Category: Thought

What are the odds of waking up in the middle of night and seeing exactly 3:33 on the alarm clock on your bed stand?

Let's assume that you normally go to bed and fall asleep around eleven in the evening and get up around seven in the morning when the alarm goes off.

That comes out to eight times sixty times sixty which equals 28800 seconds that you are sleeping.

In order to make the calculation simpler, let's also assume that you wake up only once in the night.

Therefore, the chance of waking up at exactly a given time (this case 3:33) is one in 28800 which equals 0.003472%.

Okay that may seem like a pretty good calculation, but wait. For those not paying close attention, I've made a fundamental error in my calculations.

Actually, the exact time of 3:33 is in minutes and not in seconds. So upon correction we've got eight times sixty which equals 480 minutes that you are sleeping.

One in 480 equals 0.20% which is a much greater possibility. Normally when I wake up it's not evenly spread across the whole night but usually between let's say 1:30 and 5:00, which isn't 480 seconds but is 210. One in 210 equals 0.47%.

Life is never what you expect it to be, and sloppy calculations make things much worse if you are too careless.

The true leader is one who has enough courage to demonstrate vulnerability first. This means that he must be willing to risk losing face in front of the team so that others feel free to take similar risks themselves. The true leader fosters an environment in which vulnerability is not punished. Instead the subordinates are freed from the emotional shackles of fear and thereby liberated to achieve excellence.

Paraphrased from The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

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Sometimes while sitting in the train, it can be quite entertaining watching the strange behavior of your fellow passengers. Especially when it results in an unbroken cycle of this and that which refuses to stop despite the obvious reasons.

Take for instance the overweight guy with a grayish beard who was sitting across from me yesterday evening. He kept trying to read his large hardcover book and stay awake at the same time, but that was too much for him and his tired mind. The book balanced precariously on his protruding belly, teetering back and forth as the train negotiated the various curves and bumpiness of the terrain ahead.

He'd nod his head a couple times, lay his chin on his chest, start snoring and then let his heavy book drop like a rock to the floor. The resounding bang! would startle him back awake, and then realizing that he'd just been reading, he'd bend down and pick up the book. Then he'd have to thumb through the various pages to figure out where he had stopped reading, but I didn't get the impression that he returned to the same page each time.

The cycle repeated itself very predictably. His head would nod a couple times, snoring sounds would occur and then bang! Time to wake up and start reading again. Now where was I?

The bang! would not only startle him awake each time, but also the passengers nearby would jerk from the unexpected strike.

I'm not sure how many times this comical scene repeated itself, but that is not important. What is interesting is that this person was obviously tired and refused to accept that fact, although he kept on nodding off over and over.

Why keep on going and not accept that you are too tired to read? If it were me, I'd simply put the book away and have a good nap. No need risking a giant bang and startling me awake each time.

Just because you fall down doesn't mean you cannot pick yourself up and keep on going until you achieve your goal.

