Thursday, November 26, 2015


There are many four letter words to be thankful for. Here are some thoughts on a few of them.

It is Thanksgiving Day in the US. A time when we think about the people and things in our lives that we are thankful for. This is never easy for me. Not because I don't feel thankful - but because when I start to think about it, I realize just how many things I am thankful for. Any list would be incomplete, woefully inadequate, and I would feel like I have slighted something or someone who deserves the acknowledgement. So keep that in mind as my mind takes a wander down just a small sample of the things I'm thankful for. Theres a pattern here - let's see if you can see it too.

It was easy to sleep and wake this morning with the sun coming through the window. I am fortunate
to live where I do. My house may be much more cluttered than I like, but it keep me out of the cold and the elements, and is in pretty good shape. For a house over 100 years old, it is in great shape, and I'm thankful for the previous occupants who kept it in the shape it is and improved it over the decades. My community is small, and there are people I disagree with, but I'm glad we have a functioning society with people who work hard to keep it that way, keeping the roads maintained and the trash collected, and operating their businesses that bring food to our tables or connections in a lonely world. On a day when many business are closed, I am thankful for those places that are open to help us all out - from the gas station to the convenience store, there are little places we rely on every day that are open. I'm thankful I can play a small part in that, and thankful that there are people who built the foundations of the government we have - it is not perfect, but mostly it lumbers along for the benefit of all its citizens.

And when it doesn't - I'm glad there are people who call it out. People who are willing to risk "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to defend what is right, not just what is legal. That there are people in this world who will stand up for those who don't feel so thankful today - because they have left their homes, voluntarily or under duress, because of war or more personal oppression, or for whatever reason they feel they need to find a new life. I'm saddened by those who couldn't or haven't escaped, but thankful for those who have, and for those who have welcomed them with open arms. I am descended from people who, generations ago, were so daring, and I'm thankful they took the risk to find and build the world they wanted for their children, and their children's children, and so forth down the line.

I am thankful for my son. He may drive me crazy, but he also drives me to make the world a better place for him. And I'm thankful that he is also aware enough to make the world a better place for others. We may both be doing this in small ways, and we may both want to do more and better, but I am thankful that we are both able to do this... and that we are able to do it for each other. I am thankful for my parents, who have been there for me over the years, and who are still there for me and for my son. Decades ago, they encouraged me to learn more about what would become my hobby and profession, and I am thankful that they continue to encourage me... and that they have always learned from me as well. I will be going to dinner there tonight, and my mom has already warned me that there will be "tech questions"... and I'm thankful there will be, to be honest, because as long as they have questions, they're learning the answers, and I find it wonderful that they are continuing to learn and explore. I am thankful for my SO, who helps me answer the questions I have about myself on a daily basis, tolerates the questions I have as I learn something new, and enriches my life with her knowledge, wisdom, joy, and caring.

Learning and exploring are big things for me, and I'm thankful that I can. I have a job and a boss that encourages me to learn new things and explore new technologies. My association with Google, and many wonderful people there, have provided me with resources and opportunities to explore technologies I could not have imagined I'd be doing. I am thankful for the many people who have given me those opportunities, but also the many many people behind them, going back years and centuries, who have dreamed the big dreams and made them come true. Right now, I am typing on a keyboard, watching words appear on a screen, seeing them being saved in a cloud somewhere - and although I know how many parts of that work, and have written code to do things much like it, much of it still feels like magic, and I am thankful for the many people who have helped build that magic. Magic is real, and I am thankful for those who help make it real for me, and for my clients and customers whose lives are enriched by the magic I help weave for them.

Magic is not confined to the technology we build, but the environment we create, and the environment we experience. I am thankful for a world where I can see and hear wonderful tales told, experience paintings and artwork, feel the music created by humans or birds. Where I can enjoy a sunrise, a brisk fall day, the warmth of a fire shared with friends, a night in a tent with my son under the stars and a brightly lit moon. Magic is in the intimate moments of warmth and love. Even a world with cute cat pictures on the Internet is evidence of that magic that I am thankful for.

We are all interconnected in this world. Connected through pain and connected through love. Connected in ways that span back through ages and into the future. Connected by interests, locations, disagreements, perspectives, and experiences. Connected in ways we cannot properly express in words. Ted Nelson, in coining the term "hypertext", said "everything is deeply intertwingled".

Many thanks for every single one of those intertwinglings.

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