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Living in the Fourth Age of Sand

Published: 2003-06-27


Forgot How to Post


Unlike updates to the site, events in 2014 were frequent. Weddings, baby showers, birthdays, vacations, and visits filled the year and I wouldn't want it any other way. While there's a lot to look back on this year, I can't ignore the impact work has had on my time. It's been a challenge, no doubt, but I think I'm better off for it.

(image) Highlights of the year are probably a couple of trips we took. The first was toe Turkey, an unexpectedly beautiful place that proved to be the crossroads of most of European history. The second was a short trip to small corner of Colorado. There we did nothing but relax and play games.

(image) I picked up a couple of interests this year. One is the notion of joint mobility. I've never been flexible, but I didn't totally understand it. After a bit of research I'm starting to understand how my body moves, where it's stuck, and why. It's not going to be easy, but I want to address it. The other interest is education. I want to teach, I'm not exactly sure how, but I currently assuming that folks could progress much further if they're exposed to the right concepts early. That is, at some point in your pursuit of knowledge, you assume that you know enough and your pursuit slows. That's ok, because it probably means you're doing something instead of just learning. However, I'd hate to think that somebody stops learning because they think there isn't anything left to learn.

Looking forward to 2015, I'd like to keep focusing on moving and teaching!

Eleven Rings


It was fascinating to hear about the behind the scenes drama of the teams I followed so closely in the 90's. Phil seems to coach at a pretty meta level, either that, or he just left the x's and o's out of the script. He focused so much on the individual personalities of players, their interactions with each other and the overall team dynamics. His strategy for building teams seems proven, though later in his career I felt like he didn't take as much responsibility for failures. This makes me feel like his luck with environment played a bigger role than he admits in the book. There's the lot to internalize from this book, building high functioning teams is an amazing skill. One last oddity, Phil didn't narrate the book. Hearing first person accounts was odd because I know what Phill is supposed to sound like.

The Cuckoos Calling


Having heard Ms. Rowling wrote this book, I was intrigued. I must say, she really knows how to write characters. Beyond that, the story isn't super clever, but it's definitely enjoyable.

Smart Tribes


I wish I could remember where I heard about this book. It tackles common problem areas that organizations face when they become complacent or lose direction. I really like her chapters on accountability and "meta programs". Effective communication is more about the audience than the communicator. It's hard to say things in a way other's want to hear it, and she has some concrete ideas becoming better at this. I hope I follow up on her advice.

Earth Afire


The second installment of the Ender's Game prequel triology. I'm glad Audible offers accelerated narration. A good story, but a bit long winded. Looking forward to the conclusion.

Earth Unaware


Having been disappointed with Shadows In Flight, I decided to pick up this prequel story. It takes place right before the first time buggers come to Earth. I like it, it's fresh set of characters and it's a bit more realistic look at how we might behave in case of an alien visit. Mazer's origin story is also cool.

Shadows In Flight


We pick up Bean's story after he's left earth with this three mutant children. There's not much too the story, they find an old bugger ship and have to deal with their own mortality. Apparently the next installment will tie together Ender's books to Bean's.



Pollan decided to learn how to cook. To this end, he chose to learn foods that belonged to air (bread), water (braises), fire (BBQ), and earth (beer). The BBQ sections was the most detailed and least applicable to me, but the bread section was fascinating. His comparison of industrial bread vs. handmade bread made me understand why some people feel bread is nutritious vs. why some people think it's the cause of all modern man's ailments. Apparently, real bread dough must be cultivated extensively to allow the natural wheat enzymes and yeast to predigest the bread. This makes the nutrients available to humans. The process takes at least 24 hours from start to finish. Whereas industrial bread can be readied in 4 hours. Having recently brewed my own bit of beer, it was amusing to see how proud he was of himself for brewing. He made it sound like home brews were as rare as a winning lottery ticket.



Roach is an intersting author. She finds scientists who do obscure research on her topic of interest, synthesizes their efforts into a pop research book. This time she tackles the digestive tract. I was pretty excited; however, she seemed to skip over the small intestine. I had heard about some of the experiments before; alas I didn't learn anything that changed my understanding of how it all works. Well except that HCl in your stomach isn't as acidic as I had assumed.

The Art of Doing


A book full of interviews with top performers in their field. It's been a while between reading the book and writing this post; but the main takeaway that I had was that they all were very prepared. That is, they didn't leave anything about their trade to chance. They also had a clarity of what they were trying to achieve and aimed directly for it. Clarity is underrated.