Determination is good. Getting there is even better.
  1. I was born when Sputnik 1 was orbiting the earth making that infamous bleep
  2. My father was a navy doctor on a destroyer during world war two. He witnessed the battles of Tarawa, Iowa Jima and Leyte Gulf. Once his ship sunk a japanese submarine and there was just one survivor who was pulled aboard. My father saved his life by amputating the poor guys leg
  3. I met my wife in Balestrand, Norway and fell in love with her instantly. After a romantic few days it was time for me to leave forever, but I couldn't bear leaving her. I asked her what I should do and she said just to leave, it was fun while it lasted, just leave. Feeling bummed I packed up my belongings and went down to the port. When it was time for the ferry to leave, I hesitated and at the last second jumped back onshore. Since then we've been together for twenty-eight years
  4. I've been living in Holland since 1981 and still wonder to this day what my life would have been like had I decided to stay in the States. Was it the right decision, did I make a mistake?
  5. I was named after Kiffin Yates Rockwell, a famous world war one volunteer pilot with the lafayette escadrille who gave his life for freedom fighting the germans. He is buried in Luxeuil-les-bains France and I've paid tribute to his final resting place twice, the first time with tears in my eyes
  6. As a teenager I used to be a one handicap golfer and thought I'd become a golf pro someday. I would have played on the university team except that I was afraid I couldn't play golf and get straight A's at the same time. The ironic thing is that I gave up golf for medical school which I never even attended
  7. My mother was born in Paris and came to America after the war. That makes me half American and half French. When I went to kindergarten no one could understand me because I had this thick French accent. After many sessions with a logopedist I finally learned to pronounce the 'th' and 'h' sounds. Even to this day some people say I talk kind of funny
  8. My favorite subjects at school were always math and science. In second grade I went through the class workbook so quickly that my teacher Miss Bell introduced me to the fascinating world of long division. I looked at the divide symbol and went crazy
  9. I bought the first TI calculator that could do square roots and a fun game for me was taking random numbers and seeing how close I could guess what the square root would be
  10. During my algebra class in high school I was always very disappointed when the bell went off
  11. I almost drowned once while on vacation in northern Crete. I wanted to show off to my wife what an athletic swimmer I was and dove into the stormy waters, not seeing the line of red warning flags. The tide pulled me under water and I thought I was going to die. I remember vividly seeing my wife in the distance and me waving my hand trying to holler help
  12. As a kid when I went to bed I could close my eyes and make my bed float and spin every which way by just thinking about it
  13. Even though I've played golf my whole life I still have not had a single hole-in-one
  14. I once attended a concert with Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and Boston, and from then on I became completely infatuated with Stevie Nicks
  15. The first time I got drunk was when I shared a fifth of Jack Daniels with a friend, ran outside and jumped into the university fountain, and being completely sopping wet slogged through the freshman library in search of the girl I had a crush on. I must have really made a great impression on her
  16. I attended a Stanford vs. USC football game with my father and afterwards got O.J. Simpson's autograph. I was just a kid and he towered over me
  17. I was in the car with my sisters and mother driving south on highway 101 when it was announced on the radio that Niel Amstrong had stepped on the moon
  18. After having graduated from a university two times I vowed never ever to study again. Since then my life has been nothing but one study after the other non-stop
  19. I originally wanted five children but after the fourth my wife had had enough
  20. I keep dreaming about Stanford almost every night. In the dream it's my nth year there and I still haven't graduated after so many years
  21. After having built up a career in computer technology and having assumed various positions and roles, I still have the most fun when I get to develop and debug computer programs
  22. I first started to get bald when I was twenty, I looked in the mirror and panicked. Fortunately it still took thirty years after that before my baldness really is starting to show through
  23. I started biting my nails and cracking my knuckles when I was six and haven't been able to break those habits since then
  24. One late evening I wasn't paying attention and my car started swerving out of control, spinning around two or three times and finally skidding into the other lane. If another car had been coming from the other direction I probably would have been killed
  25. When I grow up I still want to become an astronaut

By making sure that I enter at the front of the metro rather than at the back, I figure that I speed up my walk to work by the time it takes to stroll a full metro length, say maybe forty-five seconds. That's a pretty significant win when you think about it.

However, by having to get there in the first place from where I am initially standing, I have to invest at least a full metro length to make it to the front of the metro. Let's avoid fooling ourselves from something that makes perfect sense, and subtract the forty-five seconds, please.

This so-called illusion therefore effectively cancels out any long-term investments by first incurring short-term debt which is never won back. Net result is thus zero. Entering the front or the back does not make any difference.

I was looking around when all of a sudden I thought I had discovered it but that was not to be the case.

A drone is not only an idle person who has no other purpose is life than to loaf off of others, but it is also a pilotless aircraft operated by remote control, a so-called unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

There was that Borg cube orbiting the Earth for awhile, but I am not sure if that qualifies as a real drone or not.

All those snobby buggers wearing three-piece suits, carrying fancy-looking laptops, and sitting so snugly in the first class train carriage, while I am packed in with the other poor normal folks in second, yeah those are first class drones that's for sure.

Drone was also the name of one of the Star Trek Voyager episodes.

Finally, there was that detective drone guy who popped up in many of the British crime novels during the last century.

I guess then that you can characterize a 'drone' as someone who has an irritating lack of manners and general decency.

We are just a bunch of birds without wings thinking that we can fly and not having the common sense to admit to ourselves that indeed there are certain limitations that keep us where we belong.

These limitations include: gravitation, the human body, (the lack of enough) air friction and worst but not least common sense.

This entry has been inspired by an interesting book I recently finished.

In my vision I stood atop a lofty cliff which fell off onto a distant sea whose vastness kept me in awe for an uncertain time which even to this very day I am still unable to measure in my mind.

So what did those innocent little screws ever do to deserve such an unfair fate?

To make matters even worse, I take my cordless Mikata driver-drill and ruthlessly drive each and every one deep into the interior of the wood never to see the light of day again.

Driven deep into nowhere to hold up a shelf, the side of a cabinet, or the door hinge, and then staying that way until who knows when.

If it weren't for the daily sacrifices of these many pointy and metallic heroes, not much else in the world would be standing right now.

Keep up the good work.

For a list of reasons why we craft the things we do check out this page for fun.

Sometimes (too often than not) other people think they have a better way of doing things while you know silently your way is really the better approach.

What seems to you to be perfectly logical may not be so in the eyes of those above and to the side. Gut-feeling, an emotional sideways glance, who know what.

