2009: To Be Is To Do

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

— Albert Einstein

Can someone help me scratch an itch?

Can someone help me scratch an itch?

2008 was a hard year for me. 2008 was also a wonderful year for me. I just felt like at times there just was too many plates to keep spinning. Most of them are still spinning and there is surprisingly little to sweep up, but there was enough wobbling to make things painfully interesting. The whirlwind year saw my wife graduate from medical school and my second son turn one. I joined forces with Luke and I started blogging. Since June, I was in Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland OR, Toronto and San Fransisco twice, for a week each time. I got to meet a lot of interesting people, was introduced to a lot of new ideas and I was able to share some of mine. I can’t say I was totally ineffective, but one thing 2008 exposed to me is a lot of my inefficiencies.

Don't breathe

Don't breathe

I decided the theme for 2009 was going to be ‘Embrace the Suck’, not because I believe 2009 is shaping up to be so horrible, but because I know there will be things out of my control. C’est la vie is the kinder gentler version of the same sentiment. There are things I can control and things I cannot but if I can’t control myself, what can I hope to effect? Whatever the circumstances, the choice is always between two extremes. Duality can take many forms, but I think the lens most useful for myself is love vs. fear. ‘Embrace the Suck’ might be another way of saying ‘love the fear’. I’m going to do my best to be motivated by passion and love, while minimizing justification and self delusion.

I’m also going to try to be more balanced.

I like to move it move it

I like to move it move it

Not static balance, dynamic balance… Martha Graham mixed with Bruce Lee, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The balance that is throwing your center of gravity and not letting it get away. The balance of extremes, a swinging mobile with long levers sweeping through space and time, manifesting very little in the center, balanced duality, appropriately more kind and more fierce. 2009 will be more stillness when resting and more intensity when not. More exertion and more replenishment…

So far, so good, started off the year by making some new friends at the URUG hackfest. We had hoped to master Support Vector Machines, but that was a bit ambitious for an afternoon, but we did enough to get a handle on the problem, and liked the experience enough to commit to doing it regularly. Something good should come out of that. I’ve committed to learning LISP this year (maybe the dragon book next) and we’ll see if I can’t make just a bit of headway on some other languages as well. I’ve got a lot of different goals and responsibilities for Reductive Labs this year, definitely taking that into uncharted territory one way or another. 2009 is going to be a lot of things, not sure what exactly, but I’m not waiting to find out.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

–Robert Heinlein

Let’s get this party started… The spice must flow

I’m ready for you 2009, bring it on…

Only I will remain…


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