30 September 2007


Kate Messner is a wonderful writer who lives across the street from my folks. She just published Spitfire, a great little historical fiction book about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to fight in the Revolutionary War on Lake Champlain. I had the chance to read part of it this summer and it's remarkable (can't wait to get a copy and read the rest).

Interestingly, the Spitfire (one of Benedict Arnold's gunboats) has a little cameo in my book The Boomer Sisters Meet Champy. Small world! Small lake!

Do check out Kate's blog and read about the wonderful success she's having with her books... then pick up a copy of Spitfire. It's good stuff!

I'll read it...

OK, here's one more incentive, for anyone sitting on the fence and not sure if you really want to try to write a novel in 30 days this November: If you join me in NaNoWriMo 2007 and write a novel (drumroll please): Send me a copy and I'll read it and I'll like it! I promise!

In fact, I'll even send you an email afterwards, telling you how much I enjoyed it. I'll be specific and encouraging and tell you you did good (even if the only thing I can think of is that I liked your choice of font).

So, whatta ya think, Kim (both Kim's)? How about you, Deb? Michelle? Tori? Ulla? Elena - aka French Toast Girl? Mandy? (Gosh, are all my blogreaders girls?)? Oh, and Glenn, I know you're out there - but you're already working on a novel, right? Mark - I've seen what you can write - come do this thing. Quaid & Gabe, you're already signed up - so go ask Stacey and Michele to do one too (or would two novelists in one house be just a little too crazy? I mean, who would cook?). How about you, Rhett? Rev? Andy? Eric? Mom? Dad? Come on, it'll be fun!

And any other lurkers out there?

Write a novel in 30 days. At least give it a try. You won't regret it, I promise. (seriously, can you imagine looking back on Dec 1st and thinking "Wow, I really wish I hadn't tried this."?)

29 September 2007

Write a novel with me!

OK, I'm talking myself into doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, even though my schedule for Nov is a big unknown. I really have no idea how much homework & studying I'll need to do - but I figure, NaNoWriMo is crazy any year, so why should this year be any different?

I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it. And I'm inviting you to join me. You can get the details at the NaNoWriMo website, but here are a few tips from me:

1) Don't wait for a year or month when you think it'll be easy. It's never easy. It's not supposed to be easy. If this year isn't convenient, there's no reason to believe next year would be any more conveninet.

2) Spend the month of Oct thinking about the plot, characters, etc, and generally getting yourself ready. Collect ideas, names, events, twists, and whatever else you might need (all you really need is an interesting character or two, a starting point and an ending to shoot for. The rest will take care of itself). Decide if you're going to compose on paper (that's my suggestion) or on a computer (yeah, that works too).

3) Commit to writing every day in the month of Nov (I historically gave myself Sunday's off). Good writing is just bad writing rewritten, so give yourself permission to write terribly, knowing you can always go back and fix it later. Shorter sentences are usually better. The word "that" can almost always be deleted.

4) Take an interesting character and put him/her in as much peril as possible. Let nothing work out for him/her (until the end). That's a decent formula for comedy or drama, depending on how you spin it.

5) Have fun with it! Nobody is paying you to do this novel, your livelihood doesn't depend on it, there's no pressure - it's just for fun, so make sure you enjoy yourself. Go overboard! Neglect housework and sleep (you can sleep and clean in December).

Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org, and you'll get motivational messages throughout the month of November from authors like Tom Robbins. Yes, I said Tom Robbins (he's amazing - read "How To Write Like Tom Robbins" for more info on him).

Dylan Movie Generator

If you're my age, you're probably more familiar with INXS's video than Bob Dylan's, but apparently this Bob guy was the original version (heh).

Anyway, now there's a Bob Dylan Video Generator, where you can create your own message on those big white cards (as a way of spreading the word about Mr. Dylan's latest CD).

It's clever, catchy and fun. Give it a try!

28 September 2007

Damn, I'm Glad He Thought Of That...

My Simplicity Cycle got a mention on Andy Sernovitz's blog ("Damn, I Wish I'd Thought Of That!"). He had some very nice things to say about the book, and gave a nice brief description of the crazy little guerilla marketing experiment we're running.

Too fun!

NaNoWriMo 2007 and you?

Follow-up thought to my previous post - if I can't do NaNoWriMo this year, will you do it in my place?

