Pages

Start*

The idea has been lingering in my mind for sometime now, I wanted to start something. Something that would make me start more things, do more, learn, probably fail and have fun while doing it.

Do

This is the second post and by now you may have spotted a pattern and already guessed the title of the third post.

Learn

I really loved to learn, specially when I was younger. I would go through a encyclopaedia reading article by article. I would see something on the TV and would try to replicate it by my own...

Bonus - Fail

But outside the tech world failure is still not an option and is seen with suspicion and as something bad. If you fail the reason is probably that you are not good enough and you are not up for the job.

Bonus - Have fun

However I think one must try to find and do things that are fun to us.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Move!

Must resist the temptation of falling asleep...
One thing that I have been doing for the last week or so is daily exercise. For some time now, too much for me to write out loud and not feel ashamed, I have been a couch potato. Not one in it's full form because the daily dog walks (yes there's also a dog, and more cats by the way) probably have kept some of my muscles from turning to gelatin.

For now I'm only walking at a relative fast pace for about 1h and circa 5km (~3.1 miles) a day. Later I will try to add some running to the plan to see how it goes.

The results?

For now just tooooo tired to think about results. My legs complaint. My back complaint. My arms complaint. My joints protest and complaint. My hole body is aching and I just want to sleep a bit more, and a bit more. I had no idea that I was so out of shape, unless you count blob as being in shape.

I think that these side effects will pass in the next few days when my body will catch up with the current exercise plan.

I'm not even sure why and how I'm currently following this plan so thoroughly. Well I just have been doing this for a week, it's too soon for me to say that I have a habit or that I have conquered my sedentarism, but I sense that it's a bit different this time, because somehow I've made it a purpose in my day. I would like to offer the recipe or mental process that has managed me to transform this routine of exercising in a daily purpose, but I have no clue. I will think this through to see if there is some repeatable process that can be reapplied in other context or by someone else.

But for now, I will just keep on moving.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Feedback

With the feedback of trying the butterfly now flies again.
The reason you now know some of your strengths or your weaknesses is because in the past you did something and by some means you got feedback on that. A conscious feedback from someone, an unconscious one from some kind of behaviour that you picked up, or just from a direct feedback, something you've tried, failed, broke or was successful.

If you don't do, if you don't experiment, you limit yourself to a cocoon of non experiences and no feedback.

You can read on how to do something, or how to avoid doing a mistake or an error, and you think you understand everything because someone else done it for you, but currently I'm inclined to tell you that you can't. You cannot really understand something unless you've done it. Feedback is really important, and it's at the core of our learning process, it tells you where you can improve and where you are already excelling.

In a recent job interview for the first time I got honest feedback on how I had done. This is very unusual, specially where I live, usually you go to an interview and if they don't want to hire you, you just never hear from them again. And even if you do, they don't give any kind of feedback.

When I thanked them for the feedback, the recruiter in the other side told me: "You don't have to thank me. A friend of mine says that feedback is a gift."

I have to agree with him, if honest, respectful and done right, feedback is really a gift.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

You know something is wrong

I really admire ants, but I'm thankful I'm not one.
You know something is wrong when you have to do it not because it's important, adds value or because it matters, but just because it's part of a process that does not add any value.

They keep telling me, "It's a big pain in the rear bottom but it's part of the rules and you have to do it. So just do it and get it out of your way.".

I don't like this kind of thinking. It's time of my life that I won't get back, that I can't direct to some other thing that I might think is more important. It's time that I don't have any control on how to use it.

But I guess they are right as long as I keep exchanging time of my life that I can never get back for money. I'm just another replaceable cog in a machine that does not allow any deviation or mind of it's own, despite of what they keep saying.

The uncertainty part of jumping sucks. We want reassuring that we will have a net, that we will have a plan, that we will know what will happen next.

We never know.

But I guess that in the end what I keep reading is true, just do it and figure things out while you are doing it. It's more dangerous to conform, live your life like everybody else does and do not dare to do what you really want, what you chose, because if it's your choice, it's your responsibility and you don't have anybody to blame.

Right?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mindlessness

Yes, there's always a cat. He's not mindless, just contemplating the world.
Lately I have been troubled by how mindless I am during my day. How much of my daily decisions are auto-piloted by my brain, and how most of this self-direction is in the wrong direction. How absent I am from my life.

The thing that strikes me the most is how wrong they are, but how right they feel. Its like a collection of very comfortable places in my day that I can count on to feel good. I'm not sure that "feel good" is a good description, it's just comfy and easy. And when I try to break any of those self directed habits they feel so wrong, awkward and uncomfortable.

Most of the times I have no idea how that became a comfortable habit that came to be so engrained in my life and being. Probably by repetition, I guess.

