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December 31, 2006

Piecing together who we are by what we write

It is interesting to think about things in this way. Recently I read a book about Leonardo Da Vinci. It was a well written book and the Author admitted several times where history was blank on certain topics concerning Leonardo's views or actions, forcing future historians to guess or fill in the gaps. Some were informed, educated guesses but some were the author's projections onto Leonardo. Leonardo did not write everything down, even though he had a very extensive journal library spanning many years. I am told that he hardly ever made mention of himself or his personal thoughts on topics. Most of his notes were observations, or clarifications on observations he had made on previous pages. Very little personal conjecture on his part except where based on some new experiment. And he was wrong many times in his guesses, but still he was not merely guessing or writing about his views on things. It was more scientific in nature.
This all led me to wonder how much a historian would piece together of who I was personally by what I have written, drawn, painted, etc. I know it doesn't matter, but the thought of some future historian looking back and getting it all wrong sounds like a waste of everyone's time and energy.
For me, a historian would have to piece a lot of information together. (And that historian could be nothing more than some future decendant of mine researching her geneology.) I keep three journals right now that would have to be correlated by date; A work log, with thoughts mixed in, a notebook I carry around, and this blog. And then there are various websites that I've created with various writings and artwork that have sat dormant for a while, but still exist out there on the world wide web. And then there is my artwork in various households throughout the country. Many people do not even know that I created some of this stuff. Especially my woodcarvings and other such artwork. The other journal is the mental one, with thoughts I've shared with no-one. This is the one that I carry in my head. There is a reason for that that Historians wish did not exist. It's because some things should be kept as private thoughts. Although the closer we can become to being transparent to other people, the truer we are in our lives. We are more authentic when we are honest and our actions and words and thoughts all line up. So it's to our benefit if we have no secrets that would torture us if revealed. Or torture our great grand children. But, still, I find it interesting how most human beings live in this dual state of private and public. Often the two are not the same. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not.
In history, It has been difficult to piece together Leonardo's life, because so little material about him survived and so few people that knew about him wrote about him. This is true for many people that lived in his age, that history has completely forgotton. But now in today's age, in our time, here, now, there is the internet. There is abundant paper and an electronic trail. For instance, all of my purchase are tracked when I use my credit card. It's still not a complete picture but it's a far cry from what historians had with Leonardo Da Vinci. Today for instance, I bought some soup and cold medicine. I noted in my personal journal how I felt like I was coming down with a cold. And now I'm mentioning it here. I feel a cold coming on. Maybe tomorrow I'll write about how I think the cold medicine doesn't really help the cold go away and how I feel dizzy, light-headed when I take it. Someone could correlate my different writings on the topic and have a pretty clear picture of what my day was like and what I did when. Not that I anticipate historians even caring one way or another about me. But now I can move on to the next thought...How even with all of this information someone in the future will totally miss the boat on something I was thinking, because I chose not to share it with anyone. It stayed in my head.
Example: I cut hair today again for someone else after I went in to work. I also had my hair cut by the same person. The conversation and friendship was a highlight of my day. It would have been a lost moment had I not shared it here and had the other person not shared it with anyone else.
Another example is that today I made potato chips out of lefsa, which tasted like pringles unsalted. That was fun. I really enjoyed it.
And finally, my thoughts on today's blogging: This blog entry is for curiosity sake, me exploring thoughts, and thinking about me thinking about thoughts. And it's about you thinking about me thinking about my thoughts. And it's about you thinking about me thinking about your thoughts thinking about me thinking about my thoughts. Regardless of whether it's interesting to anyone but me, I find human thought interesting. I find my thoughts interesting and strange some times. Now you know.

