Archive for August, 2005

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The world is flat

August 31, 2005

I had the good fortune this morning of hearing Thomas L. Friedman speak about his new book, The World is Flat. This was a real treat, as his book provides some very incisive commentary on where we are and where we are going in the era beyond mere Globalization.

I strongly recommend you read the book, as well as his earlier works.

Friedman was very energetic and interesting speaker, a treat in the era of authors who really can’t seem to communicate beyond the page. Although his presentation was clearly “scripted”, he delivered it with genuine enthusiasm and interest. It was clear that he feels passionately about the subject and expects the audience to do so as well.

His audience was probably a lot further along the “gee, Globalization has happened and technology has changed everything and the best is yet to come” scale than typical. One thousand Microsoft employees in a room is likely to make anyone rethink any premise. The people are smart enough to be able to pick apart any argument, even the most rock solid. In this case, however, the audience was gracious and the questions very on point.

It is useful to remind myself how far along the curve my little universe is when it comes to the reality of leading the 21st century instead of being stuck in the 20th. If only someone like me was President.

Go read the book and enjoy the coming changes. You will only get a few warnings.

I think it is time to teach the little one Chinese.

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Weight for this…

August 29, 2005

One of the downsides to loving food and drink is that sometimes you can love it too much. In fact, you can have such a intimate and joyful relationship that it never wants to leave; instead it leaves traces around your waist and in your legs and your face…. Yes, the potential always exists that the food lover can start carrying around a bit too much weight.

Such is the curse of being a sensualist. Indulgence requires some penance, or so we are lead to believe. Whether true or not, the reality is that as I age I find myself fighting an ongoing battle with my fine caloric friends.

It should be noted, however, that I have a truly obsessive personality and that I grow fearful over the slightest things (e.g., the fact that my left eye has more trouble opening in the morning than my right has convinced me that I have had a “micro stroke” (if such a thing existed) and a few key blood vessels have been damaged.) However, I have maintained a healthy balance with my weight over the past few years. This comes after some medicine induced weight gain several years ago that I had to shed through a long period of very diligent eating and exercise.

Ok, I will cut to the chase here. I am comfortable at my weight of 181 lbs and really don’t feel or look overweight. My clothes all fit; in fact. some are loose. I eat well and exercise regularly. My wife thinks I look just fine. I often believe her.

The infamous Body Mass Index (BMI) says I should way less than 170 lbs in order to be considered “normal”. I know that the BMI is a broad generalization that does not take many factors into consideration and should be used as a rough guide, not a precise calibration tool. But, I obsess.

I decided today that I am going to bring my weight down to 169 lbs by 12/31/05. I am doing this only because I can’t stand the thought of being considered “overweight” according to some chart that has minimal validity.

At 169 pounds, most of my clothing will probably not fit anymore. That means lots of trips to Nordstrom’s, not a bad deal benefit. It also means that I might come away looking a bit gaunt. But, I will have my ego intact, if not inflated.

I will be using a very special, cutting edge diet. If you are reading this, please note that I will likely be writing a best-selling book on this technique, so get it now while still free. I can’t claim to have invented this diet, but will certainly attempt to popularize it.

Norman’s Amazing Weight Loss Program:

  • Eat less
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more
  • Drink in moderation
  • Reduce stress
  • Wear sunscreen

Ok, the last element is just plain common sense.

You heard it here first, so please refer your friends to this blog for the full details.

I will keep everyone updated between now and the end of the year on my progress.

Also, during this same time period I will be raising my IQ by 20 pts and earning an extra $500k. Look for details on those programs soon.

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To experience the truffle foam…

August 27, 2005

If you read the various food and lifestyle magazines regularly, as you well should, then you know about the revolution taking place in culinary corners. Lead by the so-called “alchemists of food” like Ferran Adria at el Bulli in Spain, the very elements of our food are being deconstructed, reconstructed, and realigned. Solids become liquids, liquids become powder, and all sense of stability seems lost.

The reason this comes to mind is because I am going to Spain in November and I am not going to be able to enjoy a visit to el Bulli. Adria seems to think it is ok to be closed several months a year, leaving gastrotourists like me out in the cold. What kind of world do we live in?

