Marley

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, December 26. 2012 in Personal

Now that Christmas Day itself is over, but not the Season, I'm taking some time to reflect on the lessons detailed in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." And upon reflection, I've decided that the most important character in the story is not Scrooge himself, but instead his deceased partner, Jacob Marley.

Dickens himself suggests so, by starting the novel ensuring his readers that Marley was most certainly dead. He realizes that the story itself has no depth, unless the scene between Scrooge and Marley actually, truly happened. Unless Marley was dead, and unless what he conveys to Scrooge is Truth, then Scrooge's change lacks the power that it deserves.

But even more so, to me, unless Marley is seen (and for the purposes of this blog post, portrayed) as this immensely tragic and woeful creature, the danger that Scrooge is exposing himself to and the dismal eternal future of those who waste their lives here on Earth, then "nothing wonderful" can come from the tale. And so, even more so (if possible) than the words of Marley, the pitiful nature of Marley provides the fuel for the entire story. Again, Dickens' emphasizes this, since Marley is constantly noted as raising a "frightful cry", or shaking his chains in woe. Marley is completely and totally miserable.

So when I watch the various incarnations of "A Christmas Carol," it's the portrayal of Marley which tells me just how well the director (and the entire crew) "gets" the story. So when I watched Disney's version, with Jim Carrey, I thought that it was an OK version until  the arrival of Marley. In this version, Marley is almost comic relief! And then they made the worst mistake ever. Scrooge tries to comfort Marley by explaining this his old partner was always a good man of business, and Marley summarizes the whole of the moral of the story in the most powerful sentences of literary history:

Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!

And yet, in Disney's version, he does so with his lower jaw being "comically" manipulated up-and-down by Scrooge (if you've seen the movie, you know what I mean). Unforgivable.

For me, the best version is the 1984 version with George C. Scott. Frank Finlay is, imo, spot on, and I can't but help be moved when he says the above lines. The power, the emotion, the pure and deep misery Marley feels is there, and the audience, and Scrooge, cannot help but be moved by it, and act on it.

May we all remember the lessons of Marley, and for all of us, may mankind be our business. 

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Upset, angry and totally disappointed

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Saturday, November 6. 2010 in Personal

I feel the need, for many reasons, to post about what happened to Noirin. I doubt if I will be able to draft something as honest and "on the mark" as what Paul wrote, but I'll try. First of all, I, like Paul and a few others, were at the bar in question but had no idea what happened. We did seem to all rush out quickly, but I just figured that, well, it was getting late. It is fortunate that I had not been aware of what had happened because, quite honestly, I don't think I could have held myself back. I know Noirin. In addition to us being both members and directors of the ASF, we are also friends. Noirin is one of those rare persons who have an honest and deep love of life. She enjoys life, she enjoys her friends, she enjoys work. Even when down or depressed, Noirin is still one of the most vivacious people I know. To have someone take advantage of that, to "mistake" her friendliness as anything more than that, and to act in such a baseless way is appalling. Why don't some guys get that? Are some male of the species so clueless that they really think that any sort of friendly interaction is an offer or invitation for something else? And why do some scum, when something like this happens, blame the girl? Noirin has every right in the world to be happy, to be free and to feel safe. Something like this happening affects all 3. My greatest fear is that events like this would cause such a light in this world as Noirin to "dim" herself, to shy away, to fade into the background, because of incredibly wrong and poor decisions by people. And we would all be the worse for it.
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So what's next...

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, August 25. 2010 in Personal

Yes, the rumors are true. As anyone who follows me on twitter knows following my tweet, I will be leaving VMware. The experience has been incredible, and being with VMware was the end of a journey started about 10 years ago when I first joined Covalent. Following some "interesting" events within that company, Covalent emerged as a premier FOSS-related business and as CTO I was able to continue working with Mark and Ryan to grow the company. We were so successful that SpringSource took notice of our products, or business plan and our customer base and decided they wanted in, and so they bought the company. At SpringSource I was, in addition to other tasks, the tech lead and developer for a project that became one of the most significant (if not the most significant) products for the company. And after around 2 years, SpringSource was so successful that VMware took notice and bought us. Now after a year, it is time to move on. I'm ready for new challenges and new opportunities. I'm looking for a place that can benefit from my talents, experience and expertise as much as Covalent/SpringSource/VMware has. I'm ready to make a difference and an impact... Know of any places that might be interested? Let me know. Thanks.
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Conferences

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, September 15. 2009 in Personal

A number of very cool conferences are coming up, 2 of which I'll be attending and speaking at. The 1st is SpringOne, which is kinda unique this year in which they have a SysAdmin/WebOps related track. The 2nd is ApacheCon US which promises to be one of the most excellent ApacheCons in the last ten years. I'm doing a 2 day training (with Rich Bowen), which is our world-famous Apache HTTPD Nuts to Bolts guide. I'm also doing a session on the Apache API, with a focus on module development. And, of course, the State Of The Feather and Sponsorship talks. What's also nice is that Eileen will be coming out for ACUS09 as well, and we're planning on staying in CA for an extra few days and enjoying wine country.
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Nov 4

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Wednesday, October 8. 2008 in Personal

If this election indicates anything, it's that people will vote for whoever they want to, no matter what and no matter how much rationalization is required. Ignore inconvenient facts; explain away issues; describe as "immaterial" or "besides the point" anything that would indicate that your choice isn't the best one. In other words, make your choice and then see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil...
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