# Saturday, April 17, 2021

"Alright! Alright! Alright!"
- Wooderson

Matthew McConaughey sees the world in terms of Red Lights (things that stop us), Yellow Light (things that slow us down), and Greenlights (things that allow us to move forward) and explains how he has been able to convert Red and Yellow lights into Greenlights. Greenlights is, of course, the title of McConaughey's 2020 autobiography.

The book is a series of anecdotes, mostly about overcoming adversity and turning negatives into positives. He grew up in a dysfunctional family with an overbearing, sometimes violent, redneck father, but he learned some valuable lessons about self-reliance from that father.

While a high school exchange student, he was assigned to live with a crazy Australian family who tried to control all his actions, but he asserted himself and was able to maintain his independence and move to a more normal home.

He was a film student struggling to find his first break when he won his first movie role, playing Wooderson in Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" - a small part, but a memorable character in a movie that would later become a cult favourite.

When confused about his next step, he took a sabbatical to travel along the Amazon River or through central Africa or across America - in each case returning with greater clarity.

After establishing himself as a bankable leading man in romantic comedy films, he decided he needed new challenges and refused to accept any more rom-com roles. After a few months, the phone stopped ringing; but he eventually landed the lead in "The Dallas Buyers Club", which earned him his first and only Academy Award.

In each case, McConaughey was able to create a positive (or "Greenlight") through a combination of talent, positive thinking, hard work, cleverness, and perseverance. McConaughey comes across as an eternal optimist who lives life on his own terms. He was blessed with looks and talent, but he did not rely solely on that. He also comes across as a bit of an oddball, as he describes his drug use and his wet dreams.

Each chapter includes at least one poem or a philosophical statement or a "Note to Self" or a clever bumper sticker that relates to the coming or preceding story. It is a bit cheesy, but it works.

One wonders about the veracity of his stories: Did he really fight a champion wrestler to a draw in remote Mali? Was teenage McConaughey as successful at outwitting adults as he claims?

But we cannot doubt the entertainment value. McConaughey speaks with an engaging humor and his stories are fun.

Saturday, April 17, 2021 9:44:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, April 12, 2021

Episode 656

Matthew Renze on the AI Developers Toolkit

Consultant and trainer Matthew Renze describes the different categories of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as appropriate tools for each category.

https://matthewrenze.com/
Monday, April 12, 2021 3:00:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, April 10, 2021

In Jack Kerouac's On the Road, narrator Sal Paradise and his friends crisscross the United States, searching for America, God, and themselves. Along the way, they also search for jazz, booze, drugs, girls, and adventure.

Although Sal narrates, this is really the story of his friend Dean Moriarity. Dean constantly lives in the moment - experiencing life to the fullest and searching for thrills and satisfaction at each turn. He falls in love and marries and fathers children with no sense of responsibility and no thought of the future. Sal follows along, soaking in the energy that Dean exudes.

They live fast and they observe the sights and sounds and smells of all they encounter; they connect with people; they drink in jazz clubs and feel the music flowing through them. It all sounds great, but there are consequences. Dean is self-absorbed and, although charming and fun, feels no responsibility to others. The ex-wives and children he leaves behind suffer the consequences of his abandonment; and the drug use eventually take a heavy toll on Dean's health.

This was the novel that defined the "Beat Generation" - that inspired millions to dream of freedom from social mores. It is entirely impractical, but it is a wonderful ride.

Saturday, April 10, 2021 9:09:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, April 5, 2021

Episode 655

Ted Neward on Technology Culture

Ted Neward describes things that Rocket Mortgage and Quicken Loans is doing to develop and evolve their culture within the IT departments.

Monday, April 5, 2021 9:37:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, April 4, 2021

4/4
Today I am grateful
-to spend yesterday with my sons and  their girlfriends
-to see an exciting NCAA semi-final game last night

4/3
Today I am grateful to hang out virtually with Josh yesterday.

4/2
Today I am grateful to Jesus Christ, who died for my sins.

4/1
Today I am grateful for all the success by the BIG10 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament.

3/31
Today I am grateful for
-a free lift pass yesterday
-making my first unassisted ski run

3/30
Today I am grateful for
-a walk around downtown Park City, UT yesterday
-a gift of a massage yesterday

3/29
Today I am grateful for:
-My first experience snow skiing yesterday
-Dinner last night with Robert and Colette

3/28
Today I am grateful to see a Jazz - Grizzlies game in Salt Lake City last night.

3/27
Today I am grateful for my first visit to Utah.

3/26
Today I am grateful to begin my first vacation of 2021 today.

3/25
Today I am grateful to Dave for showing me how to save $150 a year on my AmEx card.

3/24
Today I am grateful for Inbox Zero.

3/23
Today I am grateful to put my emissions test and plate removal behind me.

3/22
Today I am grateful for a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden yesterday.

3/21
Today I am grateful to hear of all those who have received or scheduled a vaccine.

3/20
Today I am grateful for 12 hours of much needed sleep last night.

3/19
Today I am grateful to receive my second COVID-19 vaccination yesterday.

3/17
Today I am grateful for my CPAP machine.

3/16
Today I am grateful for home-cooked meals.

3/15
Today I am grateful for 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

3/14
Today I am grateful for my first oil change of the year.

3/13
Today I am grateful I was able to resolve yesterday's issue viewing MS Teams on my phone.

3/12
Today I am grateful for ice cream.

3/10
Today I am grateful to receive thousands of dollars of my unclaimed money from Michigan and Illinois.

3/9
Today I am grateful for great books.

3/8
Today I am grateful for all of the amazing women I've known in my life.

Sunday, April 4, 2021 2:05:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, April 3, 2021

When poet John Shade died, he left behind his just-completed epic poem "Pale Fire", which was snatched up by his neighbor and colleague Charles Kinbote, who planned to write an analysis of the poem. Kinbote - an immigrant from the northern European country of Zembla - expected the poem to be about Zembla's ousted king Charles the Beloved, as Kinbote had been relaying stories of Zembla and its king to Shade for months and assumed this would serve as inspiration for his epic poem. He is disappointed to learn the poem is about Shade's impressions on life and death - particularly the death of his daughter Hazel.

Kinbote analyzes the poem anyway, but quickly turns his focus away from Shade's words toward himself, his relationship with Shade, his conflicts with Shade's wife, and the escape of King Charles from Zembla. He begins by describing (and likely inflating) his close kinship with the author; then describes his stalking of the author during the writing of the poem; followed by a detailed description of the ouster of the King Charles. Frequently, Kinbote follows a sentence fragment of the poem with a multi-page monologue completely unrelated to that fragment. On rare occasions when the analysis focuses on the poem itself, Kinbote admits that he cannot be bothered to look up any references.

In Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov weaves a great deal of humour into his work. Kinbote suffers from extreme hubris - exaggerating the influence he had over Shade's work and underestimating the contempt in which he is held by everyone around him. Of course, everything is imaginary - the poet, the narrator, the king, and Zembla. The unreliable narrator provides his own absurd story, weaving together fact, fiction, personal prejudices, and narcissistic rants about himself. In the end, it is impossible for the reader to identify exactly what is real.

Saturday, April 3, 2021 10:07:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, March 29, 2021

Episode 654

Dave Hoerster on Azure Active Directory B2C

Cloud Solution Architect Dave Hoerster describes how to use Azure Active Directory B2C to manage identity and security for a Business-to-Consumer application.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory-b2c/
Monday, March 29, 2021 9:14:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, March 27, 2021

Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind has two major characters: Scarlett O'Hara and the American South.

Scarlett was a feminist almost before "feminism" was a word. She was pretty and intelligent and every boy in the county wanted her and she knew it. But she was also selfish and entitled and arrogant and manipulative and racist. 900 pages and 12 years later, Scarlett is still all these things; but she is one more thing: she is a survivor. The Civil War, the invasion of Atlanta, the defeat of the Confederacy, the occupation of Georgia by Northerners and carpetbaggers, and the dismantling of the lifestyle enjoyed by Southern aristocracy broke many of her friends and neighbors. But Scarlett rose up and managed to rebuild a life for herself and her family. She saved her family home and became a successful businesswoman. She did so through intelligence and determination and sometimes through unethical behavior.

Scarlett grew up among the landed gentry of the antebellum South, surrounded by people who welcomed Civil War as an opportunity to prove their superiority over the invading Yankees. Of course, they were wrong. The war killed many of their young men, destroyed their homes and fortunes, freed their slaves, and dismantled their way of life. Their reaction to this upheaval is a major theme of this epic story. When the war ends, Scarlett's contemporaries are ill-equipped to handle the changing times. They cling to the old ways, despite the changing world. Scarlett is one of the few who adapts. No one questioned the institutions they had always known. Nor did they doubt these institutions would last forever.

The book's love triangle is well-known. As a teenager, Scarlett was in love with Ashley Wilkes, who married Melanie and was honor-bound to remain faithful. Meanwhile, the handsome but roguish Rhett Butler pursued Scarlett for years. Rhett assumes that he and Scarlett are destined for one another because they are so much alike, but their similarities lead to most of their conflicts.

When discussing this novel, one cannot ignore the topic of race. A caste system existed in the American South before and after the Civil War. Plantation owners, small farmers, white trash, house slaves, and field slaves each had their place in this society and that place was often enforced by the law and sometimes it was enforced with violence. When the North won the war and sought to punish the Confederacy, white southerners were resentful of the unfairness, but were unwilling to consider the generations of injustices they themselves had inflicted on people of color. And although the novel is full of racial stereotypes and the dialogue is rife with ethnic slurs, one must recognize that it was written by a white southerner over 80 years ago and covers a period in which ownership of non-white human beings was legal in this country. The plantation owners of Mitchell's novel do not chain their slave or physically abuse them (much); but they do look upon them as children incapable of fending for themselves; and they convince themselves that slavery is a better life for a negro than emancipation under Yankee rule; and they are surprised when most of their slaves escape as soon as the invading army provides the opportunity. Mitchell shows these sides of southern society; but she also points out the hypocrisy of northern women who looked down on black people; and she shows many example of the second-class treatment of women in nineteenth century society. Although Mitchell seems to paint the best negroes as those who are most loyal to their masters, she also provides us with strong and intelligent black characters like Mammy, Dilcey, Pork, and Uncle Peter. It is a complex topic in a complex novel filled with complex characters.

Scarlett is the most complex of them all. She lacks the kindness of Melanie and the intelligence of Mammy and the sensitivity of Ashley and the humor of Rhett; but her strength and her flaws make her one of the most fascinating heroines in literature. She rebels against the expectations that society has for a woman in her quest to become self-sufficient.

GWTW is a story of survival in the face of adversity and of doomed love and of retaining a culture that is no longer relevant. It is ab=n adventure story, a love story, a war story, and a coming-of-age story.

Margaret Mitchell wrote only one book in her life, but she made it count.

Saturday, March 27, 2021 8:49:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 22, 2021

Episode 653

Jason Farrell on Kubernetes

Jason Farrell describes how to use Kubernetes to manage container instances, as well as how to manage clusters in the cloud.

Links:
https://kubernetes.io
https://www.cncf.io

Monday, March 22, 2021 2:41:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, March 20, 2021

As a young man, Ernest Hemingway worked as a newspaper reporter and as a wartime ambulance driver in Spain. Hemingway draws on both experiences in his first novel: The Sun Also Rises. The story is set mostly in 1920s Spain and is told with the directness and conciseness of a newspaper article.

Narrator Jake Barnes is an American journalist living in Paris in the 1920s. He and his friends decide to travel to Spain - first to go fishing in the mountains; then to attend a festival in Pamplona, featuring bullfighting and the famous Running of the Bulls. Among Jake's friend is Britt - known as "Lady Ashley". Britt is having an affair or has had an affair with most of the group. In Pamplona, the group drinks heavily and Britt hooks up with a local matador.

This book lacks a strong plot, but focuses more on defining the characters through their dialogue and their actions. Hemingway writes with a refreshing simplicity - without wasted words or flowery language. His description of the bullfights paints a picture for the reader as if we were present in the ring.

The Sun Also Rises is a story of sexual liberation and doomed relationships and the endless pursuit of pleasure by the so-called "Lost Generation" - damaged by the first World War and drifting through life without purpose.

It is no surprise it has endured so long.

Saturday, March 20, 2021 6:44:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)