Today is March 14th, 2017. I’ve been writing code all day – learning Angular2 – and I need a break, so I thought I’d thrown down some words…from the heart. It’s my favorite son’s birthday. It’s PIrate Day. And, it snowed today. Shiver me timbers!
What could all of these synchronistic events be conspiring to tell to us? I don’t know, but I do know Spring and Summer are just around the corner. And with Summer, comes crime and bad dudes named James. So lock up those bikes folks, and be careful out there.
This one goes out to my girl, ‘She Hulk’ Cindy, and my boy, the real ‘Money Maker’ Mike…
One of the big questions I’ve been asking myself lately is ‘Where do I go from here?’. Where do I try to take myself spiritually, financially, professionally as a father, boyfriend, and human being…I’m trying to have a longer-term outlook on my life as I get older so I at least try to plan to obtain certain long-term objectives as opposed to simply living in the here-and-now, which I guess is a good thing if you’re Buddhist. But I also believe in long-term planning. My life has been mostly a mess so far, at least as an adult. Lots of broken, messed up dreams and relationships. I’m thinking now that if I plan better, that if I have a longer-term outlook, I can set myself up for better success in the future. If I could just get my act together. Maybe. We’ll see. I think a big part of ‘success’ in life is asking yourself important, meaningful questions and trying to find answers to them. Put your brain to work on the problem statements, and daily meditate on the solutions. Find the solutions. Where do we go from here?
I’ve wanted to learn to make iOS Apps for some time, so I finally bit the bullet and bought a Mac Mini, downloaded Xcode, and started programming. I’m getting to the point where I want to deploy and test my app on my own iPhone (rather than run in a simulator), but in order to do that, you have to join the Apple Developer Program so you can appropriately sign and deploy your App to real iPhone and iPad hardware. And boy, what a pain joining this program is!
I should qualify this statement…I’ve joined the Apple Developer Program before as an individual. Everything went through ok then, but i never got around to actually building an App. This time, however, I decided to F.O.C.U.S – Follow One Course Until Success – and to actually build an App this time. And this time, I decided to join the Apple Developer Program as a Corporate Entity; you know, with designs of becoming a Billion Dollar Unicorn. Apple gets funny with Corporate Developer Registrations, seemingly. They require that you have a DUNS Number. Ok, whatever. I’m used to bureaucracy. I went and got me a DUNS Number. But for some reason, it took weeks (in reality, months) to associate a DUNS number with my Company in Apple land. Dun and Bradstreet told me to wait a few weeks, after updating some key email and phone number information, before trying to enroll in the Apple Developer Program again. So I waited…and waited…and I’m still waiting…
After waiting entirely too long, I tried to enroll again. This time, Apple complained that my credit card was being rejected. Really? Ok, so I tried another credit card. Rejected again. Really???? I logged in to both credit card accounts. Sure enough, successful charges from Apple on both for $99, but for some reason, Apple would still not let me enroll in their program:
At this point, I am quite flustrated. Of course I will press on, because I am committed to this project and to learning iOS development. But I never had this much problem getting an Android App out into the Google Play Store…I expect much more of Apple. This process should have been absolutely thoughtless and painless. But it’s a good reminder of how difficult and tenuous it is to build a company on top of another company’s technology.
EDIT (2/16/2017): I called Apple today and was unable to resolve the technical problem behind registering online, so I registered for the Developer Program over the phone this afternoon. Part of my urgency in getting this registration done was because I wanted a shot at attending WWDC2017 this year. Registration for WWDC2017 is by random selection to members of the Developer Program in good standing as of 2/16/2017 at 0530am PST. I registered online the evening of 2/15/2017, but it failed due to technical problems with the Apple website (my credit cards are fine). So I’m hoping I can still figure out a way to get in good standing for possible selection to WWDC2017.
I took my family to Paris, France for the 2016-2017 New Years Eve celebrations. We were essentially just there for the weekend, but it was a fabulous weekend – one that I will never forget. The sites and food were unforgettable. For New Year’s Eve, I treated my family to an 8 course French Meal and Wine/Champagne Pairing at the Hotel Raphael in Paris very close to the Champs-Elysées. My kids and I were definitely not used to fancy food such as this, but it was a beautiful and tasteful introduction to food as art (as opposed to American style ‘fast food’). Here’s a video of my dessert (thanks Alison ;):
In Paris, we were delighted to see the Eiffel Tower, The Arc De Triomphe, The Palace of Versailles, and to listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and other beautiful musical pieces, performed by a Chamber Orchestra at the Église de la Madeleine Roman Catholic Church. I left Paris with a profound appreciation for the art and beauty that abounds in this wonderful city, from her cuisine to her architecture, to her music and her people. The French seem to have a genetic disposition toward an aesthetic appreciation of life, which I find hard to come by in the United States. The french term, ‘Joi De Vivre,’ comes to mind when I reflect on our weekend trip to France.
