Archive for the 'Random Musings' Category

17
Jan
13

A Glance From a Girl I Should Have Known

(An excerpt from the yet unpublished book, Coats in the Summertime, by Devron Grant)

Reflecting on my years and the actors who’ve participated in the screenplay that is my life, I’ve always been most intrigued by the supporting cast I’ve spent so little time with, yet whose faces I can’t forget.  I can’t even call them ‘relationships’.   They’re a more like acquaintances.  Extras.  Passers by.  The people you never really got to know.  Faces you only had passing contact with.  Folks with whom you may not have ever shared a word.   For me, Stephanie Moses was one such person.

Before you reach age five, your circle of friends is relegated to the kids your parents bring around — usually their friend’s kids.  I was a bit too young to really interact with one of those kids.  Her name was Stephanie.  She was about two years my senior.  Being that young during the time that our mothers were friends, I never really knew her personally.  We never said ‘hello’ in passing as we got older and I’m pretty sure she didn’t know who I was.  But I knew who she was.  Continue reading ‘A Glance From a Girl I Should Have Known’

Advertisements
26
Nov
10

Paper is Evil

nopaperI’ve never been an environmentalist. I mean, I believe in the biblical principal that if you’re a good steward over what you have that God will bless you with more. But I’m not the guy who’s putting every can, bottle and plastic bag in it’s proper receptacle. Yet there is one area of recycling and conservation of the Earth where the ‘save the Earth’ folks agenda lines up perfectly with mine. And that’s when it comes to the topic of paper.

When I was a kid, I had an Okidata printer when most people barely had PCs with word processors. I kicked out my share of beautifully printed, double-spaced essays and term papers. It served me well over the course of it’s life and of the four printers I’d gone through subsequently. However, that was back in 1986 when I was using QuantumLink (which would become America Online) and dying to meet someone with an actual e-mail address so that I could communicate with them. It’s 2010 now and we need to take a long, hard look at our obsession with physical paper in all forms.

So why am I making all this fuss over paper? Well, it’s because I spend to much of my time managing it. And with no real benefit. You see, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and minor tasks for some are harder decisions for me. It’s not quite at the level of the folks on ‘Hoarders’, but at certain points of my life, I was close. Even today I keep every neighborhood collection of circulars that land on my front door and I can’t bring myself to throw them out until I’ve gone through them all. (Sometimes thumbing through the pages of stores I have no intention of visiting). For me, all of this paper gets in the way of living.

I have a friend at my job that likes to share things with me — by printing them out and putting them on my desk. It was a few months before I had to explain my situation. “I have to keep that paper and process it — that is, read it and understand it — and can’t throw it out until I’m done.” But there’s something bigger about the paper that landed on my desk than my disorder or the cost of the paper and the ink that it took to deliver it to me. My business mind sees the gross inefficiency that paper leads to.

Continue reading ‘Paper is Evil’

07
Aug
10

Everything I needed to know in life I learned from The Breakfast Club

dvd Anyone who knows me has probably heard me carry on about how incredible a movie The Breakfast Club is.  I’ve gone on about it on this very site and I might have watched it at least fifty times.  No other movie I’ve seen repeatedly comes close (although Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is coming close.  I think more than any other movie (except maybe WarGames) it affected me to the point that it changed how I looked at the world when I was in high school.  And even though it’s <gulp> twenty-six years old, it’s themes still hold true.  In fact, I’d venture to say that everything I needed to know in life I learned from watching it.  Oh, you wanna know why?  <In my best John Bender voice>… It’s real easy:

Continue reading ‘Everything I needed to know in life I learned from The Breakfast Club’

29
Jan
10

Musings on the Announcement of the Apple iPad

It’s been about 24 hours since the long anticipated keynote address and unveiling of the Apple iPad.  I’ve had some time to reflect on what this announcement will mean for Apple, for consumers and for my own personal use. 

Mixed Reactions
On Wednesday morning, it seemed like even the least tech savvy folks knew that ‘Apple was announcing a tablet!’.  (Major props to those sites that were gracious enough to cover this event via liveblog – it made the situation easier to follow.)  Getting bits and pieces of information and trying to digest them while on the telephone and working with customers, I found it difficult to process the facts.  A lot of what Steve Jobs says gets lost in translation in the liveblog.  I was in a room filled with tech savvy co-workers and just about everyone was underwhelmed.  While the announcement was, in fact, a “tablet-shaped device,” the details were significantly less impressive than the grandiose expectations that analysts and random tech followers (like myself) had ascribed to it.  Nobody I spoke to seemed genuinely excited and as I collected feedback (most of it unsolicited), it largely consisted of exclamations about the poor marketing behind the name and what the iPad couldn’t do.  Overall, people seemed generally confused about what makes this product offering so special.

