By my own admission, I’m generally a hermit. When it comes to going places and doing things, especially after work, I usually do some of my best work in finding reasons not to do something. One of the reasons I like being on the occasional trip is that once removed from the need to get home to make dinner, figure out where the leak is coming from, mow the lawn, scrub the carpet, etc., I find that I actually do enjoy getting out for dinner and drinks with friends. From time to time, it’s good to exorcise my inner hermit… of course it will take most of next month to catch up on the sleep I’ve been missing this week. But tonight’s conversation, home cooked meal, and carrot cake cupcakes made it totally worth it.
OK, so I have safely arrived in Northern Virginia, checked in to the hotel, and before meeting some of the gang for dinner, I wanted to stock up on the beverages and munchies for the room. No problem, I’m in Alexandria, finding some place to pick up a few Cokes and a bag of chips shouldn’t be hard, right? Yeah. I can’t find a 7-Eleven, or a damned drugstore… but I can walk across the street and find a friggin Whole Foods. So instead of the high fructose kick I was looking for, I’m choking down one of the two bottles of something labeled “Honest Tea,” and looking at the baked organic potato chips and a bag of five apples that are about the size of handballs that I got for $14 and change. I really don’t even know what to say about that. There isn’t anything about this experience that doesn’t seem just plain wrong.
No time for a long post tonight. I’m packing out to head East for a few days. You can, of course, stay glued to Facebook for updates throughout the day tomorrow. As always, I’m sure this trip will lend itself to bitching and complaining about something. You’ll get the latest as soon as I’ve had a chance to type it out.
There’s a lot of talk today about the milestone of inaugurating a black president. Yes, it’s definitely a remarkable bit of history and not something I expected to see in my lifetime, but there hasn’t been much talk about the more important event that happened with the transfer of power to President Obama. In a time when the United States is at war in two countries, when entire sectors of the economy are collapsing, and when we the people are hell bent on hating one another for simple political difference there was a peaceful transfer of power from on leader to another. At a time when a Caesar or a Napoleon grasped the reins of power more firmly in other places and in other times, the Commander-in-Chief laid aside his powers and followed the long unbroken line of past presidents in the example set by the nation’s first chief executive. Instead of raising an army,
Of course today is a milestone in that it’s no longer acceptable to set limits based on race or to use it as an excuse , but it’s more important still in that we learned once again that the Constitution works; That our republic, despite its warts, remains strong. Could any of us really ask for a better milestone?
P.S. Could the Chief Justice at least have memorized the Oath of Office… Geesh…
Most people thing of history as a static truth; that X event happened on Y date. The reality, of course, is that history is fluid and full of interpretation. Like the proverbial stone in a river, the rough edges are worn away with time and a more whole picture of the subject emerges over time. When you are in the stream of history, it’s nearly impossible to approach a subject with real objectivity. With that being said, I’ve spent my time this morning wondering how history will treat George W. Bush. With the rancor and raw hatred of many of his critics, it’s nearly impossible to think that history won’t treat him better than his contemporaries have. Will history paint him as the happy warrior, hell bent on spread democracy or as an imperial and secretive president the likes of which has only been seen in one other administration?
I suspect that history will take something of a middle course. The presidency of George W. Bush has all the hallmarks of a classic tragedy. It was an administration full of possibility that failed to live up to that possibility. It was a portrait of the danger of governance by ideologs. And it was a remarkable tribute to the capacity of the American people to come together in the face of withering adversity and of how a leader could fritter away that goodwill. George W. Bush will remain something of a question mark in many ways. Say what you will, he staked out a clear ideological position on many issues and then stuck with them through thick or thin. On the keystone issue of government intervention in the free market, however, he turned those stated beliefs on their head to lead the largest government intervention since the 1930s. Enigma much?
Fifty or a hundred years from now, we’ll have a much fuller picture of the man who we elected king these last eight years. For now, we’ve had the fortune to live in interesting times. Would you really want it any other way?
