# 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I am grateful for my first visit to Utah.

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

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

Today I am grateful for Inbox Zero.

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

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

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

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

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

Today I am grateful for my CPAP machine.

Today I am grateful for home-cooked meals.

Today I am grateful for 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.

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

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

Today I am grateful for ice cream.

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

Today I am grateful for great books.

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)