Posted by carl1236 at 5:21 PM

December 30, 2006

Co-Writing

Last night my writing partner and I had our first co-writing session. It was an interesting experience that lasted several hours. We had decided that we would try to salvage a short story from something she had already started writing years ago. It would be a good challenge and we wouldn't have to start from scratch. But now after that exercise I'm feeling like it would almost be better to do the work of plot creation and character definition up front before writing a single word in the story. The story line is like a map that keeps us on the road and tells of if something, no matter how interesting it is, needs to be in the story.
So we read the portion of the story she had written and decided that this was one scene in a whole novel and we had to first define a beginning, middle, climax and end to the story. In this scene she was driving in a car. We had to decide why she was in the car and what the car represented, since we were going to make the drive the whole story. Then there would be an epiphany, the light would go on as she resolved her internal conflicts as well as external ones. The ending was the arrival at her destination, changed for the better.
Here are my thoughts now on co-writing:
There is a lot of insecurity in writing our thoughts and feelings. We saw that and had a few words, but we worked it out, and found ways around it. We realized that we were there to help each other not tear each other down, or criticize.
When we did start writing, she did the writing and I reviewed. We read aloud parts to each other and offered suggestions. She made the changes while I paced. Finding roles is good I think, but we realized right away that the roles can change, and should. This morning when I got up, I could think of nothing but finishing that story. We did not have an ending for the story. I had to sit down and write. She was skeptical, and looking over my shoulder made some hints that what she saw was not what she was thinking. But when I was done, she sat down and read the whole story again and liked the ending.
There will be compromise. There will be insecurities. There will be the building, earning of trust. I think this partnership will get better with time and practice.

What's next: This story is written. We need a title, tweek it, edit it, reread it, have someone else check it, then finish it and send it off to the writing contest by May 1st. We are planning on finishing it next weekend. Then we will start on the next writing adventure.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:53 AM

December 28, 2006

You don't have to want to

I said, "I don't think I'm going to want to go to work tomorrow." To which the reply came, "You don't have to want to." True, I think, and I still have to go, but then I have to want to be there once I'm there. "You don't have to want to be there either." True, I think, yet I still have to be there and I have things that have to be done by deadlines. So I have to want to do them. "You don't have to want to do them in order to do them." True, I think, yet that's why I'm there. To get things done for a purpose. I like accomplishment, so I do it. I like being involved in a project and knowing what's going on and solving problems. So it's fun. I don't have to like that, but I do. I love this job! I can't wait to get to work tomorrow! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 9:02 PM

December 27, 2006

Peace while at War

How can I be peaceful while I am struggling to survive the transition to a new job and career? It's very difficult if I am fighting it. To be peaceful inside I have to not fight, but create. So I am creating something new. New skills, new friends, new way of doing things, new solutions. To me this is very cool and rewarding. There is no peace in war. Resistance really is futile.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:06 PM

