Posts tagged ‘family’

2017/06/18

Sunday, June 18th

Father’s Day! See this and this. Cards from kids!

I thought I would try writing in this here weblog again, because I like writing.

It’s hard to write stuff, because one doesn’t want to write endlessly about how Donald Trump being President was always a signal that you were reading a probably-cheesy dystopian-alternate-timeline story, and as it turns out, it still is.

But that is such a big thing, that writing about anything else seems like ignoring the Elephant In The Room, if you know what I mean.

As weblogged about previously, I’ve taken part in various marches; the Women’s March, the Not My President’s Day March, the March for Science. Maybe some others I forget. I have a rose (ūüĆĻ) in my Twitter ummm name-thing (not the @-thing, the other thing) because I have joined the Democratic Socialists of America, and I have been all too often debating with Trump fans on Twitter.

This is a challenging thing to do, as one inevitably wants to prevail in debate, and try to convince the interlocutor(s) and even onlookers of at least the plausibility of one’s position, and one also wants to in some sense defend against the inevitable ad hominem attacks. (Or ad Eminem, as WordPress suggests.)

And yet those people are me also, fellow parts of the universal mind and all, fellow fragments of the Big Block, albeit apparently fragments from rather far away, and difficult to enjoy or understand.

Which brings me to what is, for me, the hardest thing about compassion (Compassion). I may have written about this before, but that’s okay.

I have, or think I have, no problem feeling compassion for people who are being mean to me; as long as there’s no dangerous physical assault involved, I can joke with them and try to tease out what they are upset about, and not mind that they have silly ideas because hey we all have silly ideas let’s help each other find better ones.

But what do I do when someone is being mean to someone else? How do I have compassion for the attacker? What form should that compassion take? If I am kind and joke with the attacker, am I normalizing their negative impacts on the victims? It doesn’t feel like a good idea to pal around with Nazis! (Internet or otherwise.) But I still want to express compassion, in some form.

Is punching him in the face in fact the best way to show compassion for not only the people that Richard Spencer helps oppress, but also Spencer himself? Or does one punch him in the face out of compassion for his victims, and then help him bandage up his nose out of compassion for him? Neither one feels quite right. Or maybe both do?

Speaking of Compassion and Oneness, I’ve been playing the game (“game”) Everything, from The Steam, and it’s wonderful. It’s a thing that lets you be all sorts of different things, from a hydrogen atom to a cow to a galaxy (and things off both ends), and that plays numerous Alan Watts discourses while you do it. What could be better!

Also I have been playing The Sims 4 some (see also the Sims 2 Stories, which are mostly back online now, woot!). I sort of skipped The Sims 3 for whatever reason, and now I am playing 4 in sort of vaguely but not really Legacy Challenge style. I started with a single Young Adult sim, Tolerance Boatwhistle, in a huge lot without much money, as required, and I’ve been playing just that one lot, without extending anyone’s life, as required, but I haven’t been keeping score or using the approved trait-picking methods for offspring or anything.

So far Tolerance Boatwhistle married standard sim Liberty Lee and they begat Prudence Boatwhistle (who never had a job, but survived on her paintings, and), who (with the help of standard character Alexander Goth, who has a female voice at least in my game, and who never moved in, but did die on the lot so we have his tombstone and ghost) begat Gladstone Boatwhistle, who married townie or something Hadley (heavens I’ve forgotten her last name), and together begat Consideration Boatwhistle (who became the ultimate Bodybuilder Bro, and) who married Giovanna something (I am terrible with names, aren’t I?), and who together begat Carlton Boatwhistle and his little sister Charity Boatwhistle.

Gladstone and his Hadley just recently died of old age within minutes of each other (the Grim Reaper, who is vaguely a friend of the family by now, didn’t even have time to leave in between), so they will soon be coming in at night to eat food and chat and possess various household objects, and there are just two adults and two elementary school kids on the lot (and six gravestones and therefore potential ghosts), and things are relatively simple.

Too simple, in some sense; the family has enough liquid cash and random income sources that it seems like no one has to actually ever get a job unless it’s required for an aspiration, and everyone’s moods are always pretty high except for a few days after the prior generation dies of old age.

But it’s a very soothing sort of world to spend time in and watch and give little non-urgent instructions to.

I‘ve also been playing WoW a bit, but it’s really boring now and I tend to doze off over it. I’ve tried to start playing No Man’s Sky again, but I dunno meh. Similarly for Spore. And Elite Dangerous’s bizarre controls still keep me from bothering to go back in there.

