Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Ok, try the mobile thing again - see if it gets there this time without me having to resend it.

Of course that has nothing to do with the title. So quit digressing and get on topic. (As if I actually have one).

This afternoon, I noticed my new office-mate was reading a book with, what I thought, was a very interesting title. "The Tree of Knowledge" - apparently about the origins of thought.

Which instantly reminded me of Hofstadter, both "Godel, Escher, Bach" and (though I could not remember the title) his more recent book "I am a Strange Loop".

Then tonight when I go to look for them, I can't find them. My last recollection of GEB was at Reynolds, and I'm afraid I lent them to someone there - and as such expect that they are gone. Until I place an Amazon order, of course.

What is it that makes some things in our lives so important? I've only read GEB five or six times through - and read the dialogs many, many more.

Lord of the Rings was great, but it did not move me like The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Again read multiple times.

Some things seem to shape our lives, and we can't imagine ourselves without their constant influence.

Hmmmm - I wonder if this is how religion affects those who truly believe?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Walking and pop philosophy

Ok, since I seem to have the best ideas while walking, and I do have a blackberry - time to try some truly mobile updates.

I find it interesting, but also a bit scary, that so much of my personal philosophy comes from pop culture references. Is it just that I'm not well versed enough to recognize the original sources?

Case-in-point - I really identify with the line from "Batman Begins" where Alfred is talking to young Bruce Wayne, reminding him of a quote from his father. "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up again."

So as I'm walking I see a young family - the mother had obviously brought the young toddler to pick up the father for lunch, and as they walked across the parking lot the cute little tyke fell, as is so common at that age. I smiled as he picked himself us and rubbed his butt (though he had fallen forward onto his hands and knees).

It got me thinking - how much more harm do we do in our society by so protecting everyone that they never fall - and thus never learn to picke themslves up? At what point does protecting and rescuing others start to hurt them more than help.

Give a man a fish every day, and he will never learn to fish for himself. At some point everyone has to walk on their own, fall a few times, and learn to pick themselves up. As a parent isn't it part of my job to teach what I can, and then step back and let them learn, even if it is by falling?

Unfortunately very easy to think about and write, very very difficult to actually do. The hard part isn't the unsteady first steps, it is letting go knowing they will fall so that they learn to pick themselves up again.

(And doung this while walking isn't too bad, just have to pause when it comes time to cross the street :-) )
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Still alive, just boring

Yes, for both my readers, I am still alive - I just have not had much of interest to say.

No, that isn't really true. I've actually had a lot on my mind - what I haven't had is the opportunity to write anything while these thoughts are going on. I have been trying to walk every day at lunch - about the only concession towards actually working at losing instead of gaining weight, and it isn't much at that - and have a lot of interesting (at least to me, at the time) thoughts going on - but no easy way to get them out. Once I get back to work, well then I'm eating and trying to focus back on my job once more. The ideas just slip gently away, usually not to come back up until the next day while walking again.

Work is going quite well. I really like this job and company, and it is such a huge change from where I was for so long. Simple things like respect - it is almost hard to remember that the real world works that way. There are no poo-flinging monkeys here - it is a bunch of very good people all working hard.

The whole atmosphere is kind of different as well - because so much of what I've been working on is actual research and development, not generating reports or doing any sort of business processing. It amazes me still that after twenty years in this field, I am finally doing computer science, not data processing.

Somebody wrote an Einstein quote on the board in the big conference room. "If we knew what we were doing, then it wouldn't be called research." A few weeks later I found it on a placard - which now sits on my desk.

I had a bit of fun via my twitter feed on Thursday. The company is leasing half the bottom floor of a small (three story) office building, and we are simply out of room. Since I started they have hired 9 more people (one remote), and yet another is starting on Wednesday. Well they leased four more offices across the hall (sized for 1, 2, 2 and 4 people), so I played with the fact that I was told to pack up my desk - I wouldn't be working there any more. Instead I would be working across the hall - where it is even quieter, the office is laid out equally for the two of us, and we have a window!

I'll try to get back to this more regularly, and need to use it once again as part of a weight loss motivation. It is saddening to think that I've regained all the weight that I had lost two years ago, but it is true, and so far I have not found what it will take to get me to commit to reversing this trend and start doing weight watchers again. I know it in my head, but not to where I am yet doing anything about it.