Category Archives: Life

So Now It’s 2022

That’s weird to me. I’m from the 1950s and can measure my life in scores of years (three-and-mumble). I was an avid science fiction reader by the 1960s, so recall an era where we wondered if the year 1984, let alone 2001, would be anything like the famous book.

As it turned out, in both cases: No. Respectively fortunate and unfortunate. The future turned out less extreme (but no less “interesting”). Both demonstrate the difficulty of prediction, a problem science fiction illustrates more often than not.

That said, the other face of Janus looks forward…

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Blog Stats 2021

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful Chillaxmas. Yesterday was the last of the Twelve Days, so now it’s time to wash the dishes, take down the lights, and toss out the tree (or disassemble it, box it, and return it to the attic or basement, whichever applies).

Now it’s time to put on our two-way Janus hats to look backwards at Old Man 2021 as well as forwards at Infant 2022.

It’s also time to indulge (if not wallow) in my lust for data and charts.

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Laptop, Take 3

Friends and regular readers (all three of you) know about my struggles with the Dell XPS 15 laptop I bought in 2019 to replace my Sony Vaio laptop. After access to work machines since the 1980s, that Sony was the first laptop I had to buy in retirement.

It had its issues, but was great compared to the Dell, which, in retrospect, was a lemon from the start. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how broken its wireless system was until after the warranty period. Twice I found a way to improve things to usable, but recently it returned to unusable. And then wouldn’t boot at all.

So I went and bought an HP Envy laptop.

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Winter Has Arrived

I get a kick from the patterns of life. They don’t always mean anything, but they can be fun to notice. For example, nine years ago I posted Instant Winter, which, among other things celebrates the tiny (meaningless) pattern of the date that day: 12-12-12 (You can arrange the year-month-day any which way you like!) Nine years later, it’s December 12th again, but the year is backwards: 12-12-21

12-12-21 after much shoveling. It was up to 3 feet in places!

That post also celebrated, as its name says, the sudden arrival of winter (late as usual these days). And per that, it arrived late again this year, but when it finally did show up it, came in with a bang (I don’t know about lions in March, but December seems to roar).

11-25-21 and not a drop of snow in sight!

It didn’t come anywhere close to snowing for Halloween, and there wasn’t a flake in sight for Thanksgiving, but it seems certain we’ll have a ton of the stuff for Christmas! Winter and snow cause all sorts of small issues, but many years of conditioning have linked snow and Christmas for me.

12-7-21 It always starts so softly and innocently…

Time to break out the shovels!

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In other news, I’ve been reading books and watching TV shows, and I’d love to tell you about them, but I’ve already gone on long enough for one post.

Stay warm, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.


My Old Top Ten

Recently I read a blog post that discussed those “ten ways to do X” lists (which raises a question of how many things even have ten reasonable ways of doing them). It reminded me of a blogger I knew when I first started here who had a blog that only posted lists of ten things. And that reminded me of David Letterman’s Top Ten lists.

Which led to remembering my own Top Ten Things in Life list from many years back (30, at least). Since this blog is, in part, my scrawl in the internet wall, I realized it’s exactly the sort of thing I should document here.

I thought I’d also toss in a bunch of other favorites to fill out the post.

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Undecided

I can’t decide which I like best, this one:

With its lovely sunset and notion of into it comma driving off. On the other hand, I also like the implied “many mountains to climb” optimism of this one:

Not to mention the bright sunshine and blue skies. At first glance I thought that was Shiprock dead ahead, but Route 66 runs far south of it (and Shiprock is way more majestic). I also like how old and scuffed up that sign is. I know the feeling. 😉

Stay driving, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.


20 Years Ago Today

Twenty years ago today I was at work, and the world was largely as it had always been: sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful. As it had always been.

As I worked at my desk I slowly became aware of a general level of commotion coming from our “TV area” (an area nearby where we sometimes met for meetings). The commotion continued, but I knew we had no meetings scheduled that morning.  Eventually I got up to see what was going on.

As I approached, it was apparent that most of the department was there; a couple of the guys were standing in the doorway. I rounded the corner and looked in and saw the TV screen just in time to see (a replay of) the second tower falling.

That was my first contact with 9/11. Seeing the second tower fall.

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Ten Years Blog

So, ten years. Over a thousand posts (1,142). Over a million words (1,381,652). Many different topics, from science fiction to science physics — those two representing both a key duality and a crucial commonality in my worldview.

What they have in common is the science — a fundamental aspect of my life almost from day one (My first two words were “star” and “light” — a prescience that both amazes and amuses me.) The duality is between fiction and physics — more generally between art and the aforementioned science. While this aspect goes back only to high school, it has become just as fundamental. The Yin-Yang of physics and humanity.

Throw in a love of books, TV shows, and movies, plus a fascination with mathematics, computers, and human consciousness, and this blog has had a lot of ground to cover. Arguably too much.

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Solar Derivative

Today is the first Earth-Solar event of 2021 — the Vernal Equinox. It happened early in the USA: 5:37 AM on the east coast, 2:37 AM on the west coast. Here in Minnesota, it happened at 4:37 AM. It marks the first official day of Spring — time to switch from winter coats to lighter jackets!

Have you ever thought the Solstices seem more static than the Equinoxes? The Winter Solstice particularly, awaiting the sun’s return, does it seem like the change in sunrise and sunset time seems stalled?

If you have, you’re not wrong. Here’s why…

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Happy Chocolate Day!

If you know me, you know I’m not much a fan of official holidays, especially those that seem a bit on the artificial side (although National Waffle Day is something I would celebrate). That said, I’m not entirely untouched by a holiday that demands chocolates. Or roses, one of the very few flowers I do love. (Rose gardens are awesome.)

So I was delighted to see that, not only do Minnesotans have good sensibilities when it comes to voting politically, we also have good sensibilities when selecting our favorite Valentine’s Day candy.

See full map below. ION: Saw a cool new SF movie last night!

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