Again some time has passed since I last posted. I've been a bit shy about sharing myself with the world of late, a period of hybernation has just passed as the month's of February and March have slipped by...two months ago, I ended a relationship that had only been rekindled late last October after a dormancy of a decade. We learn, as we go on through the years, that sometimes our perceptions to which we have clung for so many years, were wrong. Things are for the best.
My conception of life now is that all things that happen, happen FOR me...whereas, in the past, I have thought that things happen TO me...it is all a matter of perception.
Simple...yet having momentous consequences in how we come to view the present moment in the place from which we write these messages into the cyber-space...to live beyond us, perhaps.
If this has made any difference to anyone, that is wonderful. It has made a difference to me, if nothing else.
I feel it is time to blog again, I've recently moved on from a position as documentation specialist on an analyst team assigned to assist the Federal Employee Program Operations Center complete preparations for inserting the National Provider Identifier (NPI) mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) into their COBOL coded mainframe with it's JAVA interfaces. Requirements gathering and overseeing the production of the necessary Technical Specifications, Functional Specifications, and Project Management artifacts consumed about 6 months.
I was drawn away by the opportunity to contribute to the Enterprise Architecture Team of the Office of Information Technology for Customs and Border Protection but, for the moment, am working on a project for the US Department of Agriculture helping them establish some baseline processes for their Universal Telecommunications Network; old hat, really.
At the same time, I'm working on a bit of Software Development Lifecycle documentation for some applications supporting the Consular Affairs, Domestic Operations Office of the State Department.
Life is busy and life is good. I get to a fair number of Washington's cultural offerings. Tomorrow I hope to hear Jared Diamond speaking on Collapse. He's the author of "Guns, Germs, and Steel" that has resulted in an interesting little anthropological PBS series. Must admit I've been a bit underwhelmed at the series, but I am impressed by some of the events of which he writes.
Meanwhile, if all goes well, I'll take in a staging of Kafka's "The Trial" at the Warehouse theater on Thursday. Either that or I'll take a friend over to Pentagon City for some profligate consumerism.
Last Thursday evening, I had the good fortune to attend a Happy Hour for the authors of "Don't Make Me Think" and "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web" at Garrett's on M Street in Georgetown. It nearly got my inspired again to start moving in the world of those who are "awake" and on the "bleeding edge" of usability and user-centered design. It is so easy to get lost in the thicket of documentation.
My musings on life, the universe, and the interconnectness of humanity which is growing ever more tightly enmeshed over the last few decades will have to wait for another day.
Suffice it to say that I'm seriously examining the thought processes that give rise to "user creoles" in the various communities with whom I interact. When I last posted, I was working for a company called Zen Technology, Inc. on a long term contract for the Missile Defense Agency. In the intervening time, I've worked for a larger firm called Comsys, Inc. Presently, I'm employed full time by Qinetiq, which has recently (September 12, 2005) closed it's merger with Apogen Technologies, Inc and I am the fifth employee of WCIL Technology, Inc; albeit part-time.
So, that's what is new in my world for those who take notice.
Yesterday, I spent the evening in IKEA with a friend.
The place was populated with but a handful of people on a Friday night.
The food reminded me of what I got in Copenhagen every day. How I miss that diet.
I was along for the ride. After spending some time in a dog park watching my friend's dog play with the others...and listening to the chatter of other dog owners, I walked back with my friend to her flat. The place amazed...so completely decorated by the small half chow, half Australian shepherd trimmed like a lion who has a knack for making materials into confetti.
Driving down to Springfield with my friend, dog cage in the back, flying through traffic narrowly missing several accident opportunities, I cast my mind into the conversation, making small contributions to the narratives my friend painted...painting a few of my own.
And this is where life is...subtexts were written. Material was moved...and my accounts were tapped just slightly as I purchased a few items.
Now, today, I post again to the blog before going to put a few dollars into my account at the bank across the street. I'll engage with the teller, exchange pleasantries and things will be different for my having passed through that space. The plan from there is to wander down to the Metro and set out for the Washington Mall. If any of you are there I'll be looking into your eyes as I pass. Trying to read the moment...and impressing the image of my passing on your retinas...perhaps I'll raise a question in your mind...and neurons will fire...a record will be made...and something may be just a little different for this having happened.
Intentionality of fine, subtle details...this is my work of art.
Winding down the weekend, I've just come back from Bethesda where I ran another test of a module of the software that I support. Problems, problems...User roles aren't quite set right to be able to complete the test.
No matter! I am very glad to have been able to complete that work so that I can take my car into the shop tomorrow. It needs a new left front tire to pass inspection.
I wish that I could write something profound and meaningful...but nothing is coming up...nevertheless, I thought it important enough to just comment a bit on that work of the day.
Searching my soul lately, listening to a little music and enjoying the peace of a Sunday evening...I reflect on the fact that I am living a life of exceptional luxury...for which I have done precious little other than exist.
I've been reading Emmet Fox and William Gibson...listening to Cole Porter and just realizing how very much we are all interconnected. There are so many problems that face our environment, our civilization...the Madrid bombings have ripped through my consciousness...I sit in Crystal City looking out onto the Capitol dome and marvel at the ceaseless flow of traffic along the George Washington Parkway, jets coming and going from National Airport. Trains rolling by, the Metro....and this flow of humanity...thickened droplets of water rushing over the surface...intentionally rearranging the structure of everything they touch and creating.
So, our imaginations, our thoughts, they shape our world, our small blue orb spinning in a space we dimly comprehend.
Where will all this lead? Now that we can so easily communicate. Sharing our souls with each other through our inscriptions into this ethereal connection of machine to machine?
Publishing has never been easier...but do we have anything meaningful to say to each other? Write if you like. Perhaps you will be read...and the words, forming in the consciousness of the reader will reshape thought.
Thinking positively. Meditation...prayer. These things may yet heal and help us to realize that we are all One.
Painting words on top of words is my particular medium and I have just resumed that process. Using thick acrylics, spread out on the canvas, I inscribe my thoughts in bold block letters from the top of the canvas to the bottom and then begin again, creating a flow of brushstrokes woven together. Colors are shifted with the moods of the thought and the paint builds up into a thick impasto...a topography of layered language and what finally appears is a low abstract sculputure of pigment and binder build onto the canvas.
That is what life is also, a categorization of opaque reality given transparency by the apparatus through which we perceive. Perception, emotion, sensation, these things give my existence its form.
Flowing out onto the canvas, the paint has its own integrity and as I transgress its boundaries, it responds to my intentional disruption and redistribution of the matter that it contains. A selfish act, painting is when done this way.
It isn't for anyone, this writing in paint. It is solely for me, a kind of scouring of my soul, an outpouring of everything that I would like to tell another but restrain myself from speaking.
Now, in this block, I put before you, the reader, these scrawlings to see or not what sparks take off from this simple click of keys on the keyboard.
Perhaps I'll write something more concrete in the near future. I am just very happy to again have been creative with this chosen form, although, at the same time, I am finding myself castigating myself for engaging in it.