Saturday, June 30, 2007

Basque poached eggs

Years ago, I was a student in Annapolis, Maryland, where among other things, I worked the overnight at Chic 'n Ruth's 24-hour delicatessen. A block or two up along Main Street was a small Basque restaurant (the name escapes me), which was my favorite place for an occasional Sunday brunch. My preferred order was eggs poached in ratatouille. Yum.

I have, on special occasions made this dish at home, like this morning as we prepare to head to the inlaws (near Chicago) for a week's respite.

Because of the glut of zucchini and tomatoes in our garden, I have recently had cause to make some ratatouille, simple enough: equal portions of diced tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant (sadly the last was store bought). I salted and drained the eggplant, then mixed it all in a pot with a bit of olive oil. Simmered for 20-30 minutes, then it's ready. You could of course add diced onions, garlic, what have you. But the simple version serves.

Then, spoon an inch or two of sauce in a small casserole (warm in oven). Once the sauce and casserole are pre-warmed, top with a fresh egg, and grated cheese. Bake in oven around 375F for about 10 minutes (until the egg is just right), then serve with crusty bread.

It just eats my heart that my two lovely boys left most of it over. Ah well, at least they ate the eggs and bread.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Disclosing non-disclosure

I just had an idea. I think it might be good under many circumstances to have a signed, binding non-disclosure agreement. But, here's another thought: I've got a couple good quality digital audio recorders. I can record several hours of conversation on one, then burn it to CD or safe it on my hard drive. What's to say I couldn't bring one along while I had a lunch meeting with someone. I simply ask if it's okay that I keep a record of our conversation. Then I have a permanent record of what's been discussed, and what's been disclosed. Not that I ever wish to enter into a patent dispute in court. It's like locking your car doors. It won't stop a determined thief, but it'll sure slow down an opportunist.

What I'm doing is quite different from what's been done (so far as I can tell). I can't be certain that any of my various ideas is necessarily going to work out as is... but I'm fairly certain that they've never been tried. Something will work. Of that I'm pretty sure. And what will work will proffer a great improvement over what's currently available. Hence my confidence at this point. I realize however that many of these ideas while untried, could easily be adopted by existing firms, especially ones with a horde of employees. In many cases, they wouldn't be tried out, simply because they're coming from a different angle. But all it takes is one group to follow through on the ideas, and I'm out work.

I'm quite aware, however, that doing it all on my own would be foolish. I need to put together my own team. The only way that's possible is if I share some of my ideas with people before they sign on to join me. If I had the money to simply hire a few people for a couple years, that's what I'd do, and I'd have them all sign non-disclosure agreements saying they won't enter into competition with my firm for whatever length of time seems reasonable (what, 3 years or something). I'd love to find a few partners for this venture, people whose expertise complements my own, whose passion drives them to this work, and whose circumstance and commitment (like my own) permits them to sign on for a share of the company's profits rather than an immediate salary.

But I can't count on it. Protect your ideas. The mantra has lodged itself in my mind. Recording conversations. I suppose some people might object. No reason I can't promise to make them a copy of the record. But if they still object, I'm probably safer not sharing too many ideas.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fancy Pants

I mentioned on Tuesday that I had called a patent law office. I got a call that night on my cell phone (which happened to still be on) around 9:00pm at home, while we were trying to get the boys in bed. Okay, I said, now's not really a good time to talk. Can I call you tomorrow during the day? Sure, I'll call you. Didn't happen, of course. I called him back around 3:30 yesterday. He's busy, right now, you want to leave a voice mail? Sure... today I figure I'd like to reach them before I head out of town on Saturday. I call. He's on the phone right now. You could leave a voice m... Uh, I'd rather not, not terribly effective. Oh, well, you can try back in about 10 minutes.

Alright, eventually I call back, and reach a live party on the phone. He didn't seem real interested in me, in my ideas. He seemed to light up describing that they'd want a $2000 retainer to get started, and likely another $10,000 to go ahead with a patent application. Um, yeah, well, to be honest, I think it's a bit premature to be working on a patent application. I'm really more in the development stage, but I'm ready to start talking with individuals about partnering with me, and possibly pitching to venture capitalists or corporations for funding.

Sure, says he, yeah, well, like I said first thing would be to get us that retainer, then we can get started.

