The Love of My Life

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Published in: on October 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last Resort

Sweet F*cking Jesus! What a TERRIFIC show!! I hope it survives – today’s viewing audience is so fickle and tasteless…

Last Resort is about the crew of the USS Colorado, *the* most powerful military machine ever constructed. It has 4 Mark-48 torpedo tubes, 28 Tomahawks, and 18 Trident nuclear ballistic missiles.
 
When the Colorado receives an order to fire 4 Trident missiles at Pakistan through a secondary communications channel (which presupposes that Washington DC has been wiped out), Captain Marcus Chaplin (played by Andre Braugher) balks at the command. He questions the order and tries to confirm the command through the normal channel with Washington (Chaplin can find no television news story about Washington being wiped out).
 
When Washington insists that Chaplin carries out the fire order without any further explanation, Chaplin refuses. Washington relieves him of his command and makes his XO Sam Kendal (played by Scott Speedman) the new captain. However, Kendal also questions the fire order. Thereafter, Washington orders an attack sub to fire a cruise missile at the Colorado.
 
The Colorado just barely survives the attack and proceeds to take over a NATO early warning station on the island of St. Marina. When the Colorado discovers a pair of B-1 bombers headed toward them, Chaplin fires a Trident missile at Washington. Washington thinks Chaplin is bluffing.
 
At any rate, Washington proceeds to launch a first strike at Pakistan, killing millions of people. (WTF. How can this be justified???)
 
At the end of the show, Chaplin announces to the world that he’s declaring a 200-mile No Man’s Land around St. Marina. The Colorado has 17 more Trident missiles. If the U.S. administration, or any other government, attempts to attack them, he will unleash fiery hell.
 
This is a damn f*cking great show!!! If you missed, shame on you…
 
 
Robert Patrick plays the Chief of the Boat on board the Colorado. Bruce Davison plays Admiral Shepard, whose daughter is third in command on the Colorado.
Published in: on September 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

You didn’t have to cut me off

This song captures the essence of my last relationship:

[Gotye:]
Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

[Kimbra:]
Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know

[Gotye:]
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know

[x2]
Somebody
(I used to know)
Somebody
(Now you’re just somebody that I used to know)

(I used to know)
(That I used to know)
(I used to know)
Somebody

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chess, Mathematics and Music

http://gambit.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/02/mathematicians-musicians-and-chess-masters/

I’ve long been told that the brain that is good at mathematics is also well-suited to chess and music. My first flash of brilliance as a young man was in math when, starting in Grade 10, I began to display strong mathematical ability. (In Grade 12, I was a geometer par excellence. I scored perfection in my geometry tests.) I entered math contests and I even won the regional slide rule competition.

Around the same time, my chess ability also flowered. My high school team won the regional chess championship (I played top board). Years later, I would play the tournament circuit, becoming a Class B player. Occasionally, I could even defeat a chess Expert!

In both cases, I was 2LAZY2 pursue the highest levels of performance. I could’ve become a chess master had I really worked at it. I could’ve been a much stronger mathematician, too. But as is typical of Richard Eng, I coasted along on my natural abilities.

In later years, I tried my hand at music. I took up the keyboard, but I was 2LAZY2 make any progress. Frankly, I didn’t have the self-discipline nor the passion to keep at it. Practicing is not fun. (FYI, chess and math don’t really require “practice” in the traditional sense.)

I always regretted not achieving in music. I felt this was the missing third leg in my mental stool.

So now I take a second swing at music. Leaving behind the piano, I’m entering a whole new world of the guitar. New challenges. New opportunities.

But at age 58, I don’t have a great deal of time, not like when I was tackling chess and mathematics. By the time I get good — *if* I get good — I may be too old to perform.

2012 represents the confluence of several courses. First, I’ve lost all interest in computer programming. If I never write another line of C or Java or Smalltalk, it’ll be too soon. Software has been my life up to now — a long career and a continual hobby. No more; time to move on…to music.

Second, I’m losing interest in television. I’m just not enjoying TV as much as I used to. This year, I passed on a whole passel of new TV series, and even in the series that I do follow I tend to NOT feel antsy if I miss an episode. Sacrilege!

Third, my pulmonary embolism has changed me. I’m not sure how but I feel different. It’s as if I’m looking at the world through fresh eyes. My ego is gone. I am more empathetic. I appreciate each day more. I could be wrong but I think I’m just a bit more selfless.

Fourth, I’m tired of surfing the Internet and blogging. I’m running out of things to say. To a large extent, this is due to my diminishing ego. So I have very little to add to Facebook. My blog posts are few and far between. My rants are slowing down. My clock is running down. (I need a rewind.)

In effect, starting now my life is becoming a clean slate. Nothing stands in my way. I have few ambitions and whatever ambition I do have is modest. But life doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It doesn’t have to be history making.

