"A good example is the best sermon." - Thomas Fuller


June 26th, 2007

I am a green thumb--at least on the weekends--at least every now and again on the weekends--okay, so not nearly enough. I have a nice sized front lawn, about ten by twenty feet, which includes a small flower / ivy garden and other plants. Around back are countless rose bushes, gardening areas, and so on. And always, always, an abundance of weeds!

I'm not a big fan of weeding. I enjoy the visual results of weeding and there's a certain sense of contentment I have while weeding, but it's definitely not something I think, "Oh, I want to do that when I get home from work!" This past year I've truly allowed my gardens to go to pot. Not enough time, an aching knee, and a blossoming relationship have all been included in the excuse bin thus the weeds have grown in the walkways, rose bushes have thrust out in every direction, and the BBQ is still sitting under a tree waiting to be thoroughly cleaned.

I have noticed a rather peculiar phenomenon. The more honest you are with yourself and others, the more in touch you are with who you are and what you're about, the more your external environment reflect your internal one.

My lawn and garden are an obvious example. Others include how clean and organized my house or room are, how organized and on top of things I am at work, the ease of my interaction with people (friends, family, and strangers), and my ability to be creative (writing in my journal, photography, putting together a motorcycle ride, etc.).

On the extreme I've even noticed a psychic and arguably irrational connection between myself and my environment. For instance, I recently had a difficult conversation and I just wanted to cry but for the life of me I couldn't. I got in my car to head to the store, upset as hell, and noticed the windshield was dirty so pulled in the knob to cause water to spray over it but the windshield wipers didn't budge. My first thought was some kid had superglued them to the window but no, just ten minutes later the feeling of wanting to cry had passed and suddenly the windshield wipers were working again. Likewise, when I am most upset, tired, feeling like I can barely get from A to B, having a sense that I'm "off", my engine will hiccup and it seems to do this quite a bit whenever I'm feeling this way (and yes, at no other time does it consistently behave this way).

I could give dozens of such examples from just the last month and yes, I could be projecting but the reality is on a quantum level our minds are connected to everything in the universe and everything in the universe with us. With that understanding in mind it is then important to recognize we cannot simply ignore the weeding forever whether it be needed in the garden or the deepest soil of our souls.

And remember to water your lawn.

June 25th, 2007

I don't have a lot of answers. A lot of facts, a lot of observations, some wisdom and perhaps a few misplaced opinions, but not many answers. Or maybe it's just that I feel like I don't have the right answers and maybe it's just that I don't have the answers I want or maybe it's just I can't accept the answers that come to me.

We all have our challenges. Superficially they may seem very different. One person has a problem with their children, another with work, another with finances. And we all have different advantages that make up for the difficulties. Maybe it's money. Maybe it's a supportive family or circle of friends. Maybe we've just learned the skills to overcome anything with a smile on our faces (to those who have learned this skill, kudos).

In all cases I think there's one constant: life is messy.

How things "ought" to be and how things "are" are usually two very different things. We all have this psychological dichotomy that sometimes starts to smolder like a fire in our minds as the contrast between these two extremes is pushed out. How things ought to be, we think--and we think about it more and more and somehow convince ourselves it has life and in turn we suffer.

That is our shared challenge.

We have something else in common, you and me. We are who we are, we have what we have, we know who we know, and we're at where we're at. I started off in a little town in the Southern Grampians Shire of Victoria, Australia, moved to the states, went to church, I graduated high school, got a college education, experienced (and overcame) a decade long depression, struggled with having enough money for food, rent, and the like, and struggled with my own "ought"s.

Where are you, where did you come from, and what are your "ought"s?

I still struggle, but I try to let them go. And it's hard. It's hard to accept that work "ought" to be smoother and more predictable. It's hard to accept that my nearly teen-year-old's most common utterance lately is, "Okay." It's hard to say goodbye and attend the death of an old friend (the cigarillo). It's hard to struggle with someone I love, dancing around our "ought"s trying to make sense of them and be loving when they're ripping us both up inside.

There's some saying and I don't know who to attribute it to, something about treating the important things in life lightly and the small things as if they have great importance. Similarly but not so poetic, "Don't sweat the big stuff."

I prefer the more poetic quotations...blah...

I try to live by those ideals. Not always successful but it just makes sense to me, it makes sense to someone who's stared the reaper in the eye and said, "No thanks, I choose hope instead." Perhaps I'm a romantic, always choosing hope, always choosing to swoop into battle with wings spread and sword drawn, to always think that this isn't so big, there have been bigger things, harder things, worse things, and then when it all seems unbearable….

I stop. I sleep. I read a book. I have a cup of tea. I go outside to water the lawn. I ask how the people I care about are doing. I read a letter from an old friend who shares her hardships with me and I remember I'm not alone.

June 20th, 2007

Recently I have become enamored to the board game Scrabble, not so much for the game as much as the company. I must admit, Scrabble isn't exactly the type of game I enjoy as I'm not into word games nor games where the rules can sometimes seem silly, random, or just downright constricting. That said, I have taken the iniative to create a set of possible rules to give Scrabble the edge it needs.

