The registration-over-time graph for an event with hackers as the primary audience. In reality, the intersection between the curve and the deadline-line is much lower, and you never actually reach 100% (in other words, this picture is hopelessly optimistic.
Now, patience and persistence. Yesterday while walking to the office I passed a woman painting a gas station and the three buildings surrounding it on three sides. It was spectacular - each individual brick was painted in a different set of hues, so that it blended into a kaleidoscopic rainbow sunset scene - and there were thousands of bricks. Each painted. In multiple colors. Carefully. Maybe 3/4 of the building surface visible was covered with these bricks.
"How long have you been working on that?" I asked her when she turned. "Over a year," she said.
I wish I had that kind of patience. I really do work best in sprints - with flexible scheduling and slack to spark up on new ideas - but my ability to do the same thing seriously every day... sustained concentration on one thing, for me, is hard. I can do something for a long time, but not regularly. I can do something regularly, but not for too long. (Yes, my nomadic trends have made it difficult to do anything regularly. Hush.) It's nice to know better how you work best, but I still need to keep pushing myself to work in ways I find uncomfortable, because... well, how else do I grow?
And finally, the Met.
It's very big.
And full of art. Words fail me here. I thought I was in heaven. They had an exhibition on Chinese painting and calligraphy! The best part: I was looking at a scroll and realized that I could read it. That I could look at this old scroll and tell that the poet (whose name I couldn't read, but eh) wrote it in February, that he was talking about how in the past fall they had owned some geese... I didn't grasp it all, but I could follow scattered bits throughout the text and go "I understand!"
And then some beautiful, thickly textured photographs of New England parks, with fountains of leaves drifting before stone bridges, and branches thrusting up against the picture frames, and swirling gelatinous water with autumn foliage reflected in it - ahhh.
And so I walked on air all the way down to Vietnamese food (and really awesome red wine) with my TOPP coworkers, during which conversations ensued on topics like how Marxist theory can help explain the differences between hackers and hipsters and bobos and yuppies (the model Seb came up with was a 2D plot of informational vs procedural complexity in their conceptions of themselves and of the world).
It was also decided that I (among the TOPP denizens) corresponded most closely to River Tam in the TV series Firefly, and that if a movie came out entitled "Mel Chua Beats Up Everybody," it would be awesome.
It's one of those fantastic times in life when you look up and realize - again, but you know that it's still a recent thing - that there's no ceiling any more. That you can go do anything. That there's a world out there for you to dance with. And that you're getting better at it by the day.