Desk

The internet is awash with nonsense and people that really want to be heard. That's not exactly the case for me and I'm not planning on adding to the nonsense. I've spent too much time working on websites for other folks to really concern myself with my own. However, I've grown really tired of communicating using third party websites and I wanted to use this as a way to archive any notes, ideas, or anything I want to share. Right now, this site is clogged up with lots of old posts about mostly computer related ramblings, but I'll clean that up over time.

David A. Windham

Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly

These are some butterfly images I’ve taken around our Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush). It’s a really nice plant to have around the yard because of how many hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinating insects it attracts.

 
David A. Windham

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree

I just noticed that the Sorrento citrus limon tree I’ve taken care is finally putting out fruit. I remember the guy at the greenhouse where I picked it up saying “good luck with that”. Lemon trees can’t really survive below 45°f and I’ve been dragging this fella in and out of the house over the last five years. It was about a foot tall seedling when I got it. I tried to kill it the first cold day of fall, but I nursed the dead branch until spring and got another offshoot. It’s now about six feet tall and I trim it occasionally to try to keep it short.

 
David A. Windham

It’s Electric

We got a new car a couple weeks ago. It’s an electric BMW i3 1. and we nicknamed it ‘toasty’. In an attempt to humblebrag, I’d say my main motivation for sharing my experience with it, is that I think everyone should drive electric cars. I have a buddy who’s a car guy and he said to me “I didn’t think you’re a – green – guy” to which I responded “it’s not just about being green”.

I recently read that Britain and France will both ban the sale of all Gasoline and Diesel automobiles by the year 2040 2.. Norway kinda spurred the issue when they said they would heavily tax fossil burners by 2025 3. and India is shooting for 2020 4.. Volvo announced they will only produce electric vehicles by 2018 5.. Meanwhile in the U.S. we’re in the process of… I won’t go into it, but I will say you don’t have to be ‘green’ (or a science denier) to consider driving electric. It’s safe, it drives great, it’s quiet, you can ‘fill er up’ in your garage, it’s comfortable, and it can be a good value for transportation.

What does ‘green’ mean anyway? Yeah, I know… we recycle, compost, and are generally considerate of the environment regarding our actions and purchases. Regardless, we put a lot of other considerations into this purchase that just make sense on so many other levels that I thought I share those that may be making the same decision in the coming years. We started looking for this car about eight months ago. We finally found a lease trade in with under 8,000 miles on it. We have two other vehicles, a 2014 BMW 328d Touring and a 2004 Nissan Frontier Pickup Truck. The truck… well because I can’t seem to get rid of it and everyone needs a truck. It’ll easily run another 100,000 miles of dragging a trailer, picking up mulch and random DIY stuff from the hardware store. The wagon is a diesel and I had been following along closely on the diesel-gate issues with Volkswagen when we started considering electric options. The main issue we have is that is much as we’d like to think we’re out on the highways getting 50mpg @ 80mph with a 500 mile range between fueling, we were starting to rack up the miles just running around town and we want to preserve the wagon for our road trips because it’s perfect for just that.

And now we’ve found the perfect ride for around town. Anytime I take someone for a ride or let them drive it, they are always smiling. For those of you whom never driven or ridden in an electric vehicle, do yourself a favor and go test drive one. This car is roomier and drives better than any other car I’ve ever owned. It took just a couple days of getting used to while driving. It’s one pedal driving. When you remove your foot from the gas it decelerates to regenerate power. It’s great in that I rarely every use the brakes anymore. I installed a 220v charger in the garage and it only takes 3 hours for the full 100 mile change. It’s the REX model and has a little scooter engine to extend the range another 100 miles if needed. I ran it dry one time just to test it out and I’m guessing we’ll ever use it, but it does give you a little comfort if you’re stretching it on a day trip. I pegged it at the top speed one afternoon to see how it handles it and I’m completely comfortable on the interstate with it. The acceleration in the 40-80mph range is superb. What I like most is how connected I feel while driving it. The windows are huge and it’s quiet. There is something about pulling into a parking lot or out of our driveway without any noise. It just one less jarring thing in your life. Honestly, I haven’t yet found one single complaint about the car and I’d recommend anyone who’s even slightly considering to take the plunge.


1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_i3
2) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/opinion/britain-electric-cars.html
3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_Norway
4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle_industry_in_India
5) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/business/energy-environment/volvo-hybrid-electric-car.html

 
David A. Windham

Today I Learned

Today I learned that Google will translate to and from Zulu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zulu_language).

