Wednesday, July 4, 2001 — Independence Day (USA)

I managed to drag myself out of bed at 6:30 this morning to trek down to the “fun run” in Great Falls. We were joined by over a hundred other T-shirt-clad folks, from well-muscled profesional runners to Baby Boomers to 8-year-olds who were just doing it for the fun.

Dad and I both ran, and we ended up coming in nearer the front of the pack than the rear. We also pushed ourselves too hard, so that we would run for ten minutes, then walk for a minute or two, then go back to running. So, now we know to concentrate on a steady pace. We calculate that we averaged an eight-minute mile, though, which is a very good pace. I’m aiming for a seven-minute mile, but I’m pleased as punch to know that I’m already at about eight.

I came home and wrestled with my printer, trying to get BeOS to print to my Brother MFC-4650. No dice. Eventually I bagged the whole exercise and mowed the lawns as heavy grey rainclouds gathered overhead. I managed to get inside before the deluge hit, and we’ve had pretty intense rain on and off all night since then.

I had a good four-hour conversation with Saalon about Wine, a discussion which deserves an entry tomorrow, considering the amount of detail I’m putting into today’s entry. I’ll limit myself to explaining that he led me to re-think my entire techncail approach to the series.

I then watched the rest of Kicking and Screaming, a comedy about a bunch of losers who have just graduated college but can’t quite bring themselves to get out into the “real world.” I didn’t like it much, as I didn’t sympathize with any of the characters, but it did have some funny moments. I’d rate it a C+, maybe, if anyone wants an oversimplistic final judgment.

I then caught a bit of an episode of The Big O — which surprised me with its serious storytelling and expert economy of animation (saving the smooth animation for the action sequences) — before driving out to see Shrek at a local theater.

Shrek was a joy. It’s a spoof of fairy tales while also being a lovely fairy tale itself. It also spends much of its time poking fun at Disney, and manages to do so without being tiresome or angry. If you saw and liked Antz, you’ll probably like Shrek. Great fun.

[White double impatiens blossom]
A white double impatiens blossom that has nothing to do with this diary entry

After Shrek was over, I walked over to a nearby bookstore and bought the latest issue of PC Magazine (John C. Dvorak’s columns are always a joy) and a copy of The Peacable Kingdom by Stan Richards, about how he combats tribalism and other faction-creating things at The Richards Group, a highly successful advertising firm (they did the Corona at-the-beach ads, the Motel 6 “We’ll leave the light on for ya” ads, and the Chik Fil-A “Eat Mor Chikin” ads).

I was fascinated to read that, at The Richards Group, your physical location has absolutely no relation to the team you work in. Your manager may be halfway across the floor from you (or separated by another floor). Your office-mates may be a copyeditor, another manager, and a technical intern. Interesting way of working, no? Imagine a place where those you’re most friendly with are those that do wildly different things than you do. And imagine how much you’d know about what’s going on in the company, compared to staying within your own little world.

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