Breaking these automatic routines is now an objective, because if I'm not aware of what I do most of the time how can I act, direct or even enjoy my life. Sometimes these automatic behaviours are helpful, like when we are driving we don't want to think about every motion that we need to do to direct the car in a direction. But, most of the times they don't add nothing to my daily routine, they remove me from the equation, and I have to admit they are mostly bad.

A side effect is that I make lots of decisions daily that will affect my future, decisions of which I have no recollection. By living like that, in the end of the day, nothing has sunk in my memory and I have nothing worth remembering.

It's time to add me back to the equation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Already failing

Just go.
Remember when I said that I wanted to fail? Well, what do you know, I am. I'm failing, and failing big time, because I'm not doing anything and I'm not even trying.

So... Success! No, not really. I want to fail by doing, not by simple inertia.

Example, this blog hasn't seen and update in several days. Granted that I did not set any expectations on how often I would update, but I think I did it on purpose. This is what I always do. If I don't set you on any kind of expectations I don't have to meet them in any way.

Even now I'm struggling to decide if I commit myself to some kind of schedule for writing. I know I should, but my brain keeps telling me "Don't do it, because if you do, then you will have to write, you cannot waste time on other really important things (a.k.a. mindless web browsing).".

Even to choose a picture from my library for the post took me forever. In the end I just chose and actually was happy with the end result.

So the base line for posting will be this, I will post in the blog at least 3 times a week, and posts with just a picture do not count for this purpose (I have plans to have some of these).

Commitment done. Let's now see how this goes.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scanning old family photos

A scanned and edited photo of my father with about 40 years.
Beyond the family albums, my parents have a drawer with old pictures, some are from my parents others from people of the village were I grew up. The photos can have 40 years or more and are starting to decay, with rust like marks, mould, bad storage conditions or just by sheer amount of time that has passed since they were taken.

Last year and after browsing some of them I got the feeling that I didn't want to lose those pictures. I got some and set my self to scan all of them, eventually. I scanned a few, got pleased with myself and never touched them again.

Until the previous weekend when I resumed the project and already scanned the first batch of about 100 photos. I still don't know how to digitally recover the photos, or how  but I will learn and get there.

The photo above was not recovered, I just applied a smoothing filter to do a test and ended up linking the result.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Photography

Old cameras in an antiques fair.
I know, I know, these days everybody will tell you that he's a photographer. Well I don't. I don't intend to be a photographer, I just want to learn to take better photographs.

(Insert flashback harp music here along with swirly images)

A very long time ago and like everybody else at the time, my first camera was a film camera. A very simple point and shoot Minolta camera that was a gift from my father for my birthday. It didn't click anything in my head towards photography, and at the time I would just mindless click away pictures of me, my family and friends without any concerns regarding how good the pictures were or could be.

Eventually the camera broke and by that time digital had reached a good pricing point and the size of the pictures was starting to be good enough.

Then in 2003 (I think) I bought my first digital camera, a Kodak Easyshare CX6200 with an astonishing 2 megapixels, a fixed focal length lens of 37mm. An impulse buy due to the price because I didn't had done any research. Still snapping away with little or no care about how I could take better pictures.

It also broke and for a while I had no camera.

In 2006 I decided that I needed a new camera. Also didn't research much, and ended up buying a camera due to a promotion. This time a Canon Powershot A540 came home, and only after I had bought the camera I did some research and to my surprise the camera was actually reasonable. The camera still lives and powers up. Still no clue about what I was doing when taking pictures.

Because the A540 was bulky, in 2009 I bought another camera, but one that was small and pocketable. This time I did my research and ended up with another Canon, an IXUS 100 IS. I think it was by this time that I started to notice that my photos were not very good, or at least that they could be better, a lot better. I really cannot blame the camera, the fault is all on the photographer.

Last year, and after a lot of though, research, and thinking a bit on what I wanted and on my limitations, I ended up buying, yes another Canon, an SX220 HS, a called "travel zoom" camera. It's a bit better than all my previous cameras, it has manual modes to fiddle with, it has some zoom and it takes decent pictures with low light for a compact camera.

(Insert again flashback harp music here along with swirly images)

Yes, I know, it's still a compact camera, not a DSLR or a mirrorless. And I also know that the camera is just a small part of the equation.

But somehow this camera, despite all of its limitations, and the photos it allowed me to take ignited my interest for photography. I wanted to take better pictures of the people I love, of my pets, of animals and insects, of nature, of landscapes, of strangers, of my travels, of objects, of the mundane and everyday life, of everything that might interest me.

I also started to research for other peoples photographs and I was mesmerized with what they were doing with cameras, lenses, light and software. I wanted to do similar things.

So now, I already know the basics and I'm learning a bit more every day and I'm already planning to buy a new camera (this time probably not a Canon), but not quite there yet. I think I can still learn a bit more with this one and take few more thousand shots. I know myself and don't want to buy a new toy so it will end up in my shame box.

One side effect of photography is that I fail often and most of my shots are not good, but I will get there.