Famous Dead Person

You get the opportunity to talk to a famous deceased person. Who do you chat with and what do you talk about? What are some of their answers? Try writing in their voice. The first person who comes to mind is Kurt Cobain, maybe because I just read an interview with Dave Grohl. But I think Kurt pretty much already said everything he had to say. Or if he didn’t, I can still listen to him singing, so I don’t need to summon up his ghost to hear his thoughts. Also, he was alive relatively recently, so his opinions probably wouldn’t stray far from the rest of his generation that is still around to chat with. To really take advantage of an opportunity to talk to someone who’s dead, I think it would be most interesting to go back further and get perspective from someone who’s entire generation is gone, whose influence is waning, …

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Perspectives on the News

“What are we meant to think? Where should all this go in our minds? What they present us with each day are minuscule extracts of narratives whose true shape and logic can generally only emerge from a perspective of months or even years.  News organizations are….  institutionally committed to implying that it is inevitably better to have a shaky and partial grasp of a subject this minute than to wait for a more secure and comprehensive understanding somewhere down the line”  – Alain de Botton “The audience of people that want to know what’s happening in the world week by week, the people that work during the day and can read it, its small, alright and it’s concise and there’s pictures in it, you know? It’s a certain class of people, its a class of people that take the magazine seriously, I mean sure I can read it, you know, I read it , I get …

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GoPro… for the Average Joe

My calendar doesn’t have any upcoming skydiving, scuba or surfing adventures, but I’m the proud new owner of a GoPro Hero III camera, and well… I’ve got to do something with it. Their small & easily portable form, rugged accessories, and reputation for being nearly indestructible make GoPro cameras the device of choice for adventure sport athletes, whether they’re trekking up Mt. Everest or scaling skyscrapers in Shanghai. The rest of us can still find ways to be creative with the GoPro. I’ve been using the camera’s time lapse feature to record activities that a typical video wouldn’t capture very well – running, cooking, feeding the cat. Anything that takes thirty minutes, but looks very much cooler when it’s played back in three is fair game. Out of the box, the Hero III comes with a waterproof case, several pieces of mounting hardware, and wireless functionality. Accessories available for purchase …

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Trendy Tech Article Round-up

Half of my cognitive load on any given day is spent fighting the urge to read EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE on the internet. Fortunately, some make it through my productivity filter, and I allow myself to read them. Lately I’ve been using the very cool application Pocket to save things I want to read later. Several pieces grabbed my attention this week. Each touched on the start-up culture in which I work, but I didn’t feel like the target audience – they all hinted direction at a reader on the outside of the tech world: Rolling Stone’s big interview with Bill Gates, the NY Times Magazine’s ‘Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem‘, and two from the Wall Street Journal – ‘Success Outside the Dress Code‘ and ‘Have Liberal Arts Degree, Will Code.’ Mr. Gates’ most interesting statements revealed his thoughts on morality, religion, and government, but he also answered questions about the current state …

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Snow from a Phone

I (unbelievably) can’t remember how many times snow has fallen this winter. Seven? Fourteen? Twenty? I’ve been using Instagram to capture the beauty of the season. From nearly 70°F two days ago, to eight (!) inches of snow this morning, watching the deviant flakes fall this St. Patrick’s Day is a fitting way to celebrate the nonconformist Irish spirit. Sláinte!

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Potential Weather Review, ★★★★ Washington D.C.

I haven’t noticed today’s weather, other than ‘it’s cold’ – because I’m infatuated with what Wednesday’s and Thursday’s weather will potentially bring. Today’s forecast model runs are all in accordance with the trend that developed last week, each predicting a good amount of snow falling Wednesday night. The National Weather Service officially has DC at a 60% chance of more than 8″. The different forecasting simulations – the GFS, the NAM, the Canadian, and the Euro – all are in agreement that DC will see at least 5″ of snow, with the NAM and Euro models as bullish as up to 20″ and the GFS more conservatively showing 6-10″. I’m not entirely sure what the acronyms stand for, but I think NAM means “North American Mesoscale,” and GFS means “Good Fluffy Snow.” http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/model-guidance-model-area.php

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on Cities and the ‘Auto Slum’

Walking in Tysons Corner, Virginia after business hours can feel like the opening scene of the zombie thriller film 28 Days Later… Structures everywhere indicate human settlement, but the eerie quiet and absence of pedestrians suggest otherwise. Construction of four Metro stations is intended to redirect the trend, but as they sit unused during final testing phases, their promise of pedestrian utopia is hard to visualize. They are giant monolithic structures tucked in the middle of massive motorways. When the ribbon is cut, locals will discover if they will operate as viable walker-friendly transit options. I’ve been fascinated by cities since I was a kid, when books by the children’s author Ed Emberley gave me lessons on how to ‘make a world.’ He illustrated step-by-step instructions for drawing people, buildings, cars, ski slopes, helicopters, police stations, and anything else one could find in a city. I filled my after-school time …

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on 15,000 Steps

It was only three or four steps to get to the bathroom when I woke up, late, Sunday morning. The grey light trying to force its way in through the blinds, the cat looping acrobatically beneath my drowsy gait. Since Christmas, I’ve been wearing a FitBit Force on my wrist, tracking every move I make with it’s fancy digital pedometer and accelerometer and altimeter and estimated calorie-burn computer and alarm clock and sleep timer. A trip to the bathroom in the morning becomes a matter of consequence, a record of competition. The conservation of my physique is now the ward of a few megabytes, transferred via low-energy Bluetooth. The gadget comes programmed to push me towards 10,000 steps as a daily goal, so I’m following its request, making the effort to walk at least five miles as often as possible. I’ve hit the 10k mark twelve times in January. My …

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Delillo on Memory

After posting my recollections of being a Redskins fan yesterday, this quote came to mind, from Americana: “If I could index all the hovering memories which announce themselves so insistently to me, sitting amid the distractions of yet another introspective evening (ship models, books, the last of the brandy), I would compile my index not in terms of good or bad memories, childhood or adult, innocent or guilty, but rather in two very broad and simple categories. Cooperative and uncooperative. Some memories seem content to be isolated units; they slip neatly into the proper slot and give no indication of continuum. Others, the uncooperative, insist on evasion, on camouflage, on dissolving into uninvited images. When I command snow to fall once again on the streets of Old Holly, my father’s hands curled about a shovel, I can’t be sure I’ll get the precise moment I want. A second too soon …

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Sketches of Redskins Fandom

Football is a game of numbers, statistics, metrics, predictions, analysis, massive crowds, huge salaries, gigantic men. My relationship to football, my personal connection to it, is far different – its basis in the intimate and not the organized – I never played for or cared about my junior or high school teams, but spent afternoons in the neighborhood, running post routes in the street, tackling my friends into piles of dog shit; and Sundays on the couch, shouting at the TV. My perspective on the ‘big picture’ is ever evolving, during some seasons I get in such a disgusting funk over the whole thing I can’t bear to watch, other seasons it’s all I can do not to replay a game three times during week. I’ve at times been casual, meticulous, and absent in my fandom. I’ve been zealous, and then skeptical, and then angry, and then glad. It comes …

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