Observation

Observations. These posts are akin to journal entries.

My Dad’s Christmas Story

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One Christmas morning, my father attempted to describe Santa as Solid Snake.

This is that story.

“Dad, does Santa really go house to house delivering toys?”
“He does indeed; why just last night this Christmas Eve, I heard him.”
“What? No!”
“Yeah, I was sitting here watching TV after you’d gone to bed, and I thought I heard jingling coming from the roof, like bells on a reindeer. I turned off the TV, and the sound stopped. I unmuted it, and the sound returned! I turned it off and on one more time and then I was sure of it! I heard a jingling, but only when the TV was on! It was Santa, trying to use the sound of the TV to muffle the sounds of him infiltrating our household!”

Genius

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This morning, I woke up terrified.

I had had a bad dream, one of those vivid ones that so impresses itself upon your mind that they are impossible to forget. Usually, for me, they have to do with some sort of tragedy that affects and injures me directly; I become paralyzed, people in my family are tortured and killed, or other such personal tribulations.

Last night, however, I had a nightmare of philosophy, of an abstract idea, and it chilled me to the bone.

It might seem at first blush that my dream was more similar to nightmares of personal pain, for I dreamt that a friend of mine from high school had died in a freak car accident. And while it is true that this concept scared and saddened me, what I found more affecting, and what my brain decided to focus on as I slept, was the idea that with her death, the world had lost an artistic genius.

I was forced by my dream to reflect upon the idea that I had directly experienced and been touched by the sort of person whose talent and work are truly exceptional. I had seen and talked and hugged and laughed and argued with a person whose ability is so great and yet seems so natural that it can make others certain of the existence of god, for it seems inconceivable to some that a person could have been the driving force behind what they had done.

Just as I felt honored and excited by the idea that I had been exposed to someone so rare and so precious, my brain brought me crashing back into pain and sorrow by reminding me that genius is just as fragile, if not more so, than the mediocre.

I woke up wishing that I didn’t have to live in a world where those who are of greater mind than I can perish, where with a single accident or poor choice the world loses not only a life that is precious in and of itself, but also a cornucopia of potential works of genius.

My brain showed me the nightmare image of a body, and every potential work of genius that it could create, being consumed by flame.

It’s an idea that will haunt me to my last.

Memory

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Ever have one of those days where you just remember? Where you’re just sitting quietly and suddenly a great memory just pops into your head? That happened to me today.

I remembered my Mom and I taking a road trip to LA together to help her friend move. We spent a long weekend together, just the two of us, and I really enjoyed spending time with her. I remember how we went to dinner at Downtown Disney, just for fun, and they wouldn’t let us ride our Segways, which we’d ridden from our hotel a couple of miles away, in the shopping area. We pushed them to the restaurant.

I remember enjoying the meal and talking about how hot it was at her friend’s house and how her cats were cute and how I was excited for my senior year of high school. I remember how we admitted to each other how we both hated LA, and then she took a sip of her wine and I looked out the window at the Disney crowds.

What I don’t remember is ever thinking that I might one day remember that moment and cry.

I don’t think anyone ever thinks that.

Seattle’s Cold Snap

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We’ve had a little bit of a cold snap here in Seattle over the past week. I was lucky to have decided to bring my camera with me to work on one of the coldest days. I was able to get these great pictures before I started work. My favorite of these three is the one of the bear statue; it looks like the bear had been cryogenically frozen!

Click the pics to see them in full size.

The Insult

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I was sitting at work the other day, and several small children crowded around my cashier’s window. Their mother said,

“Get away kids, it’s just a man in a booth. He’s nothing exciting to look at.”

“Thanks,” I said dejectedly, to no reply.

Companies and Cash Flow, or, Why Assume They’re Dumber Than You?

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In discussing the launch of Square today on Twitter, someone brought up an argument that I’ve heard from a myriad of different people about a myriad of different services: “It’s gonna fail, they have no revenue stream.”

My reaction to this is one of irrational anger. The question seems to me to make some faulty assumptions, most heinous of which is the assumption that the people who came up with the damned idea for the company in the first place never asked themselves that very question.

The fact of the matter is is that if a technology or service is good enough, someone will pay for it. Armchair business managing is pointless- you have no real perspective on what it takes for any business that you perceive as “set for failure” to actually do so.

I’m reminded of the start of the radio broadcasting industry; people then asked, “Who will pay for a message to no one in particular?”

Ultimately, what we as users of cool technology should do is just that: use them. Who cares if I have no clue how they’re generating revenue? They have a lot more at stake than I do; they’ll figure it out.

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