# Wednesday, August 16, 2017

YoussouNDour0130 years ago, I received as a gift the album "Nelson Mandela" by Youssou N'Dour. I was hooked. N'Dour exposed to me an engaging style that combined traditional rhythms of his native Senegal with western instruments.

Thursday night at Millennium Park, I finally had the chance to see N'Dour in concert. He did not disappoint.

Throughout the show, everyone smiled and danced to the music. The audience enjoyed themselves, Youssou enjoyed himself, and the band enjoyed themselves. Except for the rhythm guitar player, who remained stoically stone-faced throughout the performance, despite being surrounded by smiling musicians and fans.

YoussouNDour02N'Dour shared the stage with about a dozen other musicians, including two keyboardists, 3 guitarists, 4(!) drummers, and 1 dancer.

They played danceable Afro-pop for over 90 minutes and came back for an encore to the delight of the crowd.

The show was a treat for those of us who love African music. Next to the stage, I saw people dressed in African garb dancing to the music. A few rows back, I saw middle-aged white Americans tapping their feet. Even though none of the songs were sung in English, Youssou and his band made a connection with an audience far from his homeland.

By the end of the show, even the rhythm guitarist had to smile.

More photos

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 7:07:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, August 14, 2017
Monday, August 14, 2017 4:52:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 5:21:28 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, August 6, 2017

Today I am grateful for:
-3 days in downtown Kansas City
-Lunch with Sara
-Pizza with Tim at Pequod's last night

Today I am grateful to attend my first PubConf last night.

Today I am grateful for my first time speaking at #KCDC.

Today I am grateful to meet so many old friends in Kansas City last night.

Today I am grateful for the past, present, and future MVPs who contribute so much to our community.

Today I am grateful to watch Game of Thrones each week with my son.

Today I am grateful for:
-breakfast with Tim and Ahmani yesterday
-a drink last night with Tim at the new outdoor café across the street.

Today I am grateful for the International Nodebots Day workshop yesterday.

Today I am grateful to spend a day with my team.

Today I am grateful I was able to help people multiple times yesterday.

Today I am grateful I got these web services working (mostly)

Today I am grateful for:
-Starting a new project yesterday
-Coffee with Thad -Dinner with Michael and Dave

Today I am grateful for a chance to sleep in this morning.

Today I am grateful for an afternoon at Warren Dunes State Park.

Today I am grateful for a week in Las Vegas with Microsoft folks from around the world.

Today I am grateful for a gondola ride yesterday with Jennifer and Matt.

Today I am grateful for:
-Lunch with Jeffrey
-Drinks with Scott and Brian
-Dinner with Shahed, Nickolas, Paul, Jeffrey, and Bret

Today I am grateful to see Lenny Kravitz and Ellie Goulding in concert last night.

Today I am grateful to reconnect with so many colleagues yesterday.

Today I am grateful for honest conversations.

Today I am grateful for the year that we had together.

Today I am grateful that Thad and I saw Pharez Whitted in concert at the Jazz Showcase last night - my first visit to the club.

Today I am grateful for a Pakistani dinner with Raj last night.

Today I am grateful to meet so many students and entrepreneurs from Africa yesterday.

Today I am grateful to the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees of the first Detroit.Code() conference for making the event a success.

Today I am grateful for:
-Lunch yesterday with Mark
-Help from Ryan answering my JavaScript questions

Today I am grateful to see so many friends last night in Detroit.

Today I am grateful for a visit from my son Nick this weekend.

Today I am grateful to attend a Cubs game last night with Nick and Tim.

Today I am grateful to go to the gym and dinner last night with Tim.

Today I am grateful for dinner with Emilija last night.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Ondrej yesterday.

Today I am grateful for fireworks last night in Dawn and Bill's backyard

Today I am grateful to live in the United States of America.

Today I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of Kevin and Judy, who opened their home to me.

Today I am grateful for yesterday's celebration of my mother's life.

Sunday, August 6, 2017 1:48:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 31, 2017
Monday, July 31, 2017 11:40:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin is the story of the twin planets - Anarres and Urras that rotate about one another.

Centuries ago, a group of revolutionaries on Urras escaped or were exiled to the barren world of Anarres, where they have been working the mines and building an equalitarian society - a society in which all property is owned collectively, and everyone shares everything and the government controls nothing.

Urras is a world with a beautiful main city where everyone has plenty. But the ruling class of this city oppresses the lower classes outside the city and keeps them in their caste. An oppressive government keeps the rich and poor in their places.

Shevek is a physicist, who was born on Anarres; but he is one of the few from that world permitted to visit Urras. Shevek is invited to an Urras university in order to complete his work - a work that the Urrans hope can allow them to produce faster-than-light interstellar travel. He is overwhelmed by the beauty of his host city, unaware of the suffering outside the walls until local rebels try to contact him.

The story is filled with ambiguities: The 2 planets orbit one another yet each considers the other its moon; It's never clear if walls are built to keep people out or in; the anarchy of Anarres seems morally superior to the caste system of Urras, but Anarres's system is far from perfect and its people suffer much hardships.

LeGuin tells the story in a non-linear fashion, alternating chapters between recounting Shevek's early life and his pilgrimage to Urras. This narrative style can be hard to follow at times, but it revealed his character and contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of each society.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed LeGuin's writing. She weaves within her stories multiple themes about society and economics. I will be reading her work again soon - maybe a second reading of this book.

Saturday, July 29, 2017 6:53:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 24, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017 4:36:36 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 17, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017 10:06:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, July 10, 2017
Monday, July 10, 2017 3:58:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, July 8, 2017

AssassinsQuestAssassin's Quest is the third, final, and longest book in Robin Hobbs's Farseer Trilogy.

It also the book with the most action.

Royal bastard Fitzchivalry Farseer was executed by his Uncle Regal, who has usurped the throne from its rightful heir. He escaped by using his Wit power to transfer his consciousness to his wolf-brother and living as a wolf for weeks. Fitz's allies manage to return his soul to his exhumed body following the execution, but he is become more wolf than man and struggles to resume his old life or to fight for his kingdom.

King Shrewd and King-In-Waiting Chivalry (Fitz's Father) are both dead.  Verity has left the kingdom to seek the help of the legendary Elderlings, hoping they can rescue his kingdom from the attacking Red Raiders.

Fitz has 2 quests in this story - the first to find and assassinate King Regal and the second to find his Uncle Verity in hopes he can restore order to the kingdom.

Most of this book follows Fitzchivalry's odyssey across the world, seeking Verity and the dangers he encounters along the way. He is reunited with The Fool - a jester he befriended during his days at court. The Fool reveals himself to be more than he showed before and they seek Verity together.

This is the most complex and most satisfying of the 3 Farseer novels. The storylines weave in and out as Fitz travels across the world and out of his own kingdom. Magical powers are used just enough to keep them plausible in this world; but not so much that they are an easy escape from any danger.

Assassin's Quest completes Fitz's transition to manhood and brings the story of Regal's power grasp to a conclusion. The ending felt a bit rushed, but Hobb managed to tie up each of the plot lines. Overall, I very much enjoyed this series.

Saturday, July 8, 2017 2:04:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)