Friday, February 21, 2014

Cajun Weekend

Last Saturday I attended a Toastmaster meeting in Columbia, traveling in the early morning, glad the snow storm had ended, reporting at the meeting and feeling embarrassed since I am not doing a good job as area governor, eating at the Japanese Ramen house where I had my usual spicy soup afterwards. It felt good to leave the house and do a little driving and participate in this sort of meeting, where one needs to report at the officers at large, winging it and perhaps succeeding because showing up is the victory. On Sunday, we had lunch at Ford’s Oyster House, eating a seafood platter of fried oysters, Cray fish,   shrimp, crab cake and an entrĂ©e of red beans and rice with sausage, slightly spicy typical of Cajun cooking, then walking along the West End, going to the Museum of Art and the another one close by which featured Charles Dickens and the Victorian age. I did a lot of housework as well, vacuuming the house, cleaning the bathrooms, organizing the garage. It was a productive weekend, though I did not do any writing or arranged my papers, especially in preparation for tax filing. I still need to do more in my garage as still a mess and plan to buy a storage rack this coming weekend.

The week was again hectic, new software packages going live, attending trainings and rushing to install new software components. Yesterday, the whole division attended a yearly session outside the office at the downtown convention center, eating a good lunch of roasted chicken breast, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes and green salad. The sessions were good, a recap of 2013 and the coming challenge in 2014, the top management doing their presentation on stage, enjoying good slide shows even videos with music and interesting editing. New subjects were learned like big data and mobile and cloud computing, like the whole world hurtling down the path of the digital universe, hastened by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, a bewildering array of new technology pervading everyone’s life. For example,  I recently bought my wife a new Windows 8 tablet from Lenovo for Valentine, for myself I already have 2 Android tablets including Google’s Nexus 7; one device for downstairs and one in the bedroom where I surf before going to sleep or after waking up; gorging on Bloomberg and CNN. What extravagance, like an addict with a drug habit.

One admits that it’s too much, having too many devices including Smart TVs, emulating science fiction shows with computer screens everywhere, like having a Star Trek lifestyle in one’s own home. Perhaps this is what is driving the digital explosion, baby boomers reared up in Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock and Star Wars or the latest movies like Minority Report with their visual displays, the latest technology finally allowing fiction to become a reality. One need to learn to use the new devices, incorporate into one’s life, experimenting by buying net books, tablets and using software to make things happen. This afternoon I am attending another training (bewildering after yesterday’s whole day session) and on Saturday, another Toastmaster’s leadership instruction. For all its seemingly ‘boy scout’ nature, Toastmaster has helped keep one skills current, by forcing one to communicate and network with a larger community, perhaps expanding one’s outlook especially in the new locations where I moved to; a technology of adaptation as well as a mental exercise; to keep the brain cells from decaying. Technology helps in beating back the ravages of time and old age or makes one crazy in the process, where other technologies like meditating and journal writing helps to keep sanity.

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