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Archive for the 'Musings' Category

Classic Shaving

September 4th, 2009 6

A few months ago, I picked up a 1960s-era [Gillette Slim](http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/index.php/Gillette_Slim) “safety” razor off eBay. It was only about $30, and I thought it would be fun to give it a shot.


Up until using the Slim, my only previous experience had been with cartridge-based razors (and an electric, briefly), but I’d been reading about the alternatives, and had been curious to try them out. Read on…

Dancing Feet

January 5th, 2009 3

As with many things in my life, I view clothing and footwear as practical matters of necessity more than as vehicles for much personal expression. I wear the occasional funny t-shirt, and I’ll dress up for a dance now and then, but those are the exception. As items wear out, they are tossed with little thought; a dwindling wardrobe is replenished as necessary.

But this pair of shoes is different. They will be retained as backup for some time, I expect, but here and now at the end of their useful life, they deserve a modest eulogy. In their two years of service, they’ve seen a lot of floors in a lot of cities—it’s time for a few shout-outs.

Traveling has become a way of life for me now. I enjoy seeing different places and people; the variety and adventure is thrilling. But this is not something of my upbringing—indeed, perhaps it was the stability of having lived in the same house my entire childhood and youth that mentally prepared me for moving about later on. That *later*, though, has a very specific starting point, and the shoes have been with me since exactly that date. Read on…

On Sandals, Scents, and Sisters

March 18th, 2008 7

Mary and MarthaIt’s Easter time, and sermons are now discussing stories surrounding the Passion. One of these that I’ve always had a lot of difficulty with is the story of Jesus being anointed with perfume. It actually appears in all four gospels (with some rather significant variations), but let’s just take a quick look at the account given at the [beginning of John 12](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%2012:1-11;&version=65;):

>Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
>Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
>Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”

Part of the problem here is that there’s a *ton* of stuff going on, both on the surface and at the more figurative level. Read on…

Looking Ahead

August 5th, 2007 5

A passage this morning [at Community](http://communityfellowship.org/) was from the [letter of James](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%204:13-17;&version=31;), about looking to our futures:

> Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

I always feel kind of conflicted about these kind of messages. Waterloo charges me a ridiculously high tuition, but I also make a lot of money working on co-op. Even though I’m basically a pretty typical broke 21-year-old student, I have a larger cash flow and less debt than many my age.

But in saving during work terms and spending during school, where’s the line between attentiveness and worry? What constitutes reasonable planning for the future, and what is man’s folly in making his own plans? King David, in [Psalm 33](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2033:10-11;&version=47;) says:

> The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.

Read on…

Twenty One

June 17th, 2007 1

A year ago, [I wrote](http://uwmike.com/articles/2006/06/06/aging/):

> Could my high-school self have ever predicted that he’d soon develop an irrational love of cooking, social dance, and his Apple computer?
>I had no more idea then than I do now of what lies ahead. But remembering the big changes in the recent past serves to keep me open-minded about the future.

Hilarious. Could myself of a year ago have imagined he’d shortly be invited to an internship in glamorous New York, working on one of the most advanced JavaScript codebases in existence, with some of the most interesting and knowledgeable people in the business?

As another year ticks by, it’s another sobering reminder to remain open-minded to the future and at peace with the present. Everything’s in the Lord’s hands anyways.

The Switch

April 29th, 2007 Comments Off

For the past four months, I’ve been traveling about and haven’t had much of the necessary time nor the inclination to write. In lieu of that, I had been aggressively updating my [Facebook photo albums](http://www.facebook.com/p/Mike_Purvis/122603642). Being back at school for the summer will reinstate blogging as among my primary procrastination measures, so expect more content in the coming weeks, including a much-needed update to [WP-Cats](http://uwmike.com/wordpress/wp-cats/).

In the past I’ve always enjoyed the changes from school to work and vice-versa. The variety offered by Waterloo’s co-op program is a wonderful blessing: Working is money and free time and independence. School is community and friendships.

This time does feel different, though, and I’m not the only one feeling it.

I’m trying to be excited to go back to school, but I’m really just *not*. New York is a beautiful city; I’d come to love it there. Meanwhile, my connection to Waterloo this term was little more than a tuition bill and an [increasingly broken and mismanaged](http://dearwaterloo.com/) professional development program. Here, I was in a job where I could leverage my existing skills, learn far more than I have in any academic term, and yet still make a meaningful, appreciated contribution.

I do know that I will one day be back in New York—I love too many things about it to not return. This leaving is temporary; whether back in months or years, for a few days, or for a decade, I cannot say. But I do mean to return. Leaving now is not a permanent farewell, only a temporary parting.

Not a Penny Wasted

March 20th, 2007 2

About a month and a half ago, I lost my new camera somewhere in New York. I spent a day and a half looking for it, but I pretty quickly accepted that it was gone. I’d only bought it at Christmas, so there was no homework to do—I was getting the exact same model again, the excellent [Canon SD600](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000EMWBT2/).


Having to replace a lost or stolen item is a frustrating process. But as I dropped $200 on another camera, I stopped for a moment to be thankful for what I *didn’t* lose: In just a month and a half of service, that first camera covered Christmas with the family, as well as my first few weeks in New York, a total of 681 pictures. In the weeks since I bought its replacement, I’ve been to Vermont, Boston, Philadelphia, and D.C., where I’ve racked up over a thousand *more* snaps. Read on…


February 14th, 2007 Comments Off

Bjarne Stroustrup, designer of C++:

All that said, I don’t know what the next major conceptual shift will be, but I bet that it will somehow be related to the management of concurrency. As programmers, we have been notoriously bad at thinking about lots of things happening simultaneously, and soon our everyday computers will have 32 cores.

From a recent interview in Technology Review, [part 1](http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=17831) and [part 2](http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=17868). Read on…

Some Words About Dashes

January 20th, 2007 2

Since [Wordie](http://wordie.org/) showed up, I’ve been using it to collect together [words I like](http://wordie.org/people/mikepurvis). I find that vocabulary is not something I can recall on demand—I think of the words in situations that demand them, and then afterwards hit up Wordie to log them for later perusal.

Punctuation use, for me, is similar. It’s more instinctive than thoughtful, which is a bit odd, considering my nature generally. But unfortunately, it seems that for many, the use of commas, apostrophes, and even basic spelling is neither instinctive *nor* thoughtful. Recently, I lashed out at someone on IM for using the letters *u* and *r* in place of the words they sound like. “The only situation,” I typed furiously, “in which it is acceptable to abuse letters of the Latin alphabet in this manner through written correspondence with me, is if you are *cute*, *female*, and *single*.”

The thing about poorly-punctuated emails and IM chats, though, is that the vast majority of people are at least aware that it’s informal. It’s like people doing the grind—it’s fine at night clubs, not so much at a formal occasion. 1

So yeah. Despite this general *awareness of incompetency*, dashes are an area of punctuation that a lot of folks remain permanently in the dark about. I thought it might be helpful to put up a quick summary of the four main kinds you need to know about.

Read on…

Short Memory

January 1st, 2007 Comments Off

One of the troubles with putting a website to sleep is you have difficulty finding a topic interesting enough to be worth waking it up for. Each whack at the snooze button makes trivial posts about nothing that much sillier.

I’ll have more to say about New York over the coming weeks, but this is just a kind of funny side observation from my time in the city, unrelated to the city itself. (For the impatient, there are a handful of pictures [here](http://uwaterloo.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2048402&l=1f918&id=122603642) and [here](http://uwaterloo.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2048715&l=156ca&id=122603642))

And it has to do with memory. Read on…

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