Hmmmm. You know, I've got nothing against people making an honest living. But then, if I'm going to hire a high-priced suit to stand in my court, I'd like that the person wearing that suit has some interest in what I'm doing. I didn't quite feel that rapport with this fellow. Most importantly, he didn't seem at all interested in the work of it. I guess he doesn't care if the ideas are valid as long as he gets paid to do his schtick.

What did I expect? Well, I thought I could meet with an attorney for an hour or two at, say $150-200/hour. We could discuss things, he'd bounce ideas off me, give me an understanding of how things work, which direction to go to get started, how to protect my ideas, what sorts of things a non-disclosure agreement would need to cover. You know, what one might cover in an hour or two. Then we'd check back with each other in a couple months as things progressed. But I guess it doesn't take long to hand someone a bill for $2000, what 10 seconds or so? Why spend an hour for a measly $200?

For now, I think I'll read over my Nolo Patents for Beginners and Patent, Copyright & Trademark. That seems like a good place to start. I guess I can draft up my own non-disclosure agreements if necessary, or simply keep everything tight to my chest. The one consistent thing I've heard from many people is protect your ideas. That motivates me to do something. But I'm not sure plunking down two grand to some suit who can't properly return calls is the trick.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When & Where

Settling into a routine. I've got work, that's good. The week before I headed to England, I bought myself that whiteboard that I had been thinking about. Yesterday, I hung it up on the wall that fronts my desk, and filled it with various projects and ideas. It's good to have it there, so I can peek past my monitors now and again to remember the big picture, or glean ideas for what to work on when I need a break from whatever I happen to be working on.

It's a really nice office now, about 135 sqft, but well used since I outfitted it with Ikea furniture, and my new computer equipment. My wife stopped by after her doctor's appointment this morning, to share lunch. She remarked that my office is nicer than hers now, that she especially likes all the pictures on my walls.

Oh, did I say she went to the doctor? Yeah... well, she had to have her first prenatal checkup you see. Measurements say February 10. That puts a bit of fire under our feet to plan our next phase in life. More likely than not we'll be sticking around here through next summer. M is planning to enroll full-time at the community college (hoping to spend two years, then transfer to a University in Hawaii, to study Hospitality, I think). I'll be adjuncting at Lemon University. Rocket is planning to stay on at Rocket Central until the baby is born. Ah, but then what?

We keep talking. One option we keep considering is simply to stick around here. But every time we consider it, the ridiculously high priced housing market dampens our enthusiasm. That, and the traffic. Some of the readers of my old blog will recall the hell I went through trying to take a class in town. There are many reasons why staying here wouldn't be ideal. And there are only a few that make it appealing. Truth be told, if we could manage to afford living here in comfort (meaning buying a house again, big enough for our expanding family, and my garden), we could probably afford to live just about anywhere. And, if that were the case, would we choose to live here? Probably not. That's what keeps hitting us.

Rocket is flattered by the kudos she's been getting at work (her boss recently suggested, for instance, that she wouldn't be sticking in her position for ever, and that she sees Rocket as a viable candidate to replace her when she moves up or on). But, it's easy to be seduced by flattery to want for ourselves what others want for us. It's much harder to know in our hearts what we ourselves want.

This isn't the only place she could work. I've made it clear to her that should she grow attached her job here, then we'd find a way to stay. There are sacrifices we'd have to make to stay here. In the balance, she's not really attached enough to working at Rocket Central that it'd trump our other desires. But exactly what we'll do is yet to be seen.

In part, we're committed to me pursuing (what seems like) one last season on the academic job hunt. It will be a different year this time around though, as I've got more else going on, and less attachment to trying to fit my square self into anything but a square hole. It's a good place to be.

Meantime, I'll also be working on teaching and developing my business plan. This should prove an interesting next few months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This will happen

Got back from England Sunday night. A few delays. Finally met my wife about 3 hours later than scheduled. I've yet to see my luggage. Sounds like it was expected to arrive at the airport last night. Hopefully I'll see it this evening on my doorstep. It's well-traveled at least.

The conference and radio segment went well. It was quite a charge for me. The first time I got to speak at a plenary session of a conference. Several participants noted that they had read my publications; one even said he was honored to meet me. And I rubbed shoulders (and had dinner) with others whose works I've read over the years, without feeling intimidated by them.

Now, I'm working to get settled back into a routine. Saturday we head to visit family in the Chicago/Milwaukee area for about a week. Next few weeks, I'll be prepping my courses for the fall. I need to select a text for one of the courses. The other one (an intro course for non-majors) uses the same text (newer edition) that I used when I taught the course at a community college 1998-2000. That prep should be a piece of cake. And the first should be fun and interesting to prepare, even if it will prove more effort.