December 26, 2006

Auspicious Day

Are you thinking about your New Year's Resolutions? This is a time when people make resolutions, mainly because we've learned that that's what we are supposed to do at this time of year. Just like birthdays, New Years Day is only one day out of an entire year, one day out of an entire lifetime and it's arbitrary. New Year's Day could be celebrated at different times of the year by different cultures. Our civilization decided on a demarcation of time to represent a one year period, and so it goes around.
Without New Year's day however, we would simply live life as it happens, without worrying about making resolutions once per year. If we want to change our lives, we would just do it. The change might come in July or August. We couldn't say, "I'll work on that next year." Without New Year's that would turn out to be a vague statement of desire like, "I'll work on that sometime, later." It's a matter of perspective I think. Often we make New Year's resolutions, with the intention of doing them usually with the purpose of changing our lives, but they never happen. We start out strong, with good intentions and after a concerted effort at the beginning, we lose sight of our goals, or at least lose motivation to do what's necessary to change. And then it haunts us for a whole year until we are reminded of just how many resolutions we let slip over the year.
Some people, like me, have sworn off making New Year's Resolutions altogether, because I believe it's better to work towards understanding ourselves all year and feel it's counter productive to make New Year's resolutions in the traditional way. Making resolutions is a good idea, but just not in the way we've been taught; mainly to make an oath on New Year's Eve under the influence of alcohol, to achieve something we have no clue as to how to we will achieve it. In addition to that, I believe it's not good to be too hard on ourselves over the past. Yes, change if you don't like what you see, but don't let the past drag you into the mud and six feet under or keep you there if you've already buried yourself. Love yourself by finding solutions not self-destruction.
So, where does this leave the Auspicious Day of New Years? It moves it to the realm of thought. As everyone else is thinking of New Year's resolutions, we naturally think about our lives and what dreams we have and have not attained. Our desires and dreams come to the surface when summoned and we realize when we have done nothing to reach our goals. Or it can be a time of reflection and amazement at how far we've come in the past year. How much growth did we go through? Whether we make a New Year's resolution or not, It's auspicious to think about our own change. It's auspicious to think about how we can make a difference in life and how we can make a difference to those around us.
I took a good strong look at my life this past summer and made a resolution for change. It was not easy, but I changed jobs and changed directions my career was headed. It was very difficult to leave my comfort zone and be put under the spotlight in a new company, new job. But now I'm into my eleventh week on the new job and it's going ok. I do feel like it's getting better, but I wasn't so sure at first. I was also afraid I'd miss this transition feeling between a "newbie" and a 'real' employee and wake up one day to realize that I'm one of them. I'm not done changing though. I started some major changes when I started this job, like learning how to be more organized and communicate with others better. So as I look back at my life so far since changing jobs, I can honestly say I am happy that I moved on. That is an auspicious awareness.
Now on to my New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I did say I don't make New Year's resolutions any more, but my fate is tied to someone I plan on helping who is making a New Year's resolution. On this auspicous day of New Year's, she will embark on a remarkable journey, along with me. It's not's going to last a year, but a lifetime. Change doesn't happen in a year, but over the rest of our lives. In other words If we make a lasting change, it will last. I look foward to encouraging and being part of this new growth in another person. That will be rewarding.
To simply state her goals and mine for the New Year, and life, I will say that we will become better writers and know each other better than we did in the past. We cannot lose in this process. It's an auspicious idea after all.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:48 PM

December 23, 2006

Drawing Pipe Lines

Today I went into work, even though I had the day off and it's a holiday weekend. I worked about four hours, mainly because I wanted to accomplish something and when I did I went home. I would have stayed late on Friday night but we had a family party to go. The deal is this...I felt like I was under a lot of pressure to get this pipe design into the computer and plotted on a plan and profile sheet so the Engineer I'm working with can analyze it and revise. There is a tight project deadline on this one and I couldn't remember exactly how to get this information in there to look the way I wanted it to. I felt like I left things hanging on Friday when I left.
Today when I went to work I focused on getting it done. I ended up recreating the pipe network twice because for some reason it was still following the old alignment and didn't have the right number of maintenance holes on it. So it was confused. I ended up deleting the old alignment and redefining a new pipe network from the new alignment. That worked. Then I overlayed the geologic information from the soil borings and sent it to the printer. Now on Tuesday I will be able to hand it over and show some progress. And I now remember how that portion of the software works so if there are changes to the slopes or structures, I can do it. As part of the design team, I don't want it to be me to hold up the progress. There are already many other obstacles to design that pop up, like tree roots breaking through pipes and obscuring the televising cameras' view of the inside of the pipe. Or finding a power pole planted on top of the existing pipeline. Anyway, I do not want to be the one holding up a team effort. This is motivation for me. I want to contribute to the success of the whole project and the team and feel a sense of responsibility to help design a good pipe line. So far my part in the team effort is small, but with today's success, I have gained just that much more experience and value to the team. I have something to contribute. That is also motivating! Now I just have to go in really, really early on Tuesday morning.

