Special congratulations to Tom and Mykal who tied the knot this past weekend!!! Tom and Mykal have been dating for… ten years? yes, I believe that’s right. These two will have a future of fun and delicious foods ahead of them.
I first met the duo in my college dorm. Tom lived a few doors down and he pretty much carried me through my Computer Science courses. I remember one particular night where I was struggling ferociously with a C++ program. He helped me until near midnight then left me to finish the program. I worked all night. In the morning, Tom came back to check how I’d been doing and found that I had dramatically regressed – the program was tons worse than it had been when he left me. Once again, he saved me.
Our friendship strengthened further when we came up with the amazing robot game that started with pennies and dimes and quickly progressed to sweet computer programming by Tom and a wealth of MSPaint robot drawings by me. I’m pretty sure the game still exists, I’ll try and hunt down the program and post it.
During our later years in college I would regularly head over to Tom and Mykal’s apartment to make delicious foods and escape my all too common lunch of tomato soup and couscous. We’d play games and make tasty meals. Spicy pickled carrots, fresh tortillas, amazing desserts, spontaneous deliciousness that resulted from their winning the APO Iron Chef tournament – these were just a few of the fruits of their cookery.
Additionally, Tom and Mykal have a strong passion for gaming. They introduced me to a whole bunch of fun games like Niagra and I even think my first game of Settlers was on their board. Mykal loves crafts as well. A few years ago she made me a coffee mug set (I’ve wrote about it before). Every day I use that little red mug for my coffee and every day I mentally appreciate Mykal’s handwork and generosity.
They love to sail! They love to read! They love everything awesome!
I am extremely happy for Tom and Mykal. Of all my friends I think they might be the most well matched couple. They have strongly shared interests but have not lost their independence.
I ask you, dear readers, to raise your virtual glass with me and toast the formal union of these two great people.
To Tom and Mykal! Congratulations!!
Mykal and Tom on their wedding day.
On Saturday afternoon I finally had my graduation ceremony for my RPI MBA. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful honor to be part of the celebration. RPI President Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson did an amazing job speaking and presenting the awards.
My RPI cohort
Receiving the degree from Dr. Jackson
Dad D, Mike D, and Mom D.
Special thanks to my folks, Theresa, and Sarah for sharing the day with me.
When I headed home a few weeks ago, my mom let me use her embossing kit to make another sweet card (reminder of the last card.)
Here’s the new one!
Please note the little windows in the upper right behind which there are sweet dinosaurs.
Nereus, the underwater vehicle I have been working on since 2005,
touched down in the Challenger Deep, 10900 meters depth at around 10am
this morning and has been working all day collecting rock and core
samples. We have had plenty of problems with nearly all the vehicle
systems during a series of shallower dives over the last 2 weeks but
overall everything is working well and our scientists Tim Shank and
Patty Fryer are very happy with the pictures and samples. Nereus is
currently the only existing vehicle that operates below 7000 meters.
Amazing job Daniel and co.
The Nereus before its dive to The Deep, The Challenger Deep
from the Schenk Tank.
My two most recent literary conquests were Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto.
What a perfect book combination! Firstly, both are very short. Anthem is maybe 80 pages, The Communist Manifesto about 40-50* Secondly, both books predicted amazingly similar resulting oppressions despite completely opposite political views. Rand communicates her ideas via the story of Equality 7-2521. He’s a dude who has grown up in a complete collectivism environment. The population is imprisoned in bureaucracy and all aspects of individuality have been banned. The world is bleak, white, mundane, and scripted by ‘The Councils’. Equality 7-2521 has an awakening and finds an escape to the mundane through the development of himself and, essentially, capitalism. He develops an individuality and an ego with which he reinvents property and plans a capitalist revolution! (cue trumpet fanfare)
Karl Marx, on the other hand, conveys his point with a succinct presentation of his beliefs. He describes Capitalism not as a path to triumph but instead as a path to exploitation. He looks at capitalistic society and sees the few commanding bourgeoisie posed above the many victimized proletariat. Without exploitation, Marx argues that there can be no capitalism. He predicts that a purely capitalistic world will continue to widen the wealth gap until the vast majority of the world’s population will live in a bleak, mundane world scripted by the bourgeoisie. He ends by calling for a revolution.
If this were a fight, who would win?
Point goes to Ayn Rand. Marx is academic in his writing style and it can get boring. It took me longer to read Marx’s shorter essay than Ayn Rand’s longer essay. Ayn did a great job of keeping the storyline captivating and the plot moving.
hmm. Tie. Both predicted pretty miserable results if you were to choose their opponents path. I found it fascinating and awesome that both predicted such a similar outcome though.
Karl Marx does a better job with supporting his arguments. But… I guess that’s expected. Ayn is telling a story – there’s little room to really get into supporting historical facts and such. Marx on the other hand is arguing and does a good job in cranking the volume to 11 on his political amplifier.
Which would I recommend?
I would recommend that you read whichever book you disagree with more. For those hardcore Republicans amongst us, try to get through the Communist Manifesto. For the diehard Liberals, go for Ayn Rand. I would say that both of these books are important reads for anyone who deems themselves well-read.
Which do I agree with?
