I’m a big believer that you always have a choice. The phrase “I had no choice” is categorically false bullshit. There are always choices, sometimes the choices that are available suck and you are forced to choose the least bad choice, but you still have made that choice.
There are some choices that I always try to make: Be Polite. Be Kind. Be Respectful of Others. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
I lost control tonight during a short interaction with an employee at a coffee shop where they know my name and I know their names. I lost control and made choices that were not polite, kind, or respectful.
I can point at the actions that precipitated to my loss of control, were not kind, polite nor respectful, and they did not give me the benefit of the doubt, however that does not make my actions correct or appropriate.
“In all our days, may we turn more to act than to word to declare our religion” – Rev. Peter Raible
I want to be funny right now. I want to make a joke about dual allegiances, but now isn’t the time for humor.
In an average week, I’ve spend more time at another church other than the UU church where I am a member. I’ve become part of the community at the non-UU church. It was slow, not something where I consciously declared “I want to become a member of this community.” Instead, it just happened.
It started for selfish reasons, I and some others wanted to use and occasionally borrow one of their musical instruments. I was and am grateful for the use of the instrument. I treated it better than I would treat my own. I put effort into keeping their instrument in tip top shape. I played music twice a year at the church’s events. I made sure that the toilet wasn’t running before I left the mens room.
Relationships end. Life ends. Churches end. Countries end. It is one of the few things that you can be sure of, whatever begins will eventually end.
There is no right or wrong in the decision to end a relationship. There is right or wrong in how you choose to end the relationship.
Saturday, I was told that my relationship with the non-UU church would end. However, instead of being told that I and my fellow musicians were no longer a welcome member of the community, we were provided with an untenable situation: we could use the instrument, but not remove it from the church.
Musician and instrument learn each other. A musician can play another instrument, and an instrument can be played by another musician, but they do best when they spend time together, learning about each other and adapting and accommodating each other’s idiosyncrasies.
So when I was told that I could not remove the instrument from the church, I was being told that my contributions to the community didn’t matter.
It was not a matter of liability or scheduling or providence. The compassionate just and (dare my agnostic fingertips type this) Christian thing to do would have been to discuss and address the concerns. Liability can be insured against, scheduling can be communicated, and providence was already established through deeds.
In the end, actions of the lay, professional, and religious leadership of the church did not match the words they have said.
I admire anyone who has the conviction, passion, and intelligence to consistently align their beliefs and actions, it is much easier said than done. However, I expected better of the leadership at the non-UU church. I as a community member deserved better. It is not worth it to try to claw my way back into their community when I have been told I am not wanted.
I will however continue to strive to turn to act than to word to declare my religion.
Today in the United States -
- Adam Lanza shot twenty children.
- I swallowed 150 milligrams of Venafaxine Extended Release, an anti-depressant.
- I walked by too many people asking for money on the street.
- Over 91 people ended their lives by their own hand.
- I spent many hours in front of a sun lamp.
Beside these all happening today what do they have to do with each other? They’re all directly attributable to mental health.
I approach my mental health like I approach most things in my personal life, I’ll bring it up if asked or if it is relevant to the topic being discussed.
I can’t imagine what was going through Mr. Lanza’s head, but I know he was hurt. No, that does not excuse walking into an elementary school and shooting children, but we should address the root causes of this tragedy, one of which was the lack of treatment for Mr. Lanza’s mental health. I don’t know what Mr. Lanza’s mental health was, but looking back on the tragedy in Seattle, we know that Ian Stawicki struggled with mental illness for quite some time.
I’ve struggled with mental illness. It has taken me some time and maturity to recognize that the mental state that I spent much of my teens and twenties in isn’t normal. Given that I now have ten years of perspective, I can almost tease out what behaviors were a result of my poor mental health and what behaviors were just a result of my choices.
I’m quite sure I’ve confused and annoyed many people with behavior that was a result of my mental illness. Most of those people attributed the behavior to me, not my mental illness. If I had a major disease, like cancer which that just sapped my energy people would be much more forgiving, however because my illness manifests itself in behaviors instead of explicitly physical symptoms that illness is automatically assumed to be a part of explicit behaviors and choices.
