Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday, winding down, reading

Its late on a Friday afternoon and I’m catching up on some reading, looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Bits and pieces of interesting reading keep surfacing, so I’ll pass along a few to enjoy with your weekend coffee.  (Next weekend is the big Maastricht Tefaf Art and Antiques Exhibition, so I’ll be browsing the Old Masters).

  -- image There was some actual civil unrest in Maastricht last weekend.  I was out of town, but was really surprised when the first reports showed up.  Left- and right-wing demonstrators were in town to protest and counter-protest the presence of coffee shops in town, but I think it was more of an excuse to rumble.  Police limited them to the two banks of the Maas River and barricaded the bridge at 1992 Plein (De Hoge Brug) that separated them.  You can see some pictures (above) and video on the Crossroads blog.

The bridge is about a two minute walk up the river from where I live, visible from the window.  Its always jarring to se violent events superimposed onto familiar landscapes.  My first reaction is to look for people I know.  Although the police asked everyone to stay away from the area until Tuesday, it was all over before I realized it had happened.

  -- I’ve been Twittering for a week now, tied into about a dozen people.  So far, I like the little stream of contacts.  Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t feed to Dutch numbers, so I’ve set up an RSS that pops up periodically with new news.  The service fills a niche in the continuum of shared narratives, but I’m still trying to figure out how best to use it.

Everyone seems to do something different.  Some people use it like Facebook status, others to make announcements and send links to pictures. I’d like to use it for sharing insights or observations, like yesterday’s ramble on Dunbar’s Number, but haven’t figured out how to do that in 140 characters yet.  It’s also not clear when to reply, or how they are handled in RSS loops.

  -- image I can be a perfectionist when I take on a task, so it’s always good to remind myself that sometimes ‘good’ is good enough.  A 500-word homework essay on “Which class topic should be applied where you work, but isn’t”  is meant to be an opportunity to connect the dots, not to win a Nobel Prize.  In that spirit, I like the “Cult of Done Manifesto”.   With insights like “Accept that everything is a draft.” and “Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.”, it’s a good tonic for days when I take work too seriously.

Still, I hear my mother saying “Accept work at a ‘B’ level and you will find yourself getting a ‘C’ “.

  -- And some good news to send you into the weekend: Forbes has posted research suggesting that moderate drinkers tend to be healthier, richer, happier, and more charitable than non-drinkers.  The benefits fall off steeply beyond a couple of glasses a day, though, so excess still lurks as the devil beneath the halo.

As someone who enjoys an evening glass of red wine, I toast the finding.  Twice.

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