Posted by: David | March 23, 2016

Reformulations

On approach toward an ominous birthday. Thank heaven for grandchildren! They really help to soften the blows. Thirty was a little iffy, fifty was nothing, but sixty’s approach feels more fraught. Not sure why. It’s been a glide-path forever. Ascending? Descending? All that’s certain is that it’s unpowered flight, at the mercy of time and the wind.

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In preparation for this, some routines have been re-calibrated. For example, underwear. The white cotton briefs worn for five-plus decades have been replaced by boxer briefs. They are black and gray. And surprisingly comfortable.

The weekday breakfast routine has gone from 1/3 cup rolled oats + 2 tablespoons flax meal to 1/4 cup oats and 1 tablespoon flax meal. And the 40+ men’s one daily multivitamin has been replaced with a more accurate (agewise) multivitamin for men 55 and over. The label says to take two, but one per day will be fine.

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Grab the wheel firmly.

 

Posted by: David | March 2, 2016

Awkward Writ Large

Today was an unexpected day off from work. Late winter can bring these days, but it’s unusual when one begins as a 2-hour delay, then becomes a closure. This morning’s freezing rain progressed as such.

So what to do? Netflix, of course!

Binge-watched Love, the Netflix 10-part series exploring the developing relationship between two fairly unlikable re-bounders ably inhabited by actors Paul Rust and  Gillian Jacobs. I’d started the series a day or two earlier, so only had about 7 episodes to watch, and with all day to do so, there was time to watch a similarly themed movie, Slow Learners. O, star-cross’d lovers, how do you survive?

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Artist’s conception of colliding black holes. Image courtesy LIGO website.

The awkward and unreliable narrator is all the rage these days, in books, movies and TV series. Maybe it’s the evolutionary result of the last century’s so-called “anti hero”. These characters are everywhere. Their painful collisions can be entertaining to watch, and interesting, but at the end one wonders about the meaning of it all. One feels moved but a little dark.

It made me think of what the LIGO experiment detected last September. Announced around Valentine’s Day of this year, both of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory detectors detected a ripple in the fabric of spacetime. They’re calling it a gravity wave. It was caused by the collision and merging of two giant black holes over a billion years ago. Einstein predicted these things 101 years ago. He was married twice. He and his second wife were cousins. Love and cosmology. Awkward.

Posted by: David | March 1, 2016

Cheating Solitaire

At 85, dad is overripe crotchety squared. Some advice I hope to pass on to myself is don’t become dependent on your children. It’s not in the natural order of things. Or is it?

A devout contrarian,  time’s passage seems only to strengthen the commitment. Having played tens of thousands of games of solitaire on his computer over the years, for some reason he recently began calling it “online solitaire”. It’s not online. It’s the same solitaire on the Windows Vista computer that came from his Windows XP computer. Literally. I copied the files. And what the fuck would be the point of “online solitaire” anyway? The final confabulation on this topic was his claim that the online solitaire was somehow cheating and that Microsoft had no interest in answering this accusation, but was only interested in charging money to open a support ticket.

Contrarianism is a losing game. Eventually thought processes are distorted. In a recent article The Atlantic on math education, the following logic problem was presented.

You have a drawer full of socks, each one of which is red, white, or blue. You start taking socks out without looking at them. How many socks do you need to take out of the drawer to be sure you have taken out at least two socks that are the same color?

Seems simple enough right? The answer, four, appears in the next paragraph. Dad had circled the answer and presented the magazine opened to that page, on his face a look of consternation. He could not agree that the answer was correct. Even when presented with a simplified version (drawer full of black and white socks), he refused to accept that  n+1 selected socks (where n = number of colors) guaranteed a matched pair.

As a well-read college dropout, and aforementioned contrarian, dad had a lifelong mission to debunk basic tenets of mathematics and logic. And yet, his daily thinking was always extremely concrete. Irrational thinking was a primary target of his rants. With this Woody Allen School of Philosophy he dismissed the entire science of psychology. Though maybe his actual participation in the Milgram Experiment (he may have seen this ad in the New Haven Register when he was between jobs) had more to do with that. His story is that he refused to administer the shocks. I wonder if he collected his four dollars.

At any rate, I have dad to thank for my own outlook on life, which is one of anti-contrarianism. Yes, I proclaim this a THING: anti-contrarianism! I aspire to follow the code of improv, which is to say yes. Or yes, and

And as I posted about 8 years back, I choose to ignore a vast amount of shit.

Posted by: David | November 27, 2015

Black Friday 2015

The weather featured record-setting warmth. The local TV weather dude said that not since 1976 has there been a November 27th this warm. We’re talking over 60° F.

Being otherwise unencumbered, I tore myself away from various screens, and decided to try to capture a record of my own. My blue Fuji touring bike, which the former president of the college gave to me over a decade ago, was just 35 miles shy of 10,000. I didn’t want to hang it up for the winter without achieving that goal. So today I did just that, in a little over 3 hours.

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My legs are a little sore now, as I haven’t ridden in over a month, and I rode the 35 miles without stopping.  Now this is a Black Friday that will be among the more memorable.

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