False Dichotomy

I had a long conversation with a friend today. We covered politics, evolution, finances, college experiences and more. He would throw false dichotomies at me in jest as we got into a debate. I thought there was a single word, or a common expression, for a false dichotomy, but I couldn’t remember it right away. As almost any other 21st century westerner would do, I went to Google and searched the term.

I found this elegant piece on the importance of false dichotomies in programming. I immediately realized that I have relied entirely on constraining the inputs to my system, and I haven’t built in any handlers for when those inputs are novel. This gives me yet another way to make my next project a little more robust and a little more flexible.

Anyway, this conversation got me thinking about all the false dichotomies I have thrown myself into.

I have to do exactly what the client wants, or they will hate me forever.”

If there is any kind of setback, I must be going the wrong way.”

I have to excersise for a full hour, or it’s not worth exercising at all.”

When the brakes needed changed

I spent a good portion of one long Ohio summer at my best friends house. I was 18 going on 19 that year. Josiah and I spent countless hours playing ping pong, hunting, and riding four wheelers that year. One evening some of his parents friends were over, and one of the ladies brought two new brake pads for her oldsmobile and she asked if Josiah’s dad, Chris, would change them out for her.

Chris said “sure, we will change them for you” and looking at Josiah and me, he said “why don’t you two go ahead and do that”.

I had never changed the brakes on a car before. He knew it wouldn’t be very difficult for us, since they were just disk brakes. Plus Chris had all the tools we needed; a nice floor jack, a compressor, and an impact wrench with all the bits we could want. It seemed scary at the start, because the brakes going out from a mistake we made would be devastating, but we got right at it anyway. We soon saw that it was just a series of little steps, and we had the capability to do it. So we went right to town, jacked up the car, took the old disks off and replaced them with the new ones. We made sure the calipers were freely movable, we bled the lines to ensure there wasn’t any air left in them and we checked the brake fluid up top.

It really didn’t take us too long, and then we asked Chris if we did it right. He said that sounded about right, so we took it for a test drive. I drove real slow at first. Pushed the brakes hard. Pushed them soft. Felt them bite and release. It was a fantastic experience. No one actually showed us how to change the brake pads.

We only used our previous experience from changing tires, and the stories we had heard about replacing pads (always bleed the lines), and figured it out. That experience encouraged me to take on more challenges.

Where does the pressure come from?

I spent a month living in a hunt camp in Haliburton Forest. 14 students, 3 techinicians, 2 cooks, and 2 proffessors lived together without running water or much electricity (a single solar pannel and bank of old car batteries gave us a lightbulb at night for a couple hours). We worked long hours (often 14 hour days) and slept in bunk beds with cheap vinyl mattresses. We had an experience that I think will stick with me forever, and I will write more about that in days to come. What I am reminded of most about that experience, was the lack of pressure.

Sure we had plenty of drama living in such close proximity to one another. We had problems. We had sickness and at times we had unhappy people, but I don’t remember anyone saying they “under pressure” or that they “couldn’t relax” .

Even with small clouds of mosquitoes in the evenings, it was an unbelievably cathartic experience to live as intimately as we did with the circadian and estival rythm of The Living Forest.

Many days I yearn to be there again.

Failed Again

I failed a few more times today.

I dropped the ball.

I missed the target.

So what now? It seems that I’m facing a dichotomy.

On one hand I want to play it safe. Back off the challenge, turn the pressure down, go back to the place I was comfortable. Before I go any farther in writing this, I want to make it very clear that I don’t believe that is the wrong choice. Sometimes that is exactly what should be done. In every football game there is a time to play defense. There is a time to focus on preservation over increase. Consider if you were at this moment on the mainland, awaiting Dorian, this is not the time to be casting nets. This would the time to bunker down, to play defense, to retreat. Heading for safety is the right thing to do.

But I am not facing Dorian. I am not staring at a catastrophic force of nature. I am under no imminent threat. No, I am only feeling the sting of my injured pride at making a false step in this dance. I am feeling the embaressment of shooting my arrow off mark. In this case, it wouldn’t help if I ran for safety. If I bowed out of the game now, I wouldn’t have the chance to grow. I wouldn’t get the full experience.