Depressives like myself have a different automatic set of assumptions and standards which we use when we interpret the actions around ourselves. Our brains automatically search out the worst possible interpretation of every situation and internalize that interpretation. Often those worst interpretations focus on ways that we are wrong or we’ve screwed up. If I share these interpretations with others who know about my illness and who are supportive they don’t agree with my interpretation or think they’re overly harsh.
You can experience being deaf, blind, or confined to a wheelchair by blocking out that sense or using a wheelchair for a day, however there there isn’t a pair of glasses you can put on to experience the world how a person with depression experiences it.
You can’t get in my head and experience what I’ve experienced, there simply isn’t enough space or time for you to fully understand my experiences. You could get closer to how a depressive experiences the world by using the finding the worst possible interpretation of any situation and finding a way to put yourself at fault. You could also have someone follow you to distract you as much as possible and interrupt your train of thought, but at the end of the day just like a sighted person putting on a mask over their eyes you still have your non-depressive thought patterns and will be able to go about the next day with your non-depressed thought patterns. You cannot get inside my disability or get inside my head any more than I can experience being a blind person.
When I see a homeless person on the street begging, I know that it is very likely their mental health has been neglected and resulted in a series of behaviors that resulted in them being unable to obtain housing for themselves. I recognize that I cannot get inside their head, there isn’t enough space.
When I hear of an Adam Lanza, Jacob Tyler Roberts, or an Ian Stawicki killing people randomly, I am angry at them, but I also have empathy for them. Going out and killing people isn’t something that a happy, healthy person does. Their lives were significantly broken and their mental health neglected to the point that inside their head killing others seemed to be a perfectly appropriate action. I can’t get inside their head, just like the inside of mine there isn’t enough space.
Where do we go from here?
Those twenty children and seven adults are dead in Connecticut today, 92 people killed themselves today, and many people were forced into living on the street because mental health is neglected in our society.
I don’t have all the answers, but We Americans need to become more supportive of those with mental illness, We Americans need to feel more empowered to encourage others to get mental health help, and it needs to be easier to have people involuntarily committed in our country.
What can you do right now?
- If you have or have had a mental illness and you feel that you are able, share your experiences with those around you.
- If you know someone with a mental illness, give them a hug and listen to them.
- If you don’t know anyone with a mental illness, take some time to learn more about a mental illness.
I know you can’t get inside my head, because there isn’t enough space, but if you could take a moment to try to peek into my or the head of someone who has had similar struggles, we would take a first step toward improving our country, and preventing the next massacre of innocent people, but more importantly we would improve the lives of our brothers and sisters who struggle day in and day out with their mental health.
I’ve had a great thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle, and friends. Continuing a tradition that is over half a decade old.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday are among other things, days of consumption: Eat lots of turkey and sides then go to the stores and buy lots of things.
Even though today and tomorrow are about consumption, it is today that I’ve finally carved out the time for a little bit of time, in which I want to discuss creation.
No, I’m not talking about biblical creation, I’m talking about the innate need many, including myself, have to produce and share with the world at large, or perhaps just our communities.
I owe a small debt to Charlie McDonnell’s thoughts on being scared of his audience, and Hank Green’s response to Charlie, which pointed me to Mickeleh’s response to Charlie, and I also got to reading The Oatmeal’s indirect response to Charlie. In all of those responses, I saw myself and the past two years reflected back at me.
The urge to create is a fickle one. At times there are blog entries that demand at what time and place that they will be written, then there are those that I have to force out of my head into the keyboard.
I don’t think I talked about it here, but I spent a reasonable part of the past year trying to create a company that I believe would have changed the music world in a small, but significant way. I jumped into starting that company after a long time where my creation of content had fallen to one of its lowest levels. One could say that trying to create something a big as I wanted to, was a reaction to not having created as much as I would’ve liked to.
But Charlie, Hank, Mickeleh, and The Oatmeal note that creating is scary. The company I was working on scared and scares the shit out of me. An unpublished blog entry that has been sitting on my computer for two years scares me that it won’t be quite right. Every time, I get up and play bells there is part of me that is completely terrified that I will accidentally launch a handbell into the air that will go flying and strike someone on the head and simultaneously give them a concussion and a huge gash. (Okay, maybe I’m just scared that’ll I’ll screw up when playing bells and look at the audience like a deer staring into headlights.) Often when I sit down to create something on my own I often have to fight the urge procrastinate, which I often do by consuming content created by others.
