» Friends have been looking for a new laptop to replace their ancient Dell. Told them I saw a Core i5 15.6-inch Gateway on sale at Fry's for ~$400. Price sounds too good to be true, no? 4-gigs of RAM.
New 17-inch Lenovo Laptop w/ 2nd-Gen Core i5
They drove to the store, but while there, fell in love with the Lenovos, and ended up buying a 17-inch G770.
Beautiful machine. All black. 1600x900 default resolution. Wide-screen format. (Makes my home pagedesign look sharp.)
Still lots of 1st generation i5's out there.
Not much of a price drop, either. So you might as well look for a second-gen puppy. Tho there's not a huge performance difference between 1st & 2nd generation CPUs, so if you can find a deal, grab it. Here's a cool Core i5 video.
With consumer confidence at a 2-year low, I'd expect more sales forthcoming. (My buddy Apex is a wizard at finding bargains.)
All Intel 2nd-gen Core i5's sport a 4-number model/label that starts with the number 2. E.g. » i5-2410 = 2nd gen, while i5-480 = 1st.
I get bogged down, particularly, whenever sections discuss OOP (.. Object-Oriented Programming) cuz I never learned OOP when studying PHP. (OOP was covered in the next video tutorial, titled » Beyond the Basics.)
Reading the sections on OOP makes me feel like my feet are tramping thru mud. Muck. Slow-going. Tho even there I'm now starting to make progress.
At first, the impression I got about programming .. was that » it was very much about » SYNTAX (.. how to use periods, capitalization, semi-colons, spaces, curly braces, comments, key-words, etc). And certainly, that's where all programmers start.
Programming is About » Building Things
But now the idea I get .. is that programming is about » BUILDING THINGS. All these things I'm learning are for the purpose of building programs. (Hopefully cool ones.) It was a distinct shift in my thinking.
A cool shift, I might add. Cuz syntax suks. Nothing much creative about syntax. But programs let you do nothing without proper syntax.
if I omit a period or capitalization here using english, or mispel something, you'll still know what I mean But not so with a programming language. No sense of humor do they have when it comes to getting creative with syntax. ERROR is their only response.
But getting back to the notion of building things .. programming is very much about » methods to control complexity. No problem to code up a simple 'hello world' function. The problem, rather, comes as the program grows in size and scope. Anybody can build a doghouse. Skyscrapers are another story.
» There I was .. sitting on the upper level of a double-decker AmtrakPacific Surfliner .. surprised by how smoothly that baby rode. Impressive suspension for such a big car. No jerky wobble. Rather the gentlest of rocking. So gentle, in fact, that it would've been easy to doze off, were it not for the fact that ..
Nostalgic Trip » Bitchin' Day
.. we were headed up the coast .. passing thru one town after another .. all places where I used to live .. old stomping grounds ..
.. cities such as » San Clemente (.. where bumper stickers tout » World's Best Climate)
Passing thru these seaside towns was like a trip down memory lane .. which brought back one flood of memories after another. Trippy. Nostalgic. Reflective.
This included beaches I'd been to .. restaurants I'd dined in .. the place where I rode my first wave (San Onofre, which is mentioned in the classic Beach Boys song » Surfin' USA) .. the bank where I dated that teller .. the place where (.. you get the idea).
Shortly after we passed thru Dana Point I had to depart the Surfliner and transfer to the bus cuz the train turned inland (.. which made me question the name » Surfliner).
Anyway, the bus took me even further up the coast .. thru Laguna Beach .. right past the hospital where the Bug was born. (I could see the window of the room.)
Past "the big house" .. where he was conceived, and past the place where we were living when he was born. Past Julie's house. Past both Heisler park and Crystal Cove, the place where I met the Bug's mom (.. running the beach). A continual stream of rich memories.
About the time we got thru Laguna my head was swimming nicely .. amid a sea of nostalgia. "What if?" The question bounced around my brain like cowboy at a rodeo .. all the way to my destination » Corona del Mar (.. a ritzy little seaside hamlet perched on the edge of Newport Beach).
There I ended up at Inspiration Point. Gorgeous day. They dont get much finer .. even by SoCal standards. We're talking mid-August.
Unfortunately, I have no photos of Inspiration Point to show you, cuz my camera ran out of space a few blocks back, before I got there. But I found some posted on the Web .. such as this one.
