Wednesday, June 12, 2002

I think it's from spending my formative years in the decade of Truth -- I'm an inconsistent mailer of Christmas cards. How does this follow, you ask?

We wanted to avoid hypocrisy. Is there sincerity in sending a barely personalized, mass produced greeting card to dozens I've had no other contact with all year? What meaning and worth attach to that?

So, we limited our card mailings to those we could supplement with an actual note, at least, too. The result is that we send few and receive few.

I've since thought of a few uses for impersonal Christmas cards. They serve as a yes, this address is still live handshake when they don't return. And even the very small remembrance of an unsigned card can be better than no remembrance at all.

And so it goes for many of the polite formalities called empty in that decade. Perhaps they proceeded from the lips rather than the heart, but they served their purpose in connecting people, smoothing relations, and allowing business, when the frank truth would have alienated, irritated, and generally degenerated into a focus on itself rather than some other matter at hand.

Or elevated into a focus on itself -- for the living exchange of heart truth is the most thrilling intimacy of all.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

June 11th, 2002

Dreck. I missed a partial eclipse yesterday.

The problem of getting the right information is quite a complex one. For a while, Doug and I woke to the radio. Our local radio hosts were entertaining, and I enjoy discovering the occasional song worth adding to my collection. They gave us a small selection of news in the hour or so we left the radio on -- enough for me to feel confident that I would learn of anything really critical.

However, I tire of radio. And giving my first thoughts of the morning to someone else seems a sheepish way to start the day. And waking without an alarm leaves me feeling more rested. So, we stopped.

After a couple weeks, I began to feel too disconnected from the wider world. Doug recommended Yahoo news, and it offers at least as much information as an hour of variety radio, fewer and less insistent commercials, and links to anything I want to know more about. And I can hit the headlines, and follow a few links for only a few minutes investment.

Now I have time to think, and fewer pushes to think of buying whatever may be touted today. So I can consider:

What is the right amount of information? Who should choose what I should hear and therefore spend my mindshare on? Are there community disadvantages to personalized news that outweigh the personal advantages? Can Web providers, who offer me the greatest control yet of my information intake, gain the resources they need to keep doing so? Does this web log offer value to anyone but me?

And then, I can stop considering it, and go make Grandma and Doug breakfast.

Monday, June 10, 2002

June 10th, 2002

Have you looked at the evening sky recently?

Tonight I emerged from a meeting at that luscious hour when the sky glows the deepest blue. Two planets near the western horizon have been dancing the path of a very slow bolo for the last several weeks. And by day we've had Maxfield Parrish clouds.

The moon can still take me by surprise. The last time it rose full and large, I didn't see a face. Half of the Atomium, perhaps.

I'm not that fond of the smell of roses. Perhaps I will stop and watch the sky instead.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

June 11th, 2002. Age and youth.

Grandma Gilson is staying with us while Mom is on vacation. So this is what it's like to be old. At 88, her hair retains a few strands of black among the beautiful thick white strands, her skin is loose and spotted, energy and ambition low. She can walk, and she's pleasant company, likes to tell jokes. I could live with this. Only let me keep my mind so long as I live!

I spread my energy as a net rather than an arrow. I'm not driving towards a single goal, as an Olympic athlete or Dr. Frankenstein might -- I support a family member here, learn something new there, build friendships, maintain and enjoy my marriage, my house, and multiply my hobbies. Wouldn't you want to be connected and have pleasant surroundings?

Took a look through the self help and business success areas of the local B&N recently, wanting to find an appropriate gift for my sister-in-law's graduating son, whom I know only slightly. I wish him success in his own terms and wanted to offer what support a book gift could. It seems you can choose a book to further whatever ideas of success you already have -- from living the simple life to becoming a millionaire, from verbal self-defense to winning through intimidation. I choose the pocket version of Success for Dummies, for ease of fitting in a card and attention to choosing what type of success you want. Good luck, Chris.