Sunday, April 5, 2009


I'm not sure I ever had a proper grasp of infinity before the internet.

You could look at the stars and know intellectually that some are closer and some are farther, to the end of the observable universe (@11:20), but pretty much they are all further away than we can comprehend.

But I go online to check out a wikipedia page mentioned by a book I just finished and write an email but I see a yahoo news headline which reminds me to check a blog I like which leads me to being rick-rolled for the second time this week. And the Muppet roll leads to this which I think is entertaining and well executed.

Now in addition to the Ode to Joy linking my mind back to "meep" and "bork" saying dorm mates, and yet another recent blog title "Be Not Afraid" - a beautiful phrase which instantly called to mind my brief stint in the MIT Concert Choir for Elijah, which although I dropped out for lack of practice time, the people making the drop poster (an on-campus advertisement) used my idea from the first week for the poster design, and I later became friends with the lead poster maker only to find out months later of this brief earlier connection - the Ode to Joy (and amazon, for that matter) has links for "in response to", "other people who watched this also watched", "videos somehow related" and at some point, realizing that one is the 19 millionth 747 thousandth 902nd person to watch a 2007 video of two cats meowing at each other, that this infernal linkage has gone too far.

While I still haven't been to my wiki page (ok, now I have, to get the link), I did send the email (but it was 12 times longer than I meant for it to be; I'm a typing fool today). One has to have massive impulse control (not my strength) or the internet will entice you to infinity. And beyond. It's the best and worst thing about it.

[meandering rant]
I'm never sure if I'm getting smarter or stupider when I count the hours I spend sucked into following link after link. The 17 TED videos (and counting) I count as a plus. But then I worry that I should try to absorb them for a while before moving on, as I'm clicking on the next offering. The main point of Outliers is that just working hard isn't enough - you must have opportunity and enthusiasm for your work - but it is a necessity. All really successful people, though, have put in hours and hours - 10,000 or so at their chosen obsession, in order to hit their stride before they really take off. But not just any work, but "practice" where you consciously work on improving. And I know I've spent 10,000 hours reading fiction for pleasure (not practice although I am a much pickier consumer now), doing math/logic puzzles for fun (prolly nudged my college choice), and emailing which I've done almost daily for hours since 1990. (2+ hours/day, 6 days/week, 50 weeks/year for 19 odd years = 10,000 hours.) And yet I still make grievous email errors (sending a contentious email before sleeping on it) and spend less time than I need to in organizing my email, and way less time than I should keeping up with good friends (one of the reasons why I blog). I am better at composing messages and using email as a tool than I used to be, but have no deep and profound ability to show for the masterswork amount of time I have put in.

So now what? It's 3:15AM. I need to schedule my time better to get the last details of the kitchen finished, get back in the glass studio, start reconnecting with my cued speech network, exercise, date, have friends over, etc... But first, there's this hilarious video...
[/meandering rant]

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