Tuesday, May 17, 2011


We do things. We can't help it. Being alive means doing at least the basic necessities, stop those and you would no longer be alive. Occasionally, if we are doing more than the basics needed to sustain life, we might just create something beyond the normal, something beyond exceptional, a thing that can be described as a masterpiece! If that thing happens to be a painting like the one in this post, it might live on to inspire countless people. 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' is a masterpiece, no doubt. Created by a man who was able to produce more than one masterpiece and a personal favorite of mine, Vermeer. What if, however, our masterpiece is not as striking, not as accessible as a painting. I think we would all agree that the general theory of relativity is a masterpiece, but most of us don't bother to take the time to truly understand why.
The most recent transient masterpiece I've encountered happened to be a cappuccino. I kid you not, it was a cappuccino whose taste, temperature and composition, if possible to frame, would be worthy of any museum.
I write code for fun, I program for a living and I do IT work because it has to be done and I'm not guilty yet of creating any masterpieces in my work so I stand free of bias on the subject. I have had the pleasure of seeing other peoples code that, to my eyes, was obviously the work of a master. The funny thing is, that code isn't displayed for all to see and even if it was, few would see it as a master work, few would take the time to understand what makes it great. Therefore, it is my conclusion that the responsibility for enjoying our own masterpieces, whether they be works of art, poems, pies, passionate statements or digital manipulations, rests first with us, the creators. Whether the world at large discovers them, has the ability to see them for what they are, matters not at all.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

That Which Inspires Us...

It's interesting to think just how many parts there are to the puzzle that is a person. The machine that houses us isn't nearly so difficult to explain as that ethereal stuff that makes us the person we are; the intangible perception, insight, expression and emotion that defines us as the individual.

As identical twins, my brother and I are a good example of how genetics represents only a small part of who we become and, in fact, how environment loses out to our individual inspirations. We are profoundly different people who share the same genetic makeup, the same upbringing and nearly the same education.

The first computer program I ever wrote was in the style of one of those books that asked you to make decisions and turn the page to a particular place based on that decision, then the story would unfold as a result of your choice. It was based on Star Trek and quickly became rather complex as the paths diverged. I'm of the opinion that life is much like that program in that at every juncture, we have decisions we make, some without much thought at all, that profoundly change the options we have down the road. These decisions are the hands at the potters wheel that shape us into the creatures we are and they are always active, never tiring and wonderfully within our control.

The image at the top of this post is one I put together on the fly to represent some of those who inspire me. Thrown together in no particular order or pattern, they are all present in some way within my thoughts, actions, abilities, interests and attention. Through no intention they have found me and given me gifts to carry and hopefully at some point, pass on again.

I find this world, this existence, fascinating beyond words and as a perpetual student, I put one foot in front of the other and welcome those past, present and future who will add to my experience, my knowledge and my inspiration.