Think about it... It's really a lot of fun!

NaNoWriMo 2007???

National Novel Writing Month is coming soon (November), and I'm not sure yet if I'm going to be able to do it. Not for lack of ideas, to be sure. That's never been the problem. I just don't know what my school life will be like, how intensive the classes, homework, etc will be - and I'm not sure when / whether I'd be able to set aside some time to write 30,000+ words.

In previous NaNoWriMo's, I'd get up around 5 and write for an hour or so each day before getting myself ready for work. Now I'm getting up at 5:30 on a regular day, to grab a quick shower before the kid's wake up... and then I get them both ready for school. So yeah, I could bump it up to a 4:30 wakeup time, but even for me, that's an uncivilized hour.

My new classes start on 1 Oct, so I'll have a few weeks to try and figure out if I can make it work. My daily schedule currently appears to have time during the day when I could write, at least theoretically. But I might need all that time for homework & studying. Or maybe I'll need to take a break from Systems Engineering periodically, and a fairytale novel might be just the thing.

I hope to be able to make a decision by 15 Oct. More to follow.

(I'm just so glad I already finished the third Boomer Sisters novel - the illustrations are currently underway, and the whole thing will be ready by Christmas, if not sooner).

Not dead yet...

Turns out my cold was just a flesh wound. I'm feeling better. I think I'll go for a walk.

I feel happy...

26 September 2007

So This Is Sickness...

I never get sick. I can't actually recall the last time I even had a cold. And when I do get the occasional cough or something, I just lay down for a few hours and then I'm all better.

Not this time.

Oh, I feel terrible. Fever, chills, headache, sore throat, fatigue... holy cow. I've already missed two days of work, and I'm going to miss tomorrow too. I know I'm very fortunate to have good health care (for all we complain about military health care, it's really not bad). I'm also very fortunate to have a beautiful wife here to take care of me and bring me medicine, take care of the kids, etc. And I'm fortunate that I'm able to miss work with no negative impact.

But my body sure doesn't feel very lucky right now. I know I'm not going to die or anything (it's just a cold), and maybe I'm one more example of guys being babies when they get sick, but wow, I feel awful. Back to bed for me now.

25 September 2007

Dan Ward's Day Off

I stayed home from school today, 'cause I was feeling sick. But first I got the kids off to school, 'cause they were feeling better. And once they were gone, I took a nap, then watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

What a great movie, and not just because of that snazzy sweater vest Ferris wears. It's a real touchstone film for my generation, and I think we all wanted to be Ferris (at least, I did). It was a perfect thing to watch on a stay-home-from-school sort of day.

I got a real kick out of seeing Ben Stein describe his scene (love those DVD extra's!) - apparently it was all improv'd, he'd never acted before, and to this day, he thinks his lecture about... anyone? anyone? the Depression... is actually interesting. He also commented that when he dies, the commentators won't talk about his 30 books or going to Yale Law, or writing a column for the WS Journal. Nope - they'll just say "Beuller... Beuller..." and that's alright with him.

It was a lot of fun to watch it again, both for the parts I remembered and the parts I'd forgotten. Of course, I would have much rather gone out to a fancy restaurant, caught a ball at a baseball game, looked at priceless works of art and then hopped up onto a parade float and sang some crazy songs, but unlike Ferris, I really was sick today.

24 September 2007

The Little Rock 9

Fifty years ago today, on September 24 1957, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock AR, in order to enforce school integration and protect the nine African American students who had enrolled at Little Rock Central High. Eisenhower also federalized the entire 10,000 member Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of the hands of Governor Faubus (who wasn't exactly cooperating with the whole integration thing). This is a story we should all review and ponder, in my opinion. It's an important historical event.

Instead, the news these days is full of stories about the "Jena 6," a name which seems to be an attempt to draw a comparison to the Little Rock 9. I don't claim to know all the details of either case, but it doesn't seem quite appropriate. The Little Rock 9 were fighting for civil rights. The Jena 6 were just fighting - and in a six-on-one fight, they beat some guy unconscious.