Do you dare?

Aslynn's top ten list of edits to the Scrabble Rulebook:

1. It's a Fucking Word - Under these rules anything that's a fucking word can be used. Proper pronouns are legal. Foreign languages are go. Slang is perfectly fine. Swearing is okay if there are no children around. If someone says it in the real world, it can go on the board.

2. ARG - Or "Acronyms R Good" allows players to use any acronyms. Examples include: CIA, FYI, LOL, IDE, ACLU, and WTF.

3. Spellchecking Disabled - According to this set of rules, spelling doesn't matter. Az lonng az a wrd sownds (reezznibly) klose tu wateva's spellled owt, itt kowntz.

4. The Devil's Dictionary - For the sake of dark comedy lets assume that the dictionary is a work of Satan and by extension of this we can't use any word contained in the dictionary. Everything else counts. One must also play with Spellchecking Disabled fer thiz tu werc.

5. Diagonals - I get bored with vertical and horizontals only and sometimes the game can get cramped into one area of the board. Why not include the ability to write words diagonally?

6. Go! Go! Go! - This one is timed, it's fast, I mean, when your turn starts you've get one minute to spell a word, any word, and if you don't, if you don't get a word completely spelled out on the board and in place within one minute you lose your turn, you lose as many points as the pieces you have add up to, and all your pieces go back in the bag (and you have to pick out 7 new ones!). Think fast!

7. Highway Robbery - The premise here is that you can take pieces off the board and add them to your collection of pieces. The only rule is that whatever word you steal the pieces from remains a word after you've taken letters from it.

8. Mine Field - Life isn't always happy go lucky and neither should Scrabble. So why not turn the "Double Point Word" spot into a "Negative Double Word Point" spot? And the "Triple Letter Score" into a "Negative Triple Letter Score"? Ah, how much more interesting the board would be if we had to avoid areas on it!

9. Lleps ti Sdrawkcab - Simple enough: words may be spelled backwards as well as forwards!

10. Real Time Scrabble - There are two basic types of games, "turn-based" and "real-time". Scrabble is a turn-based game, that is, one person takes their turn, the next person takes theirs, and so on. How about we shake things up a little and simply make Scrabble into a real-time game? In other words, play as fast as you can at the same time others are playing. Count your points after every word. Once all letters are used up the game is over!

June 19th, 2007

What was this? These footprints, these paws going across my deck?

Why are they here? Was it a raccoon, scooting across in the night, a skunk nearly ready to spray, or some kind of space alien landing to check out the hot tub?

What is it? Will you help me learn? Where are the charts that will show me what scurried before me so many hours before? Is there an expert that will enlighten me with the how's and why's of these muddy prints?

Will they be back tonight? Around tomorrow? Do they come to stay or were they just passing through?

Do they care what I'm up to?

June 18th, 2007

Computer programming is an art form. From the moment one comes up with an idea for a program through planning to writing and debugging, programming takes creativity, forethought, logic, know-how, and a little elbow grease.

I do it for a living--well, on a good day I do it for a living. When I can sit down for two, three, or five hours at a time, as I did today, there's a Zen flow one's mind enters. I call it "The Zone". And it's a beautiful place, a place where everything makes sense and even when something doesn't work you know it's not the computer, it means you weren't completely in The Zone and it's an opportunity to get back, to conform to the rational laws defined by man and engrained into the microscopic transistors of a thousand dollar machine.

Like my writing, my programs are never finished. Okay, so maybe they appear finished, maybe they do everything I intended them to do, but they're not quite done. When all those lines of code do what they were originally designed to do I stop. I take a deep breath. And I spend a little time rewriting. Beautifying.

You see, you can make code look like a pile of steaming dog poop and it'll still run just fine but it's difficult to read and just ugly to look at. Part of the elegance of programming, in my view, is to reach the point of functionality one is striving for then stop and bring elegance to the code.

That's an art I'm striving to bring to all areas of my life.

June 17th, 2007

Okay, I lied again, I am going to write this month. And to start my babbling I'm suggesting another trip to the Visions page where I've updated the Hells Canyon 2007 trip with text. Enjoy.

As to other things, I'm feeling a bit antsy. I have a few plans for the next few months (a trip to Prineville to support the Race for the Cure and another to Disneyland) there's part of me that just wants to be getting out of town every weekend to do things. Will have to start coming up with ideas. Do you have any you'd like to share?

Otherwise I have a bazzillion things to share with you here. Things about communication. Things about how I've grown as a person. Things about perceptions of reality. Things about the real and unreal.

So much to write about and so little time!

June 12th, 2007

I guess it's pretty obvious by this point I've been negligent in my writing. And honestly, though I have a lot to say I don't feel like saying anything. So June is a journal free month...

However, if you're jonesing and want to see pictures of my latest trip, visit the Visions page.