Get ready for an interesting year in portable devices …

Smartbooks, netbooks, ultrathins, MIDs …. XP, Win7, Ubuntu, Android, Chrome …. 2010 is going to be very confusing for consumers seeking a cheap, stylish, and smart way to connect to their cloud.  CES next week ought to be very interesting in terms of devices and operating systems and category blur. From the NYT:

“Computer makers, however, find themselves in a tough spot these days when it comes to experimentation.

“There are lower margins and more form factors to go around,” said Patrick Moorhead, a vice president at Advanced Micro Devices. “These guys have to balance smartphones, MIDs, smartbooks, netbooks, value ultrathins, expensive ultrathins, full-size laptops and new form factors in desktops.” (A MID is, of course, a mobile Internet device.)”

via Have You Zeen What H.P. Is Up To? – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com.

Google is marketing more….

…especially around Chrome. First the free holiday airport wifi, now some interesting web video out of Asia. Thanks to colleague Cissy Yang for the pointer. This one is hosted on YouKu. I like it a lot (but then again I also like Chrome a lot)

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTM5MDgyMDY0.html

Google, the company that didn’t need to market is now doing so.

Grotto of wine

600 feet into the side of a Napa Valley mountainside and 80 feet down. And filled with wine. And more wine. And more wine after that. This is a boutique vineyard and the owner/wine maker gave me a tour. This cave was dug out of solid stone with a monster tunnel excavator.

St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church – 52 Churches

The most dreaded words in the Churbuck lexicon are: “Everybody get on your feet and put your hands together.” I am an unwilling, stolid, and confused participant in most group activities.
From square-dancing to collegiate acapella singing groups – David Churbuck is not your man. I dislike physical contact with strangers, am an awkward wooden hugger, air-kiss Europeans like a head injury victim, and get embarrassed by physical therapy sessions and trips to the chiropractor. I am, in short, the perfect repressed WASP who is content to let others sing and dance and who is happy to suffer in silence rather than submit to the sketchy intimacy of a massage or the group conviviality of line dancing.

My wife and children know this, and love to torment me in volunteering me for trips to the stage to be sawn in half by the magician. I have a severe autonomic physical reaction to this stress – a sort of perspiring performance anxiety – which escalates the more I am exhorted to sing, which I am reluctant to do as my only comfortable singing voice in somewhere in the key of Kermit the Frog.

Being an intrepid liturgical explorer, I woke early this morning in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and decided to knock off this week’s church visit by simply going to the closest church in the neighborhood. Hence today was my first walk-to-church experience, one I am most grateful for because it underscores the founding question behind this project: I wonder what goes on inside of that place on any given Sunday?

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Christmas Eve “Midnight Mass” San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral – 52 Churches

A benefit of a high-travel lifestyle such as mine is the opportunity to visit an internationally infinite range of places of worship to visit during the course of the 52 Churches project. This Christmas and New Years found me and my family in San Francisco and since the project was never meant to be geographically restricted, I am trying to use my two weeks in the Bay Area to best effect, with some opportunities to visit faiths not found on Cape Cod and around Southeastern Massachusetts.

Christmas Eve services are one of the two high holy days in Christianity – the other being Easter Sunday – and the result is big crowds of the seasonally faithful. Still, crowds or not, the project was falling behind after missing last Sunday’s opportunity due to travel so the chance to experience an extraordinary church and service was too compelling to miss because of my usual claustrophobic aversion to crowds. I didn’t want to be the pious guy during the Christmas Eve party, but the opportunity to check out a super church was too good to miss.

This section is not meant to be the big Episcopalian discourse of this project, but simply an account of a beautiful Nativity, or Christmas mass conducted at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral – the third largest Episcopalian cathedral in the United States. When I was last in San Francisco in November I happened to drive up California Street to Nob Hill and, my eyes now tuned to look for possible churches to visit, I was captivated by the huge Gothic cathedral which reminded me of Paris’ Notre Dame but is obviously much younger, having been completed in the mid-1960s. I had never visited before, but resolved to make Grace my Christmas Eve stop, assuming a place so grand must put on the full show for the highest of Christian holidays.

Figure 1From Hysterical Bertha on Flickr

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The Simile of the Year

Baseball’s peripatetic scribe, the New Yorker’s Roger Angell in the November 30, 2009 description of the Damned Yankee’s 2009 World Series Championship describes pitcher C.C. Sabathia thusly:

“Too bad, but I’m not going to get around to C.C. Sabathia’s sunny looks and pavilion-sized pants and weird, white-toed spikes, or ask batters how they feel about his fastball-cutter-changeup assortment that arrives (he’s six-seven and two hundred and ninety pounds) like a loaded tea tray coming down an airshaft.”

That boys and girls, is a simile.