On the road again is getting to be deja vu

Once again I’m in California, this time for a conference of Sun’s software engineering leadership. Despite the constant phone and video conferences, there’s no substitute for getting a bunch of peers together in one place for long enough to meet new people, eavesdrop on interesting conversations, and reinforce long-time relationships. While the trend may be towards highly distributed teams and working from home, management ignores the importance of face-to-face contact and social interactions at their peril….
This evening I went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I was a bit nervous because of Stephanie Zacharek’s bittersweet review in Salon.com, but I needn’t have worried: I absolutely loved it. This review by Mike McGranaghan captures it perfectly. Highly recommended.
I’ve also been reading Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies. (There are far too many essential political books coming out these days. Perhaps it’s all a conspiracy by the publishers!) Clarke and his book have occasioned much debate this week, including flaming to the ombudsman of the New York Times by many people (including your’s truly). As I’ve read it, I’ve been struck by four things. First, it’s the first book I’ve read that pulls together the terrorist-related events of the last 15 years into a coherent narrative. Second, an awful lot of stuff went on during the Clinton presidency that was almost ignored because of the scandal-mongering of The Vast Right-wing Conspiracy. Third, Clarke comes across as a professional who is frequently annoyed, frustrated, and dismissive of the political amateurs that he had to put up with. And finally, while I’m sure that the book is occasionally self-serving, I’m equally convinced that it is a fundamentally honest account. Also recommended.