# Saturday, May 25, 2019

LuckyJimJim Dixon is miserable.

He is petty and shallow; he is unqualified for his job; he is lazy and judgmental and sexist; he makes faces at people behind their back; and he is a drunk.

And he is miserable. Miserable because he is trapped in a job that he dislikes working for people he doesn't respect and he is convinced he will be fired soon. Almost everyone in his life is pretentious or boring or neurotic or arrogant. And most of them are trying to bully or manipulate him.

He is the title character of Kingsley Amis's first novel: Lucky Jim.

Lucky Jim is a farcical story filled with failure and petty revenge and self-destruction. But Amis's wit succeeds in making it enjoyable for the reader and even getting us to cheer for the novel's anti-hero.

The book is filled with excellent prose, like the following description of Jim's feelings the morning after a night of hard drinking.

"He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad."

Read this silly book to laugh with and about an underdog, who somehow makes good, despite his best attempts not to do so.

Saturday, May 25, 2019 2:31:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 23, 2019

GCast 49:

Angular pt 8: HTTP

Learn how to make HTTP calls from within your Angular app.

Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:24:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 20, 2019

Episode 564

David Makogon on Streaming Data

David Makogon talks about streaming data and the tools to help you make it happen.

David on Twitter

Monday, May 20, 2019 9:10:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 19, 2019

CryingOfLot49Oedipa Moss's life was uncomplicated until her former lover - millionaire Pierce Inverarity - passed away and she was named the executor of his estate.

She said goodbye to her husband Mucho Maase and traveled to San Narciso, CA to investigate Pierce's assets.

During her investigation, she encountered a plethora of bizarre characters with bizarre names (Dr. Hilarius, Genghis Cohen, Mike Fallopian, Stanley Koteks, …), along with an ancient secret society dedicated to providing an alternative mail delivery system, to break the monopoly of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon is an absurd, satirical novel with a huge number of twists, considering its brief length.

On the surface, this is a detective story; but it leaves most questions unanswered and most mysteries unresolved.

Its strength is in its humor and in the creative way it bounces Oedipa from one situation to the next.

The story includes the following:

A lawyer happens to be a former child star with the stage name "Baby Igor". He seduces Oedipa by feeding her tequila and playing strip baccarat while one of his old movies plays on the TV.

Oedipa's psychiatrist is intent on providing hallucinogenic drugs to his patients and ultimately reveals his Nazi past during a violent, paranoid, nervous breakdown.

An American rock band dresses like the Beatles and sing all their songs with a British accent.

And the story of the secret society, rebelling against the government by subverting its monopoly of the postal system keeps coming back to the front. It seems such a bizarre form of protest. But appropriate to this novella.

The novella makes up for its brevity by packing a great deal of quirkiness into less than 200 pages.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 2:58:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 18, 2019

MovieGoerThe Moviegoer by Walker Percy tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stockbroker existing in New Orleans of the 1050s.

Binx spends most of his spare time chasing his secretaries and watching movies.

At first glance, Binx seems the shallowest of people. But he often sees the world through fresh eyes, even if he struggles to articulate these observations to those around him.

Percy takes us through life in New Orleans and Chicago as seen through Binx's eyes. He likes adventure, but he is easily bored. He loves his family, but he cannot relate to them. He cares for his cousin Kate, but not enough to protect her.

We see Binx interacting with his extended family, a remnant of southern aristocracy, who lament the changing ways of their society. We experience his relationship with Kate, who recently attempted suicide. Without thinking how it might concern Kate's parents, Binx and Kate leave suddenly for a week in Chicago, without informing anyone of their departure.

"What do you think is the purpose of life - to go to the movies and dally with every girl that comes along?", his aunt asks him? He responds "No", but the reader suspects otherwise.

One might think this is a tragic tale, but it is told in a lighthearted fashion and it ends with some optimism.

