Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Needed Change

In the next few days I have a little something to tell about a change I have made, specifically to my running. It's not official yet, so I'll wait a few more days, but the point is, I'm making a change.

It's not that things weren't working. On the contrary, I've been quite successful doing what I have been doing the way I have been doing it. Yet sometimes we need to change things in our lives. It's like moving. I suppose most people hate moving, but I've done it so much in my life that after a few years I start to feel stale. I have realized I can move just about anywhere and be a regular at three establishments in two months. I can find a few people who do the kind of stuff I do and make some friends. Sure, the longer spent in a place typically the deeper the connections made, but not necessarily.

Change is uncomfortable because we are giving up some aspect of "control" in our lives. Change scares us because we don't know what to expect. Change scares us because we've had bad experiences. Yet, change makes us grow because it forces a new stimulus on us. Our brains are forced to develop new connections to navigate the new experiences, and that is why there is often a bump, an improvement just after a change. Perhaps college is a time of such great growth because every semester is something new?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Instantly Waiting

I know at least three people followed the GPS tracks on Friday and Saturday as we trekked up and down Mt. Rainier. In many ways the entire story played out there in a new coordinate every ten minutes. Headed up or down? On the summit or not?

In this filtered world of everyone becoming his and her own media company the simplicity of the answers to the two questions above almost seem like enough to occupy the entire story. Did we summit? No. Done, story over, you can click the link below and go read about the Kardashians.

You didn't really click on that did you?

We live in an instant world. I am trying to upload the amazing GoPro video from the 15 minutes around when we turned around on summit day on Mt. Rainier, and it looks to take a good 2-3 hours at coffee shop bandwidth rates. I have both an expedition blog post to write up and a post about my little run up and down to camp Muir, and both are going to take an hour plus of my time.

I feel the need to be perfect, instantly, all the time, and I am not. I am not any of those things. Simply waiting to tell you what an amazing trip I had to Washington is hard even for me. Good things take time. In my opinion often we appreciate things we had to work harder for than things that came easy to us. You will have to wait to hear about our adventures on Mt. Rainier and wait to watch the video. Sure, you can see the result already, we didn't summit, everyone lived, not even any frostbite. Yet if we only restricted ourselves to the instantly available, what would be the point? What would be the point of working hard, of suffering, of enduring the intolerable?

In this twenty-first century things are going to be different. Fewer people are going to understand why they have to wait for something. Once the speed picks up, they will forget the previous times. What if I had to hand write this story and mail it to my family and friends? It could takes weeks to tell people. I would certainly regale a small handful with the details, but most would turn away, uninterested, in two minutes. What a strange world we live in.

Monday, May 25, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 205

Another week living the dream! But seriously, my life is pretty awesome, and I've lived longer than many of my peers. Weekends like this simply remind me of that. 

Work was good. I skipped a work trip to Germany, so I was the only drivetrain guy in the office. When we had a little drivetrain incident Monday my being in the office helped resolve the incident by Wednesday afternoon and "saving face" so to say. 

Having just finished a production launch every little issue that comes up has to be jumped on because if we don't figure it out quickly it could affect 100 machines instantly. That's always the challenge, we don't know what we don't know. I don't wonder how vechicles seem to have unique flaws any more. We test, we retest, and sometimes test a third time at full machine level, and then we go to production and truth is, there are certainly failures out there we don't know about yet.

One visit to the physical therapist and one to the orthopedic doctor, who wrote an MRI for me. Ugh, I don't even want to think about it now. I honestly think it was a tendon thing and between rest and physical therapy it's healed, or nearly. 

Then this weekend I attempted to climb Mt. Rainier with three of my friends and coworkers from Iowa. That is clearly too much of a story to include in my weekly summary. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We can Talk About This Some More...

Decision making, it's the definition of white collar. We aren't necessarily the people who do the work, sometimes we are, but we are the people that make decisions. In the context of work those decisions are balancing, quality, price and service. I typically work on the quality vs price side of things, although service does come into the equation often enough. 

I read this on a blog maybe two years ago and ever since it has inspired me to make more decisions when I can. Frequently analysis paralysis happens when people don't want to make a decision with the information available, but look for more information. This can delay decision making for days, weeks, and on occasion months. Eventually things typically get escallated to the point where someone makes a decision. The funny thing being, the higher the problem goes, the fewer details the person often gets. I realized this in a recent meeting where someone threw up multiple road blocks, subtly suggesting a decision we had made was premature. After every question, we presented what had already been done, and near the end of the meeting he did not object to the decision we had made. 

Communication. Wowzers, I didn't realize how little time I would actually spend doing math, science and designing as an engineer. I feel like I go to meetings, talk to people, and more or less shepard parts through their testing and manufacturing cycles. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The World is Still Here

Sometimes I do something, something that feels like the world should change, or possibly end, because I did it. Yet that hasn't happened.The truth is it won't happen for anything that I do. The point being, it's okay to take risks. We live in such a risk adverse culture that simply climbing a mountain seems like a death wish to many people. In the United States you can take a risk and figuratively fall flat on your face, I know I have multiple times, and not worry about things like where my next meal will come from.

Risk seems to have more to do with embarrassment than actual bodily harm most of the time. The nice thing about taking risks is regardless of the outcome, you took the risk, and future risks won't look the same because you have lived through past risks. The world is still here, and we still want you in it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Live in Iowa: Week 204

Sorry I didn't get this posted yesterday like usual. I've just had work stuff to do or been riding my bicycle or too tired to put down a few words. People seem to think you can start a blog and start making thousands of dollars and have tens of thousands of readers, but for the vast majority of us, it's just not going to happen. I mean we have interesting lives and people are pushing the limits all around us, but the media tends to follow the outrageous, and what the rest of the media is following. How much a celebrity swears at a concert makes more news than a person running her first 5k or a student graduating college after four and a half long tearful years. 

Work has been up and down. At times there have been slow hours as I wait on others to finish work. Other times, just in the past week, three things needed my attention and response before lunch. I had my first experience with our cold room doing -40F/C cold starts trying to optimize some things. It is very interesting how fluids function at those temperatures. They are really more like a gel than what we think of as fluids, to a layman. That being said, the new system worked, which is always a good thing. 

I went to physical therapy for my leg and he suggested I had tendonitis, and did graston technique on my leg. It seemed to work and I ran five miles Saturday. The first four were great, but then the last one hurt. I've been on the bike more too, maybe 70 miles last week. I am convinced that rest and the therapy are  contributing to my body healing. I will be healthy in no time. 

Otherwise pretty quiet week. Although sitting here separating work from everything else helps everything else be relaxing. It's easy to think about work at home, and not the most productive for long term stress because there will always be issues to solve and problems we haven't figured out how to fix.