This is why I excel at creating when I have an interdependent responsibility to others:
Putting on a solo monologue? I suck at that.
Being part of a theatrical endeavor where I have one, two, or forty people who are depending on me? I’m good at that.
Sitting down and practicing piano? Eh. Not a strength of mine.
Putting lots of hours into rehearsing handbells with others? Great at that.
Creating makes me feel good. There is the satisfaction of having brought something into the world, perhaps of beauty, perhaps of utility, perhaps something that evokes a response, or just perhaps something that needs to exist outside of the forever milling cycle of my thoughts.
Creating is part of who I am, and one of the ways in which I know I am alive.
I’ve been in the job market lately. I feel as if I’m in this odd no mans land of not enough experience for the positions I’d like and I’m overqualified for the positions that I’d kind of like and am qualified for.
I’ve also been virtually tripping over listings for software developers, which is, well a little frustrating.
I was having a discussion with some friends last week, when I and another friend mentioned we were both tripping over listings for software developers. A third friend piped up and mentioned: Well do you want to learn? Its not hard.
The funny thing is, I know how to program. I’m not half bad at it, although I’m not half good at it either. I attribute this in part to the fact that I work on a project, brush up on the language and skills and once I’m done with that project I want to do something else with my free time and don’t touch programming for four or six months. This isn’t a formula for getting good at anything. I’ve gotten to be a much better handbell quartet musician because my quartet, The Resonance Ringers, rehearses twice a week, every week.
When I was a junior and senior in upper school many people assumed that I’d go to school for Computer Engineering, instead I threw everyone a curveball and went to school for Theatre. In college, I picked up a Marketing minor (useful for working at a theatre company.) and a Philosophy minor (which just interested me.) Then after three years of college, I realized this wasn’t what I wanted to do, and stopped going to school for a year.
The funny thing is I never stopped programming. I had been writing code on and off since I started teaching myself Applesoft BASIC when I was 7. I picked up some scripting languages along the way: DOS batch files, Unix shell scripting, HTML, Apache’s SSI language. I also took classes two years from the University of Michigan which were delivered as summer camp programs. During these I essentially completed the Introduction to Programming course and I also spent some time learning Artificial Intelligence concepts.
So when I went back to school the obvious thing would’ve been to jump to Computer Engineering, since I had been writing code of one form or the other for quite sometime. However, I went to a college information session which included a pitch for a B.A. in Organizational Leadership, which was something that I had demonstrated an ability for and in addition this was a “completer” degree, which would dovetail nicely with all of my theatre and philosophy classwork.
I slogged though and finished the Organizational Leadership degree. During this time, I had moved from taking classes and enjoying learning, to taking classes and getting through it because I wanted a f*cking degree.
From the my time in school and through all my professional experience, I gravitated toward the technical side of things. In my first stint in college, I was the webmaster for Lambda Union and instead of just writing HTML, there was a whole Apache SSI driven template system in place. In my first professional position at Chiquita, I became the guy on the business side of things who took care of and interfaced with the technical side of the business. I excelled at Speakeasy supporting internet connectivity then the vagaries of VoIP. I again became the business guy on interfacing with the technical side.
I also recognized that I had a skill in working on projects and I decided to get formal training in that, and I earned a Certificate in Project Management from the University of Washington.
While I consider the certificate in Project Management useful, making the jump to actually being a Project Manager is harder than I thought, as there doesn’t appear to be much call for an entry level Project Manager.
Before jumping into examining the steps that I’ll need to take to seek employment as a software developer, its worth examining why I didn’t make that choice when I was 17:
- I saw software engineering as a solitary profession, and I wanted the interactions that come with theatre.
- I hated debugging. I’d rather have a cavity filled than debug software. (A root canal is apparently relatively painless.)
- I saw theatre as much faster at being able to see what you’re doing in comparison to software engineering which a product would only be released every other year or even more infrequently.