Merry Christmas! Good health, happiness and peace to you.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:52 PM

December 22, 2006

Co-writing a book, aka, working with others

Whenever considering a joint venture with other people it's a good idea to see what you are getting into first. But unfortunately much of the wisdom we need in working with other people is hidden from us until we experience the interaction between our self and the other person. I have a plan, the seeds of which have been planted many years ago, and fertilized by Sui Generis and other friends who write, and inspiration from the successes of many other authors. I don't just want to write a book, I want to co-write a book with another person. So this year I am gong to make it happen. It doesn't really when or if it is even published. But writing it willl be a lifetime experience. To do it together will be an experience in closeness of the mind and heart. How do you generate an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual support and love?
The fun is in the struggle.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:09 PM

December 20, 2006

Panic Attack

When things seem rough, like they have in the past week, I am amazed to discover that my real adversary is panic. It's that massive creature that looks like it will overwhelm me and I won't survive. I realized I don't have to fight panic because it's a vapor. The obstacles I face are really challenges I have to find solutions for, not obstacles at all and certainly don't create the panic I feel. The panic I feel is created by me. It is a feeling of inadequacy to the task at hand. And that's why we think we are going to fail. It can be overwhelming when we don't think we can do it, whatever it is. Even though everything can be broken down into smaller tasks, it's hard to remember that. Especially when there are deadlines to deal with and things are messed up. So my projects are difficult, that doesn't mean that I can afford to be locked up by panic attacks. It means I have to start thinking. I have to start thinking about what the problems really are and how to break them down into solvable tasks. I have to start thinking creatively and of course devote more energy to it. I stayed late at work tonight, but not too late. Tomorrow is going to be challenging but it will teach me valuable lessons. No panic, just work. It'll happen. I've already made lists to follow and a plan is forming in my mind of how to deal with all of the sudden and conflicting priorities.
Even though I have this plan, I am still amazed at how panic creeps up and makes me feel diminutive and incapable. Panic is not the challenge though, I remember and realize. Panic is myresponse to the challenge. Is that the response I need right now?

Posted by carl1236 at 9:31 PM

December 19, 2006

My Limits

Now I am in my tenth week at my new job. I discovered where some of my limits are. Since I started this job I've put practically everything else on hold, mainly going into survival mode to overcome the learning curve. I'm not through the learning curve yet, but I've reached a limit in myself. Now I have a couple of four-day work weeks coming up and family activities planned for many of the evenings during the week, so my work schedule has to be cut back. In some ways I have resented having other things interfere with my efforts to overcome the obstacles at work because I felt like I have not arrived at fitting in yet. I am not integrated into my new 'team' yet and I feel out of place still. So I naturally want to make that happen sooner than later.
I do know that I need more sleep, and the break is well timed. Now is the time to plan my next energy burst. And I will see if I go in nine week cycles. I do think that it's natural and being aware of my limits will help me motivate myself to push those boundaries in the future.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:18 PM

December 18, 2006

Perspiration

I still have not found the perfect solution to riding in below-freezing weather. I was plenty warm riding in this morning, too warm. I was sweating after the first two miles. Of course going up the Ramsey Hill generates a lot of heat! That's just about two miles into my 13-mile commute. So for the rest of the ride, I'm wet, hot and at the same time have to protect my skin. I have a lighter windbreaker suit that I wear, which is the best thing I've found so far. It breathes a little because it's vented and also blocks the chilling wind. It's also finely woven so if it does rain, I stay dry.
Also, at about mile 10 my toes started getting cold. I'll have to get some kind of booty or something. Dave said he saw people make their own from big wool socks, pulled over a boot, then wrapped in duct tape. But since I started to learn how to use the sewing machine this past weekend, I think I can make something even better, more durable, with reflector strips on it. This weekend I'll do that since I have a three-day weekend.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:09 PM

December 17, 2006

Eragon, the book

Just for a break I switched from reading biographies and non-fiction to reading some fantasy fiction. I picked up the book Eragon from the bookstore, evidently now a major motion picture and started reading it Friday night. So far so good. It's interesting reading and the author does a pretty good job of creating imagery in my mind of what's going on in the story. I especially like the bio of the author. Very young to have such a best seller book and movie. This shows if you have a passion and you work hard at it, there is no telling how far it will go. At least there is the possibility of it, whereas doing nothing also creates nothing.
Anyway, just for fun, I'm reading something fun. Good book so far.

