Winter, intrinsic motivation and the next season…

To me, intrinsic motivation has a near monopoly on my behavior. I can be proud of this because this makes me appear to be the star child of the p-funk thang, “Funk is its own reward.” This can also be tragic because tragedy easily correlates with monopolies. For people who know the funk, we know the next line is, “May I frighten you?”

Embracing this pride of self-starting is frightening as it can be mistaken for selfishness—especially when the one making this mistake is not satisfied with one’s accomplishments. What’s frightening to me is the realization that these people outnumber me and as I get older they threaten to overwhelm me with their non-conscious influence. I can hear them now—and they are saying, “Get to the point!”

“I am you and what I see is me…” not p-funk but Pink Floyd… but I digress…

In the Gregorian 2008, Fawn Chang helps me make my point in “The Power—and Purpose—of Winter”:

There is treasure buried deeply in winter. For thousands of years, humans have used winter to go inside, repair, rest and mend and return to stillness, entering what Feng Shui calls a yin state of rest, reflection and spiritual connection.

But wait: our modern digital world doesn’t stop (unless nature’s efforts shut down the power grid). Everything in our world seems to be on high volume 24/7/365; non-stop activity is pace of life today and it is toxic to career and life fulfillment.


This may be my first clear statement in this Blog post: the power fueling my intrinsic motivation depends on the winter season’s “yin state of rest, reflection and spiritual connection”—the last two or three winters, however, have not been available to me for such retiring/recharging.

Besides apparently blaming other people, what’s my problem? The leading answer is physical and metaphysical debt. Everyone on earth who can spell the word economy knows about our economic-deficit lifestyle—but this debt can be metaphysical as well. This informs the list debt sources that have been chasing me lately:

  • The oppressive feeling of stagnation due to servicing vulgar debt (credit card debt)
  • Not-so-subtle sleep deprivation from noisy neighbors
  • Taxing stress from parking extremely close to neighbors with oversized vehicles on a daily basis
  • The lack of personal quality time owing to excessive commuting (and incredibly high fuel costs)
  • The lack of healthy social recreation owing to family, friends and associates suffering and isolating

Related Links

“Rick James and Neil Young” and other links… : “While much is known about James’ ‘Super Freak’ period, relatively little is known about the period during the 1960’s when he formed a band known as the Mynah Birds with Neil Young, Goldie McJohn (later of Steppenwolf) and Bruce Palmer (later of Buffalo Springfield). The name of the band Mynah Birds was apparently a takeoff of the well known folk-rock band The Byrds.”

I'm RICK JAMES B!*&^%!

“African Writing Online; Issue No. 8”

Tayari Jones: “The attraction to Africa is the obvious one. I am an African descended person. Going to Ghana was like returning home. When I was there, I was given a beautiful gold necklace with an adinkra symbol. As soon as I returned to the US, I lost it. It must have fallen off my neck. It seems like a metaphor. Everyday I search my apartment for the necklace. I want to have that connection again.”

DePaul University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

“The Center for Black Diaspora was established to promote and support the production of scholarly, cultural and creative work related to the experiences of Black people in the Diaspora. The Center encourages and supports the study of Black Diaspora in all its complexities as shaped by the historical experiences of Africa and the West, and actively promotes comparative perspectives to illuminate the particular experiences of African people both on the continent and in the Diaspora.”

Benoit Mandelbrot

“Roman Slavery and the Question of Race” “To use modern terms, the Romans were ‘equal opportunity’ enslavers: they did not limit their enslavements to one people, place, or, in our terms, race. From the late third century BCE through the early third century CE, as the Romans conquered the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans, much of the modern Middle East, Europe west of the Rhine River, they often enslaved at least some of their defeated enemies. Although the numbers given in ancient sources are notoriously unreliable, a few examples indicate the scale of capture and enslavement.” Moment: “How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension” “How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension is a paper by mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, first published in Science in 1967. In this paper Mandelbrot discusses self-similar curves that have Hausdorff dimension between 1 and 2. These curves are examples of fractals, although Mandelbrot does not use this term in the paper, as he did not coin it until 1975.”

See the TED talk: “Benoit Mandelbrot: Fractals and the art of roughness

“Announcing Entity Framework Code-First (CTP5 release)” and other links…

Scott Guthrie: “EF Code First enables you to use ‘POCO’—Plain Old CLR Objects—to represent entities within a database. This means that you do not need to derive model classes from a base class, nor implement any interfaces or data persistence attributes on them. This enables the model classes to be kept clean, easily testable, and ‘persistence ignorant’.”

“EF Feature CTP5 Released!”

ADO.NET team: “CTP5 includes some significant internal refactoring in preparation for some features we intend to support in the future, we are still in the process of stabilizing the quality after this refactoring. We decided to release before we finished this stabilization to get CTP5 in your hands as soon as possible and give ample time to incorporate feedback before we RTM.”

Entity Framework Architecture

“PowerToys for the Class Designer and Distributed System Designer” “The Class Designer Enhancements add-in provides additional functionality for the Visual Studio Class Designer, such as HTML export and nested type creation commands. This download includes all necessary source code and a Visual Studio project template for creating your own add-ins for the Visual Studio designers. The Class Designer is a developer productivity tool available in Visual Studio Standard Edition and above, which allows developers to easily visualize, design, refactor, and document their code.”

“ELMAH: Error Logging Modules and Handlers for ASP.NET (and MVC too!)”

Scott Hanselman: “ELMAH is one of those largely unknown and deeply awesome .NET Open Source projects that should be part of ASP.NET proper.”

