Friday, June 26, 2009

A wake up call for Generation X?

Ted Anthony, Associated Press writer and manager, has produced an essay on the impact of the loss of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett on the members of Generation X. If you are not familiar with who that includes, Ted is a member (graduated from high school in '86) and so am I (Class of 1991). Generation X covers a broad swath of people born from 1961 to 1981 and was popularized by Douglas Coupland.

Enough of the Gen X lesson. Here's a bit of what Ted had to say (Read the whole thing here) :

"“These people were on our lunchboxes,” said Gary Giovannetti, 38, a manager at HBO who grew up on Long Island awash in Farrah and MJ iconography. “This,” he said, “is the moment when Generation X realizes they’re grown up.”"

"These were the people who sent to the top of the charts a song called “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” then figured out how to churn them out wholesale, launching the celebrity obsession that is now an accepted part of American cultural fabric."

"In the 1990s, members of Generation X would often laugh in bars about how the time of the Boomers was passing — about how the quaintness and naivete that made up the 1960s was, finally, a grave being danced on by Kurt Cobain. Today, members of that same generation sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings of pop."

"In the end, finally, they stand as the relics of a generation — one that struggled to find its place and now, suddenly, while still young, one that must wonder if it is as passé as the paper and vinyl that its icons’ most memorable moments were etched upon.

We don’t need another hero? After this week, are we sure?"

I love how he fits in "We Don't Need Another Hero" at the start of the essay just so he can use it as a tag line at the end. That's nifty, eh?

How he pins his own generation as the enablers for the celebrity crazy culture that exists today is quite a stretch - especially coming from a member of the media. He needs to turn that finger right around and point it back at his computer. The "always connected" society we've become was never possible when I was growing up with 4 channels and an Atari. And, I recall copies of the National Enquirer and Star and Globe front and center on the newsstands. But, there was no 24 hour E! channel and no internet to post every little thing each celeb did. The outlet to see every nose pick and cellulite patch was just not there.

Technology changed the world. I'd venture to guess that the broad majority of people approaching 40 like myself could care less about Lindsay Lohan or even what Michael Jackson was up to day to day. Yes, he was huge when I was growing up and I loved the music he made. That doesn't mean he was on my lunchbox. That also doesn't mean that I was so stuck in a narrow focus of the '80's that I didn't also know who Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye were. Marvin Gaye's death was a lot more tragic and impactful on music than Michael Jackson's will be. Michael had already removed himself from relevancy. Marvin Gaye was on the rebound when he was gunned down by his own father.

I don't need a celebrity death to make me realize I have grown up. I have kids and responsibilities for that. How sad are the people who focus on the "world of entertainment" and not what is happening right in their own backyard. How sad are those so connected to the internet and technology that they have become completely disconnected from actual face to face living.

The internet should be and can be used to enrich life. Facebook opened a world of communication to many people I lost touch with and I am amazed and inspired by a huge group of former classmates and co-workers daily. What they share day to day renews my spirit. Their accomplishments not only make me proud, but also humble me. That is the true power of the internet.

I think that the "death of culture" that Ted wants to pin on us is quite exaggerated. Kids haven't changed all that much since 1952, 1972, or 1992. Bemoaning our place in the culture is not something I nor many of the people I know do. We're growing older for sure but we're still making things happen and we're not passé. We know how to roll with the punches just like many generations before us did and after us will. We don't need attention. We don't need ticker tape parades. We're just fine not being People's sexiest or #1 on the top 40 charts. We're quite comfortable in our skin - however old it happens to be.

Judging the generation was just Ted's way of trying to grab a piece of the cultural fabric he seems so frustrated with. Just chill out, Ted.

We'll all be just fine, thank you very much.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson

My Michael Jackson vinyl...

I had to put "Off the Wall" on the turntable for a spin tonight - first time in years.

It's hard to believe I've owned anything for 30 years but I have had "Off the Wall" that long.

Yep - Michael did some weird stuff. You always wonder why the great ones just seem to lose it.

I prefer to think back to what a great time the early '80's was. I don't know if kids growing up today will look back on this time like I do that time. It seemed special - maybe it was just because I was there and I am biased.