Update:
You know I've read a lot of fantasy, sci-fi, fiction books and it seems that one of the main themes for the main characters is DESTINY. Someone is inevitably, whether seeking it or not, discovering they have some great destiny to fulfill and usually that is to overthrow some evil power.
In this book destiny finds Eragon when a dragon decides to hatch for him because he is the right one. How did she know? Then strangers come and ransack his farm and home, killing his uncle who raised him so he has no home, no job, no family. But he has the Dragon companion who communicates with him telapathically and an old story teller from the village who has a secret history with Dragons, which he is revealing slowly to Eragon. He seemed to know about Eragon's Destiny also.

Oh how many people desire for such a destiny, worth dying to achieve! Where is our passion and energy focused in life? Is it fulfilling our destiny? Is this what we are meant to do? If I don't choose my destiny, will it choose me? What if I let it choose me and it's not a cool, magical dragon, but an evil little toad that keeps me up all night with incessant croaking? Then I lose my job, my health, my sanity and my passion.
I think Destiny does find us, because we make our destiny, though we don't believe that always and can often only see that in retrospect. It's a process of discovery sometimes.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:40 PM

December 16, 2006

Eleven bikes back on the road

Today I went down to the shop with Terry, Bonnie, Ken, Frank and Dave and worked on kids bike to donate to a local non-profit organization that works with families with AIDS. Every year they put together a care package for each family with all kinds of things in them. This year Thanks to Bonnie's organization, and everyone's help fixing up bikes today, they will get to include ten bikes for those families with kids. It was a fun way to spend a day. We got pizza and joked around and got them all fixed and running. In addition to those ten bikes, we also fixed a bike up for a guy's wife to ride. He didn't have much money but we found a bike her size and I fixed it up for him. It was fun, and I'm happy they'll have bikes to ride together.
That was awesome. Now I'm tired and ready to snuggle up in the warmth (the shop is not heated so winter work is a little chilly).

Posted by carl1236 at 4:42 PM

December 15, 2006

Where do dreams happen?

The happening of a dream is in the struggle for it. In a dream I studied Korean for dozens of years and woke up one day in Korea and realized that I have never left, but my flight for America leaves in two hours and I still can't remember the phrase for "Where is the hotel?" Then on the flight to America I pulled out my RUSSIAN phrase book and began rehearsing the lines. It all seemed so natural, until the plane landed in America, the jolt startled me and I woke up in my bed in St. Petersburg. Wow, what a strange dream I thought. I must have drank a little too much the night before. I shook it off, made a cup of turkish coffee and began to read the newspaper. I thought there was something odd about the paper but couldn't place it. I just kept reading and enjoying the words as if they were old friends. I looked at the date on the paper and realized it would soon be Sylvester and I was expected to go with Tomas to a party. I really didn't feel like it. I stil felt hung over, and a little rattled by my dreams. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion.
I thought that I should really get out of this rut i'm in. Maybe take a trip across Russia to Korea or something. That would be fantastic! But I would have to study Russian and Korean first in order to get along in those countries. Where would I even begin? Then I remembered the Russian phrase book in my pocket. When I reached in I pulled out my passport and the phrase book. I didn't remember getting my passport to Russia and Korea but there It was. I began feverishly studying every word in the phrase book. I was devouring the words like they were my only source of sustenance. And I was still hungry for more. After a while, not even realizing how much time had passed I was gently awaken by a steward. Sir, we are almost about to land, please buckle your seatbelt. I felt a sickening feeling in my stomach and sweat was beading up on my forhead. About to land? Where? The last thing I knew I was in my hometown of Muenster, Germany, reading the paper. I tried to call for the steward but they all seemed to be gone. For an extremely long time, the plane circled preparing to land. I waited, I looked for clues, but nothing helped. I asked the passenger next to me what was going on and she responded that I must be crazy, and how could a person get on a plane and not know where they were going? "It's a long flight to Korea, you'd better get some sleep, she said." Somehow I was on my way back home. I didn't even remember the trip to America. I remembered some weird dream about drinking vodka and waking up with a hangover. The plane circled around but wasn't landing. I was beginning to worry. When the plane finally landed I saw the familiar sights of Seoul. I could smell it, and almost taste grandmother's kimchi. I thought, some day I will have to go back to America, but I'm glad to be home. The sun came up and I slowly woke up. Shaking my head I shut off the tv and went to bed. The TVK, Korean news had just ended and my Korean flashcards had fallen all over the floor. I had stayed up studying too late and now I was really tired. Good thing it was Saturday. I have the weirdest dreams when I eat too much kimchi. But it tastes so good!
In life sometimes we don't know where we are going to land so it's best to practice our dreams every day. Then it won't matter which flight we get on, we'll be ready when it happens. We cannot feel unprepared for the future because we are making it as we live the present. The plane will land just the same and the flight will already be done. Life is a process and dreams happen as part of the process of living. One day we wake up and realize that, yes, we really had a good life. There was nothing to fear after all. Wow, but it was fun!

