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Timbo (4486)

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Journal of Timbo (4486)

Sunday August 17, 2003
04:05 AM

Reflections on creativity in the physical realm

[ #14163 ]
There is beauty in working with your hands; you achieve a different sort of satisfaction when your creations are solid rather than conceptual. I have had that driven home today, in two completely different ways; I finally finished a concrete countertop I'm installing on my bar, and started laying decking on my bomb shelter/deck.

Concrete seems like an odd choice for a countertop, if your only experience with it is sidewalks and buildings. That grey, rough, forbidding surface would not add much to any kitchen or bathroom. But if you spruce it up with a little dye, polish, and patience, it becomes a thing of beauty--actually more touchable than corian, warmer than granite. I am amazed that I was able to make something so beautiful and permanent.

I was not awed by the beauty of my deck; I was awed by it's scale and magnitude. Building something small and detailed lets you glance temporarily at perfection; building something massive and imposing makes you feel like a man. I am proud that my brother-in-law, who weighs at least 250 lbs., can jump on my deck without feeling any flex. I'm not too worried that on one of the planks, my drill slipped off a screw and left a small mark. It's lost in the scale of something so massive.

Today makes me wonder... is what Microsoft is building so large that their smaller problems (at least in their eyes) get lost in the scale? In the open source world, everyone builds a comparitively small part of the puzzle, so each craftsman can take individual pride in their contribution toward perfection. Maybe Microsoft has just moved too far away from artisanship. Programming is a creative endeavor, no matter how much the Capability Maturity Model tries to wean it out of us.

Let us be craftsmen.

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