There are a few park benches at Inspiration Point (very few), but they all were taken. One guy was stretched out, reclining on the best bench .. the one jutting out furthest toward the ocean. He was reading a book with an interesting title .. using his backpack as a makeshift pillow. I was jealous.
I made a place for myself on the grass there, and broke out my book .. but couldnt quite get comfortable, since I'd brought no towel (like the others) and the grass was damp.
About the time I was getting ready to leave, the guy who'd been reclining stood up and stretched. "Are you leaving?" I asked. He was.
So I took off my shirt & went horizontal. The bench was still warm from being baked in the sun all day. I took his lead and used my hip-pack as a makeshift pillow. Sweet, yes. Wasnt long before the book started coming alive. In strange ways (« note .. that post was originally part of this entry. I extracted it for reasons of organization, length & better search engine indexing).
Somewhere about this time .. with warm sun shining down on me (at Inspiration Point) .. it felt like God himself was shining down on me. I wont try to describe it .. cuz it would probably sound corny.
Suffice to say I felt my emotional batteries being magically recharged. Batteries that I didnt even know had been depleted. I felt completely happy and it made for a bitchin' experience.
Those are the exact the words I heard myself mutter (with a big smile) » "This is pretty bitchin'" =)
About that time I heard somebody yell, "Whale!" Any day you see a whale is (by definition) » a magical day. But I was too into the book by then to sit up and see for myself. Already had my magical day.
The book (translated into English for the first time by Angela von der Lippe, a Sarah girl who has an Ivy doctorate in German Lit from Brown) seemed to suck me into a different world .. of poets and their courting of muses. Here's a sample quote for a taste:
Poets have always had their muses, and Rainer Maria Rilke was no exception. But Rilke's muse was different. She was more than the dark lady of poetic imagination who commands a netherworld of coy expectancy, defies apprehension by the senses, and ultimately inhabits the fluid shadows of genius ..
.. she assumed the qualities so often attributed to the poet's muse. Embodying that strange mixture of dominant mother and submissive mistress, she both set a critical standard for Rilke's craftsmanship, and coaxed the passionate abandon that inspired breakthroughs in his work. She was pursued as inspiration and hearkened to as critic and editor.
» I thought the book was about the Bohemian/Austrian poet » Rainer Maria Rilke ('ril-kuh, 1875-1926, a one-time associate of Rodin (who everybody knows is a creative giant who kicks much artistic ass) .. and the guy who is probably best known for writing » Letters to a Young Poet (.. which, uh, he never intended to have published).
The Poet & His Intriguing Muse
And it is (.. about Rilke). But it's written byLou Andreas-Salomé, a fascinating woman in her own right.
She was Rilke's life-long friend & traveling companion. (Lou was 36 when they met, he only 22.) A "grand dame" of her age. Accomplished. Not movie-star gorgeous, but skilled at coaxing art out of the artist. In other words » his muse.
[ Lou(ise) was born in Russia, St. Petersburg. Her father was a Russian army officer. She had 3 older brothers, no sisters, which suggests she understood men. They had money. Her married pastor proposed marriage to her at age 17. (Yeah, you read that right. He had two kids at the time.)
She was one of the first female students at the University of Zürich. Both Rilke & Lou met Tolstoy while visiting Russia together. The first time (for the first visit) Lou's 'husband' went along. (Yeah, you read that right, too.)
She wrote more than a dozen books, one of which is titled (in German) » Die Erotik, which suggests she was comfortable with her sexuality. Tho the book I'm reading makes it clear she preferred sexual abstinence in order to focus on pursuing intellectual ambitions.
One of her earlier books is titled » Searching for God. Rilke was her first lover (at age 36) .. after (after!) she'd been married to Friedrich Carl for 10 years. Interesting girl, no? ]
» Is She the Reason Nietzsche Lost it?
Something about her drove men wild. We're talking about men who have since become icons. But what? What was it? What spell did she cast? And what did she see in young Rilke? (.. other than youth)
She is the woman who Nietzsche had the hots for. "I lust after this kind of soul," he wrote.
And, "From which stars did we fall to meet each other here?" when he first met her.
Also » "She was prepared like none other for that part of my philosophy that has hardly yet been uttered."
But she rejected Nietzsche's proposals of marriage, and may (in retrospect) be one of the reasons Fritz went off the deep end later in life. (He badly wanted to make babies with her.)
