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Borrowed Words

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I hear some people apologize for their inability to express themselves, and pretend to have their heads full of good things which they cannot bring out through lack of eloquence.  This is a delusion.  Do you know what I think?  These are shadows cast upon their minds by some half-shaped ideas which they cannot disentangle and clear up inwardly, and therefore are unable to express outwardly; they do not yet understand themselves.

Michel de Montaigne, as translated by John M. Cohen

Fuck, he‘s right.

Written by Barry

May 31, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Books

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Impossible

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I am trying out a tiny section of a book I bought last summer. Here’s something that I simply cannot do:

Body Lowering
This is the opposite to leg lowering — your legs lay still and your torso and head return to the floor. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent, pointing up to the ceiling, and clasp your hands behind your neck. Slowly lower your upper body to the floor for a count of 10, keeping your back straight. Resist the temptation to go too fast at the beginning, because you will only have to slow down later on — eventually you should try to increase the time it takes you to lower your body, working up to 15 and even 20 seconds.

Ten seconds? I can do it in one. Can anyone do this? Can your abs defy gravity?

Written by Barry

July 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Posted in Books, General

Chocolate Ice Cream

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A short while back on the show with zefrank, he talked about making decisions, taking action, and not looking back, because things will work out. Just buy that pair of shoes and don’t check the price after you do, he suggested.

Richard Feynman also talked about this in the excellent Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! Upon noticing that he was wasting time deciding on the dessert after a meal, he simply decided that chocolate ice cream will be it for the rest of his life. And after a difficult decision between teaching at Cornell or Caltech, he decided to stay at Caltech for life. When Chicago came calling, he turned them down before they had a chance to tell him how much they were offering. Even after learning that Chicago was offering him five times the money, he declined the offer (with a very amusing reason).

It’s a philosophy I agree with. Fuck the what-ifs. It’s not like we can go back do it again. The past is dumb. Learn from it and move on. And all that jazz. But some decisions are just difficult. Plus I don’t even like chocolate ice cream.

I received an offer for a position in Portland almost two weeks ago. Initially I turned it down because I was a little shocked at how low the base pay is. (But they make up for it with bonuses.) Then a message from a friend made me reconsider. So I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and in the end I just stayed with my first decision. (I don’t know why, so don’t ask.)

And that’s it. The decision was such a pain, I’ve simply decided that I’ll just stay at my current position for a while, at least until my jaw surgery. No more interviews; I had two this year. I really should focus on other areas of my life anyway.

(Oh yeah, if you are a good programmer, I know a place that’s hiring…)

Written by Barry

November 1, 2006 at 2:59 am

Sound Principles of Wealth and Power

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If you, like me, prefer books with a good picture:word ratio and a minimum number of big words, check out “Bone” by Jeff Smith. It’s epic.

Written by Barry

September 29, 2006 at 7:14 am

Posted in Books