Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts on a Summer's Day

Having passed the 6 month point of my journey through unemployment, it seems to be natural to reflect. I don't know why, but it seems natural. Natural as in without pesticides, hormones, or added sugar. Anyway, my time has been laden with gorgeous weather. My tan has a deeper coloring, the best results I've had in decades. Really, though, there's more. With my respects to Jerry Garcia, this has been a strange trip.

First, and best, has been the deeening connection with my family and friends. Several of us who were let go the same day have forged a great bond. The challenge now is, as we start to return to the workforce, to keep that link. It will change, as things always do. Yet, I'm certain that we've forged something strong. This has been a difficult time, more for some than others, and sharing those journeys always results in something strong.

I am most grateful for time with my family. This cannot be replicated and will be cherished decades from now. This time, to be able to make every parent meeting, conference and party for the last half of kindergarten, was truly glorious. To be present during several of my son's successes is priceless. As I have started interviewing with more regularity, I am confident that I will land something soon. Thus, I refuse to take these sorts of things for granted.

This journey has provided a much needed chance to reflect. Looking over my priorities, and the choices I've made, I see some disconnect. I need to keep my eyes better focused on what is truly important: family, friends, the quality pieces of life. Those things that no amount of wealth can compensate for. A rich jerk is just as much a loser as a poor one. This journey has resulted in a desire to live a slower life. I really enjoy shopping at farmer's markets, even more than before. I'm finding myself drawn even further away from a consumerist life. As hard as that is to imagine.

One great thing, though, comes with the above. This occasional madness, a discontent with my income and station, has been calmed. Income and wealth, though still having value, are not such a driving force as before. Now, I'll happily sacrifice income for time at home, time with friends and family.

Time for cleaning and organizing; truly wonderful. Slowly I am getting this place organized. Addtionally, I have thought about cooking more. There's been some progress in that regard, but not much. So, some room for improvement, eh? As part of this, I wonder about the garbage I eat. So much of what's served in restaurants is pure junk, poor quality in both terms of nutrition and flavor. Don't get me started on frozen meals. One thing I've wanted to do (for years) has been to focus on quality food. Both in flavor and nutrition. Since I have the time to cook, to shop with care, to prepare and be thoughtful, this is the time to make this change.

My committment to social justice has certainly deepened. Besides being better able to understand the external forces that push people to poverty, I also understand the frustration of powerlessness. As someone with a voice more likely to be heard, I have a responsibility to speak up for those whose voices don't carry as far.

Though I have the best tan in years, my results are far deeper. I may still be unemployed, but I have not been idle. This has been one of the most powerful moments in my life. My reflections have truly changed me. My values shine better before me, and my resolve to keep them in better focus stronger. Most likely I will soon return to the ranks of the employed. Though I'm excited by this, there are some pieces I will miss. However, I used this time to the best advantage I could. I am pleased.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Literature This Weekend

It was with great sadness that I read about the death of Frank McCourt. It was strangely fitting, though, as I was finishing up Station Island by another Irish writer, Seamus Heaney. I believe a fitting way to honor McCourt's life would be to pull out Angela's Ashes, which I have done. Perhaps this as fitting a memorial as watching hours of Michael Jackson videos, but certainly (for me) far more satisfying.

Interesting, really, that Ireland only holds a small piece of my genealogy, yet it captivates my imagination. Trad makes my heart sing, and I'm fond of the grand lineage of poets and writers. I may have a German name, but my heart lies in the land of Eire.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Surf


Surf, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

Along the waterfront at Brackett's Landing in Edmonds, WA.
Via BlackBerry

Edmonds Ferry


Edmonds Ferry, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

The view from our afternoon at the beach. Another gorgeous summer's day in the Seattle area. It would be nice, though, if the young men behind me learned that they can turn down the radio. I guess they expect attractive women to lunge vagina first towards the sounds of overdone bass.

Via BlackBerry

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Thoughts

I've been toying with the notion of getting a custom domain for this site. Some ideas: electronicpilgrim.com, pilgrimelectronica.com, questionsall.com, carlsetzer.com. Of course, knucklehead.com is already taken.

2010 Prius - CNET Review

We love our 2005 Prius, so I naturally gravitated to this video. Makes the car look nice, though I think the lack of an iPod dock (beyond just an aux cable) is bad. Of course, they offer Bluetooth streaming, so you can play your iPhone tunes through the stereo, which is great. I still am waiting for a car to have a usb port that you can connect with mp3's and skip the portable player altogether.

Some PR Thoughts

Here's a good post raising questions about all those "social media experts". It's easy, I guess, to become bedazzled by buzz terms (Twitter, Facebook, et al). However, if your company is looking to invest actual money in something like this, if behooves you to spend some time researching.

One site I learned about from this, though, is Help A Reporter Out. Peter Shankman's effort to connect reporters with good, solid sources. It looks like a great way to help both reporters get in front of real sources (not just PR shlocks) as well as get good PR folks in front of relevant media. One of those real solid "win wins" we hear so much about.

Comic du jour

Oh, this is delightful.

Secret Asian Man

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ambitions

Often, I'm tempted by a desire for glamor. This strange need to own a grand, stately, and rather ridiculous home. Then we add a car with chauffer. Perhaps serving staff, or a private jet. At least flying first class (man, the notion of leg-room sounds grand). Yet, it sounds rather empty. When I read such pieces as this one, I am reminded of what I enjoy. The modest pleasures of friends, wine, art. These represent the best I see in life. Though I occasionally get tormented by the fact my life is rather free of grand luxuries, I take solace in the glories within my life. Lest I forget these blessings, I remind myself of those who have so little. These things I take for granted, that seem rather humble to me, actually are grand luxuries to so many who walk this earth with me. That fact humbles me the most.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Lovely Day

Today was spent, for the most part, at the Pacific Science Center. Wandering around the halls that my cousin and I walked as kids was both nostalgic, and a bit disconcerting. Though I spent much time over the years there, it has been at least two decades since I've been inside the main exhibit space (though I've been to the Imax theatre several times). Very little remains of the space we explored. Ok, the walls are still in the same places, and the exterior is almost exactly the same. And the cafe is just as lame, and easy to ignore; and worthwhile, too. Still, there were things that triggered memories. Biking to light lights (the thing was rather rickety and felt like it was 30 years old). The Gemini capsule. A giant moon, though now hidden a bit inside an unrelated exhibit.

As a boy, youth, whatever you wish to call that age, I spent many hours wandering the facility. I first experienced Lazerium here. This was the first place I experienced large computer labs. So much of that is, rightly, gone; replaced by much more contemporary items (or at least by the less obsolete). One thing remains, though. The capturing of science and presenting it to young minds in exciting and dynamic ways. Thus it was, and remains, a treasure for Seattle. I, at least, am glad its here.