We's in California

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Dissertation in 2 Parts: The Currency of the Future and Learning Past The Age of 25: Possible or Unpossible?

Part 1
Many many many many people in LA cite the fact that "Well, I have a pretty good job" as the only reason they are living here. LA is indeed great for jobs and if you were a classy bloke from the 30's, you would probably exclaim that "Jobs abound in Los Angeles". In Dayna's case it doesn't make any difference since she's a nurse and there is a large shortage in the US. Because her hospital is a terrible place to work (and will be closing in the near future due to certain, ahem, social factors) they are trying their best to retain and recruit nurses to little avail. One of their incentives, rather than provide a safe and manageable working environment, is to give you a super sweet Ford Mustang.

Sign a 2 year contract: free Ford Mustang for 2 years!

Deliver over 40 babies on your shift: you've been entered in a draw for a Ford Mustang!

Feeling helpless from handling twice as many patients as you're legally allowed to: It's Ford Mustang time.

Your average nurse in LA is a 45 year Filipino mother of 4. What she really needs right now is to be able to retire at a decent age, not what Vanilla Ice drives with the rag-top down so his hair can blow. This really begs the question: Are Mustangs the new currency? In 20 years we very well may be saying things like:

"Did you hear about Jer's new job?"
"Yeah that's pretty cool, I heard he's making over six and a half Stangs a year!"
"That's awesome, he's a good guy."


".00119, .0012, .0013, .0014, .0015 makes .002 Mustangs. Thanks for shopping at Kmart."

Part 2
I know I've talked about the fact that I'm learning to play the violin before, but I would like to take this opportunity to again express how bloody hard it is to play. This fact may very well be the only reason I continue to slog away making actually very little progress for the amount of time I've invested. This may be an arduous and foolish journey I've embarked on since anybody I've talked to that plays at a proficient level has been playing since they were 10. The attraction for me is to see if it's possible to learn something completely new at my age. If one thinks about how many genuinely new things the average person learns before the age of 25 (which is the threshold I've just crossed) compared to skills learned after that age, it becomes quite clear what's going on. I am trying to figure out if this is a result of our general disposition as adults or rather an actual mental and physical inability to do so.

I recently had the opportunity to see a classical quartet play a concert of baroque music and the violinist was amazing. World class. All I could think of while watching her was how many hours, days, and years have been invested into that single skill. And at the risk of sounding cliché, you don't see that much anymore. Perhaps I'm not appreciative of the skills that I already posses. I suppose you don't become a C# .NET software developer overnight. I takes many many years of memorizing acronyms for bad technologies that still sound good in an interview. VB, C++, AJAX, MSRS, NCAA, NAACP, KKK, the list goes on.

PS: I know a girl who when she punches, she punches like this:

Most girls punch like this. Notice the position of the thumb. That doesn't work. You'll break your hand.


  • just think of the many hours, days and years you spent listening to "violins"... by lagwagon. perhaps you already possess the musical ability to sing along in a saturn to the entire "hoss" album.

    By Anonymous Ryan, at October 20, 2006  

  • Why do you have a Queen calender?

    By Anonymous chris, at October 20, 2006  

  • I can attest that punching like that works wonders if you aim for the eye.

    By Blogger Steve & Gillian, at October 20, 2006  

  • Gareth, that blog was hilarious, I laughed out loud at the Mustang car incentives for nurses. Can you arrange for me to get a Mustang to keep and drive back to Canada after my 2 year stint if I come to L.A to'd be the champ if you can pull that off. We miss you , you funny, tanned Canucks! Donna.

    By Blogger Donna, at October 20, 2006  

  • A lot of your ability to learn new things starts decreasing around 20-30 years old. This ability declines more rapidly after 30 and nearly bottoms out around 70...or so my textbook says. I'm pretty sure I'm taking the most depressing class possible this semester (Developmental Psych from Adulthood until DEATH!). So keep at the violin, but don't expect miracles.

    You should start your kids on string instruments at 3, that is my plan!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2006  

  • Apparently anything before the age of 10, while not a complete waste, doesn't contribute significantly to a persons talents in their 20's. But then again nothing is as culturally intimidating as a class of 6 year old Chinese violinists! Why have they not taken over yet?

    And Chris, the question should be "Why don't YOU have a Queen calendar?"



    By Blogger Gareth, at October 22, 2006  

  • You're 25 -- TWENTY FIVE -- and not that old. For an instrument like the violin, it's not so much how hold you are, but how much innate musical talent you possess. If you've got a good ear, you'll find it a lot easier. If you've got no ear, forget about it.

    Sometimes age can be an asset -- when you're really, really young, you might not have enough of an understanding of what you are trying to do to be effective at learning it. One thing young kids often have: plenty of time in which to practice. If you have lots of time, that will help.

    By Blogger Steven Rosenberg, at October 24, 2006  

  • I would start by arranging Table 9 songs to suit the violin. But that's just me.

    By Anonymous chris, at October 25, 2006  

  • Age brings with it the wonderful capacity to not really give a rat's petoot as to whether or not you ever learned to play a stringed instrument, or much else for that matter. You come to accept the only skills of real use are the ability to tie a bowline knot, twist the top off a beer bottle, and roll your own cigarette. All efforts beyond that realm are simply tedious extravagance. And I didn't learn that in a textbook.

    By Anonymous sherman potter, at October 25, 2006  

  • F'ing, eh?!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2006  

  • I'm sorry Gareth, I oppose sax and violins on the Internet.

    By Anonymous Dave the Ubergeek, at November 02, 2006  

  • I just laughed at that! And now I hate myself.

    By Blogger Gareth, at November 03, 2006  

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