# Saturday, June 1, 2019

ThingsFallApartThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, a self-made man of the Umuofia clan in pre-colonial West Africa. Okonkwo worked hard to overcome the reputation of his lazy and cowardly father, who died with numerous debts. Okonkwo rose from poverty until he had acquired 3 wives, 10 children, a successful farm, and a position of respect and leadership among the clan.

But Okonkwo was also hot-tempered and violent: he would beat his wives and children when they displeased him, and his great strength made him feel he could and should use violence to settle disputes.

His rise to power was interrupted when he accidentally killed a fellow tribesman and was exiled for seven years for this crime. When he returned to the clan, everything had changed:  British colonists have arrived, bringing with them their culture, their laws, and their religion. The society that Okonkwo knew began to disappear, as it was subsumed by the colonists.

Unlike many English novels of this period, Things Fall Apart tells the story of the colonization of Africa from the point of view of the Africans. We see the indigenous people's respect for their ancestors and their focus on doing what is best for the community as a whole; and we see the unpleasantness of their society, such as the killing of a youth to placate angry gods.

We learn about Okonkwo - his strengths and his weaknesses. He is admired for his hard work and his sense of duty; but we also witness his uncontrolled rage and his intolerance.

The point is that we see the complexity of their society - not the ignorant savages so often portrayed by Westerners to justify their methods of "education" and "liberation".

Okonkwo was not a likeable man. But he had his principles and stuck to them, until his world was turned upside down by outsiders. And Achebe leads us toward his inevitable destruction.

Saturday, June 1, 2019 9:58:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 30, 2019

GCast 50:

Angular pt 9: Incremental Search

Implementing Incremental Search with Angular JavaScript framework

Thursday, May 30, 2019 9:00:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 27, 2019

Episode 564

Eric Boyd on Microservices

Eric Boyd describes the principles of Microservices and how he uses these principles to build better software.

Links:

Monday, May 27, 2019 9:23:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 26, 2019

PowerAndGloryIn the 1930s, the Communist Mexican government outlawed Catholicism and officials imprisoned or killed priests who refused to renounce their faith.

Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory chronicles the story of a Mexican priest on the run from a Mexican policeman.

We never learn the name of the priest or the policeman, but we learn much about the priest.

He is flawed in many ways and overwhelmed with guilt over the sins of his life. He drinks so much that he refers to himself as a "whiskey priest"; and he broke his vow of chastity years ago, resulting in an illegitimate daughter. But he clings to his faith, despite the risk to his life.

As the priest travels from town to town, the policeman pursues him, going so far as to execute those who did not turn in the priest when they had the chance.

Many characters come in and out of the story and nearly all are suffering from the poverty and/or from shame. Poor and weak and struggling with his faith, the priest's life is also filled with misery.

But The Power and the Glory still leaves us with a feeling of hope and a belief in redemption. For people and for the church.

Sunday, May 26, 2019 7:16:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 25, 2019

LuckyJimJim Dixon is miserable.

He is petty and shallow; he is unqualified for his job; he is lazy and judgmental and sexist; he makes faces at people behind their back; and he is a drunk.

And he is miserable. Miserable because he is trapped in a job that he dislikes working for people he doesn't respect and he is convinced he will be fired soon. Almost everyone in his life is pretentious or boring or neurotic or arrogant. And most of them are trying to bully or manipulate him.

He is the title character of Kingsley Amis's first novel: Lucky Jim.

Lucky Jim is a farcical story filled with failure and petty revenge and self-destruction. But Amis's wit succeeds in making it enjoyable for the reader and even getting us to cheer for the novel's anti-hero.

The book is filled with excellent prose, like the following description of Jim's feelings the morning after a night of hard drinking.

"He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad."

Read this silly book to laugh with and about an underdog, who somehow makes good, despite his best attempts not to do so.

Saturday, May 25, 2019 2:31:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 23, 2019

GCast 49:

Angular pt 8: HTTP

Learn how to make HTTP calls from within your Angular app.

Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:24:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 20, 2019

Episode 564

David Makogon on Streaming Data

David Makogon talks about streaming data and the tools to help you make it happen.

David on Twitter

Monday, May 20, 2019 9:10:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 19, 2019

CryingOfLot49Oedipa Moss's life was uncomplicated until her former - lover millionaire Pierce Inverarity - passed away and she was named the executor of his estate.

She said goodbye to her husband Mucho Maase and traveled to San Narciso, CA to investigate Pierce's assets.

During her investigation, she encountered a plethora of bizarre characters with bizarre names (Dr. Hilarius, Genghis Cohen, Mike Fallopian, Stanley Koteks, …), along with an ancient secret society dedicated to providing an alternative mail delivery system, to break the monopoly of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon is an absurd, satirical novel with a huge number of twists, considering its brief length.

On the surface, this is a detective story; but it leaves most questions unanswered and most mysteries unresolved.

Its strength is in its humor and in the creative way it bounces Oedipa from one situation to the next.

The story includes the following:

A lawyer happens to be a former child with the stage name "Baby Igor". He seduces Oedipa by feeding her tequila and playing strip baccarat while one of his old movies plays on the TV.

An American rock band dresses like the Beatles and sing all their songs with a British accent.

Oedipa's psychiatrist is intent on providing hallucinogenic drugs to his patients and ultimately reveals his Nazi past during a violent, paranoid, nervous breakdown.

And the story of the secret society, rebelling against the government by subverting its monopoly of the postal system keeps coming back to the front. It seems such a bizarre form of protest. But appropriate to this novella.

The novella makes up for its brevity by packing a great deal of quirkiness into less than 200 pages.

Sunday, May 19, 2019 2:58:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 18, 2019

MovieGoerThe Moviegoer by Walker Percy tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stockbroker existing in New Orleans of the 1050s.

Binx spends most of his spare time chasing his secretaries and watching movies.

At first glance, Binx seems the shallowest of people. But he often sees the world through fresh eyes, even if he struggles to articulate these observations to those around him.

Percy takes us through life in New Orleans and Chicago as seen through Binx's eyes. He likes adventure, but he is easily bored. He loves his family, but he cannot relate to them. He cares for his cousin Kate, but not enough to protect her.

We see Binx interacting with his extended family, a remnant of southern aristocracy, who lament the changing ways of their society. We experience his relationship with Kate, who recently attempted suicide. Without thinking how it might concern Kate's parents, Binx and Kate leave suddenly for a week in Chicago, without informing anyone of their departure.

"What do you think is the purpose of life - to go to the movies and dally with every girl that comes along?", his aunt asks him? He responds "No", but the reader suspects otherwise.

One might think this is a tragic tale, but it is told in a lighthearted fashion and it ends with some optimism.

Saturday, May 18, 2019 9:26:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, May 16, 2019

GCast 48:

Angular pt 7: Routing

Routing in Angular is similar to routing in an MVC framework - except it happens on the client side. Learn how to implement it here.

Thursday, May 16, 2019 10:20:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)