27 February 2015

the patience of stars

if it isn't fact, then it's fiction.
if it's not the truth, it's a lie.
i look up, and i see a sky full of stars.
you look up and see only sky.

the smile on his face could fool you.
the plans in his heart could kill.
he thinks that you'll never leave him,
and i think that maybe you will.

so, i'll wait for you here by the water.
and i'll wait for you here by the shore.
and i'll wait and i'll wait, wait and i'll wait.
and then i will wait even more.

26 February 2015

[insert reaction here]

yesterday we were literally wrapping up the project plan, putting the final touches on the design, fixing to enter the design build stage - that part where they take what we said we wanted and program it up. so that's where we were, dotting i's and whatnot, when a teammate asked: "when will we get to [enter project-shifting base-level criteria here]?"

i was dumbfounded. not that we'd overlooked something, which we'd not, but rather, that something i'd been communicating since day one as NOT NOT NOT part of the scope was, at the very last day, asked about.

my top ten reactions:

10. " ."

9. yo no hablo ingl├ęs.

8. well, would you look at the time. gotta go. bye.

7. for a second there, i thought you mentioned the possible last-minute addition of a clearly out-of-scope feature. sorry for thinking you'd be that stupid.

6. seriously? seriously??

5. it's the very. last. day. we're not going to "get to" anything else.

4. if it's important, you should have mentioned it even once in the eight months we've been planning.

3. aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. this is not in scope. i said NOT NOT NOT.

1. we got to that last week. where were you?

25 February 2015

his name is mike anderson.

so, the story goes that this mr badguy in missouri robbed some other guy at gunpoint, got arrested, had a trial and whatnot, received a sentence of 13 years. 13 years is sort of a randomish, eh? yeah.

he bonded out and went home to await the result of his appeals, which exhausted themselves unfavorably. the failure of his appeals should have resulted in law enforcement's rearresting him and hauling him off to the pokey.

mr badguy waited for the lawmen. the first week, no one called. second week, no call, no letter. third week, no call, no letter, no personal stop-by visit. mr badguy sittin' around all lonelylike waiting for somebody come take him to jail. he waited and waited and waited...

while he was waiting, he got married, started a family, established a construction business, volunteered at his church, and committed nary another crime. nary a one!

then, after he waited 13 years, suddenly the state noticed the clerical error. 13 years. seems like we've heard that... oh, right. IT WAS HIS SENTENCE. dollars to donuts someone went to let ol' mr badguy OUT of jail and discovered he'd never been there at all.

well. to rectify this egregious error, mr badguy was summoned to jail.

and, he went. he went to jail and stayed 10 months before his case worked its way in front of a judge who said, basically, "what the hell is wrong with you people?? clearly this is a rehabilitated man - and self-rehabilitated, at that!" the attorney general agreed, and in the spring of 2014, they let mr badguy get on back to his stunningly normal life.

in november of 2014, six months after he returned to normalcy, the cops picked him up again. having previously not been jailed for a crime he did commit, he was this time jailed for a crime he did not commit. is that irony? he was accused on a very flimsy identification of having stolen a woman's purse. long story short, he didn't do it.

early in february of 2015, mr badguy was released again. having incorrectly not served time and incorrectly served time, mr badguy no doubt harbors a bit of justifiable residual bitterness towards the judicial system.

24 February 2015

can you spell that without any Rs?

A motorist is almost 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle.

that's confusingly worded. it doesn't mean that you are 20 time more likely to BE in a train crash. it means, comparing train crashes to car crashes, train crashes are almost 20 times as deadly. this is because trains are so freaking huge. how huge? well, to provide a bit of context: a train hitting your car is akin to your car hitting a coke can. A COKE CAN. YOUR CAR. no contest, am i right? i am.

so with these odds, why are so many people jumping the gates? train is coming, gates are going down, people are madly driving around the gates. what the hell for?

clearly, some people are purposefully driving in front of trains. you know. to "die".

some people drive around the falling gates accidentally. i don't know how you could not see the damn giant arm falling right in front of your damn face if you are paying a mere minuscule speck of attention to what you are doing. there is an argument that roads are safer if these non-attentives drive in front of trains, but i would never make a such an insensitive argument.

another group are daredevils - the "watch this!" group. not only the roads, but the entire world could potentially be safer if these jackasses drive in front of trains, but again. who could be that callous?

now, we come to the final group. the group that just doesn't have time to wait for a dadgum train. this is the group i really want to talk about.

