Recent Articles

Midlife Reflection/Self-Guided MFA/Building a Fiction Factory

Back in college, my English degree included classes in poetry and short fiction, along with a lot of essay-type writing. I got a lot out of those classes, but, particularly on the fiction side of things, they were quite brief, all things...

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Civilization

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Traffic

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The Practice of Fiction Writing and Retellings

I've done a lot of reading on the topic of skill acquisition. Something that comes up an awful lot in that area is practice. Deliberate practice is the core of the "10,000 hours" thing you here mentioned when it comes to expertise. At the...

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Learning Tunes By Ear

I've been taking lessons at The Center for Irish Music (CIM) here in St. Paul for the 7+ years now. Along the way, I picked up the mandolin (the whole mandolin family actually) as my melody instrument and joined the ensemble An Luan 2 years...

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Lessons Learned From Failing to Give a Lightning Talk

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Pessimistic Imagination

In our house, my wife usually feeds our 2 basset hounds. And, she usually does so while I'm making dinner for the 2-legged residents of our house. But, every once in a while, the people dinner is ready before the canine dinner is, prompting...

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Apparent Productivity Fueled By Procrastination

Despite coming up on my 40th birthday, I still procrastinate often. It's not quite as bad as it was when I was 20 (where I would have qualified for the Olympic procrastination team if I'd gotten around to filling out the application), but...

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Principles vs Methods

A few days ago, I ran across a quote that keys in on a difference I see every day, in nearly every avenue of life.If you learn only methods, you'll be tied to your methods. But if you learn principles, you can devise your own methods....

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Identity Via Consumption

Human brains are lazy. Kahneman's book Thinking Fast and Slow points out that whenever possible, our brains will take the shortest path to information. For the most part, this is a good thing. Without the "fast" system, even simple...

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My Thoughts on Contract To Hire

During my talk at Twin Cities Code Camp on Saturday, as I was describing the differences between 1099 solo contractor, W2 employee and incorporated contracting, someone asked about "contract-to-hire" arrangements.So, the basic idea is to...

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Stir Fry Over Cabbage

We've been aiming to eat lighter meals since the beginning of the year: cutting calories and carbs. And, it's working. Personally, I'm down 25 pounds since the first of the year. We've been actively changing some of our "regular" meals to...

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Building Prototypes Calms Me

The past few weeks have been filled with the kind of chaos that only really shows up every 4-5 years or so. Re-financing our mortgage, filing taxes, switching contract gigs, problems with those gigs, lower back problems that kept me from...

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Opportunity

Opportunity is usually a matter of choosing to see events as such. Yesterday, as I was walking to work, I thought to myself, "Self, what a great opportunity this project has been for giving me a chance to walk nearly an hour a day instead...

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Reconciling With Reality

This fall, I turn 40. As such things are typically reckoned, that puts me roughly coming up on my life's halfway point. In the past few years, as I've been approaching this milestone, I'm becoming more OK with putting things on the "Things...

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