Posted by carl1236 at 10:56 PM

December 14, 2006

Frustration

Nine weeks into my new job and I am frustrated and kind of disappointed at what I walked into. But I'm trying really hard to succeed in spite of the obstacles. It's very interesting to me how we can think we see so clearly until we have the inside knowledge, at which time we see something completely different. There is nothing clear until we have the inside knowledge. The esocosim we desire is not easily obtainable without actually being inside. Then there is the frustration of realizing things are not as they seemed and we inside of something we did not envision. My only recourse then is to make the best of it. Therefore my plan all along was to make the best of it.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:36 PM

December 13, 2006

Energy

There are a lot of things we can do in life. And a lot of things are worthwile to do. Well, practically anything we can think of can be worthwhile. We have a lot of energy to put into things in life. Usually we have much more energy than we think we do. Consider what we go through at some of the jobs we do. Or the volunteer work we do on top of our jobs. Or the family activities we do. Or the 'fun' activities we do. We put a lot of energy into things. Do we have an unlimited supply of energy or do we use it up? I think we have renewable energy. We can recharge ourselves. Sometimes it's one spark that ignites our interest and enthusiasm.
It makes sense then to look for those sparks and be aware of what it is that sparks our imagination and passion.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:19 PM

December 12, 2006

I finished my card game

I finished making a special deck of cards for my Korean Hangul/Hanja studies. Due to this project becoming extremely complex quickly, I narrowed the focus to the dual number systems, Pure Korean and Sino-Korean. Now I have a set of mock-up cards I can play with to further test and develop learning games for myself and others. Hey, just making the cards I learned most of the characters by heart, so maybe the making of the game is a good way to learn. Just wait until I start playing games with them! I may never be able to forget these Hanja characters. ever.
So I ended up with 21 sets of three cards for a total of 63 cards. With this deck I can play games like rummy, go fish, matching games like concentration, solitaire (putting the numbers in order?) etc. Each set contains three cards, one for the Native Korean word, the Hanja character and the Hangul pronunciation of the Hanja. I combined two different card designs I found into one to make the cards more versatile. Each card shows the other cards in the set along the side. There is no english language anywhere on the cards.
I need a good catchy title in Korean for my numbers game cards so I can make the back. Maybe something simple like the Hanja for the word "Number(s)."
Since I don't have a language partner, I have to design games I can play by myself but also that I can teach to others quickly so If I have the opportunity to play with someone else studying Korean, the barriers are low.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:49 PM

December 11, 2006

Branding as Punishment

Wiping out is bad enough, but when we crash on a bike, we wear the crash like a brand. My co-worker took a curb cut at an angle this morning and wiped out because it was slippery. He was shaken, but thankfully had no broken bones. He did have some nice road rash on his arm though. That's going to leave a mark.
So here's my wisdom for slippery conditions. Haha, but I reserve the right to be branded if the road arises to the occasion.

