Oracle Scratchpad

October 18, 2012

Philosophy 19

Filed under: Philosophy — Jonathan Lewis @ 6:13 pm BST Oct 18,2012

We’ve reached that time of year (Autumn, or Fall if you prefer the American term) when I’m reminded that tending a garden is like tending an Oracle database.

This is a picture of the oak tree on my front lawn, taken about 4 hours ago. Looking at it now it shows hardly any sign of the coming winter and little of the colour that let’s you know it’s preparing to drop its huge volume of leaves, but yesterday morning I spent the best part of an hour raking up leaves that had dropped over the course of the previous week.

Over the next six weeks, I’ll be out be out with my leaf rake every few days to clean up the mess – and I’ll look down at the mess that’s on the ground, then look up at the mess that’s waiting to join it, and then I’ll do just enough work to make the lawn look just good enough to keep my wife happy for a few more days until I get sent out to do it all over again.

You can spot the analogy, of course – it’s important to think about how much effort it’s worth spending to get to an end result which is good enough for long enough. There’s no point in spending a huge amount of effort getting a fantastic result that is going to be obliterated almost immediately by the next problem that gets dumped in your lap. When the tree is nearly bare, I’ll do a thorough job of clearing the leaves, until then, 95% is easy enough, and good enough.

Footnote: avid arboriculturalists might wonder why the tree is lop-sided – being a little light on the side towards the road – it’s the sort of thing that happens when a tree gets hit by a lorry.


  1. Reblogged this on lava kafle kathmandu nepal.

    Comment by lkafle — October 19, 2012 @ 3:29 am BST Oct 19,2012 | Reply

  2. Jonathan ,

    Fall is actually the Old English word for this time of year.
    Autumn au contraire is the Old French word for the same season.
    A bitter pill to swallow but the Americans are more English than us on this one :-)
    I think this may be an ORA-1066 error ?

    Comment by Ron — October 19, 2012 @ 9:17 am BST Oct 19,2012 | Reply

    • don’t forget what G.B. Shaw said about America and England: two countries separated by a common language :-)

      Comment by Flavio — October 19, 2012 @ 2:30 pm BST Oct 19,2012 | Reply

  3. That must have been a really big bird!

    I have a Chinaberry tree in my yard that has split in half. I need to get out there with my chainsaw and facemask on Halloween – again.

    Comment by jgarry — October 19, 2012 @ 10:08 pm BST Oct 19,2012 | Reply

  4. One non-American British word that i could immediately pick out was “Lorry”

    Comment by srivenu kadiyala — November 13, 2012 @ 7:10 pm GMT Nov 13,2012 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Comments and related questions are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Powered by

%d bloggers like this: