Monthly Archives: January 2003

In His Time of Dying

… ”I’m on the periphery of a lot of despair, of course,” he said. ”You’d have to be stupid not to be. I have my moments when I’m not too thrilled about this whole deal. But at the same time, the songs have never come like this, so I’d have to feel more gratitude than anything else. I’m probably in the intensest creative period of my life.”

Zevon and his longtime bassist and collaborator, Jorge Calderon, have been writing whenever ideas strike them — including, Zevon says, via cellphone conversations ”from the aisle of the health-food store. I have to move fast, because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Read the rest over at the NYTimes. via Code the Web Socket (not a bad name – heh).

For Job Hunters, Stability Is the Thing

…Employees are staying at their jobs much longer, not necessarily because they want to, but because they feel they have to, according to interviews with employees, human resource managers and employment experts. The number one concern among employees today is job security — not stock options, not career growth.

…Employees accustomed to job-hopping are in danger of falling into a boredom trap — or of simply feeling trapped, even if they are with a job and career they like. That there are not messages from recruiters on their voice mail means those options, and the excitement of new possibilities, aren’t out there. That has been a painful change, even for those who might not want another job. Those feelings can translate into low morale and low productivity, companies have found.

Read the rest at the WashingtonPost.

Recently, a co-worker and friend found a new job after a nine month search. Unlike many job seekers out there he is currently employed. He needed to find a new employeer since he recently moved two hours away from us. With skill, experience and references beyond my own – he still had a difficult time.

Congrats to the Bucs

They beat the Raiders real, real, real bad. Don’t think I’ve seen a Super Bowl that one sided. What else can you say?

Well for one thing – twice in a row did the majority of sports commentators agree on the outcome of a NFL game and twice in a row they got it wrong.

Pundits – if they can’t predict the outcome of a football game how well do you think they are going to do with something like war or the economy?

Frank’s (and Shelley’s) (and the U.S.’s) Depression

One of the most famous images of the Great Depression of the 1930s is Dorothea Lange’s photo of a ragged old man selling apples on the street. As the Bay Area enters the second year of a recession that has left hundreds of thousands of Californians unemployed, that apple seller is now likely to be relatively young IT worker like Frank. Only, instead of apples, he hawks arcane high-tech skills in interactive TV or DVD authoring for a fast-food-outlet salary.

Read the rest over at SFGate. via Flutterby.

I haven’t been able to find a job, and that’s been about the worst for me; I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. But this is one I have to let go of. I have to concentrate on what I can control, which is finishing the book for O’Reilly, and digging up some other paid writing. And if I can’t find a computer job, or technical writing, or training, then I may have to look for work outside my field, but such is life. I was a waitress more than once, and have worked an assembly line years ago; if I have to wait tables again. or help cap bottles of Budweiser, I will. This is what people do when the economy takes a nose dive.

Read the rest over at Burningbird.

Bill Gates said on Sunday he did not expect a big pickup soon in technology spending, widely seen as a necessary ingredient for a sustained U.S. recovery.

“This economy is fairly flat — technology spending, there’s no big up-tick,” Gates told reporters at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.

Read the rest at Forbes.com.

The U.S. economy requires technology spending for sustained recovery? How did it get that way?

According to The Atlantic, the past ten years we’ve experienced one-dimensional growth. The service sector over all others. Information technology over manufacturing.

The New Economy decade assisted my ascendance from circumstances I am hesitant to share. You can get hints of it in my menu to the right. A combination of foresight, timing, connecting with people who inspired me, and above all hard work, have contributed to bring me to my standing today. The circumstances of any moment in the future can wipe it all out in an instant. I can’t determine the cards I am delt, but I can control how I play them. A haunting question, that can’t be ever answered, is have I played them as well as I could have? Or should have? Here’s hoping we aren’t delt too many bad hands. Looks like many of the cards we’ve been playing with have been illusions.

The Atlantic Online – What is the real State of the Union?

The Atlantic puts online it’s special report, from the pages of the magazine, on the health of the nation.

Did you know that the proportion of Americans who believe that most other people are trustworthy has fallen steadily since 1960, from about 55 percent to just above 30 percent?

Did you know that since 1998 the United States has lost 11 percent of its manufacturing jobs? The second worst rate of job loss in the past fifty years.

There is *always* an evil to fight…

Dave says educating on how SUVs are bad for the environment is fruitless and unfair. It’s a great post that I think you should read.

To begin I’ll let Buffy do some talking for me…

BUFFY: My mom… said some things to me about being the Slayer. That it’s fruitless. No fruit for Buffy.

ANGEL: She’s wrong.

BUFFY: Is she? Is Sunnydale any better than when I first came here? Okay, so I battle evil. But I don’t really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, the boy that stuck his finger in the duck.