- My health, especially my mental health, wasn’t very good during my late teen years and even for much of my twenties. This is really relevant, because depression significantly impeded my cognitive abilities. Depression has many aspects to it, but it clouded my thoughts significantly.
I now have the following views and perspectives:
- Having worked with software developers, I know that they actually interact with other people during their work day. I’ve also come to recognize that time working alone is good for me. (My Myers-Briggs type is INTP and I’m a pretty strongly expressed introvert, spending time alone is good for me.) I’ve also found other venues for my artistic expression, such as my mild handbell obsession.
- I’ve significantly adjusted my programming style, to work on small chunks of code and test frequently, which makes debugging much easier. Also, I think programming tools have a long way in 14 years.
- Agile Software Development has emerged. Instead of delivering one big monolithic program, developers work in sprints where they release some functionality every two to six weeks.
- I’ve spent a good amount of time improving my health, and its quite a bit better. I’ve also developed a phenomenal understanding of what I need to do to take care of myself, and keep my physical and mental health high.
The reasons I had for going into theatre at seventeen instead of computer engineering are no longer applicable.
Despite telling my seventeen year-old self off, I’m not ready to make the leap to software development just yet. I need more information to ensure that I’m not falling victim to the fallacy of the grass being greener in software development land. I need to develop a fuller understand what I’m trying to get into. Specifically, I’m exploring the following areas:
- What is the work life of a software developer? I realize this varies by project type and employer, but I’m attempting to understand the different varieties of experiences.
- Is making this transition actually practical? I’ve run across people who were never formally trained as software developers who work in the field, but I’m trying to identify how much of an exception they are.
- What is needed to make the transition? I’m not expecting to just go out and apply for a software development position and get one without training in some way, but I also don’t see spending four years getting a Computer Engineering Degree as feasible.
- What would employers be looking for? This is question three. from a slightly different perspective, but is also useful to address.
Luckily, I live in Seattle which has an abundance of software developers, and I know a fair number of folks who are software developers, so this should be doable to explore.
I wrote up most of my thoughts on the whole Chick-Fil-A debacle a while ago, but there is one thought that I didn’t get into that.
I believe one of the most important pieces of America’s legal tradition is the First Amendment. While most of the responses to Dan Cathy’s comments aren’t governed by the letter of the First Amendment (since they’re not actions by the government, but instead by individuals) they do fall afoul of the spirit of the First Amendment.
Pro-Gay Marriage advocates attempted to first shame then boycott Cathy into changing his position. Essentially they were engaged in was a form of economic McCarthism. I want Cathy to change his position, but I want it to come from a true place, not threat of his economic destruction.
One of the reasons for free speech protections is that no one who is honest with themselves can change their opinions on a dime. Try this thought experiment: If you’re a proponent of Gay Marriage change your opinion on Gay marriage to being against Gay Marriage. NOW. See that doesn’t work?
A few asides:
- I don’t agree with how Cathy has chosen to spend his money, but speech is somehow related to money. I don’t fully agree with the Citizens United decision, but the practicalities of fully extracting money from speech will be tricky in politics and impossible outside of politics.
- I came across a tweet:
Tweet from Luke Adams(@luketadams)
Watching the “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” in 2012 makes me wonder if there was a “Woolworth Lunch Counter Appreciation Day” in 1960.
August 1, 2012 4:43:13 PM
retweeted by @wilw
I find this to be an invalid comparison. Chik-Fil-A has continued to respectfully serve their customers, and also decided to stay out of politics. (A bit late, but they learned their lesson.) Woolworth actively denied service to African Americans. There is vast difference between these and they aren’t comparable.
If this blog entry were a movie, it’d easily be rated R, if not NC-17. Please proceed at your own discretion.
There have been a large number of tweets in my twitter feed about one of Missouri’s Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives, Todd Akin’s comments that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” I find it morally repugnant that an elected official would say this, let alone one would say this and have the support of people from his party.
“Legitimate Rape” is a codeword to separate date rape from other forms of rape. Implicitly, people believe date rape to be less severe than forcible rape. From my own experience, I can make an argument that the opposite is true. Forcible rape by a stranger doesn’t violate the emotional and physical trust that you’ve placed in someone. Date rape does. This is not to belittle other forms of rape. Forcible rape is violent in different ways than date rape.
