Never. Give. Up.
I was vividly reminded of that lesson last night in the championship game of the Men's Curling League at the Petersham Curling Club where I play. Our team, which had played extremely well together all year, had made it through the playoffs to be in the final championship game against another excellent team.
This was it. The end of the long curling season and a chance to have our names inscribed on the league trophy at the club.
After 5 of the 8 ends (think "innings" in baseball or "periods" in hockey), both teams were tied. Then the other team scored 2 points in the 6th end. Then they stole 1 point in the 7th. So we were going into the final 8th end three points down with a score of 7-4.
We thought we were doomed. It was highly unlikely that there was any way out. Scoring 3 points to tie was going to be extremely difficult based on how well the other team was playing.
In my mind, I had mostly given up.
But part of why I enjoy the sport of curling is the degree of skill it takes... but also the unpredictability of what can happen. A piece of lint on the ice could cause a rock to go off in an unplanned direction. A change in humidity can make the ice slower or faster than it was just a few minutes ago. The skip can call the sweepers on too early or too late and have the rock end differently than planned. The person throwing the rock can throw it wrong... missing the line he/she is supposed to hit or throwing it too hard or too light.
So many variables.
The 8th end began as you would expect. The other team fired their first rock through the rings... just got it out of there. They were up by 3 points - all they wanted to do was knock rocks out and make sure we couldn't score any points.
But then things happened. We made some good shots. They missed a couple of shots. We missed some shots. They made some good shots... the game went on.
But in the end we came down to the final stone of the opposing skip with 4 of our stones sitting in the rings. You can see a photo above that I took of the way it was set up. Our skip had his final stone to throw, too, but we expected the opposing skip to simply come down and sit on our rock that was in the blue "four-foot" ring. Either that or hit our rock out and roll over behind the other rocks where it would have been extremely difficult to get to his rock. It was a comparatively "easy" shot and the opposing skip had made shots like this all the time.
Looking at it I thought we were done.
But... the other skip's final stone was too light! Even with the frantic sweeping of the team the rock didn't make it down to the rings and instead hit the rocks in the front.
Unbelievably... we had just scored 4 points to win!!!
Our skip didn't even have to throw his final rock.
We sat there with our mouths open... uncomprehending at first.
And THEN we celebrated!
Never. Give. Up!
After that I'll have another 4 hours of travel time from Hong Kong down to Singapore... getting me in there about 1:40am Sunday morning, February 8, 2015.
With the funky aspects of timezones, I will be losing "Saturday" almost completely except for the hour or so I will be on the ground in Hong Kong.
Here is what the flight looks like on the Great Circle Mapper, complete with my return trip back through Tokyo:
(With the usual non-intuitive notion (to me) that we are flying north over the North Pole to get to the other side of the planet. My brain always thinks I should fly west... but north is actually shorter.)
I'm off to Singapore for the 52nd meeting of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as "ICANN". ICANN is the nonprofit organization that oversees the world of domain names and the Domain Name System(DNS) and I have a specific interest in how we secure the DNS. I'll be there primarily for a series of activities related to DNSSEC that I describe here:
There are a great number of other activities happening there, too, and one of my colleagues outlined some of the items related to public-policy:
I will of course be monitoring those issues as well. I expect to be doing some writing from Singapore for multiple sites... and probably some video and audio as well.
I've had the privilege of being able to visit Singapore twice before and have been impressed by what a beautiful city it is. I took some photos on my first trip there that I posted to a set on Flickr:
You'll notice how the grove of "supertrees" captured my attention. Here's one of my favorite photos from that set:
The supertree grove is a rather surreal (and unreal) place to visit - definitely worth seeing! I don't know if I'll be able to get there on this trip... my schedule is extremely packed... but we'll see.
It should be a good week.
P.S. And talk about temperature changes... it was -10F (-23C) when I left Keene, NH, this morning and it will be near 88F (30C) during the day in Singapore!
I recorded an audio commentary about this trip:
It could be today.
It could be tomorrow.
It could be twenty years from now.
It could be in some dramatic fashion such as an explosion or an airplane crash.
Or it could be in some more mundane way like slipping on ice and hitting one's head... or being in a car accident... or being hit by a car while crossing a street... or just... simply... having... one's... heart... s..t..o..p.....
We don't know.
We will never know.
Until the time runs out... and a life is gone.
At which point... it's too late to say all those things we wish we would have said.
It's too late for that extra "I love you" that you wish you could have said, or the hug you wish you would have given.
It's too late.
We need to realize that each day could be our last... or could be the last of those around us.
What do we want those last memories of us to be?
Do we want people to remember us as kind and helpful? Or mean and angry? Or somewhere in between?
Do we want the last words people heard from us to be ones of anger? Or dismissal? or hatred? Or do we want them to be words of love and kindness?
Do we want to live our life regretting that we didn't tell someone how much they meant to us before they passed on? Or regretting that the last words they heard from us where those in anger?
In our every action, we choose whether to build people up... or tear people down. It's our choice.