Lou later wrote a book about her relationship with Nietzsche. She was 21 when they met and Nietzsche was well-known by then at 37. So it seems it wasnt long between the break-up and his first symptoms of insanity. (No, I dont know how long their relationship lasted. How long could any woman tolerate Nietzsche? A year or two max?)
That puts him at 38 or 39. I think he started coming unravelled at 43 or 44.
If we do the math .. we know he was born toward the end of '44. Add 37 to that for his age when he met Lou. That gives us » 1881/82. Add a couple of years for Nietzche to get acquainted with Lou, before crashing & burning.
That gives us 1883/84. which are the years he spent writing Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which I read somewhere that Nietzsche said was a substitute for the son he knew he would never have.
He finished Thus Spake in '85. 1888 was the last year he wrote anything. By January '89, they were coming for him with a white I-Love-Me jacket.
Instead, she married a guy named Frederick Carl Andreas, 16 years her senior, only because he threatened to kill himself if she didnt (.. he plunged a knife into his chest in her presence) .. with the stipulation she never be obliged to do the nasty with him. (Say what?!) He agreed! Their 40-year marriage remained unconsummated. (Cant make up this stuff, folks.)
Testing one, two. Is this thing on? Having a little trouble. Ah, there we go. Seems to be working again. Whew. (Uh .. if today's entry appears disorganized, there's a reason.)
Holding Childhood in Reverence
See, now that I have some 6+ years of experience at this parenting thing .. no longer do I feel like such a n00b. (.. like I used to).
And considering I've had to defend myself (a staggering # of times) against accusations of bad parenting (.. including the kind where detectives call and ask you to "stop by") ...
Let's see. Where was I going with this?
Anyway, I dont expect anybody to really appreciate the effect these kinds of things can have on the paternal psyche (.. that would be cruel) ..
.. but I assure you, it is quite exquisite (in a number of ways) .. that feeling of being attacked. As a parent. Repeatedly. Relentlessly. (While you try to exude pure-love toward your child.)
Oh, here it is. Here's the point I was gonna make » parenting is something I've been forced to think about .. long-n-hard. Painfully hard.
So perhaps you can appreciate how I might feel my parenting time has been more ______ (more something) .. than that of your "regular dad". (Lots of different words could go in there.)
My defense for dealing with these attacks has been two-fold (.. seeing i can no longer afford an attorney):
if i am such a horrible dad, why does he want to be with me?
look at him. does that boy look abused? or loved? is he not the coolest kid you've ever seen?
As a result, the Bug has been thru things no little boy should have to experience. Many professionals .. (people trained to identify the most horrible things you could imagine) have plied their trade on him (.. following the law .. legal requirements .. upon which whole public agencies have been built).
And every time (every!), these professionals come back and say, "Yes, he is definitely the coolest kid we have ever seen. And yes, he loves being with his dad. And his favorite thing is when you bounce on the trampoline with him."
And I say, "Yes, I know." =)
[ But how do I make it stop? What can I do? Why does it keep happening? How can something so horrible be allowed to continue for so long? Should I write my Congressman? Set up a meeting? ]
The reason I am thinking about this stuff now .. is cuz » I miss him.
Actually 'missing' is an understatement. (This entry, for example, contains a description of regular missing.) ..
.. a word that is woefully inadequate to convey the exquisite sensation here-n-now .. of having thy soul sucketh'ed out.
It has been some time since I had one of these .. these 'things' (funks, attacks) .. where it becomes difficult to breathe. Not sure why this one is here now.
In general, the closer we get during our time together .. the worse that feeling of emptiness when he leaves. » Wandering. lost. disoriented. confused. bottomless. alternating between aching and numbness. breathing labored. Like you got the wind knocked out of you. Would be a remarkable thing .. if it didnt suk so bad.
For a few days he's my focus. Then he's gone. "Where was I was going? What *was* it I gonna do?" The blank stare.
I sometimes wonder if the withdrawls suffered by the heroin addict is a similar experience (.. because of that intense longing). Never been much into smack, so I couldnt say.
This is definitely one of, if not *thee* most confusing (& utterly unexpected) things about being a parent. That I've encountered. I'm talking about the the effect that separation can have. The magnitude of that effect. That feeling that you're being ripped-apart. But still (somehow) alive.