Popping In, Popping Out of Life

Lately, I have been absolutely amazed at the number of people I met earlier in life and lost contact with, but who have recently made contact again.  It seems that the notion of people popping in and out of your life is very really, sometimes permanently.  As I listen to a friend talk about losing a friend of his and seeing friends from my past popping in and out, I used this as inspiration for the text below: 

In life, there will be people popping in to your life that will make an impression upon you. Then they pop out of life and you wonder about what happened to them.  Then, one day, you are walking down the street and you find them again, hoping to keep them popped in for a little longer than when they popped in before.

But then, they pop out permanently by death.  Knowing that they will never pop back into your life, makes you sad.  But did they ever really pop out of your life in the beginning.  In fact, a little piece of them is with you, in your heart, in your thoughts and you will always have them with you.  Popping out permanently is like popping in permanently, but in a different form.  You see they never really popped out to begin with.

Then, one day, perhaps when we least expect it, you will pop out of life too.  Permanently.  Death is not a bad thing.  It helps us remember the missing popper and forces us to recognize, in a somewhat painful, cruel way, how much they have touched our lives. 

Since those around us will always carry part of who we are with them, this isn’t such a bad thing afterall…  friends, family, colleagues and strangers will remember you for how you touched them.  In fact, one you’ve popped out, you might pop into other peoples’ lives that you never thought possibly. 

So then they continue popping in and popping out of other peoples’ lives, sharing you and sharing themselves as they go.  

Until, three or four generations later when you are forgotten.  Replaced with other people and other memories in their hearts.  You may be remembered by a box of junk and old photos, but that does not matter.  At this point, those people who popped in and out of your life have permanently popped out too.  Together again you all will be, the memories continue, more fun is had, and life as you knew it with your fellow poppers continues on in a land that is so fantastic, those stuck on earth could only begin to fathom.  

As you go through life, be true to yourself, embrace others for who they are and enjoy the moments, memories, laughs and simple conversations.  Share experiences with those around you and have fun every minute of the day.  Smile, laugh, embrace, and party.

 Popping in and popping out just makes life a little more fun.  


hustle | ihumanable

do the hustle

That time was so much more glamorous

A realization has been dawning on me as of late, one that I’ve always known, but that is easy to forget, easy to misplace, easy to neglect. The best way to learn anything is to do it, to struggle through, to forge on, to fight and gnash teeth and curse at. There is no knowledge as highly regarded as that which you have to work for.

I’m not even particularly certain how this all came about, it seems to have been a culmination of things. I didn’t intend to but somehow I ended up putting on my plate a bunch of new stuff to learn around the same time. Git, ruby, rails, blogging, prosper, hosting my own domain, and testing (Testing being a decidedly late addition). This blog was the genesis of a lot of it, that and just being curious.

I had my first post back on October 2nd of last year, as of writing this 112 days ago. At that point I didn’t really know anything about the 7 topics above, I started the blog using Google’s Blogger platform, it was an easy onramp.

After a month or so, I was encourage by some friends to move the blog to my own domain, which you are now at. I also kicked off the prosper project around the same time as starting this blog. I played around with ruby and a crazy friend convinced me to try out rails. I moved prosper to GitHub and began learning git. Now prosper supports 19 backends and has gained over 100 unit tests in the last few days.

Here’s the kicker though, I don’t know what I’m doing. I never really did, I just started doing stuff, and have been running ever since. There have been days when I’ve gotten 5,000+ hits on this site, several days with several hundreds of hits and I’ve been steadily increasing the daily reader count. I don’t know how I did that, I just kept writing, I liked it, I promoted it over twitter and hacker news if I thought I had written something insightful, and I guess that is working. The same thing with prosper, I saw a need for something that didn’t exist, I had a vague idea of how to make it, and I started coding. I’ve rewritten and refactored it piece by piece to the point that it supports all kinds of things I never thought it would. It’s due for another architectural change after I finish these unit tests.

If there is one key thing I could convey to anyone reading this is to hustle. You will never be prepared for the things you are capable of doing. You will achieve your greatest accomplishments not by building up a grand framework of skill and then deftly creating something glorious, but by starting small and persevering in making it better and better. It is never an easy road and you will gain a grand framework of skills, but you have to push your boundaries to grow.

This came together for me last night, I was working on a rather tricky bit of rails and broke something. I hadn’t gone too far into it and so I typed rake db:rollback and git reset head --hard and was back to a working application. I stopped myself for a second and thought about what I had just done, how improbable it all was from where I was just a month ago. I then thought about what I was doing in rails, and thought about how earlier in the day I was wrapping up prosper functionality in unit tests and finding regressions, and how I would have to write some cucumber tests for what I was doing, and I realized that 112 days ago I didn’t have the vaguest idea of any of this.

I would love to put a triumphant “I’m just so damned smart and talented and handsome” paragraph here, but that’s not the case. I just steeped myself in this stuff, I worked in git daily, I read about it, watched screencasts, I bought agile web development in rails, I got design patterns in ruby, I hustled. And you can do it too, take the first step today.

