Archive for January 10th, 2012
Many episodes available on CD from the BBC. (It was a radio program… )
I mentioned Beyond the Fringe. Here is a sample.
Very sorry about the lack of embedding, but it’s as good a way as any to provide a link. This one goes out to LMC:
I got to thinking today—beautiful mild sunny day with wispy high clouds and the Monterey Bay, visible from my balcony, a luminous blue. Well, take a look. I just snapped the photo after writing the first sentence.
Because I’ve been watching the reminiscences in Monty Python: Almost the Truth, and that got me to thinking about the career of my own life—how I came to be sitting in a Monterey apartment with a nice view and wonderful climate, from where I was living in Iowa City. I thought it might be of interest.
Around 42, I started taking a look at my own life. My father had died in an oilfield accident when he was 42, so I was sort of entering new territory. I felt as though from 42 on it was up to me, in some strange way.
About that time, I began to think about leaving Iowa City at some point. Things were not holding me there so much, and I heard about John Crystal’s book Where Do I Go From Here With My Life?, I believe from an interview with him on NPR.
His story was interesting. In WWII he had been dropped behind enemy lines for purposes of gathering intelligence, and he was successful at it. On his return after the war, he was having trouble finding a job and getting established, when he thought, “Wait a minute—if I could get along in Axis territory, why not use the same approach here?” So he did.
The book was published in 1983 and I got a copy immediately (which is why I think I learned of it via an author interview on NPR). He describes an approach that begins with identifying where you would like to live. (You’ve got a find a job somewhere—look for one where you want to live.)
The next step was to visit the area and talk to people—do basic research. Identify the main local industries, and talk to people at companies in those industries, but specifically not to find a job. The idea is to learn the role of the industry in the community and region, what its recent history has been, what challenges it faces, who the players are, and so on: as if you were writing a magazine profile of the industry and its leaders.
The benefit of this approach is that you get past HR. If you’re looking for a job, HR will control you. If you’re specifically NOT looking for a job and want information on the company’s role in the industry and its plans for the future, you generally end up talking to some level of executive. In his book, Crystal describes the process in detail, and he mentions that quite often a job offer will come during the interview with the executive, but he suggests that you continue your research so that you can make a decision with full information.
That all made sense to me, but where did I want to live? I was pretty sure Iowa City was not it—or anyplace else that involved activities involving snow and shovels. So I bought a book titled Finding Your Best Place to Live in America, which collected a variety of statistics by region: cultural activities, natural hazards (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), artificial hazards (nuclear power plant, chemical processing, oil refineries, etc.), climate, and so on. In each category you rated the places, and at the end of the book, you have found your best place to live in America. (The book is still available as a used book, but it was published in 1981 and things have changed somewhat over the past 30 years. I doubt that it would be so useful today, and probably there are on-line sites that do much the same thing.)
I worked through it, and the winners were: the San Diego area, and the Central Coast.
I’m not really a city guy—I was raised in a town with a population of 2400, though I believe in the 50 years since it has exploded to 2700—and I already knew I enjoyed small cities—35,000 to 75,000 or thereabouts. And I wanted a good library. Etc.
The title is meant in equal measures literally and figuratively.
I’m having a hard time settling down to work on anything that involves reading or writing (or even watching movies) because I currently have no glasses and my eyes, while better, both definitely require correction. My hand keeps drifting to my temple to try to adjust my glasses, which currently are not even in town, being at some optical company getting a new right lens (which will be full correction).
I’m scheduled for cataract surgery on the left eye on 25 January, and that ends the run: just two eyes, though in grade school the common chant was that I had four. Hah! Good education in how wrong people can be and how well they ignore obvious physical evidence when it contradicts their ideology. So you see, I was already somewhat disenchanted with the public. But I want to point out: they started it.
At any rate, you will see erratic blogging the rest of this week. I ask your indulgence.
Very interesting Cool Tool today, especially for people who have to work in noisy environments: sound-canceling headphones to which you can attach your iPhone, MP3 player, radio, or what not. AND: they’re $22.
Over at Wicked_Edge a fellow shaver mentioned a problem lathering Proraso shaving cream with the Van Der Hagen Luxury Shaving Set brush, shown above with the little rack that comes with the set, so I decided to replicate the shave in solidarity.
I also decided to try the Proraso pre- and post-shave cream, and I used a tip offered by a WEdger: apply the cream and then use a hot towel over it. I did, with a certain Vicks VapoRub effect. I watched the clock for two minutes, but then I realized that if I did this regularly, it would be more fun to recite (to Megs or to myself) the Gettysburg Address (around 1 min 40 sec) or some narrative poem of appropriate length (say, Part 1 of The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes (2 minutes), or My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning (3 minutes).
After the hot-towel treatment, I went to shower, leaving the residue of the Proraso cream on my beard. At the sink, I washed with MR GLO, partially rinsed with a splash, applied more of the pre-shave cream, and then squirted out a lump of the Proraso shaving cream about the size of an almond.
I rubbed the cream on my beard, then took the Van Der Hagen brush, wet it under the hot-water tap, and began brushing my beard. I brought up a good lather. The VDH brush has a rather loose knot, but it works, just not so efficiently as a better brush.
My new Mühle 106 with a Personna 74 blade did a very nice job, and all the prep made for an easy shave. Three passes, the alum block, a final rinse, dry, and I applied the Proraso cream now as a post-shave.
Good shave, but I’m still not sold on the pre- and post-shave cream.