9/27/2006 We were walking by the cable car turnaround at the foot of Powell Street on Sunday, and a big, lean, energetic, wild-eyed guy, we'll call him BLEWEG, came up to us. "Ask me anything," he said. "I'm a Native San Franciscan, I know everything." Did he think we were tourists, maybe? I asked back, "You know everything?" "I'm a native," he responded. "Ask you anything?" I checked. "Anything!" he replied. "OK, I said, where is she from?" I pointed to Margaret, born and raised in San Francisco. Margaret said, "OK." "Say that again," said BLEWEG. Margaret: "OK." BLEWEG: "Canada!" Me: "A little too far north." BLEWEG: "Washington! Oregon!" Me: "You're getting warmer." BLEWEG: "Maine! Massachusetts! Boston!" I laughed as Margaret said, "I was born and raised here." As we walked to the bus stop chuckling, pulling out our Fast Passes, BLEWEG remarked, "That would have been the last thing I would have guessed," to our backs. On the bus we noted there are quite a few different accents in San Francisco. The Mission and the Presidio sound a little different, and passing through the Western Addition we can't understand anyone. There are Russian, French, Brazilian, Japanese, first- and second-generation accents. I remember years ago in Stonestown, listening to two young sounding Valley Girl types nattering outside the laundry room. I had to see who they were, got up and looked out the window. They were two old Chinese women!
Monday, September 18, 2006 8:22:32 PM One down! I have finished reading The New KornShell. It's actually very interesting that David Korn worked out a way to have an object-oriented programming language completely through the use of an interpreter. Every variable was secretly an object, with structs, constructors, destructors, and accessors. The use of traps on error and on exit allowed the programmer to take advantage of the concept of exceptions. Associative arrays, floating-point arithmetic, and fully formatted output allowed a programmer to translate all the flexibility of compiled languages to the ad hoc write-it-and-use-it environment. A snippet was given to put breakpoints into scripts for debugging, and another gift was a wrapper that profiled any program. All of this was documented 13 years ago. Industry never caught up to academia.
Saturday, September 09, 2006 11:20:35 PM Tonight was Double Feature night at Petrini Place, courtesy of Albertsons. Wow. Steve Martin is a genius. I say this because we just watched Shopgirl. It had all the angst and all the frustration that I've been reading about in the talk threads on Yelp! Yes, the hipster and emo thing, although the younger characters didn't identify with it, was what they embodied. It was hard to watch, because it was so grating and frustrating. The lack of communication really hurt at some level. There was this Romeo and Juliet theme. A rich, jet-setting, old capitalist dating a young, struggling urban artist seemed just wrong from both perspectives. So star-crossed lovers, for whatever reason (ultimately the same for both of them), began a relationship that seemed shallow. Underneath it were real needs and a depth they would only discover after it was over. Then there was the theme of the urban artists who found each other. The guy on the road, reading relationship tutorials and making his money selling equipment to the bands. The girl back home who wasn't really into him but learning the depth of her own psyche with the experience necessary to bring out her true values. Meeting again after the year of growing up and discovering they really did have what they desired. It seems that Steve Martin has really captured the mood of the year. This was the best social commentary I've seen since Lost in Translation. I imagine film and literature classes will study this one like they studied The Graduate. Flash back two generations to Dirty Dancing. Here I saw another Romeo and Juliet theme. Social class separated this pair, as the upper-class parents tried their best to keep their daughters away from the theatre folk. In this story ultimately the heroine conquered the opposition. I suppose in Shopgirl the heroine conquered her own ambiguity of purpose. In both movies I saw the older generation resigned to pragmatism, i.e. upholding the artificial barriers constructed to keep people apart. I saw the younger generation, in its idealism, still animated with the energy that could tear down those barriers and change the world. I saw the heroines of both films redeemed by their insistence on living in truth. And sex rolled through both of them like dinner conversation. What a great evening.
Sunday, September 03, 2006 12:46:22 AM School is in! Yes, I know I'm a consultant. My clients are businesses, and we work with a standard calendar. But my spirit and my soul live on an academic calendar. Labor Day weekend is a time of new beginnings. New students fill the City, lining up for classes, books, and schwag. Soon everyone will be absorbed in study, as the summer days fade from memory. Likewise, I take on a new resolve to learn, in the tradition of lifelong learning, and declare my own independent study program. I have begun brushing up on Java, as that is the language of my clients. The text: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 24 Hours, 2nd ed. (2001), by Rogers Cadenhead. I like this series. It comes with online or CD examples, and it has a sense of humor that makes the books more readable. I believe I reviewed this book several years ago, when I was teaching at the SFSU Downtown Center. This time around it will be my personal tutor. Second subject: I am taking advanced study in Korn shell. The text: The New KornShell Command and Programming Language, 2nd ed. (1995), by Morris Bolsky and David Korn. If it's going to be advanced study, then I want to hear it from the man who wrote the language itself. Yes, I know, the current version of the Korn shell is 13 years old, and the book is 11 years old. Right now it's my bread and butter, and as I have noted before, the expert is the one who bothers to read the documentation. There are online examples I can download for this one, too. Third subject: I have finally found the reference I saw a long time ago. It's time to study Sams Teach Yourself PHP, MySQL and Apache All in One, 3rd ed. (2007), by Julie Meloni. I saw a LAMP book years ago, but it disappeared when I decided to study it. This one surfaced on one of my lunchtime walks ten days ago. It has demo sites on CD. Fourth subject: Recruiters have been asking me about my experience with WebLogic. OK, it hasn't been that much, but I have been working with WebSphere for four years now. Another consultant has recommended Mastering BEA WebLogic Server: Best Practices for Building and Deploying J2EE Applications (2003), by Nyberg, Patrick, Bauerschmidt, McDaniel, and Mukherjee. OK, it's not as bad as it sounds. My first look at the book indicates it's a concise encyclopedia, and the parts in which I am interested appear easy to read. Hopefully, this will be enough to keep me busy and to further my professional standing over the next 12 weeks. At least I'll have fun playing with the examples in the first two books. It's almost like a real academic curriculum.