Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We see architecture as an act of profound optimism. Its foundation lies in believing that it is possible to make places on the earth that can give a sense of grace to life—and in believing that it matters.
—Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ride Report: 19 July 09: Misuwa

Rode with the Chicago Cycling Club. 60.3mi rolling 17-19mph, temp 60-70, wind NNE 5-7, Clock Tower to Mitsuwa, lunch, return. drank 3 x 24oz water. egads. Here's the start and the finish. Sort of. It's not exactly the start. I couldn't tell you the route; I was really just along for the ride.

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Baby Blue the Sunday Bike, at destination. We had lunch; it was tasty.

The sky was this dramatic but it wasn't this dark.

Once again I elect to show you the sky instead of my fellow riders. There were about a dozen of us. Maybe sixteen.

Okay, here's a few of us.

Paddle Report: 16 July 09

Put in at McCormick and Oakton. Paddled up to the Bahai Temple. 8 mile round trip. New and exciting tan lines.

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Except, well, we were on the Channel.

Plum Tree sittin' in the river. Er, channel.

I think this is the Metra bridge. In any event, it's beautiful.

Temple is off to the right, and up. Classic kayaking shot, with my bow in the foreground. This is the lock-thingie that keeps the lake out. Or rather, lets it in slowly.

Our destination: the Bahai Temple.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So a couple hours ago I answer the door. It's a police officer: someone hit my (parked) car.

Just sent my beautiful baby away on a tow truck. The impact moved her half a car length forward and put two wheels several feet onto someone's tree lawn.

On the plus side (?) I'll get a brand new rear bumper out of this. (Street parking is brutal on bumpers.) There will also be a new drivers side rear door, including window (yep, broken glass) and goodness knows what else.

To state the obvious: it's not fair. I love that car.

(from February)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Letter

Unfortunately some of my favorite readers of old seem to have dropped away (I don't know that everyone uses an aggregator) so, while I'm curious for quite a few reactions that I'm unlikely to get, I am curious as to what the other four people (it's a negative exaggeration, for my amusement, I think there may be as many as six - kidding again) will have to say. The whole thing's off the cuff, but then I thought it was actually pretty good (we'll see if I feel that way in a week) and decided to post it.

What do I have for you. I dunno. Musings on belief and spirituality. To me, questions like this are to be lived through, answers held loosely and seen as inchoate.

You skipped the notion of God being unlimited in power, so who gives a fig if he has to hear seven hundred million prayers at once. "At once" being a null concept, since time is a theoretical construction. (Maybe prayer's for our good, not God's.) So if God doesn't experience time, then is it all blasting all at once, or does he just change channels? Wars could be fought, or at the very least several Protestant sub-denominations formed, over questions like this. To those to whom these things matter deeply I say, knock yourself out. But I think they're missing the point entirely.

I was raised Catholic. Still find value in ritual. Am finally coming to understand some of the sacraments, through my own life, in some ways. In most ways I'm a nondualist. I can't think of any in which I'm not, actually. It just doesn't really preclude anything else. My chief concerns are to do no harm (truthfully speaking, as little as is reasonably possible. Though I'm frequently very self-critical, I like to try and uphold a standard of reasonableness.) and to love those around me. I find God in other people, when at all. There were moments when I understood the whole thing - Christ rising from the dead - to be true, but in a way that rendered the whole thing irrelevant. But I'm not experiencing those moments now. A favorite line from a song: "or fake your death and only tell your closest friends" and I wonder if maybe the writer was thinking of Jesus at the time, too. The thing that mystifies me is that, given that Christianity was really a pain in the neck for the Romans, proving that their hero was still dead would've put a halt to that, but they didn't. How does this matter to me now? To be honest I'm not altogether sure. I'd like to believe in God the Almighty Band-Aid, Fixer of All Wrongs, but really, I'd only like to. Heaven is here and now. The Kingdom of God is here and now. I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I observe that I have this life, and a damn lot of talents, and that I'm discontent if I'm not using them and truly miserable if I'm wasting my time, so those are some good pointers right there to make good use of what I know I have. As opposed to sitting around waiting. Or as Jewel sang, we are God's hands.

I hung out with Pentecostals in college. This had the potential to make me legalistic and mean. I also got into reading the contemplatives, some of them at least, and this saved me from it, more or less. So I inadvertently got straight into what meditators would consider a more advanced method, and skipped the usual stuff with mantras and that. It's not the same to sit inside as it was in the chapel. (I had a key; it was a separate building.) The closest it comes is being on the water at night. But sometimes just sitting and looking at tree shadows is okay. I have a strong affinity for water; I have a strong affinity for sky. I'm at home with vast, unfathomable expanses.

But none of this, where I stand and what I believe now, hinges on whether or not God exists. The flip side of vast emptiness is a universe teeming with existence. It's all one: there is God, there is no God; The use of theistic language is because the language is familiar to me; it's also an easy enough way of communicating with others. I can't speak easily in the Buddhist paradigm, but the nondual one is somewhat closer.