So instead I am facing the target, raising my arrow, and drawing my string. Exhale. Release.

Elizabeth ready to release her arrow

How can we fail?

I once reviewed some promotional material for LASIK surgery. The video was from a partnership of opthamologists that specialized in that type of surgery. One of their biggest selling points was the hefty years of combined experience of the group.

They went on to even brag that no one on their team had less than some number of years (I don’t remember for sure but I think it was at least 5 years). I thought it was great they could have such an experienced team, but I grew concerned when one of the senior partners said, on the video, that he believed you should never get LASIK surgery performed by someone who did not already have years of experience.

I thought this was a strange thing to say. It angered me.

How could someone ever get any experience, in a world where only those with prior experience get the chance?

How did this fellow talking justify his early days, his first experiences? Should those patients have never let him perform those first surgeries? Taken one step further, why should someone ever let a surgeon with 5 years of experience operate on them, when there is a surgeon with 6 years of experience also available?

Can’t we culturally make room for people just starting out?

Can’t we allow others into the game, even if they are going to make some mistakes along the way?

Where is the novice in our cultural story? Where is the space for the person showing up, failing, and still showing up again.

We need a retelling of Rocky, of someone going the distance, irrespective of whether they win or lose.

A Coat Too Large

When I had only 17 years to my age, almost half a lifetime ago for me now, I spent a day volunteering at the District 4 Headquarters for The Ohio Department of Natural Resources. There were three of us, and we were taken in the employees’ only section to an empty conference room where several boxes sat full of papers on the large wooden table. Our supervising officer showed us how to take a paper from box 1, fold it into a paper from box 2, slip them both into an envelope from box 3 and then use the little sponge to make the sticky stuff sticky and close the envelope.

For the next several hours we did just that. Fold, stuff, seal, repeat. Those little envelopes would be picked up later by the postal service and sent all across the state to former patrons, asking them all once again for their money and support to the ODNR.

There was no glamour. There was nothing exciting. It was simply something that needed done, and we were willing to do it in order to make the connection with the district officers. I even felt like I was contributing to a distasteful part of our society (junk mail) but I convinced myself these letters were much less junky than all those that were simply selling something. Yes we were asking for money, but it was for a good cause.

At one point, we took a break and spent a few minutes peaking through the nearby rooms. Its true that we were “in the back” in the employees’ only section, but we figured we sort of classified as temporarily in the employ of the ODNR, plus the rooms were on our way to and from the bathroom.

Well my friend Jerrod noticed a coat rack in the one of the other rooms, and hanging up on that rack was that unmistakable symbol of the Ohio Wildlife Officer, a forest green jacket. This one was the winter model, complete with the fur lining around the neck. We stood in awe for a second and then Jerrod took it and put it on. One by one we tried it on, the coat worn by those select few who had achieved what we all dreamed, to be a game warden.

I was suprised at how I felt when I put it on. I immediately knew that it was too large for me. I wasn’t ready to wear that coat. I was just a kid, and someone in that position had a heck of a lot more experience, wisdom, and age than I did. I was an imposter. Now at 31 years old I am learning more and more that I can never, ever, be ready for every situation.

I am learning the art of navigating troubled waters. I am learning to live with the flames close by. I am learning to walk in the light that I have, even when all else is dark around.

The Cabinet Of Curiosties

In the last few months I have been reading novels again. I read the first three of the Dune series; Dune, Dune Messiah and finally Children of Dune. I was surprised by the third installment and found it quite a bit more compelling than the first two had been for me. This post isn’t really about the Dune series though. This is the about the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child Pendergrast novels. I’ve now read several of their books; Reliquary, A Still Life of Crows, White Fire, Cemetary Dance and The Cabinet of Curosities, and I am just now beginning to read Brimstone (the first in the Diogenes trilogy).

I thought that The Cabinet of Curiosities was fantastic. It kept me guessing right up until the end, the pace was enjoyable, the characters had heart. The experience of reading it was a pleasure. And yet, what I find most fascinating is that it was nothing exotic. The characters were attainable, the environment was not extravagant, and the names were (mostly) common. They didn’t have to create intercontinental political systems (G.O.T.) or a myriad of new kinds of creatures and experiences (H.P.), or a carefully constructed theology and thick plot (L.O.T.R.).

