Doing a post composed of fragments had seemed a good response to our generally fragmentary lifestyle of late -- of course the difficulty is, a fragmentary lifestyle also makes it difficult to recall various writable snippets long enough to get them down.
* * * *
While not usually an early adopter, I did indeed fall to temptation and pick up a 3G iPad the other night. It is indeed very useful when learning a new city and house-hunting. During the last week I'd staged a series of practice commutes where I'd leave work at the usual time and head out immediately to one of the neighborhoods we're considering looking for houses in, thus finding out how the rush-our commute is. The first couple of these expeditions were performed pre-iPad, with the result that I'd get there, drive around aimlessly for a bit (perhaps seeing by chance one house that looked familiar from Realtor.com) and then drive back. With the iPad, it became easy to look up the most interesting houses, drive around to them, pull up images of the inside, etc. Very useful.
Other uses of the iPad are subject to a bit of learning curve. I was seriously banging my head against the wall over the difficulty to getting insertion points where I wanted them sans mouse or arrow keys, until I found out that the odd little magnifier the pops up if you tap and hold on a piece of text allows you to precision-place your cursor.
* * * *
While I'd imagined that I'd have huge amounts of time for reading, writing, etc., single existence during the week (at least when interspersed with looking at neighborhood and making the two hour drive to Cincinnati twice a week) has not actually proved to result in as much free time as I had at first imagined. Though in the first couple days when internet wasn't even connected yet I did venture out once to Blockbuster and rent a DVD. Not wanting to watch anything MrsDarwin and I had been planning to see together, I tried Sin City, which some of my comics-oriented friends had recommended. As a piece of neo-noir and art direction, it was fairly interesting, but for whatever reason it interfered with my suspension of disbelief that all women in Sin City are apparently employed as either prostitutes or strippers, and all men are police, criminals, politicians or clergy. And given that absolutely no one in Sin City appears to put any stock in religion, why does the last category even exist in the first place?
* * * *
Suspension of disbelief is an odd thing. Something which bothered me all through reading A Soldier of the Great War, despite the fact it was a fairly minor detail from the first 20 pages, was that the main character (supposedly someone with great familiarity with the outdoors, nature, etc.) tells another character when preparing for a night walk that they should take a rest and then begin their hike when the moon rises because will rise late, but it will be a full moon and provide plenty of light.
Well, of course, when the moon is full it always rises at sunset. You can't have a full moon that rises late at night. Given that the book relies in many places on forms of absurdity or exaggeration, this initial, unintentional mistake put me at a distance from the work which later instances of unreality tended to exacerbate. Rather than evoking deeper points, many of the instances of absurdity or exaggeration later on simply left me feeling like the book was unmoored from a sense of the real.
* * * *
Though in many ways the discipline of pricing is similar in all consumer-based businesses (business to business pricing is similar, but works a bit differently) it's been interesting making the change from pricing computers and consumer electronics to pricing fast food. I don't know if it's just that technology has achieved a sort of second-nature status for me, but it seems to me that marketers in the restaurant business make it their business to know a lot more about the details of producing food than marketers at my old company bothered to think about technology.
* * * *
I've been taking advantage of all my driving time between Columbus and Cincinnati to work quickly through some audio courses from The Teaching Company which I'd got hold of a while back. For some reason, I'd always been heavily biased against the idea of audio courses -- the idea just seemed so middle-brow. But some years back someone lent us a copy of How To Listen To And Appreciate Great Music, which is one of The Teaching Company's flagship courses, and we were very, very impressed. Since then I've managed to borrow from the library or pick up (on sale or used) a number of their courses and while the quality and biases vary (as with real college courses) I've found most of them quite interesting.
Learning Notes Week of March 20
3 hours ago