Nonetheless, there's certainly something to believe as extant. Not wishfully. The occasional verifiable experience that was, at the time, information not known by conventional means, cannot be dismissed, is too specific to be accident. Call it God, the Holy Spirit, the third eye, intuition, a sixth sense, however various people explain things. How that affects life as a daily thing (besides, probably profoundly and constantly) I don't know. But there's always that set of experiences - my experiences - that I can't deny. I don't expect any reasonable person who hasn't had similar experiences to go believing anything based on mine. Fellow travelers, all. Anything I know to be true - some would call this belief but to me it's more internalized and profound - is by my own experience. Dangerous to make oneself the judge; I trust my judgment more than most peoples'. And there's very little, it's not specific, and if anything, it's only made me aware of how little I really understand.

At this point you're either with me or you're not, but if things are going on the table, then there ya go.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ride Report, 12 July 09

32.2mi, 19mph avg? rolling at 18-22mph, wind from NE at 8mph, 76f. northbound! damen-ravenswood-sheridan-tower road-old green bay road-glencoe beach, similar return route.

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baby blue, the sunday bike, at destination. except it wasn't my destination, it's just where i decided to turn around so i wouldn't get lost going back.

7 July 2009 - Ride Report

33 miles rolling 18-22. lakefront-friends'-wells-harrison-canal-archer-california-something-sacramento/humbolt-milwaukee-cicero-lawrence.

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Yes, please view the larger map... all the extra data points are to force it to use the route I took, as opposed to whatever Google thinks is most convenient by car. But still, pretty rad. And, wonder of wonders, you can use the street view, too!

Photo at C: I have always, always liked this building. The nice thing about just being "out for a ride" is that when something catches one's attention, one can make a detour to explore. Click for fullsize.

Photo at G: I love the plant in the background, but seeing the tug and barge was a special treat. Click for fullsize.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Personal Strengths and Career Weaknesses

More career evaluation stuff from Dad. Transcribed from a scan. (I'll be considering these for myself, of course...)


In order that we may have some understanding of your personal strengths, please check any of the words listed below which you feel other people in your working environment might use to describe you (eg superiors, peers, customers, and general business associates)

good natured
sense of humor

Listed below are the common factors which can eliminate job candidates from employment consideration. Please review this list carefully. Then, check only those items which potential employers MIGHT negatively attribute to you, IN VIEW OF YOUR OBJECTIVES. For example, if you were seeking to become a University PResident, but did not have post-graduate degrees, potential employers might view you as a candidate with insufficient formal education. Please be completely forthright. We need to understand the way you view your position, in order to minimize or compensate for any potentially negative factors.

You don'to have enough work experience
your experience is limited to 1 industry
your experience is limited to 1 company
your experience is in other industries
your experience is in other disciplines
you have a record of too many jobs
you've made lateral job shifts
your present earnings are relatively low
you are presently unemployed
your work history has employment gaps
you are in a semi-remote location
you aren't fluent in enough languages
you have insufficient formal education
your education is unrelated
you have uncertain job references
you were terminated from previous job(s)
you may be considered too young
you may be considered too old
you haven't traveled enough overseas
you haven't traveled enough in the US
your academic record was mediocre
you didn't hold many jobs in college
you had few activities in college
you need more experience in large firms
you need more experience in small firms
you haven't shown much leadership
you've made slow financial progress
you don't have many major accomplishments
your career has peaked out
you haven't been frequently promoted
you're too much of a specialist
you've been in your job too long
you're too much of a generalist
your previous earnings were too high
you don't know the geographical area
you need more line experience
you need more staff experience
you need more supervisory experience
you need more budgetary experience
you need more creative experience you need more analytical experience
you need more writing experience
you need more speaking experience
you need more management experience
you need more general management experience
you need more top management experience
you need more civic participation
you haven't published enough
you aren't well enough known

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Good find from Dad

Something he got from somebody else. Good stuff. Dad is cool.

It's funny, too, about the car thing. I knew what I wanted, did my due diligence, still wanted it. And inasmuch as a car is (or can be) a representative of the self, I'm really, really pleased with my car.

I realized I put more thought into the purchase of an automobile than I did in my career. For my car purchase, I defined what I wanted, did research and got recommendations. I discovered I could do the same with my career.

I ask myself two sets of questions to develop career requirements.

Where would I like to be in my career in three years? How would I spend my day? What would be a success for me? What would be a failure? What would make me absolutely miserable? What would bring me joy?

What am I known for? What types of things do people come to me for? When people hear my name, what do they think of?

I then look at the responses. Do the things I am known for support the career I want?

For example only, let's say I want to be a java development team leader. I am known for my creativity, independence and working opposite hours from the rest of the team so I can get more done without being disturbed. What I am known for does not fully support the career I want. This is where I have to be honest with myself. If I really like working independently, do I really want to be a team leader? This is how meaningful career conversations begin.

Start with yourself. It's always easier to ask for directions when you have a destination.