How to Get Ready for College (and Life)

On a recent afternoon, my son sent me a text message that read simply, “how do I get ready for college”. He’s 18 and starts his first semester in a couple weeks. Like most people, the only thing high school really challenged was his patience. He’s smart and he tends to overthink things. This results in more stress than necessary. He also seems to enjoy asking profound life advice by way of text message. Read more...

Observations From the John Muir Trail

In July of 2018 my son and I hiked the John Muir Trail. This was my second time and his first. The trail covers 211 miles from Yosemite National Park to the summit of Mount Whitney. It includes over 84,000 feet of elevation change and some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierras. We hiked it in 17 days. What follows is a collection of thoughts and observations. In one sense they are simple and obvious. Read more...

Some Days

Some days are better than others. I’m not sure if this is a function of energy, intention, luck or some combination of these and other factors. Days in the mountains are good days. So are days spent learning, reading and relaxing. Productive days where I crush that task list, execute on projects and accomplish all my dailies are often good days; in retrospect if not during. Then there are the not so good days. Read more...

The Howling

Modern life is full of miracles. Problems that bedeviled humanity for 5000 generations have solutions so commonplace that we have forgotten what true struggle looks like. The last two centuries have seen a boom in human progress and flourishing. Even with two world wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation marring our recent history, we have somehow managed to endure and improve the lives of billions. In less than a human lifetime more than half the world has been lifted out of extreme poverty. Read more...

An Assembly of Small Victories

Think small. You don’t often hear that advice. No, it’s all big dreams, follow your passion, five-year plans, moonshots and grand visions. There’s a place for those things. Maybe they are goals or directions, or simply a set of wishes. But without action they are only so much smoke and dust. For action, you need to think small. Decompose that expansive end-state down into smaller pieces until you can can connect it to your day-to-day. Read more...

In the News - Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

I try not to be reactive to or concerned by the news. Primarily because it’s not a good use of my time. Most news is firmly outside my sphere of influence. Also because it is frequently an inaccurate or incomplete story. News outlets can’t not report on an important event no matter the quality of information. I don’t fault journalism for this, it’s built into the nature of the system. Accuracy and contextual significance of events improve over time. Read more...

Authenticity and the Interview

I’ve been with the same company for almost fifteen years. In those years, I’ve been interviewed one time by another company, a well-known tech giant with a reputation for a difficult interview process. Not because I thought I could get the job, but because why not. It’s worth a try to see how you stack up. I say that now. At the time, I was not exactly thrilled that I didn’t get another interview. Read more...

Reflections on the Gun

I learned to fire a rifle when I was young. So young that it exists in the dim recesses of memory, back there with Star Wars, learning to read, elementary school, and my parents’ divorce. I own six firearms, a few were gifts and the others I purchased. When my wife and I got married, I sold the pistol I owned because I didn’t want it around small children. When our children were grown, I bought another one. Read more...

Forward and Back on the JMT

In the summer of 2015, I hiked the John Muir Trail. This summer (2018), I’m hiking it again. This time with my son. The planning is familiar ground, but I had forgotten how much anticipatory enjoyment there was in putting together a small adventure. As with last time, there’s a certain excitement involved in figuring out travel arrangements, determining what gear to buy, how many miles we can do, where we’ll camp, what we’ll eat, etc. Read more...

Meetings - Some Opinionated Guidelines

Arrange all the necessary evils of the world by time spent and I suspect meetings in a corporate environment will come out in the top three. I’d go so far as to say that these communal time sinks and waiting in line are probably the top two. It’s rare that I’ve been in a line that I find intolerable. I can’t say the same thing for meetings. As an introvert and a programmer, my dislike of meetings surprises precisely no-one. Read more...