The first step that you should take is to invest yourself in something non-trivially. Want to learn rails, then go buy agile web development in rails, want to learn github, move an active project out there, want to learn linux, reformat your machine so that’s all you have. You have to invest yourself, it plays a trick on your brain that makes it want to not waste that “investment” by quitting. If you can burn your boats (Hernán Cortés reference) all the better. I had no choice but to learn git or else I couldn’t keep working on my project, and as a side bonus I got the joy (and frustration) of working in git everyday.

Get out there and hustle, learn something new, do something that scares you, reach beyond your grasp.


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This is a great article. Read it and take it seriously.

Color Me A Dinosaur « Weather Sealed

First, Pluto got a demotion.  Then, surfing the FM dial, I heard a Styx song on the oldies station.  And just yesterday, park-side, a nanny chided me:  “Star fish?  No, kids call those sea stars nowadays.”  Oh, really?

Denial worked for a while, but honesty’s time had come.  “Okay,” I said to myself, “admit it.  Once, you were a cool dude, but he got eaten by your inner dinosaur.  Now, go roar, or something.”

Lumbering homeward with my sons, doubt swirled about my tiny Stegosaurus brain.  I quite liked my Jurassic bubble of backwardness, but was I raising my brood in it, too?

As we strolled down the sidewalk, we happened upon a stray green crayon.  My kids still doodled with the familiar hues of my youth, but did other children?  Or had they ditched that stupid stuff for a new-and-improved, perceptually-optimized, ISO-12647-2-compliant wax-based coloring system?



Us Stegosauri can’t type, unless we have something pointy attached to our feet.  That evening, thankfully, my boys duct-taped a couple of pencils to my toes, and thus equipped, I hunted-and-pecked across the Internet Dot Com and eventually landed on the web site of Crayola, the undisputed King Of Crayons.

Crayola’s crayon chronology tracks their standard box, from its humble eight color beginnings in 1903 to the present day’s 120-count lineup.  According to Crayola, of the precious crayons of my childhood – the seventy-two colors from the official 1975 set – sixty-one survive.  Today, each is loved to nubs by kids worldwide, just like when I was a sprout.  Woohoo!  Maybe I’m slightly less ancient than a dinosaur – a woolly mammoth, perhaps?

The next day, I gave my buddy Velociraptor a ding-a-ling, and true to form, he yakked his hyperactive yakkage – until I mentioned the crayons.  Five quick claw taps rang out from the phone, then silence, a hiss of “check your email,” and click!  The line went dead.  Good ol’ Velo’s sharp as a tack, but he’s also that way, if you know what I mean.

Three minutes passed, and “bing!”  Oh, a message from velo@cretaceous.org, let’s see… with an image attached, labeled Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010:

Velo's Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010

Velo’s Crayola Color Chart, 1903-2010

To create the chart, Velo gently scraped Wikipedia’s list of Crayola colors, corrected a few hues, and added the standard 16-count School Crayon box available in 1935. 

Except for the dayglow-ski-jacket-inspired burst of neon magentas at the end of the ’80s, the official color set has remained remarkably faithful to its roots!

Ever industrious, Velo also calculated the average growth rate: 2.56% annually.  For maximum understandability, he reformulated it as “Crayola’s Law,” which states:

The number of colors doubles every 28 years!

If the Law holds true, Crayola’s gonna need a bigger box, because by the year 2050, there’ll be 330 different crayons!  Shortly thereafter, frazzled packaging designers rejoice, for to the rescue comes a revolution in household appliances: the new-fangled Replicator-Dissociator!  Load it with the Crayola plugin, and you’re seconds away from every shade in the rainbow – no boxes required!

At the dinner table in 2100 AD, great-great-grandson John might ask: “Hal, could you use this leftover broccoli to make five crayons, spaced evenly between Pantone 205 and hex f8b3a2, inclusive, please?”

To which Hal will reply: “Most certainly, John, I can do that.  Would you like a dinosaur coloring book, too?”

This is a great graphic! Says a lot about the evolution of color and art.

How Do You Make Things Fun?

How do you make things fun?  Since one of life’s goals is to have fun, how do you take something boring and enjoy it more? 

I just finished a 9-mile run in just under 2 hours.  Maybe I have ADD or something, but after the first 3 miles, I really don’t find running enjoyable.  I always seem to think of things I COULD be doing that are more productive than running. 

Since my goal is to finish a marathon by the end of 2010, I am less than half way there (goal is 26.2 miles).  I really need to find a way to make running fun. 

This also applies to other things, from driving long distance, to sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room, to taking tests.  Here is the question for you all:

How do take a “boring” task and make it fun? 

Please leave a comment or send me a note on Twitter (@mooney1 or @aricintraining).

Thank you!

The Top Viral Video Ad Campaigns of the Week (December 28, 2009 – January 03, 2010) | Visible Measures


The Top 10 Viral Video Ads Chart

Updated Thursday mornings and published with Advertising Age, The Top 10 Viral Video Ads Chart reveals the Web’s top-performing brand-driven ad campaigns.


Very cool ads. Nice to see Live Young reaching 2.2 million viewers!