the subtle art

reading this to celebrate upcoming bday

p21: This book is not some guide to greatness–it couldn’t be, because greatness is merely an illusion in our minds, a made up destination that we obligate ourselves to pursue, our own psychological Atlantis // Instead, this book will turn your pain into a tool, your trauma into power, and your problems into slightly better problems. That is real progress. Think of it as a guide to suffering and how to do it better, more meaningfully, with more compassion and more humility

p68: Yet, later in his life, Onoda said he regretted nothing. He claimed that he was proud of his choices and his time on Lubang. He said that it had been an honor to devote a sizable portion of his life in service to a nonexistent empire

p78 (Rock Star Problems): The question is not whether we evaluate ourselves against others; rather, the question is by what standard do we measure ourselves? // Dave Mustaine, whether he realized it or not, chose to measure himself by whether he was more successful and popular than Metallica. The experience of getting thrown out of his former band was so painful for him that he adopted “success relative to Metallica” as the metric by which to measure himself and his music career // If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success

Issui Enomoto is a taxi cab driver in Japan’s port city of Yokohama. But he’s also a photographer

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ergodic walk & the fear of missing out

DSC08135

Ergodic theory had its origins in the work of Boltzmann in statistical mechanics problems where time- and space-distribution averages are equal. Steinhaus (1999, pp. 237-239) gives a practical application to ergodic theory to keeping one’s feet dry (“in most cases,” “stormy weather excepted”) when walking along a shoreline without having to constantly turn one’s head to anticipate incoming waves.

midsummer night

It has not been a hot summer. Nevertheless I’m enjoying thinking about a cold winter day. Thinking about walking through the Christmas Tree selections outside the market. Thinking about falling snow falling. Falling.

img src=thisisglamorous

Also thinking about the seasons that have passed us by.

[January] RGA Skating Event

[February] Celebrating bday with Stephen + Denise @ Tutti Matti

[March] Celebrating Valentines: “I thought: I need to revisit Japan ASAP. On second thought, the fact that I can eat this in Toronto means I don’t really need to revisit Japan ASAP”

[April] Checking out his grandma’s quilts; she gets her patterns from St Jacobs

[May] Ramble around St James Cemetery: “There is nothing more romantic than graveyards in the spring. The memories of others, the scent of lilac and, going down a flight of stairs, a sense of hanami (花見)”

[August Bonus] Celebrating half-bday @ Rectory Cafe on Ward Island; “after Thanksgiving, however, the Rectory will close its doors for good

gateway ridge 64° 43′ 00.0″ s

I was having my birthday dinner at Tutti Matti and we have all been working for almost fifteen years so we start to talk about the meaning of leadership. I’ve always assumed that my friends who run their own companies would have stronger opinions on this but maybe I’m the most opinionated person at the table, as usual.

Other than being excellent at what they do (because how can people who do not do an excellent job expect others to do an excellent job), I think a leader needs to consistently and authentically bring enthusiasm to The Process, not just The Purpose. Whether we work in tech or insurance or whatever, there are days when work feels like walking in a snow storm with limited visibility of The Purpose. The seed of success resides in the quality of doing, The Process is not magic (to sort of quote Eames).

To consistently and authentically bring enthusiasm to The Process, we have to enjoy The Process and, for me, connecting my work to the idea of exploration brings joy. Here are some examples.

Example A: Running the deal model and finding a better than expected return is like that time on the Bolivian Altiplano when I looked for a less windy place to go to the bathroom and then looked up and realized I also had a nice view.


Figure A: View from Bathroom Shelter

Example B: Being asked to provide detailed analysis while we are waiting for detailed information is like planning a journey through Antarctica. In Antarctic winter. That patch of unavailable information could be a sledging route.

Wikipedia: Gateway Ridge is a serrated rock ridge situated southeast of Mount Rennie on Anvers Island, in the Palmer Archipelago off the northwestern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The name originated because the snow col at the northern end of the ridge provides the only sledging route between Hooper Glacier and William Glacier.

Maybe we are all at that age where we start to question ourselves. Maybe this is a good thing. But if we can find joy and share it with others, then life is more than alright.

If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city–
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and HERE (to sort of quote T. S. Eliot)

img src=Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

arrival


img src=flixist.com

Busy at work but took Sunday off to watch Arrival. I started the film thinking this is like Space Odyssey and finished thinking this is as anti as can be.

In my interpretation of Space Odyssey, the monolith represents human nature, which is beyond good and evil. Is using a bone as a weapon to drive rivals away from the water hole good or evil? Neither because it is human to want to ensure our own survival.

In Arrival, monolith x 12 is here to unify humanity. Personally, I think things worked out because the aliens worked with 12 nations independently. If they only sent one monolith, they would not have had the opportunity to test 12 different approaches. Yes, different people doing different things will create conflict and conflict will create winners and losers at least in the short term. In the longer term, the rival ape men might find a bigger water hole elsewhere.

In terms of cinematography, I loved every moment of Arrival. So I’m sort of hoping that I misunderstood the message and the film is not suggesting that we all unify around THE RIGHT ANSWER. Otherwise, I think Arrival represents everything that is wrong with the world. When people try too hard to grasp the truth, they find themselves bound by narratives created by others.