Work, X2Engine has been stressing me out lately. It’s been a long year designing and coding and in a few weeks we will finally ship the GA release. Andrew came down for the day last week and decided we needed to take a hike in a nearby Redwood forest. This time of year I really wasn’t up for it considering all the poison oak and ticks but after some persistence I was persuaded to take a break and head outside. I feel so very lucky to live so close to these magnificent giants. They are incredibly calming to walk under to just relax and think – and enjoy time.
Over the past few years I have become a big fan of 60’s and 70’s movie stars. I’m not sure why, it probably has something to do with the childhood shows I grew up watching on Friday nights. Last year I focused on Steve McQueen and watched pretty much every movie he made. He is a fascinating star with both good and bad lessons to be learned from his short life.
One of Steve’s best friends and Hollywood neighbor was James Garner. For Christmas I asked for the Rockford Files, the complete collection and spent most of the holidays watching every episode of the first season. With five more sessons to go, I looking forward to the rest of the year.
What I like best about the James Garner and his show is how authentic he is. As a combat veteran of the Korean war, it is ironic that this private investigator is so non-violent in his style. I also like that fact that instead of playing a rich investigator like Magnum PI, James Rockford lived in a trailer, wore off the rack cloths and was always being stiffed by his clients after solving their cases. He was dead broke most of the series.
This show is also a fantastic time capsule of American life in the late 70’s in California. The cars, all American, the people and lifestyles of the rich folks he mostly worked for are fascinating to watch. James Garner is the real deal.
I have to admit it, I am a TV junkie at times. Mostly I watch the News with Brian Wiliams, Cobert, MotoGP, WorldSuperbike, Whale Wars, HBO (Boardwalk, Rome, Deadwood – my favorite) and a lot of Discovery and NatGeo shows. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a new Discovery Channel show called Gold Rush. I quickly became addicted to this story of several, desperate groups of American miners in search of Pay Dirt.
But…as much as I like this show and can’t wait to see how this season ends I feel very conflicted about the value of this show. Net, net… I sympathize with the miner camps and their desperate struggle to support their families back home. As a business owner myself, I also respect the risks and financial gambles they take in search of ‘Pay Dirt.’ I like these people and want them to succeed, almost.
But…as I watch their methods of gold extraction amidst the beautiful backdrop of wild Alaska, all I see are bulldozers and other heavy mining equipment stripping pristine forests to remove ten to thirty feed of top soil so they can get to the gold resting on top of the bedrock below. As the season progresses the mining camps are transformed from pristine forests to god awful wastelands of ugly dirt mounds and water pools. So for the sake of a few Americans in search of financial salvation, the cost is unbelievable environmental destruction. At this point, I reluctantly do hope they all go broke trying to make a living this way.
Its shows like this that I wish were never made – although I suspect it’s been great for Discovery Channel revenues. I think it gives even more, mostly poor folks ideas to go to Alaska in search of Pay Dirt – with little remorse for their environmental plundering.