It just has to be taking the next step, however small, fearlessly. Repeat.

Published in: on May 16, 2012 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  

I’m really worried about living

I had a pulmonary embolism earlier this week. When I left the hospital, I heard this song which made me sob uncontrollably.

Many years ago he looked out through a glassless window.
All that he could see was Babylon.
Beautiful green fields and dreams.
He learned to measure the stars.
But there was a worry in his heart.

He said, How could it come to this?
I’m really worried about living.
How could it come to this?
Yeah, I really want to know about this.

Then there came a time
It moved out ‘cross the Mediterranean.
Came to Western isles and the Greek young men.
With their silver beards they laughed
At the unknown of the universe.
They could just sit and guess God’s name.

But they said, How could it come to this?
I’m really worried about living.
How could it come to this?
Yeah, I really want to know about this.

Then there came a time of kings, empires and revolutions.
Blood just looks the same when you open the vein.
Sometimes it was faith, power or reason as the cornerstone.
But the furrowed brow has never left his face.

He said, How could it come to this?
I’m really worried about living.
How could it come to this?
Yeah, I really want to know about this.

How could it come to this?
We’ve been living in a landslide!
How could it come to this?
Yeah, we really want to know about this.

Then there came a time, man packed up,
Moved off from the planet.
He went to the moon.
Now he’s out in space,
Hey, fixing all the problems.
He comes face to face with God.

He said, How could it come to this?
I’m really worried ’bout my creation.
How could it come to this?
Yeah, I really want to know about this.
It isn’t like today?
Is it like today?
Is it like today?

Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Kill Them All!

Apple and Amazon will rule the tablet space absolutely. All the other tablet vendors are so f*cked…

The newly established price point of $199 will squeeze out everybody who doesn’t have a major market advantage. Apple have their phenomenal marketing — the only reason people pay $499+ for an iPad is because of cachet. Nobody else can generate this kind of cachet — not Sony, not HP, not Samsung, not Motorola, not Toshiba.

Amazon (and Apple) have their ecosystem. Amazon is subsidizing the Kindle Fire with anticipated future sales of content, ie, books, music, movies, apps. It’s the Gillette model of selling razor blades (or the printer model of selling inkjet cartridges, or the cellphone model of selling voice/data plans). (Apple don’t have to subsidize anything because they have the power of cachet.)

The other vendors are so f*cked. They can’t compete on price. If they try to sell their larger tablets at, say, $299, they will lose money without any kind of compensation. And who’s going to spend $400-500 on a non-iPad tablet?? WHY would they spend $400-500 on a non-iPad tablet? Just for the rear-facing camera that people seldom use? Just for 16-32GB of storage, at a time when everything is moving into the cloud?

They might be able to sell on the basis of 3G/4G, but the reality is, most people don’t want to spend extra on a data plan. The big money is in Wi-Fi-only models.

The only vendor who might come out of this alive is Sony — they also have an ecosystem of sorts that they can build on, if they have the wherewithal.

Amazon have turned out to be the Spartacus of the tablet universe. Jeff Bezos said, “Kill them all!” And he’s doing just that.

Published in: on September 29, 2011 at 8:25 am  Leave a Comment  

I Rule The World

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Rolling in the Deep

I can’t get enough of this great song:

Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  

Relic

I was walking through U of T campus, and while looking at all the students milling about, I was thinking about how education has changed since I was in school.

I realized that my life has spanned several different eras. Compared to present day, I am a relic

In my youth, I saw the JFK assassination on the television news. I watched “I Love Lucy” and “Get Smart” and “Gilligan’s Island” and “Car 54, Where Are You?”. I used slide rules, and my first exposure to computing was with punched cards and binary code. I had to do research at a regular library, without the benefit of the Internet.

Playboy was considered pornography; the magazine supposedly contained “dirty pictures”. Seriously. I kid you not.

It was the height of the Cold War. I saw literature at the local emergency centres that outlined how to build your own nuclear shelter, and contained graphic, full-colour simulations, using make-up, of what nuclear burns to your flesh would look like.

I played with liquid mercury in the science lab. I made furniture in woodwork shop from solid walnut and mahogany and maple.

I ripped off nickels and quarters in parking meters when the coins got stuck.

I saw my first movie (well, the first half ‘cuz I felt guilty and ran home), something to do with Fu Manchu, for 25 cents at a theatre.

I put caterpillars on black car hoods on the hottest summer days and watched how they would walk funny. I used a magnifying glass to pop ants in the sunlight. I had not yet developed a sense of respect and empathy for life. (It would be many years before I shed my sadistic streak.)

I think I’m a different person today. Wiser. Mellow. Confident.

But I still feel ancient when I see what today’s kids are doing in college and university…I can’t keep up, and this is something of a downer. The world has changed, and is changing, too much for me to handle.

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment