Interesting Times

It’s a good thing I’m not in the professional prediction business, because this year was not at all what I expected.

A year ago, I was working at IBM.

A year ago, I was working out with a trainer, regularly getting my heartbeat over 150.

A year ago, I was looking forward to the start of ComedySportz San Jose Rec League.

But things change

I’ve written extensively about the end of my IBM career. I don’t have a lot to add on that front right now, except to say that I don’t miss the PBC process in the least! I would have expected to be more actively engaged in searching for what comes next, if it hadn’t been for…

…discovering that I have severe aortic stenosis (and, as an extra bonus, a blocked circumflex artery). Surgery on the stenosis is a couple of weeks away, and I will be happy to have it behind me. I’ve had to moderate my activities a lot, and it was even more noticeable when I was in Tucson earlier this month — 2500 feet used to be nothing! But I am still getting to the gym regularly, even if it’s only to walk on the treadmill or the elliptical — I have to keep up with my podcasts somehow, right?

The upcoming Rec League season is another casualty of my stenosis — I had to avoid quite a few of the more physical games during the fall season, and I didn’t think it was fair to my teammates to hold them back this time around. It turns out that I’ll be restricted in what I can do for about six weeks during my recovery, but I hope to rejoin the Rec League for spring season, and I plan to go to as many of the winter season shows as I can manage.

And some things improve

IBM included a “retraining allowance” as part of my severance package, which I used to attend one-day classes with David Allen and Edward Tufte; I doubt very much that I would have been able to get them to pay for the classes if I had still been working (in fact, I probably wouldn’t even have asked).

I was also able to take advantage of my new-found freedom to take golf class at West Valley College; actually playing golf is another thing which will have to wait for my recovery, but I did manage to play a couple of rounds before my cardiologist lowered the boom on me.

Travel was a lot easier to schedule this year (at least for me); we travelled to South Dakota, Alaska, Banff, Troy, and Tucson, among other places. I took lots of pictures on all of those trips, but most of them are trapped in iPhoto waiting for me to delete the bad ones and publish the worthwhile shots. I suspect they’ll be in that same limbo this time next year.

And new things happen

After attending David Allen’s seminar, I decided I needed a program on my Mac to help me practice his Two-Minute Rule. I didn’t find any that I liked, so I wrote my own. It had been many years since I’d written anything in a language as close to the metal as Objective C, so it took me longer than I expected. I decided to make it available to others, which meant I had to write documentation and create a website — and that turned out to be much more work than writing the program! But I finally finished; if you’re interested, take a look: Two Minute Timer.

I’ve been vaguely interested in Toastmasters for years, but had never gone beyond vague interest — there had been a Toastmasters-like group at IBM Almaden for a short while, but when it folded, I didn’t miss it much. I’m on the waiting list for ProMatch and started going to their Toastmasters-like group; that whetted my appetite, so I looked for a real club and found the Silver Tongued Cats. They are based in Los Gatos and meet at a plausible time; I went to a couple of meetings and liked what I saw (and heard), and will be officially joining in January. I hope to give my Ice Breaker speech before my surgery.

Predictions for 2011

Are you kidding?

2 thoughts on “Interesting Times

  1. “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

  2. I am intrigued by you 2 minute timer app. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work on my Windows 7 PC and looks like nothing I am currently (6.21.11) interested works on my Palm Pre “smart” phone. I will buy you a mocha anyway b/c of your excellent PNH (Past Networking History) at ProMatch and the Jump Start Team. Remind me Thursday 6.24.11, and I’ll give you a kool looking Starbucks gift card. I also tried to download the Kindle for Windows 7 PC so I could read David Allen’s book, but the Kindle server was down. Maybe, I’ll go to the Sunnyvale library to put this provocative book on “hold.”

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