1. Take slippery slopes head on.
2. While turning corners slow down, keep your bike upright while shifting body weight instead of leaning into the curve.
3. Stay alert. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 10:38 PM

December 10, 2006

Do not be afraid to be a leader

An Australian Advertisement by Henry Lawson

We want the man who will lead the van,
The man who will pioneer.
We have no use for the gentleman,
Or the cheating Cheap-Jack here;
We have no room for the men who shirk
The sweat of the brow. Condemn
The men who are frightened to look for work
and funk when it looks for them.

We'll honour the man who can't afford
To wait for a job that suits,
But sticks a swag on his shoulders broad
And his feet in blucher boots,
And tramps away o'er the ridges far
And over the burning sand
To look for work where the stations are
In the lonely Western land.

He'll brave the drouth and he'll brave the rain,
And fight his sorrows down,
And help to garden the inland plain
And build the inland town;
And he'll be found in the coming years
With a heart as firm and stout,
An honoured man with the pioneers
Who lead the people out.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:38 AM

December 8, 2006

Play Go?

I first discovered the game of GO in January of this year. So almost a year later I finally bought a portable game board with pieces. It's a fun game that takes a while to play. It's interesting because like many games it's a good way to practice focus and forward thinking.
Anyone want to come over for some Korean food and a game of Go? Or how about the card game Hwa-tu (hanafuda)? I would love to find people to play that with also.

Speaking of games, I am creating a Korean Language word card game to teach me Hanja and Korean vocabulary together. The basic premise is that cards can be combined with other cards to form words. Cards in the deck have point values and also words of different lengths have point values which multiply the players score. There is a game that can be played with a partner and also a solitaire version.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:47 PM

Driven to Learn and understand

I just finished reading the book, "Leonardo, the first scientist," by Michael White. It's a great book! I loved the writing and the clear logical appraisal of Leonardo's work and life. For sure, Leonardo had the motivation and energy to learn. Sometimes though our own attitudes and beliefs get in the way of true learning. Leonardo knew this. According to this book Leonardo held many of the beliefs of Aristotle and the ancients when he began his artistic and scientific life in Florence. Many of the ideas held as fact by the philosophers he abandoned when the truth was revealed by experience and experimentation. For example, Michael White writes about Leonardo's studies of the eye and optics. It was once believed that the way sight works is by our eyes sending out beams of light to objects and bouncing back. Through some simple experiments Leonardo proved that it cannot happen in this way. Otherwise we would not be able to see near and far things in the same amount of time instantly when we open our eyes.
It seems Leonardo understood just how vast the chasm and how incomplete human knowledge really is. This was one of his motivators for discovery. Even today, after all of the scientific wonders discovered and the vast amounts of shared knowledge, we still haven't scratched the surface of what's available to discover. If we have a desire to know.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:40 PM

December 7, 2006

The adventure of leaving work after the busses stop running

When there is no other choice but to walk, there is no choice but to have an adventure.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:10 PM

December 6, 2006

Just Do It

I think sometimes we cannot wait for perfection. I think sometimes we just need to get the first draft done! I took my best shot, based on what I currently know and got down on paper a well-organized process framework for our projects. Then I held a meeting and outlined our team objectives within that framework.
I met with some resistance, and skepticism from my coworkers, but I answered their questions about it, and calmly took it back to my desk and began altering it to more accurately describe our current model of operations. Now I have to take it a step further. I met with a couple of the engineers yesterday and today and am working on my revised model. And I'm discovering that my original framwork was pretty close, and I wasn't totally out of my mind. But without diving in, I would not have been this far, and I would not have learned from the Engineers or my coworkers. The first draft is going to have holes, but it's necessary.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:16 PM

How far down the rabbits hole will you go to solve a problem Alice?