Yes, I know about the nooses and the "white's only" tree - that situation obviously wasn't handled well by anyone involved. Yes, the charges filed against these kids seem excessive, but it's worth noting that the only one who was actually tried had his conviction overturned. I agree, the justice system didn't work the way it should. It certainly seems like these kids were treated badly because of the color of their skin - and we can't sit back and let that happen. But is it really wise to hold up the Jena 6 as a civil rights rally point? They got a raw deal, yes, and we shouldn't tolerate or excuse it. But these six kids aren't exactly civil rights heroes. Not like the Little Rock 9. Not by a long shot.

Welcome home!

My lovely wife just returned from 5 days at the Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS) convention in Orlando, FL. We try to make sure Kim gets a getaway like this a few times a year, and while the MOPS convention isn't exactly a vacation (she's a Council Coordinator, so she had work to do at the convention), it's a nice change of pace from normal life.

Naturally, both kids came down with colds while she was gone, so all three of us missed school ('cause I had to stay home with them). We had a good time anyway, but weren't able to go out and do some of the things I'd had planned. Oh well!

And the funniest thing happened when Kim got home. The kids were tucked in bed, Kim and I were talking, and all of a sudden I got very, very tired. Like, bone tired - out of nowhere. It was like my body was saying "OK, she's home now, so we can shut down." After 5 days of constant care for two sick kids, where I was on alert 24X7 (well, 24X5)... I guess I was more wound up than I thought, and now that Kim was back, all that tension could go away.

I know this is something that moms experience all the time (I've been known to have an occasional business trip of my own), but it was interesting to go through it first hand myself.

Oh, and now I have the kid's cold... :)

23 September 2007

Very cool music

I've always been a fan of obscure, alternative music (back when "alternative" meant outside the mainstream). So I was thrilled to find WYSO's radio show Excursions. They play a remarkably eclectic variety of really good music I've never heard before, along with some stuff I'm familiar with...

One of the bands I've recently discovered is The Real Tuesday Weld, described as "oddball electronica meets Tin Pan Alley." Check them out on MySpace, and don't miss the song Bathtime In Clerkenwell. Holy cow it's catchy, fun, stick-in-your-head kind of music (and my kids like it too, even though none of us can make out a single lyric - which I think is sort of the point).

Anyway, it's cool to find this music out here in Ohio, of all places.

Farming Questions

When we first moved here a month ago, I loved driving past all the vibrant green cornfields and beanfields. It's cool to be in the middle of agriculture - sort of helps me remember where the food comes from, ya know?

But now I'm driving past bone-dry, yellow fields of corn and beans. It sure looks like the plants are dead (but I'm not a farmer, so I could be mistaken). And I know my own lawn isn't exactly growing much, which is cool because I don't have to mow it very often (and I don't need to eat the grass).

But the dry yellow crops leave me with many questions. Are the crops really as dead as they look, or is this what it's supposed to look like this time of year? And if they really did dry up and die, is irrigation really that expensive, difficult, etc (i.e. more expensive than losing the whole crop)? Or is this an area where irrigation is normally not needed, but Global Warming came along this summer and that extra two degrees dried up all the crops? Or is this just a normal part of farm life - some years, the crops get all dried up, so you try again next year? How does the economics of this work?

Any thoughts?

21 September 2007


I saw a pair of F-16 fighter jets flying yesterday, and my girls asked where they were going to fight. I said they weren't going to fight anyone today - they were probably just going to practice. And then it hit me that being a fighter pilot is sort of like having a blackbelt in karate.

It's an admirable accomplishment, achieved by only a few. It's the result of a lot of work and training. It's impressive, teaches valuable skills like strength, patience, teamwork, etc, etc... but from a combat perspective it's also sort of irrelevant, because nobody really fights that way these days.

Yes, fighter pilots do engage in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not of the air-to-air variety. Their mission is almost 100% air-to-ground, and while that has its own challenges and dangers, it's not the same as an old-fashioned dogfight. I'm probably oversimplifying things a bit... but only a bit.

Feed the bees...

Our hummingbird feeder has become a bee-and-ant feeder. Bummer! We've seen the bee's chase the hummingbirds away, and haven't seen any birds lately at all.

We've tried a few tricks, like taking the feeder down for a while. We keep a spraybottle full of water near the window to spray bees when they're on the feeder. But still, it's been a while since I've seen any birds there... until this morning, when I saw one for a few seconds.

I'm glad to see the birds haven't given up on the feeder entirely. And I wonder why I'd rather feed the hummingbirds than the bees. I think I know why, but it is a bit funny...