What else? ¬†Lots of books! And work! And Manhattan and things! But this is getting longish, so I will try to remember how to “post” it.

Thanks for following along! This was fun, I’ll try to do it again soon (“soon”).

 

 

 

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2015/08/29

Summer 2015

I think I’ve speculated before how long it would take, in a significantly long stretch of leisure, before I had had my fill of utter idleness, and started spontaneously doing other things, thinking new thoughts, writing new things, and generally being creative. Available evidence suggests it’s more than a week. ¬†:)

It’s been a long time since an August hiatus in my weblogging could have meant anything (beyond “it’s a day”) to even the most devoted reader. ¬†But this particular August hiatus, the hiatus that this entry will end once I actually post it, is because we are once again up in Maine, sleeping late, eating lobster, listening to the plashing of the surf, and generally being blissful. ¬†It’s now been sixteen years since we started this Maine-going stuff, and this web-logging stuff; one more year than last year.

We have a number of books lying around, as always, and we may list them later on in the traditional way. ¬†But this decade (and I expect I’ve noted this down before) there are many books and book-like things inside of smallish and flattish silicon-based devices here and there, and those are good hooks for writing down things also.

On this Nexus 5 or Something Cellular Telephone that I have here, for instance, when you hit the little square button thing area, it goes to a view that shows a big scrolling Rolodex-like display of all of the roughly six zillion things that the phone is in some way aware of me doing.  Some of them are open just in case I want to go back and look at them later; so I can write those down in the weblog here, with clever observations on life and the universe more or less related to them, and then I can close them in my phone, and that will be good if only because then I can find the non-closed ones more easily.

Let’s see what we got, here on Tuesday night of the vacation week.

  • Twitter. ¬†Well, that’s Twitter (where I exist as my Second Life persona for historical reasons), so we’ll just close that. ¬†(I could write about how and why I use Twitter, and what effect it is having on the global unconscious, but instead I will just recommend the feed of A Bear).
  • Instagram, where I exist as the name of this very weblog, and where you can see various pictures, some of them from Maine (and one of them being a selfie with Felicia Day, because she did a booksigning at work which was extremely cool; she says that lots of people around her are playing Final Fantasy XIV (or perhaps 14) these days); we’ll close that, too.
  • Chrome. ¬†That has eleventy-seven tabs of its own active inside it (because I configured things that way somehow sometime), so we’ll leave that open for now.
  • A search result for “soft shell lobster“, because we were getting lobster at the usual place, and they had both kinds and I didn’t know the difference. ¬†The little boy and I shared a pair of soft-shelled (with corn on the cob); they were delicious. ¬†And ethically troubling. ¬†As usual.
  • The Wi-Fi settings control, because the marina right next to the Lobster Warf has a friendly open signal.
  • GMail, because I was checking my email. ¬†We’ll close that. ¬†It was mostly spam. ¬†(Does the Clinton campaign really think I would be extremely psyched at the idea of flying out to some random place to have lunch with Hilary? ¬†I mean… no.)
  • A search result for “tom collins ingredients“, because the little daughter was urging alcohol on us at the Warf, and I asked for a Tom Collins, and apparently this is an Obscure Old Person Drink or something, and the little daughter wasn’t sure the bartender would know what that was, so I looked it up.
  • An instance of Maps along with the search result for “google location history” that spawned it, because I was mildly curious when we’d gotten there. ¬†This was also very useful the other day when we were in town, and we couldn’t remember how long it’d been since we’d parked in the “2 Hour Parking” place, and I remembered the extremely useful Google Location History aka Google Maps Timeline; try it yourself!
  • An instance of Hangouts, ’cause we’ve all been IMing each other and sending around photos and stuff in the modern unWired manner, and this has mostly been working even though they are all Apple-ish and I am on Android.
  • Search results for “weather linekin” and “seagulls sleep”, from being down on the dock lifeguarding while the little boy, and then also the little girl, swam about in the apparently-not-incredibly-freezing water, and it rained a little and we wondered where seagulls sleep.
  • Another instance of GMail; that’s weird. ¬†We’ll close that (and everything else we’re mentioning except for Chrome, so far).
  • Google Play Music, because I was playing some music. ¬†(Have you seen the Airhorn version of “Take On Me”? ¬†It is ossum. ¬†Although it is a YouTube thing, not a Google Play Music thing.)
  • An instance of the 2048 app, where I got up to 4096 (and a 2048 and a 1024), which is pretty good, but only 74424 points and far short of my Personal Best of 103964.
  • Some more weather results; it’s been foggy, cloudy, and/or raining for much of this Maine vacation so far, but that’s okay!
  • A search result on “ofay”, which turns out to be a (derogatory) slang word for white person, which I looked up because I am reading Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, which I got for fifty cents at the Friends of the Library book sale, and which is an impressive and significant book that everyone should read (because of and despite issues of misogyny and homophobia, and it being from the 60’s, when the issue of race was different from and similar to how it is today).
  • A search result on “noetic” because the little daughter asked what it means, because it is in a book she is reading about Jewish panentheism. ¬†(Also it is reminiscent of the title of Lower Dens‘ second album, and they are a favorite of hers.)
  • News and Weather, because as well as the weather I was mildly interested in the Stock Market Crash and subsequent recovery (someone made an obscene amount of money on that).
  • A search result on Chris Lovdjieff, who appears in Soul on Ice, and who is known to the web for nothing much else as far as I discovered.
  • A search result on Windows 10 Browser, I forget exactly why. ¬†I am interested to see that it is supposed to have collaborative annotation features, which sounds interesting. ¬†It has also been tried many times before, and never caught on; it will be interesting to see if it does this time. ¬†If the new browser does it in some open way that other browsers can join in on, it might. ¬†But, well, haha…
  • A search result on “i like beer sing”, which was a typo for “i like beer song“, but Google found the song¬†I was looking for anyway. ¬†I played this for the amusement of the family while we were having a lovely dinner of wine and cheese from Eventide¬†and clam chowder from the Warf, out on the porch overlooking the bay, yesterday evening I think it was.
  • Search results on “coffee” and “the red cup” because we were looking for a place to have coffee in town, but the Red Cup was closed for the day already.
  • A “Sign In To Network” page, because the WiFi network here is a Linksys Smart Something with a silly portal login page that wants the password typed in again more often than one would really expect. ¬†While I am here, though, I will brag that when we discovered that the WiFi covered only one small bit of one side of the rental house, I deployed a clever range extender (possibly not that one, but one very like it at least) so that now it covers nearly (but not entirely) the whole house.
  • Search results on “eldridge cleaver’s lawyer” and “fsm 1960’s”, again from Soul on Ice. ¬†It turns out that in the 60’s, “FSM” stood for “Free Speech Movement“, not “Flying Spaghetti Monster”.
  • A search result on “Melismas intro“, because in the cool art store in town, they were playing a track from this, and I liked it, and noticing that the album could be bought for slightly less than I had in my Google Play account (entirely thanks to answering questions about myself in Google Opinion Rewards), I took that as a sign and whimsically bought it.
  • Some random uninteresting search results, and yet another instance of GMail (that’s weird), and Netflix (where I have been binge-watching among other things ancient episodes of Columbo¬†from the 70’s which are wonderfully retro).

