Random Musings

High School Reunions
Just had my 20 year reunion.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  Overall, I came away from it deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with so many in such a brief time.  My class had over 550 students, so 20 years later I’m still meeting people that I never had a class with, and was very pleasantly surprised to hit it off with a couple of guys that I hope to do some camping/paddling with in the near future.  Time has been very well to most everyone that I saw, and the level of genuine interest and mutual respect far exceeded anything we had 20 years ago.  Any downers?  Barely.  I was amazed at the ‘metaphysical acrobatics’ one classmate was willing to perform in the quest to convince everyone that he had no regrets (really – we all have them).  There were a few odd moments where crickets would have been heard chirping, if not for the noise, one or two mild blow-offs, and – i think – one “so-long-and-have-a-nice-life”. 

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Books & Tea
Jim_Tea1 I just started re-reading CS Lewis’s “The Problem of Pain”.  It’s an amazing book – challenging modern concepts of “Love” (“There is kindness in Love, but Love and kindness are not coterminous…”), and trying to tackle the “intolerable intellectual problem” of human suffering.  Lewis has a gift for stating things eloquently and plainly at the same time.  He can turn a topic around and over, examining it from multiple angles and provoke the reader to not only consider his opinion, but to think for themselves as well.  Much to my own dismay, I’ve taken a special liking to Darjeeling tea (a lot of it) – and I (as I do even now) constantly have a cup nearby.  As Lewis said, "You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me."

Career
I often marvel at how much we’ve changed in our view of “career” from the Baby Boomer Generation to Gen X.  I think it would be easy to dismiss much of the modern view as selfish, but I think it’s much more than that.  Globalization and the increasingly rapid pace of technological advancements have turned the normal view of the business world on it’s end.  While I love having a so-called “cutting edge skill” – the reality is that it’s always at the risk of obsolescence.  In this kind of climate, long term trust in a corporation is unthinkable.  The employee/employer relationship – at least in my field – seems to be shifting towards a more symbiotic one (at best).  I think that’s a good thing overall – but the lack of continuity has its drawbacks.

Netflix
Seriously – people need to get over it.  We’ve gotten streaming in addition to DVD-by-mail basically for free for years now.  This is a company that has had their pulse on the future in multiple critical instances.  No brick and mortar – remember the Blockbuster ad campaign about having the option to hit stores as well as the mailbox?  Ha – a dinosaur memory at this point.  Then, Netflix sees the promise in Amazon’s cloud hosting capabilities and transfers nearly everything to the cloud, saving themselves millions in hardware costs alone (not to mention the immense technical labor overhead involved in maintaining data centers at that scale).  They see the end of DVDs – sooner than most of us think.  Most brand new TVs have apps to run services like Netflix and Hulu – and if they don’t, it’s easy to either use your blue-ray player, or a computer.  I see it as their strategic move to convince the “one DVD a month” families like mine to just switch to only streaming.  The rest of the revenue they pull in as a result will fund the efforts to digitize even more movie selections (a process that is much more intensive than most realize).  So sure, whiners, go use Redbox or Blockbuster.  You’ll be back. :-)

 

  • http://twitter.com/betzsteve Steve Betz

    Excellent musings! Having lived at least half a continent away for any of my HS reunions, I never went to any, though the wave that swept through Facebook a year or two ago as even the luddites in “my” generation picked it up was like one. Fortunately, you can block people after they “hey, what have you been up to” exchange.

    The interesting thing about Netflix is that there business plan has ALWAYS been streaming content — even when capacity and bandwidth issues made that seem like a pipedream. I read a great interview with their founder about it. Early on Blockbuster had a chance to buy them for <$100 MM and passed on it thinking they were crazy. Who's laughing now?