Last night we started building The Happy Isles puzzle.
We made good progress but Raquel is very impatient to find out what the “reveal” is and did not like my suggestion that we pick away at the puzzle over the next few days.

As news of community and school spread increases here in Nova Scotia I have been thinking about the potential for another lock down period.
I definitely have developed a strong dependence on the dogs. Without them I would definitely go stir crazy.

I feel like I need to inflate a rooms worth of balloons just so I can celebrate the election finally being called by jumping around and popping them.

I am always astonished by how applying some artificial constraints to my regular work routine always leads to a surge in creativity. I am feeling pretty jazzed about work potential today.

I can honestly say that I did not expect to spend my evening watching someone solve a sudoku puzzle.
Even more shocking is that I feel the need to share the joy of this with others!

I usually don’t follow US politics but every now and then I see a clip that reminds me that I really should avoid US politics if I don’t want to be sad on every level.

See if you can spot the math error. 🤦‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/V3b7pRqYUe

— Scott English (@iamscottenglish) March 6, 2020

Spending the day figuring out how to deploy and run a web application with Kubernetes and Istio.

Received my copy of “The Meaning of Liff”. Immediately rewarded with some great words.

Abilene adj
Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of the pillow.
Abligo n.
One who prides himself on not even knowing what day of the week it is.

I took a moment to complete a Myers-Briggs evaluation today to see if I have changed from when I had done completed one previous. Results were ENTJ today.
My favourite part of the description was definitely

Commanders are also characterized by an often ruthless level of rationality

as I work to complete my thesis there is one question that I often hear a variation of when experimental results are discussed.

“are you certain you understand what the results mean?”

this leads to discussions of confidence, comprehension, and control with respect to research. as I spend more time in academia I have begun to consider how these discussions apply to life in general.

people at large generally struggle with uncertainty. manifesting itself as anxiety in people, pushing them to try and tighten their plans to maintain control, or learn every detail about all possible outcomes to worry about which is least unfavourable. the old saying “knowledge is power” is twisted and taken to heart as people seek to ineffectively overcome uncertainty.

as I inch ever closer to the completion of my masters degree I have felt uncertainty manifest in my life as people asking what I am going to do next, where I am going to live, and even if I am done my thesis yet. this uncertainty is pushing to create worry or anxiety in me and the urge to control situations is reflexive. neither of these responses seem terribly productive though.

instead of letting anxiety and worry develop I have been working to channel the energy from general uncertainty into constructive places. a large part of this process has been learning to separate the present from the future.

in academia I have found certainty of a result in the future comes not from controlling everyone else around me or by worrying about how people might possibly question it, but instead by completely understanding the environment that the experiment took place in. armed with the knowledge of the moment that produced the results equips me for future situations.

extending this process beyond academia is a little trickier. in practice it means that the moments when I feel most burdened by uncertainty are the ones where I stop everything, even for a moment, and force myself to be present in whatever activity I am doing. the only impact I can have on the future is to be the best version of myself right now.

tomorrow is coming whether you want it to or not.

embrace today while it is here.

For the 2014-2015 season I have been afforded the privilege of being the head coach of the Acadia Atom A hockey team. Five years ago it occurred to me that I really wanted to be involved in coaching and found an opportunity with the local sledge hockey program, which was great and I will continue this year, but the truth is I couldn’t be more excited about being a Head Coach.
I am not excited because I get to say I am the head coach, or because I am at a higher competitive level than someone else. I am excited because I get to be the final say on creating an amazing experience for 17 young hockey players. It is my job to make sure they are having fun during practices, games, tournaments, and road trips.
We kicked off the season by attending the Jordan Boyd Memorial Tournament in Bedford over Thanksgiving Weekend. With the help of my assistant coaches I was able to distill my plans for the season into a simple message before the tournament. We play with our heads up, our feet moving, and by passing the puck. The city teams we were playing in the tournament were much bigger than us, physically imposing even, but I hoped that getting my players to buy into the message of what our game would see success.
The players bought into the idea of Our Game quicker and with more drive than I could have hoped for. Even in moments where we were hopelessly behind when I took a moment to talk to the players on the bench I was greeted with smiles from players having fun.
We ended up earning a spot in the championship game, and after falling behind in that game my team dug deep, and kept playing our game, managing to force overtime. A bad bounce in overtime ended our run differently than we might have liked, but I couldn’t be more proud of my team or more excited for how much hockey is yet to be played this season.
It will be a fun season, and it will be Our Game.
Jordan Boyd Memorial Tournament Runners Up

after a long hiatus I have made strides towards resurrecting website and turning it into something functional. for too long it has been in a half completed state of disrepair as a result of my choice to use it as a learning opportunity.

I recently concluded that I need my website to not be a project, but instead a tool that will enable me to explore ideas related to other projects and events in my life. as a result this iteration of my website is a wordpress install that I will modify to meet my needs. sometimes reinventing the wheel just isn’t a productive avenue.

as the header states I plan on writing about teaching, programming, and communicating ideas more generally. over the last few years these have been the subjects that have remained consistently relevant and interesting through life changes. I have also brought along the old posts I wrote, primarily for my own benefit. looking through them inspires some interesting reflection.

there was a stage in my life where the staple food was a peanut butter and jam sandwich, I had it every day for lunch and things were great. as a special treat I would indulge in a chocolate bar. as a child this involved a special trip to the corner store with the change I had collected to collect a chocolate bar (and sometimes a pack of hockey cards!).

now imagine the wonder that existed when I realized that I could have these two substances together in one convenient cup styled delivery system! the peanut butter cup is honestly one of mans greatest inventions bar none.

of course you are all thinking ‘well he is right of course but what does that have to do with the title of this post.’ patience everyone, patience. we live in a society where every weekday we go to school/work/family-raising-situation and once a week we make that special trip to some sort of church environment. for the sake of simplicity and my ‘/’ key I will simply say ‘public school’ for the former and ‘sunday school’ for the latter.

so our life is full of public school teachings that live in one place and sunday school teachings that live in a second place. too often both places tell you that they are the one thing you should want and that they are totally incompatible and in the case of sunday school you may even get told ‘you aren’t welcome here’ if you suggest that the two things might be a beautiful combination.

the thing about science is that it is focused on goals, on pushing the boundaries of what we know, of pursuing something. whereas denying all science because you have a couple of chapters of text that very loosely tells you something and you have filled it in one way is the opposite of pursuit. it is stagnation. human beings were not created to stagnate. this is why people have mid life crisisesesss (or whatever the plural of crisis is), it is why there exists the term ‘seven year itch’ for relationships. we are created by an infinite God who wants us to pursue knowing him. we are finite beings and the relationship between finite and infinite has to be one where the finite is trying to keep up.

instead people need to find the deliciousness that is combining pb and chocolate, to blown away by the amazing creation of an astounding God, to marvel at the astoundingly complex systems that are result of his work. even just to sit in complete awe (and I mean speechless, thoughtless, stunned, awe) at the number of things we don’t know.

or we could keep pb and chocolate separate and continue to reject the wonders of creation while ostracizing people simply so that we can say we have the answers.

at some point in my life the word creative became a synonym for the arts. or at least creativity as an ideal has been appropriated by the arts. now I am not suggesting that they are abusing or misusing the word, more just hogging it. or rather that the rest of us have forgotten that we have just as much claim to creativity as ‘artists’ do.

for the better part of my life I knew that I was a ‘smart’ student. math and science always came easy and when directions are laid out in front of me I can follow those. however when ever I was given free reign to be artistic I would manage but not excel like other subjects. this lead me to believe for a long time that I was not creative and that creative things should be left to others. recently I concluded that I simply had no idea what it means to be creative and that is why I get lost, not because of a lack of creativity.

as a math teacher the most common statement I have heard from students is ‘I don’t have a math brain’ or ‘I just can’t do math.’ both of these statements are foolish for a number of reasons that are tightly linked with ideas of creativity. describing something like math (or any other skill) as a process where you take numbers and plug them into formulas that you have memorized is like describing painting a portrait as simply identifying colors and applying the brush strokes you have learned in the correct order. any artist will tell you there is more to painting something than a rigid formula describes and I would suggest the same is true of math or problem.

at work I spend a lot of time doing user interface design. there is an old saying in computer science that programmers should never be allowed to design the user interface and I have to say there really is a lot of truth in that saying. computer scientists are really creative when it comes to solving problems and implementing solutions in creative and efficient ways but things like UI design often fall into the category of ‘it is a feature so there should be a button for that feature.’ no thought is given to ideas like ‘does the user ever need that feature exposed’ or ‘why in the hell would a user ever need to see that!’ in my case the work I do is seen by students and professors, two groups of people who can be immensely intelligent in their chosen field but for the most part are clueless when it comes to computers. I have to spend my day coming up with creative interfaces that convey meaning and intention while remaining simple and easy to use.

conveying meaning and intention is a lot of what being creative is about. efficiency as well plays a big part of creativity usually. whether it is efficient use of space and resources, or use canvas and colors both art and unart (in this discussion that includes all things that are not consider ‘artsy’) share underlying principles. creativity isn’t a scale of not creative to more creative but instead it is a tool that can be used in any aspect of life.

go and make something, be it a work of art or a rocking spreadsheet for a tps report, just be creative.