20 September 2007

More photos

I don't have a "before" picture, but here's the after:

And here's the pile of brush:

The Joy of Saws

The front of our house was covered by a row of large cedar bushes. They blocked the front windows (and looked terrible from inside), so we decided to cut them down.

So I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon with a saw, cutting the bushes down. After spending most of the morning in front of the computer, it was great to go outside and do some sweaty, hard physical work. I really enjoyed doing it, in part because it was actually accomplishing something.

Some neighbors stopped by with an electric chainsaw, but fortunately I'd already cut down all but one of the bushes. To be polite (and out of curiosity), I used the chainsaw on the last bush. It was faster, yes, but not nearly as satisfying. It was noisy, and then the chain slipped off the gear as I was making the last cut (user error, I'm sure).

The guys who are installing our fence are going to haul away the brush and cut the stumps down (pretty sure they're going to use a chainsaw).

19 September 2007

The Problem Of The Rich

It's funny how often we (I!) would rather accept the spiritual dangers of physical wealth rather than accept the physical dangers of spiritual wealth... as if the physical world was somehow more real, more important or more lasting than the spiritual. I know, I know, it sure seems like it's more real, important, etc... I can hardly blame those who have that world view (that's me letting myself off the hook).

However, wise people across the entire spectrum of human history, geography and theology seem to concur that physical prosperity comes with some significant risk and an attachment to riches is not a good thing. Yeah, I know about the "prosperity gospel" types who say wealth is a sign of God's blessing... but I wouldn't put them in the "wise people" category.

Along those lines here are some interesting ideas from the Apr/May 2007 issue of Gilbert Magazine (please, go get a subscription if you haven't already!):

Why should not the poor visit the rich...? Chesterton was not concerned with their visiting the rich to learn how to be rich and how not to be poor. He though rather that the poor could teach the rich the dangers of being rich, something rather often mentioned in the New Testament...

The great "need" of the age of "philanthropy," Chestertson thinks, is a series of "missions to the rich," not to the poor. After close observance of the rich and their actual lives, "their gloomy, cynical, and lawless lives," one may still catch glimmers of hope in the lives of the rich. The great problem is to concentrate on the problems of the rich, not the poor.

The real problem of the poor is not primarily how to become rich. The problem of the rich is not necessarily how to become poor but how to become virtuous, whether rich or poor. The poor have something to teach the rich about the danger of riches. Chesterton says someplace else that the New Testament teaches that the worst environment for a man's soul is the environment of the rich.

Someday maybe I'll write a story about a convocation of poor people, having a conference to decide how to help address the needs of the rich... I'll probably write it, because I think I'd like to read that story.

18 September 2007

It's 11:30....

Saw a show the other week about SNL - sort of a retrospective, with lots of interviews with previous cast members, etc. It was a fun show (I love hearing creative people talk about their projects, processes, etc), but one line in particular jumped out at me.

Lorne Michaels , creator of SNL, said "We don't go on because it's ready. We go on because it's 11:30." He also said something about television with mistakes (i.e. live television) being more interesting than the polished, "perfect" recorded stuff...

I love the idea of moving out, doing something, doing your thing, just because it's time and the show must go on, not because you think it's all perfect and ready. There's something magic about that kind of pressure.

(and speaking of live television, remember when shows used to say "This show was filmed before a studio audience," as the opening credits rolled? Why did they feel compelled to tell us that, and why/when did they stop?)

16 September 2007

Much better!

Whew - church this morning was great. The usual pastor was back, and I do mean B-A-C-K! He hit so many of the Emerging Church touchpoints, it was almost like we were back in NY. Stuff like "we're not here to play church," and "the problem isn't a lack of knowledge, it's a lack of action." And we're supposed to be loving and serving people - that's what loving and serving God looks like.

The fancy words (which he didn't use) are orthopraxy and orthodoxy. The Emerging Church says orthopraxy (right living) is just as important as ortodoxy (right doctrine)... while traditional Evangelicalism has a tendency to emphasize the doctrine a wee-bit too much (occasionally to the point of questioning whether or not a person like Mother Theresa, for example, is "really saved," because we're not sure if she's "prayed the prayer." Yikes!). The thing is, we can make a mental assent to all sorts of doctrines and theological statements, but whether we actually believe it or not is proven by our lives and our interactions with the people around us.