It’s important to point out that after years of speculation about what an “Apple Tablet” would look and behave like, the expectations were almost impossible to meet.  (It was actually a bit anti-climactic to actually see and hear this announcement since it was so much fun to pontificate over the years about what such a device might be.) 

The Keynote is the Key
The key to understanding this product lies not in reviewing the specifications and comparing it to other offerings in the market.  For those who are considering the iPad, my best suggestion is to actually invest an hour and half of your time before you spend $499 – $830.  Watch the keynote and observe how Apple is marketing it to consumers.

Unlike many other product unveilings, Apple devoted almost the entire hour and a half to explaining just one product.  (The keynote is long – if you can’t watch the entire thing, check out just the first 15 – 30 minutes of it.  (It’s available now on the homepage at Apple.com or via iTunes via podcast.)  But for the benefit of those that will only read this, I’ll do my best to share Steve Jobs’ sentiment.) 

The most critical piece of information during the keynote was explained in the first 15 minutes.  Steve showed a slide with an iPhone on the left, a MacBook on the right and and empty space in the center.  He talked about the thought that went into deciding whether there was room for a product between those two devices.  The philosophy he outlined was, ‘If we’re going to announce a product in between these two offerings, it has to be better than the phone and better than the MacBook at some things.’  He then hypothesized about whether the netbook fits in this category.  (He actually put the word “Netbook” in the empty space between the MacBook and the phone.  He explained that the company’s conclusion on netbooks is that they aren’t better than laptops or phones at anything.  He dismissed them as “slow, cheap laptops”.  It was only after going through this explanation that he unveiled the iPad that almost everyone has seen by now.

Continue reading ‘Musings on the Announcement of the Apple iPad’

21
Aug
09

The Palm Pre and Me – Where did love go wrong?

gallery-pre-10Earlier this year in March – just five short months ago – I was about as excited as I’ve ever been for a new gadget.  After writing Palm off as a ‘has been’ for years, I found my attitude changing after watching the keynote for the Palm Pre in January at CES.  And like any lusting affair, the more I read about it the more I wanted it.  Gadgets are an obsession for me to begin with. However, my obsession with the Pre was starting to become unhealthy.  I recall thinking to myself before the final pricing was set, “I’m sure Palm will price this competitively, but I’ll go as high as, say…five…no, six hundred.  But that’s my final offer!”

But unlike many other situations of longing desire, I knew why I wanted the Pre.  And even after having left it for another phone, I still know.  The Pre promised something that my iPhone never gave and as far as I knew, never planned on giving.  At the top of the list was a physical keyboard – something that the writer in me had been missing ever since I stood on the iPhone launch line.  But it was more than the keyboard.  It was the promise of an untethered experience where I didn’t sync to a desktop but wirelessly with the cloud.  One where I didn’t have to worry about going home to plug in and sync my music and where I’d have a replica of my home digital life in my mobile device.

I didn’t sleep at all on the night before it launched.  I was too afraid of ‘falling asleep and missing the launch line’.  And so, like a love struck fool, I stood on line for four hours at the Sprint Store in Valley Stream and traded text messages with my sister (who had the Pre bug too).  And when I first held the phone in my hands, I can’t deny how happy I was… the phone felt so incredible.  Some areas were lacking, but I knew it would take some time before I got accustomed to it.

The scene now is not very different from many other breakups.  There seem to be regrets on both sides of the table.  Here I sit in one room while the Pre sits in another (probably making calls to it’s girlfriends remarking at how much of a liar I was and how full of it I am.)

What’s worse, my new girl…uh…phone… well, it’s a lot like my old phone.  The iPhone 3GS sits at my side.  Yes, that iPhone 3GS.  The one I laughed at Apple for releasing with few additional features than the previous version.  The one that was playing it safe.  Well, in the end, it turns out that ‘safe’ is probably what I need at this point.

But the question that I’ve been getting from everyone who knew how in love I appeared with the Pre remains the same… where did love go wrong?!

Well, let me explain…

Continue reading ‘The Palm Pre and Me – Where did love go wrong?’

30
May
09

Don’t Expect Much From the “New iPhone” – Apple has to ‘Play it Safe’

Capture Now that I’m less than a week away from, excluding any unforeseen product shortages, adopting a Palm Pre as my primary mobile device, my peers keep prodding me with questions.  Many of my tech friends haven’t really been following the Pre and WebOS that closely.  Actually, it’s surprising how many haven’t been following it.  Even Leo Laporte (whom I consider to be kinda close to the cutting edge when talking about tech) is only now starting to pay attention to the Pre.  And he seems to be doing it in a very apologetic way.  (‘You know what, I think I’m gonna check out the Palm Pre…’).  The truth is that he’s probably following the Pre because he has to – as a tech correspondent, he has to stay on top of what the current focus is, and right now that’s the Pre.