Date rape takes something from you, it puts a road bump in any subsequent intimate encounters, “Will he rape me?” That is not the thought that you want going through your head during a romantic encounter.
It may seem odd for a man to be discussing rape from the perspective of the victim. We have a prominent narrative in our society that rape is always a man raping a woman. While this is the most likely scenario, women can rape men, men can rape men, and women can rape women.
I was raped on a date when I was seventeen. Not only was I a victim of date rape, it was the first time I had ever been sexually intimate with someone.
The proper words and sounds have not been created by man to express the anger and rage that I feel. He took the experience of my first time from me and perverted it into a horrible memory. Now, whenever I think of the first time I kissed a guy, or the first time I cuddled naked with another guy, I have the memory of telling him to stop and him telling me “You’ll get used to the feeling.” That is something I can never change.
I was raped on a date when I was seventeen during the first time I was ever sexually intimate with anyone. So when some out of touch asshole politician says that a woman can’t get pregnant from legitimate rape, I want to eviscerate his words and his elected position from any published history, because he does not deserve the respect to be known to people in the future. He does not deserve to leave a legacy when he belittles the history of those of us who have been raped.
Representative Akin may you disappear from our history.
About two months my friend Casey wrote a blog entry on Why he fell out of love with Apple. I found his blog entry to munge the details and to extrapolate out to a worst possible future, instead of just hemming to what Apple has stated.
I wrote the bulk of this blog entry back then, but I decided to work on a rewrite of it before posting it, then promptly procrastinated on rewriting it. I’ve come back and decided that the bones of what I wrote work, so that is here, but I’ve reworked some bits.
To be 110% clear, I think Casey is a great guy, and I respect his opinion in many areas, but I strongly disagree with him here. It also is a bit odd contracting his Apple blog entry with his Facebook Timeline entry.
Apple has long been moving toward user friendliness. Some of this has been taking what they’ve learned on iOS and porting it over to OS X. For me one of the best features of this has been porting over gestures. Don’t like gestures? You can turn them off.
Gatekeeper provides authentication of the source of applications that helps those who don’t know how to validate the source of the applications they’ve downloaded to ensure that its a safe location. For the rest of us it provides a protection against randomly running things that were drive by downloads. Don’t like Gatekeeper? You can turn it off.
iCloud is a simple and free way to keep your contacts and calendar synced at all times. I don’t have to think about “Oh did I sync my Palm Pilot after I updated that meeting location”? Its done. It also provides options to store files that you can access on all of your devices. Don’t like iCloud? You can turn it or pieces of it off.
Want to use someone else’s sync service? Apple natively supports those, including those of its competitors. It also supports standards such as CalDav, IMAP and more so you can use other options as well.
Dashboard it is yet another way to launch applications. I don’t use it. Sadly you can’t turn it off, but it is pretty silent and you don’t see if if you don’t want to.
Automator while not a new feature is there to support the not-quite power user, but someone who wants to automate and customize common actions. I don’t remember having that on Windows (although, I’ve been away from that OS for a while) and the various *nixes have their own set of tools as well, although they’re less user friendly. Apple has also continued to support Applescript, which allows automating GUI applications, and there is a whole *nix underpinning to OS X that brings that whole suite of tools onboard as well. Don’t want to automate tasks, or want to automate all of them? You’ve got a choice in which tools are available.
Get the theme here? Apple has added lots of features that are aimed at both new and average users, but there is no requirement that you use them, and those features stay in the background.
This entry initially started with a point by point discussion of Casey’s blog entry. I’ve decided to keep that, and so here it is!
- iMessage. Casey and I tested this together, it is not iMessage that causes “…a mass of confusion if you’re not using it (like the oddball text messages I receive from friends who all have iMessage)” It’s those who are on iOS 5. It supports Text MMS messages to multiple people more fully than iOS 4 did. If anything, Apple better supports the MMS standard in iOS 5, and that is what is causing Casey’s grief. iOS only sends a multiple person iMessage if all the receivers of the message support iMessage.
