Painting the bike shed

I just had another long meeting.  I managed to conceptualize a video game, design a jet, come up with three interior configurations (from 8 luxury seats and a bed to a 16 seat commuter), and then developed a business plan based on leasing that commuter jet for 5 million dollars.  It turns out that I’d need to charge $334/seat, average 75% occupancy, make 2 flights a day for 300 days a year, and I’d make a profit in 10 years.  If you know anyone looking for a solid 3.8% return, I’d like to start an airline.  After that I got bored and drew up some house plans, ice cream cones, and various halberds and other weapons.

After deciding the theme of the meeting was not “What color should we paint the bicycle shed?” but “What color should the bicycle shed be painted?”  I managed to chime in after a particularly clueless comment that we should use paint.  The scary thing is I think the only other guy who was on that level was the architect.

I’ll be glad to work for myself.  I’ll just have to be sure to concentrate on painting sheds instead of dreaming of building boats, so that I can afford one some day.


“I hate being busy,” I said this morning to my wife, reflexively, as she finished reciting the list of things we need to do. Not that it was a particularly busy schedule, but more out of a general statement of preferences, and especially considering my lazy nature.

In a less honest or more philosophical vein I took up the thought during lunch and expounded upon it to myself:

“I hate being busy.”

“I like concentrating and relaxing.”

I found some truth in this, and actually, I can honestly say my laziness is really an aversion to being busy. I hate being busy, having a lot of non-connected things to do, as as an admittedly dysfunctional defense mechanism, I behave lazily.

Because when you’re busy, you can’t concentrate or relax, even if you’re not doing what you should be busy doing.

So you procrastinate, find other things to do that would make you more busy if you did them, anything but act busy, because that endorses business (Busy-ness.)

Logically, if I did the things that made me busy, I would potentially be able to find the time to concentrate or relax. But that’s not true. Busy people stay busy. They get busier. It’s called effectiveness. They get a lot done, but they don’t do a lot of concentrating or relaxing. Unless they mark it on their schedule.

I submit that very few people can concentrate or relax very effectively in such a regimented way, on demand. I could also submit that very few people may actually be able to concentrate or relax very effectively at all. But that’s narcissistic, and possibly not true.

I like to think that I’m good at both. Most people like to think that they’re good at what they love. Few baseball fans would admit they can’t hit a fastball, even if they could bring themselves to accept that Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds might be better than them.

I don’t think I’m the best concentrator. I tend to credit myself with a tendency to distraction (who doesn’t claim they have ADD these days?) and I admit to being too anxious or uncomfortable to relax very well. But I see a potential. Because if you really love something you’re willing to practice it. And while I might not have been blessed with Daryl Strawberry’s ability to focus on the ball equivalent of focusing on nothing, I’m sure I could get much better.

I already know I’m better than average, even if handicapped.

For me, concentration requires a good long stretch of time without distractions. The opposite of being busy. Maybe it doesn’t for everyone, but it’s nearly a tautology. Only the transition to and from concentration (or relaxation) can be variant.

Now, achieving relaxation is pretty easy for me. But not easy to maintain. Why? Because I want to concentrate. My periods of relaxation are more often broken by desires to concentrate than the frustrations of distraction. And then business or the nagging guilt of avoiding it distracts me from concentration.

If I did have the luxury of large blocks of time for concentration and relaxation would I waste the relaxive periods concentrating? Would I become busy doing what I love?

I don’t think so, but we’ll see. I’m going to have 6 months to find out soon, when we move to Ecuador, and success should be the only thing to stop me from revelling in concentration or relaxation, whichever I choose. And because I think I can easily relax, when I am ready to, I won’t feel pressure to break concentration to relax, and when relaxed, I won’t feel an urge to concentrate until I’m ready again.

Although, truth be told, I hope to stay busy, as long as it’s profitable.  So that I can concentrate and relax all the more in the future.  Is this procrastination?

A simple idea

an image annotating /  watermark utility.  I’m picturing a webpage with a file upload and a text box (alternately two images) — it’s a simple utility and can demonstrate ability and drive a little traffice.

I was playing around with imagemagick this weekend and I’ve got everything but the file upload and abuse prevention.  It’d be a day’s work and the biggests concerns would be bandwidth if it gets popular and abuse.

John Edwards’ Essay on Foreign Affairs

“This century’s first test of our leadership arrived with terrible force on September 11, 2001. When the United States was attacked, the entire world stood with us. We could have pursued a broad policy of reengagement with the world, yet instead we squandered this broad support through a series of policies that drove away our friends and allies.”

