Thursday, May 24, 2007

It is a dichotomy, a sword which cuts and a needle which mends.

A second dichotomy, which wears us down, and lifts our spirits.

The phone rings, the person next to us gabbles on about wireless networking, and the email pours in, demanding response. Just ten minutes of silence brings blessed relief; a short space of meditation, and we can return to the chaos and be effective agents for creation and completion.

The phone is silent, the people around us go about their day, walking around us like a post, or a chair in the aisle. The inbox and IM clients are quiet, the status for them all, 'away'. Just a brief hello, or :-) would be nice, but no one thinks to send one this way. The silence is oppresive.

If chaos reigns, we wish for silence.
If silence reigns, we long for some noise.

When we are in high demand, we wish for just one day or one weekend to expend effort on our own behalf, instead of for those around us. We are glad to be of use, but become self-obligated, and cannot bear to say no. We wish we could just go away and be free for a time. We look out at the peaceful exterior, and wish for some quiet.

When we are left to ourselves, we look at the world of accomplishment, and long to be needed. Others are sympathetic, but are already tied up in their plans, and cannot afford to change them at this late notice, to include our efforts. We look in from the outside, wishing for some activity.

An interesting give-and-take -- we wish for one, and then feel ashamed to wish for the opposite, when what we wished for to begin with becomes overly burdensome. Too much chaos, and we wish for peace, but are ashamed because we volunteered for the chaos to begin with. Total silence, and we wish for contact, but are ashamed, because this is the silent peace we just finished wishing for.

The system seems to tend toward instability - the calm middle ground is so hard to achieve, and impossible to maintain. We burn ourselves out at one extreme, or withdraw into meaningless-ness at the other, or drive ourselves and everyone else around us crazy, oscillating between the extremes.

The chaos of obligation wears us down into mental anguish, yet the noise of friends restores our spirits. The peace of sleep heals the soul from this day's troubles, but the silence of death separates us forever.

Peace and Contact.
Chaos and Silence.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

may 20

Life is always far bigger, more interesting, and potentially fun, than we give it credit for -- and if we aren't participating, it is *still* big, interesting, and fun -- it is just being that way, without us.

So it is better to participate. That is why there is life, after all -- it should not be wasted.

Monday, May 7, 2007

American duck: quack quack, quack. quack?
Vietnamese đuck: quăck quãck? quạ̉ck quắck. quàck.
American duck: QUÀCK!
Vietnamese đuck: .... huh?
American duck: QUÀCK!
Vietnamese đuck: .... what?
American duck: quack?
Vietnamese đuck: Oh, you mean, QUĂCK!
American duck: .... that's what I said.
Mrs. Beaver: Yeah, well you need to stop bringing your dam work home.
Mr. Beaver: Hey, that dam work built your dam house.
So Lileks has been reassigned. Interesting. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the paper felt they could no longer afford to pay him for creative writing, and instead of firing their (̣̣arguably) best writer, compromised by moving him to doing straight news.

I mean, suppose you took the ducks, and put a cap on their diction lessons and placed them in charge of damming a creek? Would that work? I mean, even if you *needed* the creek dammed, does it make sense to put ducks (of any nationality) in charge?

So what do you do, when you believe your bosses have moved you into a position 1) you do not like, and 2) for which you do not think you are well-suited? You could sit around all day and quack to anyone who will listen, just how bad your dam job is.

When it happened to me, I moved myself into a different area. Not immediately; it took me awhile to figure out what to do, and even longer to figure out how to do it. I don't know if Lileks can do that, but he's a smart guy, and talented; I'm sure he'll figure that one out.

But darnit if it didn't happen to me again, on a smaller scale. Or maybe it didn't. This time, I think I am at least as good at the new thing as the old thing, maybe better... but it would be nice to have an explanation. I would hate to think that my bosses considered me a dam duck, and decided to put me back in the duck pond, when I really thought I had potential write some dam code.

Probably, just a matter of human economics. They needed me to sort things left, right, and center, instead of fixing them.

Could be.