This has been one of those weeks when I wish there were three of me. Things are really busy at work, so I feel like an octopus trying to keep on top of everything; there’s the website redesign project, the weaving project, and the pot of delicious short ribs braising with tomato sauce, onion, and red peppers. There’s my mom, flying in from Maryland to visit over the weekend. There’s this fascinating book I’m reading, The Craftsman, by Richard Sennett, about the philosophy of craft.
And then, I’ve learned, I need to learn PHP/MySQL for work, in the next few weeks. Fortunately not developer-grade, but enough to write a small program and to understand basically how the logic works.
All of which seems a bit overwhelming. (Well, except the short ribs, which I am looking forward to eating. They don’t seem overwhelming, they seem tasty. 🙂 ) Clearly I will have to do some pruning and prioritizing.
The Craftsman, incidentally, is proving to be quite interesting – it’s written by a sociologist and (thus far, in the first 32 pages) talks a lot about the context of craft and different types of craftspeople. The author, Richard Sennett, argues that craft is not simply about handwork – one of his early examples is Oppenheimer (the renowned physicist), and another is the Linux community of software engineers. He defines craft as “doing work well for its own sake”. Reading through his prologue is like peeking into a wholly different (and more erudite) life; a bunch of the philosophers he cites were people I dimly remember reading, my freshman year at Stanford. (In one of those twenty-years-later twists, I now appreciate having had a year of Philosophy crammed down my throat, although (like most seventeen-year-olds) I didn’t really appreciate Western Culture classes at the time.) It’s making me wish I’d had the time to spend a life reading and thinking about philosophy.
So many lives to live! I wish I had a thousand years. But I’ll be grateful for eighty, or forty, or even just tomorrow. The world is full of wonders, and full of so many different (and wholly human) lives to live.
Anyway. Back to practical matters.
I think that, since time is of the essence, I need to think about how to learn PHP and MySQL. I hate to build a throwaway project, so I am trying to think of something that would be useful and interesting. I would sort of like to create the weaving project repository, except that I have the strong suspicion that I would be better off using a content management system to create it – easier to maintain and manage in the long run. I could write a contact form for my website, but that just seems silly (and is fairly trivial besides). So I need to think of something to create. Basic enough to be accessible, beautiful enough to be interesting, complex enough to be useful. I wish I had enough imagination to think of something, but I’m drawing a blank! Perhaps my mom will have ideas. If you come up with any, let me know.
Back to reading The Craftsman. The rest of this week is totally booked, so I have only this one evening free…best to make the most of it!