Saturdays, Social Theories, and Getting a Clue

Here I am at the end of the week. I’m exhausted. I have spent most of the day in my bathrobe. I got dressed an hour or so ago as we are going to a party tonight. I’ve been washing clothes, reading my new Servo magazine, and trying to catch up on watching videos. It’s been a “kitty cat day” as Pam calls it.

Have you ever noticed how social events seem to come in waves. We seem to have a flood of events that we are invited to and then there will be weeks when we have none. Not that I’m complaining. I enjoy the time to get chores done around the house and we do have an active social life with our online friends. What would Saturday night be without Sleaze Sinema on Stickam? I need to make some videos. I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had any free time to edit. I’ve taken some footage recently but it’s still on tape in the camera.

I’m working on a lot of projects. I’m making slow progress on them all but it’s not visible progress yet. Part of the problem is that I have too many interests. I’m slowly getting the hang of just doing as much as I can when I’m in the mood and dealing with it. I suppose I should start setting some deadlines. That usually motivates me to accomplish things. E.G. I got my Extra class ham license because I saw that the hamfest was in Huntsville in 3 weeks and I started studying to pass the General class exam. I’m such an over-acheiver 🙂 that I passed both the General test and the Extra test in one sitting.

I had a goal to enter the Rocket City Short Film Festival but I missed the submission deadline. I had a bad case of writers block. Writing these blog posts is an attempt to get over my writers block. It’s kind of a literary version of working out with weights. You have to do it regularly to see the benefits, or so I’m told. I’ve never stuck with lifting weights long enough to see results there either. This seems to be a lot easier than lifting weights though.

I don’t understand what benefit spammers get from commenting on blogs that have comments moderated. I don’t read them so they aren’t getting any message across. I delete them so no one else sees them. All they accomplish is pissing me off.

The internet is full of detailed information about consumers and their interests. Advertising is not the answer. Vendors should engage their target market in a conversation. This would serve everyones interests. The vendor would actually sell more product. Consumers would be able to find information about the products that they want. And consumers would be empowered to tell vendors what they’re doing right and ways they could improve their product.

Ultimately, one would hope, this would result in better products. Companies that discover this and tap this resource will soon gain market share by being more agile and responsive to market demands. This is the age of the continuously improving product. Product development cycles have accellerated to the point where all the phases overlap. I have to credit Dave Winer and The Cluetrain Manifesto gang (Christopher Locke aka Rageboy, Rick Levine, Doc Searles, and David Weinberger) have both explored these ideas in depth. The thing that either has changed or is about to change is that we’ve reached a tipping point. Much of the specific infrastructure to support dialogs of this type are now in place.

Got to wrap this up and get ready to leave for the party. I’m glad I blogged today. I will keep at it, one day at a time, until I get it down.

Change is Good

I realized today that I had been getting really tired of the theme that I was using. This may have had some influence on how often I blogged. Now don’t get me wrong. The main reason that I go so long between posts is that I get distracted by other priorities. But I think I’ll use the fact that a new look and feel every now and then helps rekindle excitement about how your words look when you post them.

I’m still trying to get a clear vision of how I want to transform my life. I am not happy with the way things are. I have trouble getting inspired to go to work. Work has reverted to something I do to pay the bills. I want more than that. I want to be engaged by my work. I guess I’m spoiled that way. I have several ideas that I’d love to explore. I think any one of them are potentially very profitable. I just need to figure out how to see one of them through to profitability. I believe that if you can imagine something clearly enough, you can make it happen. It’s never failed for me in the past.

I’ll allocate some time to fool with the theme some more soon, maybe this weekend. In the mean time, I’m getting back on that horse and aiming at blogging daily again. Dave Winer makes it look so easy. I think it’s just a matter of getting into the habit of writing at least once a day at a conventional time. Like right after you check your email in the morning maybe.

Upgrade to WordPress 2.3

I upgraded to WordPress 2.3 today. But then I suppose you’ve already read the headline. They’ve added tags to WordPress. I was using categories like tags. That will be an adjustment. I’ll probably greatly reduce the number of categories at some time in the future. I also will have to find (or write) a widget friendly theme. I customized the out of the box theme a little and I’ll probably live with it a while. Too much work to tweak themes :-).

