Words of wisdom

Saturday, March 20, 2010

There is not enough time

There really isn't.  There are so many things I really, really want to do.  But having a family and a full-time job means very simply that many ... most of the things that I would love to spend some personal time on ... I can't.

Like sit down for hours a day and 'invent' things with LEGO.  Some people seem to have that kind of time (not a slam, because I am sure he has a real full-time job and kids, but I just don't know how people like http://tinkernology.blogspot.com/ find the time, yet he does some absolutely amazing stuff).

Like spend much more time cooking, playing in the kitchen and out on our deck with our BBQ grill, learning and designing new cuisine ... I just re-read that and now see how funny the word "cuisine" sounds coming from me ... But I do love to cook.  Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary; I think the most unique food I have ever cooked myself was plantains.  I love watching Good Eats with Alton Brown and Primal Grill (formerly "Barbecue University") with Steven Raichlen.  I have several of each of their books and am very eager to try more of their recipes.  It is just plain fun to tinker with food, play with flavors and spices, design new rubs and marinades for the meats and veggies that we eat.  But pasta and various simple forms of chicken inevitably rule the day.  They are quick and easy ... as is the Chinese delivery guy ...

Like do some woodworking.  Back in the day, pre-kids, just post-marriage, I stocked my workshop pretty well with woodworking tools.  My main go-to is my Shopsmith Mk V 520 system.  It is a fantastic five-in-one tool, master at none but very good at most, which takes up much less room than the same five tools (table saw, drill press, lathe, sanding center, and horizontal drill/borer) bought separately.  It is in the center of my shop, with my work bench against the main wall, radial arm saw adjacent to that, and lots of shelf space all around cluttered with everything else.  I made a clamp ladder to store my ... I don't know how many clamps.  I made a rolling center to hold my very heavy and bulky bandsaw (a Shopsmith add-on), jointer (another Shopsmith add-on) and my very heavy portable Dewalt planer.  Together these weigh around 200 pounds, so I designed and built a vertical rack to hold these securely (it just about touches my workshop ceiling) and yet keep them mobile.  Shop vac, sanding tools, extra wood stock, measuring tools, plumbing stuff, electrical stuff, screws and nails by the buzzillions, etc., etc. ... the list goes on ... are all in there.  I was hot and heavy for the first few years, designing some basic furniture, designing some toys, even designing some additional things for my shop (including the aforementioned vertical tool rack, as well as a cyclone collection system to help augment my shop vac and collect more saw dust (important), and bunches of other thingies).  Then we had kids.  Between the lack of extra time I have simply by virtue of being a Dad and the (often) very loud noises that emanate from my shop when the tools are on ... Just about all of it has been collecting dust (dust, not saw dust) for several years now.  I also particularly miss the few times my wife and I have jointly designed and built some things.  She's a graphic designer, and as such is much better than am I at visualizing more 'nebulous' things like not-yet-built shelves or mirrors or picture frames or trivets.  We've done a few, with her original design, adding my woodworking expertise and me building most of them in my shop.  It was fun.  It was creative.  We did good.  And I particularly miss it.

Like reading more books, both fiction and non-fiction.  I read the Bourne Identity not long ago and it was just plain great to read.  It kept me coming back for more.  I am eager to move on to the Bourne Supremacy, #2 in that series.  I just completed "SuperFreakonomics", a gift from my wife.  It was fantastically fun.  I never knew that, statistically speaking, drunken walking is much more dangerous than is drunken driving.  The book is full of these ... My list of wanna-reads, like many people's list, is quite long.  This, at least, I can accommodate, if slowly.  I often read in bed before going to sleep, and at work I sometimes intentionally blow off my buddies for lunch so that I can quietly read in a corner of our cafeteria for a half hour.  Slowly ...

Like learning new things.  The list of topics that I would love to study and learn is endless.  Fractals.  Linear (and nonlinear) programming.  Related to that, the entire field of optimization.  Venn Diagrams (yes, that is a field of study).  Visualizations, how to visualize data in various forms (I could list bunches of cool websites that do just this, but I'll leave only this one: http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc).  This is a small sampling.  A very small sampling.

Like spending more time, as I should but just can't, on investing.  Why should I spend more time?  I have investments.  That's it.  Owning investments of any kind mandates that I should be continually performing my due diligence and studying every individual investment I own or plan to own or may own.  But I just don't have the time or mental energy.  Most people just don't bother.  But it bothers me that I don't.

Like reading blogs like http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula on a regular basis.  It's a blog by a devout athiest who is an associate professor at University of Minnesota, Morris.  He rants on the religious types and religious issues, but not in an "I'm ranting just for the hell of it" fashion.  He backs every one of his cases up with science.  What a novel concept ...

Or for that matter, like reading every blog at http://scienceblogs.com/, because they are just so damned fascinating, well-thought-out, well-rounded and diverse.

Like spending more 'quality time' with my wife.  We just don't get enough of it.

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Maybe I'm a typical dude.  I'm busy, but I have a lot of interests.  And I have a lot of things that I just can't get to.  Maybe I'm typical ... but I don't like it.  I wish there was more time.

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