Having read message boards and talked to other tech fans, what is most surprising to me are the number of people who are anxiously anticipating the announcement of the next iteration of the iPhone.  Okay, so it’s not that surprising – any Apple announcement these days (and particularly one where Steve Jobs might take the stage – and it’s about a 75% lock that it will happen in my book) will get tech journalists pens moving.  But this time around, I’m much more interested in the other stuff that Apple might talk about.  For people who know their tech, there should be almost no excitement for the iPhone this go round.  And there are a few reasons for it.

About two plus months ago, I was buzzing around my office at work.  Apple had announced that they would be previewing some of the features of the forthcoming iPhone OS 3.0.  While I thought the Pre was intriguing, innovative and sorta tempting, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the folks at the Apple Campus at Cupertino.  I knew (or, at least, I thought I knew) that whatever they announced would make me forget about the multi-tasking, cloud synching, synergetic phone that Palm revealed two months earlier.  Upon reflection, had I been able to take a trip up to the ‘wisdom mountain’ and really clear my head, I would have seen the obvious. 

Continue reading ‘Don’t Expect Much From the “New iPhone” – Apple has to ‘Play it Safe’’

15
May
09

Thoughts on Grey’s Finale (Season 5)

Here's Your New Lunch Table Clique... It would be easy to roll up my sleeves and pontificate about all of the reasons why I feel this season of Grey’s Anatomy was disappointing.  (And had I started writing the minute after the credits rolled, that’s precisely what I would have done).  But reflecting on the show (for all of, let’s see….two hours), my thoughts turn to T.R. Knight’s character, George O’Malley.

When people think of Grey’s, the character that they usually reflect upon is Meredith.  After all, the show bears her name and she narrates most of the episodes.  But in a strange way, I always saw the show through George’s eyes.  During the early episodes when Grey’s was just this show that came on after Desperate Housewives, I kinda looked at George and laughed.  He was every nerdy, ‘wish-i-could-hang-with-the-cool-kids’ dude I ever knew.  And while he was annoying, he was also the character that seemed to be the most humbled by the opportunity that was set before him.

As the show moved on, out of all of the characters on the show, I saw him as the character who evolved and matured the most.  One of the things that I loved about the show was the relationship that he and Isaiah Washington had as student and teacher.  It was one of mutual respect and it was wonderfully written.  (Which was part of the reason that I was so crushed to find out that in reality their relationship was less than cordial, the true reasons behind which we may never fully know.)  But even without ‘Burke’, George found a way always give us something interesting to chew on.  The guilt that he carried and emitted without words during the season where he cheated on Callie.  The pain of explaining his father’s sickness to his family, playing the ‘bad news-bringing doctor’ role in a way that he probably never figured he’d have to do.

By now it’s pretty clear to anyone that watched the finale that George was the victim of an accident and that T.R. Knight is no longer on the show.  I don’t profess to understand the complexities of running an award-winning primetime drama.  And I feel that for all of the good moments Grey’s writers have given us, we should all give them the benefit of the doubt when they make the decision that for whatever off-screen reasons that they need to somewhat abruptly end a character’s term on the program.  I just feel like there had to be a way…hell, there had to be a hundred ways… to give this character, whom you’ve invested so much time and energy and show-hours helping us to get to know… a proper good-bye.

Yes, I know by now that the theme of this entire season is that “life is precious” and that it should be cherished every minute that you breathe.  I get that.  But a tragic, quick death is one that is befitting a character who isn’t a staple of your program.  I don’t read TMZ and I don’t have a subscription to Us Weekly, but just like everyone else, I heard that both T.R. Knight and Katherine Heigl were leaving the show.  And it’s really none of my business why either the actors or the writers felt that they needed to part ways.  But if the Grey’s writers are fans of the show as much as they claim to be and are really concerned about what the fans want, then there had to have been a better way to “kill these characters off”.

I never really liked “Alex and Izzie” even though it kept being forced down our throats.  The funny thing to me about Alex and Izzie’s relationship this go ‘round was that the relationship that Izzie had with George made Alex (and thus the relationship) seem even more shallow than it did to being with.  Perhaps George and Izzie weren’t right for each other, but when they were together, for a moment you (or should I say, “I”) felt like love between two friends was possible.  Regardless of why they split (and yeah, I thought they were better as pals) it made Karev look more and more like a neanderthal.  After all, it was George – who wasn’t even with Izzie – who noticed that she wasn’t feeling well before anyone else did.

Continue reading ‘Thoughts on Grey’s Finale (Season 5)’