Apr 24

The Symphony of Birds

I love the Spring. It is such a relief from the dreary cold that this area gets. I am from Miami, and have never really adjusted to the seasons.

With Spring comes the symphony of birds in the morning. It is such an absolute joy to start my day with coffee while listening to the symphony of birds. I live across from Lindley park in Greensboro, so the habitat is conducive for lots of varied birds.

Now I have to take the cue from nature. This is the perfect time to be creative and get some of my goals accomplished. This good feeling really motivates me to action. This summer I plan to get some articles written about Computer Assisted Musical Composition, finish my PhD in Information Technology, and begin a science fiction novel that is ready to erupt.

I plan to make this the best Spring and Summer of my life.

Mar 17

It is fun wrapping projects up

This month there are several projects that will wrap up and come to and endpoint. Of course with software, nothing is completely done. However, getting to the release date is really satisfying.

After this month, I have several more key endpoints to look forward to. I love the feeling of accomplishment when you reach a milestone and have something to show. There are some options such as entry in the fine arts festival for music and prose, both of which I already have entries for but need to adjust them.

There are some notable things that I have not done such as write a series of articles on the Schillinger System of Musical Composition. But I can now turn my attention to those projects, and consider spending some of my discretionary time on them.

Mar 04

Disconnected from who I am

There are periods when I get really immersed in some of my work. These are very productive times, and I get a lot done. But there can be a price to this flurry of productivity. It is a disconnection from who I am.

I stop doing the things I love. This includes taking walks, reading, spending time with friends, and writing music. Then I reach a critical point such as I did three days ago and realize I need a radical adjustment.

Tony Robbins has a great metaphor that describes this setting. He talks about like as a wheel with spokes. All of the spokes need to be working or the wheel gets completely out of balance. That’s what happens to me when I work too many hours and neglect the rest of my like.

Now I am once again connected to who I am, and it feels good.

Feb 06

Releasing software is a tough thing

I am 10 days away from a product release. You would think that everything would be done and we are just polishing. But that is not the way software works. The end is always a flurry of activity to complete the final tasks.

This is no different. 80 hour weeks characterize my life right now. It is truly a test of one’s character. But almost every software product release that I have been a part of is like this.

The week or two after the release, it is doing things that you missed. Fortunately this is a cloud-based app and updates go live immediately. So even if we need to make several adjustments, hopefully nobody will even notice.

Jan 26

I Am A Spartan

I am a Spartan. Yesterday in Southern California I finished the Spartan Race super. It was 9 miles with 30 obstacles. It was the hardest physical thing I have ever done. But it was way worth it!

My buddies and I are going to do the Spartan trifecta. It will be the sprint in April in Indiana, then the Beast in September back in Southern California.

The Spartan race is a metaphor. This year is an incredible year for me professionally. The Spartan race represents the training, effort, and winning on the road to success.

Jan 25

Spartan Race Here I Come

I am preparing for a Spartan Race. It is 9 miles with about 30 obstacles. I am in San Diego drinking my coffee waiting for my buddies to wake up. We will leaven in about an hour and a half.

This is a time of excitement for me. This will be fun to do with friends who are like minded. We plan to do the 5K in April, and the 13 mile in September. This is what they call a trifecta since these are the only three distances for the Spartan races. The three medals fit together to form one medal, indicating that you did all three races in one year.

My daughter Judy and her husband Dave are driving down from LA this afternoon to spend time with us and have a victory dinner. It will be really fun. Life is so good.

Jan 19

Readying For The Spartan Race

I am in final training for the Spartan Race which will be in San Diego on January 25, 2014. The race is nine miles with about 30 obstacles. I am running it with my buddy John Neuhart and his son Joel. We are planning to run a 5K race in Indiana in April, and then a 13 mile race in San Diego on September. This gets us three race medals, and then an additional medal indicating that we finished all three races in one year.

I am looking forward to these races motivating me to get in the best shape of my life. I am also going to look for some color runs in this area. The color runs are 5K an people throw colored power bombs at you. Sounds like a fun way to get motivated to train.

My plan is to be in the best shape of my life by the summer of 2014. I can do it, and these races will go a long way to motivate me.

Jan 08

What is Conceptual Art?

I went to music school for seven years. I was exposed to all sorts of innovative ideas, and even embraced Avant Garde music for awhile. Studying the likes of John Cage, Arnold Shoenberg, and Anton Webern gave me a sense of exapanding traditional music ideas. I have always been open to artistic innovations.

There is an artist named Christo who was planning to surround some of the islands in Biscayne Bay (on the coast of Miami) with pink plastic. It was in the news because it pitted environmentalists who claimed harm to the environment, and artists who wanted to see another expression of conceptual art. The plastic wasn’t going to be permanent, I think it was planned for a month-long exhibit.

I has having lunch with a friend. I was trying to understand Christo’s project and wanted to know what conceptual art was. I asked this person about the project. She told me that it was an example of conceptual art. I then asked what conceptual art was. And then she got angry, thinking that I was yet another person who could not possibly appreciate an expression of art that was not the Mona Lisa. I just wanted to understand, while she just wanted to be defensive–I guess she had heard enough criticism from others.

From that point on in other conversations, I was always careful to preface similar questions with “Not to be argumentative, I just want to understand…”. This actually worked beautifully in the Washington Mall several years ago when I wanted to understand the Hare Krishna’s. Once they knew I just wanted to understand, they were very willing to explain things to me.

Jan 06

Is Facebook Fading?

I am now starting to wonder if Facebook is fading. Will it become another MySpace?

It is true that the younger generation does not use Facebook very much any more. Things such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest have stepped in with new ways to communicate. One can see diminishing use of Facebook by the younger crowd.

But what about the mid to older crowd? They are embracing Facebook like never before. This in itself might be one reason the younger crowd is shying away from Facebook. But so many people use Facebook to find long list friends (and maybe even girlfriends). It looks like the demographics of Facebook have changed, but the outlook is still bright. That’s because the older demographic can probably command higher advertising dollars since they have more disposable income.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook develops over the years. It will also be interesting to see how Instagram and ShanpChat do.

Jan 03

Racquetball, a dwindling sport

I remember a time when racquetball was in vogue. Everyone joined to local club and played with their friends. But two things happened to significantly drop the number of people who play racquetball.

The first is the aging of the playing population. The sport makes heavy demands physically, and so when people age and get out of shape, it is much more difficult to play racquetball. Younger players have not filled the gap as much since there are other things which seem to be more popular.

Another thing that happened was the clubs realized that they were collecting about $10-$15 per hour from racquetball fees. The space could be moneitized better with a class of 20 people doing arobics, zumba, or yoga. So the number of courts reduced over the years. Now, those who wanted to play could not always find a place to play.

This is a shame considering the health benefits of racquetball. Now I do understand that it can be dangerous. I have come off of the court dripping blood. But aside from that, the cardio benefits are enormous. Circuit training where a persons activity alternates between intense and mild are considered to be the best form of training.

I encourage everyone to consider racquetball as a sport that they can enjoy and use to get in shape.

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