Twenty Dollar Bill

One day, when I was 8 years old, I found a twenty dollar bill on a city bus. My Grandmother’s house, where I spent more than a few days every week, was at the beginning of a bus route. It was not uncommon, when boarding the bus, I was the only one on. That day, I had just boarded and paid my fare and, on the way to seeking out my usual seat, I saw it. As I remember it, it was the most money I had ever held in my hand at the time. I was, at least for a few seconds, somewhat in awe of it.

Even still, I knew what to do. I walked back up the aisle to the Driver, stretched out my arm with bill firmly grasped betwixt my fingers and said, “Excuse me, mister. I think someone lost this”

The Driver looked down at it, smiled, and said, “That’s very honorable of you kid. But, you know, all money looks the same. I have a lot of people on each ride. Even if I wanted to, there’s no way I could find out who’s it is… Go ahead and keep it. It’s yours now.”

I stood there, a little stunned.

“Go ahead kid. Really, it’s yours.”

I walked back to my seat solemnly. Of course, my first thoughts were to what I could do with that much money. The candy I could buy. The toys. The comics.

Then, not much more than a moment later, I started to think about what the person who lost it was going to do with that money before they lost it. Maybe they really needed it. Maybe it was a single mom, like mine, struggling to make ends meet. To whom twenty dollars represented two days worth of food (perhaps even three if you stretched it right).

Yes, eight year old me really did think about such things because I lived them. I thought about those things because my Grandmother, the daughter of a preacher and sister of a bishop, taught me that is how you treat people – the way you would want to be treated. And, if I lost a twenty, I would want someone to find me, by what ever means necessary, and give it back.

It was a very long time before I broke down and finally spent that twenty. I still feel guilty about it to this day.

In case you had not heard, it was a very sad day on the internet today. I won’t go into details or link to any of them because, to repeat them, in my mind, would make me just as guilty. Suffice to say that someone lost something important, someone else found it, that someone then sold it to another party that decided to not only plaster it all over the internet, but also name and shame the person who lost it. Potentially destroying his name and career for good…

Not what we believe in (and if you do believe in such a thing, please stop reading, unsubscribe, and never return. Seriously.)

I don’t pretend to be a journalist. I have never been invited to any event and provided with credentials that may label me as such. I don’t consider what I do here “blogging” and, therefore, for these purposes, I’m not a blogger. I only recently had to admit to being a writer because of a gig I was honored to be asked to do (and, thankfully to the reader, that gig comes with an Editor).

The role I perform here, and the title I assume is “Curator”. I want to find interesting items that fall under a specific topic area and gather them together with some commentary that will hopefully provide both interest and context and cause you to investigate further. Sometimes, and only sometimes, those items may be original to this site.

That said, here is my pledge to you:

  1. Anything I provide here I will have found through only the most ethical means and with great care and concern for my visitors time and attention.
  2. There is nothing more important than item No. 1.

Shhh…

Everyone has daydreams and fantasies. I’m betting for the most part, the things people fantasize about are fairly common. Being wealthy, for instance. Traveling the world. Secret crushes. Super powers. You know, the usual.

That said, I’m not sure about mine. I don’t know if the central theme of my daydreams are universally shared or if I am a kook and should be voted for the most likely to hospitalized for their own protection. Hence my desire to share it. To put it out there to see how others respond. I need to know if I should check myself in somewhere “safe” as soon as possible.

There is one theme to all of my my deepest and most personal fantasies. One that propels me into internalized fits of longing and desire. One I think about daily, and some days hourly. The central theme that seems to intersect every thing I dream…

Silence.

Gosh, you have no idea. You have no idea how many collective hours I have spent fantasizing about what it might be like to live in a monastery practicing a vow of silence. How compelling the thought is of walking alone down some long cobbled road as far as it will take me away to distant places. How I see the dystopian movies depicting the last man on earth, and think “Lucky him!”, right before the zombie hoards arrive and destroy what I see as his world of quiet bliss.

I’ve had this fantasy for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it is driven by my introverted nature. Perhaps it is because I have always obsessed over the things I’m not good at. Perhaps it is a very common and universal desire. Perhaps I am really odd in this respect. Perhaps it grows stronger the more “connected” I feel thanks to our modern world. All I really do know is that there are many moments I would trade all I have for a life of simple silence, contemplation, and solitude. Is that really so strange?

iPad First Impressions

OK, I think I have had enough time with the iPad now to share some first impressions. Keep in mind that these are based upon a few hours of sporadic usage and hence they are a lot more jerk then knee. Also, this was written entirely on the iPad in landscape orientation on my lap.

  • Holy Moses is this thing fast! I mean, the first thing I imagine any iPhone user will think after using this for a few minutes is how BadAss™ the next iPhone will be if they use a similar A4 chip as they do here.
  • That speed comes with a side advantage that I did not put much thought into before today — making the device disappear. The experience is so natural and reflexive, the only thought that comes to mind is “Yes. This is the way computing should have always been”. After only a few seconds you are suddenly flying around the interface with such speed and grace that you forget the interface completely. It is simply an extension of you.
  • The keyboard is entirely useable and comfortable to me. Especially in landscape orientation. The whole “lean back a bit and cradle it in your lap” experience works quite well. So does the “hunched over looking down at the thing” experience. In other words, if one is not careful this will produce a whole new range of ergonomically induced syndromes. Keep in mind that I am a “two finger” typist and generally don’t have issues on keyboards of different sizes and types your milage may y.
  • Many, many of the apps are far better, more useable and more natural than either their desktop or iPhone counterparts. While that is certainly true of many of the built in ones, it is not exclusive to them. Twitterific for iPad is far better than any other version. The Kindle app is even better than the Kindle itself, let alone on the iPhone or Desktop. Instapaper is an absolute dream. The list could go on. I really believe this is also related to the speed and fluidity of the iPad and how these apps simply behave in ways that are natural and intuitive.
  • Some short term investment advice – The future is in microfiber! Short of that, if you have been thinking about starting a business that sells cleaner for the iPad screen, now is the time.

In all, I am beyond happy with the iPad. It not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it.

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