Balance and architecture…

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Check out Luke’s new blog (proud father ) he is focusing on his cooking ideas.

Still thinking about balance and architecture today. I wonder sometimes if balance isn’t something that everyone strives for but we often fall short of achieving balance.

My question for today is “balance” the Zen garden of architecture? Carefully sculpted sand spreading out from a central location ending in a gentle balance that emanates from the solution outward. Which then brings me to the thought for today – does balance spread? Does it grow like ripples on a pond after a rock has been thrown in? Each ripple expanding balance outward from the origination until there is only balance (only ripples) and no other disturbance on the water.

Or is balance more like the muck at the bottom of the pond. Sucking the rock in until it is no more, becoming one with the muck. Perhaps, some million plus years from now, scientists then will be able to separate the rock from the muck – realizing our balance was merely away from the edge of tipping, not really balance at all.

Looking over some of the solutions I’ve built with and for customer’s over the years, I realize most of them were not balanced. At times we had rough edges that faced the business or technical solutions that didn’t mesh together cleanly. The essence of balance being a space that allows the solution to create the connections required while at the same time building on the overall solution.



Opening the pool, an annual traditiona

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The pool is open and I found a frog living in the water of the pool. It makes me feel guilty because I dumped 720 pounds of salt into the water. The poor fresh water creature can’t be doing well with all that salt around him/her. So I sent my daughter out to catch and release him. I hope that works out for the poor little guy.

Not sure why this bothers me now – over the years we’ve had lots of dead things in the pool. I guess it is because it is trying to get out – trying to live and it makes me feel guilty.

It is amazing to me how dumping that much salt into a pool and clear it up like nothing flat. I had a chlorine driven pool for many years and they took forever to clean up, process and get ready for spring. With a salt water pool there is so much less maintenance and work for the owner it is scary. The pool starts the season blue not green. That alone its amazing. Now the salt water system is expensive. But when you think about the amount of chemicals you have to dump into a pool over the course of a year – and the wear and tear on the equipment those chemicals cause (as well as shirts etc) the cost of a salt water pool has about a 3 year ROI. That really isn’t a long time in the scheme of a house and a pool.

Ta Ta for now.


The road to enlightened architecture

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What prevents a balanced architecture? Is it the reality of the world we are in? That our world seeks less equilibrium and more diversity? Is the path we follow what binds us to the destination? If we think of technology as simply a series of solutions that are applied to specific business problems that answer to that is in fact, yes. Any one solution binds you to any one specific path. But does an architecture for an organization require any one solution?

We talk in software architecture about best of breed solutions.  Best of breed solutions breed “un”-balance. The very concept of a best of breed solution doesn’t move towards the broader goal of balance in the software architecture.  Of course many organizations are driven by a best of breed architecture culture. Other’s are driven by a cost containment culture (keep costs down). The ability of an organization to achieve balance however may solve some of the problems that drive to the other two extremes.

In the various martial arts teachings the first thing they work on for white belts is balance. In Buddhism the first thing is focusing on finding your center. In western relaxation systems they always start with balance and finding your center. The same I believe is true for software architecture. A systems view of architecture gives us inputs and outputs (with process balancing in the middle). It is a balanced leveraged model to begin with. Organizations implement changes around that balanced center that drive it away from balance and more into the reactive mode of market place architecture.  A market place architect seeks to create structure around one specific solution. They are solution specialists. Now sometimes they become enterprise architects but the problem there is that they still take the solution view of the enterprise. Sadly an enterprise is not a solution. A enterprise is an amalgam of solutions, people, process and technology.

This leads me back to the concepts of the overall balance proposal. To attain equilibrium within the enterprise.

So now, based on today’s thinking I have a question.

If a solution is balanced but an organization is not, by default is the solution balanced?


Each car will be charged $5 for parking

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But the gate was ajar

so we drove though


said another sign

at your own risk

we were willing to risk

the car

the contents

the GPS

with coordinates locked in to take us to the

infinite glory of all that could be

we were still willing to risk it

risk it all

a subtle expression on his face

as he passed by the sign

we are not responsible for items left in your car

and he smiled

we are the step children

he said

of a babbling moron

the lost remnants of a missing dream

sardonic don’t you think

in front of a sign saying

no spitting

as he spit those words out

step children

he called


and we walked

through a gate

with a no trespassing sign

to an empty room

where the light went to die.

it was there we stood.



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Thinking back over the past week – its been a long week. Why is it that the days leading up to a holiday always seem to take longer than the days after the holiday? It seems like the days of and right after a holiday fly by but the days leading up to extra time off seem to take forever. It is as if time itself is fluid and can change itself to fit the container it is in. Anyway today is the last day before the break. I think I can make it through the 8 hours in front of me.

My topic of today is the things you lose.

