Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’

Today I got the news of which apartment I’ll actually be in and a photo of the floor plan.  Here it is…
Floor plan for my the apartment in Baltimore

Layout for the temporary “crib”…

And so, the excitement begins to build…
Book Review
Wow!  I finally finished “An Incomplete Education, 3rd Edition” by Judy Jones and William Wilson (2006©).  This book is a survey of human knowledge and history.  It divides this knowledge along twelve lines: American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science and World History – with a Lexicon (aka dictionary) at the end.  Just the fact they use “lexicon” instead of “dictionary” tells you almost all you need to know about this book.  The part it doesn’t is that the author’s deal with each subject with a bit of humor.
Because I am the way I am, before starting this review, I read a number of the buyer’s reviews at sales sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc) and many of the books critics do seem to miss the point of the book – everyone’s education is incomplete and just reading this book isn’t going to change that.  I do feel what the book lacks in depth, it makes up for with breadth and honest opinion.  I don’t begrudge an author their opinion, as long as they don’t try to pretend their opinion IS the reality.  Jones and Wilson never gave me this impression.  In fact, they seem to encourage you to go out and find your own truth in personal experience and deeper pursuit of understanding.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  I probably retained no more than 10% of what I read, but the exposure to the range of topics presented has made me better and begun to create the memory links I will need as I continue to learn, grow, consider and more partially complete my own incomplete education.
I intend to set the book down in a handy location so I can flip through it every now and then – to extract quotes and blog topics, if for nothing else.
Evening Jog
Out for another jog.  Man was it cold!!  I got through another 4 miles and tried another two “tastes” of intervals.  The first one was only about fifty yards, before the Achilles pain started.  That was at about the 2 mile mark.  The second was at the 3.5 mile range and I did the fifty yards with no pain.  I stopped at that distance because I didn’t want to risk injury with my trip coming up this weekend.  There seemed to be a hint of ground fog, so there weren’t as many stars out as last night.
Tomorrow should be a busy but enjoyable day.  I’m supposed to present an all-day workshop on creating data store queries.  The plan is to open with a review of the tool (Hyperion) interface, and then just pose some questions which we’ll try to answer during the remainder of the day.  I’ve never tried this quasi-Socratic method of instruction before, so it will be interesting for me.  I’m hoping to adapt / modify the “workshop” method with what I call “Performance Oriented Training” (POT).  With POT, the instructor shows and tells, walks you through, and then let’s you try to perform the task.  If you struggle, the instructor goes back to step one and then step two and then allows the student to try step three again (on their own).  Eventually, the student is able to complete the task without the instructor’s aid.  They have demonstrated they are able to “perform” the task at the end of training.  Hence the title.

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Well, it was getting down to the wire, but it looks like I’ve got a place to stay when I get to Baltimore next Monday.  I’ll be staying at the Camden Court Apartments.   I’m leased for all four months.  I guess the clock tower (in the left of the picture) has some significance.  I’ll blog about it when I know more…
Camden Court Apartments

My home away from home…

The apartments are about two blocks from Orioles Park at Camden Yard, so I should be able to take in a couple of baseball games when the season starts.  If nothing else, the baseball park will give me a nice, well lit place to jog around.  It looks like it’s about 800-900 meters around the park.  The web site says it (the apartment complex) has a fitness center, so I should be able to use the tread mills there until the weather improves.
Work was busy again.  Lots of explaining to my backup and I gave a class on a data store query I run for a different team.  The team will be given access to the query and data so they’ll be able to run the query themselves in my absence.
I had my third consecutive jog tonight.  I was tired after work and didn’t really want to go, but I sucked it up and got out there.  The night was cold and the going was slow, but I finished the 4 miles.  I tried to add in a little interval training, but my Achilles both flared almost immediately, so I went back to long and slow.  Getting better, but not healed.  The sky was clear after all the rain and there were a million stars out.  Still, cold, clear air.  It doesn’t get much better than that when you’re out for a jog.

