Quakers and Six Feet Under

As with the morticians, the writers etc. of Six Feet Under seemed to take pretty good care of Quakers. I just finished the fifth season and found out that one of the characters turns out to be a convinced Quaker, just like me. The show uses it as a great foil for the discussion that seems to permeate my life with friends after becoming convinced–a lot of “how did that happen?” and “does that make you Christian?” stuff. The strains of how it appears in the show were also similar to how it appeared in my life–a friend who got married to a Quaker and had a Quaker ceremony almost 12 years ago told me about it and it sounded interesting to me, so I went to my local meeting here in SF. We didn’t talk until years later when she got a divorce, and it didn’t seem to take with her (though I haven’t heard from her in several years since then).

It’s strange to see a show have a take on your faith. I mean, Quakerism often takes the placeholder in entertainment as “holier than thou” or “those peaceful people” and I liked that it was addressed that way by Brenda, the ever-skeptical critic. I got to see elements of my own story portrayed on screen in its complexity–the connection to the basic tenets, the admiration- and recognition-factor, the desire that silence can be healing, the connectedness to others. There was even, of course, a Quaker funeral, which matched my singular experience at this type of event.

Even the behavior of the Quaker character was truthful in many aspects–her clothing, her type of worship, her speech. If there is only one public Quaker that the general public comes into contact with, she’s the most truthful. I know folks might say, well, her actions weren’t the most Quakerly but I’m glad it refutes the stereotypes I listed above. She’s not a moral character, but a truthful one and that’s what the show is about anyway.

Upgrading backwards

It’s like a curse. Microsoft has re-entered my life in an unavoidable upgrade to the Motorola Q phone I just got as part of Motorola Q phonemy re-enlistment into the Verizon network. It’s running Windows Mobile 5.0 and has lots of cool features, but guess whose email program/calendaring software will run on it? I have had to switch back to the dreaded Office Suite from my own M$-less world of the past.

Even though I’m in San Francicsco, sometimes I feel like I live in Nebraska–there’s only one wireless carrier that I can get inside my building, and that dictates my phone choice. I wanted a phone upgrade to combine the Palm PDA which I have with my phone, so I don’t have to carry two things. The sexy sell was that the Q was $99, around $200 less than any other device and it has Bluetooth. I constantly break the wired-headsets as I carry them around in my bag and the wire usually bends too much, so, hey wireless and reliability (so far).

Anyway, converting email from one program (Thunderbird) to the next (Outlook) is like a Beta-VHS battle. I spent around 4 hours find the program that would do it. I remembered switching to Thunderbird and saying, “Well, I’ll never go back, so all this effort is worth it!” Alas, alack, two years down the track, I’m back.

But, I must confess, I don’ t miss switching from separate calendaring software and email software.  Outlook syncs up well, and everything is easy to back up now.  Simplicity and function and all in one spot.

Stupid stuff

Okay, so here’s the thing–I love Will Ferrell.  I love Ben Stiller.  I love man-child humor of the most extreme kind.  I admit it.  Somehow it strikes that funny bone in my body that is also struck by animal accidents (a la the cat falling into the toilet).  Somehow it’s about life just not being as mature as it always should be as an adult.

So comes Stupid.com.  I know it’s a gag site full of silly trinkets, but when I found out about the “Mr. T-In-Your-Pocket,” I ordered three.  Yes, three.  I couldn’t help it–one for a co-worker who says, “Stop all that jibba jabba!” once in a while to a group of 8-year olds as a joke and two for, oh, the occasional joke gift TBA.  Then I came across items such as the “Corporate Whore Wristband,” “The Miraculous Egg Plant,” and “The Obsessive Compulsive Action Figure.” So at least I didn’t spend my entire paycheck–but it was that same kind of laughter.  I hope it’s funny later when it arrives.

Private as in property or private as in proprietary?

Ownership is the new black.  That is, in terms of information products.

WordPress is a good example–I have this site, hosted by WP on their servers, thank you very much.   I also have my own rented server which I am currently blogging with Drupal.  So, on one hand, I have the convenience of a combined server and blogging package, managed by the folks at WordPress, while on the other, I put the package together myself and learned all the configuration and details (and mistakes) and take care of it myself with my own lack-of-IT-experience self.

Now, which should I use?

On the side of “private as in property” I have my own site.  I maintain the product, from beginning to end.  I am the keeper of my own content.  I control where the content begins and ends and how it is presented.  No product placement, no special features, I manage all the spam, security flaws, email, and added features.  Site goes down, my fault.

On the side of “private as in proprietary” is WordPress’ .com site.  Here’s the convenience factor–turn my site over to the WordPress team to maintain and stabilize (and help me be part of a group of other like-minded users), keep the software up to date and bug-free, with lots of added administrative management options, and advanced features pre-loaded.

It’s kind of like a shop in the mall versus a shop on the street, but the content stays when you move out.  I’m wondering which has a better future, and which is more convenient.  Fortunately, I can afford either, so that’s not a problem.  Which would you choose?

Outdated

Man, I just finished weeding a collection of books at my work and I kept writing “Outdated” over and over and over again. Other terms included “out of date,” “superceded,” and one I kept wanting to write was “WTF?!” I mean Congressional Directory from 1990?  Bill Clinton, anyone?

One book I just couldn’t resist enjoying for myself was called Food Firsts, a textbook from 1976 by Mary Cronan. It had a section on calories and a photo of a student sitting at a desk in a library with the caption “One way you will not burn calories is sitting the library.” Definitely a T-shirt to-be.