February 18, 2012

I started a job about a month ago, with long hours and a very long commute, so I haven’t had much time for this blog lately.  The job isn’t my dream job, but the job itself isn’t terrible, and it does pay the bills, while I continue to look for something more interesting.   The commute is a killer, though–an hour and a half each way, incorporating both bus and SkyTrain–and, to make matters worse, every second Saturday, I have to go in to work for just a couple of hours, but because of the long commute, those Saturdays are virtual write-offs, like my weekdays.  It’s the kind of commute that makes even a city-dweller like myself, who has easy access to public transit and who has never really minded using it up to now (augmented by the occasional cab, of course), wish I had a car–even if it polluted the environment and even if I became fat and unfit without all the free exercise I now get as a transit user.

I’ve been making the most that I can of the commute, using all that time sitting on buses and trains to do some reading.  (I’m very lucky that, because of where I get on, I always have a seat, on both the bus and train, going both ways, so I can ride and read.)  Last week, I read Walter Isaacson’s biography about Steve Jobs.  By now, this book has been on the bestseller lists for about four months, so I’m not going to add another review to the many reviews that already are out there.  Besides, I don’t have the time now to write a proper review.   I’ll just be making a few comments that relate to things I’ve already said in this blog about Jobs and Apple.

When I surmised earlier on, in reference to Jobs claim that he called his company Apple because he had come to think of apples as the “perfect fruit” based on his own apple-growing experience, that Jobs must have worked in an apple orchard only in the spring, when the trees’ blossoms were in bloom, that was incorrect.  In fact, based on what I learned from reading Isaacson’s book, for a couple of years, Jobs ran the a 220-acre Gravenstock apple orchard at the All One Farm, owned by his friend Robert Friedland, that Friedland turned into a counterculture commune, with an organic cider business on the side.  Jobs did indeed know a lot about apples–much more than I gave him credit for.

Also, earlier I discussed my first impression of my iPad as being too “consumer-oriented” as opposed to “production-oriented.”  As I learned from reading Isaacson’s book, this was actually a common complaint about the original iPad, that Jobs and the Apple team tried to rectify to some extent with the iPad II.  The camera was added to the iPad II largely because of this complaint.  Also, between the time that the original iPad and iPad II came out, some of the more popular, production-oriented, Macintosh computer programs were modified for the iPad, one being a video editing program which was modified to become iMovie.  That’s an app I’d like to download and learn to use–if and when I can find the time.

Although my time has been very tight in the past few weeks, I did manage to squeeze in baking a cake last Sunday evening, which I mention here only because of its connection to tomatoes.  A woman at work was talking about a tomato soup cake she sometimes bakes.  I’d never heard of such a thing, and wanted to try it out.  I found a recipe for tomato soup cake on the Internet and, while everyone else in the world was watching the Grammys, I baked.  It didn’t turn out badly, although I was somewhat disappointed by the colour.  I would have thought a tomato soup cake would be red or, perhaps, pinkish–and therefore very suitable for Valentine’s Day, which was immanent.  But, instead, my cake turned out a brown colour, more like the colour of a chococate cake than the colour of tomato soup.  But it was tasty, all the same.  (I did manage to see Paul McCartney and Adele sing on the Grammys show.)

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