Øredev 2008 - Day 1

“That No SQL Thing—Document Databases”

Ayende Rahien: “A document database is schema free, that is, you don’t have to define your schema ahead of time and adhere to that. It also allow us to store arbitrarily complex data. If I want to store trees, or collections, or dictionaries, that is quite easy. In fact, it is so natural that you don’t really think about it.”

“Visual Studio Programmer Themes Gallery”

Scott Hanselman: “More and more I find myself ‘skinning and [theming]’ my Visual Studio development environment in order to stay frosty. It’s surprising how changing your theme (fonts, colors, etc.) can re-energize me when I’m having trouble with some problem or motivation.”

“Native php support in Visual Studio 2010?” “Check out CodeLobster php, it’s free and has a very similar look and feel to visual studio plus it has IntelliSense and debugging support.”

VS.Php for Visual Studio

VS.Php is a Php integrated development environment based on Visual Studio. With VS.Php you can design, develop, debug and deploy Php applications within the Visual Studio IDE. VS.Php key features are around providing rich Php and Smarty editing capabilities as well as its ability to debug Php scripts locally as well as remotely.”

“100 days with the Nokia N900” and other links…

AG: “So, I thought it was time to begin talking about the migration from the very dated Treo650. In truth, I held hope that Palm would eventually get its act together and develop a platform that would rival all of the current Linux based smart phone offerings (ie Nokia N900, Android, WebOS). Unfortunately, Palm was acquired by HP and a number of executive folks got fired. Perhaps the most interesting trend was that during the time I owned my trusty Treo, social networking became a normal past time for me.”

Windows Phone Secrets “Tip: Tap and hold on the virtual keyboard”

Paul Thurrott: “Most Windows Phone users are familiar with the fact that the “tap and hold” gesture is akin to the right mouse click in desktop versions of Windows, often resulting in a pop-up menu of commands related to the selected object. This gesture is used throughout Windows Phone, including, oddly enough, on the virtual, software-based keyboard.”

“Sony Creative Software on Vimeo” “Sony Creative Software inspires artistic expression with its award-winning line of products for digital video, audio, and music production, as well as industry-leading technology for DVD production and Blu-ray Disc™ authoring. Sound Forge™ Pro, ACID™ Pro, and Vegas™ Pro software have defined digital content creation for a generation of creative professionals.” So far: two videos.

“A Secure Network Drive for Windows Azure Blob Storage”

Jerry Huang: “First you will need to install the Gladinet Cloud Desktop and map a network drive to Windows Azure Blob Storage. …Without further setup, you can drag and drop files to transfer files in and out of Azure Blob Storage. The transfer is under SSL but not encrypted yet once it reaches Azure Blob Storage.”

“Important Info for WP7 Application Developers”

Chris Koenig: “Do you have a Pivot Control stacked inside a Panorama Control?  That would be bad.  Are you using the Windows Phone 7 built-in styles to display text and highlights? If not, it could raise some additional questions. PLEASE read this first one thoroughly (it’s a long read) to make sure you understand what METRO is all about, and what the design checkers will be looking for.”

“HP Showcases World’s First High-speed, 30-inch Digital Color Press”

2009: “HP today announced developments for its HP Inkjet Web Press platform to help print service providers (PSPs) become more profitable and accelerate their transition from analog to digital printing. …On show at an open house event at Los Angeles-based O’Neil Data Systems—site of the first HP Inkjet Web Press beta installation—the press demonstrates how customers can benefit from market-leading total cost of ownership, excellent productivity and a high level of quality.” I heard about this machine while I was working at William O’Neil. Moment: “Colnago”

“In 1960, Colnago saw fame as Luigi Arienti rode to a gold medal at the Rome Olympics on a Colnago bicycle. From the late 1960s through the 1970s, Colnago was generally regarded as one of the builders of the world’s best custom road race frames.”

Stuff you did not get me last weekend…

Well, day 25 in month 12 is over and this article records some of the pieces of hardware that you did not think of getting me for your holiday gift giving.

kinte cast gear


I already have one of these. One more can’t hurt. Along with my new Tascam DR07, this USB microphone makes my slow-ass podcast, the kinté cast, possible. I wish I had this equipment 10 years ago—but wishing is not healthy.

This DR07 might have eliminated the need for other microphone ideas:

My Equipment

Coby TFDVD7008 7-Inch Portable DVD/CD/MP3 Player (Black)

I actually don’t want one of these. I considered getting this for my daughter for passenger-seat movies. Both of us still use DVDs.

Organic Buckwheat Pillow—Twin/ Standard Size (20″ x 26″)

I already have one of these and don’t really need another one. These things weigh about eight pounds. My youngest son might want to consider this before getting into a pillow fight.

Ember 2 BNF

This “gift idea” was recommended by an ex-manager; he actually flew one in the employee parking lot on a dreary evening in Marina Del Rey. I haven’t had enough “down time” to get one for myself. I got my son a huge glider instead of this relatively delicate thing.

Samsung Touch of Color T240HD 24-Inch LCD HDTV Monitor

My ex-manager also recommended this one. He generously offered to have it shipped to his condo where his wife was to dutifully receive it from the UPS dude. This did not quite work out. I had to drive to the local UPS facility and deal with racial profiling because of this guy’s Chinese name on my shipping label.

Crumpler 4 MILLION DOLLAR HOME Shoulder Photo Bag

I have one of these Crumpler bags already. I bought an overpriced one, supporting a camera store in Westwood—back when I was working for UCLA. Currently, I use it to store a loose hard drive as it depends from a bookcase.