Meantime, I'm continuing my research. I met an entrepreneur on the plane, who runs a firm that could well prove interested in one of the products I'm working on. He gave me a sense of what he's using today, and its cost, indicating that he'd be ready to jump if I could provide my product at a comparable cost. 2-3 years I think. But it's good to get started researching the market.

I need to put together a business plan. Importantly, I need to settle on one or two main projects that will be my initial focus. I'll need to know what the market looks like, what sorts of contracts I might be able to expect, how much they'll be worth, how enduring. I'll need to be armed with this information when I start talking to Venture Capitalists (or loan officers). They're going to want to know that I've done my homework, and that my proposed product is viable.

I called a patent law office today, and left a message for one of the partners. I'm ready to set up an initial consultation. Before I start talking details with VCs or with individuals or companies that might partner with me, I want to make sure that my ideas are protected.

This is very exciting! I know this will work. I know that it's worthwhile. See, a good part of the motivation is that everyday technology is moving ahead. It's unstoppable. There is a question however about its trajectory. Specifically, how we as people interact with technology. There are essentially two paths: first, that we will continue to accommodate machines, that we will modify our behaviors to be recognizable and comprehensible to machines; the second is that machines will learn to become more like us, and to understand us more as we are.

Scary perhaps, but I have confidence that technologies of this sort will necessarily move slowly enough, allowing us to time to re-acclimate. It's this second path that I'm working on, defining one particular tributary along the route to build out my domain. I can't say this was what I had in mind when I entered graduate school, the second time, to get my PhD. But I can say that this current heading is not an aberration. It is true to who I am, to my interests, to my strengths. I'm enjoying the ride.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Morning in the old world

Revelers sang loudly nostalgic songs in the courtyard outside my window until sometime after midnight. I wanted to be annoyed. But really, I couldn't. I was charmed by their youthful exuberance, the passion and excitment of the end of the school year. Many if not all of them were surely graduating seniors, ready to pass into a new phase of their lives. There was something true about their sharing this last hurrah, holding on to each other in their collective rituals of celebration and parting.

I like the moist air and light here. It reminds me of my childhood on the East Coast of the States. Southern California is really too dry for me, in a way too false. I imagine Gaia suffering under the burden of all the people and their effects in southern California, the land sustaining only so much more their passage and irrigation, their building and polluting. I wonder when she will shirk, tumbling property values in her wake. Southern California just isn't really my dream. I want moss and brick and stone.

The conference "morning tea" and registration begins just about now. I should pretty up in my room, then head over. My calfs are tight from all the walking ("there are 325 steps in the tower of the Cathedral" I was told yesterday as we began. Thanks.)

Enjoy your day, my friends. I'm sure I will.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Safe and sound in a medieval town

I arrived safely this morning, and made my way to the medieval town of the conference. Unfortunately, my luggage had a detour in Amsterdam. I guess the draw of the city was too much for it to follow me to England. Empty handed I made my way to the college where I'm staying, then had a couple hours to kill in town before I could check in.

I had a spare 20 minutes to rest after finally getting to my room, to sit, before the taxi picked me up and took me back to the city where I landed, for the radio recording session. Not quite the barren room I had expected. Rather a full and cluttered room, with a small section in a corner reserved for "contributors" with a microphone and a headset.

It was rather fun talking about my research, being treated as someone to be listened to, who might have ideas and opinions worth hearing. I felt, despite the exhaustion and the minor trials of travel, that I made my contribution. Apparently the program won't air until August.

Back in my room, I had just fallen into a deep restful sleep, when the beadle cracked a stick upon my door. Suh? It's Harold, the beadle. Your bag's here, suh. It'll be waitin' for yuh at the reception. So, it had it's fill of Amsterdam, in the end, and decided to keep me company. I guess I'll go out for some grub and pub, then sleep soundly tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm leaving, on a jet plane

Heading out tomorrow morning. Long travel day. It'll be Thursday morning when I arrive, so I better get my sleep on the plane. I'm looking forward to the trip. I think this will be a big boost to my self-confidence. It'll mark the first time for a long while that I've felt acknowledged as a leading light in something. I think we all need that once in a while. Too much and it'd go to our heads, I'm sure. But I've not gotten it for a while. This will be a welcome change.

