Original Watergate Interviews: A Nice Primer to Frost/Nixon

Clearly, there is no reason to avoid the biological fact of my non-existence during the Watergate scandal.  In addition, I received minimal education on the topic during my formative years, and, having such a strong background in history coming out of high school, never was required to take a single history class throughout college.  To sum up, my knowledge of the depth of the scandal, and the details surrounding it were vague at best.

For these combined reasons, I found the original Nixon interview with David Frost on the topic of Watergate to be both an enlightening recap of events from the proverbial horse’s mouth, and an ideal primer for the fictionalized, Oscar-nominated film Frost/Nixon.

The two DVDs could most certainly be packaged together; one lends depth and context to the other.  If I understand correctly, the Original Interviews is an edited DVD presentation of the Watergate portion of the BBC series.  What I got out of it was a more thorough understanding of the actual events of the break-in, and the longest sustained exposure I’ve ever had to Richard Nixon, albeit through the camera lens.

Watching the original interview made me appreciate Frank Langella‘s portrayal quite a bit more.  Watching the real Nixon, you can see that:

  • He is keenly aware of the television audience, and how he appears on camera
  • He really appears to believe that he didn’t do anything wrong
  • His regrets are not about the Watergate incident, but rather that he screwed up and couldn’t be president anymore

… all of these things were brilliantly conveyed by Langella, and I’m kind of sorry I didn’t watch the original interview first, because I might have enjoyed the performance even more.

If you have some interest in history, Nixon specifically, or political scandal generally, watching this pair is a fine way to spend 3 or 4 hours.

Summer Posting

I was starting to feel a creeping “link rot” sensation on the blog here, until I scoped out some of the other folks that I subscribe to.  Here in these northern climes, I think we tend to feel any extra time that’s available this time of year should be spent enjoying the outdoors while the days are long and the mercury is high.  Guilt = subsided.

Speaking of getting outdoors, I did have a chance to do that on the first legitimately warm weekend of the season.  Friday night, Schrubbe and I were at the Brewers’ only win of the weekend.  What a horrific homestand they had!  On one hand, it’s good to know they’re not going to tromp Manny Parra out there again on his next turn, but on the other: they’re not going to get through this season with 4 starters.  I really, REALLY hope he gets himself straightened out…

On Saturday, I got involved with WILS for the first time– I was a chaperone for one of the volunteer sites.  It was a good day.  They’ve got some really good kids involved there, and everybody did a great job.  I’d definitely be willing to volunteer again next summer…

In the evening on Saturday, Michelle and I met up with a group @ Taylor’s to see Praveen off to India.  He is moving back there for what is planned to be about a three-year stay.  It was a nice send-off.  We didn’t even make it to the after-bar and didn’t go to sleep until about 4 AM.

Eventually on Sunday, we did get out to enjoy the weather.  Michelle and I took a bike ride down on the lake front (where there were TONS of people just loafing along on the path; Michelle had to continuously ring her bell to warn the peds we were behind them), and we enjoyed some custard at the new Northpoint snack bar, now being operated by Bartolotta Restaurant Group.  I don’t really have any previous experience there to compare it to, but there were plenty of folks lined up, and the turtle sundae was tasty.

So, back to work on my third week in Oshkosh, then!  Everything’s going well, but I’m thinking I’m going to need to do even better making lists of stuff that I want to do on my lunches, in the evenings, etc.  But then again, it is summer and maybe I should just not feel guilty.  😉

Friday Near 2:00 And All Is Well

Sorry if you were thinking I might’ve had more to say about my new job this week– didn’t have complete access to my workstation for part of it, and was busy with reviewing procedures, etc., for the rest.

Overall, Oshkosh is just about the way I left it.  There’s a new building here, or a remodeled office there, but things seem to be largely where they were when I last lived and worked here.  I said to someone early in the week, “it’s almost like I dreamed the last two years, and when I woke up, Bobby was in the shower.

It’s too early to say much about what my new job entails, or “how it’s going,” so to speak, because I haven’t been able to dig in that much yet.  However, I can tell that it’s going to be a lot different than my job has been for the last five years or so.  There are a lot of things I’ll need to learn, more stuff than I can think of that I will need to re-learn, and who knows what else that I can’t predict.  I think it’s going to be exciting and interesting, though.

The commute is OK.  Even after just a few days, I’ve calmed down a bit about the time “wasted” in the car.  I have a bunch of podcasts to listen to, I can try to catch up with some folks on the phone, and as long as I don’t freak out too much about what time I’m getting home, there is still enough of each evening to be productive.

At this point, I can definitely say that the pace in Oshkosh is more my style than Milwaukee ever was– around here, there is enough staff to deal with everything on a day-to-day basis, people are pretty much up to speed on what everyone else is doing, and the students feel calmer as well.  I guess it mostly comes down to time: in Oshkosh, there’s enough of it to get things done, and also explain to one another what’s going on.  In Milwaukee, it always felt like I was just keeping my head above water, and there were a lot of guessing games about who was doing what and when and for what reason.

Anyway, I need to jet for my late errand-running lunch and then get primed up for a camp weekend in the Kettle Moraine.  Here’s hoping the weather holds out.

Need to Save Some Time

It’s after the first of the month, so I got all my “books” (i.e., personal accounting) done this week.

I downloaded a java-based, stand-alone app back in 2006 to help me keep an electronic check register, because I was tired of writing down all the transactions that were going through on my debit card (even then, I barely used checks), particularly since I could log in to my bank accounts every day and review.  So, jGnash was and has been a big help there ever since.

The thing is, back then I only wanted and needed a paperless register.  I was only inputting data from that one account, and it wasn’t a big deal.  Over time, I added a whole bunch of different bank accounts and credit cards that I’m tracking, and now I’m feeling that I would like a more holistic overview of my personal finances.

I would also like something that is smart enough to know that when I am transferring money around, or making payments what have you, it’s essentially one transaction– I don’t want to key everything in at least twice (as a debit over here,  and a credit over there).  I spent about an hour and a half making all those entries last night, and I really only needed to “think” through it for 20 minutes or so.  I like to have that information at my fingertips if I want or need it, so crawling back into the cave of tracking things on paper will not do at all.

It’s entirely possible that what I’m using already does these things, and I just need to figure out to use them.  There are also things out there like Mint, which purport to be dead simple to use, but my security alarm bells go off ANY time I am entrusting a large portion of personal data to somebody else’s server.  There’s actually a portable version of GnuCash, too, but that one always felt geared toward somebody with more complex accounting needs than I have on my own.

Do you have any thoughts on this?  What are you using to digitally manage your personal finances in the 21st century?