I notice that it was last week when I blogged last. I will start blogging more often. I am determined. I will also start making more videos. Those are the two things that I plan to focus on until I get them down. I also plan to spend some time on writing screenplays.

It’s getting late and I need to shut down and go home. I’m pretty pleased with the way the upgrade turned out. I need to email the backup I did of the database to my home account.

Ramble on Writing and a Rant

I find myself in one of two situations a lot. Either I’m sitting here in front of an empty page trying to think of something that I want to write about or I just start typing about what ever comes to mind. In the first case nothing gets written. In the second, I get practice writing at the expense of rambling on about nothing in particular and boring myself and any reader that happens to stumble across my blog to death.

One of the things I like about YouTube is that when I watch a video, especially a vlog, and it inspires a comment, I can start a discussion with the vlogger. One of the things I don’t like about YouTube is the limit on the length of comments. I understand that it’s a free service and all those comments cost money to store. But videos cost money to store and comments take so much less storage. Maybe it’s the fact that it is so much easier to make a comment than it is to make a video which results in the volume of comments far exceeding the volume of video responses. Anyway, the point is I like the dialog.

I have yet to have a comment on this blog that wasn’t spam. I don’t think anybody reads it. I don’t know why I bother posting at all. I could just as easily write this stuff and store it on my computer. I guess it is a combination of hope that someone will read it and a kind of romanticism about contributing to the vast corpora of data available over the internet. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll write something that someone wants to read. That’s the idea behind writing here regularly.

I sure like my MacBook. It has changed my life. I can sit in any room in the house and read my email, write in my blog, watch YouTube or surf the web. I actually do many of the things that I couldn’t find time in front of the computer to do now that I don’t have to sit at my desk to do them. I can sit in front of the TV with Pam or take it to the bathroom with me in the morning. I can take it to bed with me. Let’s face it, I’m a computer junky.

Back on the musing about writing topic, I’m reminded of the essay that Paul Graham wrote that explained that essay writing is exploring ideas. Blogging is a kind of essay writing. If you have the discipline and take the time to edit a blog post it is an essay. If you’re lazy, like me, it is whatever flies off of your fingertips while you are thinking. It is more like the notebook that you use to capture the thoughts that you edit into an essay than it is the final essay itself. But I think it has value. It lets people see your train of thought as it evolves. This could be useful, especially if the train ever goes anywhere.

I’m doing better with the frequency of my posts. I haven’t found the place in my daily schedule that will turn this into a habit but I’m working on it. I am about sick of this theme. I’m either going to make up a theme of my own or more likely find another one on the WordPress site and change over to it. I might just hack on this one a bit. I like the colors, its the photograph that needs to change periodically. I need a new camera.

I need to be independently wealthy. I have so many expensive hobbies. Most of them aren’t that expensive once you get set up. I’ve got most of what I need to make videos now. I could use a microphone here and a mixer there and lights and a green screen and software upgrades. But the point is, I can make videos with what I have already. Those accessories would be nice but they aren’t necessary.

I recently upgraded my Amateur Radio license so that I have operating privileges in a bunch of new segments of the radio spectrum. I could build radios to operate in those segments from kits or from scratch. And, I intend to do that. Part of ham radio that I enjoy is homebrewing (building your own hardware). Currently though, I don’t have any working radios. Now radios aren’t that expensive but they are expensive enough that I can’t afford to just go out and buy one. Even a little general coverage receiver is going to cost somewhere around $100.

Right now, I’m struggling to pay my bills. Actually, I’m struggling to pay my bills because I’m helping my daughter get set up in business. So, I’m paying my bills and part of hers. I know this is a temporary situation but it is frustrating. And then there are the other things that come up like house maintenance, car maintenance, we need new furniture, we need newer cars as the ones we have get older and stay broken more frequently.

I know this has turned into a bitch session but it helps to get these things down where you can look at them. Then you can start working on ways to deal with them. Also, when you list all your problems like this, you get a feeling about their scope. In all fairness though, I need to do a blog about all my blessings to balance out this one a little.

Tuesday Ramble

I’ve been trying to get over this virus the last couple of days. It saps my energy so that I get tired very quickly. That makes it hard to find time to do the things that I have to get done, much less the more or less optional activities like blogging. That doesn’t mean that I’m any less committed to blogging daily, just that I’ve had a temporary set back.

I finally started getting something tangible accomplished at work today. I have been studying various Microsoft Enterprise Frameworks like BizTalk and SharePoint. I made very little progress with the frameworks but yesterday I decided to punt and implement the functionality with a simple Java program. Twenty four hours later and I had implemented 90% of the functionality that I had been struggling to implement for weeks with the Microsoft tools. Now I’m not being critical of Microsoft and I admit that I’m much more experienced with Java than I am with .NET or any of the Microsoft languages and frameworks, but this is ridiculous.

I’m going to post this and go to bed. I’m exhausted. It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. Hell, the whole rest of the week is going to be hectic.

Sick Day Ramble

Today I stayed home sick. I took a long nap. I feel better than I did. Which is good because the last time I stayed home sick, the air conditioner quit and I spent the day trying to figure out what went wrong with it and didn’t get any rest. I felt a lot worse today than I did that time. I wouldn’t have done well if I had been confronted with a crisis today.

This week I discovered a new TV show on Showtime. It’s called Californication and it stars David Duchovny. What an emotional roller coaster ride. The episode I saw on Monday was the fifth one. I went back today and watched episodes one and two. That leaves me two more episodes to watch until I catch up. It is an incredibly well written and well produced series. The characters are quirky but likable. I love it.

I relate very strongly to Duchovny’s character on a fundamental level. Not that I have the kind of sex life that he has. That would be strictly in my dreams. Rather, I relate to the fact that he is basically a good guy that is trying to practice his profession (writer) and struggles with an environment hostile to his process. He pines for his beloved New York. But, as we all must do, he has to adapt or die.

I finally feel a little better. I’m going to venture out to get carry out supper. It’s SciFi Friday – Dr. Who, Flash Gordon, and Pain Killer Jane. I have missed so much of Pain Killer Jane that I usually don’t watch it any more. I’m not a big fan of violent thrillers. I prefer the more cerebral mystery/scifi/adventure type shows.

Balance, Goals, and a List

I am struggling for balance. There is so much that I want to do and I’m realizing that I only have a short time to do everything that I’m going to do. It really brings home the importance of prioritization. I started writing this entry in an attempt to follow through on my resolve to make blogging a regular part of my life. But as I write I am thinking and what I’m learning from this introspection is that blogging is a tool for refining my thinking on various subjects. Paul Graham pointed out that the word essay means to explore. That captures a lot of the value of blogging to me.

So, I’ll talk a little bit about some of the things that I want to accomplish. In this first pass, I’ll focus on listing them without assigning priorities or time frames. I think it is important to do this in order to keep from getting bogged down in details and missing the big picture. I also want to go ahead and post what I write in this session, even though it probably won’t be comprehensive, in order to keep the flow going. Then, when I’ve listed most of the things that I want to do, I’ll start elaborating on them, prioritizing them, and trying to establish the time frame that I plan to accomplish them in. I think a bullet list will be appropriate for this first pass.

  • Write an episode of The Gentry.
  • Write and produce a short video for entry into film festivals.
  • Play and record music.
  • Write fiction.
  • Write software.
  • Experiment with my robot.
  • Build a bigger robot from scratch.
  • Put a ham station on the air.
  • Build ham gear.
  • Go for daily walks.
  • Swim occasionally.
  • Live in Great Britain for a year or two.
  • See Europe.
  • Write something every day.
  • Meet some of my You Tube friends face to face.
  • Pay attention to Pam.
  • See America.
  • Post more videos to You Tube.

That’s a start anyway. I captured a lot of my aspirations. This will give me something to think about for a while. I just need to overcome inertia. As the Nike motto says, just do it!