I sent my presentation slides and notes to my panel, and to the organizer of the conference, the one who invited me to participate in the first place. The latter wrote me back with a brief, but very nice note, to the effect that it should prove a fascinating talk, and that he looks forward to meeting me. That's nice to hear, real nice!

Wish me well, as I embark on an adventure as an academic once again. And wish me well on making sense during my radio interview on Thursday. If anyone's in the UK (or thinks they might have access to the online feeds) and would like details on when and where it might air, drop me a line, and I'll forward the details as soon as I know them. Best wishes to all. See you on the other side.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coherence in 20 minutes or less

I've come to believe that if you can't say something coherently in 15-20 minutes, than you can't likely say it coherently at all. I'm done with my presentation. It clocks in at 16 minutes and change, with time for a few closing examples. I like it. Also got an email this morning confirming the radio syndicate's booking of transportation for me to and from my hotel, for the studio interview we've scheduled for Thursday. I arrive in the UK on Thursday morning (barring any unforeseens). I'll have some time to catch my breath, get to my hotel and take a shower, before I make my way to what sounds like a barren room with a set of headphones, and disembodied voices coming at me from half a country away. This should be a treat.

I prepared the talk in Openoffice Impress, which I'm quite impressed with. I have been using the Openoffice suite of products for about two years now, having switched immediately upon filing my dissertation. The one holdout for me was PowerPoint, since (at the time) the animation functionality was far better than Impress. I'd say the openoffice crew has made great strides in catching up. I still prefer the PowerPoint "dissolve" animation, but that's about it.

If you're not familiar with openoffice, check it out (I've added a link in my sidebar). It's an open source project, freely downloadable from the web. They provide a complete platform-independent office suite of products to replace what you're likely using. I've been quite pleased with all the ones I've tried. I recommend them heartily.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How to get there

I remain inspired by the backstory of Lucasfilm. Not so much George Lucas, but the story of the dreamers (the graphics group, the games group) who built a digital revolution with Lucas' funding. What I'm trying to do is quite different, and yet, there are some similarities. I probably have much more in common with those programmers than with George. But then, I'm not quite like them either. This is my path, not one that's been forged before. There is a part of me ready to just go off in my own direction.

Rocket and I, considering our options, realize that one choice, say to move back to Mountain City, where she can continue to work (or for that matter, moving anywhere that isn't motivated by my having landed a t-t job) would be tantamount to my shirking off a career in academia (at least for the next 3-5 years). That's a choice, though, not circumstance. We've got a family. I don't want to keep moving every year or two. So, the next move is one we anticipate to stick with for that 3-5 year term.

For some of you, that might seem a ridiculously short period of time. But know this: I've never lived anywhere in my life for 5 years at a run! In 39 years, I have moved (best I can count) 25 times. Just when the garden gets good, I up and transplant.

I'm feeling that perhaps if an appropriate post doesn't present itself to me this season, I may just be ready to give up that option for a few years. So, while I'm dreaming... what do we want and what do we need? See, it strikes me that most of what we need is a simple little thing called money. The question is, how much?

Let's say I want three years of funding for my projects. Three years of salary and expenses for me, and enough to hire on the team I'll need to help transform my ideas into something tangible. I think that's realistic.

I want Rocket to have choices in her career. That means we need to live somewhere she can work in her chosen field, ideally with a short commute (or the ability to telecommute). I want us to have enough money to buy a house again, with a big enough yard for playing with the boys, a tree-swing, and a garden.

The amount of money is somewhat dependent upon where we live, and what the housing market looks like. I'll need to figure how many I'll need on that team, and what sorts of salaries they might expect. I'll have to calculate some reasonable expectations for expenses: computer equipment, office space, supplies, travel. I'll need to work myself into an understanding of the machinations of a start-up business (health insurance, retirement benefits, stock options?).

Once I've got a sense, down on paper, we're ready to dream, and turn those dreams into plans. Where do we want to live? Once I know how much we'll need, I simply have to figure out how to obtain it; then find a house, and an office, and start pulling together that team. It sounds so simple when I lay it out. I kind of like it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Future Dreaming/Future Planning

Yes, it does seem that life runs in circles. Each time we return to the starting point, either it, or we, have changed.

Rocket and I have been talking again about our plans for the future. We're trying to set time frames, goals, and markers. There are some nice things about where we live in southern California (long growing season, no snow to shovel, proximity to the ocean and beaches), but also many disadvantages (no snow to ski or play in, no seasonal changes in the landscape, too much traffic and noise and pollution).

