Archive for May, 2010

30 May 2010

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts

Less is More

Well, sometimes less can actually be less, but not always. I’ve been evaluating just how employment and “working for the man” has shaped life and family over the past seven weeks since leaving my previous job. Not that I’ve drawn any real conclusions (and maybe none are available) but I’m sure that the pace of the modern work world and resulting demands on personal and family time often tilt the balance of life off kilter. Books like Donald Miller’s, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, reinforce this idea. So does this blog post from the Harvard Business Review.

Thanks go to my sister-in-law Carla for mentioning this blog entry on her Facebook page.

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29 May 2010

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Photos

Sometimes you need a doughnut right away

Photo courtesy of my brother-in-law Barry, who took this picture somewhere near Rocky Mountain House.

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15 May 2010

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Geekstuff,Mobile Blogpost (iphone)


Had a chance to play with one of the new iPads today. My nephew, Ethan, who is 12 is the first person I know to get an iPad. And he got it out of the US three weeks before the Canadian release date. Pretty cool!

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01 May 2010

Posted by under Book Review,Dave's Thoughts

What’s the Story?

A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it is the basic structure of a good story.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - coverA Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller (ISBN 978-1-4002-0266-9) 2009
This book surprised me in its simplicity and impact. A short book (254 pages), written in a conversational and approachable style, but very thought provoking. The premise of the book revolves around author Donald Miller’s responses to being approached by two film makers who wish to turn his previously published memoirs into a movie. In the process, it becomes apparent that the real Don Miller is not an engaging enough character to create a good story for the film. This realization prompts the author to reconsider how important it is to live a good story if you want your life to tell a good story.

But then the going gets tough. Good stories have conflicts and explosions and difficulties at every turn, the protagonist is only interesting when struggling against the odds. Who wants to struggle against the odds? As Jack Handey says, “It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more money. And I guess that’s what I like about it. It’s easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.”

Living a good story takes effort, and it takes a trigger to move the story along. This trigger, or “inciting incident” in literary terms, is the footfall on the cornice of snow that starts the avalanche – once begun, there is no recourse, no returning things to the way they were. Authors create inciting incidents to force characters into action, to enter a doorway through which there is no return. Only then does the story get interesting and move forward. Real life is similar and, just like the character in a story, no one really wants to change. Inciting incidents are uncomfortable and unsettling, but without them, the story is flat and uninteresting. Everyone loves to be able to tell a good story about their life but few people are excited about the work that it takes to overcome conflict to make the story happen.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a call to live more intentionally, to think about the story you are living and consider how interesting it is to tell that story. Not many will ever have a movie made of their lives, but for the small audience of friends, family and your own self – creating inciting incidents to move our lives and our stories along is essential. This is more than simply “beginning with the end in mind”, for the trigger may open up avenues that could not be predicted; it is “beginning with the story in mind” and then letting the story unfold, developing our character along the way.

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