Monday, August 28, 2006

When I find myself with time to kill, I like to close my eyes and hear the soundspace
And after a while I hear it:
The background hum of the place
In this case it sounds like an air conditioner, although the air is not particularly cool. Then other missed sounds: dull distant thuds, exclamations of children; tappings, scratchings, crumplings, rustlings; keys, coughs, footsteps. It's like a modern symphony of percussive noises, not particularly beautiful, but nonetheless intriguing.

"Being conscious of my human journey."

This means being aware of the strengths, weaknesses, joys, and sorrows of the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of my life.

It also means an acceptance of my mortality, weakness, and the inevitability of occasional misfortune. Accepting these, I am free to live without constant apprehension of them.

It sees life as an adventure, or at least a journey; if a tragedy, then one in which we play our parts nobly; and equally so if it be a comedy.

Most importantly, it sees one's life as a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. We make up our part as we go along, and see what effect it has on others, and ourselves.That's why it calls it "journey"--we choose our path, decide which roads to take, and look at the scenery about us, not just at the ground.

Basically, "I am not just a [insert title here]--I am fully human and will delight in the joys and sorrows of all it means to be human."

It is evening
The moon sets in the west
The Globe heaves its trees and peoples
Slowly, imperceptibly, about its circle
The sliver moon's last corner slips away.

To my ear
Accelerations of cars
Electricity in the lines
The shutting of the neighbor's door

To my eyes
The first star peeks through the tree
The sky fades black to blue
The cat looks at me, then looks away.

Are we not observers
Of ourselves
Our simple task, forgotten, to observe?
To see how we react to a finite span
Punctuated by disharmony
To fully live the full four spheres of life
Night brings rest to refill our weary spirits
For another day of observing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sitting on the balcony in my brother's flat. Somewhere below the cars noisily zoom along Hastings Street. Occasional particles of dust dance in the sunlight, which lights up my socks and the pine-needle tree and the broad-leaved tree beyond the balcony.

A headache begins to make itself felt. If I could live today again, I would have it spent at home in my hometown, with a good sleep beginning at an early hour, and choosing fruit juices instead of two Boston Creme doughnuts. This weekend was intended for rest, but I find myself sleep-deprived, and so must pay the penalty of suboptimal functioning for the remainder of the day. I shall not make the same mistake tonight; bed by 12:15 for me.

Off to read a biography.

I write from the River Rock casino in Vancouver. Actually my family is playing--I on the other hand have found a nook that is a bit private, and am writing this bit of introspection to be productive in some small way at least. I am accompanied by a Nestle Drumstick and a bright yellow Butterfinger.

It's a funny thing, this life. Anyway I just came from the Phantom of the Opera in Vancouver. Some clever effects in there, and overall an entertaining experience for me. I identified in some ways with the Phantom--the dark, brooding recluse, which is how I occasionally am when in a mood for enjoying poetry.

I'd gone to bed at 2AM last night, writing out some ideas for a breakthrough idea for my internet work. 24 hours later it does not seem so brilliant, but I think it has some merit/usefulness, so I plan to work on it when I can. 24 hours later I'm a bit daunted by the effort required.

I'm with family today, so the focus has been on my Second Important Thing, which is "Cherishing my family". This is no more and no less than simply enjoying being in the presence of those I love, while I can, which is only a couple of days in this visit.

Definitely tired, a bit irritable, and slow thinking today, owing to needing more sleep. Given that I am currently in a somewhat noisy casino, I figure the best course of action is to write, or to read. It's partly a resort, so surely there is a peaceful spot somewhere? I'll check the map.

I have just finished the Butterfinger and immediately regretted it. Its oversweetness lingers in my stomach, and a few minutes later I feel even more tired. I shall stick to Nestle Drumsticks in the future.

10 minutes past midnight, and my family is probably just getting started on the slots. So I resume my book.

It is a noisy place, but I close my eyes and listen
to a door clicking shut in the mezzanine above
to the spirited chatter of young people by the fireplace
to more doors, bigger doors, closing with a solid sound
to two women arguing, but I do not see them
to my exhaled breath

Sunday morning. I *think* I had enough sleep--I feel rested anyway. Still in Vancouver at my brother's place, so today's about sharing meals with family, enjoying each other's company, and going to Mass.

Tomorrow will be about starting a small project at work, getting some exercise (needed badly--I'll do some DDR), and see if I can't move forward a little on SkunkWorks.

On the ferry--it's a beautiful day. Enjoying a wonderful buffet lunch with mom. Relaxed.

Sitting at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. There's a couple hours wait until our sailing. I expect we'll be home at a late hour again (perhaps 1:30 or 2). I will do my best to sleep on the boat and in the car.

I close my eyes and listen
to the hum of the shop refrigerators
to the swishing of shop gates closing
to bottles in bags breaking against each other
to doors shutting and keys jingling
to metal trays on metal compartments
and the murmur of conversations in the coffee shop

Snatches of conversations:

"And there's something really neat about making money for the first time."
"So at least we got on a sailing."
"We should so get that ferry."
"Good, how are you?"
"So tired."
"Look at this little thing! It's all, yeah!"
"What are you doing? Oh cool."
"Where'd you put my hat?"
"Uh, they said left. Did you see dad?"
"Pardon me? Well, you're going to have to."
"Where's Olivia?"
"I don't know what legislation's changed."
"What are you talking about?"
"Oh. Mum made it? Ooh."
"Did you just say that?"
"We should...we should try something tomorrow."
"Everything's closed."
"Maybe, um, bad luck?"
"I'd just planned on dropping him off."
"They have candy apples."
"It's probably Canadian."
"I think so."
"I like what they've done to this place."
"What time is it? What's down there?"

Mid-day Sunday. We're in the car. My brother and I are tired. The air con is going full blast. The act of writing gives me an energy boost.

My three tenets:

- Engineering beautiful software
- Cherishing my family
- Random acts of kindness

Over the radio comes the lyrics, "Writing letters to myself".

Monday, August 07, 2006

Today begins a 10-day business trip to Palo Alto. And I'm super-exhausted. Flight delays, walking around to find the hotel, and just general travel weariness. Trying to take it easy and get some rest before the week of work ahead--I hope an explosion of creativity rather than getting mired in drudgery. There's a fine line between riding the crest of the wave and drowning, and I hope to stay on top of it.
As it happened, the Cardinal Hotel where I usually stay was fully booked, so I've been placed in a luxury resort called the Westin. Choice of shower *or* bath. Restaurant just an elevator ride away, and it's one of those fancy places where they start you out with bread and oil. This is one swanky place.
Aw man, the burger just came in on a huge square plate, with the ketchup in a miniature urn. This place is fancy.
Anyway, like I said, trying to take it easy this evening, so I will probably wander down to the bookstore after supper and grab something edifying.
I'll probably also do some work to prepare for tomorrow (email and a code merge), but I'll probably do that from the comfort of the hotel room. I'm pooped!