Saturday, May 18, 2019 9:26:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 16, 2019

GCast 48:

Angular pt 7: Routing

Routing in Angular is similar to routing in an MVC framework - except it happens on the client side. Learn how to implement it here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019 10:20:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 13, 2019

Episode 563

J Tower on .NET Standard

J Tower describes .NET Standard, .NET Core, and the .NET Framework and how developers can get different flavors of .NET to work together.

Monday, May 13, 2019 9:04:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 12, 2019

CallItSleepDavid's mother brought him to New York City from eastern Europe as a baby. Call It Sleep by Henry Roth follows young David through his first eight years, growing up in the tenements of early twentieth century New York City.

Life on the lower east side of Manhattan has been hard. Hard because the family struggles to make ends meet; hard because the quiet sensitive David is bullied by the other neighborhood boys; but, mostly hard because of David's abusive father Albert, whose temper and paranoia often prevent him from even holding down a job. Albert frequently takes out on his frustration on his young son.

David is sensitive and quiet and clings to his mother. His lack of assertiveness makes him an easy target for those who use him or bully him or blame him for their own mistakes. And there is no shortage of people in his world anxious to do this - from neighborhood kids to the local rabbi to his bratty cousins. The more the world troubles him, the more he clings to his mother for protection.

There is a constant tension between all the characters - partly the result of the stress of being a struggling immigrant in an unfamiliar country, but mostly because of Albert and his temper. And Roth does a good job bringing us into their lives and making us feel their angst.

When the point of view switches to young David, Roth often gives us an eloquent description of David's impressions of the world around him. But when angst overtakes the boy, Roth switches to a stream-of-consciousness inner dialogue, revealing young David's angst through incomplete sentences and phrases.

There is a lot of dialogue in this book and much of it is spelled phonetically to indicate the European or Bowery accents of the speaker. Add to that the occasional Yiddish word and this can be a difficult book to read.

But it is a good story that will make you feel for the characters trapped in it.

Sunday, May 12, 2019 9:23:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 11, 2019

AlGreenA pile of roses sat on a table far at stage left.

The band entered the stage and played a few minutes of a funky groove before Al Green walked out and picked up a handful of flowers and handed or tossed them to ladies in the audience. He repeated this gesture multiple times during his  performance.

This was an appropriate beginning to Green's performance. He did not as much perform for the audience as he charmed them. And, for the most part, they were delighted to be charmed.

It was Green's first tour in seven years and his stop in Chicago Tuesday night was a popular one.

The audience sang along to songs that were never pop hits. But, when he played some of his most popular songs ("Let's Stay Together", "Here I Am", "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still In Love With You"), everyone rose to their feet in appreciation.

I remember these songs as soulful melodies, delivered at a slowburn pace. But Green's band (9 instrumentalists + 3 backing vocalists) increased the tempo, delivering each one a little funkier than the original.

Green played mostly R&B and soul, but mixed in a bit of Gospel music. Al Green is an ordained minister with his own church in Memphis and he moved us with his rendition of "Amazing Grace". A medley of songs by the Temptations ("My Girl"), the Four Tops ("Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch"), and Otis Redding ("Dock of the Bay") pleased the audience.

The band closed with a rousing rendition of "Love and Happiness".

At 73, Rev. Green is a few years older, a little thicker in the waist, and lacks some of the energy he possessed during his popularity of the 1970s and 1980s. His performance lasted only about an hour and did not include an encore; but he still can hit the high notes that made him famous; and he still projects joy while singing the songs that brought joy to so many of us during our youth.

Saturday, May 11, 2019 9:08:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, May 10, 2019

DavidAtThatConferenceLately, I’ve done less public speaking than in past years. But I still have a few presentations scheduled.

I will be delivering a presentation titled "We Want the Func! Using Azure Functions to Ease Deployment" at the following events:

Date Event Location
May 11, 2019 Chicago Code Camp Chicago, IL
May 23, 2019 DevSum Stockholm, Sweden
July 22, 2019 Chicago Cloud Conference Chicago, IL

In addition, I will present "How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist" August 8, 2019 at the PASS Cloud Virtual Group – an online user group.

Friday, May 10, 2019 9:52:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)