Whew, and that’s just the beginning.

This is a notably short and fragmented way of writing down things!  Which is perhaps appropriate for the modern age, and for the first thing on the list up there having been the Twitter and all.

One doesn’t have to bother thinking up unifying themes and following them to a logical conclusion or anything!

Books are more unified that way; longer, and in some sense fewer of them.

I’m reading Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, from the used book sale, as I mentioned. ¬†Also reading Jessamyn West’s “The Life I Really Lived”, which came with the house here (and that I’d therefore better finish this week, come to think of it). ¬†I picked it up because I recognized the name of that Jessamyn West from having read this Jessamyn West¬†since the early days of the Web Logs, and her having mentioned her namesake (namesake? something like that) once or thrice.

It’s a good book, although like Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” (or at least the adaptation I recently read) and for that matter quite a few other works, significant parts of the theme can be summarized as “people sure used to be weird about sex”.

Just now I’ve been typing this while sitting around with the family watching the first season of Pokemon on the Netflix, which is great nostalgic fun (James’ voice is so different!). ¬†And there is an odd fog horn or something hooting periodically outside. ¬†And the plashing of the surf.

I think I may go to bed soon, and write more of this tomorrow and/or after. ¬†(Tomorrow we are going to Portland to put the little daughter on a short-range airplane to head home because she is so busy, and to bop around in Portland, but in the evening we will be back here.) ¬†Sleep well and so on! ¬†Not that you’ll be pausing for a night between paragraphs while reading this. ¬†Unless you want to of course!

Dot dot dot.

Now it is Wednesday night, back at the rental house by the foggy bay, after a long day in Portland starting from dropping the little daughter off at the Portland Jetport (whose terminal seems unnecessarily long by a factor of about five), and including buying yet more books at Longfellow Books¬†because of course one didn’t have enough books yet.