Anyway, the pastor talked about Mother Theresa and Gandhi as examples of leaders who really put their beliefs into action, put others first, did not rely on positions of power, formal education, money, etc. He made me a bit nervous when he described leadership as being "influence," (without quoting my second-least-favorite-writer-in-the-world John Maxwell by name, thank goodness), but then went on to explain leadership in terms that lined up nicely with Kevin Cashman's definition of leadership: authentic self expression that creates value (best definition of leadership ever! Read my Punk Rock article from two years ago for more details).

Bottom line -I think we're going to stay with this place. The kid's program is great, the community is warm and active, and I think it's where we're supposed to be.

That's a beautiful thing.

15 September 2007

Learning Turkish

Two guys in my section are exchange officers from Turkey, so I'm picking up a few Turkish phrases. So far, I can say Hello, Good Morning, How are you?, I don't understand, That's all, I live in Istanbul, What is your name, Yes, and I would like some batteries. It's a real kick.

But the really fun part is seeing English through their eyes. In conversation with them, I'm forcefully aware of how many figures of speech and colloquialisms we use. "You're twisting my arm," for example. So I'm becoming more aware of what I say and how I say it. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for them to sit in classrooms, particularly when the instructors handwriting on the whiteboard is illegible. Thank goodness for powerpoint charts (never thought I'd write that phrase!).

14 September 2007

Changing Plans

When we moved to Ohio, we signed up for Vonage for our phone service. Sounded like a good idea at the time.

We're changing our phone service today, because, in a nutshell, Vonage wasn't working. Like, people would call and get a "that number is not in service" message (instead of going to voicemail). Or we'd be in the middle of a call and it would get dropped, because someone in the house opened up a new window of IE Explorer. It's not supposed to work that way.

Ciao, Vonage.

Change of plans...

So I've been thinking about writing a swords & sorcery novel (Rogue Swords) for a while. I've mentioned it here once or twice, and did a little initial work on it (characters, parts of the plot, etc).

But I think I'm going to put it (back) on the back burner, and writing something else instead.

We went to see Stardust last night - what a cool movie! And afterwards, I sort of got some inspiration for the fairytale I've been thinking about, The Helper In The Sun.

The funny thing is, the fairytale started out with the title. Last night I finally figured out what the title means. I discovered who the Helper is, so it's starting to come together. Most significantly, I figured out why I'm writing the story.

One of the things slowing me down on the Rogue Swords book was that I didn't know why I was writing it (other than that it might be fun), or who I was writing it for. With the Helper story, I know I've got at least two readers automatically (my kids). I know what the point is and I know my motivation. Maybe I'll have a reason to write the Rogue Swords book someday, but not just yet...

More to follow!

13 September 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my lovely wife!

12 September 2007

Oh No!

One of the hardest things about moving is leaving behind our church and trying to find a new one in the new location (and hooking up the drier vent is a close second).

We loved our church in NY, and as I've mentioned, it was an "emerging church" sort of place. This whole emerging thing is still sort of new and rare and small, making it a bit more difficult than ususal to find a place.

Two Sundays ago we went to a church and it felt like a really good fit. It's fairly evangelical in a lot of ways, but had many emerging-ish attributes. And then this past Sunday we went back and it wasn't good. Not good at all. Like, it made my skin crawl and made me want to get up and leave. There was a guest preacher, a good-ole-boy football coach with an old-time-religion sort of approach. I'm sure he's a nice guy and he loves Jesus and all that, but yikes.

I hope this coming week is better...

10 September 2007

Decisiveness, Writing & Leadership

I'm starting to do some layout work for the sword & sorcery novel idea I've been kicking around. So far, I'm sketching out the characters, the world and starting the plot. I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm struck by how many decisions are required when you write a novel.

The author has to bring a lot to the table, and has to decide everything. What's the weather like? What's the geography? What are the names of the main characters, the minor characters? Which ones don't get names? What weather doesn't get mentioned? How much detail do you provide, how much do you not include?

And then you get to live with the consequences of your decisions. The early decisions become building blocks for later decisions... and you have to know when to go back and revisit / undo some of those decisions.

So it struck me that writing a novel has a real parallel to leadership. I generally dislike talking about Capital-L Leadership (because so much that's written about it is junk)... but just this once, I'll say that if you want to hone your leadership skills, consider writing a novel.

