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Showing posts from January, 2010

An Education

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Caveat: My children are surfing the Internet playing with virtual fish as I write this.

Just finished reading Nick Hornby’s screenplay for “An Education”. As an aspiring playwright, I especially enjoyed the introductory section where Hornby tells the story of making this movie based on Lynn Barber’s autobiographical essay about her affair with a shady older man at the beginning of the 1960s.

Hornby points out the challenge in rewriting a memoir where a woman in her sixties writes about her sixteen year-old self. The point of a memoir is to be as smart as possible about one’s younger self. Meanwhile, “in a screenplay, you have to deny the character that insight otherwise there’s no drama, just a character understanding herself and avoiding mistakes.”

This made me think about episodes in my life that contributed to my “Education,” and the distance between the woman I am today and the na├»ve girl I was when I graduated from college. As I raise my own children, I wonder how to impart some o…

TF22: Refried Beans 2009

Sometimes I like to cook something with what is left in the fridge. And sometimes it is even yummy. This time I do it with 2009 music, music I have been listening continuously in a loop on my ipod but haven't mixed in yet. Hence "refried beans".

TF22- Refried beans 09 by marc fleury

I keep my ear close to the speaker for good music, or rather "music I like". I have a lot of time, so there is a lot of it. Not everything is brand spanking new in there, in fact some stuff in there is downright old, early 80's and such. But everything has caught my ear in one way. The melody, the pads, the drums, the mood, the pace, the bass, the vocals, the memories, whatever.

The resulting mood is ironically down-tempo (ironical because I don't particularly like down-tempo) it starts at a sluggish 100BPM and lazily climbs up to 120ish... and it is definitely melancholic, in the off-tones. It has hip-hop, house, electronic, techno, some rock (gasp!). Like I said, i…

Save MySQL?

There is a call to "save MySQL". Here is the gist of the "worry"


If Oracle buys MySQL as part of Sun, database customers will pay the bill.

In April 2009, Oracle announced that it had agreed to acquire Sun. Since Sun had acquired MySQL the previous year, this would mean that Oracle, the market leader for closed source databases, would get to own MySQL, the most popular open source database.

If Oracle acquired MySQL on that basis, it would have as much control over MySQL as money can possibly buy over an open source project. In fact, for most open source projects (such as Linux or Apache) there isn't any comparable way for a competitor to buy even one tenth as much influence. But MySQL's success has always depended on the company behind it that develops, sells and promotes it. That company (initially MySQL AB, then Sun) has always owned the important intellectual property rights (IPRs), most notably the trademark, copyright and (so far only for defensive purpos…

Conversations Between My Boys

Tw1: I do "this"...

Tw2: Oh no you can't, because my tanks have nano protection...

Tw1: But then my guards come and they have a neutralizer for nano-protection and they arrest you...

Tw2: Yes, but then my samurais have a weapon against your box and they free me...

Tw1: Ok, my tanks, the best of the world come, and they kill you...

Tw2: Well, then my planes come and they kill your tanks...

Tw1: That's not fair, you can't do that!

Tw2: Sure I can, and I kill you!...

Tw1: Whatever...

Author's Note: Twin 1 and Twin 2 are 7-yr old boys

Bankruptcy could be good for america?

Wow, that ought to spook a bunch of people including myself. The FT is rallying the excitable fringe with a well written piece on the virtue of sovereign default.

In Winnie-the-Pooh, there is a significant moment when the bear is asked whether he wants honey or condensed milk with his bread. He replies “both”. You can get away with this sort of thing if you are a much loved character in children’s literature. But it is more problematic when great nations start behaving in a childish fashion. When Americans are asked what they want – lower taxes, more lavish social spending or the world’s best-funded military machine – their collective answer tends to be “all of the above”.

The result is that the US is piling up debt. A budget deficit of about 12 per cent of gross domestic product is understandable as a short-term reaction to a huge financial crisis. What should worry Americans is that, with entitlement spending set to surge, there is no credible plan to bring the budget deficit under c…

The Reluctant Skiier

Skiing, like golf, was not one of those activities that strengthened the marital bond. Nothing like being tricked onto a descent that is beyond one’s ability, concentrating desperately on making it to the next turn, while spouse cheerfully schusses down slope offering annoying advice, or worse still abandoning you to catapult down and land face forward, backside and legs up…like a sprawling cockroach. Might have screamed from top of slope with vocabulary that would shame a fishwife.

Advice from random man in the gondola: “It’s better to look good than be good.”

Children: the three that are old enough to ski or snowboard are all better than me now. They’re not even teenagers and already patronizing. Every dollar spent on ski or snowboard school is well worth it. Can I keep them in those programs until they are 18?

This feeling was compounded by experience riding in lifts with Other People’s Children, especially their surly teenagers. One sixteen year old girl whined: “Mo’om, I can’t bel…

The "entrecote" sauce is revealed-- english translation

This must be one of the best kept culinary secrets in France. "L'entrecote" is known internationally for its one dish: "steak frites" with a fantastic sauce. My family has been going there for 20 years, twice a week when in paris. My parents know the waiters and show them grand kid pictures and we have collectively tried to find out the secret of the sauce.

The restaurant is situated in the west "porte" of Paris, the Porte Maillot. I grew up in the neighborhoods next to it, both "Neuilly sur Seine" and the more "prolo" "Courbevoie/La defense" when I was a kid. The restaurant has opened branches in London, Geneva, and I read in the Le monde article, in Barcelona.

A family feud between the sisters running the shop has led to new restaurants in Paris, one in the 16th arrondissement and one in montparnasse. Today the french magazine "Le monde" is running is piece divulging the secret sauce. I have no idea how…