I could buy Adria’s book and make the recipes myself, but the book is a little pricey. Instead, I think I should just use my imagination.

Here is my imaginary menu:

Peanut butter smoke floating over frozen toast and jam jelly
Crispy tofu chips infused with potato
Diet Coke croutons
Essence of Oreo cookie

Maybe I should buy the book.

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The Borg have arrived in my fridge

August 23, 2005

You remember the Borg, don’t you? They were the merciless aliens that wanted to assimilate humans and traveled around in geometrically perfect (cubes, spheres) ships. They all had some sort of internal RSS system going on, so Seven of Nine could know just what her buds were thinking as soon as they thought it. Geeks loved them.

Having failed to conquer Earth after several seasons on Star Trek, the Borg have clearly decided to try a new tactic. They are shipping cubes of mind altering substances to our stores and we are buying them.

The most recent example is the amazing Ice Tea Squares from Republic of Tea. I have been a long time fan of RoT for their eco-friendly and socially conscious products that taste great and are only a wee bit overpriced. These Ice Tea Squares (they are actually cubes, but geometry is not necessary for brewing good tea) come in three great flavors — Ginger Peach Decaf, Passion Fruit, and Raspberry Quince — and retail for $11.99. I found them in a local Cost Plus for 50% off, a real steal.

Next time, wine cubes!

Resistance is futile.

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Slashfood Check it out with some wine and cheese….

August 19, 2005

SlashfoodCheck it out with some wine and cheese.

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I continued to be dismayed over this topic. I resp…

August 19, 2005

I continued to be dismayed over this topic. I respect the beliefs of others, but I expect my educational system to teach things that have some basis in reality and fact. No serious scientist on the planet buys into “intelligent design”.

Religion belongs in the church and in the home. It does not belong in our schools. There is a very good reason for that.

Frist voices support for ‘intelligent design’ – Politics – MSNBC.com

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My choice. I am burned out on blogs. Yes, there …

August 19, 2005

My choice.

I am burned out on blogs.

Yes, there is such a thing. I honestly found that after reading so many blogs each day, and diligently writing mine as often as possible, I just couldn’t take it anymore. My mind could not focus on, nor differentiate among, the endless stream of words and opinions. I had nothing more to say.

What is the cause, I began to ask myself (after essentially just dropping out of the “blogsphere” — could there be a more idiotic name?). I was really attempting to deconstruct my own deep engagement in a fundamentally zero-sum game. I read and read and repeated and repeated. No steps forward and no steps back.

There are a few blogs that a truly innovative, interesting, and capable of rising above the day to day musings of PC prophets or the oh-so-cool insider rants on everything from fashion to fetish, bits to bats. There are writers out there that I admire and envy, some so fiendishly good that they deserve a dedicated stream on the internet all their own. And, then, there is everyone else.

As best as I can determine, for every great blog there are at least 10,000 ordinary blogs. Not necessarily just plain bad, but ordinary in the purest sense of the word. Like a conversation at the Laundromat, the barber, or the health club. A simple exchange between two ordinary people just like me.

Therein lies the problem. I can only take so many of those type of conversations in real life, and the same applies online. I don’t want to have 20 of those type of conversations a day. I want to be able to have a few and from them extrapolate all I need to know about other people for the day.

The solution, or so I read in about 600 blogs, was RSS feeds. Yeah, right. Now I can have those same ordinary conversations following me around everywhere I go. Like a curse placed on me by a lazy witch, I would have to listen to the innermost thoughts of everyone I passed on the internet. Not working for me, babe.

I detached. I never even opened my RSS reader anymore. I stopped reading all but a very select few blogs, and those very topically focused on the things I care about offline. This was my secret shame (I DO work for the biggest software company in the world) and my secret pleasure. I could go for days without the voices of others gently interrupting my day.

Am I hypocrite? Sure. Who isn’t in some way? Are my own words exceedingly ordinary? I think so, but you might decide otherwise.

I am stepping back lightly into pushing my own ordinary voice into the wilderness. It might be an essentially one-sided affair, but I think it is better for me than reading all those other voices. I am selfish, ego-driven, and perhaps as in need of external validation as the next person.

Validate my thesis and stop reading me. Validate my ego and read me some more.

Your choice.

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