I still don’t know what re-engagement means, but which policies “drove away our friends and allies”?

I can think of a few, specifically:

1. Demanding foreign institutions allow us to track the funds used to commit the terrorist attacks. This was particularly irksome to the owners of the fabled “Swiss Banks” who pride themselves on the selling point of untraceability that so many of their clients dearly love. A great bulk of our initial intelligence on Al Qaeda came directly from transactional data bullied from international financiers (who are allegedly all Zionist pigs, anyway, by the way.)

2. Exposing the Oil for Food scandal and its perpetrators in the UN and supposed allies such as France and Russia. This is what made us bitter enemies leading up to the Iraq invasion, and the duplicity of supposed friends including Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac, who lied and murdered to protect their filthy lucre. The United States showed incredible diplomatic grace by not immediately evicting the United Nations from our soil and declaring war on the government of France, who it was exposed was actively working with Saddam Hussein in opposition to weapons inspections and the embargo. France was materially at War with the United States from at least the mid 1990s until 2003 by proxy support of the Iraqi dictator in violation of the 1991 cease-fire. And from 2001 to 2003 and continuing after the invasion of Iraq openly incited every country whom it had influence with towards hostility to the U.S. Russia was hardly less complicit, but was hardly considered our ally, and by agreeing to US military forces (only a few hundred) to pass through it’s former (now independent) satellites including Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, gained a considerable amount of good will, which has definitely been squandered in more recent years through it’s open antagonism and increasing alliance with Communist China.

3. The invasion of Iraq itself. The deposing of Saddam Hussein, one would think, is hardly a thing to be lamented, but as mentioned above, his corrupt regime had bought the support of many individuals, including the Secretary General of the UN, many leaders in France and other countries. So the “friends of Saddam” were angered by his ouster, and the policy which had been at least nominally in place since 1998 when declared by then president Bill Clinton when brought into action forced many friends to choose sides between America and the Iraqi dictator. Sadly, many of them chose the latter, spurred by a reckless Chirac whose chauvinism and ignorance lead him to believe that America would lose the contest. Also, many Arabs, for different reasons, including those espoused by Al Qaeda’s leadership concerning “infidels on Muslim soil” (sounding curiously like a medieval crusade) and many states who were already directly hostile to the United States including Syria and Iran, who did not welcome increased American military presence in the area, but also other countries who feared that the ouster of one dictator could lead to the illegitimacy of the claims of others to lead, and this led particularly to animosity from otherwise neutral parties from Africa to Venezuela, spurred likely by the rhetoric of Russian, French, and Chinese diplomats who knew that by their own standing did not need to fear retaliation by a mostly peace loving USA but for their several reasons wished to see support weaken.

4. China in particular, whose pride was hurt by earlier accidents including the bombing of their embassy in Belgrade, a mid-air collision with a US survellance plane, increasing US support of Taiwan, especially the gift of Patriot missiles, and confrontation with their puppet satellite, North Korea. China, due to nearly infinite investment and credit backed by western bankers, has rapidly expanded and sees the US as a military competitor with old grievances from the Korean and Vietnam wars which fought against it. Those wars were to the Chinese the equivalent of the US invading Poland and the Ukraine would have been to the U.S.S.R. China has greatly expanded its influence in Africa, particularly in Zimbabwe and the Sudan. It’s influence is even felt in Latin America thanks to Fidel Castro’s communist ties and his “Bolivaran” allies Hugo Chavez and ilk. Also China’s lease of the Panama Canal Zone was a coup de grace and they see the Cocaine fields of Columbia and other South American countries as retribution for an imagined Opium War for which they blame the U.S., when it was in fact British, Dutch, and Portuguese merchants primarily who supplied the demand for the drug, which was a Chinese vice long before Commodore Perry steamed into Nagasaki bay and initiated the U.S. stake in the Orient.  Perceiving American weakness they seek to exploit it and undermine our support internationally, principally through bribery (using our own funds loaned to them for development), but also intimidation.

Back from Montana

We took a load of boxes to my parents for Labor Day. I got to know some of the lower sections of Libby Creek. The log bridge, the waterfalls, the pond, the beaver dam just past the new pool. I didn’t catch any fish. Kelsey spent a lot of time talking with the girls and playing games. Pizza Saturday, BBQ steaks & corn Sunday, leftovers Monday.