Also, the rest of the world uses 220 volts instead of 110 volts like the US. If you plug US electronics into the rest of the world’s outlets, your gizmos will fry! If you’re only taking an iPhone and an iPad to china (like me) you should know that the white charger deally will actually convert for you. You don’t have to buy a $40 dollar international power kit (like me). Doh!
if your itunes library craps out you can just use the latest version from your backup in time machine. I decided not to do that so that I could start over because there were like 300 gigs of missing and deleted files that iTunes constantly wanted to “find.” Also, if you’re a fan of my playlists that’s why it’s been so long. I have a couple done I’m just suppppper busy right now.
I would recommend against syncing your phone contacts with facebook. It really didn’t work out for me.
One year ago today, I lost my mom to leukemia.
A post on the web is not enough to capture any of what that’s like, but there is one positive thing that I’ve been coming back to many times since.
There were few things unsaid between us. She allowed the space for me to share everything happening in my life, and shared a ton with me. Still, however, unsaid things were occasionally discovered, and promptly shared during the intense 4 months of treatment.
One evening that summer, she called me while a big rainstorm was hiding Manhattan in omnious clouds. She wanted to talk about the time in 4th grade when I was taking a piano exam and she couldn’t make it to see the performance. She apologized, said she really wanted to come and felt that she let me down. I didn’t remember this moment or this exam at all, but it was very clear in her mind. I told her that I remember the times she supported me much better. After this quick 5 minute call we became yet another tiny bit closer.
I was lucky to tell her a few things too.
Don’t leave much unsaid. Whatever is delaying you now will seem impressively unimportant soon. Pick up the phone, start writing – you and the recipient will both be surprised with what happens next.
You don’t have all day.
My grandmother passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. She died peacefully in her sleep after a fulfilling day with the rest of the family. It was probably the best possible death that anyone could hope for. I 95% completed a letter that I had been meaning to send her for over two months. It is a crushing regret. I cannot think of anything I did in the last two months that was more important than sending it
It probably happened a while ago but the realization just hit me. I just found out that I’m a serious, over the line Star Wars fan. POW, RIGHT IN THE FEELINGS!
This morning I was reading a blog post review of a recent episode on a Star Wars fan blog. You can watch that episode for free online here. A sometimes reviewer posted that he thought the episode was so good that he couldn’t possibly write a full. I snapped and wrote the following comment:
(be warned that this is some nerdy shit)
Huh, I guess I’m the only one who thought it was mediocre. The whole thing was wrought with plot devices which made no sense. Ashoka is able to fend of Grievous while he wields 4 lightsabers but has trouble with bumbling pirates. The location of illum is secret, how did the pirates even know the ship was going to be waiting in space at those particular coordinates? Why wasn’t the ship traveling back to the jedi temple in hyperspace? Furthermore, why was the jedi training ship just floating in space without shields? And why would it have no weapons in war time to defend against a pirate attack? Why don’t the pirates shoot grievous before he could have potentially killed ashoka? Why did a hit from the pursuing pirate tank destroy a much larger space vessel but not a tiny tank the younglings were in? Grievous’s fleet control’s the “whole system” that florrum is in, how could they escape? Maybe they are just totally incompetent.
None of this makes sense if you think about it for one second. It’s the hallmark of poorly thought out, sloppy writing. Someone said, hey we want an episode where younglings rescue ashoka and didn’t bother to think of something that might fit logically. For instance, the pirates can’t overpower ashoka (because at this point she’s basically a jedi knight apprenticed to one of the most powerful jedi in the galaxy), but they could capture a youngling and use them as a hostage. Since petro is such a hot head, one of his schemes going awry would be good. His angst over having lost ashoka would be critical character development. See, this isn’t hard but the writers and director don’t seem to know how.
The whole last episode was predicated on the notion that a large training ship couldn’t just squash a tiny speeder tank chasing our heroes. Sure, the animation is better and the action is good but the story itself is sucrose and poorly written.
