Monday, June 29, 2009

A farewell to the compact disc

IMG_0978A few days ago I decided it was finally time to clean out my old, dirty, yellow CD case I received from my friend Scott W. back in the 8th grade. (I can't recall how I got the case, but it's possible that it was under dubious circumstances. I probably still owe Scott a lot of money.)

That CD case has been well-used and well-loved over the last 10 years, and it has the stains to prove it. That yellow case - once a bright dandelion color, now faded to a dark puke - is likely the least sanitary thing I own. Embedded in its vinyl cover are infectious diseases dating back to the late 90s.

But I love that case. Back in high school I organized the front CDs with all my favorites, and until recently, that organization was still there - my museum exhibit showcasing my previous tastes.

But as I said, it was time to clean it out. I needed to make room for more recent MP3 purchases which I had burned onto a CD to play in my car. While I was flipping through, though, I found an old compilation CD I had made back in high school, which I had called "Ultimate Happy Alternative." I hadn't listened to it in years, and when I popped it in I was transported back to an era when the airwaves were ridden by bands called The Wallflowers, Fastball, Third Eye Blind, Semisonic, and Better than Ezra.

After I had ripped this CD to my computer for eternal preservation, I realized that something had happened to me that many people have been bemoaning over the last few years. You see, I recently made the decision that I would no longer buy physical copies of music. There are just so many advantages to having digital copies, I can't justify spending an extra 50% on my music to get the CD.

But what I had just experienced - that moment of "finding" something by browsing, something I hadn't seen in years - couldn't have happened with a digital music library. That sort of thing only happens with physical copies, something you can put away for a while, perhaps lose, and then find later while cleaning out the junk under your bed. When you have digital copies, you often only find what you're looking for.

And so it is with great sadness that I bid farewell to CDs, perhaps the last physical form our music will take. From here on out in this brave new world, we'll be all iPods, MP3 players, and phones (probably all phones). But I hope in the future, someday when I'm surrounded by life-improving gadgets, that I'll stumble upon that old yellow CD case, pull out an old favorite, and be reminded of earlier times.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I'm baaack!

Regular posts begin again on Monday. Sorry for the long dry spell. But there's some good stuff coming that I think you'll like.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eat Mor Chikn

Fast food nation

I just finished reading Fast Food Nation. And somewhere amid descriptions of maimed slaughterhouse workers, greedy fast food tycoons, and disease-riddled beef my stomach started to churn.

What have I been eating all these years? What I thought was ground beef was apparently laced with pesticides, antibiotics, E. coli, dead cows that had been fed to living cows, manure, and particles of some poor Mexican's arm that got mangled in the machinery.


So what now? Buy organic meat? Go vegetarian? Eat only poultry and fish? Buy a herd of cattle and slaughter a few every year to stock my freezers? According to Fast Food Nation, the chicken industry isn't cleaner or safer than their bovine counterparts. And who knows how those poor trout are being treated these days. I heard they suffer a long, tortuous death by suffocation before landing on my fork. My vegetables probably receive fertilizer from the above-mentioned infected cows, in addition to the nasty pesticides and probably some nuclear fall-out leftover in the soil.

tomato (This is a tomato)

In the midst of all these injustices and health hazards, I have to eat. Tonight's menu: triple chocolate brownies. With ice cream to cover up that funny pesticide after-taste.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My real rebuttal

I was tempted beyond that which I was able to bear.

The great electronics war

Today there was a battle in the Hess household.

The topic: Apple's new iPhone 3G S


Just when you thought nothing could be more awesome than the last iPhone, here it is.

Isaac's arguments went something like this:

1) It's awesome. You just don't understand how awesome it is. Now that I know it exists, any awesomeness that previous iPhones may have had is obsolete.

2) Don't think of this as a frivolous personal purchase. This will make me a better employee. Actually, think of this as a business purchase.

3) I have to keep up with Sean

4) Since we're currently DINK (Dual-income, no kids), we can afford anything!

5) I will not be able to think about or talk about anything else until I get one. Every conversation we have will somehow end up with me begging you to let me buy an iPhone.

Isaac didn't actually say #5, but because I know him well, it becomes an inferred argument.

My arguments:

1) It's expensive

2) You already have a phone

3) It's expensive

4) You already have a phone

Isaac's rebuttal:


Isaac won. If you think I'm crazy, please review again Isaac's argument #5 and consider the mental and emotional pain I am sparing myself.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The briefest of delays

byol_elearning_logoDear faithful readers,

(And yes, there are faithful readers. My tracker says I still get about 5 unique visitors to this blog per day, and that's even when I'm posting stupid poems or nothing. IDevCon Source CS3 don't know who you are, but you deserve some kind of medal, or a candy bar. Whichever is less expensive.)

You may have noticed that posting has been scant recently, and that what posts I have made have been rather . . . lame. Well, I have a reason for this. A huge deadline (we're talking Israel Kamakawiwo'ole huge) is coming up for me at work, and it has consumed all but the most necessary parts of my life.

To tell it briefly - if you've ever wondered what it is I do at work - I am in charge of organizing and managing several conferences, at which usually about 300 people attend. One of those conferences began today, and continues all through next Saturday. I'll be out of town, working late, looking important, things like that.

(If you're curious, visit the conference websites: eLearning DevCon and BYOL eLearning are the upcoming ones.)

The good news is, I'll soon be back! After this week my life will resume some semblance of sanity, and regular good blog posts will resume as well.

So keep reading! Don't give up on me!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Automatic Lights

I came to the office on a Saturday,
came to work, and not to be mocked
by loneliness.

But every time I walk into a room,
the building greets me by turning on
automatic lights.

These lights, with all their good intentions,
Are the surest piece of evidence that
I am alone.

They seem to scream as they turn on:
"No one else has been here."