I'll be teaching adjunct at Lemon University starting this fall. I've been given to know that likely the adjunct post will convert to tenure-track in a couple years (2? 3?), for which, if I'd been teaching during the interim, I'd be a prime candidate to be hired.

Rocket is somewhat content with her work at Rocket Central, though it's a good hour's drive (or more) from Lemon. Somewhat content because there are little niggling things that restrain her enthusiasm. While Rocket Central appears to be a zenith for workers in her field, it so far lacks the camaraderie she has most enjoyed elsewhere. It's big, and scattered. And, it's here in the land of overpriced, undersized housing.

Even if I come to love teaching at Lemon, even were I eventually offered a tenure-track post there, I'm not sure here is where I'd like to be in three years. For one, we'd like to buy a house again, once we're in a market (geographically or historically) that is not so overpriced (and once we can reasonably commit to remaining somewhere for at least 3-5 years).

Assuming I have a decent beginning asst. prof. salary from Lemon, and Rocket continues at her job, we'd still be pouring a massive percentage of our income into a house, one which would afford us assumedly 30-45 minutes commute in either direction (if we buy in the middle). And, that dream would have to wait until I began pulling in said salary (rather than the adjunct income I'll be getting soon.)

We're making contingencies. A while back we were saying 1-2 years would be the point when we'd either leave these parts, or have a good reason for staying. I've seen too many times people who've gotten themselves stuck in life, held fast to a place or a position. Not going to let that happen to us. If we stay here, it will be because we've decided this is our best option, not because we failed to consider alternatives.

We're now talking that this time next year would be a good time for us to be ready to jump should the opportunities arise. I expect to apply for some faculty posts. There's always the chance that one of those will be offered me, that we will decide it's a great chance to take, and head into a new adventure. I'm not holding my breath. One thing that makes this job season different from the past, is that now I'm building a different career as well. I'm doing my research, and prepping to appeal for funding (either venture capital or bank loans) to hire some people on to help me get "to product".

If all goes well, this time next year, I'll have myself a decent salary in my own firm (as much or more than I'd make as a jr. prof.). So, we're back to that question of where we (as a family) want to be. The good thing about being an entrepreneur, is that I remain fairly mobile. Rocket has other possibilities for work outside Rocket Central. One option we've put on the table is returning to Mountain City where we've lived before. There's work for her there, we've friends there, the climate is pleasant, there's snow (no ocean, though).

Next step, we'll be investigating other great places to live. Any bids?

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Breakfast: homemade sourdough roll topped with a cream-cheese & lox omelet; slice of home-baked sourdough multigrain bread, smeared with garden-fresh "tapenade" (more like a bruschetta, I suppose) of zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and onions, cooked down to a medium paste.

Last night, I jarred up a couple more quarts of peeled tomatoes (we harvest about 2-3 lbs. a day!). Night before last, I tried my two week old pickled zucchini medley (zucchini, carrots, celery--only the last was store bought). It was good enough to jar, and make more (we harvest about 2 lbs. of zucchini every day too!). Rocket got me one of these for pickling! I jarred up nearly two quarts of the pickled medley, and refilled the crock with about 5 liters of freshly julienned zucchini (alone this time), some salt and spices, and a mere cup of water.

I'm sold on the Harsch fermenting crocks. They require very little salt, and the results are great!

Okay, enough domesticity. Back to my presentation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Prepping the preliminary presentation

I'm taking a break from the presentation prep. My mentor in grad school once remarked that (just like he) if I were given a one week deadline, I'd spend a week on a project; but if I were given a month, it'd take me a month. If I were busier, I'm sure this presentation would long be done. It's not that I don't have work. I'm really thrilled with how I've been filling my plate with delicacies. And, on top of that, I'll be teaching again this fall.

But, this conference presentation is a big one for me. It's the first time I'll be presenting at a conference for which I was especially sought after. I've been invited to give talks before, but either by my own initiative ("Hey, if you're looking for a speaker...") or because my mentor was involved in the organization somehow. I was even interviewed by the BBC a few years ago on the subject of my dissertation, but again at the suggestion of my mentor.

This one is different. I was contacted out of the blue, before the CfP went out, recommended by someone I've never met, and asked if I would participate. They're providing the funds to cover my expenses. And I'll be interviewed again for the radio, this time in a studio, rather than a cafe, to further discuss my research.

The only hitch is a tinge of uncertainty. See, the presentation and the interview both involve my longitudinal study, which if you were readers of my old blog you might know has more in common with the Wright Brothers' bicycles, than their proof of flight. That is, it's somewhat grounded.

