A fundamental flaw in the universe

There is no "Invincible for a Day" card. Apparently.

I went out for a 17 km run today and it was awful. Dreadful. Broken down. Humid. Stiff. My only salvation on long runs, the trails through Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest, was choked with bugs. My heart rate was out of whack -- probably because I jammed up and down the trails trying to outrace the bugs, to no avail. Ah, but it seemed so easy last week...

Congratulations; or, fear and loathing on my career path

First, honest congratulations to SpaceX for a successful first launch of their Falcon 9 rocket. I have no suitable analogy for how difficult it is to do such a thing on the first try. Just now that it's extremely difficult. Incredibly difficult. Nearly impossible. But they did it.

The shadow of the valley of motivation

Ironically, considering I'm just a few days downstream of running 50 km, what doesn't hurt is my legs. No, instead, what hurts is my upper body -- everything above the waist. Everything.

Because they only talk to me when they want money

Last night I got a phone call from the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Hail Alma Mater, don't throw shade on the corn, etc. It was a student doing a fundraising call on behalf of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. Would I, as an alumnus, be interested in making an $x tax-deductible donation for student scholarships, programs, etc.

I said, trying not to sound menacing, "No, I'm not going to."

She asked why I didn't want to.

I told her, "Because they only talk to me when they want money."

50 kilometers of fun at the 2010 Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival

Prior to Sunday, I had run 30 kilometers three times: the Chicago Marathon (42.195 km) on 9 October 2005; 32.3 km on 16 May 2010; and 30.09 km on 9 May 2010. Over the course of my life, that's it. Then, on 30 May 2010 at the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival, I ran a 50 km race.

(If you like your units imperial: 50 km is 31.07 miles; 30 km is 18.64 miles; 32 km is roughly 20 miles.)

kittell.org - Kittell family history

I've been in the mood to finish things left unfinished lately. In Linchpin, Seth Godin talks repeatedly about the importance of shipping, that is, to take what you are working on and bring it to completion. He says that it is your lizard brain -- your amygdala, your survival instinct, your resistance -- that tries to prevent this.

I liked the book. You should read it. It will, I hope, get you off your tail and do something. It helped me ship two projects. This is one of them.

A user's guide to Death Valley

Friends, I am off to run the Flying Pig (half) Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Let me leave you with a memento, in case the natives impede my escape.

Last Wednesday, I gave another speech at our weekly Toastmasters meeting. You're supposed to prepare for these things. Oops. I had an hour before I had to give my five to seven minute talk, but nothing prepared.

The expert's new clothes

This post was a featured post on Brazen Careerist on 14 April 2010.

(With apologies to Hans Christian Anderson)

BarCamp Boston is coming up this weekend. Perhaps I'll see you there. This week I have been thinking of what I could present. (For the uninitiated, BarCamp attendees are also the presenters.) But this voice in my head gets in the way.

Archiva Digitalis LLC

Tuesday 6 April was my one-year anniversary of working at a very large company. To celebrate I incorporated a side project: Archiva Digitalis LLC 1.

I spend a lot of time organizing my photos. I want them to live forever. I worry about them. I see two problems -- two sides of the same coin. On one side, I have a box of physical photos. It is a limited number of photos, but they are just sitting in a pile in a box. On the other side, I have an enormous amount of digital photos, also in a pile in a box (my hard drive).

Two questions about people and money (but mostly about people)

I work in a cubicle farm. That means that I get to overhear a lot of complaining over the work-related background chatter. A lot of complaining. Some of the complaining is sensible, some isn't.

Since the stock markets took a dive two years ago, and since we're in the thick of tax season, much of the complaining is about money. There are two prominent complaints that I think are wrong, but I'm not sure. Maybe you can correct me.


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