Back in the day, top martial artists used to quote the golfer Tony Jacklin: "The harder I work, the luckier I get." It was a response to a spectator exclaiming that Jacklin's hole-in-one was lucky. Right...

For me it's right up there with Somerset Maugham's answer to the question of whether he wrote to a schedule or whenever inspiration struck. He said, "I write when inspiration strikes. Luckily, it turns up at nine o'clock every morning."

So here are some reasons I feel lucky right now. Random chance can strike anyone down at any time, and it plays a part in the good things also; but none of the things below happened without effort from me, apart from the last two.

  • I have a dojo in my back garden.
  • I spend at least half my life breathing fresh country air.
  • I eat healthful foods.
  • I have three new books in the works, at various stages.
  • I have eleven books already out there.
  • I gained my master's degree from Oxford.
  • I'm enjoying the heck out of minimalist shoe running.
  • Likewise my ongoing practice of dand-bethak and related calisthenics.
  • I was a member of Enoeda Sensei's dojo (a regular for 6 or 7 years, with visits thereafter).
  • Great people in my personal life.
  • Great people in my professional life. Both of my professions.
  • My parents loved me unconditionally.
  • They raised me in a country where the other things are possible.

Maybe the last two are a necessary precursor to the rest. Maybe not. People can work through all sorts of grief, can't they?

Why am I feeling in the mood for general gratitude? Dunno, but perhaps something Dr Ann Maria De Mars wrote in a recent post in her general blog had something to do with it, or perhaps the one in her stats & maths blog. Two of my regular reads.

From her latest post, following a sequence of links (as one does) brought me to this this great list of online educational resources. Of course, anyone reading this is likely to be pretty smart already, and familiar with a good percentage of the resources.

My preferred way of growing smarter involves reading actual books. Amazon is my friend. (Although Colm says: "More like the other way round, bro.") There are still things like writing code to do, or whatever is required to make use of the knowledge.

I've been thinking about ways to mix functional and object-oriented programming for some time. It's been a while since I learned a new programming language in depth, so I'm about to dive into Scala. I started a while back with the has-to-done first piece of code:

object HelloWorld {

   def main(args: Array[String]){
      println("Greetings, Cosmos!!!");


Geek customs, eh? It's like wearing a gi to train in karate: traditional, provided you define a tradition as a practice that is decades (rather than centuries) old.

I guess tradition is a fashion that never went away. Those of us with beards are, of course, on the leading edge of fashion now. I wondered if it would happen in my lifetime...