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Last Thursday, I had my 1,000th workout at the gym in the building where I work.  Friday was off, Saturday was Christmas and yesterday was Boxing Day.  Today, it was back to work.
And of course, that meant back to the gym – for workout 1,001.  When you say you’ve done something one thousand times, it sounds like such an achievement.  When you say you’ve done it a thousand and one, you put it back into perspective.  To me, it’s not: “Did you win the race?”  It’s: “When did you run again?”  Or as some would say: it’s not the goal, it’s the path.
Today was my last day for a while.  I’m going on a detail for work back to Baltimore, Maryland.  The detail is 120 days.  I’ll be leaving in January and back in May.  I’ll be documenting it (the trip) on this blog.  I’m not sure what to expect.  With the exception of Saudi, most of my trips away from my family have only been for a week at most and I’ve usually stayed in a hotel room.  I’m told I’ll be in some kind of longer-term accommodation.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  I think it means a hotel room with a small kitchen.  We’ll see…
I’ll be taking some books with me, but mostly I’m planning to work, workout and blog.  Again, we’ll see…
I don’t know how many times I’m going to  get opportunities to visit the east coast, so I’m hoping a bit to get a chance to visit some of the Civil War battlefields – Gettysburg, Antietam and Manassas are the one’s which come to mind.  Gettysburg is a must.  The other two are names which have always struck me when I’ve heard them, but not being a “true” Civil War buff, I don’t currently know much about them.  Again, I’m not sure what I’ll find when I go looking, but I hear their names calling to me across the haze of history through the fog of bitter conflict.
Last Friday (X-mas eve), I finished reading “Shit My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern (2008©).  This is one seriously funny book!  More than once, I laughed until I cried.  It is just sooo hilarious.  I highly recommend it!
Movie Reviews
Yesterday, I went to see “Tron: Legacy” with my son James.  It’s a sequel of TRON, a movie which came out way back in 1982.  The funny thing is I remember seeing the original, but it could not have been before 1987, because I didn’t start programming until late 1986, so the movie would not have meant anything to me before that.  As it was, I felt I was inside a little club of folks who knew something about a world that most people didn’t.  I knew about TRace ON (TRON) and TRace OFF (TROFF), CPUs, bits, bytes and the whole speed of light, MHz cycles (light-cycles), etc…
Anyway, this version is not nearly so enthralling.  The animation / special effects are superb, and the story is fairly deep, but it just wasn’t entertaining enough for me.  Pleasant, but not enjoyable.  Reminiscent, but not inspiring.  I’m not sure how to describe a movie you expect to touch you one way, which does mean something, but just doesn’t quite reach you there.  I’m glad I saw it.  It’s worth the $7.25; but, I’m glad I didn’t pay full price and definitely glad I didn’t splurge for the 3D version.
After I got home from TRON, I had dinner and watched a terrific movie with my Hil: “Julie and Julia“.   It’s a movie about a woman who decides to write a blog about cooking her way through a cookbook written by Julia Childs.  Meryl Streep plays Julia Childs and she is fantastic.  The movie is wonderful on many, many levels: a story of newly-weds starting out, a woman finding herself, a new blogger, a new writer, a woman deeply in love with her husband and with living life, cooking (of course), and food.  Some of the levels are Julie.  Some of them are Julia.  And, some of them are both ladies (and all of us as viewers).  I would say this though, it was an intimate movie which I enjoyed watching at home (with just my wife).  I’m not sure it would have been as enjoyable on a big screen and with a crowd of strangers.   Just an observation.
And one final movie review: “Miracle On 34th Street“.  This is simply my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  If you haven’t seen it recently, you need to see the original (in black and white).  It is incredible “Americana” at it’s best.  The details are everywhere.  You really can see history in movies which are meant to be contemporary when you view them 60 to 70 years later.
Art is supposed to speak to us individually.
Enjoy all three – then drop me a comment and let me know if they spoke to you, too.
Oh, yeah.  1,002 may not be for a while, but tomorrow I start jogging at home – after work…  I guess that will be 1.

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