Archive for February, 2016

only in new york

Manhattan maintained its tradition of being an exceedingly nice place for us to visit. A few of the lovely things that happened:

– Liz loaned us longjohns so we wouldn’t all die of cold
– Delta gave us all cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, and I got a bottle of pink champagne too
– our hotel randomly upgraded us to a suite
– it snowed the perfect amount, and then the rain washed the slush away
– Leonard gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the NYPL and made sure to point out the Gutenberg Bible, which I would otherwise have missed
– on Monday night, the cast of Hamilton performed at the Grammys and won a Grammy, so that on Tuesday night when we saw the show, everyone was obviously both hungover and super jazzed
– Daveed Diggs signed a $10 bill for Claire at the stage door

A perfect trip, and an ideal birthday present to myself.

love’s executioner, by irving yalom

…our deepest wants can never be fulfilled: our wants for youth, for a halt to aging, for the return of vanished ones, for eternal love, protection, significance, for immortality itself.

one life, by kate grenville

One night she watched the tram light coming towards her, the rails gleaming, the road slick with rain. The trams had been a little adventure in the beginning but now they were the emblem of the hard machine of her days. I could step out in front of it, she thought. That would put an end to the misery and the loneliness and the feeling that every day would be like this forever. It would hurt, she supposed. But if she was lucky it would all be over in a second. In the moment she stood with that choice, she was free of everyone else in the world…

adventure time: in the greatest city in the world

The Egyptian wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The Museum of Modern Art, including my favorite works of art:

The New York Public Library:

Some show or other:

What an unbelievably great and awesome trip; we are so lucky.

adventure time: history is happening in manhattan and we just happen to be

Haven’t brought the kids to NYC since they were well smol. I remembered this meteorite with great fondness.

After an extremely pleasant lunch…

…we rugged up to face the elements.

Central Park had turned into Narnia.

In a rare concession, the teen allowed as to how this was actually pretty fun.

adventure time: sausalito

The Week of All the Deathiversaries, which I have taken to calling Shark Week for short, ended with some kind of football game which I resolved to go to the far end of our metropolitan area in order to avoid.

Pretty safe to say that we have, as a family, grown fond of kayaking. Among the floating homes of Sausalito we discovered this round, glassy lagoon. Venice has nothin’ on us.

I would also like to call out this colony of harbor seals for some really fine achievements in lolling.

I like it here.

two years

My mother was a genius
My father commanded respect
When they died they left no instructions, just a legacy to protect
Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall and we break and we make our mistakes
And if there’s a reason I’m still alive
When everyone who loves me has died
I’m willing to wait for it
I’m willing to wait for it

all the birds in the sky, by charlie jane anders

…active listening was hard work.

We don’t need better emotional communication from machines. We need people to have more empathy. The reason the Uncanny Valley exists is because humans created it to put other people into. It’s how we justify killing each other.

It’s not unlike colony collapse disorder, but for humans.

the neapolitan novels, by elena ferrante

How difficult it was to find one’s way, how difficult it was not to violate any of the incredibly detailed male regulations.

Merit was not enough, something else was required, and I didn’t have it nor did I know how to learn it.

Maybe there’s something mistaken in this desire men have to instruct us; I was young at the time, and I didn’t realize that in his wish to transform me was the proof that he didn’t like me as I was, he wanted me to be different, or, rather, he didn’t want just a woman, he wanted the woman he imagined he himself would be if he were a woman.

Naples was the great European metropolis where faith in technology, in science, in economic development, in the kindness of nature, in history that leads of necessity to improvement, in democracy, was revealed, most clearly and far in advance, to be completely without foundation.

one year

I had a meeting Friday morning with a man who does Silicon Valley liaison for Australian startups.

“I first came here to visit SGI when I was working at a manufacturing company called Wormald,” he said.

“Wormald, huh?” I said. “Did you know Robin Chalmers?”

“Of course I knew Robin!” He said that Dad was the first management theorist he’d met, and described Dad’s model of companies plateauing when their products were commoditized, and needing to find new products their factories could make in order to achieve new growth. The Innovator’s Dilemma, in other words, but worked out from scratch five years before that book was first published.

I remember having the same conversation with Dad myself. It was in the early 1990s, which was probably Peak Dad. I was at uni, flailing around, trying to figure out who I was and what I was going to be. He was running the factory, building the fire systems for the Collins Class submarines and thinking deeply about Australian manufacturing and competitiveness. We talked endlessly about everything: astronomy, Cantor’s diagonal argument, Christianity, geopolitics, John Donne, Martin Gardner, maths. He was unbelievably patient with me, and loving and funny and thoughtful and silly and wise.

I’m very grateful for the reminder of what he was like then, even if it did hit me like a bullet in the chest. I miss him so much.