According to Wikipedia: “It ‘can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do… And joie de vivre may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung…'”
I happened to catch a Netflix Documentary this evening called “Chef’s Table, France,” Season I, which was a story about an amazing French Chef, Alain Passard. As I watched the story unfold about how Chef Passard became a Chef, identifying his career path as early as 14 years old, how he found a mentor and soon bought his mentor’s restaurant, which he named ‘Arpege’, I was completely drawn in by Chef Passard’s sense of life purpose, mastery and pursuit of excellence in his craft. It is not often you find or learn of someone who absolutely loves what they do for a living. I hung on his every word in this documentary and even took notes, hoping to graph some of his sense of aesthetics and Joi de Vivre into my own life and professional career. Here are some of Chef Alain Passard’s quotes and anecdotes I noted from the Netflix Documentary, ‘Chef’s Table, France’:
“When you close your eyes at night, what’s important? You’ve spent the day taking risks. You’ve made some people very happy.”
Chef Passard relates that what you create is just as important as how you create it, which he refers to as ‘Gestures’ or ‘Hand Gestures’. The way you move your hands to create something of value is important and takes hours and years and decades of practice. Chef Passard’s Grandmother was an amazing cook; his mother sewed and his father was a musician. His Grandfather was a sculptor who worked with wood. He learned the importance of hand gestures early in his life and applied them to his craft. He works bread dough like it’s fabric. He sews Duck and Chicken together to create a unique dish. With regards to the hand gesture, he says: “In cuisine, in music, in sculpture, in painting, it’s everything. Either we like the gesture, either we like the hand, or we do not. And this hand, if we want it to be more beautiful, we must work seven hours, eight hours, ten hours in the kitchen every day. This makes the hand more precise, and more elegant.” He goes on to say that a 14 year old does not have the precision of hand that a 30 year old cook has. He says, “I am never happier than when I put my fingers on a new gesture or a new flavor. It feels wonderful.”
“You really become a cook between 40 and 50 years old.”
Can the same not also be said about other professions as well?
When Chef Passard started his restaurant, Arpege, he says that the one and two star ratings came fairly easily, but the three star rating was very difficult to attain. Three Stars is the highest rating for a restaurant. Maintaining three stars is apparently extremely difficult to do, but Chef Passard’s mentality is to pursue higher and higher standards, never stopping or resting upon his current achievements. The search for excellence is never ending, but it’s something he loves. I was struck how there was no mention of the pursuit of money in this documentary, it was purely the pursuit of passion, excellence, and the art of food. In fact, there came a point in Chef Passard’s professional career where he was losing his passion for cooking meat, so he decided to take a year of introspection to find his passion again. He reinvented himself and his restaurant as primarily vegetarian while still maintaining their three star rating. He found a new hand. A new outlook.
“My only ambition is to love what I do more each day. Just the idea of a job well done. No outside projects, needs, or dreams. If this story exists today, it’s because I love my job more than anything.”
This past Tuesday I chaperoned a group of High School kids in my daughter’s Geography Class. Our mission was to spend all day at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC surveying visitors about the memorials the respondents were visiting, how far they traveled to get to DC, etc. I was glad to spend time with my daughter, but I thought staying all day at one memorial was going to be really boring. I was wrong.
As I sat at the entrance of the World War II Memorial listening to the High School kids survey random people coming and going, I watched and listened to the people milling about. I reflected on what the memorial really stood for and became quite moved by the overall experience. I heard accents and languages from Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and from all over the United States. I witnessed World War II vets visiting from all over the country as provided for by the Honor Flight Network Program, a non-profit organization that helps US Veterans find closure by bringing them to the memorial of the war they participated in.
I watched several cohorts of Honor Flight supported Veterans come through the memorial. One veteran, in a wheelchair and with tears in his eyes, shook my daughter’s hand and thanked her for coming. My daughter said she felt bad because the only reason she was there was because of her High School Project. 🙂 I watched these veterans take in the memorial and get transported back in time to the mid 1940’s when life seemed both simpler and much harder because of the war. These men and women cried as they looked and touched parts of the memorial recalling times past as they fought one of the most significant wars in history.
While at the memorial, I also thought about my Granddad, Jim Dupler. He was in the Army Air Corps (which became the US Air Force) during the War and flew B-26 bombers over Tunisia fighting General Rommel. He told me a few stories about his time in the war. He recounted to me how he could see flack from the enemy guns exploding below and around his aircraft. He told me he never really thought about dying through all of that. In fact, he only suffered some shrapnel through the bottom of his foot during one of his flights. He survived the war, retired as a Lt. Colonel, and was able to spend alot of time with his kids and grandkids. In fact, my Granddad survived all of my Grandparents and even my parents! He just passed away this October 2nd, 2016. He was 96!
My Granddad was never able to visit the World War II Memorial, but I took him there that day in my mind and heart and we remembered with those who sacrificed and fought with him.