No guilt. No self-doubt. This is my project. It's a worthy one. It's one, which finally is getting some due attention. I worry just a bit that I'll be unmasked. Truth be told, I haven't landed any funding for it yet. (That's no secret!) In part, the project awaits greater stability in my life. Besides the difficulties in running a self-funded, longitudinal, human subjects study without permanent affiliation, there's the little matter of making sure six or ten months down the road, I'll still be able to keep it going with the subjects who began it. Otherwise, it's not very longitudinal now, is it?

For now, I have a mere smattering of data, and a mass of ideas, citations, reflections, motivations, challenges. I'll be presenting the foundation of this effort. The conference talk has always been planned to be a "preliminary report". It's just, let's say, a bit more preliminary than I would have liked.

That said, there are (longer term) some direct applications related to the technology-related work I'm engaging in. It's exciting to pull these disparate things together. That's me, at my best, the synthesist. Not worrying so much about impressing the appropriate folks in the appropriate ways has freed me up to just do my work, to feel excited by it again. To just drive, even without a map. I've never been a convertible type, but I love to feel the wind, not knowing in advance just when or where I'll turn. Road tripping through life. This is fun!

Sea Legs

Sea Legs describes the feeling you get when you first step on land after an extended time aboard boat. Your legs are so accustomed to the minute twitching efforts required to maintain balance, that it takes them time to adjust to the stability of solid ground. You step a bit too firmly, legs spread more than necessary, crouched ever so slightly.

Just now, I'm still feeling my legs, as I stepped off my old blog, and the baggage it carried, stepped into hiatus for a few weeks, and now return. It's like coming home after a bout overseas. You're still the same, but then, you're ever changed. Somethings simply cannot return to normal. Subtle things: your taste for bread; the commonplace of mineral water on your shelves; your way of moving through space.

I can't say for sure what form or style will emerge on this blog. In many ways it will sound like me. Those of you who are familiar from my previous two years of blogging may recognize me. And yet, I am changed, if but yet in subtle ways. I am no longer blue, or angry, or depressed over not landing a tenure-track job, fresh from completing the PhD. Sure, I still harbor feelings to that effect. But they are less frequent, and less powerful.

I step off the boat, and notice how less salty smells the air. I'm ready for this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A few steps at a time

I leave in a week for England. I've been invited to be part of an interdisciplinary panel at a conference. I got a call last week from a national radio syndicate that they'd like to interview me while I'm over there, for a related broadcast. Interestingly, these events are the result of a full-day conference panel I organized and chaired in Belgium about five years ago, while I was still a graduate student. It's nice to feel recognized for my work, even if it's a long time in coming.

I'm still piecing together my presentation. When I get back, a top priority will be preparing my courses for the fall. I'll be teaching two courses per term adjunct at a school about an hour away. Changes are afoot.

A couple weeks ago, I bought myself a new computer. I went to Ikea, and bought some new office furniture. The room is nicely accoutered now, full, but not overflowing, walls begin to be covered with pictures by and of my boys. It's a good work space for my research, and work. I think I'll get myself a white board to post my ongoing projects on, a visual and prominent reminder of open tasks.

I've left behind pinning all my hopes for the future on getting a full-time tenure-track post at a university, though I expect to continue applying. I'm excited about the prospects my new line of research is opening up. I expect to be talking with a patent attorney soon, for an initial consultation. Once that step is taken, I can work on some presentations for a bank loan or venture capital.

Meantime, it's back to my conference paper.

A new adventure

A new adventure begins.
Yet, there is no full break from the past.

I've often mused how each episode of life is like a life of its own. Yet they all remain connected somehow. From a background in theater, I've sometimes contemplated the trajectory of characters in a show. Ideally, the brief span of time on stage presents a transformation of each character, a movement from start point to end point.

In reality, however, this is not always the case. Some remain caricatures, hollow cartoon figures, stylized presentations of a single or a few characteristics, rather than an animated whole. I guess real life is like that as well. At least, we sometimes see others in this way. The trick I believe is most of all not to see ourselves that way. And once we've a handle on our own complexity, we can work toward recognizing it in others.

Perhaps each episode in life is not so much a life of its own, but rather a stageplay, presenting one scene from the milieu of life, one abstraction from the complexity, a magnifying glass held to observe the details. Only when we step back do we see the greater picture.

Welcome, friends, to my new blog.