played by George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Wright) had somewhat recognizable character arcs. But I still won't fully understand Clooney's entire story without a second viewing.

The movie has been compared to "Traffic", the Steven Soderbergh movie about drugs. Mr. Gaghan was the screen writer for that movie, but I felt that "Traffic" is the more accessible of the two. Still, I recommend "Syriana".

(The final frames of the credits point to a website about our dependency on oil.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Grass is Always Greener

I don't remember when it started, but over the past few years I have been assembling a list of non-computer jobs that I wish I could do. I still love working on computers; don't get me wrong. But I do often think about working in one of these completely different jobs. Here are some of those jobs that I would love to be good at:

Limousine Driver - Yes, that's right. Limo driver. I've often pondered life as a professional driver. I like the idea of reading the newspaper in an idling Crown Victoria, waiting for some big shot to get to the airport, or downtown, or wherever. I like the idea of driving without having a destination. Driving for the sake of driving. I feel I would astonish passengers by my smooth driving skills, and savvy road knowledge.

When I lived in Pasadena back in college, one of my favorite things to do was drive to Los Angeles Airport. I loved volunteering to take people there, whether to pick them up or drop them off. There are dozens of ways to get to LAX, and I must have tried them all. I thought "wouldn't it be cool if I could do this all day?"

Repair Man - Some of the most pleasant conversations I've had as a homeowner were with the repair men (all men so far) that have come to our house. I do very little hands-on repair, so we pay a good amount for plumbing repair, oil burner repair, even simple appliance repair. Everyone who's been here were pleasant, and very competent.

This is a job that's close to home. My Dad was an electrical technician (and now an electrical inspector), and my father-in-law is very handy man around the house. Once, my father-in-law repaired a circuit in our breaker panel, and my Dad "inspected" the work he did ("he did a nice job"). I'm always amazed that my Dad knows exactly what wires to touch and not to touch.

Session Musician - Yes, I'm still playing guitar, but no one is going to be paying me to play anytime soon. But I enjoy fantasizing about it. And when I think about jobs in music, I always think about being a session musician. I don't need to be Eric Clapton; I want to be the guy who can play an Eric Clapton solo.

Many years ago I spent a few minutes chatting with one of my roommate's friends. He was strumming an electric guitar, and he was telling me that he wished he could play music full time. I asked him what he was playing right then, and he said he was practicing some progressions. He then played a few phrases so fluidly and easily that I was astonished he wasn't a full-time musician already. Now I know that being able to play and being able to play professionally are two different things, but I still remember thinking "I want to do that!"

Thursday, December 1, 2005

It's December

In New England, where I live, December is the return to cold, and while it's been relatively mild the past few days, this weekend may not break 40 degrees. I haven't worn my heavy coat yet, nor have I had to use my ice scraper, but I have definitely turned on the seat warmers in my car.

I also get wistful at this time of the year. I get to thinking about all the things I haven't done. Where has the year gone? Have I squandered it? December adds weight to these questions, so I constantly have to remind myself of all the things I have done. Still, December marks the high season for these feelings.

I have to wait for January before I can get back to my usual optimistic self.