Either way, having his music as a piece of that time makes it all the more special to me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A case of the Mondays

Random thoughts for Monday:
  • What a rainy and humid day. I think it topped out around 95 today and we got two pretty good lines of storms. The latest one scooted just west of us as it slid on by. I still have trees leaning on trees where it is either too wet or too hot to start cutting down the mess. It may be October before the weather cooperates enough to clean that up.
  • Now on TLC... "Jon & Kate Separate". Pretty catchy, huh? I watched a bit of it out of morbid curiosity. It's a mess and a terrible situation but what is worse is that the show seriously impacted their lives. But fame is like drinking - the more you get, the more you act like you truly are in the first place. This didn't just happen but the show definitely accelerated the fire.
  • Today was way too busy and there is still much more to do. This is going to be a crazy week. The good news is that the faithful '99 Contour made it through the dealership visit with flying colors. They said it is in excellent shape. It's probably in better shape than I am.
  • Father's Day was OK. I had some pesky stomach bug all day that really ran me down. Could have been the revenge of the fried food from the night before. I got the Weather Brain that is in one of my Twitpics. I need to get on Amazon and write up a review. It's one of those things you never think you need until you get one. Now I will have zero excuse for forgetting the umbrella.

Off to bed. We'll see what Tuesday brings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stamp this trip DONE

380 miles driven today and the last two sites I had to visit are finished.
Right as I pulled out of the parking lot at Fletcher, we had another whopped of a storm. I've been rained on every day this week but tomorrow is supposed to be clear and sunny and near 100 degrees.
This is the view from the Lowe's across the street.

This is at the Fletcher Community Park where I walked off supper.

Due to the rain, most of the trail was flooded over in places.

Cane Creek was a bit angry after the downpour.

I attempted a run - more of a trot, I guess - for a little bit and that did not work well at all. My feet felt like concrete blocks. I need to seriously get back in shape! Maybe the travel will be dying down now and I can avoid some of the fast food mess.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wrightsville Beach

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.
We are tied to the ocean.
And when we go back to the sea whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.

-John F. Kennedy












Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 2

The most familiar site on this trip continues to be the rain. I bet it rained 80% of the time I was on the road from Charleston to Myrtle Beach today.
I drove south into Myrtle Beach a bit but turned back to North Myrtle Beach. It was just too touristy for my taste. And, the rain was sticking around.

It finally stopped and I was able to grab some supper and then park at one of the many beach access lots in North Myrtle Beach.

The sky looked nasty but the rain stayed away. It was windy but the water is very warm. I walked for over an hour and it was hard to go back to the car and head back inland to the hotel.

This is looking toward the south to Myrtle Beach.

Tomorrow I drive to Wilmington, NC and will work the full day there. They are having some network problems beyond what I have been working on at the other sites so tomorrow could be quite the challenge.
Some beach video (should be available in a bit):





Monday, June 15, 2009

Driving, driving, and more driving...

Another week on the road...
The day started out like this:
But it pretty much ended like this for the last 100 miles:

I got a Webkinz at the hotel - much to the delight of the kids.
There is a great walking trail behind this hotel and after all the fast food, I need to walk.



Tomorrow, I will work in Columbia in the morning and then Charleston in the afternoon (where I will stay tomorrow night).

Here are some videos from the day:








Saturday, June 13, 2009

A beach video for Saturday

It was quite windy, but I could sit out on the beach all day long and all night long. Nothing has beat Pensacola Beach for me just yet. This is Tybee Island, Georgia from my trip there week before last.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Today was too productive

I hope my co-workers don't start to expect it daily. Actually, this has been an incredibly productive week. I have no idea what it is but I have hit a stride lately. I can only remember a few times in the past few years where things really really started to click and this was one of those weeks. Could it be the kids Hawaiian Punch that I keep sneaking drinks of? Maybe it's exposure to chlorine from cleaning the pool? Has my dislike of Sarah Palin propelled me to a new found energy (You rock, Dave!)?