As for iMessage being a proprietary solution. Yup, at the moment it is, but it is built upon XMPP. But there aren’t any other phone level services that provide SMS-like messaging. I’d also like to see Apple interoperate with other providers, but what provider would it interoperate with? The only one that offers anything near to iMessage is Blackberry Messenger. Microsoft doesn’t offer it for Windows Phone, Google doesn’t offer that for Android. (Google Voice kinda provides this service, but bifurcates your messaging into two different telephone numbers.) Apple has not removed SMS or MMS support, iMessage is simply a superset of SMS and MMS.
As I said in my blog entry that Apple should bring iMessage to Android its exceptionally transparent in usage. The iPhone will “seamlessly will select iMessage if it is available, but fall over to SMS/MMS if its not available or your recipient doesn’t have it.”
Given that it costs more per bit to send a message via SMS than it costs to send receive it from the Hubble space telescope, I’m happy someone is disrupting the carriers’ monopoly. If anything iMessage provides extra options as I’ve been able to message people from an airplane over Wifi and from the mountains of Colorado where I don’t have reliable cell service, but do have reliable internet service.
- iCloud. “I’m sure the tight integration of iCloud with iOS and OS X is great if you want to use Apple’s cloud, but they sure don’t make it easy to use someone else’s.”
Really? My iPhone lists iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, GMail, Yahoo, Aol, Hotmail, MobileMe and “Other” (e.g. POP and IMAP) and its about as easy as it can be given the circumstances. OS X will also supports that same list. So for me I see iCloud as providing another cloud option, but it isn’t the only option. If Apple removed Exchange, GMail, or the others it’d be a point, but why is adding one option an issue?
I use iCloud, mostly for contact and calendar syncing which iOS and OS X does support via other sync services.
- App Stores. Casey wrote:
OS X App Store is nothing but a blatant money grab and offers nothing to developers except less money in their pockets. And all app stores offer are the illusion of security but give only censorship — and there’s no other way to install iOS apps except through Apple’s gates. I expect it’s only a matter of time before they make it more and more challenging to install apps on OS X outside of the App Store.
I’ll admit some of the OS X App store does feel like a money grab, but Apple hasn’t forced developers into this. If anything this helps non-tech savvy folks install and upgrade applications. (I know its insanely easy for a technically acquainted person to install and upgrade OS X apps, but for some people its a big hurdle.) Developers do sell the same software inside and outside of the OS X App store. Apple has stated their upgrade path for application level security in OS X in Gatekeeper. The default setting for Gatekeeper will “allow initial launching of apps either downloaded from the Mac App Store or which are digitally signed under Apple’s identified developer program“. The key will require a $99 per year membership to Apple’s Mac Developer Program. This is a cost for developers, but it isn’t unreasonable in my opinion.
As for iOS only allowing apps to be installed via the App store, this is a reasonable tradeoff for the ability to ensure that my phone works right. Fact of the matter is iOS has never supported consumer apps to be installed through any method other than the through the app store. This has always been the case. Given that the only commensurable app store, Google’s Play, has had malware issues, I think Apple has gotten this right. Besides, firmware level jailbreaks are still possible on iOS.
On the iOSification of OS X, Casey wrote:
efforts to move OS X closer to iOS (something Microsoft is copying) … They have different purposes and usage patterns and their interfaces should reflect that. I don’t want my address book to look like a book (hello Microsoft Bob) or my email client to resemble the iPad’s client.
I agree with Casey on the address book in OS X Lion. That annoys me and I’ve stared using Cobook instead. The calendar in OS X Lion looks a bit more like a calendar, which I think is cheesy, but doesn’t diminish the usability of the calendar for me. They’ve also backed off on some of this in Mountain Lion making Contacts (f/k/a Address Book) more usable, as well as cleaning up Calendar (f/k/a/ iCal) a bit.
The default view of OS X Mail in Lion and Mountain Lion does look like the iPad, but it took me about three minutes to get it Lion’s Mail like and working similarly to OS X Mail in Snow Leopard, and it only took me about 30 seconds in Mountain Lion.
The last few iOSification bits of OS X is hiding scrollbars by default and the scrolling direction with gestures, both of which can be changed in settings. Finally is the inclusion of Launchpad, which well, I never see, because I don’t use.