- My comments above are only directed at obvious, gaping plot holes. The arc also ignores incredibly basic storytelling techniques. For instance, when Katooni is trapped behind the ice wall at the end of the gathering Petro decides to leave her behind the ice so that he can selfishly find his own crystal. The shot order shows him walking away from Katooni, reconsidering and then returning back. His change of heart is a piece of character development that shows he is dynamic character learning to care about others rather than being so self centered. Then the shot cuts to Katooni sobbing because she has no way out. Because we see Petro has already turned back, the viewer knows she’s about to be rescued and Katooni’s anguished emotional response has no feeling for the audience. Similarly, seeing Petro reconsider and turn back robs him of the surprise entrance against the ice. It’s kind of a major mistake to go to the trouble of setting up a shot and then flubbing the dramatic irony at the climax of a story. The TCW writers managed to steal both of the characters performance and development. All that had to be done was to just cut out the part where petro turns around and it could have worked.This isn’t a minor mishap in logical analysis, it is extremely basic storytelling technique. Sherlock holmes doesn’t reveal the mystery before the final confrontation. James Bond doesn’t learn the insidious plot after he escapes from the clutches of the villain. Comedians don’t tell the punchline before the end of the joke. All this stuff is very simple pacing and TCW writers are still younglings if they can’t handle it.
But I guess I’m totally alone on this. I could also say that every other piece of star wars media has shown padawans (not younglings) building their own lightsabers with the help of their jedi master but whatever, with Dunc’s advice about canon I’m learning to ignore that stuff.
I’ve seen this happen to other people, even close friends. I’m saying this now. Be careful, Star Wars is a lot like Twilight except there are like 200 books, 1000 comic books, 8 movies (soon to be more) and five seasons of a television show. Luckily there is still a chance for me. I haven’t started writing fan fiction or participating in forums. I guess this isn’t any different than people watching other shows and talking about them online but I somehow feel very dirty.
You don’t need to practice. You just need to be willing to follow the directions EXACTLY. EXACTLY.
Further, following the directions exactly is in no way difficult! The only reason you can’t parallel park is because you aren’t following the directions to the letter. You think your car is too close, or too far, or too angled, and you don’t turn your wheel all the way, or you keep moving when the directions have told you to stop and turn your wheel. The directions for parallel parking (that you get from the DMV, or in your driver’s ed course) are actually very precise and if you follow them exactly, you will park your car perfectly every time. You do not need to practice, you just need to fucking follow the directions. Parallel is not a “skill,” it is more like a binary thing.
I discovered this one day when, in the pre-enlightened state of “oh, I can’t parallel park very well” I decided one day that maybe I would just try doing exactly (literally) what the directions said, and found to my surprise that I parked absolutely perfectly. And I happened to be driving a rented minivan. After that day, I instantly became able to parallel park, having realized that parallel parking is not a “skill” that you “learn” (you don’t get better by “practicing”), all it is is doing exactly what the directions you originally learned said to do. It does not require judgment developed from practice, merely the mental fortitude to really follow the instructions and not deviate at all.
Here are the directions, with extra “do it exactly this way”-style bolding and prompting:
- Drive around until you find a spot that looks big enough.
- Pull up even to the front car. If your cars are different lengths, line up the back of your car with the back of the front car as best you can. You don’t have to be exact here.
- While stopped, turn your wheel all the way to the right. ALL THE WAY. Don’t move forward or back while doing this!
- Turn around and look out the back of your car.
- Begin backing up. Your car should start turning into the spot. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-right position!
- Stop backing up when the right-front corner of the rear car is in the exact middle of your rear windshield. If you imagine a line extending backwards from your car along its centerline, you stop when the right-front corner of the rear car reaches that line.
- I said STOP.
- While stopped, turn your wheel back to the middle position.
- Back up slowly until your car just barely clears the front car, then stop again.
- Turn your wheel all the way to the left. All the way! Stay stopped while you do this.
- Now keep backing in. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-left position!
- Once your car is parallel, STOP and then turn your wheel to face forwards again.
If you think you’re following these directions correctly but you still can’t parallel park, I guarantee you that the problem is that you aren’t following them correctly. You are most likely still moving backwards at the same time as you are turning the steering wheel instead of stopping first. Or you think you are too close, or have too much of an angle, and you lose your nerve and you stop following the directions and you turn your wheel not enough or too early or while you’re still moving backwards. Don’t do those things. Parallel parking is a precise mechanical formula that works every time, and all you need in order to be an “expert” is to follow the directions exactly.
