Connectivity

Connectivity
My friend Karl posted some thoughts on blogging and the kind of connections he’s been able to forge through his online ventures. I’m privileged to be one of the many connections he’s made over the years.

Far from merely benefiting from connections himself, Karl has also enabled countless connections between other people. From the old days at Philly Future, where a bunch of us tried to weave a community from the disparate legions of Philadelphia area bloggers, to the meetups where so many of us came out from behind our keyboards, dispelling stereotypes about blogging and forming new friendships.

Karl is dusting off the old meetup, and I’m determined to make it out to the next one in February. I’m hoping to see a few other faces, new and old, when I do.

If you’re from anywhere around Philly and you have any interest in connecting with people you would otherwise only happen upon online, I hope you’ll check it out too. As Karl wrote, “When our hyperlinks become personal connections, amazing things can happen.”

So true.

Read more about it at Karl’s blog.

Inaction

Inaction
Seth posted a great thought on this simple truth yesterday.

Dancing with absurdity

Dancing with absurdity
Every person should have the opportunity to overcome incredible difficulty at some point in life. I’m talking about something that comes so close to breaking you, a challenge that seems truly insurmountable.

Of course, life is full of things that seem impossible — until you find a way to do them. If you’re fortunate, you’ll find out what it’s like to have such an accomplishment.

For me, that challenge has been dyslexia. When I was young, reading and writing seemed impossible. Learning to compensate for my difficulties has been one of the most agonizing struggles I’ve ever faced. Clearing that hurdle, on the other hand, has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.

This isn’t just because I eventually learned how to consume and use language functionally. It’s also because I learned to love words in ways that probably seem unnatural to other people (my wife, for instance).

But I also learned to love something else: the sense of triumph at overcoming. I developed more than just the confidence that so much was possible; I developed a love for facing challenges. Not only do I rarely feel things are hopeless–I also feel I can do something about things that go wrong.

As another trip around the sun is set to start, I hope this is an experience I get to keep having, and one I hope you do as well.

Update: Dyslexia is a lot more common than most people think, especially when it comes to high achievers. Click here to read a bit more on folks like David Boies, Richard Branson, Carol Greider, John Irving, Charles Schwab, Steven Spielberg and (the guy whose success helps me make a living) Ingvar Kamprad.

Left behind

Left behind

“Obamacare” has been a contentious subject since long before the Affordable Care Act was passed here in the U.S. I’m one of those who feel the law is vastly flawed while also a significant improvement over the status quo it replaced.

I pay a fixed percentage of my health insurance premiums. When the overall premium rises, my portion of the premium also rises. This year I saw my share of those premiums rise, as they do every year. But something funny happened this year: they rose by less than at any point since I’ve been paying for them. The coverage is the same, but premiums barely went up at all.

I just thinks it’s worth pointing out that slowing the rise in health insurance premiums was one of the effects the ACA (a.k.a., “Obamacare”) was supposed to have. And, at least in my situation, it seems to be working.

I know at least a few other people who face the same reality but can’t allow themselves to see or accept it. It’s sad to be so invested in one outcome that you can’t see anything that defies that expectation.

Oblivious beagle

Oblivious beagle
cold November air
drizzling everywhere
Katie doesn’t care

One of the things I like about a day off is not having to leave the house before dawn. This morning I had the bright idea of walking the dog.

Having not paid much attention to the weather forecast, I was unaware we would be greeted by a cold drizzle. In my experience, days like this usually have a shortening effect on walks with Katie. Not so this morning. We departed as my wife left for work. Exactly one hour — and a mile and a half later — we returned from a leisurely, frigid stroll.

The picture above Is Katie looking for a squirrel or something from the pedestrian bridge by Haverford College. It’s wonderful to have things in your life that absorb your interest so much you don’t care about the conditions around you.

Deferrals

Deferrals

Vote

there's no harmony in democracy's chorus unless we all sing
It’s Election Day in the U.S.

More specifically, it’s an unglamorous, under-attended mid-term Election Day. The decisions being made during mid-terms never draw as much attention from the voting public, but they’re just as important.

If you have the right to vote, please exercise it today.

Director's cut

create a future rather than a remastered version the past

Cartographers

making your own map beats waiting for instructions and waiting your turn
Echoing a theme from Seth.

Image-friendly archives

In the midst of my 30 days of handwritten verse, Karl pointed out a major shortcoming of the archives for the project. Read More