Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Storm

No, the title is not some metaphor regarding an emotional storm I'm going through. I mean an ICE STORM! This week I was traveling for work but we cut the trip short and hurried home as a substantial portion of the country was impacted by winter weather. Here we had a mini-ice storm that shut down the city for a good 24 hours. In rural areas the streets are still frozen. Where I live the roads were safe for driving yesterday, but parking lots were a bit hazardous. The trees were totally covered in ice and bowed under the weight. It was absolutely stunning. Sadly, today the sun started melting the trees. The beautiful frozen Narnia began to thaw and it sounded like it was raining as water poured off the trees. Why do those meddling Pevensie's have to mess things up?

video

Life is still quite busy between work and personal goals. I've got another exam for work that I'm trying to study for and am also still working out twice a week. Slowly I'm seeing results but the self-esteem and energy boost after working out are already in full effect. Additionally, I have a new haircut that I love so I'm feeling quite cute. Hahaha. I only say this because I have a tendency to be rather critical of my own appearance, so I appreciate the times I feel attractive. I do attempt to keep my self-criticism to a minimum as it's a trait I find extremely unappealing in others.

Life here is really great for me. I've got some more serious posts I'm working on, but as I've mentioned time has been at a premium lately...sort of. This weekend I carved out about 12 hours (maybe more) to beat WORLD OF GOO. If you do not have this game you need to stop reading this post and go buy it. It's so much fun! Google it.

This March I'm supposed to be running another 5K and I hope I'm still in shape. I'm going to start running again this week. Alas, I found out Friday that I'm going to be taking a very short trip (under 48 hours) to a location yet to be determined for work. I do enjoy the fact that I can travel at anytime with my job, but every now and then I do wish I had a bit more consistency in my schedule. Of course, if I was not traveling 30-40% of the year I'd be terribly bored at home even if it meant I would always be able to make my training schedule at the gym.

Friday night I had a deep conversation with my roommate and it brought up a lot of emotion that I'd kind of buried. Be expecting a blog about my feelings soon!

Finally, today I bought a MicroSD card reader for my computer. Sadly, in a series of very stupid mistakes on my part I managed to get a mini-cd stuck in my computer (iMacs do NOT like mini-cds - DUH!), download unnecessary software repeatedly, and waste 45 minutes only to discover the problem was that I did not plug the cord in all the way! GAH. I used to work at an IT Helpdesk, and here I am making rookie mistakes. Oh well.

I leave you with my favorite photo from the storm.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Round-up

I find myself preoccupied by lots of things that keep me from blogging. None are too terribly exciting. One new "hobby" is watching Dr. Who (thanks Netflix). Growing up I used to watch the old series every now and again with my dad. I was quite late getting into the new one and I can't wait to catch up with Torchwood!

I'm headed out of town so I figure I'll post a round-up of things I've been meaning to share, but have not gotten around to until now:

  • Biblical Historicity is an interest of mine, especially after an online course I was taking peaked my interest. This is an interesting read about David and Solomon.
  • A good friend's sister posted this about yoga recently. It's absolutely worth a read, even if you don't know (or care) anything about yoga.
  • Surely you have all seen Avatar by now. I also assume you've seen these. They've been making the rounds around the internet and I find them quite amusing.
  • This Lily Allen song is one of my new favorites. I know it's not quite new.
  • If any guys out there are in need of a new haircut you should check out about.com. Really, it's still a great site for a lot of info!
There are a ton of other things I would like to share, but I'll do it at a later date. I'll post something more substantial next week. Scout's honor.

I almost forgot! I want a new bicycle. Come spring, it will be mine!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Inertia

Before I begin I have a question. It seems that traffic has seen an upswing here and I'm not sure why. However, the real puzzle is where it's coming from! Here is a list of countries: Sweden, Malaysia, Spain, Singapore, Italy, Netherlands, Qatar, Lithuania, Singapore, France, Portugal, and more!

At first I was thinking someone might be using Tor or something, but does that really generate IP addresses around the globe? Most of these visits are 0 seconds. However, if anyone reading this is international (not you M or O), I would love if you left a comment explaining how you ended up here. Thanks!

Now for the main post.

In my job I try to understand how things work. I then compare the idea of how something works to the reality of how it's currently being executed. You would be quite surprised how large the gap between perception and reality can be.

The two most important questions I attempt to answer are "how" and "why" things work the way they work. As expected, people can almost always tell me how something works (when they can't it make my life miserable), but quite often the why can't be answered. Ideally a process operates the way it operates because it's the best method to achieve an established goal. The goal could be related to efficiency, safety, compliance, etc. Alas, when a company gets to a certain size, the rationale for business decisions is often unknown. At some point a decision was made, but over the years the reason for that decision was forgotten. Inertia has taken over.

We all remember from physics that inertia is the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. In our daily lives we tend to think about this in relation to speeding cars or falling objects. However, the inertia impacting our daily habits is a far more influential force.

I've been "acted upon" by an outside force that has thrown me off my game. The devastation in Haiti has really depressed me. The overwhelming and senseless loss of life in insane. Honestly, I don't usual get that worked up over tragedy (9/11, Katrina, Indo Tsunami, none have hit me like this). Maybe it's related to the fact that this is the first tragedy without a god for me. Being a naturalist has been fine in theory, but witnessing the absolute devastation and indifference of the universe towards human suffering is jarring. Still, it can validly be argued a lot of the devastation was augmented by humanity (i.e., the 80% poverty rate that caused the earthquake to be so destructive). Clearly, Haiti offers a view into the worst of mankind and forces you (well, me at least) to wrestle with how I can be so indifferent on a daily basis.

I know I harp on this a lot. I certainly talk about human suffering a lot more than I take action to alleviate it. I get so wrapped up in my life (finding love, television, eating, sleeping, sex, work, money, etc.) that I don't see a bigger picture. It's incredible that in a world so interconnected we can also be so disconnected.

A couple of weeks ago I thought I had my next 5 years set in stone. I was going to save X amount of dollars, apply to certain schools, move, get a Master's degree, get a new job, and...live happily ever after? Now I'm not so sure about my plans. I'm going to take a step back and fight against the inertia that so easily drives along my life.

Though tragedy is an eternal part of the human narrative, so are grace, beauty, redemption, and salvation*. It's time to rewrite this tragedy.

*Paraphrased from a sermon I heard this morning.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Substitute

As a kid walking into class to find your teacher gone is almost always an awesome experience. It's not that the teacher is bad or that you wish him or her harm. Instead, what gives you an excited feeling is the knowledge a substitute means an easy day: movies, games, free-time, etc.

This particular day with the substitute was pleasant, though not the fun-fest I had expected. My real teacher had apparently left rather detailed instructions to keep us occupied and the substitute was dutifully adhering to them. One of these instructions was to collect an assignment we had completed earlier. As she came around to each group of desks (we were clustered together in "tables") I found my paper and handed it over. Upon taking it she handed it back reminding me to put my name on top. At this suggestion another group member shouted "No! We have a rule. The teacher says if you don't put your name on a paper you get a 0". Other group members joined in to confirm this statement.

I was horrified. No such rule existed and I didn't know what to do. I was overwhelmed by the scene unfolding in front of me, my classmates lying to amuse themselves and make me miserable. I don't remember what happened immediately after. I know I did not end up with a 0. I'm also fairly certain I didn't break down in tears (though I'm certain I wanted to). Grades were an obsession as was doing things correctly. I was an obscenely nerdy child, not completely socially awkward, but enough to struggle with relating to my peer group. Situations like this obviously never helped.

This was merely a joke for my classmates, but to me it was devastating. I did not have the self-confidence or sense of humor I have today, but how many self-assured 4th graders do you know?

The moral of the story? Sometimes kids can be punks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Turn Around

I spend more than I make.

I have one resolution this year. All of my willpower will be concentrated into changing my current habits. If I do not, the only thing my future holds is financial ruin. I am not being melodramatic. Things must change.

I'm writing this in the midst of a project to clean out my room. I've been working on it over the course of the past few months and thought I was pretty much done. However, something is different tonight. Instead of rearranging the items in my room and tossing out a few things here and there, I'm actually going through the drawers, boxes, and containers that hold my possessions. I have discovered they contain a whole lot of crap. I never want this to happen again.

I've established a 12/2010 goal to be debt free and have a specific amount of money in my long-term savings account. It's ambitious but attainable.

2010 will also hold some changes for this blog. I'm going to post at least once a week and plan on working to improve the quality of my posts. Since I've worked through the "gay thing" for the most part, it's time for a new direction. I've got an idea or two for a couple of series and want to talk about religion and atheism more than I have before.

Let's make this the best year ever. Cheers.