ANGEL: Dike. It’s another word for dam.

BUFFY: Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now.

ANGEL: Buffy, you know, I’m still figuring things out. There’s a lot I don’t understand. But I do know it’s important to keep fighting. I learned that from you.

BUFFY: But we never…

ANGEL: We never win.

BUFFY: Not completely.

ANGEL: We never will. That’s not why we fight. We do it ’cause there’s things worth fighting for. Those kids. Their parents.

BUFFY: (has an epiphany) Their parents.

ANGEL: Look, I know it’s not much.

BUFFY: No. No, it’s a lot.

Buffy is Gen-Y entertainment written by a Gen-Xer.

Dave’s post emphasizes getting your own house in order before thinking of others. I agree with his view that change begins with your own soul first, but I also know from the bottom of my heart that Gen-X took that lesson and ran with it for a long enough. You have to keep sharpening the saw but you also need to recognize you’re interdependent. Not doing so has brought disaster upon us all.

One of Dave’s core messages is that we need to stop looking at the world as a zero-sum game. I agree. Previous to 9-11 I didn’t know of one person my age that looked at the world in terms so stark. After 9-11 we need to be especially wary of it. But know that Gen-X simply wasn’t brought up that way. It was the Boomers who brought us up. It’s *always* been shades of gray for us. It’s been taken to the extreme. It’s gone too far.

Look at entertainment over the last ten years. What has it been about? Nothing. Nothing at all. Even our entertainment had commitment issues. The quote that defines Gen-X’s entertainment: “Oh well whatever. Nevermind.” The sitcom of the 90s? Seinfeld.

We have unreasonable standards of perfection for leaders and causes. Standards so high that no one can reach. Everyone is looked at as a fake and every cause get’s looked at with cynicism. Nothing is going to change. It’s not comprehensive enough. If it’s not done instantly it won’t be done at all. There are bigger troubles in the world to face. These sentiments have been guiding us. Leading us to apathy.

Entertainment, leaders, causes – all have been slowly nichified to the point that we can tune out any kind of participation with others. We’ve been taught that’s desirable. It may even be human nature. Technology helps enable this further and further. Even the Army recruitment advertisements sell us on being an “army of one.”.

Let me lay some lyrics down on you about how Gen-X looks at causes and leadership and you might understand. This song defines it better then anything else. From a hugely underrated band Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”:

Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of Personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the Cult of Personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights, A Nobel Price
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the Cult of Personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I’m the Cult of Personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandi
I’m the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don’t have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You me power in your God’s name
I’m every person you need to be
I’m the Cult of Personality

We’ve been brought up to distrust leaders. Distrust causes. Distrust each other and work on ourselves first. “Only you can set you free.” It’s the “greatest love of all” you know.

It’s time for us to open our windows. Time for us to look outside. 9-11 shows just how much the world will intrude on our inward journey. You cannot shut out the world. Whether it be with baby steps such as educating about SUVs, marching on Washington, or just getting out and voting. These small things mean more then what we’ve been taught.

The real definition of who and what we are is not what we think of ourselves – that’s the lie that’s been taught to us by marketers and the “me” generation. No – it’s how we treat others. It means telling some people we think they are irresponsible and not turning a blind eye to what others are saying. It means living by example. It means putting faith in human beings other then ourselves. It means knowing that we are not isolated islands but our actions – or inaction – has an effect beyond ourselves. These are hard realizations since we live in a time that interpersonal trust is at an all time low. We must fight that. We must reach out. We must converse. We must argue. Every person matters. Every soul matters. Dave says it’s about faith.

And I agree.

P.S.:

1. I normally refrain from cross-site discussions but I can’t help it this time since this is related to another conversation I am part of.

2. Dave equates my stance on SUV’s with this man hating post. Well no – I don’t agree with her at all. And I don’t agree with that equation either. Let’s not mix arguments. They aren’t related whatsover. Both are opinions, like assholes we all have them. Elaine and me are simply bucking the trend (or are part of the new trend) by sharing them. I don’t agree with her – but I support and welcome her right to express her opinion – no matter how rediculous I think it is. As far as I’m concerned – we’re in this world together – men and women. We need to work together. Not chemically try and elimate the other half of the human race or try and assert the superiority of one half from the other. Wow!

3. I realize some people need SUVs – the above is not directed at you. I never said I supported eliminating all SUVs. Far from it. I’m too much of a Gen-Xer to have a view that closed minded. Let me also add that I am a fan of recreational vehicles. I’m going to own a Mustang someday. But it’s not going to be my daily drive.

4. Dave and me are both devotees of Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and much of what we share has to do with subconsious reflections from that book. Buy it and read it.