I believe that the words “Ubuntu” and “Mongodb” triggered this translation offer. My page is referring to the database and computer operating system and not the Zulu philosophy of a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(philosophy))

While working on another project yesterday afternoon, I ran into set of documentation (https://docs.feathersjs.com/) that I spent a lot of time reading and will likely forget about sometime soon after I abandon using the library in other projects. Of course I stuffed a bookmark of the documentation into my quasi organized set of chrome bookmarks based on each project, but the fact that the documentation was hosted using Gitbook, reminded me of a practice I’ve seen others do.

One of the best sub-reddits is TIL and other organizations have published thier own TILs (https://github.com/thoughtbot/til & http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/til) . I figured that since I spend most of my working time with the terminal, git, and text files, a more efficient and easier method of documenting the time I spend reading other documentation would be to build my own gitbook TIL. This way the information I acquire will be easy to record, search and edit.

I’m often searching online documentation for answers to commands, configurations, and error messages. The problem is that I’ve found myself repeating those searches because of the breadth and depth of the amount of functions and libraries involved in development. My wife suggested I call it TIHIDI (this is how I did it) after explaining what I was working on. It makes sense to put my daily explorations into this publication in lieu of publishing them in the database of my main site because Gitbook is quicker, easier to search, and I can keep all the files in a version control repository on my local machine as well. It’ll help keep me keep my bookmarks as little less cluttered and it’ll leave my desk page free for longer form essays.

Today I Learned – https://davidawindham.com/til

 

 
David A. Windham

The Simpsons

 

I shot this video of the rain yesterday morning. It’s been raining for a couple days now. We really needed the rain. We’ve been in a drought and wild fires have been burning in the southern Appalachian mountains. Rain seems to slow everything down and I took a post-holiday break these last couple days to wind down. The reason I shot the video is that I had my tablet in my hand because I’ve recently found myself playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out quite a bit.

tapped-out

I’ve also been meaning to write something about The Simpsons for a long time. The game and a Thanksgiving promotion of all the episodes back to back reminded me. I’m an avid fan of The Simpsons. Always have been, ever since I watched the first episode. It started in 1987. Yup, that’s pre-Simpsons. I was 14 and at the mall with my brother and mom when I spotted School Is Hell at the book store. I guess the title piqued my interest and I bought it. The book was part of a comic strip that Matt Groening self published entitled Life is Hell. He described the comic series as “every ex-campus protester’s, every Boomer idealist’s, conception of what adult existence in the ’80s had turned out to be.”2 I read and loved that comic book. The sarcasm, wit, and dry sense of humor made it feel like something really unique to me.

I watched the first episode of The Simpsons in 1989. I got a t-shirt with Bart on the front imprinted with the words “Underachiever. And Proud of It Man!”. It’s from season 2, episode 1 – “Bart Gets and F”. The school psychologist says “of what laymen refer to as “fear of failure.” As a result, Bart is an underachiever, and yet he seems to be proud of it.”3 It was an effort to catch all of the early shows, mind you these were pre-Tivo days and the episodes ran directly opposite of The Cosby Show, which my father had on in the living room. I actually watched the shows on this tiny black and white television I had in my bedroom. I remember trying to get my father to switch over the living room TV and him replying that he ‘just couldn’t get into animation’. I watched them all regardless and I’ve seen every episode since then for the last twenty-six years.

Which is why I like playing this little game. They’ve taken the time to story-line every little bit of dialogue between characters. The voice track is spot on and the game cites episodes for each property. The game play is slow and could be described as city building, but It’s almost like reading a book. Every new character unlock is fun. It’s almost like playing a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure – Life is Hell‘ comic.

simpsons_conform

Although my classmates didn’t exactly share my enthusiasm after seeing my t-shirt in 1989, I think anyone can agree now that there is some substantive value to the show. The writing and character development are brilliant observational social commentary written and performed by a tremendous group of talented folks. The guest list is phenomenal5, and the accolades are extensive. To me, It is unquestionably one of the greatest pieces of American art and popular culture.

