There’s an extraordinarily large number of bloggable events today. There’s usually none. Somehow they’re all connected in a metaphysical level, or at least I hope so…
First of all I finished some work, which is kind of rare lately 🙂 Well not really finished, but at least I got the code to a first milestone where I can send out a review request to my temp supervisor in the project. He’s a stereotypical geek hacker, old, but still a hacker. He’s taller than me, walks in a peculiar way, talks and writes succinctly and often cryptically. He wrote most of the basic utilities in our system with more comments than all other developers combined. It’s fun working with him.
In the meanwhile (really, I did work) I read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl after glimping an NYTimes book review for a book published on its 50th anniversary. I learned his name after reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which I liked a lot. It’s very much like the novel in their spontaneous, sacrificial, and scandalous spirit. I read somewhere that Ginsberg held poetry reading sessions in the Village for many years, where, like so many cultural (or counter-cultural) and intellectual places in 50’s-70’s throughout the world, has become tourist sites.
Chatted with HH about their Spain trip in the planning, which brought back fond memories of our trip in 2003 as our first time in Europe. We still feel it’s the best one by far for many factors, including weather, food, and sheer amazement. Barcelona remains the only place we’d want to live in.
Back home, a real cool and useful battery charger arrived. Now this is a rather long and possibly boring story. We bought the Canon S2 camera, and unexplicably it uses 4 AA batteries instead of Li-ion, which we have a bunch for J’s old S230. I bought a charger and 8 AA NiMH batteries from eBay a while ago for the cordless phones and shaver, but the charger only takes 110V. So I ordered a package of Sony charger and 4 batteries from Amazon, hoping that 3 batches would be enough. When the camera arrived, to my dismay the 1700mAh batteries were drained in just a few minutes. When looking for more powerful batteries I saw someone mentioning the LaCross BC-900 charger. I bought it with 2-day shipping, because it’s not in immediate stock. After a few days it’s shipped, but the tracking number was wrong. I called in and got no help, so I wrote an angry feedback email. To my surprise and pleasure, Amazon responded in one day and refunded the shipping charge, and I still got the charger in time. Now THAT’s customer service!
The most significant event of the day is the PBS program on the Tank Man. It turns out to be a condensed description of 6/4, followed by very recent reports and interviews on China today. We have actually never seen such a full collection of 6/4 footage, and the later part is very provocative in exposing the huge growing social and economical rift between the have’s and have-not’s. It covers many things that I’ve been thinking of lately, and will make me think even more.
Here’s the next day, still quite eventful. I talked with Roger and got further direction for coding, which is really nice. It’s the first time I feel like a real programmer during the 5 months at this job.
Next up: the NY Public Library. I can’t believe I completely missed it in the last 5 years. It’s an incredible and free source of books, CDs, and DVDs. And it’s as convenient as ordering from Amazon. Now THAT’s technology put to good use! Yesterday I got Rick Steve’s France, Belgium, and Netherlands and “84 Charing Cross Road” DVD, which we watched tonight and I’ll cover it later. Today I returned the Beer Guide to Belgium and Netherlands, and Hendrik van Loon’s Tolerance.
I read the Chinese translation of Tolerance in high school. I loved the book, though I had heard of almost none of the people mentioned in it (and remembered their names from it). One obvious thing the book imprinted in my head is the word tolerance. The rights to think and speak freely. The mindset to be tolerant and tolerative. The motto “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” However, should you tolerate other people’s intolerance? What if you presume other people to be intolerate, but in fact it’s you who’s still being intolerate? That’s a logic dilemma I cannot answer now.
84 Charing Cross Road is a collection of letters between a New York writer and a London used bookstore, written in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s made into a movie in 1986, played by Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, and Judy Dench. My parents saw the movie lately and liked it very much. I feel it’s a bit dragging, but still lovely and thoughtful. It feels kind of weird when Ms. Hanff and Mr. Doel started to talk to the camera. Sure the director means they’re talking to each other, but it breaks the smooth, calm, and empathetic depiction of their respective natural lives as their relevant or irrelevant letters are read by offscreen voices. Anyway it’s still a good movie about real and true human spirits and nature.