Saturday, July 30, 2011


The Chinese word for "plan" has two characters — jì 計 "computed/calculated" and huà 劃 "drawing/painting"

The artful product of calculation? It's all new food for thought in the debate of artist vs. technician...

23 days: overthought

Blogging about the abstract concepts of life (or, at least, attempting to) is great because, for me, I get to see first-hand how silly my thinking has been when I try to write it out and exhibit it to the public.

Many blog posts have never seen the light of day... (and I assure you that without a mass amount of editing, it is better that way)

I do hope the sum total of my over-thinking for years means something to someone else at some point, but even if I'm the only one who ever sees the value in it, I'm OK with the positive changes that seem to be effected on me these days.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

25 days

"Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious."


Everyone drove horribly today. It took an hour and 40 to get across the bridge. Is this how people want to waste their lives?

Portland and I didn't get along so well today.

I was about done with everything when I came across this quote. It's time to go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Further research conclusively confirms: Carve your own path by logic. If a lot of people are doing it a specific way, that's not the way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

27 days: performance

I don't know... when you find out the possibility exists to go faster, don't you want to?

Is that something I take for granted?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm embarking on an experiment where I only work for two hours on a project at a time, and that's it for the day. The goal is to push my mind to have maximum efficiency with a given task because two hours is not a lot of time to accomplish something useful. This idea is a rehash of some of the concepts from 4 Hour Work Week. I'll let you know how it goes.

- 黑

29 days: the divorce

Regarding the divorce: There's never much that can or should be said about these sort of things; everybody's situation is so different that other experiences are hardly applicable. With that—you already know all of this but it's worth repeating for the sake of keeping a good head. God allows these things to happen to work on us in ways that would otherwise just not be possible. It's both a learning experience and a setback as much as you allow it to be either. So no excuses, just forward motion in rooted faith, and your path will always be very bright. I'm not one much to quote the Bible, but for years I've found a lot of solace in the beginning of James:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Then I deleted that.

How are you doing?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

the manual: order of operations

If your Colin gets all abstracty-10,000-feet-up at too early a point in the day, he can and most likely will wreck a whole day. He may even think that attempting to read all 300-some "Very Short Introductions" (Oxford Press) would be a really good idea and use of his time at the present.

At best, this is not productive. We mustn't forget that learning and assessing is quite valuable and has its place, but pondering in circles for hours on end is of no use in actually getting something done. The best time for this is at the end of the day, when time is limited before the "inevitable" sleep and brain-reset.

For your Colin to be reasonably productive, he must operate throughout the day in this order:
  • Mornings are reserved for the brief reminder of long-term goals (but not assessment or creation thereof!) and micro-level planning of the day in pursuit of these longer goals
  • Work according to micro-level plans begins and continues throughout the normal business day with periodic non-thinking breaks as necessary
  • Evenings are for stopping to relax, read, ponder and socialize as necessary; it is only at this point that the assessment of long-term goals can commence as necessary
In the event that he complains when being forced into this schedule, you should remind your Colin that he sucks at actually getting anything really done; this should do the trick...

30 days: artist vs. technician

If I may greatly over-generalize for a moment. There are technicians, and then, there are artists. Neither is superior to the other, but their natural capabilities and methods for consuming their environments (and producing) are vastly different.

You can count on a technician to behave more consistently than you can an artist. It would be in err to give a technician something and expect to get something vastly greater in return. It would also be in err to expect anything in return from an artist; however, there is the possibility that what an artist does produce is nothing short of incredible: boundary re-defining.

The true artist's ongoing pursuit of the finest, of true beauty, often leaves them feeling lacking and confused: if they do not have, or have to their expectations, there is something missing. And like any true artist, the expectations are always growing, always growing. In a way it's sort of an unattainable path, like the rabbit in front of the derby horse. But it's that melancholy that makes life feel "alive".

Some people do not question their existence in the same way, and thusly don't need such melancholy to feel secure or normalized; they only find it a bother. I think this is a more practical train of thought.

Is it so simple that we can all be broken into these two categories? Or in various ways are we simultaneously both? Is it possible to break sides and move from one to the other, or, are we hopelessly at the whim of God?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Clarity and goals... neither of which I am used to having. This is wonderful.
I don't think anyone, myself included, anticipated it, but I think that's one of the best things about life is getting a feeling and just rolling with it. It's starting to look like one of the best decisions I've ever made, even if it means giving up a lot of the comfort I've earned for myself here... but comfort can breed complacency, so I'm over it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

36 days: whiteout

I wake up around 2 PM in my sleeping bag on the bamboo floor of my apartment, and through these giant floor-to-ceiling windows I'm totally overwhelmed by the sky—nothing but pure, shining clouds covering the space outside. Even for Portland it seems unorthodox; it's way too bright; it's awkward.

I feel a twinge of fear inside.

Now, I'm no stranger to waking up with a "twinge of fear", perhaps the theme of my life for many years—but this is not that feeling. I can no longer attribute it to my screw-ups. It's only been 24 hours or so, but based on every single thing I've learned over the past few years, this is the rightest direction I've ever been in. I finally have the means and a clear path to clean up my mess, and I'm going to do it in just a few months...?

I grab my laptop and sit cross-legged on my sleeping bag among a pile of luggage and clothes, looking out over downtown to the south and toward the cloud-swallowed hills. I don't even have an Internet connection at this apartment anymore; just a wireless card. In fact it was exactly this way even weeks and weeks ago; I just didn't see it then.

... slowly it comes to me. This is that feeling I was fearing when I set out to un-capsize a couple years back. It's getting to be that time where my book isn't writing itself anymore. I'm leaving all pre-defined paths, and now I'm forced to write it.

In western society (or, maybe modern society is more appropriate) you go to school, get a job, earn a retirement, etc—and what I'm "throwing away" is a lot of things that a lot of other people desperately wish they had. I'm deliberate in what I'm doing, but it's still hard to swallow.

These clouds are so bright. It reminds me of when I was a kid... My grandmother, when she would make a mistake on the typewriter, she would grab this little bottle of whiteout and brush over the mistake... like it had never existed

Saturday, July 16, 2011

37 days: an opportunity

Much like my decision last year to move to Asia changed the way I thought about everything, the opportunity itself changes everything all over again.

With some careful thought over french press this morning...

ok, yes i could leave now, and i'd probably be fine.

but what if i dropped all of my expenses to near nothing, and was more focused at work than ever for an extra three months. could i basically solve all of my problems, before i fly off the face of the earth?

The experience of grasping a real opportunity is invigorating. Dropping everything everyone else told you you wanted for some set of principals you actually really care about.

It's the possibility of something actually new, no matter how many days it takes...

This morning I took a piece of graph paper out of my portfolio, and proudly in all uppercase letters, declared my intent to leave my dream apartment, without a second thought as to what I was going to do next.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

39 days: regrets

Yeah, I have regrets. I mean, I do wish that I had asked Adidas for an overseas job, you know, or something like that, back when I could have done that sort of thing.

But it's just too late now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

41 days

I got off after 15-some hours of plane rides at noon yesterday, and didn't sleep all night. There's too much to think about.