Posts Tagged: humor

That time of year again: The Semi-Annual Gathering of the Earthmovers

A Yellow Semi-Annual Earthmover and the Seal Beach Pier at sunset

Photo taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia Lumia 1020.

Tues 11.12.13 – Yes, it is November, which means in the annual calendar of the great city of Seal Beach, it is time for the Caterpillar earthmovers to move sand from the west/north side of the beach, under the pier, to form a sand berm on the south/east side of the pier.
One of the peculiarities of Seal Beach is that the south/east side of town is mostly a bit under sea level and a fairly elaborate series of storm drains and a long earth dyke along the Naval base protect the south side of town from flooding during high tide or winter storm surges. According to my aunt, the flooding was fairly regular back in the 60s and early 70s before the big storm drains were put in. Lake Seal Beach still occurs to a lesser extent with the sand berm.
Thus, in November, several big Caterpillar earthmovers come to the beach for a week and move sand into a berm and then in April, they reverse and move the sand back flat onto the beach. On occasion, if the berm is not up to its job, and Lake Seal Beach forms, then a smaller tractor will come and re-arrange sand.
I, of course, must go document the migratory patterns of the Yellow Semi-Annual Earthmover.
In years past I have taken photos and video, posted it here and on Flickr. This year, I decided to find as many of the photos on Flickr as possible and make a tag for easy search, I give you “The Gathering of the Earthmovers” at Flickr.
Some photos over the years on this blog:
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

Patton Oswalt: The Horror of New York City

Mon 11.04.13 – I am one of those people who likes my cities a bit spread out and , like London, Istanbul, Mumbai, and Los Angeles. While I have visited New York City four or five times in my life, I have almost always wanted OUT of this city by half a day or less*. I have only ever spent time on Manhattan Island and have only passed through Brooklyn and the Bronx.
When Andrew Sullivan linked to the below Patton Oswalt stand up comedy routine about the horror of New York City, I laughed hard. Really hard.
The following video is definitively Not-Safe-For-Work-or-Religious-Conservative-People (NSFWoRCP – Strong language warning), but it is really funny whether you are a fan of NYC or not:

* This summer, when I went to the Nokia Lumia 1020 launch event in NYC, I wanted out before I even left La Guardia airport. NYC summer plus Ms. Jen’s don’t equal or match or even mildly agree with each other. Chennai just before the monsoon is more pleasant.

Five Things I Suck At

Sometime last week, after pondering and talking about a topic on Twitter, Dhruv Bhutani asked me if there was anything I wasn’t good at. While I have a fatal case of over-curiosity and a big reading problem* and thus appear to be the walking talking encyclopedia, there are many things that am only ok to down right bad at. Here are a few that come to mind immediately:
1) Small Ball Sports…. such as tennis, badminton, table tennis, handball, and golf: Basically any hand-eye coordination sport that involves a small ball**. For reasons unknown to me, I am decent at baseball/softball, volleyball, football/soccer, and basketball. And after much practice, I can draw, so I am not a total wash out at hand-eye coordination.
2) Learning dance moves and/or participating in any synchronized dance. More times than I can count from age five to thirty-five I have enthusiastically taken a dance class only to end up in tears about 15-25 minutes into the class as my eyes & ears can see / hear the instructions on how to make the body movements in question, but I can’t for the life of me get my limbs to do said activity. Tears in public, tears while surrounded by graceful dancing swans who get it right the very first time around.
3) Timing. Be it in dance or piano, I am usually two steps/beats ahead or two behind. This is an analogy for my whole life and got me kicked out of ballet & tap class at age five just before the class performance at the Costa Mesa Fish Fry, as well as causing me problems in middle school piano recitals and swing dancing during the late 90s/early 00s craze. Good thing I did not seriously practice bass guitar, as any band I was in would have had a drummer ready to kill me.
4) Illustrator. I took my first Adobe Illustrator class in 1990, again in 1991, another in 2000, more valiant attempts at the pen and path tools through the whole of the 2000s, basically I suck at Illustrator or Inkscape. I do just fine in drawing with Flash, Fireworks or Photoshop, but I want to throw my computer out at the window with Illustrator. I only use Inkscape under extreme duress now and then only for badly done mobile app SVG icons.
5) Writing for deadline***. If I am writing for myself for no particular reason at all, like this blog post, I can type out an amazing amount of words in no time at all. If I am writing for a deadline, be it school, masters thesis, business, clients, or a magazine; even if my reputation and friendships are on the line; for whatever reason, I get horrible writer’s block and have been known to stand on toilets bleaching ceilings rather than write the 85 – 20,000 words needed. This is a problem.
Mind you, just because I think I suck and after much trying still can’t do the above activities, it doesn’t mean that I have stopped trying. I am overly persistent. Well, I don’t play tennis or golf, as I have been known to bean people in the head with said ball…
– – – – – – * Notes – – – – – –

* My ideal house would be mostly full bookcases with a few paintings on the walls.
** On my Mom’s side of the family, they are almost all serious athletes, be it pro or am. My Mom is 69 and is a keen surfer & skier. I have several cousins who are/were the best in their sports, a stepfather who was/is sports obsessed, and a grandfather who won the 1987 sailing world championships. To be bad at sports and bookish in my family made for a moderately miserable childhood. I fought back with goth attire and punk rock.
*** Express apologies to long-suffering CS who has been waiting for a one paragraph synopsis out of me since… oh… May.