We don't know how much time we have left. We don't know when the lives of those around us may end.
We will never know.
Image credit: elycefeliz on Flickr
Over the past six months or so I've been giving a great amount of thought to what exactly I want to be doing - in many different aspects of my life. Part of that came about as part of looking at my role within the Internet Society and thinking about what makes the most sense for my particular skills and interests. But perhaps a larger part came about in some of the reading and discussions my wife and I have been having around what many call "minimalism" or variations on that theme. Basically... looking at how to do fewer things better. We only have so many hours in the day and we choose how we are going to spend those hours... and we choose what we give our attention to. My wife's ongoing experience with cancer treatments has certainly changed our overall perspective and made us think about what is most important to us.
This year I want to continue that effort into distilling things down to what are really the "essentials" in my life upon which I wish to focus. This may mean focusing more and putting aside some side projects... or admitting that some project ideas may just never happen - and that's okay.
To go back to that wonderful quote from the poet Mary Oliver:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
And even more so... what will I do - or not do - in pursuit of that?
Given that my last book was published four years ago back in 2011, I do feel a bit of a desire to have another book come out some time soon. An obvious candidate is to pitch O'Reilly on doing a Second Edition of Migrating Applications to IPv6 given that a lot has changed in four years and that there is much more that can be said about IPv6 based on the deployment experience to date. I also have several ideas for books in the telephony/telecom/VoIP space.
I also have several ideas for books outside the pure technology space... more in the public relations / marketing / social media space. And there are some other ideas I have floating around my head...
Ideas for books are easy... it's making the time to create the book that is the challenge! I'd like to see what I can do in 2015 to at least get some book project underway.
"Health" was actually one of my three words back in 2010 and as I noted in my 2011 post I went far in 2010 dropping 45 pounds and starting to get into running. Last year "running" was one of my words and I'm now pretty confident that running is part of my lifestyle and just part of what I do.
But... now this year I need to focus a bit broader than just running. It's been a while since I've had a physical and there are some other health issues I'd like to address. It's time to do a bit more to ensure I'm around for the long term.
This is not so much an aspiration as an admission that this year may more heavily involve the sport of curling that I enjoy so much. There are two aspects here. First, my soon-to-be-13-year-old daughter enjoys curling and shows some interest in doing more competitively. IF she does that (and it's still an "if"), that will set us on a potential path of bonspiels (tournaments) and camps that may set the tone for much of our family activity for the year. We'll see. Second, I very much want to see this be the year when we start making some headway with starting up the Monadnock Curling Club and looking at bringing the sport of curling to our region of New Hampshire.
That's what I'm thinking about right now for this year... I have a sense that 2015 could be a big year on a number of different fronts... we'll have to see how it turns out.
Meanwhile... Happy New Year! May 2015 be a great year for you!
An audio version of this post is available:
If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:
On this final day of 2014, I thought I should reflect back on my "four words" for 2014. They were:
How did I do? Let's take them one by one...
The good news is that I did make running more a regular part of my life. By adding up the monthly totals in my iPhone app I see that I ran over 288 miles this year. It was spotty, though. I only ran 6.2 miles in September yet I ran over 56 miles in July! I finished the year doing 26 miles in December... which works out to be about 6 miles a week. Good... but not great. Next year I'll aim to do better.
It was also a strange year in that I ran only one race... and that was the short 1-mile "Pumpkin Mile" that was part of the Keene Pumpkin Festival and that I ran with my five-year-old daughter. For all the other races I wanted to do I either had a schedule conflict or in one case it rained harder than I really cared to race in.
My goal starting off 2014, though, was to get running more a part of my life... and I think I can safely say that I did that.
Back at the beginning of the year I wrote:
... but pretty much NONE of them say ANYTHING about religion.
There are a lot of reasons for WHY I have been silent about the religious side of my life in my online activity... and I'll write a post about that at some point (probably soon).
But I've realized that in being silent and hiding this aspect of myself I'm not really letting myself be truly whole.
So I'm going to start... I've been letting pieces of that side of me leak out into Facebook lately. THIS blog post is a huge step for me.
I'm not going to be "in your face" about religion or anything (that's not the UU way! ;-) ). But I'm going to stop hiding that side of me. I will treat it instead just as yet another facet of the complicated person that I am (and that we all are).
We'll see... this will, in all honesty, be a bit challenging for me... but is an area I'd like to grow personally.
This has been hard for me, but I have started to be more open about this side of myself. For instance, I participated in a panel that was recorded on video distributed on YouTube where I talked about our church and my involvement in the "community breakfasts" that we do for the homeless each morning during the winter months. I also shared on Facebook and social networks when I was giving a sermon at our church in late October on the subject of "Facebook and Fox News: Escaping the Echo Chambers of Affirmation". I actually recorded that sermon but have yet to put it online... perhaps in 2015.
I also shared out more links from our church's web site and social media feeds into my own feeds... which was a big step for me.
Baby steps... but at least I'm no longer hiding my this part of me. We'll see where this goes from here.
