Tuesday, November 11, 2008

John Updike lecture, haircut, and almost being locked into the JCC overnight

Tonight was yet another one of those absolutely glorious lectures at the JCC. I should write to the lady who organizes them and give her an "email high-five."

That might look something like this:


Franklin (Delano) Chance, that was solely for your enjoyment.

Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand.
It was a busy day but I was done work at 6-ish so I went over to Simply Cuts by my work to get this "mop" on my head trimmed a bit. THEY ARE SOOOOOO GOOD THERE. Usually I don't care about my hair or whatever (I AM a dude, right) but maaaaaaaaan!! They do a GREAT job. I can definitely tell when a haircut succccks the big one (read "when I went to Supercuts in downtown San Francisco and my hair looked terrrible) and it had been like 8 months (literally) since my last haircut. Anyway they did a great job, and it's only $15. I love that place.

Ok so then off to the JCC for this GLORIOUS lecture.

I think perhaps our good family friend Harry Logan has a long-lost cousin who writes for the New Yorker... John Updike reminded me a LOT of Harry! He is very tall, very quiet and "Professory", from Pennsylvania, and also studied at Oxford?!!!

His dry/witty humour was really hilarious, and he had some very interesting and powerful things to say about creative writing. As with all geniuses, he greatly understated (and was incredibly gracious about) his talent and sheer skill in his field.

Two examples of this:
1) Modern Day: Matthew Atabet Parrott, case closed.
2) 17th century continental rationalism era: Rene Descartes, based on the quote from his book, saing that he "doesn't see himself as any smarter than any of his colleagues, he just applies himself and isn't lazy"... and then he INVENTED THE FOUNDATION OF CALCULUS.

His lecture was very interesting, mostly focused on his progression as a writer, his history of writing for the New Yorker Magazine, and his ideas about the state of media today and how this affects imagination and (specifically) reading. I thought it was cool how frank he was about American culture today, "People just don't read enough anymore" and how he talked about always wanting to write for the New Yorker and how a magazine subscription to the New Yorker magazine while he was growing up had a huge impact on his life. He said he rarely thinks a magazine holds that much "cultural weight" anymore. Pretty neat. I guess my subscription to Wired magazine may hold some "cultural weight" for me... (even in spite of all the advertising in it)... I guess what he was saying is in the age well before the internet, your areas to gain knowledge were much more focused. A sort of "quality over quantity" approach, I assume.

So all the time I spend on the internet, late into the evenings, reading CNN and watching Jon Stewart and Anderson Cooper into the wee hours of the morning... is that wasted energy??

To be honest, I don't think so... but I guess this comes back to that old argument of whether or not a "surface understanding" of things is useful, or if only deep knowledge really counts. And is opinion "knowledge"? I don't think so. Maybe I need to spend more time reading John Updike than watching Stephen Colbert. (Although, you gotta love that guy)

Anyway, great lecture as always. And with every good lecture at the JCC (i.e. all of them), I come out inspired, excited, interested in another author, with a signed and personalized copy of one of their books, and a whole lot more questions than answers. Turns out maybe I need more than 2 hours of introspection/Jutan-time staring at the waves at the Ferry Building every week... :)

After the lecture, Gabrielle (aka Gabe-rielle) was there and it was super nice to hang out. We wandered around and found the gym upstairs, played some basketball (we were both pretty bad, but I was worse - haha) and that was great times. When we came back down to the lobby the security guard wondered where the heck we came from and the gate was half-down and we almost had to sleep at the JCC overnight which would have been fun/possibly illegal.

Great, happy day... work was amazing, I love my haircut/not looking like a scallywag for a short time, and the lecture and post-lecture basketball game was a nice treat for the mind followed by some good 'ol-fashioned "horse"-ing around. (Gabe, that corny one is for you)

Matt and I are still working hard on our App and things are going well. More to follow as we get closer to releasing it.

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