Bits and Bobs, The Tidbits of the last Day or so, Possibly the last few Minutes

04.26.11 - A View from AA Flt. 137 in the 10th hour, aka boredom has set in
Wed 04.27.11 – Many thoughts have crowded into my head today and then fled just as fast as the miasma of jetlag has descended on my brain.
A few of the fleeting thoughts that I either can recall right now or have repeated on my brain:
1) I really do want to get back to daily photo and/or text blogging. I want to reinstate the multiple year daily blogging that got disrupted in February. One of the things I thought about while in London, is how much I do love blogging and that this is my place. It is time to reclaim it. Please encourage me.
2) The complete disconnect in big big big companies between the executives and the teams that actually do the work astounds me. Last week in London, I heard a true account of one Big Company Making a Big Contract with another Big Tech Company of which it is due to be executed contractually by this June, yet the Big Company to do the work decided to lay off the workers to do the work a few months ago and then when the executives realized that without the workers that the work wouldn’t get done and they would be in breach of contract, much LOLs followed. Ha ha ha. F*cking Executive Idiots. Ha ha ha.
3) So Nokia + MicroSquash deal got signed in the workers’ blood this last week. Hope the 7,000 employees that are to be laid off aren’t the workers who are to actually do the work to make the contract happen, like in tidbit #2 above. Wouldn’t that be LOLs?
4) If a certain Mr. Elop is to wield the hatchet, hopefully he will lay off the multiple layers management between him and the teams that do the work. Wouldn’t it be big time LOLs if he keeps all the management that have throttled innovation & execution the last five years and lays off the teams that actually do the work?
5) In between bouts of jetlag brain, I did a big spring clean of my house and found the Angry Bird furry slingshot toy that Adrian Parker won for me at CTIA. Adrian, I will mail it you tomorrow.
6) Glad to hear that folks are rescuing Delicious from a certain death by starvation, hope that some passionate social photographers with $$$ will rescue Flickr from Yahoo neglect.
Photo of Ms. Jen reflected in the seat back entertainment screen in hour ten of the plane ride between London and Los Angeles on Tues 04.26.11 with her Nokia N8.

Tidbits :: The Fiery Nokia Rumor Edition

The internets are on FIRE with rumors, rumors, and more rumors about what will happen on Friday Feb 11, 2011 at 10am GMT when Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop, gives what may be either the usual dull quarterly report to the investor style humans or a completely non-dull throw down and strategy session. Folks are certainly talking.
The Rumors start…
Engadget on Nokia CEO Stephen Elop rallies troops in brutally honest ‘burning platform’ memo?
All Things Digital on Nokia’s Stephen Elop Didn’t Start the Fire-But His “Burning Platform” Certainly Lights One
And then the real fire gets lit:
WSJ on Nokia, Microsoft Talk Cellphones
All Things Digital on Nokia Appears on Verge of Adopting Windows Phone, as MeeGo, Android Fade From Consideration
Google’s Vic Gundotra weighs in: “#feb11 “Two turkeys do not make an Eagle”.”
Engadget follows up with Google’s Vic Gundotra on Nokia: ‘Two turkeys do not make an Eagle’ (updated)
Tomi Ahonen enters the fray swinging:
Mr. Ahonen on The Nokia CEO ‘Burning Platform’ memo at Engadget, doesn’t ring true to my ears..
ReadWriteWeb summarizes Tomi in Former Nokia Exec Claims CEO’s “Burning Platform” Memo a Hoax

Other prominent Mobile Bloggers come out with thoughts, opinion and a bit more gasoline to throw on the fire:

Ewan on That Nokia memo; How Nokia can still screw it up; and what I want to hear on Friday
Jay Montano on The Burning Platform Memo: Elop supposedly on transforming Nokia:

“Real or Not, I want MeeGo to have a frikkin chance to do what it has been planned to do. I don’t want an either/or situation. I can’t wait for most of the speculation to be resolved on Feb 11. Then wait and see what happens at MWC.”

Ben Smith injects a bit of sanity in to the rumor brush fire with It doesn’t matter if Nokia launches a Windows Phone…
The Rumors breed more Rumors, and a Wave of Humor breaks on Twitter:
@MattMiz: “Nokia stock up 14% on rumor that Elop plans new Antarctic HQ run by robot penguins running on LISP OS” 😉
Photo illustration #1: Meanwhile at Nokia HQ…
Photo illustration #2: Nuke from Orbit
@ChanseArrington: “Less than 36 hours until #elopocalypse = less than 36 hours left of binge drinking. #excited #scared #pumped #bringit”
Finally, Eric Zeman sums up my hopes on this matter in a most precise manner:
@phonescooper: “Dear @Nokia and @Microsoft: No. Just, no. Don’t do it. DON’T. #dont”
Whatever the outcome of Friday’s Capital Markets Strategy Report by Mr. Elop will be, this is the best press run up to an event that Nokia has held in years… almost Almighty Holy Jobs style press/marketing run up. A burning media platform, in word and deed. Good job, Mr. Elop!