Preston and Child took the pieces of life we already experience, and simply looked at them in a new way. Maybe you could say that is what all authors do anyway. Relationships, values, virtues, vices…all those things we are already familiar with we look at from a new perspective when we read. Even so, I thought it was impressive that they could tell a good story in The Cabinet Of Curiosities without ever getting too exotic.

Further, I don’t know authors maintain the multitude of elements in their stories, and yet remain consisent. I have tried to organize my daydreams into an acceptible form for a novel, but they have always seemed to fracture and splinter within my mind, creating a plethora of frayed-strands and disjointed fragments.

Maybe it is the memory trip that Agent Pendergrast so often relies on. What if Preston and Child are actually telling us about their creative process when they describe Pendergrasts deep meditation.

When they weave the novel together, with the feints and intertwined characters, do they let Pendergrast himself show them the way the story unfolds?

Finally, the question that I have often asked myself. In the creative process, how much effort should I place on structure and method, and how much should I “let the block of wood tell me what it should be carved into”?

Shared Stories

James Bond stories are so much fun. I’ve never read the books, but I enjoy the films. However, it seems the more I think about them, the more I think that they aren’t really anything special.

Let us briefly consider, from an exegetical standpoint, the films Tomorrow Never Dies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. A man well trained, in both social and martial arts, faces off with a very wealthy villian bent on world domination. Hostages are taken. Ruses and double crosses abound. The villain is at the very brink of acquiring the coveted resources, but at the last moment our hero defeats the malefactor in hand-to-hand combat and the world is saved. These two stories (and inumerable others to boot) fundamentally share a common structure, but they take place in very different environments.

With James Bond, we have a British MI6 agent that gets romantically involved with every woman in reach. China and Russia are major players. Advanced digital technology is the coveted resource. Naval and air warfare are backdrop for the conflict, and our hero has all manner of gadgets at his disposal.

In Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, we see a man who gets into a lifelong romantic relationship (against his mentor’s advice). The Confederates States of America and the Union are the teams. Silver is what everyone wants. Steam engines and horse-drawn carriages are popular, and we have an ax that turns into a shotgun.

So all this makes me wonder how many other stories are simply re-cloaking of the same ideas and fundamental struggles? The protagonist could be faithful and good-natured, Lincoln, and a part of us longs to be like that. Or the protaganist could be reckless and a playboy like James Bond, and we are fascinated by his response.

The Crumble

Many relationships have ended with a crumble rather than a fire. Not romantic relationships, but friendships. People I shared meals and classes and events with. Our connection often just faded out.

Weeks apart turn into years without talking, and then so much has happened in both lives that it is hard to find that shared common ground we once had. No animosity, no malice, no ill will…just a changing of the times and a divergence of life paths.

In the multitude of varied riffles and eddies in life’s current, be like the sea otter and hang on tightly to those you don’t want to lose.

Joe Robertson. Wikimedia Commons.

How does this all work?

This world of podcasting is incredibly curious.

I’ve listened to many hours of Tim Ferris (@tferris), and read one of his books. He has liked one of my tweets about him once.

I regularly listen to an ex-attorney, now-excellent-interviewer, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger). Jordan tweeted at me. Once.

I have listened to almost all the episodes of EntreLeadership with Ken Coleman (@KenColeman). I wrote Ken a physical letter once, and he read it on the show. So that’s cool.

I listen, and reslisten, to Seth Godin on his podcast Akimbo (@ThisIsSethsBlog). In fact, I’ve listened to one of his Akimbo episodes at least a dozen times now. Seth doesn’t even know I exist.

I am a patreon for Bob Crawford and Ben Sawyer (@Road_To_Now). They have my name on their website, but they don’t really know me either.

How is it that these fellows and their guests (like Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer)) can have such an impact on my life when they don’t even know me? How queer that they occupy the same place in my mind as many of the people I have physically known, and yet I am nothing to them. That I know much more about them than I know about my nextdoor neighbors.

