It’s been a minute or two since my last post. In large part, I’ve been on a three-week coding binge, moving some projects along and doing improvements and minor bug fixes on library code. At this point I’m a bit burned out and definitely over the binge. I don’t get the mood to really tuck in like this much anymore, so when that mood does strike, I surrender to it.
One consequence of not posting is that the longer I’m away from it the harder it seems to start up again. Some part of me finds this unrewarding and unsatisfying, but another part of me enjoys the writing and is drawn to it. Also, I still struggle with maintaining an artificial politeness rather than unleashing my inner guido (and I’m so tempted some days).
Anyway, without further ado, another edition of Friday Notes.
I can start with some nice news for astronomy buffs. Last post I wrote about the, at long last, successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The deployment stages all when without a hitch, and the JWST has arrived at the L2 point and gone into orbit there. Now it’ll continue with mirror alignment, final cooling down, and calibration. A lot of eager and interested people are breathless awaiting first light from this new instrument.
With regard to the cooling down, NASA’s status page for the JWST (now with 3D imaging!) reports that the cold side is down to -340° F (which makes our Minnesota January temps of a mere -10° seem balmy). The sunshield, however, is a whopping 130° — quite toasty. It really demonstrates the importance of that sun shield.
Once again, kudos to all involved!
I also mentioned last time I was going to devote to tossing old clothes long past their trash date. I can report much progress there. All the old socks: gone. Most of the old undies: gone (with the rest slated for one final wear). Lots of shirts and stuff bagged for a trip to Goodwill.
Somehow 2021 seemed a non-year. Perhaps just a much-needed time to pause and catch our breath, but 2022 makes me feel like I need to wake up and get moving again. Between the clothing and the coding, I feel I’m off to a start. (plus BentleyMom and I have already checked out two new burger joints and may try a third this very day).
Yet another synchronicity story: To stave off leg cramps, and because I rather like them, I have a banana every day (at Banana O’clock; 9 am). About a week or so ago, as I had my banana, a fragment of a rock song entered my head — something about God’s Great Banana Skin. I knew I knew the tune but couldn’t think who did it or where I’d heard it.
(Those of you who are musically astute might be there already.)
During my coding binge I happened to put on the two Chris Rhea albums I have, The Road to Hell (1989) and The Best of Chris Rea (1994). I need to buy more of his albums; I really like how diverse and eclectic his work is. Some artists, their stuff sounds mostly the same, they have a clear style. Others explore the music map, and I tend to favor such. The title cut of that first album is one of my all-time favorite rock tunes.
Anyway, I’m coding away and suddenly in my ears, “God’s great banana skin; Don’t you laugh at nobody; You’ll let the bad luck in; God’s great banana skin; It’s the way that it gets you.” Ah, so that’s where I heard it. Makes perfect sense it’d be Chris Rea.
It’s just weird how reality answered the question in my mind. Synchronicity!
During my coding binge I noticed a habit I wish I could break. Or that what drives the behavior didn’t bug me like it does.
The coding involved a lot of web app stuff, and what I noticed is how much I hate having much of a back history trail in my browser. I’m constantly backing up to the first page. Why? Why does that history annoy me so much?
I do the same thing with Windows Explorer windows. If I do much clicking around, at some point the accumulating history begins to bug me, and I back, back, back back, omg why am I doing this, back, back, back,… arg!
It may have something to do with how I use the history to move back and forth between windows. When it gets too big, I lose track of where I am. Or, as I’ve sometimes suspected, I’m somewhere on “the spectrum” and this is just my OCD manifesting itself.
Or maybe, when it comes to my computer work, I’m just hyper-organized and neat (which is astonishing, since there’s little sign of that in my personal life; apparently all my OCD gets channeled into my work where I am, indeed, obsessive).
My email inboxes? Never more than a dozen emails. All the rest are deleted or neatly sorted in appropriate folders. My desktop? Four icons. I look at people who have a desktop covered in icons and wonder how they find anything.
I had a manager once that, looking over his shoulder, I saw had over 1000 emails in his inbox. How, I wondered, is that even possible?
I hear about “tab managers” and other strategies for managing all those browser tabs people apparently have open (like all the time?). I have six open now, and that’s about as much as I ever do. I can’t even understand why someone would have enough tabs open to be a problem. I just close windows I’m not using.
In retrospect, it’s obvious, but recently I found myself noticing that winter seemed long. That was when the obvious hit me. Of course winter (and summer) are long, while spring and fall are fast. It has to do with the rate of change.
Winter and summer are, in a sense, stable states, whereas fall and spring are transitory ones, so of course winter and summer seem long or languid, but spring and fall seem to rush by.
It’s not imagination or mere perception. It’s a real thing.
Little things amuse me sometimes. I noticed my (analog) clock read 5:05, yet despite both the hour and the minutes being “5” the clock hands were in quite different positions. Somehow, it almost seems they should both point to five.
But clock faces don’t work like that. The numbers are just the hours, nothing more, whereas the minutes require a tiny bit of thinking to equate “1” with “5 minutes past the hour.” (People who say they don’t do math… we actually do math all the time!)
On the flip side, when it’s 8:40 — very different hour and minute values — both hands are pointing the same way (at the “8”).
Bottom line, it’s nice that, after 65+ cynical years, even the most mundane things in the world, if you stop and let them in, can delight and surprise. The trick is not getting too locked into the rhythms of your chosen life.
Stay safe, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.