Just Shelley


Shelley, isn’t it about time you gave up all this independent nonsense and went out and found a real job?”

So goes the virtual mother in my head. I had to make up this mother to nag me because my own mother would never nag me like that. She was stifled in her youth and was determined that I be allowed to follow my own paths and make my own decisions.

In fact, I’ve been remarkably nag-free all my life, surrounded by people who have basically said that I should do what I want, and that they’ll support me no matter what I do.

Bummer. No one to blame when I screw up.


Important parts of life

I envy Mike at Keep Trying in his ability to generate a challenging topic and then open the discussion on said topic in such a way that the discussion remains both thoughtful and interesting. He did this with yesterday’s posting on self-appraisal. I won’t reference much of his posting and the responses — you should take time and read these yourself — but I did want to comment on one paragraph in today’s posting.

I think one answer is that we are dealing with internal qualities. We have to ask ourselves these questions. This is very difficult. But if we believe that an important part of life is to improve ourselves then it is a worthwhile task. Having fun is great and necessary but that is just one small aspect of life. The pleasures of meaning and purpose are much greater and longer lasting than fun.

I walk, almost daily, along the beach next to the Golden Gate Bridge. This beach also happens to be one of the few areas in San Francisco where dogs are allowed off their leashes, to run along the sand and play among the waves.

There’s a particular black lab I know that comes up to you and drops her ball just out of your reach. When you reach for it to throw it for her, she lunges in and grabs it out of your grasp and then dances around in delight at her own cleaverness. Then back again with the ball, dropping it down, expecting me to make another attempt.

One of the Jack Daniels tries to keep up with the bigger dogs, running as hard as it can on its short stubby legs among the labs and the dobermans and the shepherds…until the other dogs run into the water.

The waves along the beach aren’t that small or that gentle and a small dog is not going to be able to swim in these waters. All that poor little Jack Daniels can do when his larger friends jump into the water is to stand at the edge and bark for all its might. Wave rolls out, he runs forward; wave rolls in, he runs back. That cute little bugger barking at the ocean, in his mind having brief moments of triumph when the waves recede, setbacks when the waves return. He only stops when his friends exit the water, at this point having achieved a state of truce with the water.

One of my favorite dogs is a beautiful Boxer who loves to play in the water so much that his owner has to restrict him because the dog would exhaust himself and drown — the play means that much to him.

Once, a large red doberman came out of no where, walked right up to me, circled behind me, and then sat down beside me as if we were in a dog show demonstrating obedience. She then leaned for all she was worth against my leg. And just stayed there, looking out a the water. I was astonished at first, and then just started laughing. It was a moment of crystalline pure delight. The kind of moment you can’t buy, build, borrow, or create.

Absolute joy at simple gifts. I define this as fun, and it is my greatest meaning in life. And creating a little of that joy in others is my greatest purpose.


The Plutonian list

Inquiring fans want to know why I call my blogroll the Plutonian list.

Because it’s shorter than “This is a list of my favorite weblogs that I go out and read on a daily basis, and through whom I achieve enlightment, have fun, get a giggle, expand my horizens, and generally becoming a better and more interesting as well as more rounded person because of these weblogs”?

The Australians are also Plutonians but are here on visas, which is why they’re listed as the Delegation.

How’s that?


Giving Radio 8.0 to members of Congress

File this under one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time: Michael Webb suggests that Userland give copies of Radio 8.0 to all members of Congress, as a tool to communicate with their constituants daily.

I’d like to add one additional idea: that the congressional members also spend one hour a day reading weblogs of people who live in their communities, and one hour less listening to lobbyists.

Now that’s two-way web!


Applied at Google

I took Jonathon’s advice and put in an application at Google. Not sure about my chances, though.

Of course, I don’t have a PhD. And I don’t have a Masters, either. Does a BA in Psychology and a BS in Computer Science count? And I write books. That has to count for something. They don’t always sell as well as I like, but neither does most dot com businesses.

And I haven’t worked in a research position since I left Boeing several years ago, but have worked on major systems for a host of organizations such as Nike, Intel, Harvard, and Stanford — that sounds impressive, doesn’t it? So what if you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting an out of work research PhD within the SiliValley area.

Hire me! I helped spread the meme of Google Instant Messaging! I am Orange!

Think it will work?