Tonight I was continuing my research on Project Managment, more specifically on Critical Chain Project Management. I still don't quite get it so I'm finding alternate explanations online. Everything I read though is geared toward overall project management. Most schemes deal with resources, like a person who works on an aspect of a project, in one way or another by plugging that resource in and trying to demand-load. But I'm wondering now how a resource itself can apply project management techniques to manage all of the multiple projects they are assigned to. Basically this means I have to break down the more simplistic overall-project schedule with major deadlines into a more detailed critical chain for just the individual resource's tasks that have to be done.
When I first took this new job, I was basically under the impression that there was a lack of experience using the software that we use, causing missed deadlines and projects running over budget. Once I started looking into it, I discovered that software skills are not really the problem. We could throw endless training at this and it would not resolve the problems. I'm still tasked with solving the problems, and I want to succeed, so I started researching Time and Project managment. It's not something I anticipated learning or even desired to learn, but now I do. I have become a team leader in a new job and have been discovering all kinds of things I did not see before I took the job. How can we ever truly see things clearly until we are 'inside.' In a nightmarish-like state, I try to shake off the fears and worrys and make a plan, work the plan and revise the plan, just to survive my new job. How far do I have to go to do my job? New duties require new skills, like Project Management. So I will go at least that far down the hole to see what's next.

Posted by carl1236 at 12:11 AM

December 3, 2006

Liebig's law of the minimum

This morning I started applying the scientific method to my learning of languages. First I gathered 6 books I have on language learning as resources. I listed the references and made notes about them. Then on another page I created a list of problems or 'bottlenecks' in my learning, such as retention. (Theory of Constraints, TOC.) And then tonight when I was researching process change and TOC for work, I ran across a name for one thing I intuitively noticed this morning about my language learning; That in my list of bottlenecks to learning Korean, or even improving my language learning process, the amount of resources available to me were not a limiter. After all I had six books on just language learning sitting in front of me. I have shelves full of language materials in several languages and I rented one Korean video out of thousands available this past week.
Liebig's law of the minimum states that growth is controlled not by the total of resources available, but by the scarcest resource. Increasing the overall amount of resources does not increase the learning. Only by increasing the amount of the limiting resource, the one most 'scarce' in relation to need, can the learning be improved. Several of those are Study time, a good multi-track learning plan, practice, memory and motivation. Language materials alone do not guarantee we will learn and retain and recall later when needed.
Barry Farber in his book, How to learn any language, made a good point. Many people spend a lot of money on books and cassettes and they end up on the shelf or in the closet getting dusty. Liebig's law of the minimum says that the availablilty of materials are not limiting my acquisition of knowledge or growth in my learning abilty, but something else is needed more.
At work, Liebig's law of the minimum applies equally. I list out the resources available and the bottlenecks and realize that it's not the availability of resources holding up the production. Throwing more software at it won't solve the problem. Knowledge of how to use the software effectively is part of the problem but not the scarcest resource.
And so I learn to learn.

Posted by carl1236 at 6:09 PM

Armed with information I set up a plan

After about 7 or 8 weeks of taking it easy I'm ready to start preparing for the 2007 triathlon season. Earlier I posted my goals for the next three years, but had not started any serious training to achieve those goals. On Saturday I went to a Triathlon 'periodization' training plan workshop at the uptown YWCA. It was very helpful. So then after the training I dug out my training plan from last year, found more information on the internet and am set to make up a plan. Sunday is my day to start. Once I get my whole workout plan established, I'll post it online.
I will start by running tomorrow and biking on Monday. Armed with information I'll plan my whole year out and get going. I'm looking forward to it. I've been stuck in a looooong transition.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:43 AM