Oh my gosh.
Watching Gillian and David flirt on twitter affects me at a molecular level.
Misspelled Post Title!
I feel like I was walking around all night with mustard on the side of my lip.
And no one said anything.
I thought we were friends.
I am drawn to apocalyptic fiction and fantasy, as recently alluded. Particularly the human side of it.
It started with reading Nevil Shute’s On The Beach in high school. The premise is that a massively nuclear WWIII has wiped out the northern hemisphere, leaving Australia and New Zealand unscathed. Unfortunately, the radioactive fallout is working its way there and they know the end is coming soon. The story follows a few months in the lives of people there as they prepare for the inevitable end in their own ways. Heartbreaking. There’s no happy ending.
And then in college I discovered one of my desert island books, The Stand. I’m sure I read it the first time on a two-day bender, straight through, without sleeping, showering, or eating anything that didn’t come in shrink wrap. While I love the book as a whole, it’s really the first half where Captain Trips works its way through the population, killing everyone, and the way the survivors coped that gripped me. It was heartbreaking, and if you consider the first movement of the book by itself, there’s no happy ending.
Movies, too. The other night, when I should have been sleeping, I got sucked into Contagion. It was on TBS, so they stretched it into about 4.5 hours. I love Soderbergh, and they actually filmed some of it in my office. Look for a brief shot of an abandoned trading floor, and a fancy conference room with this weird, fake grass on the table. But that’s not what got me. It’s how people bonded together, or didn’t, as the world appeared to be ending. And even lesser movies have had the same effect on me, like Deep Impact. (We can forget about Armageddon, though, except for any scene involving Liv Tyler.) Same deal: even though the apocalypse wasn’t total and there were plenty of survivors, you’d have a hard time arguing those are happy endings.
I get sucked in every time, like a bug to a black light.
In each of those stories, there is a point where a few elites know the truth before the masses do. There’s usually an effort to conceal the information, but it’s futile. At some point, enough people are dropping dead and the truth is plain to see. That usually goes badly for those elites. Either there’s backlash from the mob, or they get sick, too. Not a happy ending.
Turkey on Toast
"Yes, let’s take the driest meat, then make some bread extra dry, and put that all together."
I was going through some old files (I’m kind of a pack rat in that sense) and discovered the schematic above. For those of you who’ve seen The Good at any point since about 1996—and shame on those of you who haven’t—you’ve surely noted the four floorstanding houselamps we have on stage. They’re the kind of thing your grandma had in her house in the 70’s. We drilled holes out in the lampshades so they spell out G-O-O-D. See what we did there?
We’d been touring with them for a while, I think, when the idea struck me that it’d be fun to animate the lights, to set them up to blink rather than just be on all the time. There were various professional lighting devices available at the time that would have met the requirements and more, but we were already in debt and barely clawing out with our gig money. It was cheaper to build than to buy. So I designed and built this digital controller circuit for under $150. That’s it in the second picture. The control circuit is in the leftmost junction box, and the second one has solid state relays to control the 120V lamp circuits. It’s all screwed to a 2x6. There is also a remote footswitch to turn the lights on/off, and to initiate the blinking sequence.
Here’s what struck me as I looked at the yellowing schematic: I have been building technology, first as a hobbyist and then professionally, since I was about twelve years old. None of the software I built for a living (not counting my current “job”) is running anywhere. I don’t think that’s so much a referendum on the quality of my work—just life in a corner of the financial services world where ideas don’t work forever, so by definition neither will your software. And all the audio gadgets I’ve built over the years are in landfills. Most couldn’t handle life on the road, or were inferior to commercial products that are also cheaper.
But this stupid thing—after years of rough treatment traveling the country, being stomped on, having beer spilled on it, being chucked into trailers at 2:00am—is still running strong since 1996. Other than a couple of failed receptacles which you can see are disabled by duct tape, this has never required maintenance. This is by far my most enduring engineering work.
H: The last dozen years of my life have been in some part defined by a decent chunk of friends in my demographic cohort suffering sudden, complete failures of their meat suits. Too soon.
He: Hiding behind process is the lowest form of cowardice. Get shit done or get the fuck out the way. And shut up while you’re at it.
Li: I remember being 25 and knowing everything. No idea why I wasn’t bludgeoned. Maybe the 40-somethings in charge remembered their own stupid youth and took some pity? Maybe I should emulate those guys now?
Be: I’m not as angry as that all seems. I’m on my way home in 66° weather. Tonight there will be wine, good company, and music to soothe. And it’s an old person place with seats.
B: The next two weeks are big, busy, and bold. I embrace change; always have. I thrive on volatility. But even by my standards, these are big waves building. Surf’s up.