It is unbelievable to me that they can interact with me by their voice through the medium of a podcast in such a personal, real time, way. I suspect this is the same way people have always felt about their favorite authors, or newscasters, and more recently YouTubers, that in some way they know them. What queer relationships there are through the internet.

The result of many little blocks

I had a “first” today in my coding.

I had experienced all the little parts of this new function before, actually each little part many times. The methods and properties I used weren’t novel even a little bit. I just called a few of my own functions along with a nested loop to sort my data, created a template for it to print the data to, and a little HMTL window to query from. All I did was reorder the little lego pieces to create something that someone wanted.

The solving of the problem, the victory over the mystery and the returning a product, built exactly to the client specifications, that was to be relished indeed…but that wasn’t the novel experience today.

It was the eloquence with which the language fell onto the editor. I had never felt so in-tune with all the libraries before. I finally found a harmonious path – where my own functions seemed to integrate intimately with the Javascript and Google Script. The entire thing was elegant (at least compared to my other iterations at this rudimentary stage). It was functional (exactly what was requested). Finally, it was easily modifiable (the client asked for a further change soon after seeing the output).

Seth Godin always encourages us to show up. Turn on the light. Do the work. Then take it to someone and say “Here you go. I built this”.

Today was the first day it didn’t feel awkward when I created something in the .gs editor.

PS: I did it within two playthroughs of For Emma, Forever Ago;

Is it really helpful?

I recognize now that I have uncaringly offered “assistance” many times in my life experience. People didn’t always need my help, they didn’t always want my help, and sometimes my help wasn’t truly helpful. It was actually a way for me to get my way. At the deeper level, my help was making the situation go faster and therefore getting those things done my way for the outcome I wanted, I think true genuine help could be about helping them achieve the good outcome they desire.

Maybe I wanted so bad to plant some rows of sweet corn, when all along….they were looking for a cabbage patch.

4 Years

I was in the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2016. I spent four years in those ivory walls, studying and training day after day. From August of 2012 till May of 2016, I was dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.

But this post isn’t about veterinary medicine, or the four years I spent there…this post is about the Davidson family. About these last four years of our lives.

On June 27 2015, Tiffany Marie Fritz married me. She even changed her name to Tiffany Marie Davidson. Now we’ve passed four years since that date.

I’m astonished at how much has happened, in our lives, in that time. Baby, new friends, jobs, a home, and pains too. Unexpected deaths of old friends and also our miscarriage.

I don’t know what the next 4 years brings, but I know Father will lead us all the way, and I’m glad to be going into those years with my lovely wife.

Changing tides

The low tide rolls in right now, wave upon wave, breaking over the rocks and offering up white foam on each instance. The crashing of water on stone is relentless and predictable.

The changing tide doesn’t even seem possible. How could it? Those waves are incredibly powerful and I can’t see any difference between this one and the last. The next one will also look just the same as this one.

And yet the entire ocean/land interface will have moved by more than a few feet in a short handful of hours from now. The tides will change. The ground we have now will be buried in a short while. We can’t stop the changing of the tides, but we can decide where we will stand when the higher waters come calling.

Happiness?

It seems more prevalent today to be unashamed about living for yourself. Something recently on my social media feed said the following.

Happinesses is a simple thing. If what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy, do something else.

Where does that leave pain, and suffering, in this life?

What about the friend going through chemotherapy right now? They are sick, hurting, and taking small doses of poison week after week. Fighting their hardest to try and kill the cancer inside them before it completely consumes their flesh.

What about the single mother, working two jobs just to stay afloat? Exhausted, drained, and giving everything she can give for the good of her children. Then getting up the next morning and doing it again.

I think of women and men of renown, those that left legacies of hope and good, and I don’t often think of them as epitomes of happinesses. In fact, it seems they are often branded by suffering.

Happinesses just seems too shallow a target to aim for in this life.

Luck

A client told me this past Thursday that luck was the moment “ability meets opportunity”. One of my old professors used to say that it was preparation and opportunity. I think ability and preparation are often married together when we feel lucky.