Why is it that whenever I travel I always feel like I have left something in the hotel room?

A great hotel service would be the we guarantee that we will search your room when you leave and ship you anything you’ve left. They could even charge you extra when you check in (say $10) for the we will get you your stuff service. This would be a huge boon for travelers like me. Now if there was only an RFID system I could put on my crap so I didn’t lose it.


Another milestone (that feels like a millstone and a helium balloon).

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Another day, another milestone. Tomorrow Dangerous Dan will graduate from high school (and frankly based on the plans that got her the nickname – probably lucky to have made it this far Winking smile).

The bean arrived 18 years ago. She was a quiet baby who didn’t cry much. She was a bit willful and earned the nickname “Dangerous Dan” for always have a plan that was dangerous and terrifying. The original Dangerous Dan plan was to climb the stairs in her rolling chair.

She is now graduating from high school tomorrow.

A part of me is crying. My little girl isn’t a little girl anymore. A part of me is proud. She won the writing award at the high school as selected by her peers. She has become an incredible person who has many strengths and is now heading down the path I selected many years ago. There is no greater pride for a parent then having a child choose to walk the path you selected oh those many years ago. There is no greater joy that watching your child grow into an adult.

The thing that strikes me is something my mother said to me many years ago. When you child no longer is just your child but someone you would consider a friend. The bean is now someone I would be friends with and I look forward to this next phase of our relationship. You will always be my little girl beanie, but now you are becoming my friend as well.

This of course brings to me the hardest part about being a parent. Letting go of what has been my prevue for 18 years. I am no longer in the drivers seat. I am a passenger in the bean’s life.  She is the driver and that is a huge change for both of us. Yes she will trip hell the reality is she will fall and I can no longer catch her unless she asks. I am loosing Dangerous Dan on the world at large. I just hope the rest of you are ready for the plans!

Today I have a heart that is lifted to the heavens and I feel like a weight is pulling me down at the same time, a balloon and a millstone.

Beanie, I love you. I am proud of you. Congratulations on your graduation one day early!


Lost One Pop Top Necklace

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The sign was

hand lettered

scrawled in crayon

with the lettering of a small child



the words ending where the next begins

red crayon

on cardboard

taped to the side of the bridge


the first word as though

a drawing sign

a moment in time

“one pop top necklace

if found

please return”

but no address

no name

no cellular number


the crayon scrawl


on the concrete of a bridge

in a corner where no one could see

from the road

unless they stopped

looking for a path

and a missing pop top necklace.


The End of this day

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Rolling around me

clouds darkening

hail falling uselessly at my feet

as I walk outward from the inner


the quiet shattered by rolling

barrels and

flashlights flicked on and off

laughing as the rain drops

struggle to pierce the umbrella

struggle to find purchase

and hold on for the long ride down


but losing

as they roll around me

a wide berth

as if afraid


of the umbrella

that piecing the sky like a lightening rod

was showered

with sparks

struggling and wrestling

with rain drops

and golf ball hail

to fall uselessly

at my feet

as I close the door

to the inner sanctum

and head out for the end of the day.


Memories, sometimes they help…

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The busy graduation season is nearly upon us. I remember when Barb and I first met (like it was yesterday). A group of friends used to go out on Friday and Saturday nights dancing. Barb joined the group at the invitation of my friend Sean. She appeared the first time around her daughters 5th birthday party. I was actually dating someone else at that time but the relationship was well, doomed. The girl I was dating at the time actually had a pretty bad divorce and was gun shy.

Anyway we broke up a couple of days after that weekend. I didn’t think anything of it, but Sean (who was also my roommate at the time) said he was inviting Barb over for dinner and I should make potato soup (my personal variation of the dish). I was also making chocolate chip cookies for my class because they had won an award (make Mr. Andersen cook for them) so I was diligently baking away in the kitchen. Barb came and we started talking.

That was 21 years ago. We’ve been together ever since that night. She is an amazing person. In less than 25 days we will have been married 20 years. The funniest thing is, we met on October 15th, we went out the first time on October 21st. On November 1st, 1990 we were shopping for engagement rings. I had intended to ask her to marry me the night before Halloween. We were driving in the car to the place where I planned to propose to her, but on the way Barb blurted out “we should get married.” I guess great minds think alike.


What is the path to enlightenment

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When do you know? There is a number of things you consider every day of your life. The average person doesn’t make as many decisions as a Buick (or so the commercial says) but in fact is that true? Are we less than the computers on a car? Do we make fewer decisions or do we bury more decisions than we realize.

How many decision do we make in an average day?

10 a minute?

100 a minute?

Thousands in a day?

What is a decision?

Is a decision the collection of inputs and processes that results in an output? (the system view of decisions).

Or is it something else.

Is a decision the contemplation of the results rather than the system view? I wonder…


so I ask…


what is a decision?