how long goes it take for a train to go by? obvs, this depends on several factors including length and speed of said train. the universal vehicle code (yes, it's a thing. look it up.) suggests that trains not block crossings for more than five minutes, except under special circumstances. they can only suggest, not set definite standards, because being specific about crossings would have a trickle down affect into other safety violations.

but, regulating the trains is not the answer. convincing people they DO have five freaking minutes to wait for a 12 million pound vehicle to trundle on by - THAT's the answer.

where's the fire? what's the hurry about?

imagine telling some guy travelling by covered wagon that you don't have time to wait five minutes. he'd be completely confused because he didn't even have a way to MEASURE five minutes. or, ten. maaaaybe 15, since the sun will have shifted a degree in that time. but most likely that guy in the covered wagon could give you morning, noon, suppertime, bedtime. a guy in a covered wagon would be stunned by the speed of our motion. zip!zap!zoom!

we're killing ourselves, and for what? why have we literally scheduled ourselves into a corner, where we cannot afford an unexpected wait of 15, 10, or even a mere 5 minutes?

how did we find ourselves in a place where a plausible option is to drive into the path of an oncoming train?

settle down, people.

23 February 2015

books 2015

bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
darke [angie sage]
fyre [angie sage]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]

200mph cotton candy

we're watching a rebroadcast of the daytona500 from 1979. weird, but the cars look like they are moving faster than the cars appeared to be moving in yesterday's 2015 500. i blame advances in cinematography. the cameras are so advanced, they can keep up with the 200mph cars - nary a blur nor obscure, better than the naked eye ever could. the advanced camera ability removes context, the relative motion that we experience when we see cars move in person. modern televised motion is sterile motion.

it's well-known that modern televised sex and modern televised violence are sterile. sure, we all know that. more subtly though, modern televised love and modern televised pain are muted, on cotton, deaf. is it the cinematography? could be. the colors are so bright, the lines so crisp. who can believe it? it's too real to be real.

live sports, i'd say cinematography plays a key role in the flattening of the landscape. scripted shows, well. it's not lack of plot or trite lines. nope - it's the opposite. blown out plots built of impossible twists and deus ex machinas. manufactured lines no one could ever think to say. where's the reality? don't tell me it's on the reality shows.

reality is in the context. there's no context for magical mystery plots. there's no context for out-of-your-mind wit. it's just all fluff and sugar.

it's all 200mph cars, looking like they are standing still.

11 February 2015

books 2015

bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
darke [angie sage]
fyre [angie sage]

02 February 2015

you can't lie to your brain.

young brains are malleable because the circuits aren't hardwired. experiences and environment mold the circuits and tamp them down. every experience is a potential learning, and every learning forms a connection.

a learning is a memory. i memorize my multiplication tables. i memorize that you love me. i memorize that day in august when we rode through the fullmoon night with the windows down and the headlights off.

excitation heightens the chance that an experience will become a learning. if there is energy in the brain, around the learning, the circuits will be tamped down more solidly, and the memory will be stronger. the energy can be natural or artificial and it can be because the content is exciting or because the environment is exciting.

when i learn multiplication, if i have affinity for it, my brain will glom onto it and be excited by finding a match for the rudimentary neural pathways that were laid down in the womb.

when i hug you, chemicals from other parts of my body will pour into my brain, firing up the furnace, readying my brain to be present in the experience and lay down some tracks for future trains of thought.

we not only learn outright, we learn how to learn. one part of my brain is telling another part of my brain to GET EXCITED because THIS IS IMPORTANT and there are ways in which that process works well or not so well.

mnemonics can excite the brain. for example, if anagrams excite the correct pathways, ROYGBIV will work for you. there are more types of mnemonic devices than either of us probably know about... unless you've studied them. or, you know, concocted a method to remember them all.

point is, energizing the pathways will increase the chance for learning, for memory, and if what you are learning is how to learn, sending energy to the correct locations will increase the chances that you will remember that anagrams work for you.

there is, of course, a whole nother level going on - the level by which your brain learns things about you -- learns what works for preserving and advancing the youness that is you. your brain will surprise you with its ability to know what you need.

your brain can lay down this underpinning structure because it knows things about you that you'd never admit to and has complete unfettered access to stuff you don't even consciously know. your brain gets energized by some minuscule shit and carries on this substrata building incessantly. if you think the amount of data google has on you is impressive, and maybe a little scary, well. those piles of data pale in comparison to the piles your brain has compiled on the subject of you.

after all... your brain is watching you all the time, even when you sleep.