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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

[Quote] Being Self-Taught

“Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching.  For he that was only taught by himself had a fool for his master” –Ben Johnson
It is a strange facet of the Western culture to value self-reliance so much.  With the age of the internet comes the anonymous sharing of a vast wealth of information.  How does one effectively share experience in the digital age?  Many times, I feel like I want to call someone for a recipe rather than going to allrecipes.com.  How can I learn how to clean my house’s boiler heater or fix my car from YouTube?  Believe me, I’ve tried both unsuccessfully.
I would like to be less independent.  Isn’t that strange to hear?  Doesn’t that feel like laziness?  I think it is feeling more and more like true connectedness and community.

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[Quote] The Mind is Powerful!

Our best friends and our worst enemies are our thoughts.  A thought can do us more good than a doctor or a banker or a faithful friend.  It can also do us more harm than a brick.

–Frank Crane

How true this is!  How many times have I been prevented from doing something simply because of a doubtful or fearful thought?  How powerful and empowering are ‘true’ and ‘right’ thoughts about our self and others!

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Wow, it has been a really long time since I last posted on this blog.  Surprisingly, I’m still getting quite a few hits on a number of blog posts, though.

Here’s a quick update on what’s going on with me:

My wife and I have a new addition to our family!  Woohoo!  That’s probably one of the big reasons I haven’t really been paying much attention to this blog lately.  Our daughter, Fiona, is a wonderful little girl.  She’s spunky like her mom… which is going to be trouble sooner or later!

Professionally, I’ve shifted gears a little bit in the last 9 months.  I’m no longer focusing on SharePoint, but am now working with a few well-known open source projects.  Among them are MonoRail and ActiveRecord from Castle Project.  Working with ActiveRecord means that I’m now using NHibernate as an object-relational model.  I’ve been using NVelocity for web site templating, Scriptaculous for animations and PrototypeJS because it’s incredibly useful.  I’m back to using TestDriven.net for unit testing, CruiseControl for continuous build integration, and NAnt for build scripts and other automated functionality.

Hopefully, I’ll start blogging about some of these technologies I’ve been using.  If nothing else, posts can serve to remind me of trouble spots I’ve run into and how I fixed certain problems.

Peace and Blessings to you!

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Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said.  A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.  Or a garden planted.  Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.  It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.  The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said.  The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

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Proverbs 30:8-9

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
       give me neither poverty nor riches,
       but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
       and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
       Or I may become poor and steal,
       and so dishonor the name of my God.

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Quick Cleveland Update

Hi! I don’t know if anyone is even checking this blog anymore since it’s been so long since I last wrote something here. Anyways, here’s a synopsis of the last month:

We lived with Adriane’s brother, Alex for about a month. We really enjoyed spending time with him (watching the tv show Lost). Adriane and I saw at least a million apartments. The good news is that apartments are still a lot cheaper than in Rhode Island. After much agonizing, we decided on a first-floor place near Cedar-Lee… way more space than our last apartment, hardwood floors, and a short walk to a coffee place – woohoo! I also found a great job!

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While checking the Signals vs. Noise blog today, I read a very interesting article about a world-class violenist who played a ‘gig’ in a D.C. subway. You can decide whether or not to read the Washington Post article, but I found it insightful. A synoposis is this: a world-class musician dressed in plain clothes plays ingenious pieces during rush-hour. He’s largely unnoticed. A crowd never gathers and he earns less than $40 during his time. The only demographic which consistently took notice of him was children… who were hurried on by their hurried parents.

The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 has been on my mind on-and-off for the past 9 months or so. David Bell’s subway performance and Christ’s words are glaringly connected. Let me quote some of the parable to clarify that statement:

He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'[a] But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

There were a few haunting comments in the article itself:

“The experiment at L’Enfant Plaza may be symptomatic of that, he said — not because people didn’t have the capacity to understand beauty, but because it was irrelevant to them.”

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies

Maybe we should ‘stop and smell the roses’ a little more often…

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