Did the PowerPoint talk in Berkeley for an audience of IT legends and academics. I was terrified. The guys that originally turned PowerPoint into a program were there, what were THEY gonna think? Well, couldn't THEY just get up to talk about their invention? The rest of the room was other IT illuminati and U Cal academics on computer science etc. They could call me out and denounce me!
Some friends came by which made me feel more comfortable. Some of the Extra-Action Marching Band came by too — there was a "reception" in the faculty club — a charming Meerbeck building on campus with fireplaces and a massive moose head looming over the dining area.
(I'm writing this in the airport, my flight is delayed, the businessman behind me is saying "isn't that the worst slide you've ever seen?" as he holds up a printout of a PowerPoint slide — a triangle with words in it. Gloria Steinem is sitting on the next row of seats in leather trousers talking on her mobile phone)
My talk goes fine. I can relax, they're laughing. Bob Gaskins, Denis Austin and Peter Norvig were there. Bob declined to be introduced — so I stuck with the picture of the concertina that usually stands in for him, which always gets a laugh anyway. He did tell me afterwards that he liked the PowerPoint as theater idea, which was a relief. I mean, there is a lot of hatred for this program out there, and a lot of people laugh at the mere mention of bullet points, so he must feel kind of vulnerable.
I finished reading Bob Dylan's book. It's beautifully written, though I think it should probably be filed under fiction. I always thought his persona, which early on was that of a young Woody Guthrie, was just that, a persona. It worked as a way of delivering those songs, so who cares? ...and he partly, but only partly, abandoned it later. But this book is, in my opinion, pretty much written from the point of view of that imaginary guy. What a conceit! It's a brilliant literary idea, but I hope people take it with a grain of salt... and humor. It's as if Mr. Rogers wrote his autobiography and continued to talk the way he does in the TV show. Some of the writing, the language and the metaphors that this character comes up with are brilliant. Moving and unexpected. For example, he describes rappers and "serious, throwing horses off cliffs" (Call me skeptical, but a Jewish guy from Minnesota talking and writing like a backwoods hick/poet, huh? What's that about?)