Monday, September 17, 2007

You cannot open the frontiers if you want 100 percent probability that nothing is going to go wrong.
Dan Goldin, former head of NASA, reflecting on the possible loss of Steve Fossett.


Two weekends ago my daughter had a brush with immediate death. She is fine, dear readers. No need to worry. You see, she was doing something very benign; something that tens of millions of people do everyday. She went out to pick up the newspaper from the driveway.

The skies were cloudy and ominous but not terribly so. Coming back into the house, while closing the outside door, there was a powerful SMACK and an immediate boom. She, as she put it, “screamed like a girl,” and jumped into the house.

Lightning struck the street, not 20 feet from where she had been only 15 seconds before. Holding onto the steel outer door, she could even feel the discharge.

I see this as a lesson not only in our own mortality, but in taking chances.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has a 100 percent probability that nothing can go wrong. I sit typing this in a car, outside a casino. The laptop could short circuit, giving me a sharp bite of electricity. Or perhaps the short would cause the battery to quickly heat up, possibly catching on fire or burning my leg. What if some miscreant grabbed my computer off my lap and ran, or worse, threatened my life?

Driving to work? I have been driving for more than 25 years and quite throughly understand that it is a crap shoot.

The reality is that we are not immortal. We are going to die sooner or later. The preference is of course later... much later.

Knowing that reality, why not take a few chances in life. Mitigating the possible damage in case of failure is of course a good thing. Don't jump in and tilt at that windmill without making sure you have a sturdy horse.

The simple things: Don't sky dive with World War II surplus equipment; Don't scuba dive with empty tanks; Don't take up street-luge on a busy six-lane highway. That sort of thing.

I guess the point is this: Take that chance but cover your ass. You may need it the next time you try something. Now, if you will pardon me please, I have some lightening rods to put up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thrash – Definition: To move wildly or violently, without accomplishing anything useful. Paging or swapping systems that are overloaded waste most of their time moving data into and out of core (rather than performing useful computation) and are therefore said to thrash.

Someone who keeps changing his mind (especially about what to work on next) is said to be thrashing. A person frantically trying to execute too many tasks at once (and not spending enough time on any single task) may also be described as thrashing. (Free On-line Dictionary of Computing) Definition of Thrashing.
Thrashing and procrastination have been a monkey on my back for years. I start something and then move on to something else before I finish the first. Why? Am I impatient with myself? Do I have a short attention span? Is there some ethereal, unrecognizable fear of me actually accomplishing something?

To be honest, I have asked this question for years and not once have I struck an answer. Maybe, just maybe there is no answer. It just IS.

Fine. I am through analyzing and measuring and wondering. Time to change. Time to stop thrashing and get down to business.

I am going to be open an honest here; I have a goal; I have one large personal thing in my mind now that is important. I want to live in the country and participate in the agricultural life again. If this means starting out on an acre in a travel trailer with a large garden, so be it. Living in a barn while I remodel it into a residence? You bet.

This is not to state I am going to be single-minded. I will absolutely work to help my daughter through college. I will pay off the bills after the divorce. I will help my friends when they need assistance.

What about those other things I want to do? What about writing? What about flying and that plane I want to build? What about ham radio? What about traveling the country, maybe even the world to visit my friends? What about that motorcycle?

All in due time. I will get to them.

To that end, I have started another blog: To Farm Again . I will post there regularly, even if some posts may seem small or insignificant. As for this blog, I will probably post rarely or irregularly; so, really, no change here (LOL).

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful.
Dante – a Character in the anime Full Metal Alchemist.

I sat down today and attempted to write something coherent. With full intention, mind full of thoughts, I placed pen to paper and my brain just seemed to stall. The translation from thoughts to written word simply broke down.

Typically when this occurs, I write a few notes and toddle off to do something else. This time I decided to just keep writing these little notes. The result was interesting, if not a bit confusing, if I do say so myself.

Judge for yourself... Chaos? Beauty? Both?
I want to do something great,
but not be great.
I want to do something fantastic,
but not be fantastic.
I want to do something amazing,
but not be amazing.
I want to do something interesting,
and yes,
I want to be interesting.

Accomplishing something great merely requires the fortitude and persistence to accomplish many minor tasks while keeping the greatness of the complete task rooted in the heart as if it is already complete.

Regularly pursuing trivial pursuits with no goal is a closed stateless system.

The result of one deconstructing their creation is akin to a sculptor deconstructing a marble statue of their own creation. All that remains is a pile of dust whetted with its creator's blood and tears.

A person's limitations should never be allowed to get in the way of their dreams.

I don't care if you stop this treadmill or not. I am getting the fuck off.

Since when has a bank account been required to do something great, fantastic or beautiful?

Different is not always interesting, but interesting is always different.

The property known as “interesting,” requires no explanation, marketing, selling or advertising. “Interesting” is inherently a self defining property.

Everyone has the right to sell their own life. I am tired of living mine on credit.

Every journey starts with a single step. Unfortunately, the highway to hell has many pedestrians whom started their way to damnation with a single step.