Had you asked me before reading these books, I would have guessed that I’d go with Ayn Rand. I’m a strong believer in the theory that hard work can help pull the most out of luck into a position of strength. My Dad is my example of the ultimate hard worker who brought a comfortable lifestyle to his family through incredible dedication to his work and schooling and a fortitude to stick with it no matter what. He is a man who won’t stop for his own convenience and I’m quite certain he’ll never stop working for the benefit of his family, friends, and community. If the world were full of people like my Dad, capitalism would work beautifully.
But there are a lot of people who get higher capitalistic stature by pulling those around them down. I see Marx’s argument as a clever way to prevent exploitation. Rand, I think, argues that the world will stop trying if you start spreading wealth. I’m not sure I agree. I remember reading in one of my organizational behavior classes that there were three sources of motivation: Power (doing something to gain Authority), Social (doing what you do for your family or friends), and Achievement (I do it so I can say I did it!). I think Iâ€™m a mix of achievement and social. I think my Dad is something similar. Perhaps Marx is right. Perhaps if we removed the financial benefits of doing work, the world would not grind to a halt… perhaps instead we’d find a new motivation. The kind of motivation that drives people to publish free online software or the kind of motivation that advances the whole populous not just the individual.
I strongly encourage you to read both of these books. Reading both gives a great representation of opposite views. Hopefully they can help you better understand both ends of the political scale. These books definitely helped me.
*it’s a little hard to tell length of books with the Kindle. Both of these books were completed within a 2-3 hour period (each).
On Saturday, Kevin and I took the train into New York to participate in Improv Everywhere’s MP3 Experiment. It worked like this: a whole heap of people downloaded an MP3 into their MP3 player. Then, at a decided time and location (4:00:00pm, Roosevelt Island, NY) we all hit play at the same time.
We’d been instructed to come to the event in either a Red, Yellow, Blue, or Green t-shirt. As 4:00:00 approached huge crowds of people in colorful t-shirts started pouring out of the subway station.
photo by Brian Fountain
We were given a general area to collect (anywhere in the blue). And at 4pm, on the dot, everyone started the track.
It was a mix of music and instructions that guided us through hilarity including the following:
- High fives for everyone
- Nap time
photo by Katie Sokoler
- Dance Parties (ho-down, robot, and 1920′s)
- Freeze tag
- A giant war with inflatable weapons (hammers vs. bats)
photo by Electricllya687
- An epic wolf story
- A long march towards unity
photo by Brian Fountain
Overall, there were probably about 2000 people who came to the event. It lasted for 47 minutes and was one of the most unique events I’ve experienced.
After the event, Kevin and I met up with Jesse and Tyler. Tyler was a major player in the MP3 planning and execution. His primary role was the development of all the music played. It was all original work and if you’d like to check some of it out, head over to his MySpace page Here. For a specific song sample, check out Peters and the Wolves here.
Great job Improv Everywhere and Tyler! Also, Special thanks to Vivienne for letting me borrow her MP3 player and to Kevin for joining me on Saturday’s adventure.
I’ve wanted to do a feature on Ruth and her art for awhile. Ruth is an explosion of creative artistic righteousness. She makes all sorts of fun things from tiny tiny bound books to cat pictures. She also has the pleasure of being married to the salty Ryan Schenk and is pretty awesome at jumping rope.
Let’s dive into her artistry shall we? Most noteworthy I think are her bound books. Her results really make me want to learn the ways of binding. Her notebooks are really sweet.
Oh Snap! That book is Japanese Stab Bound!
Ruth wasn’t satisfied with normal sized books. She needed to make them smaller and more adorable.
it’s so tiny!
In addition to the tiny books she makes artistic accordion books, often animal related.
Other fun books:
And then comes her potent obsession with cats. She loves kitties. and she loves to draw kitties.
Tim’s cat Chairman Meow
Needlework? A’int no thing. Embroidered cat!
Other artistic things that make Ruth totally awesome.
One can’t forget her Latte Art.
Cloudpeople. I’m not sure what’s up with them… but they are cute.
So, if you’re interested in exploring the depths of Ruth’s art, or purchasing some of her tiny tiny cute books you can check out her etsy page HERE. and for more examples of her awesomeness, check out her Flickr page HERE.
I’m looking for new rising cultural heroes. If you are aware of any, please provide a link and description in the comments to something different, unique, and awesome. Mainstream is okay, but underground would be even better. Perhaps you have a friend who performs hard rock with a theremin, or a relative who builds chairs out of old recycled VHS tapes. Do you know someone who has an uncomfortable ability to sculpt copper? Comment it up!
I’ve linked to Reggie Watts a whole heap of times on this very dot com. He’s a very strongly haired dude who engages in comedic and musically intense solo performance work. He is the lead singer in the soul band Maktub and also performs alone with a loops sampler. He’s extremely entertaining and has amazing vocal and rocking skills. I first heard of him a few years ago, but lately his popularity has been expanding somewhat dramatically. His push into the mainstream boomed recently with his performance (linked to below) on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
A few of my musical favorites (I’ve linked to some of these in the past):
Reggie’s comedic style is different. His performance often seems disjointed and a bit unexpected, but definitely funny and laced with skill of a professional.
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (starts at 35:18 (right after the last commercial))
I’m working to try and score an interview with Reggie, which would, of course, be posted here on MikeDiDonato.com. we’ll see if it works out. In the meantime, if you’ve discovered some secret underground artist or musician that you’d like to share, please post your find in the comments!