There must be a measure of ability given before that ability can be grown through preparation. It’s your starting stats in this adventure of life. For example, if I weren’t given the gift of life, if my parents hadn’t so generously given of themselves to care for me, I wouldn’t even be here at this moment. Therefore, we each have some ability. Just the fact that we are breathing, that you’re connected to the world wide web and reading this blog right now, you have some ability.

Ability seems pretty straightforward, you can (e.g. learn, listen, love, grow etc) or you can’t (e.g. be someone else, change the nucleic acid sequence coded in your every cell…).

Opportunity gets more complicated, because we often control other people’s access to opportunity. We don’t mess with their ability too much, but oh boy do we have influence on opportunity. To think of it from the perspective of Harry Potter, are you even invited to Hogwarts? What about the quidditch team? How about the Slug Club?

Am I the only one that felt the pain of Petunia when she didn’t get a letter and Lily her sister did?

Anyway, we can go a long way to making others feel lucky when we give them opportunities. And, just maybe, they will have the ability and preparation within themselves to match the opportunity. When that happens, when they get lucky, they rise to the occasion, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

Why I’ve Been Away

I generally spend a few minutes writing these posts, a few minutes editing them and finally only a child minutes to publish them. All in all, it averages around thirty minutes for me to blog.

Thirty minutes isn’t enough time to write a eulogy for Dr. Thomas Bitterwolf. Every few months we’d email back and forth (Doc called them love notes – told all his students to send him love notes), I’d send him pictures of our family, and he’d give me some life advice. Doc always said we could come stay at the Bitterwolf Inn (he and his wife’s home now that their children had fledged) if we were ever visiting Idaho. Two years ago, I tried to make that connection happen when we went to Idaho for a wedding.

We never got to meet up with him on that trip. I didn’t understand why he didn’t return my calls, but later learned that he was ill and in treatment at that time. Even though our visit didn’t work out, we still emailed every once and a while. Until two months ago when I heard that he had passed on.

This side of eternity, we will never again have the chance for long conversations.

My grandma Elaine went to heaven soon after that, and it’s all the same thing there.

How can I describe her life?

How can I write anything that even gives a glimpse of the life she lived and the storms that she endured? No blog post can tell the story of ones life. Oh I look forward to Heaven. To see her again and talk for a good long time.

Tiffany, Katarina and I have suffered too. And even then, love has been poured out on us.

Not enough, or too many?

I find that when I sit down to write this blog, much like when I sit down to pen a letter, I seemingly have too much to say. I set words upon the page in haste, and while I am only a couple sentences in, they already begin to feel hollow. All of those moments and stories I want to communicate, they are only trifles compared to whatever my friend is experiencing.

Why would they care about the small events in my life?

So what is the value of me writing about the place I visited for breakfast? Because I certainly want to write about Sambo’s Restaurant in Santa Barbara. We were welcomed, as family, by the manager, and we felt so loved.

Anyway, there is a mix of both in my mind. Not enough important things to share here, and also too many things at once. I certainly don’t want to waste anyone’s time with spammy shills of blog posts. I want quality content. I want a meaningful topic. I want to grow. I want elegant prose. Yet, almost a hundred posts in, it is still scary to let these thoughts out into the public.

Sauna

I took a sauna (sow-nuh) today, in memory of my grandma Elaine, and I smiled at the old familiar burn within my nostrils. There were other gentleman sweating it out at the same time, one fellow was Latino and another Portuguese.

They seemed to experience the sauna differently. You see, grandma used to tell me about the sauna being my heritage, and we learned about the traditions, and the community, those old Finn’s had in regards to the sauna. For me it is always a memory of family and fun times. A place of joy.

For these fellows it seemed more a place of labor. I was disappointed that they seemed to endure it rather than relish it in the way I was trained too. I felt some mild offence that they would wear their full exercise gear into the sauna, and listen to their rap music through headphones.

After reflection, I think I was foolish to look at it that way. The sauna experience is ritualized for me and loaded with subtext and a story I’ve been told since I was a young boy.

These fellows have different stories and childhoods.

Why should I be offended by their tradition?

Sleep

I’ve heard it said that the night grows darkest just before dawn. In the nights I’ve spent entirely awake, and outside, I felt that was the case. I’m not sure why it feels that way though.

