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small white square Clear days here, beautiful mild weather - there's snow on the further Diablo mountains, it's been that cold this year - last year I didn't notice any. Down south they call it "Postcard Weather", these sparkling warm January blue-sky days with snow-capped mountains. Another peculiar to California: "Earthquake Weather" - this is when it's really hot and windless. People also refer to the winter as "Monsoon Season" if it's an especially rainy one (the opposite of what we're experiencing now).

small green square No action at work yesterday; today we're coming back to life. Seems that in the course of moving one system to another a bulk copying program fell into a loop because of some links people'd set up in their directories. The machines would've happily just chugged along forever... "Clearcase", our vital code control system, hadn't been on speaking terms with the new operating system until today. "We're waiting for a phone call" one of the network people stated helpfully, at our big bi-weekly meeting when this topic came up. Attending that meeting was the only thing work-related I did all yesterday. To kill time I continued reading this "electronic" version of Jack London's The Sea-Wolf that I FTP'd from Project Gutenberg. Enjoying the sea-faring tale which opens on San Francisco Bay. Sometimes the sailors are unexpectedly becalmed, out in the Pacific, as we've been at work also.

small yellow square Good stuff in today's Salon - James Poniewozik discussion of two new books: Neal Gabler's Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality. He

...argues that the mass media not only have turned all they present -- politics, war, murder -- into entertainment but have caused us to lead our lives as calculated performances as well.

Gabler contends that modern news events, public discourse and even our private lives are now self-consciously modeled on the movies, becoming presentations he calls "lifies." Beginning in the Jacksonian era, Gabler traces how elitist art and populist entertainment have clashed in American culture, with the latter ultimately dominating. So what's the difference between art and entertainment?

... and Zig Zag, which collects twenty essays written between 1962 and 1997 by Hans Magnus Enzensberger:
In "Second Thoughts on Consistency," Enzensberger casts the 20th century as one long, horrific series of committed individuals sticking to well-thought-out programs with disastrous results -- sold through slogans like "You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."

"Consistency," he writes memorably, "will turn any good cause into a bad one."

small orange square I'm still limping down the corridors, keeping close to the walls for support (if necessary), getting tired of explaining why. The foot feels like the aftermath of that time I stepped on a firecracker. However, the pain in my shoulder I reported last year has faded almost completely; but then, I haven't stressed it at the gym; no workings-out since the operation.

small cyan square In family news, my brother J has sent his Big Letter of an email to my parents. This is the thing I mentioned here - he's sent me copies which would be so easy to include, but it's all too private and personal and I just couldn't but I realize what a horrible tease that is and a violation of good journaling so here's a block:

But we do a terrible job of communicating. Q confided to me once that the one thing that she finds off-putting about us is that "We never talk!" Family members get fed up with or deeply hurt by things others say or do, often when they have misinterpreted something, and they brood about it for months or forever, and they may reveal this to someone else but never to the principal party from whom some sort of resolution or closure might be obtained. I think that we need to do better, because some of the tensions I perceive in the family cannot be papered over indefinitely: either they will be addressed in a positive manner or we are certain to split apart when you are gone and we no longer have the essentially bottomless reservoir of the glue of our deep love and respect for the two of you to hold us together.
This is like 2% of his missive - after he cut out a big chunk! He'd kill me if he knew I posted this, but in my immediate family only N and Q are aware of the What I Do?" project so I should be okay. Even from this snippet can you tell what a fun bunch we are? Prediction: the next event will be a detailed response-reaction-defense of an email from my father, which I'll receive, perhaps even directly. I find their need to "get it in writing" baffling, somehow - I wish they (we) could all just go for a walk, and come back happy and carefree with issues resolved.

DC - the District of Columbia, Washington DC
FTP - File Transfer Protocol
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