Doing it wrong

  
Sacramento Bee: UC Davis spent thousands to scrub pepper-spray references from Internet. You’d think it would go without saying in this, the age of the Streisand Effect, that the best way to eradicate mention of a horrible mistake online is not to try, but rather to own up to it and address it head-on. The absolute worst way is to try to whitewash it via dubious SEO tricks. 

Guess which path UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi chose?

That strange fragile feeling

This has been a winter of illness, unusually so for me. Between Thanksgiving and New Years I was down for almost six weeks with a hacking cough that started with a week of fever and was so hard-pressed to clear stuff from my lungs that I ended up fracturing (or at least pulling) a rib. And now at the end of the winter or beginning of spring I was laid low for several days with another fever + upper respiratory condition, just in time for Easter.

And man, I had forgotten how logy I get when I have a fever. I’m three days on from the last fever and still tired around the edges.

It reminds me of the summer after my third year at the University of Virginia. I had just finished my first summer away from home, doing a lab internship, and I headed back to my family home and slept. For like a day. That in itself was not so unusual, but the fever was. The doctor confirmed that I had finally contracted mono. My third year roommate had had a bad case of it before we went home for break, so apparently it incubated over the summer and then started out slowly.

The end result was brutal. I had enough energy to do a few things, if I forced myself, but then had to sleep for hours. I pulled myself together well enough to get back to the University of Virginia, where the truly painful part of the sickness revealed itself: I was going to have to tough it out without air conditioning, since I was living that fall in a Lawn room in Mr. Jefferson’s original part of the University Grounds. So there were a great many afternoons spent exhausted, sweating, sleepless. And, reinforcing the ambience, I was reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The General In His Labyrinth, about Simón Bolívar’s dying journey down the Magdalena River. Languishing in the August (and September) Charlottesville heat, I felt as the Liberator must have felt.

I still feel little echoes of that day any time I spend more than a few days sick, as though I’m preparing to return to that sweat-dampened bed with barely enough energy to stand. At this point in my life I know that one day, I hope many years from now, it’ll be a return for good. These illnesses, inconsequential as they are, are just brief glimpses of that ultimate end.

—And that’s why men have a reputation for being bad patients.

Eastertide

Geese at Peepers Pond.

Geese at Peepers Pond. Full size at Flickr.

Another Easter has come and gone. This year I was sick, with a bad cold that came on suddenly after our first performance of the Kancheli “Dixi” and didn’t abate until partway through the day… after I had sung two services at church. There is something restorative about singing the Hallelujah Chorus, if it doesn’t kill you first.

I’ve been thinking a little about something one of our student ministers said yesterday to the children. He talked about Easter and the opening of the cave as a promise from God to us that we can all have that resurrection experience—not just in the context of literal resurrection, but as a second chance, as the removal of the metaphorical stone keeping us in whatever cave we currently occupy. I think about that as I look out on a cold, drizzly spring morning. I’d like to find some sunshine.

The future was yesterday

  
This is my second trip to Walt Disney World. The first was in 1981. Back then my dad and I went on the then new Space Mountain—my sister tried it only to bail out at the last minute. The next day, we went to Cape Canaveral and watched the first launch of the shuttle Columbia. 

Now it’s 2016. This time I’m the Dad and it’s my daughter (and the rest of my family) who opted out of Space Mountain. And the space shuttles haven’t flown for years. Columbia itself was destroyed in 2003

Walking through Space Mountain, the time seems even more out of joint. FastPass is a brilliant innovation: there are no lines, provided you go when you’re told and don’t mind planning months in advance. Disney discriminates in favor of the intentional and the planful—no place for the ADD-afflicted in this kingdom! Once through it mostly seems dark, and even the refreshed interior seems dated. And either I remember more lights inside the actual coaster or I’ve gone blind. 

Tomorrowland, the part of Disney World that Space Mountain anchors, doesn’t look much like tomorrow any more. Big parts of it consume a pre-mid century aesthetic of Flash Gordon and Googie California gas stations. But this future never came to be. And the bits that have started to come in around the edges—Monsters Inc?—don’t seem like a future at all. 

I don’t know what our future looks like but I don’t think it’s space travel. But when I was a kid that’s all I thought about. What will my kids imagine for their future? 

Fresh From delicious today

Senate Control Could Come Down To Whole Foods vs. Cracker Barrel | FiveThirtyEight
Entertaining analysis showing, perhaps, only that marketers are better at understanding the country’s political segmentation than political campaign planners are.

Aunt Maria’s Vermont Maple Sugar Pie, 1945 – A Vintage Pie Recipe Test – The Mid-Century Menu

The Questa Project | I Love Typography
Seriously cool new font family, worth checking out.

Fresh From delicious today

Lou Reed leaves $30m fortune | Music | theguardian.com
Lou was pretty good at getting paid, it turns out.

Share extensions in iOS 8: Explained | iMore
The how of getting your app onto the iOS 8 "Share" menu.

How to Avoid Lowering Your Prices | SiriusDecisions
Sound strategies for avoiding pricing messes in the field. I’ll add another vote for offering a longer contract rather than lowering price. The big secret here is that it’s very hard to change the price at which a subscription is established, so don’t lock in a low rate to win a customer; give free months of service instead.

New mix: will you buy me a shaky heart

As I grow … well, older isn’t right, and neither is more mature, so let’s just go with “as I grow,” I find that what I listen to is less about lyrics and singing along and more about just listening. So, of the 19 tracks on this mix, six have no words at all, and a few more are mostly nonsense.

No real notes here, except to note that Jonny Greenwood’s Bodysong, from 2003, is an unlikely sleeper album. There are bits that remind me of Ravel, and Berg, and glitchy techno, and sometimes they come in the same song.

Also: why did it take me so long to listen to Bruce Cockburn? He would have been right up my alley in 1988 or 1989.

Also also: I’m in the crowd for that 2004 Sonic Youth performance at the Showbox. This one.

  1. Burning Of AuchidoonMaddy Prior (Silly Sisters)
  2. Tree (Today is an Important Occasion)David Byrne (The Knee Plays)
  3. Ready to StartArcade Fire (Ready to Start – Single)
  4. Lovers In a Dangerous TimeBruce Cockburn (Stealing Fire (Deluxe Edition))
  5. Wiggle-WaggleHerbie Hancock (Warner Archives)
  6. Everything In Its Right PlaceRadiohead (Kid A)
  7. 24 Hour CharlestonJonny Greenwood (Bodysong (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture))
  8. ConcordeModern Jazz Quartet (Concorde)
  9. Track 4Sigur Rós (( ))
  10. ChemtrailsBeck (Modern Guilt)
  11. SorrowThe National (High Violet)
  12. I Should Watch TV (M. Stine remix)David Byrne & St. Vincent (Brass Tactics EP)
  13. Pattern RecognitionSonic Youth (Live at the Showbox in Seattle (2004))
  14. Milky WayWeather Report (Weather Report)
  15. Alone And ForsakenNeko Case (Live from Austin, Texas)
  16. Hi-Speed SoulNada Surf (Let Go)
  17. After AllChristian Scott (Yesterday You Said Tomorrow)
  18. Bode Radio/Glass Light/Broken HeartsJonny Greenwood (Bodysong (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture))
  19. I Wanna Dance With SomebodyDavid Byrne (David Byrne: Live from Austin, TX)