Anyhow, next week is another 1500 mile round-tripper. I'll be visiting 6 sites in the Carolinas upgrading invoice printers. I know it sounds glamourous - tooling around in the rental car, yanking the guts out of 15 year old printers and staying at a different hotel each night. At least I'll get to see the beach on two of those nights and that alone makes all of the driving worthwhile.


I spent today getting everything as prepared as possible for the trip. The weekend will be about getting some rest and goofing off - which is what every weekend should be about!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Radio Shack Portavision 16-127, Much Beloved Hot Pink Television, is Obsolete at 16

Portavision 16-127, the long time kitchen television owned by the creator of this blog, has become obsolete. It was 16 and lived in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The cause was the national transition to digital television that begins at 12:01 AM tonight in Nashville.

Portavision, a 4.5 inch diagonal black and white analog television set with a hot pink casing, was manufactured in 1993 and was purchased on clearance at the Radio Shack in Bowling Green, Kentucky's Greenwood Mall in early 1994.

Portavision was used mainly in the kitchen while cooking or during thunderstorms. It lived in a variety of cities including Cincinnati, Ohio.

Its owner, who declined to be identified for this article, said "It was the best bargain I ever got. Just thirty dollars and it lasted me faithfully for 15 years. It's been part of my life longer than my wife, my kids, and most of my pairs of socks. It was here when I was thin and had most of my hair and even stuck by me during the chubby years. It will be missed."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking for my $4000 a month

This article in the New York Times last week was a hoot:

Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest

I am blown away that there are bloggers out there that made these comments -

  • “Every once in a while I would see this thing on TV about some mommy blogger making $4,000 a month, and thought, ‘I would like that.’ ”
  • Someone is a blog failure when "The post generated no comments."
  • “I was too Web 1.0. You want to be anonymous, you want to write, like, long entries, and no one wants to read that stuff.”
  • “I did some Craigslist postings to advertise it.."
  • “To be honest, I would love a book deal to come out of my blog,” she wrote. “Or I would love for Salad Days to give me a means to be financially independent to continue pursuing and sharing what I love with the world.”

By the way, two different people made the first and last comment. This tells me that there are probably quite a few people writing thinking that this will lead to some pot of gold. Anyone writing with such an agenda is not really a blogger and they are probably carefully processing everything they write with one goal in mind - increasing the audience!!

Did they never hear Lloyd Dobbler's advice on these matters? "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. "

As I wrote when some of my now ex-co-workers discovered my blog, I write for two main reasons.

First of all, it is my only real creative outlet and without it I might go completely insane since my primary job involves mostly technical writing. Recent examples? "How to Print"; "Reprinting Invoices"; "How to Save a Word XP (2007) Document as Word 97-2003". Due to years of this, my grammar is shot to crap because I mostly write in bulletpoints and outlines. I need to pull out my college textbooks and refresh myself on punctuation and sentence structure ASAP.

I was a long time journal keeper but I threw most of them away in one of those "the past is the past" phases. Writing is still a good way of clearing the head and escaping from the day to day mundane stuff.

Second, I write so the kids can see what I am up to while I am out of town and so they might have a nice record of me when they get old enough to wonder why I am so nuts. I back this thing up from time to time so I will have a copy just in case Blogger gets sold or burns or just gives up. You never know. (Think AOL, GM, Chrysler, Burger Queen, etc.)

So, I will never advertise on Craigslist. I hope I never use a phrase saying anyone or anything is too Web 1.0. I have no aspirations of making any sort of money here and I could care less if no one ever comments. There will be no book deal since no one would pay to read about a poofy, middle age goof living in the sticks when they can read it here for free.

I am perfectly happy with that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Up!

We saw "Up" tonight. I have been looking forward to it for a long time. The little clips they've been showing for over a year really pull you in. And, it is an excellent movie. Some reviewers touted that it was the best of the year so far and I would agree. The story, the characters, the visual effect of it all - magnificent.

So, critics will have it in their top 10 lists at the end of the year. Allow me to put it in my own special list.

Hmmmm. What other movies would be in this list? I'm thinking, maybe, "Beaches". Yep, and "Brian's Song". "Love Story", maybe? "Driving Miss Daisy"? Are you seeing a theme here?

