Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Orwell, PBWiki, and more biking

OK, this will be a scatter shot post since I have a few things to talk about, but not enough time to write full entries.


This is the best essay
I've read in a while, though after reading and agreeing with it, one is constantly in fear of violating it's advice. What I like most about the essay is Orwell's ability to demonstrate the alternative to dreary writing: he tells of an author using "an accumulation of stale phrases [that] chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink" and a sentence in which "A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details."

I would love for artists to apply this advice to their lyrics and songs. I don't need to hear another identical song asking me to "hold on to me, and never let me go." Does that make you envision anything unique or memorable? To contrast, "a kiss on your molten eyes" is a wonderful line from the Shins that engages many senses to make the song more intimate. "Love is watching someone die" is a direct lyric from Death Cab for Cutie that begs for discussion and thought. Postal Service gives even cliched metaphors more realism with "Will someone please call a surgeon \Who can crack my ribs and repair this broken heart."


I changed jobs! This is my second week at a start up that hosts websites that anyone can edit. Running a book club, coordinating travel plans, or taking notes for your CS class? Make a wiki and let me know how it goes.

Rescomp and my various small projects are like living alone: you get to have almost complete control over your situation, but it's somewhat lonely. A9 was like living with your family: you have a lot of resources, but always have someone looking over your shoulder, telling you how they want it done. I don't know what PBWiki's metaphor will be, which is exactly the experience I wanted; "Fight the temptation to choose the clear, safe course. That path leads ever down into stagnation."

In the saddle

One thing that has not changed is my enthusiasm for biking. J and I completed the Page Mill-Skyline-La Honda loop, with the obligatory stop at Alice's. I've started a more varied, aerobic workout that I hope will increase my sprinting abilities. I'll let you know how the Old La Honda test goes.

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