You might say that The Simpsons are postmodernism, being skeptical of ideologies, acknowledging that truth is a product of a social, political, and historical systems. Here’s a screen shot I took of a recent episode Trust but Clarify which seems to indicate just that.

simpsons3



1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simpsons
2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_in_Hell#cite_note-Ortved-2
3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Gets_an_%22F%22
4) https://frinkiac.com/caption/S02E01/574247
5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Simpsons_guest_stars

 
David A. Windham

Autumn

We’ve had a relatively warm autumn this year, but the leaves are finally starting to change color and drop.
Autumn front yard
Autumn back yard
Orang

 
David A. Windham

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

I have this folder I keep on my computers that I drop random notes and files in. This video was from a documentary show I was watching some time back. I don’t even remember the name of the show now. Looks like Independent Lens… anyway, I noticed this t-shirt in the background of a shot. I did a double take and rewound the show to see it again. It’s odd … take a look:

 

This shirt is a curiosity to me. I went looking for it online without success. Regardless, the juxtaposition of The extra-terrestrial peering out behind the woods and a big buck makes me wonder exactly who would design such a shirt and for what reason. Although I seem to remember a lot of E.T. shirts from the early eighties, I’m pretty sure this one wasn’t licensed promotional material made at a later date. I find the relationship to the big buck odd and the fact that E.T. has such an influence on popular culture.

I rewatched E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial not too long ago and I caught the second half again this week likely because of the Halloween holiday. It had been twenty some years since I’ve seen it and what I’ve noticed that I often interpret films much differently than I did watching them as a child. I’ve often run across contemporary reviews of films that I’ve seen in the past and I like the serious minded type of reviews that dig deep into the script and symbolism. Sometimes now I like to do a bit of reading before or after I watch an old film.

E.T. and Elliot

As things so often happen, E.T started as an personal experience. It became a film somewhat by coincidence. Melissa Mathison co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Spielberg. Mathison dropped out of Berkeley because Francis Ford Coppola, whom she babysat his children, offered her a job1.. Spielberg told her a personal story of an imaginary alien friend during the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark. After his parents’ divorce in 1960, Spielberg filled the void with an imaginary alien companion. He had originally scripted the child as autistic and he said that the imaginary alien was “a friend who could be the brother I never had and a father that I didn’t feel I had anymore.”2. Watching it in 1982 seemed like another fictional fantastic adventure to me. I hadn’t really noticed any of the subtle themes in the film and had absolutely no idea of the personal connection with the film maker. As I watched it recently, I noticed. Elliot and E.T. are both alienated and I felt a bit more attached to the reality of the film. It is personal experience that makes compelling art. I often stumble upon contemporary media reviews that I find fascinating and nowadays I like to look for the sublime in works I had previously overlooked.

E.T. Adam

Reviews have pointing out the spiritual symbolism and compared the film to other works of mystical imagination such as Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. E.T. cannot survive physically on Earth, as Pan could not survive emotionally in Neverland; government scientists take the place of Neverland’s pirates. Or how about E.T.’s story as religious symbolism with crucifixion by military science and resurrection by faith. Even the movie poster is a take on Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Spielberg received the Peace Medal from the United Nations for the films message of tolerance. There is certainly a reason that it’s one of the acclaimed films of all time.

After seeing it again with a broader perspective, I’d certainly give it two thumbs up. More importantly, films like these have become a slight part of who I am. The film has become part of my pop mythology and I would cast Spielberg as the perfect suburban wizard. I’d surmise that it’s become part of the collective conscience and further emphasized the impact of personal experience in doing so. Perhaps that’s why I made the effort to keep that little video clip on my computer. The t-shirt in the video has E.T. lurking in the woods. Was the subtle intent was to portray this extra terrestrial as another creature of the forest to be hunted? Was the t-shirt artist just fascinated, like me, of the various themes involved in the film or just the idea of extra-terrestrials? Or maybe the fella just picked up the shirt because, not unlike myself, he felt fascinated by and connected to the personal message of decency in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

 

 


 

1. Wikipedia contributors. “Melissa Mathison.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 30 Oct. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_Mathison
2. Wikipedia contributors. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 30 Oct. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.T._the_Extra-Terrestrial

 
David A. Windham

Politics

 

The video above is a bit from Charlie Rose interviewing Louis C.K.. I really enjoyed the entire conversation and the clip really resonated with me this morning. You can watch the original show at https://charlierose.com/videos/27296

I flipped on the television last night. I fast-forwarded through the debate just looking at the facial expressions. It looked as bad as I had anticipated. I think the last time I commented on politics was in 2010, when I posted a video I had seen years ago and found again online. It’s a video of John Cleese discussing moderates and extremism taken from a political promo done in 1987. I’m finding that I have very little to say about politics these days, so I’ll just leave it at that.