Tuesday, August 26, 2014

slowly re-watching "Dead Poets Society."


I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.

To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied--I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread,
Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

in which a boat is bigger than originally thought.

We've been doing our regular summer traveling, up to the Seattle area for one family, and out to Cape Cod for another. I wound up being out of the office for at least half of July. This meant being gone when the completely new team structure at work began, but since I was reading books and playing in the water with my kid and my niece, the first part of the re-org went very smoothly for me.

J keeps growing up, and this time he was a perfect traveler, with nary a single meltdown before, during, or after, where previously he would do well in transit and then be a mess the next day. There was a bit of shouting at other kids or when losing too much at games, but that's to be expected. I watched him start crabbing at some kid his size who was with J on our small moored sailboat.
"Okay, come here. Why are you shouting at this kid who's all the way on the other end of the boat?"
"He's trying to take the whole thing."
"Are you sure? It looked to me like you were each staying on one end of the boat and there was plenty of space."
[inaudible grumbling]
"Did you ask his name?"
Annoyed. "Yes, it's Oliver."
That's actually pretty impressive.
"Did you tell him your name?"
Still annoyed. "No!"
"You didn't tell him you are Count Grumble von Hmphenstein?"
The smile begins.
"And that this is your boat, the Hmph of the Sea?"
"Based out of Hmph Harbor, Cape Cod?"
"How about you assume Oliver is willing to share the boat, and you go talk to him?"
And then there was playing! Or at least bits of conversation and acknowledged coexistence. We try not to be too picky.

Getting the hang of this whole "parenting" thing. Just in time for the boy to hit adolescence...

the bright, burning light of politeness.

The other day there was an intermittent loud honking out in the street. I finally identified it as a silver BMW sedan which would drive up part of the street, honk, do a U-turn in the intersection, honk, drive back down the street. Over and over.

At last I noticed the driver had stopped cruising and parked over by the corner. I decided to go ask them to stop honking their horn. As I walked up to the car it occurred to me that there are a few folks living in the area who might not respond well to some random guy asking them to quiet down. I decided to deal with that if it happened.

As soon as I saw the young man in the driver's seat, I felt a little awkward, because he had a fascinating array of tattoos, most of which I would (admittedly in ignorance of the details) associate with gangs and/or prison time. You know how some criminals have teardrops tattooed under their eyes, typically assuming to correspond to people they killed? This guy had musical notes. A quarter note and then an eighth note, if I remember right. Well, okay, maybe I'm about to go ask a gang member to keep the noise down. No point in turning back now.
"Excuse me, sir? Are you the one honking his horn?"
The driver looked furtively around, in pretty much any direction except my face. He is looking at his phone.
"Yeah, I just gotta meet my friend at this intersection."
This is new. "You don't know where he lives?"
"Nah, he just said this intersection."
Still looking everywhere but at me.
"Is there anything I can do to help you find him? The honking is pretty disruptive."
"Nah, I just gotta wait for him."
 Luckily for our driver, I spot another young man coming down the street toward us, clearly the awaited passenger.
 "Oh, this is him..."
"All right. If you can stop the honking, I'd appreciate it."
And then back to the house.
I hate to draw conclusions about people, but I'm going to assume that our tattooed driver, furtively honking and looking around for a guy he doesn't know to come meet him at a specific intersection--rather than, say, an address--was involved  in some criminal activity. Some theory, some observation:
  1. There's no criminal genius here. Nothing about this episode screams "Professor Moriarty."
  2. It's interesting to just walk up and ask. It could go bad, but...
  3. ...I think the young man didn't like the attention. I've written before about how you alter the situation by just being there and letting someone know they are seen. I'm hoping that by signaling that sketchy activity is noticed, they'll take it elsewhere.
Ah, city living.