Posted tagged ‘work’

New Landscapes … New Eyes

September 17, 2017

horizonIf you bothered to read my Home page, you will see a quote by Marcel Proust prominently displayed:  The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.  It is  a motto that suits me.  For most of my life I have been good at appreciating the life I have and found fulfillment in looking inward for adventure rather than outward.  But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t benefited from an adventure that stretched my boundaries now and then.


Smiles, a Day Late

November 10, 2015

presentationI have occasionally told people that if they gave me any topic and two minutes to prepare, I could talk for half an hour on the subject.  That is true partly because I have knowledge of a wide range of topics to draw upon and my years of writing has made me very good at organizing facts.    But my wife, Muri, will tell you that I am also very capable of making things up if I don’t know the facts … and I can be a silver-tongued devil in making you believe what I say.   That’s why I’m good at Balderdash.  Being a writer of fiction and of slightly exaggerated blog post has certainly honed those skills.  I have also been speaking in front of audiences of from 10 to several hundred people for over fifty years, mostly on esoteric technical subjects.  There is no doubt that repeated public speaking has made me able to be more relaxed in front of an audience and able to convert what could be nervousness into excitement. (more…)

Working … in the Park

March 19, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I retired from Big Industry 15 years ago (yikes!) and started a consulting business with my friend and mentor, Paul, there were several things we both appreciated immediately.  For one, we began doing the kind of interesting work we’d had to fight to do in the big companies we’d worked for, work that had never been profitable enough for their voracious appetites.   Secondly, we both loved the flexibility of working when and where we wanted.   I could go to the movies with Muri in the afternoon, then work in the evening. Or I could get up in the middle of the night and work on an idea I’d had, then take it easy the next day.  And I could work in my office … or my recliner … or at Starbucks … or even at the park.  Perhaps nothing made me feel as satisfactorily self-employed as working at a picnic table by the side of the lake. (more…)


August 10, 2013

typicalTypical seems to me to be an unusual word, one that draws its connotations almost completely from the context in which it is used but that, of course, is a product of its definition: Exhibiting the qualities, traits, or characteristics that identify a kind, class, group, or category.  It derives its connotations from the kind, class, group, or category and the particular qualities, traits or characteristics being referred to.  If my boss (if I had one) says, You’ve done your typical wonderful job, it’s a complement.  If he says, I’m going to have to have Ron look over your report, Bud.  That’s typical, it’s not.   Well, perhaps typical’s not entirely connotation-free.  According to the Urban Dictionary, typical is The word woman use to describe their displeasure and contempt for anything a male could do, would do, will do, or should do in order to please their partner.  A woman never explains what is “typical”, it just covers every sin known to man.  Hmmm. (more…)

Old Films and Science

August 6, 2013

TSTWhen I was a boy (shortly after the dinosaurs left the planet for good), my Mom caught me settling in front of the TV, my math book, paper and pencil in hand.  Does anyone else remember math paper?  It was about half the size of a standard sheet and had the texture of newsprint.  I had a teacher that used to punish bad behavior by making a student hold a folded piece of math paper between his teeth.  Gross.   Don’t believe me?  Try it with a piece of the NY Times.  But I digress.  When Mom saw me with my math book in front of the TV, she said, You can’t do homework in front of the TV.  You can’t concentrate.  She said the same thing when she caught me writing a report for American History to the tune of The Theme from Peter Gunn on my stereo.  You can’t concentrate with music on.   Like any good father, I passed on my mother’s wisdom to my kids.   But I’m here to come clean today.  It’s not true. (more…)

Up and Down

September 1, 2012

It has been a crazy week.   Starting the week, I was semi-retired with just one low-pressure contract with a long time client.   Then we called a potential customer to discuss an idea we had for improving his radar.   We’re not radar guys but we’ve done some similar work underwater with sonar, which works similarly …. radar uses radio waves, sonar uses sound.  He liked our idea, so now, we’re writing a proposal due in three weeks.  The same day, I was retained as an expert to help an investment firm evaluate a company they might buy.  The next day, I spoke to another company interested in using me as an expert on medical ultrasound.  Thursday, we had a status call with our formerly low-pressure customer and discovered we need to be done sooner than expected.  Suddenly, I was unretired. Yikes!  By the end of the week, both expert opportunities have faded, at least for now, and I was back to busy but semi-retired.  Life’s like that sometimes.  It’s good not to over-react but not always possible. (more…)


May 24, 2012

Being sixty-eight years old and semi-retired presents numerous opportunities to see life from different angles, to revisit notions I accepted as true without a thought and re-examine ideas that came with being part of the rat race.   I’m no longer part of the rat race. Or any race.  I’ve got time to think about things I wouldn’t have considered twenty years ago.   Almost daily, I have Reflections from an Older Perspective, as the slug line at the top pf the page says.  This morning, I told Muri, This is going to be a work day.  She asked, What do you mean?  I said, Work-Work, meaning paying consulting work.  Twenty years ago, there’d have been no question … I’d be getting into my car to commute to Hughes Aircraft Company.   Gardening and being a handyman around the house were Chores.  They were Work but not Work-Work.  Playing the guitar and drawing were Hobbies.   If I gave my kids a job and they said, This is boring, or This isn’t any fun, I’d say,  That’s why they call it Work.  If it was fun, they’d call it a Hobby.  I had a lot of stock answers back then.  That was also before the advent of notions like Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.  Somehow, I doubt that book would have done well during the depression.   Somehow, I think there are lot of people with Younger Eyes starting to realize it’s not always true. (more…)


February 21, 2012

Semi-retired life is funny.  It’s funny because in my business it’s not semi-retired as in I’m always working quarter time.  It’s I’m working full time this week then off for threeHalf time for two months, then off for six.  If you’re a sports fan, you know that if your favorite quarterback doesn’t get enough snaps, he won’t be able to get into a Rhythm.  And you know, when he can’t get into a Rhythm, there are no touchdown passes.  So, on this Top Sites Tuesday #139, my Thought Number One is a question:  Do you think that only jocks need to find a rhythm, that engineers can sit on the bench then come right in and crank those equations? (more…)