08 September 2007

Fun With Java

One of the "refresher" courses I'm taking this month is on Object Oriented Design. I put refresher in quotes, because I've never done anything with Java before, so it's more of an introduction than a refresher. I mention it because our textbook is O'Reilly's "Head First Java."

It's the best text book I've ever had.

It's funny, snarky, engaging and wonderfully illustrated. In fact, I'm even taking a quick break from reading it to blog about it.

Here's an example of why I love the book. They're explaining that "methods can return values," and the example they provide looks like this:

int theSecret=life. giveSecret() ;
int giveSecret() {
return 42;

This example is hilarious in a geeky, rather subtle & obscure way. Do you see the humor there? If not, you probably haven't read Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That book reveals that the secret to life is 42...

Little things like that really make me pay attention to the examples, looking for more hidden reference to geek pop culture, etc. It's a remarkably effective approach to this whole thing. It's a great design.

OK, back to studying now.

06 September 2007

New Mornings

Now that school has started for everyone (me and both kids), I'm getting used to the new morning schedule. I'm struck by how early I have to get up and how late my morning actually starts.

That is, I'm struck by how late *my* morning starts... I'm up by 5:30 (or a bit later), and after a quick shower, shave, etc, I go make sure B is up and dressed (by around 6:15)... J gets up a lot easier. Then it's time to get the kids dressed, fed, combed, make lunches, etc, and get out the door by 7 to put B on the bus... back inside for a quick look at email while J watches Mr. Rogers, and around 7:50 we head out to J's school... then I finally get to my own campus by 8:30, for a 9am class...

So there's a lot going on before I'm able to really start doing my stuff... Whew!

Death By Bullets

The latest issue of Defense At&L is posted online, and my "Death By Bullets" film-noir-style story is in it. I wasn't able to grab the link to the actual article -just the link to the list of articles, so you'll have to scroll down a bit...

I just re-read it, and it still makes me laugh. I hope you enjoy it!

05 September 2007

Rediscovering Mr. Rogers


My 4 year old has recently started watching Mr. Rogers in the mornings. She talks about him being her neighbor, etc. The other afternoon, we were talking about Mr. Rogers and she said "He told me he was going to have some new ideas for me." (from the ending song).

I've been able to watch it with her lately too, which is great. I'm struck by how good and relevant and engaging the show still is. I've also noticed that Mr. Rogers had an interesting physicality - he often looks sort of awkward... child-like, even. The way he handles materials and objects, the way he interacts with his world - I wonder if that's just the way he was naturally, or if he was intentionally moving around the way a kid moves.

Anyway, it's a heck of a show. If you haven't watched it lately, I recommend checking it out, for old time's sake.

01 September 2007

Fractal Simplicity

The boundary of the Mandelbrot set is a famous example of a fractal.

I've been thinking about something Terry Bleizeffer wrote in the review of my Simplicity Cycle. Actually, it's two things, but they're basically revolving around a single idea.

"...different parts of a product are probably following their own paths - some in simplify mode and some in add feature mode, so a single line doesn't really represent a whole product."


"The place where complexity becomes too much is different for different users (and sometimes radically different). So the graph is really representing the perspective of one user group.

These are very insightful observations, and I rather agree with both of them. But, here's the missing piece, which I should probably add if/when I do a revised version of the book: The Simplicity Cycle is sort of like a fractal. (Ironically, Wikipedia says fractals are "infinitely complex").

That is, if you zoom in on a product, experience, design, system, etc, you'll find the sub-parts go through a similar cycle, perhaps on their own somewhat-independent timeline. A single chart actually does represent a whole product - but it doesn't necessarily represent each sub system, because the sub-systems have their own cycles. As Terry pointed out, the graph certainly represents the perspective of one user or one user group - but it can also scale up to represent the perspective of a very large user group.

My point is this: it's not an either-or situation. In a large-scale design effort, the Simplicity Cycle describes what happens to the entire system, the larger "system of systems" and the smaller sub-systems... not that they all go through the cycle at the same time or in the same way, just that they all go through it.

As a general rule, I'm pretty skeptical of bivalent logic and the "law of the excluded middle." I guess it's my post-modern roots showing through, but it seems to me that life is seldom an either-or proposition.