June 20, 2009

Wanting It Badly Enough

We all make our own choices:

Wanting It Badly Enough | No Map. No Guide. No Limits.

Swan Lake

Last night Doreen and I were invited to attend the Houston Ballet's most recent production of Swan Lake. It got really good reviews, so when Eddie invited us to go with him and Charles, Doreen eagerly accepted.

I, on the other hand, was not so impressed.

But the whole thing got me thinking about time, cultural literacy, and opportunity costs.

We live in a shared world, and within your cohort there is an expectation of common experiences. For example, if someone says "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" you would be expected to reply "than a rich man to get into heaven"

Or with some of my friends, if you say "It was inevitable:" you will hear back "the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love"

The point being, that we use this common heritage, this cultural literacy as a sort of shorthand in our communications.

So where do you acquire such commonality, and what should it all include? Many people say that Swan Lake is the best ballet for dancers. It is certainly not a ballet where the dancers just stand around. But what importance is it to have attended the ballet? To see the four little signets dancing with hands clasped together? To see the evil Rothbart trick the good prince Siegfried with the beautiful Odelle?

Or is it more important to know that in Russia, when the communists were in charge that the ending was changed so that the swan (Odette) did NOT die and she and the prince lived happily ever after? Does that tell us more about communism or about the way the ballet was originally written?

In spite of my reluctance to attend this ballet, I enjoyed it tremendously. I have always enjoyed the music. Tchaikovsky is one of my favorites, and the theme you think of when you think of Swan Lake is really beautiful.

I am not one to cry at Operas (though I have teared up while watching movies on airplanes) but I must admit that I got chills the first time the Prince saw Odette, and then the evil Rothbart and his evil Black Swans come flying by.

(A brief aside about the music, which is related to the whole cultural literacy thing. I cannot listen to the theme from Swan Lake (click and then listen at about 33 second) without thinking of West Side Story (click and listen at about 42 seconds. Did Leo life from Pyotr? I think so)

SO the question is, do we go to things like this to have gone to them and to gain the shared experience, or do we go to them to enjoy the three hours there?

And that can't be answered unless you think about the opportunity cost. In this case I must admit the opportunity case was very low. We had no other plans, as I have been traveling for quite some time. (I have not had a full weekend at home for over a month) So I was giving up a quiet evening with a nice home cooked meal and a bottle of wine for this ballet.

In this case, I believe it was worth it.

And I will never trust anyone named Rothbart again.

June 15, 2009


It is almost 9:00 PM. The temperature is 86 degrees, and the relative humidity is 63%. (from our Mighty Weather Station)

This is the best time of year in Houston. The air is so thick that you can almost see it. The sun has set, but you can still see the light from tomorrow's sun in the sky. It is cool enough (only 86!) to sit on the porch until the mosquitoes drive you in. And since we have had no rain in weeks there are few mosquitoes.

The airconditioners hum and the neighbors all say "hi" when they walk by.

Summer in Houston. Summer on the Gulf Coast.

What a great time.

June 12, 2009

Data integration

It would probably be more fun selling weapon systems than data integration frameworks.

June 2, 2009

A package from Turkey

Yesterday (Monday) was my first day in the office for three weeks. It is always good to be back home, but it was sort of sad not being on vacation anymore.

So when I received this package from Turkey:

I was pleased.

While it may LOOK like a package of something that would ordinarily not be sent via DHL, we all know that you have to hid those sorts of things inside of table legs or ceramic Buddhas. So I knew that this was nothing more exciting than antique rugs.

This makes it look even more suspicious:

But once I opened them up, the great rugs that we bought came tumbling out:

It is fun buying rugs. It is amazing that there are so many rugs to buy in the world. I would guess that in some places, all people ever do is weave rugs:

That little one with the diamond patterns was really interesting. It is more like needlepoint than anything else. I will try and find a way to get a better photo of it online.

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