Category Archives: Life

2016: A Year That Really Sucked

2016-0What a god-awful, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year! For, oh, so many, many reasons:

My Minnesota Twins had the worst season in their franchise history (and now they will probably trade my favorite player, Brian Dozier); a whole bunch of people I cared about, or had some sort of ties to, died in 2016 (and many more I never knew and didn’t have ties to); there was that whole 2016 Presidential election thing (which was deeply awful on many counts, and who knows what will happen now); and let us not forget Syria or Flint, Michigan.

In fact, I’m not sure I can name one good thing about 2016. Except that, maybe, it’s finally over.

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Sideband #60: Tick

Sideband ElectrodeA different, more personal, anniversary… Looking back at the five years of this blog (or, for that matter, the many more years of this blogger), I can’t help but reflect on how man- and mice-plans go astray.

Case in point: Sidebands. Originally, as the name implies, meant as out-of-the-norm posts. True of the first few, but by #41 they’d become too inclusive, not much different from regular posts. The idea needed retooling; it was over a year before I posted #42. (And I added Brain Bubbles for minor-topic or very short posts.)

Since then, I’ve tried to restrict Sidebands to extremely technical topics. (For example, #59. I should have made that tesseract post #60, and today doubly wish I had.)

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On This Day We Remember

911-stampIt’s one of those days you remember better than any birthday or wedding. Those were planned; these hit you suddenly, stunning your mind, breaking your heart. “The shuttle blew up!” “The Towers fell!”

The impact was even greater if you saw it happen in real-time. If you watched the shuttle launches. If you caught the breaking news before the second tower was hit. Saw the second plane, realized at that moment, “This is no accident!”

Even if you saw it after, you saw it; saw it as an attack.

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The Week of Aug 14

notesWith modern live moving at such a fast pace, the span of a week often moves things along rapidly (even when one has deliberately taken the rat race off-ramp). My personal life doesn’t change much (’cause of that whole off-ramp thing), but the world at large careens along in its usual Zippy way

But as I continue the summer project of converting my long-time storage room into an office-library (as intended when I moved in back in 2003), I do unearth long-lost personal archeology finds that take me back. A few bits go back to high school, but a lot of it is from college.

One significant find is from a few years after…

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Weltschmerz

weltschmerz-0When the world hits your eye like a nasty pig sty,… that’s not amore, that’s Weltschmerz (best English translation: “world pain”). It’s a term I’ve been meaning to post about for years, since it — or rather what it defines — lies at the heart of most of my Rant posts. (Yeah, this is another Drafts post I’m finally setting free.)

Fundamentally, it speaks to a disconnect or gulf between what one feels ought to be true in the world compared to what actually is true. Implicit in the term is a moral bias regarding the ought; it doesn’t, for example, apply to the gap between wishing you were rich while being poor.

It seems to me very much a word for our times.

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Future Shock

Future ShockThe other day I saw in a New York Times article that Alvin Toffler had died last month. The article wasn’t really an obituary so much as about Future Shock, the book Toffler wrote back in 1970. If you’re around my age, you may remember him and the book; both were a bit of a big deal.

I hadn’t thought about that book since back then, but as the Times writer points out, “it seems clear that his diagnosis has largely panned out, with local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change.” Truer words! Even in 1970, the technological pace was starting to affect people in bad ways, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better since.

The article really struck a chord! I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately — and have written a few posts — about the growing disconnect between people and their grasp of the technological modern world.

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What The Followers?

off my lawnWhile I’m in a meta mood, there’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for months. It’s particularly apropos as a followup to this year’s Blog Anniversary post, especially as it’s a followup about Followers.

Specifically, the 2,642 of you supposedly following this blog. Often the proper term might be lurkers, but in this case I lean more towards absent drive-bys. There would be more, over three-grand, but ever since WordPress gave bloggers the ability to delete Followers, I’ve been removing obvious spammers (meaning anyone selling anything).

I’ll give you the punchline so you can stop reading: I’m about to remove nearly all of you.

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Wood The Fifth

FiveFive years. (And 602 posts.) Literally a handful of years. (And a heartful.) There is a theory that the Roman numeral V represents a human hand, and the numeral X symbolizes two V hands set point-to-point. It seems obvious that “prisoner’s hash marks” — counting the days in groups of five — owes much to our five-fingered hands.

Five is a human number. Small enough to seem fundamental; big enough to be interesting (two and three are so boring; four is kinda square). Five puts the prime in prime! It’s also part of an easy trick for making large right angles (for laying out fields and building pyramids), and it’s the first substantial anniversary gift (paper, cotton, leather, silk, wood).

Five years ago I started this blog…

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Unalike Minds

mind-0A while back I realized I had an Engineer’s Mind. I’ve always had a sense of that. What I realized was the significance of the Engineer’s Mind category. And of other categories of Mind — for example an Artist’s Mind (which I didn’t discover I also had until high school; see My Life 2.0).

Having a given Mind doesn’t mean one is necessarily good at something (skill takes practice), but it does suggest a predisposition or talent for it. Our minds seem to come pre-wired in two ways: core wiring that makes us human; and “flavor” wiring that gives us (some of our) basic traits. For instance, some people have — or strongly do not to have — a Math Mind.

I’ve found Mind a useful metaphor as well as a game to play.

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Love Song

ValentineI’m not a fan of commercial holidays. In particular, I’m not a fan of the idea of one day a year to mark some emotion or thought I’m supposed to have on schedule. I don’t need a calendar reminder to honor my mother, father, or sweetheart (or to be thankful or charitable).

And I’ve been to the well of romance many times in my time, but (alas) every bucket drawn has evaporated, spilled, or been kicked over. Drought may have dried that well, but I still believe in love.

So for lovers everywhere, a lovely love song…

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