Unfortunately this area remained a bit of an "aspiration" this year. I had hoped to do more with audio this year. Now I did do more with my "The Dan York Report (TDYR)" podcast... producing over 155 of the short episodes. I also didn't miss a single week of For Immediate Release (FIR) reports, producing 52 of those reports. I also started using several new applications on my iPhone to more rapidly produce podcasts
... I'd had aspirations to do more. Here's how I wound up with what I had hoped to do:
We'll see if this gets better in 2015. I thoroughly enjoy audio and would like to get back to doing more!
I wrote in January:
Finally, there is an exquisite irony to me that while my job title at the Internet Society is "Senior Content Strategist", my own personal content online is severely lacking a strategy. I am inconsistently writing across 8 or 9 different places online - and I'm adding more sites like the Monadnock Curling Club... and there are a few other projects in the works.
Yes, this is a bit of a case of the proverbial "cobbler's shoes", but in 2014 I'd like to pull some of this together a bit more and have a bit more discipline about what I'm doing with all my online content. I'm at least aggregating my online content at my danyork.me site, but this year I want to do more with getting more consistent with the creation of content.
Alas... still a work in progress...
So there I was for 2014... good progress with two of my words... less so with the other two. How did your year work out?
An audio version of this post is available on in my "The Dan York Report" podcast:
If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:
Today was an amazing testament to the power of today's mobile Internet. We traveled to Connecticut today to visit some friends and family, but we also wanted to watch the live video stream of one of the youth in our Petersham Curling Club youth program playing in the national Playdowns up in Rochester, NY. So, while my wife drove I set up my iPhone as a personal hot spot and used my iPad to display the live video stream from the Playdowns.
It worked out great... and was just amazing to think about!
Some thoughts via audio:
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful day of celebration... I did with my family today and I am so thankful and grateful for all that I have in my life today. And if you don't celebrate Christmas... well, I hope you had a wonderful day!
What I so love about this time of darkness in the northern hemisphere is all the "ceremonies of light and dark". Because it is so dark, we seek out times to celebrate the light.
To drive back the darkness.
To celebrate with friends and family.
To embrace the wonder of the flame.
To shine out as a beacon of love and hope.
And there are so many different ceremonies of so many different religions and faith traditions:
- the advent candles and candlelight services of Christian churches, along with the Christmas trees.
- the menorahs of Judaism.
- candles and fires of earth-centered faiths.
... and, of course, all the lighting of our home decorations....
I enjoy the candles the best... the simple flames, burning as they do.
This is one of my favorite parts of the season.... the light in the darkness.
A time of hope... for the light that is yet to come.
Today I made on change on this "DanYork.com" site to move it to a new theme that uses "responsive design" so that it will look good on a mobile device as well on a large screen. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time because any of a zillion reports out there will tell you that an increasing majority of users are viewing websites on their mobile devices. I can just see that in my own behavior where I use my iPhone or iPad for viewing so many sites.
The challenge I have is that this site, and my other major personal blog sites, are all still hosted on TypePad, one of the early blog hosting providers where I started writing back in 2005 or so. Some year I'd love to consolidate them onto one of the other hosted sites where I run WordPress... but the amount of work to do so is quite substantial given the hundreds upon hundreds of posts between my various sites. Some day...
Meanwhile, I figured out enough about TypePad's one responsive design theme to be able to move this site over. At some point over my holiday vacation I'd like to move these two over to a responsive theme:
They are where the bulk of my personal writing occurs. The challenge with any move to a new theme on TypePad is that you need to rebuild the menus, sidebars, etc., so it does take a bit of time.
I also want to move my writing aggregation site to a responsive theme:
That site is hosted on WordPress and so there are many options... I just have to find one that I like and spend the time configuring it.
Most of my other WordPress-hosted sites already are responsive, including:
Out of my various websites where I write that will really just leave CircleID, where I have no control over the formatting, and my 7 Deadliest UC Attacks site that is also still hosted by TypePad. If I have the time, I'll probably just move that one during the migration of my DisTel and DisCon sites.
And then, of course, there is my Deploy360 site at work... which is a MUCH bigger challenge that will be dealt with sometime in 2015...
The end goal will be that people will be able to read my writing with ease on whatever platform they use - mobile phone, tablet, desktop... or anything else.
It's been quite an eye-opening experience for my wife and I, both in terms of learning about the quantity of people in our region who are homeless... but also in hearing some of the stories and knowing that while often it is very definitely choices that get people into these situations, sometimes it is instead circumstances - job losses, medical expenses, family issues - and that the line between those who have and those who have not can be very thin and fragile.
Recently a local community TV show recorded an episode with several of us who have been involved with the community breakfasts. I represented our church and spoke about some of the changes that being involved has brought about with me and our family.
Give it a listen... and if you are in the Keene, NH, area and interested in helping, we're always looking for people to help during these cold winter months!
P.S. For the purpose of including an image for this post in the "carousel" at the top of the site, I'm including this screenshot of me talking: