just thinking out loud, Uncategorized 0 comments on SCUBA class fail

SCUBA class fail

I did everything wrong at SCUBA class today.

Funny because I thought that I did everything else quite well today.

I got to class late because I got into a really good discussion with Jason and Andrew about how to work through some new questions that we’re posing at work. It’s a really fascinating time for me on that front. I thought that I really enjoyed creating much more than innovating. This is a problem when it comes to joining a project, and helping to be part of the solution. However, it turns out that I really have no problem with innovating, but that I just hate doing things when I think I’m perpetuating a bad state of being.

And so I’m trying to do a better job of understanding what it means for a project to be in a bad state. Is it that you read the code, and think to yourself, “Why the fuck was it done this way?” That’s one piece, but the god honest truth is that after one month when you look at any code you ask yourself why the fuck anyone thought it was a good idea, especially when you’re that anyone. We all outgrow our code.

Fine, it isn’t the code itself. Then is it that the API is too fragile to really scale? The tough thing there is, the product requirements ask that an engineer deliver functionality*. Good engineering practices ask that an engineer deliver functionality. All fine and dandy right? No. Not at all. If a product works, and if an architecture works are two completely different sets of functionality. It’s just unbelievably frustrating when you want to build a product, and have to build an engineering toolkit instead, and vis-a-versa. However, that doesn’t put things in a bad state. It creates friction. Friction produces heat. Heat produces fire, and fire leads to the Internet (just run with it, we don’t have that much server space to draw out the connection).

So fine, we have friction, but we’re not in a bad state yet. So what’s the problem then?

I think I figured it out tonight at SCUBA. You see, I didn’t realize that I had a bad O-Ring because it looked normal to me. The teacher said you have to smell that it’s off. That made no sense to me at all. You’re supposed to put the weights into these quick to remove weight pockets, and I put them in a side, zippered pocket instead. So when we went to do the ascent technique which requires throwing away your weights…. I just sat on the bottom of the pool. I was just in the wrong mind set the whole night. And that’s the problem.

A bad state is one of a discordant mind set. I felt as if this post needed some big words, so I threw those in there. But this experience in the pool tonight really opened my eyes to a wider problem. If you’re constantly solving a different problem than the one being presented to you, there’s a problem. It gets even worse when you can’t conceive of why you’re constantly unable to achieve success. In your mind set, you’re solving the problem presented to you and solving it well (in theory). However, the truth is that you’re just solving a problem, but not THE problem, and unless they are one in the same, then you’re just plain out of luck.

So, after my SCUBA fail, I think the proper resolution is to work on understanding the macro problem, and then understanding how to decompose that into micro-level actions. The challenge awaits!

Ramadan, Uncategorized 0 comments on Making sense of the illogical

Making sense of the illogical

We had 7 men at our soccer match today. Let’s say 6 because I’m fasting and I’m not 100%. Let’s say 5 because our goalie got kicked in the knee 20 minutes into the first half, and ended up giving up some goals he wouldn’t have otherwise. Actually, let’s go all the way down to 4 because one of our two middies got kicked in the ankle late in the second half as we were pressing again to effectively guarantee we were insane for playing.

They started with eight, and were up to 10 players before the twenty minute mark of the first half. We had a 4-0 lead with 5 minutes to go in the first half, and then they scored on a totally unfortunate clear attempt. We went into halftime 4-1 feeling really good. We knew we’d gotten lucky, and that they’d had a bunch of chances, but we really felt like we could make a go for it.

They made a very good adjustment at halftime. They started overloading the backside, and started crossing early. This forced us to overload the backside as well… not a big deal. Since we were down men, I chose to instead keep someone always as a center back, and to instead have the folks on the ball side be much more aggressive. As in, if you’re the left back, then attack the ball. I shift to become the left back, and the right back becomes the center back clearing up the balls in the air. On paper, it’s exactly what we needed to do, but in practice we just broke down.

I just don’t know what happened…

I couldn’t clear a ball to a white shirt to save my life. That led to 3 of their goals. We had a goalie/defender interchange error. That led to one goal. I just feel as if I lost the game today. It would be easy to blame the 10 guys that didn’t show up, or the fact that I’m fasting or a million other things, but in the second half I just didn’t execute.

The amazing thing is that I genuinely in my heart believed that 7 on 10, we had a chance. Next time…

Ramadan, Uncategorized 0 comments on It isn’t supposed to make sense

It isn’t supposed to make sense

Forever is a really long time.

To really make forever with anyone work, there is a lot of give and take. Parents, siblings, lovers, children, friends… It’s a lot of people with whom you are both consciously and subconsciously compromising.

There are incredibly silly things that are just resolved in the course of feeling each other out. What should the default radio station be in the car. Who cares whether it’s NPR or the local top-twenty station. Just figure it out, and move on.

Then there’s the next tier, which is where one starts to change because the compromise isn’t something one would naturally choose, but the specific relationship is worth it. As an example, I hate talking on the phone, absolutely hate it, but I have a lot of friends who don’t use technology like I do, and so to stay in their lives I call them. More likely they call me, but I take the call, which I just… I hate the telephone. Actually, note to self… I should find my iPhone ear buds because that was the one saving grace.

Back to the topic at hand. The change oneself tier is penultimate to the remain true to oneself tier. At some point, one has to be oneself, and any relationship which changes that core is actually a destructive one. If you find that you need to change something which is at someone’s core, then just don’t have a relationship with that person.

I know the missionaries out there disagree, but I feel as if re-writing an individual’s core is like programming them to be a different person just so that it suits you better.

The ironic bit of it is that the line between the change oneself tier and the true to oneself tier is undefined, and undefinable. It’s also ever changing, and difficult to nail down. Very Heizenberg in nature in that sense. And just like the partially understood electrons in Heizenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the opposite party in the relationship can try to nail down an understanding or meaning or logic to why your core is the way it is, but at some degree that’s one’s secret sauce to cultivate, develop and share as one sees fit.

Why people are this way isn’t supposed to make sense, and that’s the leap of faith we take when we commit ourselves to true lifelong relationships.

Making sense of “it” is a mistake.

Discovering “it” is the purpose of the journey.