Friday, July 22, 2016

Fin de Siecle

Last day of vacation.  As you read this, I am probably rolling through Wyoming at this point headed home.

One thought that has occurred to me as I was setting this vacation up and then as events in my own personal life developed is that everything is sort of reaching a crescendo of sorts, a fin de siecle, an end of the age sort of thing.

Maybe not right at the moment I walk back into my real life of course, These things never come together quite as cleanly as we would like to imagine.  But there is definitely a sense hanging over me that the next turning is around the corner, that the last seven years or so have been a long transition, partially from The Firm but also from being buffeted in my career field to actively choosing my course in my career field.

I am excited about the other areas of my life as well.  The last seven years has been truly amazing in terms what I have attempted to do and learned to do.  Even within these areas, there is a sense of moving forward towards greater ability and (hopefully) greater autonomy.

I would not say that future looks bright.  I know enough not to say that.  But I can say that the future looks as good as it ever has.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

On Fishing

One of my regrets is that I have never kept up with fishing as I might have.

I grew up fishing with my maternal grandfather, who was a mighty fisherman.  My earliest memories of fishing were in Montana, fishing for trout not too far from the cabin that I am staying at while we are there.

We fished for trout in Montana and for Bluegill and the occasional Bass in Old Home.  He would patiently take me out, teach me how to bait the hook and set the line (sinkers and bobbers for a young child), pull them in, and then clean them.

He taught me other things through fishing as well:  patience, a willingness to be alone and silent, of enduring until you reach the final goal.  Being responsible where you fish.  And fish as much as you need, but eat everything that you catch.

He tried to teach me how to fly fish but this was almost at the end of my fishing life and I never really took to it the way I did earlier. I drifted away from fishing after that as high school and then college overtook my time and interest.

I have never really been interested in fishing here in New Home; catfish and bass do not interest me all that much (and I am not really a fan of them, especially catfish unless blackened or fried).  But trout....trout is still something worth fishing for.

I have seen my friend Jambaloney's posts on his fishing over at Framboise Manor and makes me hungry again for those times of silence and patience and the possibility of fresh fish at the end of it.

Perhaps hungry enough to try and learn again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Planning Out The Rest of My Career

As I posted two weeks ago or so,  one of the factors that I have noticed creeping into my own life is a lack of continuing education on my part, largely driven by my distaste of aspects of my current career.

Which brings up a second sort of useful question:  What does my career path forward look like?

Belying my earlier post on robots, I suspect that my career field will at least be viable throughout my working career (in my world defined by another 20 years or so).  The rather unfortunate reality is that while I can improve on my current skill set and knowledge my ability to directly migrate over to a completely new career field (at least, one I would have to do rather than want to do) is rather limited.
I think I have one, maybe two more moves in me.  This is predicated on the concept that at least one of those moves would be for a career related reason and one for a final relocation reason (no idea what that would look like).  I am sensitive to the fact that in my own personal world we are in an era of transition: quite likely within 10 years there will only be two of us back at home. This creates certain options that may not be apparent now.

In the happiest of worlds (or at least the happiest I can come up with)  I have two more positions, each of 8-10 years, ending in some form of executive management.  I believe this to be within my power:  in my line of work (at least currently) experience still merits a certain level of respect and desirability.

If I start with that as a thought - and assume that I find two positions that I enjoy - I can begin to work backwards with the knowledge base and experience base that I would need (yes, it really is rather that easy). Throw in some language study (keep the options open) and I may have the hint of a working plan.

But what of Ichiryo Gusoku, my philosophy on living and sustainability, you might ask?  Legitimate Question. I believe that a plan of this nature preserves my options for this, assuming that (for now) I keep them in a tight circle around feasibility and what I can do given my location (Cheese and Garden Yes, Bees Maybe, Larger Livestock No).

I find it exciting, in a certain sort of odd way.  Having a sense of purpose and control can bring some level of calm to the chaos and inevitable lack of control of so many parts of one's career.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Sometimes I wonder
what I would have done differently
given the chance.

It is hard to know:
Would I have stayed as a Japanese major
instead of coming home?
Would I have stayed with my first girlfriend
instead of saying "Let me try something else?"

Would I have gone back to school a second time?
No school, no Ravishing Mrs. TB,
no marriage, no children.

Would I have continued to teach instead of
doing what I do now?
No travel, no New Home, no writing,
no iai.

Hard to know are the paths not taken;
easy only to see all the mistakes looking back.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Rise Of The Machines

One has often heard the discussion of the increasing attractiveness of robots in the fast food industry as the agitation for higher wages for what were once considered entry level jobs has occurred.    But in an article from The Burning Platform, guest author Fred Reed posts a rather inclusive listing of where robots currently are:

"Navy building autonomous sub-hunting submarine.Robots deliver food to your door. China’s use of robots set to surge. Amazon uses 30,000 robots in warehouses. AMBER lab robot jogs like human.Japanese farming robots.  Burger-flippingrobot. World’s first sex-robot. China’s robot cop. China’s road to self-driving cars. Bloomberguses robot story-writers. In theme park, robotsmake food and drinks. SCHAFT unveils new robot in Japan. Boston Dynamics has several ominous robots paid for by the Pentagon. Robot does soft-tissue surgery better than humans. Robotic KFC outlet in Shanghai. And of course everybody and his dog are working on self-driving vehicles."

(Add Amazon here is as well with their robotic warehouses)

But with all of those, I do not believe I have ever been quite as vaguely discomforted as I have by watching the video above. It is about 3 minutes.  Watch it.  And then give us 10 years, and tell me where you think we are really going to be.

The more futures I see, the more bleak they seem to appear.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bastille Day

Prise de la Bastille by Jean-Pierre Houel (1735-1813)

Perhaps not unreasonably, I find myself much in The Storming of the Bastille, which is today.

I have a sense that we are moving towards uncharted ground, both as a nation and as a world.

I do not say this happily, by any stretch of the imagination.  "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" said John F. Kennedy.  But I fear that the combination of rhetoric and animosity shared (at this point) by all sides leads to nothing but sadness.

"Is it a revolt?"  asked Louis XVI the morning after the Storming of the Bastille to Duc de la Rouchefocauld, to which he replied "No sire, it's not a revolt, it's a revolution."