It's one of the saddest movies I have seen in a long time. That's right - sad. In fact, it's just about tragic at times. That's not to say that there are not funny parts. But, every time I'm ready to sit in for a laugh, they nail me again. I won't go into details because that will spoil the whole movie. And, just because it is sad does not mean it is not good. It is excellent. And Pixar does always have the thoughtful angle in their movies. But, this time, it's a bit more than thoughtful.

Hopefully all of this went way over my kids heads. This is the second Pixar movie in a row that doesn't have the merchandise/marketing appeal because it really doesn't relate much to kids. "Wall-E" was much worse in that respect. And, it was way too preachy and way un-entertaining.

"Up" will be a classic. Just take the Kleenex. And prepare to get all introspective afterwards. I'm hoping I sleep it off.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another week

I am now paying for my "weekend of laziness" in which I ignored the lawn and most other "to do's" around the house. With the rain coming back in the forecast and so much to do at work, I had to give in and mow tonight. Mowing is not fun when it is 91 degrees and the humidity is 1000%. I also goofed up my right knee again in the process of said mowing. I feel that a bionic knee will be inevitable.

A week or so ago I hit the 99 cent sale at the "last chance book store" (where all remainders go to die) and I picked up this book...
Haunting, as it says on the cover, nails it perfectly. It's really a gripping read and I am shocked it was in the 99 cent stuff. I went back for the other copy they had and it was gone. I'm not sure how to describe it. There is a gloomy odd aura about it that the author pulls you into. The weather is its own character in here - you can picture yourself right there running in the rain or watching the sun burn off all of the rain. It's almost spooky at times and I'm quite curious as to how it will end.

Well, off to pop some Tylenol. Tomorrow will be a fun day at the office in Lavergne.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Georgia!

The disclaimer first - the internet at the hotel last night was unbelievably slow. It was so slow that it gave me flashbacks to AOL in 1994. Needless to say, I shut off the computer and gave up. With Hampton, it's always a crapshoot - you just never know. Tonight, all is good at this Hampton, by the airport, in Savannah. Even the stairs are carpeted here. Very nice.
This trip has been all about driving. I have been to each end and side of the state in just two days. There are not many interstates here so I did a fair share of backroads country driving.
Yesterday, I drove from Columbus to Valdosta and passed through Plains - home of former President Jimmy Carter.
I was 30 minutes too late to get in here.

On I-75, I saw this nice peanut tribute.

The state flower here is the billboard. I-75 in south Georgia is one of the ugliest stretches of interstate you will ever see. Mile after mile of billboards. Horrible.



I got done at a decent time tonight and drove over to Tybee Island for some beach time. I got to the Lighthouse at 5:20 and the wonderful government official told me he was closing as soon as I drove in even though they are supposed to be open until 5:30. What a moron. I still stood there and got my picture and I gave him the polite advice to get his watch fixed.

The ocean is always wonderful. I have now been to the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico this year. It was a little hot (car temperature showed 97 degrees), but worth it.

I walked around for about an hour. This place is really for condo renters - no restaurants on the beach - not much to do here. Also, no place to shower the sand off of your feet. How odd.



It never fails - there is always a goober in jeans on the beach. Here are two!
One final picture and I was off to eat some fine island dining - I ended up at Arby's. I'm cheap and tired.

On the road back to the hotel.

Tomorrow I drive 2 hours to Macon to do one last printer upgrade and then I make the 6 hour drive back to the house.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Conan!

It doesn't seem like 17 years have passed since this was in the TV Guide. (It's also hard to believe how bad TV Guide stinks now, but that's another story for another time)


Tonight, history finally gets corrected as Conan takes over the helm of "The Tonight Show". I do like Jay Leno and I think he has done a fine job but I am a long long time Letterman fan and I still feel that Dave got a raw deal back in 1992.
Those matters can be put to rest since I feel Conan follows much more in the tradition of Dave than Jay ever fit in the tradition of Johnny.
Now, I'll have two shows to DVR at the same time.