Tuesday Evening Coffee Table Free Association

Disclaimer: For some reason, I thought it’d be fun to take a
picture of my coffee table and post it here: a sort of little
slice-o-Coté. Feel free, dear readers, to skip this post if it
seems dull, it’s just silly stuff. Also, I didn’t spell-check this

My Coffee Table

First, we should start with the table itself. My mother was good
friends with an Isreali woman — Ireat Fickman…I don’t know how it’s
spelled, but the first name really sounds like “Irr-eat” — and when
she moved back to Isreal, my mom bought this coffee table for about
$15-30. As you can tell, the wood molding has been peeling
off the side. Nonetheless, the table is a nice, deep brown that,
really, I’d be happy to have my walls look like. Ahh, wood-paneling,
that’s my fantasy room.

Starting from my naked-foot, we have a 20% off coupon for Sheplers —
good ’till the 28th of March, partner! Then there’s an empty bottle of
what I thought was carrot juice when I bought it, but it was really carrot and orange
. I liked drinking it, as the empty bottle will attest, but
it was kind of unseatling.

Then we have this month’s copy of Shout Ny. I’m not sure if I
like this magazine yet, but the trial issue I got had an interview
with Kool Keith that made my week; remember,
“Chinese people in Japan love Kool Keith’s music.” Essentially,
Shout ny seems like a younger, not so targeted at middle-aged
hipsters, version of Paper. Burried under the magazine and my
wallet is the xeroxed “This is Old Money!” poster I found at Quacks
and haven’t moved from the table since
I took a fote of it last week

But, let’s dwell on the wallet for a second. I’ve had that wallet for
quite sometime, perhaps even a decade. Recently, there’s been some
suggestion that, well, “chain wallets” aren’t quite the posh
anymore. It’s so nice though: I always feel like it’ll never fall out
of my pocket. As I recall, The Marlboro Man, no doubt seeing the utility of it, fashioned his own chain-wallet.

Resting over the remote control are a couple slips of paper I’ve
jotted little notes on to save for later. One of them has to do with
the (yet to be done) implementation of the meeting
: how best can we represent the times a group of people
has available, and then figure out which times they have in common?
The other slip of paper is just a simple little API for a basic user
system: no permisions, just username, password, and properties. I
mean, don’t you just wish there was a simple user system with only a
few API classes (a User interface and a UserFactory/Service), some
taglibs, and support for, at least, DB support along with, perhaps,
some other SPI for the backend, all in a tidy little JAR? I sure do.

Then we have the most recent issue of UTNE magazine. I subscribed to
this magazine for 2 years some years ago, and they keep sending me my
“last issue.” I hope this one’s really the last issue, ’cause the
editorial board, or whatever, has gotten progressivly spaced-out
(“…and there ain’t no space”): the cover boasts stories like,
“Guerrilla Gardening, Take back your landscape,” or, “Eat it Raw! The
new twist in natural foods.” As I recall, I had a big ass stack of UTNE’s
that I leant to Morgen, who leant them to someone else, and so on.

Covering the UTNE magazine is last month’s Harper’s — yes,
yes, I subscribe to Harper’s…and sometimes I wish I got
The New Yorker too, though I wish there was something more
like The Austinite with a “Talk of the Town” equivilent. It’s
open to the book review section wherein some fellow ties together a
few books on the history of science. Man, have you ever studied any of
the history of science? Now, there’s some comedy right there,
centuries of it. (I’m sure we’re writing new chapters ourselves.)

In this month’s Harper’s — out of the frame, as it were, on my
lap — is an interesting article on numbness caused by, well, “our
modern culture,” or however you want to phrase that cliché idea (ironic, I suppose, because the whole idea that the idea of “our modern culture”/”consumer culture”/etc is a cliché, i.e., something that’s real, but that we’re tired of hearing about, is kind of a result of the numbness the article’s trying to describe). I’m always suspicious of any idea that claims to know
the average state of the millions of American citizens, but it starts
out with a Nietzsche
quote, and has a nice little passage on the busy 24/7 life-style:

The irony is that after we have worked really hard on something
urgent for a long time, we do escape numbness for a while — stepping
out of the building, noticing the breeze, the cracks in the sidewalk,
the stillness of things in the shop window. During those accidental
and transitional moments, we
actually get the feeling of the real
we were so frantacally
pursuing when we were busy. But we soon get restless. We can’t take
the input reduction. Our psychic metabolism craves more.

I’m not really sure how broadly that observation applies; I’m sure
it’s applicable to lone article writers and cerbrial types who like to
listen to the traffic outside while smoking on the balcony, or something
like that
. But, I wonder if “it” extends beyond that little self-created, well, reality
in itself.

But back to the coffee-table.

Atop the Harper’s is a watch my mother bought me while on a
cruise. I like it, and it serves me fine, but, man, I sure do miss
having the date on the watch. I’d gotten to used to it, and now I find
myself always mousing over the time on the Windows taskbar to extract
the date from the tool-tip. Do you do that?

Camera battery charger, cell phone…those things aren’t too interesting.

Then there’s my copy of The Art of Innovation by one of the
IDEO guys. I’ve read about 1/4 of it, and it’s good stuff. I just wish
I could find a book that was more than just a vision of work-paradise,
and more of a solid how-to-manual on making it happen.

Underneath the table is the dust-jacket to HST’s second collection of
letters, (brief aside here, as I look up the full title on
Amazon…have you noticed that O’Reilly is changing the covers of the
Java books back to etchings? They used to be photos of things that, I
suppose, were related to the topic at hand: I never understood what a
tea-keatle had to do with servlets, though. I kind of liked the photo
covers. I wonder if they had a big editorial fight like, “We’ve gotta
maintain consistancy with out brand!” over it…ahh, here’s the title)
Fear and Loathing in America : The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw
Journalist 1968-1976
. I’m almost done with this monster of a book,
having read a good 2-3 letters a day for the past few weeks. HST’s
letters are, in a way, inspirational simply because the man has such a
wild and fun style, and, somehow, manages to capture bar-room talk
mixed with brutally quick and strange thinking in his writing

Well, there’s some more stuff — my shoes, for instance — that
I could go on about, but I think I’m about done here.

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