Perfect for the weight of words

These moments of peace between the chaos of life are perfect for the weight of words. Left idle for even a moment my mind turns toward a racing condition. Thoughts build up and before you know it. Stacks of ideas end up competing to be at the forefront my thoughts. That is where things end up for the most part. Converting those ideas into some type of outcome requires taking things to a conclusion. It requires finishing things. Most major writing tasks are not single serving endeavors. They cannot be completed in one major writing session. Maybe that could be the natural end of a series of creative sessions. A few different sessions could produce something of merit. They could result into something of value. Turning ideas into a final draft or at least some type of manageable prose takes time.

Tonight for example… I have one hour right now that could be spent on anything. That one hour really does exemplify the perfect weight of words. Every minute taunts the possible. Each minute counts down toward what could be and quickly separates it from what happened. That is the natural path of things when you sit down to write for an hour and end up reflecting on life, part of the universe, and some things. Those moments of reflection were stole from the perfect possible outcome of an hour of uninterrupted epic prose creation.

Managing the ongoing narrative by writing daily and being reflective

At any moment, I’m pretty much poised to sit down and write a ton of words. Targeting a specific topic is the hard part of the equation. Managing the ongoing narrative by writing daily takes a certain amount of effort and a commitment of time. Writing in the earlier hours of the morning or right before bed seems to be the best method to produce some weblog appropriate prose. That is however not the best method to build out academic work. That type of writing takes a certain amount of focus and dedication. Sitting down to write an academic article generally involves some thought about why that subject matters, an outline, and a lot of research. Generally, it is not something that happens in the moment. A good think piece might happen in the moment. That is the fun part of the whole thing. Out of nowhere something shows up and springs into existence.

Part of the fun of writing and posting things is learning the frameworks and the platforms. Right now, I just realized that the World Online platform is transferring a few HTML artifacts during the cut and paste to the Guttenberg editing WordPress is currently using. It turns out that the best method to cut and paste over to the editor is to use the code editor view. Yeah that was some inside baseball about how this post formatting came to be this morning. Sure, that is not the most interesting thing that is going to happen today, but it was what caught my attention. That in short is the nature of how most things develop and how they persist. Attention matters these days. People are trying to garner as much attention as possible in all sorts of forms and in all sorts of ways. Advertising is the last great scramble to amass as much attention as possible for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons are good and some of them are questionable.

That scramble is the part of things that get interesting. Nothing these days really grabs the bulk of the people’s attention. Very few singular things grab the full attention of the public mind. These words right here right now are not going to capture the public mind. They are not really written toward that purpose. Writing for a blog is more or less about the exercise of writing. It is about the act of writing. What I have found over the years is that writing begets more writing and that is how the quality of writing generally improves.

Overcoming distractions and tackling tough problems

We are quickly approaching Thanksgiving and that is a day where I plan on relaxing and watching some football for a few hours. It is a day where I pretty much give up on trying to overcome distractions and give in to a day of rest. Unequivocally it is probably my most restful day of the year. Maybe that is something that I need to do more often. Thinking about that was peaceful enough in the moment to cause my thoughts to pinball over to overcoming distractions and tackling tough problems. Always running toward a purpose without rethinking that purpose could be counterproductive. On the other hand, being driven to action is inherently compelling. Some problems are so compelling that you are fueled by a near single minded purpose devoted to finding a resolution. Those types of problems fuel themselves. Everything outside of that bucket falls into the overcoming distractions and talking tough problems bucket.    

The method that I use to overcome problems has always been based on how I deconstruct the hardest problems. I look at the form, function, structure, and assumptions (FFSA) within the problem space. Between those elements either a degree of contention exists or a path opens up to help understand how to move forward by overcoming either a structural barrier or limitations created by assumptions. That is something that I have been writing about for a long time now and it is something that always helped me find the footing necessary to begin to create change. Figuring out how to convert strategy into action takes a lot more than a great plan. You can take a great plan written out on a piece of paper and put it in a desk drawer. Within that desk drawer the darkness of the container is as bleak as the chance that strategy drives anything forward. Only on very rare occasions is complete inaction a method to drive success. 

