Run away! Run away!
One of the greatest film achievements of all time is the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. That is not opinion; it is fact (and therefore need not be defended.) Within the script of this inimitable masterpiece is a wonderful collection of unforgettable quotes so vast that not even the IMDB can catalog them all (you would essentially have to reproduce the entire script, which has already been done.) However, one of those quotes is a scene near the end of the film wherein the Knights of the Round Table, lead by King Arthur, are .. well .. why don’t you just read it for yourself (note, it’s much funnier when read with a British accent):
KNIGHT: There! Look! LAUNCELOT: What does it say? GALAHAD: What language is that? ARTHUR: Brother Maynard, you're our scholar! MAYNARD: It's Aramaic! GALAHAD: Of course! Joseph of Aramathea! LAUNCELOT: Course! KNIGHT: What does it say? MAYNARD: It reads, 'Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Aramathea. He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of uuggggggh'. ARTHUR: What? MAYNARD: '... the Castle of uuggggggh'. BEDEMIR: What is that? MAYNARD: He must have died while carving it. LAUNCELOT: Oh, come on! MAYNARD: Well, that's what it says. ARTHUR: Look, if he was dying, he wouldn't bother to carve 'aaggggh'. He'd just say it! MAYNARD: Well, that's what's carved in the rock! GALAHAD: Perhaps he was dictating. ARTHUR: Oh, shut up. Well, does it say anything else? MAYNARD: No. Just, 'uuggggggh'. LAUNCELOT: Aauuggghhh. KNIGHT: Aaauggh. BEDEMIR: You don't suppose he meant the Camauuuugh? KNIGHT: Where's that? BEDEMIR: France, I think. LAUNCELOT: Isn't there a Saint Aauuuves in Cornwall? ARTHUR: No, that's Saint Ives. LAUNCELOT: Oh, yes. Saint Iiiives. SEVERAL: Iiiiives. BEDEMIR: Oooohoohohooo! LAUNCELOT: No, no, aauuuuugh, at the back of the throat. Aauuugh. BEDEMIR: No, no, no, oooooooh, in surprise and alarm. LAUNCELOT: Oh, you mean sort of a aaaagh! BEDEMIR: Yes, but I-- Aaaaagh! KNIGHT: Oooh! KNIGHT: Oh, no! [roar] MAYNARD: It's the legendary Black Beast of aaauuugh! ARTHUR: Run away! ALL: Run away! Run away! [roar] NARRATOR: As the horrendous Black Beast lunged forward, escape for Arthur and his knights seemed hopeless. When, suddenly, the animator suffered a fatal heart attack. [ulk] The cartoon peril was no more. The Quest for the Holy Grail could continue.
See what I mean? Inimitable.
Anyway, all that was really just to explain where I came up with the title for this post – which actually has very little to do with the subject. And on that note, I suppose I better get to the point.
I was reading a random blog entry today that caused me to wonder if I need to schedule more time away from my “routine”. In other words, I need to spend more time working on work stuff when I’m not actually at work, and more time working on home stuff when I’m not actually at home. The reason is, like most people, my daily routine typically involves a lot of distraction. Life is not “modal” – we are asked and often required to multi-task both at work and at home.
On the work front, as I have mentioned before I recently took a new job. This employer, much more so than any of my previous employers, strongly encourages us to pursue professional training and growth on an individual basis. Such that when I asked to attend the Microsoft Patterns and Practices Summit this November, I was given an enthusiastic green light. Look out, Redmond, here I come!
That’s a pretty good start. It means that for one week, at least, I’ll be holed up in a hotel room for five nights with very few distractions and during the daytime will be attending non-stop lectures and presentations. All of which is geared toward helping me be a better developer and software architect, which will help me be more proficient at my job.
In addition to work, however, I also mentioned spending more time working on “home stuff” when I’m not actually at home. For everyone that means something different, but for me it mostly means working on my various hobbies and projects. Two major hobbies and projects are currently pressing on me to have major attention soon. One is our little farm, which is supposed to be turning into a vineyard, but has been waiting on some upgrades to the property (specifically fencing). The other is a little company called DreamTest Software that my fraternity brother Leon and I formed together back in 2002.
DreamTest has made significant progress. In fact, we now have two Oregon companies using our software on a beta basis to help operate their businesses. However, it still needs a lot of work before we’ll actually be able to release it for public consumption and, more importantly, for sale.
And now we’ve finally reached the whole point of this post. Which is, ultimately, to say “Leon, you and I need to spend some time together in a hotel.” If I hadn’t lead up to that with such a detailed explanation, someone might take that statement the wrong way. For the record, Leon and I are both happily married men.
Work retreats are not simple from a logistical standpoint, but I am certain that a “home retreat” is even more complicated. Both my wife and Leon’s wife will have to be committed and supportive of our cause for it to be successful, and we will have to do our part to reduce the added stress on them due to our absence.
If I can get Leon and both our respective spouses to buy into this event, I intend to make it happen. Because sometimes, we just have to “run away” from our routines in order to get things done.