If anything Apple has cleanly added features to OS X from iOS, whereas Microsoft’s Windows 8 basically shoehorns a complete second UI language into a different side of Windows. (Admittedly, this is what Apple did with Classic in OS X, but this was part of a stated transition plan, nothing more.)
I find the conclusion of John Siracusa’s ARS Technica review of Mountain Lion to be clearest in elaborate where OS X is going:
Mountain Lion is not the Mac OS of the past, but it also sets a course to a destination that is quite distinct from iOS. Despite the oft-cited prediction that the Mac will eventually be subsumed by iOS, that’s not what’s happening here. Apple is determined to bring the benefits of iOS to the Mac, but it’s equally determined to do so in a way that preserves the strengths of the Mac platform.
OS X is stronger because of the lessons learned from iOS, and that is to be embraced by both Power Users and N00bs.
of only moderate quality; not very good: a mediocre actor.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French médiocre, from Latin mediocris ‘of middle height or degree,’ literally ‘somewhat rugged or mountainous,’ from medius ‘middle’ + ocris ‘rugged mountain.’
I just got out of an organization of exceptional mediocrity. Not only was this mediocrity pervasive in the organization, everyone in the organization knew it was mediocre. Furthermore, most of the people there seemed content to continue to perpetuate that level of mediocrity.
Everyone at my level there implicitly knew that things were mediocre, and almost embarrassing, but very few actually did anything with it. The folks who in theory should be leading the place barely seem to show up, and when they do they’re in love with and attracted to the vision but don’t know about the practicalities and see the actual horribleness on the ground.
I found this sad to say the least.
This variety of mediocrity is significantly more disgusting than the garden variety of mediocrity where those producing mediocre work are working much closer to their potential, but don’t realize, or don’t have the ability to produce excellent work.
I’m just glad to have left that place.
On Tuesday, I saw the musical Rent on stage for the seventh time. If you include the mediocre movie, its the ninth time I’ve seen Rent.
This time however was a wonderful new experience for me. This production of Rent had a completely new director, a new set design, a new costume design, a new lighting design, and a new sound design. E.g. They remounted the show starting from the book, libretto, and score.
It was really refreshing to see the different choices that were made:
- Costumes: I thought they felt more historically accurate. The original staging of Rent feels more early-90s instead of mid-80s where the show historically fits best for many reasons. (Many reasons, that I don’t recall at the moment, but I remember reading in Sarah Schulman’s book Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America that there are elements from the mid-80s in the story.) I also appreciated the bright costume my friend Jimmie D. Herrod Jr. was in, it made him much easier to pick out on stage.
- Angel: Jerick Hoffer’s Angel is angrier and less soft than Wilson Jermaine Heredia’s original Angel. This really shocked me at first, but feels so much more honest and less stereotypical than just Heredia’s, Gleefully happy, gay, transvestite.
- Lights: Tom Sturge’s lighting plays a wonderful homage to the original design by displaying Benny’s Hummer as just lights, echoing Maureen’s motorcycle entrance. I felt the lighting didn’t call as much attention to itself as I remember the original lighting doing.
- Stage Design: Martin Christoffel’s stage is gritty, there is graffiti all over the place. The set is primarily composed of scaffolding. It exudes reality, whereas Paul Clay’s original design is more impressionistic and has many more elements that are built for the theatre only.
- Stage Direction: Pulling Angel in as a ghost after she died worked exceptionally well, it was brilliantly painful to watch him interact with Collins during I’ll Cover You. Changing Mimi’s Take Me Out to a preparation at her house, instead of a high energy dance number makes an exceptional amount of logical sense. The fact that she proceeds to ask Roger to go out right after it actually made logical sense!
The decision to kill several darlings of the original staging (or more accurately not copy them) while jarring to me at first works. Maureen’s entrance isn’t on a motorcycle of light and sound, but just is. The visual and audible siren during Roger and Mimi’s kiss during the cafe scene wasn’t there, and it wasn’t needed.
Stripping out the pieces that were signatures of Rent brought me back to the more human elements of the story. It made the show more powerful and real. Director Bill Berry’s Rent hit me much harder emotionally than Rent has hit me in a long time. I teared up not once, but at least three times. It reminded me of my humanity in a powerful and wonderful way. The cast and crew should be commended.