11:43am Wednesday 23 May 2007 by rudy

Against my better judgement, the Venus Flytrap that Kim had given me for Christmas is still alive. There’s been a constant renewal of greenery in the little pot: some green fingers of leaves have died off, but have always been replaced by other leaves coming up. In fact, the plant is absolutely thriving, if it can actually thrive in a pot barely larger than a shot-glass. I have more green things in there now than when I first received it. Admittedly, Kim had said that she won’t blame me if the plant died because she forgot to water it for quite a bit while awaiting gifting it to me. It looked sad enough when I got it that I thought it might be a hopeless case.

Kim had gotten idea of giving me the Flytrap because in high school, I had a venus flytrap, that accidentally died when I took it for a walk one night. I went to a boarding high school, and I was in the house (dorm) one night, with my Flytrap in hand, and walking it around. I had stopped in the hallway to talk with someone, I think it was Paul. Someone else came by and bumped into my elbow, which made me drop my plant onto Paul’s foot; Paul, sensing that something had landed on his foot, and not realizing that it was a poor plant, thought that an animal had latched onto his lower extremities, reflexively kicked. The plant and pot both launched up and bounced off the ceiling, before bouncing on the floor. The plant was never the same after that, and shortly later died, wasting away like people do in comas in the ICU. It would have probably died anyway because while I was attentive and feeding it meat from the cafeteria, my classmates were feeding it pistachios and pencil lead; not proper plant diet.

Coming back to the plant that Kim got me, in my first few weeks nursing it back to health, I worred that my house had no flies or mosquitoes upon which my pet plant could feast, so I was quite attentive in feeding it meat from a Wendy’s burger. However, the Flytrap never closed its trap. For a while, I thought that this plant too was in its agonal coma, waiting to die in the ICU that was my kitchen window ledge. Against my worst anxieties, it began to recover and grow. Then it occured to me, “this is a fscking plant! It doesn’t need meat; all it needs are sunlight and water, and it understands photosynthesis.”

And I don’t have to clean out any litter boxes.

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On experts
1:36am Tuesday 15 May 2007 by rudy

Researchers John Hayes and and Benjamin Bloom have written that it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas.

I’ve never considered myself truly an expert. Often, I’ll hear myself being introduced to our clients as the Oracle expert, which always surprises me, because I know there are so many dark corners of an Oracle database in which I have no idea of its workings.

By another measure, an expert is someone who is no longer obligated to follow conventional wisdom. Owing to his or her mastery of the subject matter, an expert is allowed to forge off the well-worn path, and develop in new and novel directions. Over time, perhaps these novel and unique directions may eventually become the new conventional wisdom for others to follow.

I’ve never considered myself truly a rowing expert, although I have spent at least a decade on-and-off with crew rowing. I’ve rowed stroke; I’ve coxed; I’ve coached; and I’ve taught. My rowing charges probably do view me as some sort of authority in rowing since they are learning from me how to row. They ask me questions for which I have well-reasoned answers. And I have gone off in my own direction on developed what I think are the best techniques for moving the boat through the water. Yet, I know I still am not fully an expert.

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I’m back!
1:21am Saturday 12 May 2007 by rudy

It’s taken a while, but I’m back.

I had tried to upgrade the WordPress software almost two years ago, but it didn’t quite work, and I thought that I had broken the blog, except the blog wasn’t broken. So, recently I saved out a copy of all my posts, and started from scratch and reinstalled the latest version of WordPress, and then had to spend several days redoing all the CSS to give it the presentation style that I wanted.

So, I’m back to writing, and scouring The Internets for the gobsmacked.

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