There is, in fact, only one element of “judgment” in this whole thing, and it’s the ability to determine whether a spot is large enough for your car. That isn’t usually a problem because often spots are demarcated and you can sort of visually compare using other cars to see if a spot is large enough. But once you find a space, it’s just about being a robot and following the directions.
So the parallel parking “tip” is: You’re failing because you’re doing it wrong. Stop being stupid, and do it right.
One of my favorite things from the mid-oughts has made a glorious resurgence, THE SHOW w Ze Frank is now, A SHOW w Ze Frank. And it’s on youtube!
It’s like hanging out with a smart, quirky, somewhat unfocused friend who doesn’t sleep enough.
Because it’s great and amazing.
A few months back, I posted one of my favorite interviews with Jim Rohn in repeatr. In it he talks about the cost of a television. He says that the tv only costs a few hundred dollars but the real cost is tens of thousands of dollars in lost time.
This is me not spending 99cents on Angry Birds Space, despite the phenomenal reviews.
If you follow my musical tastes I just setup a twitter for REPEATR.net https://twitter.com/#!/repeatr My nefarious plan is to only post certain playlists there.
As you surely remember from The Dustin Boyer Easy Peasy Guide to Productivity:
3. Exercise makes my blood pump and there is blood in my brain. That’s a weak argument but running up flights of stairs makes me happy.
Turns out, when I was making stuff up, I got something right. Here’s a sweet excerpt from a recent NYTimes article:
Meanwhile, blood samples taken throughout the experiment offered a biological explanation for the boost in memory among the exercisers. Immediately after the strenuous activity, the cyclists had significantly higher levels of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is known to promote the health of nerve cells. The men who had sat quietly showed no comparable change in BDNF levels.
For some time, scientists have believed that BDNF helps explain why mental functioning appears to improve with exercise. However, they haven’t fully understood which parts of the brain are affected or how those effects influence thinking. The Irish study suggests that the increases in BDNF prompted by exercise may play a particular role in improving memory and recall.
:: Exercise via The NYTimes ::
There has been a lot written on productivity. Too much. Countless books, blogs, and seminars prattle endlessly about where it comes from, how to get it, and what to do once you have it. Many of the latest techniques are interesting but I find that 90% of my productivity hinges on three pretty simple and often overlooked factors. ie Low-hanging fruit.
1. Am I hydrated?
2. Have I eaten fruits and vegetables?
3. Have I gotten any physical exercise?
1. A lot of times when I’m “tired” or “feeling lazy” I’m actually just thirsty. I think that the easiest way to tell if I’m hydrated is if I have to pee when I wake up in the morning. Urine color is also a major indicator. Yellow bad, clear better. I also try to keep a glass of water on my desk during the day so that I have to get up and pee a couple times. I find it’s helpful to just walk away from whatever I’m doing for about 5-10 minutes every hour but I always forget. Staying hydrated helps.
2. I usually take fruit to meetings. I sometimes suspect this might be inappropriate but fuck it, I live in the Bay Area and anything goes. I like an epic salad 4 out of 7 days per week. Greens keep my immune system bounding back from all the damage that is otherwise wrought on it.
3. Exercise makes my blood pump and there is blood in my brain. That’s a weak argument but running up flights of stairs makes me happy.
++ Update ++
A lot of people have mentioned that sleep is a leading indicator for them as well. I have noticed that I get better ideas and do more work when everyone else is asleep. 5-7 hours is ideal, whereas 8 makes me groggy all day.
Just read a phenomenal David Foster Wallace piece and I have been fighting the urge to put footnotes in my emails.
I’ve noticed that there are a number of mailing lists that won’t remove my email even if I delete myself from their lists. Once my email is out there, it’s gone. I have had some luck “updating” my email on spam lists to another email. My rationale is that if some company thinks it’s mailings are so valuable that customers would update their email address they will discard the old one. Speaking of who is watching your email: