Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tonight may or may not be a harbinger of things to come. Tonight is an event unto itself. Without reservation I declare that I am posting tonight. I make no promises as to posts coming in the future or posts that belong to the past and yet are absent. This is a post. It stands alone.

So what's the news? Where have I been? What am I going? Where am I now? Why am I writing in this tone and style? The voice that accompanies my writing within my head is switching between Ratatouille's Ego and some rather dignified American fellow with a British style. Hmm. I guess I'll have to put up with it.

Tonight I kind of just want to run with it. I don't necessarily have a theme for the post or a certain idea that I want to drive at. I want to hit a lot of different things. This is more of a free write than anything else. I'm going to go where it takes me.

So, let's go.

Do you remember all those times that we wanted to do amazing things with the Alliance? Such a cool concept was the Alliance. I really do like the template that it has. We pulled some cool stuff off for a little bit. The question in my mind is why we kept attempting the alliance? That's not a question of desperation or implication of anything, I just wonder what human characteristic made us want to do it so bad. I think we all really had a desire to do something epic, and I think that we wanted to do something we were good at (blogging) and collaborate with others who we knew were good at it.

It always made me excited, because the Alliance was a project, and I love projects. Not only was it a project, but it was a project that spawned other projects.

Why do I love projects? If you ask Adult Roles, it's because I'm a dude and it's the role that society has given me. All laughs aside, I think it's because a project is a challenge. It's an opportunity to show the world what I'm capable of. To do something that no one else has done before, to do something differently.

It's all a matter of the ceiling, I believe. In my life the ceiling represents the limit of achievement. One cannot go past the ceiling. I believe that most school work has a very definite ceiling. A worksheet that is fill in the blank leaves no room for excellence. The ceiling is placed at the floor. An English essay, inversely, contains a very high ceiling, assuming that the assignment is not extremely limited.

High ceilings can be problematic, that's most of the fun of the high ceiling. Writing an open essay is difficult, but it is also rewarding. As a general rule, the more difficult a task is, the more rewarding it is as well. Generally speaking, I see the two as directly related.

Yet one more example. My name is currently on the ceiling of the choir room. That is only cool because the ceiling is so ridiculously high. If the ceiling were usual height, it would be no problem to jump and place my name up, or jump and take my name down. It's only an accomplishment because it's hard to do.

Same situation, a few days ago Sylvia wanted me to get a helium balloon down from the cafeteria ceiling. Had it had a string on it it'd have been no big deal. Had it been a low ceiling it'd have been no big deal. But here it was, a helium balloon, on a fairly high ceiling.

And I got it down with a roll of masking tape. Not at all in the fashion that I had intended to, but I quickly saw a new way to do it after my first attempt and ran with it. The balloon was captured from the ceiling and brought down with no harm to the balloon and minimal harm to the bystanders. Once again, it's only cool because it wasn't easy.

Those two examples both included a real ceiling. Ceilings generally aren't real though. But whether or not they are actual drop-tile or not, it's our job to rise to the day. The higher the metaphorical ceiling, the greater the rewards.

College is fast approaching, and I am fairly excited for it. I'm looking at two schools right now, but leaning kinda heavy towards one of them. Acceptance and scholarship really aren't issues, so right now it's just a matter of decided what to do with my life.

For a long time I've said that I wanted to go into engineering. I have a great love for math and science, and I hear that that's where math and science come together to make the world a better place.

But all the sudden I'm starting to think that I love different things more than I love math and science. It's been a while since this happened, but I'm starting to think that business is more of what I've been building myself to go in to.

I love making things better, and I think that business might be the place for me to do that. Entrepreneurial adventures and all that. And I know that that's a little bit "childish" of me, it's kinda like saying I want to grow up to be an inventor.

But what if the kid that wants to grow up to be an inventor really does have good ideas? What if he's not just wishing, but that he really feels like that's what he could be good at and that's where he could make a difference? Sure, we might laugh at him and think, "He hasn't really looked at this seriously, he just thinks the surface might be cool," but honestly, what if he has?

I really think that no matter what I do, interdisciplinary action will be the key. Maybe that's why I think that business would be better for me. If I do go into business, say, with my own little company, what will we be doing? Definitely not business, that's for sure. We'll be doing engineering or chemistry or e-commerce or social interaction.

Or even if I don't go into business, even if it's science, how many chemistry guys and girls are there out there? There are thousands of those men and women who know their chemistry crazy well. So how am I to make a difference? Yeah, I could make a difference by knowing my chemistry, but am I going to make a breakthrough? Maybe.

But I've got a better shot at breakthroughs if I can bring other stuff in. All my life, success has always come when I've tied my knowledge together. Success in English comes because I paid attention in US history and can make the right argument using the right backup. Success in Jello making comes because I know my physics AND my chemistry and can apply them both simultaneously. Success out on the Ultimate field and the basketball court comes when I remember human psychology and rotational inertia and cross country and sugarhouse pickup.

To me, success has always been about using everything I know on the problem.

And, I figure, knowing more will make me better able to solve problems, right?

So what does that mean for me? Does that mean I'll be forced to dual major? Does that mean that I'll go to college till I'm 45, just hoping that I'll get enough cross knowledge to do something useful? I hope not. I don't know what it means.

But I think it means that I'm going to be doing things a little differently. I'm going to be pursuing things that I might not normally pursue. Maybe it's time for me to take an art class or two. Maybe it's time for me to take ceramics and see what that's all about.

Because I think that the world has been doing well for the past hundred years with single-button individuals. This is the next stage, and business and success is starting to require the next generation of problem solvers. I don't think single-button is gonna work for me. It's time to toss my one button out the window and trade it in for a keyboard of mad skills. I'll be rocking harder than the 80's.

I think I know why I love graphs so much. Adult roles says it's because I'm a guy and I'm hardwired for it. Yeah, whatever. I think it's because graph's show what's important.

Mr. Rockwell always taught us that the AP test would ask us about trends and patterns. He made it very clear that anything they asked about would have happened in the course of American history multiple times under different names. He guaranteed that if there was an anomaly, or something that wasn't what usually happened, it wouldn't be on the test.

I think that that was the most clearly and aptly any teacher has put the quest for education for me. Rockwell taught us that the general motion is important, not the specific case. It was about what was happening over time, not what was happening on June 11th.

Ever since that class, I've been a little hesitant to embrace anything that deals with exacts instead of trends. I believe that trends are more important than exacts when it comes to understanding.

And that's why I'm in love with graphs. Because graphs show what's important very concisely. It's incredibly easy to find out exactly when things started to change. It's easy to see what one thing was happening more often than another thing. We can see mins and maxes with alarming speed. Graphs are mountains of information available to us at a glance.

Because after all, it's not important what y is equal to when x is 14. We really don't care about 14. We care about when things start changing from going up to going down.

Graphs are beautiful. I've had a desire for a while to graph my life and make it a blog post. No specifics of course, but general motion. Stuff like wakefulness throughout the day, motivation, ups and downs, etc.

It's just really pretty cool.

I follow the search engine industry fairly closely. Not analyst closely, but closely enough to know what's going on. I think that that's a large reason that I am the way I am the way I am when it comes to business. Google is an extremely interesting organization, from a business stand point. I come from a very pro-google household, so I have a tendency to believe that they can do no wrong. I know that this leads to sometimes inaccurate observations, but I still like to see how that industry is doing.

The point is that I wonder if there's a better way to search. When it comes to the internet, maybe not. Obviously refinements are in order, as always.

But, as an individual, for maximum efficiency. Let's say that I'm preparing a speech and that I want to include an excellent quote. I can go online and search for an excellent quote. I will find many excellent quotes. But whether or not I find one that exactly fits what I need and want to say is an entirely different matter.

For a quote in a speech to be effective, we generally need to know what exact quote we're looking for long before we start preparing the speech. We need to know that it exists and then work it in. It's hard to find a noble quote that fits what we want to say without knowing the noble quote in the first place.

So that's why I begin to think that as humans, there's a better way to search, at least for certain things. If an individual went through his or her life constantly collecting good quotes and cataloging them, they would be prepared to whip something amazing out when it was applicable. They'd know that there is an excellent quote for this speech, and they'd know where to find it.

The concept is that they'd collect as they go, preparing for a time when they might need that quote. They'd know that it exists.

That's human problem solving. It's all about collecting that bag of tricks. The internet, search engines and all that, can simply brute-force a problem to death. Brute force is simply trying every possible answer until you run into the right one.

But as humans we don't need to do that. We've got a bag of tricks, and we can use it when we need it.

That's why it's important to get a big bag of tricks.

There is more to say. Industry and web 2.0; councils and their effect on my chemistry class. The hour draws late, and it's time for me to prepare for bed.

I hope to be back, but I make no promises. I desire to return, so I believe that I will. There is more to say, and I hope to be able to say it one day. Rhyming aside, it's time for me to depart. I hope that things are well for you all. Keep up the good work, let's take this thing to the moon.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

This is the most effective your posting has been for me in a while. And it's always effective.

First, what's all this "was" stuff when talking about the Alliance? Granted, everyone gets busy, and everyone has times where they just don't feel like doing anything. But I'm optimistic; I feel we can make yet another one of our comebacks and last at least two weeks longer than we ever have before! :-D Haha, Then again, I blame myself for much of our recent inactivity; I've kept forgetting to remind you to respond to that email, like you requested I do. :-P

Second, I like the idea of you in business. I could really see you being successful in that. Funny that you're considering it as I'm leaving it.

Third (and this is where I was especially moved by your post), your attitude about ceilings, cross-curricular stuff, and mental preparedness and your explanation of these things in practical terms has fired me up about school. Sure, the semester ends in less than a month, and I won't be going back next semester, but I'm definitely excited to get back into a hardcore education after my mission! Remind me to read this post again when I get back. ;-)