Christmas Carols

I’m generally not one for traditions or custom. I tend to see these as the enemies of thought and imagination. (Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”) I have always craved the new, the roads I haven’t yet traveled. Trying a new restaurant is more fun than revisiting an old haunt.

That said, tradition and custom can act as an anchor, a reference point, or just a comfort. I do have a few customary comforts. For instance, my bottle of champagne on the Solstices (one for sorrow, one for joy). Also, for New Year’s and my blog anniversary.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it’s watching as many versions of A Christmas Carol as I can.

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Quotes and Quips

Still fighting Blog Blah and looking for low hanging fruit to get me back in the habit. Hoping a year-end clearance mode clears the cobwebs. (All ideas and notions 75% off! Everything must go!)

For a while now, I’ve “been meaning to do” a post listing favorite quotes, quips, sayings, and bumper stickers. Pithy idea capsules that clearly and evocatively express singular human experiences. We often gather favorites along the way. Of course, as always, tastes vary.

Here are some of my enduring favorites.

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Bring Back the Sun!

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” Bad enough that it’s three degrees above zero as I write this (with the high today only four degrees). But there’s a winter storm warning in effect until 3:00 AM tomorrow morning. (Severity: Moderate; Possible threat to life or property.) We’ve had 2.3 inches of snow so far with another 7.2 inches expected.

But we’re Minnesotans, and we expect this stuff. Wouldn’t be a proper winter without a bunch of puffy frozen water covering everything. And people scraping various forms of it off their cars. The Minnesota Winter Ballet!

More importantly: Merry Winter Solstice! Less than two hours away as I write this…

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Friday Notes (Dec 16, 2022)

Since my last post, I’ve been metaphorically becalmed. Which might sound nice, but it’s a term sailors use when there’s no wind, and they’re stuck in one place. Lately, I’ve felt as if there was no wind in my sails.

Some of that is seasonal. The short days, and then that damned “falling back” with its even earlier sunsets. The winter cold and the joy/misery of snow. (I genuinely do enjoy getting outside and shoveling, but it gets harder every year. Growing old is a pain.)

I thought maybe I could kickstart myself with a Friday Notes post.

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Turtles All the Way Down

The post I intended for today is taking longer than expected, and I can’t seem to get started on my backup idea (the time change and chilly weather have me in hibernation mode). So instead, here’s my current favorite tune, Turtles All The Way Down, by Sturgill Simpson, from his 2014 album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music:

I first heard this during the closing credits on Hulu’s Reservation Dogs (episode 8, season 2), and it really caught my ear. And mind. Such great lyrics. (Here’s a non-official version with the lyrics.) Enjoy!


John Wick

This weekend I had the immense pleasure of watching all three extant John Wick movies. Part of the pleasure was watching them over the course of only two evenings. While the first film, in multiple ways, stands alone, the latter two (and presumably chapter four coming out next year) tell a single story.

If you like gun fu action thrillers and somehow haven’t seen these, you’ve missed something rather special. The attention to detail, the tactical reality of the fight scenes, and a whole lot more, place these movies, especially the first, among the best of their kind.

They’re a wonderful contrast to what movies seem to have turned into.

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Friday Notes (Nov 11, 2022)

I hadn’t planned to post today, but I can’t resist the allure of 11+11=22. That’s just too tasty. Bonus, it also works in the arguably more sensible European mode of daymonthyear. (Although, as mentioned in the previous Notes, I prefer yearmonthday because it sorts nicely.)

The last two posts were heavy on the math, so I promise (other than the date thing) no math in this one. But since it’s unplanned, it might end up a bit of a ramble.

But then that’s what Friday Notes are for!

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QM 101: Diffusion in 2D

Last time I began exploring the similarity between the Schrödinger equation and a classical heat diffusion equation. In both cases, valid solutions push the high curvature parts of their respective functions towards flatness. The effect is generally an averaging out in whatever space the function occupies.

Both equations involve partial derivatives, and I ignored that in our simple one-dimensional case. Regular derivatives were sufficient. But math in two dimensions, let alone in three, requires partial derivatives.

Which were yet another hill I faced trying to understand physics math. If they are as opaque to you as they were to me, read on…

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QM 101: Heat Diffusion

This is the first of a series of posts exploring the mysterious Schrödinger Equation — a central player of quantum mechanics. Previous QM-101 posts have covered important foundational topics. Now it’s time to begin exploring that infamous, and perhaps intimidating, equation.

We’ll start with something similar, a classical equation that, among other things, governs how heat diffuses through a material. For simplicity, we’ll first consider a one-dimensional example — a thin metal rod. (Not truly one-dimensional, but reasonably close.)

Traveller’s Advisory: Math and graphs ahead!

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Actors, Roles; It’s a Wrap

Over the last nine posts I’ve been pondering the topic of Who Can Play Who when it comes to adaptations of existing works. To wrap things up, and because ten is a magic number to us humans, it seems reasonable to try to boil it all down to something coherent. If that’s even possible.

I find myself conflicted sometimes between what I’ll call a stage play sensibility that allows huge latitude in casting actors versus my sensibilities about live-action adaptations of well-established existing properties.

I think that changes the equation.

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