Upstate

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Upstate is essentially a novel of deep nostalgia and implicit longing for a different, past, life. In that sense, it held a deep connection for me. The novel is written by James Wood, a New Yorker book critic. 

The story is about Alan, an aging Britisher who visits his grown up daughters in Saratoga Springs in Upstate New York. It is an exploration of their relationship and a rather feeble attempt by a father to try and understand why his two children are so different - from him and from each other.

While Alan seems to genuinely want to understand and perhaps help his daughters, he isn’t really prepared or even has the tools necessary to grasp their first-world predicaments. His own angst, driven partly by a failed marriage, partly by failed parenting and partly by a failed perception of his own business success, Alan is a classical old man exhibiting classical old man “issues”.  

If you are in your middle age then it is not hard to relate to Alan. You can see  at least some of your possible futures converge into that existential angst. 

Quality - Put trust in the new or on the old reliable?

I was hurtling down a highway last evening at 80 miles an hour and while executing a particularly sharp and long curve along the road I could not help but think about the trust we all must put in our vehicles. The number of things that could go wrong at any moment is infinite. And yet, for the most part, things don't go wrong. I mentally patted myself on the back that it is good that I recycle the car every couple years reducing problems induced by wear and tear. However, I also immediately thought that isn't it better that once you have put some miles or a couple years on a car you must trust it *more* not less? It has gone through the only real QA (Quality Assurance) possible. The rubber hasn't just hit the road but survived and thrived. Should I really be returning that car in favor of a brand new with a better smell but less real-world testing potentially putting myself at risk all over again every few years? 

Who knows? We don't. But we do know that this isn't going to be a problem for long. More than likely the next car will offer over-the-air-updates for software that would more or less run the car - essentially continuously making it more and less safe at the same time.