divination interpretation personal streetfinds walking

Fear Rusted

fear rustedI saw this while walking through some worries. I have to choose between some good choices. Instead of comparing the various virtues and qualities of the choices, I was compulsively weighing risks, using long passed and irrelevant injuries as measure. Everything was incommensurable and awkward. I started feeling more and more inconfident, almost certain that I would choose the wrong path. I became lost. I saw this.

The reflex to cling to fear and apprehension outlasts not just the injuries, but the fear as well. I gave the barrier a nudge with my foot and kept walking.

interpretation people

Stupid People

joker I don’t know if it’s a media trend, or a cultural shift, but I seem to be exposed to more of the richness of human stupidity. I don’t mean the general ‘stupid mistakes everyone makes’ stupidity, or the ‘can’t understand it and don’t care’ stupidity. I mean the ‘screaming in your face and calling you wrong about something about which I have no clue’ stupidity.

Opposition to science, misunderstanding agreed upon premises, simple ignorance of simple logic fueled by a head full of hate and loud voice seem to get more play in our culture than cautious doubt or educational exploration. It’s nothing new or unique. Professional wrestling has outsold sport wrestling for decades. Now it’s the same for our news.

But what’s wrong with me is that I call this stupid. I scream that it’s stupid. I point a finger. I get mad. I raise my voice about it.

We can all think of examples of classes of people who were considered inherently stupid. Nobody bothered to educate them — in some cases it becomes illegal to do so. We all applaud those few examples of people who overcome this and become the person who was supposed to be stupid but became known as smart. The applause isn’t just because they became smart. It’s because they not only had to fight the stupidity we all have to fight within ourselves. They had to fight others’ as well.

I’m not saying I’m gonna stop getting all loudly cranky about stupid people. I’m not even planning to stop. But if I were a better person I would.

Nobody ever got smart by being called stupid.

bereavement business family

Working On

business-general It’s been almost two month’s since Brian died. Though I certainly can’t say I’ll ever be over it, I no longer feel that hurt shock when I think of him and remember that he died. I’ll keep a shrine to him. I’ll remember something about our time together every day. I’ll cope well.

I had a brief period where I wasn’t working, much. I got to work on some fun things–my sister’s site, configuring a laptop juuust so, backup strategies. The weight of not working when I should be making money was a bit much. How will we pay for a new roof for the garage? A kitchen window? A new phone?

The “wait” part of “hurry up and wait” is over now, and I’m likely swamped until a planned vacation stops my work. I can be grateful that we got to the beach and I got to relax.

bereavement personal

Brian Walker

brian-walkerMy best friend died last week. I’m still unclear on the details of his death. When I visited, it seemed he wasn’t very clear about it himself. He was quite lucid on several occasions and I got some datum points in short stories: One year, one month, one week and one day sober; A 1.75 liter bottle of gin; Waking up in an ambulance at 2 a.m.; A seizure; A morning drink; A sponsor moving out of town; A lost job and a business buy out; A liver and kidney no longer working.

Before he took the nap during which I had to leave, he asked rhetorically “What if I die today?” I could only remind him that had asked himself that question for as long as I’d known him, and that he had come up with some good answers.

Among Brian’s many excellences and virtue, he was the best storyteller I’ve known. The last story he told me was about a woman he watched on flight. At take off she rubbed her face with lotion. She put on dark sunglasses and headphones. She wrapped much of her face in scarves and then sat motionless. She must have made prior arrangements. Brian imagined, because the stewardess left her completely alone until just before strapping for landing. The traveler unwrapped. She took off her sunglasses and headphones. When she got up to leave, she was the picture of vibrant beauty. That’s the only way to fly, Brian said as he buzzed for the nurse.

Through the fog, confusion and crying of the last week, the memory of a bold and beautiful man emerges. He was complicated and troubled, particularly at the end, but through to the end, he remained the Brian Walker I will always know.


Six Apart, Typepad, WordPress and me

window-over-buff-surfI wrote a little plugin for Six Apart to allow their service to be used by wordpress installs. It was announce at the Mid-Atlantic Wordcamp 2009 today and got to be a big deal right away.

It was a great opportunity to contribute to a couple great organizations. I look forward to more.

family professional programming technology

Pruning and Weaving

willow-wovenMy son and I worked on the willow hut yesterday. Today I worked on some inherited spaghetti code.

The winter die-off was woven in with new growth. It was difficult to find which part should be snapped off, which brought to the light, which woven back to hold the thing together. I snipped and pulled and made a mess of it. For a while it even lost much of its shape.

Now the ceiling is higher, though the walls are thinner. The door is a bit too tall and the back wall is still too thin, but this summer promises strong growth.

family personal professional

A Measure of Success

measurementFlora put this above the door down to the basement, where my office is. This pretty much says it all.

We broke even in March financially, and in its first week, April looks good. I’ve got a part-time job with customerforce along with a few new gigs, and some huge possibilities.

After being in such an ill place professionally, I wish it didn’t take global financial strife to get me to a better place, but it seems that it did. Yay!

Added “Create A Decent WordPress them for your own blog” to the todo list.

business personal

New Web Page and Resume

artwellsresheadI recently had a mention in BusinessWeek. Though it certainly wasn’t a This guy is awesome! You should hire him!, it did send quite a bit of traffic to my site.

This made me aware that my website and resume still suck, even though I’ve been leaning on both rather heavily. So here it is: my new home page and resume.

Spread them around!

memory personal

Echos of Ordinary

remembrance-stoneLately I’ve been having strong memories, almost re-experiences, of extremely mundane things. I’ll be walking upstairs from the basement and I will be instantly in a cold morning on a second-story deck of an apartment. I’m in a t-shirt and regretting that. I’m smoking the first cigarette from a large can of cigarettes given to me by a student. I’m thinking about doing my ironing.

I’m out for a walk and noticing something in the gutter. I reach for the camera and I can feel the arches of my feet on the front rung of a chair. I’m pulling on the loose thread of a sweatshirt and listening to someone talk about Aquinas. I forgot my pen but have nothing to write anyway.

I’m brushing my teeth after flossing and then runningrunningrunning down a grassy hill. I’ve just decided that I’m not able to stop and the only way to avoid hitting the pavement at the bottom is to fall now–to make myself hit the ground hard and flat–and I’m laughing about that but only briefly.

I turn from the keyboard and there’s the card table at my old apartment. I’m kneading sourdough and it doesn’t stink enough. It probably won’t make a full rise today and I’ll probably be up all night anyway. Tom Waits is singing and I’m crying about that.

Quick bursts that don’t feel like they stop. I’m there. I never left though there’s nothing much to keep me there.


New Twitter Bot For nshrine

please-note The day before yesterday I finally spent some time redoing nshrine’s twitter bot.

Just like before, all you need is to start a tweet with “@nshrine” and nshrine will light a candle for you and send you back a link to it. You can let other twitter users know when you light a candle for them, just tweet “@nshrine @artwells you are awesome!”. You’ll get a link an I’ll get a link.

There are more options, directing candles to specific open shrines and choosing colors. Take a look:

I’m tempted to revisit wingmail’s bot, making it two way. There’re so many good ideas to follow.