I frequently rise before 3AM with my current job, so I see many beautiful sunrises from their inception. The deep blue begins to fill the eastern sky sometime before is any easier to see the surrounding. There are quite a few times I’ve stayed up past three, but I think there are probably less than a dozen times in my entire life that I’ve been awake all night long. Most of those were in a pickup on I-70 and even then, I frequently napped for an hour or two at some point in the night when I “drove all night long”.

In thirty years of living I’ve only experienced a handful of entire nights with my conciousness. I sleep deeply, and often, these days. That wasn’t always the case though.

When I was a boy I spent countless nights awake, and crying, in my bed for the fear of monsters. The monsters I feared weren’t real of course. I knew that they weren’t real. I knew they were only in my mind. I knew they couldn’t touch me. The monsters were only imagined, but the fear was real. The pain of laying awake was real. The shame of carrying that fear was real.

That shame was lifted. Those fears shown to be what they were, just wisps of smoke. Now I sleep well.

Don’t let fear and shame steal your sleep as they did mine. Reach out to a friend. Ask God to give you peace. He will lead you on a path of peace, and that path may take you to deeper places in your own soul than you ever thought possible.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord , make me dwell in safety.
Psalms 4:8 ESV

Sleep well tonight, for you are safely in your Father’s arms.

Foundations

In my very limited coding experience, core function designs are passed downstream and they show up many times over throughout the code. Again and again, aspects of those core functions become important to the overall production.

The assumptions that are at the heart of a relationship make themselves apparent through our interactions all the time. Our assumptions about how someone wants to be treated, about what they expect from us, guide our choices. Assumptions are foundational.

Those foundations can be changed. They are not permanent. They are in fact moldable.

You can revisit and rework the basic pieces of the core code, the assumptions in a relationship, or even the foundations of a home. Just remember, if you decide to change the foundations, be prepared to have a shift in everything built on them.

Simple Dinner

Certain events, now long past, remain as highlights in my memories. Shining points in the river of thoughts, feelings, and sensory experiences that flows over many years. One evening in 2010 comes to mind. As I’ve mentioned before, I worked as a wrangler for two seasons at a resort in southeast Utah.

Tamara was from Switzerland, Rogelio from Mexico and they had a beautiful baby girl named Samira. Her name would work in both German and Spanish and was fitting for such a beautiful little girl. Tamara and Rogelio invited a couple of us wranglers over to their home for supper. They lived in a log cabin not too far from the resort grounds. I don’t remember what we ate that night, but I felt like I stepped back in time and looked through someone else’s eyes that night. I felt like I went into the twilight zone.

In a simple log cabin around a wood table we shared a simple dinner. Samira peacefully rested nearby in a rocker, and I felt much love all around. It sticks with me because it was so antithetical to the consumerism cultured we are engrossed in.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
Proverbs 15:17 ESV

This is absolutely true. Ten times out of ten I would choose the chance to spend a cheap dinner of love with family and friends rather than a fancy restaurant with strife and bitterness.

Temporary Pain

Most of the physical pains in my life are only for a brief time. They don’t stay around me very long at all.

Hunger and thirst I feel every day, but before a couple hours are up I am able to get clean water and good food every single day. It’s never a question for me of whether or not I have to go one more day hungry. Sore muscles and aching joints have been common with my job, but a couple days away and I feel brand new.

All these are temporary and I expect the pain to be relatively short-lived. Just like my cold feet and runny nose today that felt ten times better when I got a warm shower. I don’t expect these uncomforts to linger.

But what if it did last?

What if I was cold like that every time I went to sleep, and still that way when I woke up?

I truly can’t imagine what the feeling must be when you believe you’ll never escape the pain.

Living with chronic pain must be like hell.

Showing Love

I just returned from a long day at work. I left my home just before six this morning, and now it is nearly nine in the evening. Katarina was asleep when I left for work, and she is asleep now. I feel bad because I missed an entire day of her life.

But I don’t want to dwell on the sad parts right now.