This morning I was awake at 5:30 for no apparent reason. Snarky Facebook status messages aside, I actually do like being up early on the weekends. It’s just a hot mug of coffee, warm slippers, and the dogs curled up at my feet. Maybe more important is those early hours catch me in the best mood of the day before the asshats and idiots have had a chance to agitate the hell out of me. The day is still fresh with the possible. Most of that nice relaxed feeling will evaporate the minute my garage door rolls up and I have to deal with the rest of the world, but for now I’m enjoying it.
The problem with being good is that it conditions people to expect good things from you. I use to work with a guy, back when I was touching America’s youth, who was fond of reminding me to “set your goals low and achieve them.” Some days I wonder if I shouldn’t have applied that advice. I’ve never minded long hours or short deadlines and I’ve never backed off from the challenging projects, but sometimes I do worry that I have raised the bar of expectation a bit too high. I’m always game to throw in and get the job done, but damn don’t I hate pulling the fat out of the fire for someone who is apparently not subject to expectations of, you know, actually being able to do his job. Seriously, some days I wish I could tolerate the sloth of it all. Oh, and just for the record, it’s not that I have problems with authority… It’s that I have problems with people in positions of authority who have been promoted way, way beyond their level of competence. Then again, maybe I should just start fouling up every project I touch so they’ll promote me again. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
Today is the six year anniversary of my going to work for Uncle Sam. Like every other recent milestone lately, I’ve been struck by how quickly it came up. Six years isn’t one of the normal milestone years that end up being divisible by five, but it does mean that I am basically one fifth of the way through my career and that I’ve now spent more than twice as long doing this as I spent doing what I was studied to do in college (which also seems like a long, long time ago by the way). I’ve had a good run so far, which is a tribute more to the supervisors and colleagues I’ve had more than to my own native abilities. For anyone who followed my blog on MySpace and now here, you’ll know that I haven’t always been happy with it and I’ve often left the office fuming over some perceived slight or professional failure. Though it’s not always plain from the outside, I can honestly say that despite it all, I’ve always been proud of the job I’ve done. Hopefully the next six will be even better… Although a little less time on the road would be ok too.
Since October I have had the opportunity to own three of the leading smartphones on the market today. My typical preference for BlackBerry led me to the Bold and, briefly, to the Storm. My abject love of all things new and shiny led me to the iPhone. Having carried a BlackBerry device for the last five years, and it pains me to say this, my friends in Waterloo just are not keeping their devices terribly fresh. The handsets themselves are leaps and bounds over the old models, but their underlying operating system, web integration, and ability to add features just don’t hold up. By contrast, the iPhone is a remarkable piece of equipment. Its web browsing and the availability of 3rd party applications put it in the top tier of handhelds. It doesn’t handle a large volume of email as well as a BlackBerry and the lack of cut/paste functions can be irksome, but I kept coming back to how smoothly integrated the entire device seemed to be.
After carrying all three and living with each of them as my “daily driver,” my final decision is to keep the iPhone. It was a bit of a long goodbye to RIM while I gave them every opportunity to wow me with their new flagship handsets. I won’t rule out having another berry in my life someday, but they’ve got some work to do to earn back my business. As for now, I’m going to have some lightly used phones for sale (suitable for jailbreaking) once I cancel their contracts. I can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m breaking up with a long-time steady… or am I trading her in for a newer, sexier model?
I’m just not feeling it today, so I’ll be phoning in this post. I’m not sick and I don’t really feel bad in any way other than having no motivation at the moment. Seriously, I can’t think of a remotely interesting thing to say tonight. If I were to make a swag, I’d say that it’s probably got more to do with not getting enough sleep as I probably should be so far this week. Time was when getting four or five hours was enough to keep me running hard all day. This week it seems like that’s just enough to barely let me scrape by. Maybe I’ll take my own advice and crash early tonight… but lord won’t I feel lame trying to go to bed before 9:00!