These questions have come to the forefront of my mind today based on some things that I have been wondering about recently. I finally setup my own Google Cloud Platform environment. That should allow me to really focus in on solving some very tough problems related to natural language process (NLP). Building out recommendation or decision engines within that space is very possible. Figuring out how to define or explain the relative degree of understanding that exists related to those decisions or recommendation is a much harder problem to overcome. Figuring out how to server up the right movie recommendation is much easier to derive algorithmically compared to understanding why that movie was the right offering. That is a tough problem to tackle, but one worthy of consideration including the time and effort that goes into that type of blocking and tackling.  

Taking the time to really focus on something

This is day two in a row of taking 10 minutes to try to write something meaningful at the end of the day. Maybe part of this new routine is based on trying to really focus in on something. It might just be about taking the time to really did deep and focus on something. Even if that something is a single serving adventure into the deep end of a subject. Working toward really picking a topic and learning everything about it to develop a truly deep level of knowledge is rewarding. Today my Pandora internet streaming subscription expired. I got a pop up and then the advertisements returned. Some of them are interesting, but most of them are just interruptions to my stream of consciousness that is otherwise devoted to the single-minded purpose of writing for 10 straight minutes.  

Today was one of those days where things did not line up very well. It was one of those days that not even a double shot of espresso could save. Things were fragmented and otherwise difficult to push in the right direction. My thoughts did circle around to focusing on natural language processing (NLP) within the artificial intelligence space with a focus on sentiment analysis. For those of you who have been around the blog for some time you might harken back to my interests in data mining. Some time ago I published a few papers on the subject then moved on to a series of other things that captured my thoughts. Throughout the rest of the year I’m going to focus in really learning NLP on the Google Cloud Platform. My goal is to build the right set of Python notebooks to set a strong foundation for anyone that wants to jump in and build sentiment driven decisioning engines.  

Notes: 

Albums: Earlier today I listened to a little bit of the album Crystal Plant by Joe Satriani. To this day it remains one of my favorite thinking albums to have playing in the background.  

Media: During part of the evening the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Carolina Panthers game was on the television. My only thoughts about it were that neither of my OTA antennas were able to get a very sharp picture.  

Technology: I spent a solid 15 minutes thinking about the Dell U3818DW 37.5” curved desktop computer monitor. This is not something that I really need, but it looks pretty awesome.  

Writing for 10 meaningful minutes a day

My computer

A lot of my time has been spent wondering about the nature of communication across history. Maybe the only real way at the moment to communicate across the span of time is with the written word. Everything else seems to fade away as formats change. Formats will probably change a number of times. Figuring out the final archival format of all thoughts is really an interesting question. It is not the question we are going to dig into today or really any time soon, but it is a reasonably good question. My bet would be on some type of crystal storage technology.  

Please consider for a moment that my thoughts here do not center around art. Art is art. Seriously, art is not the type of communication that defines my creative efforts. Most of what I end up doing centers around communication including the act of writing, creating videos, or maybe taking a few photos. Perhaps that aside was unnecessary or maybe it was just one of those hesitation type moments. From that perspective I do not consider myself to be an artist.  

Here is the premise of the thoughts that are taking up my attention at the moment: “Every single day I need to take the time to write out the meaningful things.” That is, it. That is my complete thought. Period end of discourse. Yeah – you were pretty certain that was not the end of this post. You have the advantage of being able to see the rest of this post. You may have also noticed that the title of this post is called, “Writing for 10 meaningful minutes a day,” which may have also tipped you off to what this missive was going to be about. Sitting down and writing out all the things that need to be said is a noble goal based on a noble purpose. It is centered on the idea that communicating with others has inherent value and should be a path that is pursued. Some of that is probably more esoteric than it should have been, but hey this is a blog post not a stone tablet.  

Notes:  

Albums: Today I listened to the album Grinding Gears by Rabea Massaad on my new Sonos surround sound system. The album sounded epic and I wanted to turn it up louder than my self imposed 65% sound ceiling. 

Media: Earlier it seemed like a good idea to watch a few minutes of season 4 episode 1 from Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda television show that the TiVo recorded. You might recall that episode titled, “Answers Given to Questions Never Asked.” After about 30 minutes I ended up getting distracted. I’ll have to watch the rest later.   

Politics: Today was the day after the mid-term elections. People seemed to be relatively unchanged. Maybe over time some type of change based on the election will be more pronounced.