My lovely wife had prepared delicious food for me, had the kettle simmering gently, and a mug with my favorite herbal tea ready to be filled with boiling water.

It may not seem like much to you, but she was showing me love by doing this.

That means a lot to me.

Wrangling Onward

I worked as a wrangler at Sorrel River Ranch for two seasons.

It seems like just yesterday, and yet it has been a decade since I spent my first season there on the Colorado river. It was there, in that paradise, where I was told my life was perfect and that I should never change. When I thought about the future that summer. When I looked out ten years later for my life, I did not see anything like this now. I probably would have laughed if someone had told me what would happen. My life is nothing like I pictured it would be. I never expected to be married to Tiffany, or to own a home, or to be in California.

I most definitely would not have understood how I feel about Tiffany and Katarina. My wife and baby girl changed my perspective in a way I could not comprehend.

And yet.

In many ways I feel like I’m still the same, I still feel like I’m very young and naive. I feel like I’m just getting started on life – like I’m at the trailhead of my path.

But I’m not just getting started anymore. If this were football, I am well into the second quarter. If I were hiking, I’m closer to the halfway point than to where I started.

This is not the end. Not just yet. There’s still some time left for you and me.

Let’s take this time we have and use it. Spend it. Make every minute worth it.

A Capstone

I worked with a fantastic team today. They have recently experienced some terrific results, results that greatly surpassed their yearly goal. The oldest fellow on the team said that their new status quo was a “capstone”.

I really like his description.

They didn’t get to that level overnight. This is just one more step in a long series of intentional steps. This is the result of years of diligence and focus. It’s like Dave Ramsey’s formula for unstoppable momentum.

Going Live

Seth Godin is often encouraging entrepreneurs to show up and do their best vulnerable work, day after day after day, show up.

Tomorrow is one of those days where the little seed I have been tending leaves it’s safe little pot and is planted out in the garden. I have been looking at this opportunity for several months now. It might fall flat, or be so painful to use that it gets scrapped. If I’m evaluating this impartially, odds are it will just be ignored and will not live up to the ideas and possibilities I have in mind for it.

But maybe, just maybe, this little thing will be the basis for something much bigger. I really don’t know how big of a tree this seed might grow. If I never give it a chance to get out into the world, I’ll never know what could have been. You can bet this seed won’t grow very large at all if I keep it all safe in its little pot.

The Next Time

When I have finished a project, be that a woodcraft, a block of code, or an event, I have always had the thought of what I would do differently next time.

For example, when hosting a breakfast just yesterday, I thought how I should have counted the number of available full size plates beforehand – even when I didn’t know the amount of guests attending. At least that way I could have shrunk the number of unknowns down by one. Honestly, who wants to solve a multifactorial equation when you can just plug and chug a single variable?

Anyway, I often have these thoughts but rarely have I written these thoughts down. I think I will learn more from them if I start writing them down. So here goes some thoughts on last week’s plumbing project

  • Two people would make this job at least four times easier. Passing equipment into the crawl space would be handy. Being able to check apposition and alignment without physically crawling out would be absolutely golden. I had to clean off every time I entered the house, and in the end I still brought a lot of dirt up into the house.
  • PEX is very cheap per foot. I should have been more liberal with my cuts and pieces. I was too careful with my cuts, so I ended up with too much pipe to work with, which was awkward to handle.
  • Wrapping the new joints and fittings before taking the new pipe to it’s installation location. Very simple one here, but after crimping around a fitting I should have wrapped that end to keep it pristinely clean.

Here is a thought on yesterday’s code project.

  • Get a rough draft of all necessary functionality before starting. I mean knowing ahead of time a more comprehensive picture of the functionality I will want. That way I can build one function, and use it twice, rather than building an only slightly different function later.

Mandolin Orange

I recently heard Cavalry, by Mandolin Orange, for my first time. I listened to it dozens of times over the next couple weeks.

I didn’t grasp what the meaning of the song was, but I felt it. I wasn’t even understanding all of the words, but the message was powerful anyway. I was moved by listening to Mandolin Orange, and I’m not sure why.

Today I heard them while listening to a recent episode of Live From Here, and they were show stoppers. When they sang, they had the whole place captivated.