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It is one of my favorite quotes from both the book and the film, Little Big Man. Grandfather does the magic chant and dance, and when it is done, says, "Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't."

I am working on a report. Off and on, I've been working on this report for about six months actual time and over a year calendar time. Originally it was to provide data to someone who no longer works here. Maybe he got tired of waiting for the data. I don't know. It's a report that is looking for a lot of data and I won't bore you with what the data is for that reason and because, well, frankly, I can't tell you.

I have put this report together three different times now, starting from three different directions which is sort of interesting in itself, because no matter what, I need to go back to the same "closets" where the data lives. I start asking for simple parts, and the magic works. I add some more parts, and the magic works. A couple more things get mixed in, and still the magic works.

Then I add just one more thing... and the report breaks. The magic doesn't work anymore. The data is all still there, but I can't lure it out of the closets anymore, can't tease it with enough curiosity to come out and play.

Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't know why.

ETA: Nudged in one more connection. It worked. I don't know why. Nudged in another connection. It worked too. I don't know why. The two connections come from a common point. Didn't work when I added them together. I don't know why.

Do you note a trend here? I don't know why.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 6th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
"Open the bay doors, HAL."
"Sorry, I can't do that."
May. 6th, 2005 08:09 am (UTC)
Exactly! And we all know what happened to HAL, don't we?
May. 6th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
A quote from my statistics teacher in grad school, of a poem called "The Secret Sit"--

"We dance around the ring
and suppose.
The secret smiles in the middle--
and knows."
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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