That's when arguments and discussions have no purpose anymore because the other decision has already been made.

Just accept it for now and hope that in the end it will come back to you in the not so distant future.

Come back in the end to where it meant to be all along.

Take it.

Take it while it comes.

Take it while it comes and then let it go.

Take it while it comes and then let it go like there was nothing else in the world.

That really mattered.

There's alot of it going around lately, but no one is quite sure where it is coming from.

Perhaps the real question might be whether or not it would in the end be useful to know.

Not knowing is more than likely the better way to go.

Even if it cannot be proved.

There right in front of me was yet another middle-aged conflict ready to become so very exaggerated that there was no end in sight. Or was there?

The mechanical beings were coming this way, quicker and quicker, and it looked like they were ready to charge us. As if we were not ready but we were, those feeble mis-wired electrical minds.

Since birth we had been taught that they would be stopped and that it was up to us or else. The time had come and it was now or never.

This was the first and the last chance at the same time, as the mechanical beings approached and then we knew.

We knew and then it was all over.

I would say that one of the most difficult and absolutely necessary changes in your life is finally realizing that you should not keep doing what you think others think you should be doing and instead doing what your feelings deep down in your heart have been trying to tell you to do all these years.

Here are a couple of interesting thoughts I have been pondering recently:

  • You and no one else can create the world around you.
  • Your body manifests the pictures you take inside your mind.

I don't know what you believe, but I am fairly confident that there is much truth in these thoughts.


Courage comes from the French work 'coeur' which stands for heart.

How shall I live my life so that it will mean something more than just a brief wink of biological awareness which in the end disappears forever?

The main reason that I like to run on the treadmill in the weekends so much is that even though you are running at one spot it seems like you are going on and on endlessly.

This is quite unlike daily life during the rest of the week where it seems like you are running around endlessly and in the end not getting anywhere at all.

Rumbling along on my bicycle early in the morning in the pitch dark on my way to the train station it is so darn cold that I am amazed that the water has not frozen over.

I know this because the wind causes subtle ripples on the surface which reflect light dynamically with all kinds of motions which I know would not be possible if the surface was otherwise.

Just in case, I decided to tap myself on my left shoulder to see what would happen if perchance I had declined to do that in the first place.

Much to my surprise things occurred as expected, so I felt better about everything anyway.

Have a good day, I kept thinking to myself.

Why my life of trying to catch up with the inevitable is not so inevitable at all:

"In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead..."

Deconstructing Infinity: An Analysis of Zeno's Paradox
for more information.

Okay it's the last day of the year and there is a mad rush to get everything done in time before it is too late.

The ironic thing is that it can never be too late, because next year and then the next year and so on means that there will always be enough buffer pushed forward to make up for and absorb any extra lost time.

If only other matters did not also happen to arise when least expected.

In other words, enjoy the year while it lasts and have a fun and relaxing new year.

There are a number of issues which still need to be handled properly before we can continue in good form. Or not?

Take for instance the third item on that list over there. At first glance, it may not appear to be a very important item, but as it turns out it is far from a trivial matter. In fact, whether or not we ignore it, it still has profound and tremendous impact on the longterm results. Or so we can only assume and hope and hope not.

Like that exotic butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon jungle, eventually causing giant tidal waves which flood the coasts of unknowing countries on the other side of the world.

We can ignore it and toss the dice hoping that all will go well. Indeed the chances are there, and they look good and they tell us that we may very well succeed. Even if we don't deserve it.

But are the risks really worth it? You will never know for sure. We are not in here for playing the grand old what-ifs game. We must go on.

That's it for now, so watch out but continue anyway.

Alright so have a good look through these drugstore binoculars and tell me what you see.

Surprised, aren't you?

"You know, when you really think about it, I do not believe our lives are that much different. The truth is we do pretty much the same things but in slightly different environments, e.g. living day by day and trying to make the best of it without being too into ourselves..."

Heard the following quote on the BBC Radio this early morning in the car driving around who knows where:

"Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead..."

For some reason, it really struck a chord somewhere deep inside of me, making me think about one thing in particular and then another.

That's when the chorus began and the wonderful notes echoed inside of the distant cathedral somewhere, inside and around my head, probably in another dimension of time and place.

... (Matthew 8:22)

For me it is not so very important at all how super smart or brilliant someone might be or whatever kind of fantastic education one has had.

The most important thing is how well one uses this knowledge in selecting creative and original tid-bits in order to accomplish the most with the least.

There was this grumpy old man sitting next to this happy young girl, more than likely greater than half a century of time separating them.

Ironically, the reality of the situation was that the true distance between them was less than half a meter.

Things are often more similar than they appear to be different.

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2432 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

Started Gishtech 04-25-2016 ago.