Jordan Taylor among his pots Jordan Taylor was my housemate for a year. He was finishing up his last year of college and I was working at my start-up website design firm, Summersault. His second term he devoted all his academic time to making pottery. So the times we had dinner together, we'd discuss what we were excited about that day. He'd often show me some new pots and ask for comments on them, which I was happy to oblige. I'd tell him about some new technology I read about on Slashdot that wow-ed me, like the World's Smallest Webserver.

We always had a kitchen full of homemade pottery, which I wasn't used to. I became fascinated with Jordan's pots. I became a ceramics critique, commenting on the glaze and the weight, the color and the curves, and later I was bold enough to comment on the theory of pottery aesthetics from my unqualified position.

I discovered that these handmade creations made me happier. I liked eating with them, handling them, and even washing them wasn't such a chore. There was often some small detail to be rediscovered. Beyond that, realizing the creation process made a difference to me. That is, looking at the pottery, I instantly recognize the object as being hand-made. With that, I know an individual put some care and time, thought and energy, into the pot. Looking at a plastic plate, or a mass-produced ceramic model, that process is instantly obvious as well. Maybe some assembly line worker glanced over my plate and checked it for defects as a machine pressed it and passed in on by. Which is sort of depressing to think about. The image reminds me of a job I had in a factory, staring a computer terminal, looking at x-rays of wheels to make sure they weren't defective. That was sort of depressing.

Being as I like to eat at least 3 times a day, I interacted a lot with Jordan's pots. I learned something from Jordan's pots. The first is that my environment really makes a difference, whether I like it or it not. This replaced my former notion that if I was just well-balanced enough internally, I could achieve maximum happiness in any environment. While I still find this notion of internal enlightenment attractive, the idea that my environment affects who I am has a nice twist hidden with in it: that I affect my environment. Specifically, I'm referring to the subtleties, like difference between a Wal-Mart plate and a Jordan Taylor plate from a distance. The difference may not even consciously register, but it's there.

So, I decided I wanted to be a handmade pot. I wanted to have that subtle texture that made people in my environment a little happier because I was somehow a little more appealing. I started shaving again. I switched from the big-ass lamb chops I'd been wearing to some more conservative burns. I even tried to shave every few days to stay maximize the clean-shaven look. I realize that not every one's got the same taste, but I figured maybe some people of the world held the view I do -- people that look like they've put some effort into grooming themselves are generally more attractive.

There was no tangible result from my experience, but that's what I expected. Instead I got a strengthened sense of how I'm connected with those around me, and how our happiness might be intertwined. All that from some pots.

Using rsnapshot with systemd

Published on August 26, 2016