The two I bought: “Sherlock Homes: Fact or Fiction?” by T. S. Blakeney, and “The Two of Them” by Joanna Russ. ¬†Both shortish, both used, both somewhat odd, both two dollars.

(Well, for clarity, each two dollars. ¬†It’s funny I had to make that clarification only there. ¬†If I had said they were “both under 200 pages”, would you have thought I might mean their lengths added together totaled less than that? ¬†Probably not. ¬†But the price seems at least ambiguous. ¬†Perhaps because we think of a set of books as having a salient total price, but don’t normally think of a set of books as having a salient total length? ¬†Although we do think the latter in some circumstances, and even there I think the “both” form doesn’t achieve ambiguity for word-length. ¬†Odd.)

My phone is over there well beyond my reach, having its electrons moved further from its positively-charged bits, so I won’t go back to commenting on the still-incredibly-many unclosed tab-like-things quite yet. ¬†I will just write words (2000 of them already so far, says the helpful modern WordPress editor control thing), for the pleasure of writing them and perhaps of reading them later, and perhaps for your pleasure, even you who aren’t me, at some point. ¬†(The little boy mentioned the other day that he’d been reading through my old weblog accounts of previous Maine summers; this was unspeakably gratifying.)

I haven’t read any old ones myself (this time, yet, recently). ¬†Even last years’ seems mysterious to me, in that I don’t remember what I said at all. ¬†Presumably I mentioned having made the Big Change Of Employers, because that was even more recent than it is now. ¬†It still feels quite recent, both because nearly-two years is rather an eyeblink compared to nearly-thirty-four, and because the learning curve at New Employer¬†is, if not dauntingly steep after the first few weeks, always dauntingly high. ¬†Everything is always in motion, always either not-done-yet or old-and-deprecated (or both); the wry internal slogan “some documentation may be out of date” is funny because it is so often (despite a deep and sincere institutional respect for documentation) such an understatement.

I understand from Twitter that the stock market has been bouncing up and down alarmingly (or perhaps uninterestingly), and that people have been killing each other and themselves in awful and distressing ways.  I feel permitted, by being on vacation, to find out less about these things that I might normally.

Dot dot dot.

Now it is Thursday morning!  The little boy and I are considering, in a relaxed sort of way, taking one of the touristy Cruises around the Bay.

Is it bay-side air, or water-side air, or Maine air, or just vacation air, that feels so sweet and soft and beguiling?

I have here a CD called “Swamped” by Johnnie Mac, bought from the artist himself for five dollars (plus a dollar tip dropped into his bag before I noticed that I had a five and he was selling CDs for that), where he was busking on the street in Portland.

So now I have to find something with a CD ripper to make it into usable music with.  :)

Portland elicited a number of dollar bills from the pocket where I keep dollar bills normally for the buskers and the apparently needy and/or homeless of Manhattan.  The street people in Portland are like the ones in Manhattan, but I think markedly whiter; perhaps street people of color, being less likely to have ancestral ties to the area, tend to move the heck out of Maine, to somewhere warmer.  Or other more complex reasons.

Some more Android Rolodex tabs (I may be opening new ones faster than I’m recording and closing them):

  • “Settings” and “Phone” and search results for “cruises boothbay harbor” because we looked up some cruises and called one of them about reservations and left a message, so I turned up the ring volume on my phone in case they call back. But probably I will just call them again soon.
  • Hangouts, Twitter, Instagram, and GMail again, as usual. ¬†Also YouTube, where I was watching this McWhopper thing. ¬†For some reason. ¬†(Actually lots of interesting analysis to be done on that little brand interaction, if you’re into such things.)
  • Search results on “over at the frankenstein place“, because some phrase involving light went by, and the song got stuck in my head, and then I had to play it for everyone.
  • Search results on “what is the Methodist method“, because we passed like the East Boothbay Methodist Church and¬†I was curious. ¬†(Turns out it’s a John Wesley thing; “Holy Club”, eh?)
  • Search results on “who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop”, because I wanted to see if asking that question by voice of my phone would elicit any snarky Siri-like remarks. ¬†It didn’t. ¬†Hey, come to think of it, let’s try Siri herself on that question! ¬†Well, she sends it to Wolfram Alpha (???) which responds with but a single pointer to the song; a weak pass (my phone did of course a full Google search, and came back with a variety of links to choose from).
  • Google Keep, where I had a grocery list (we stopped by Hannaford¬†on the way home from Portland last night and bought everything on it; so I suppose it’s still there, just empty; imagine how many empty grocery lists there are out there!).

Dot dot dot!

The little boy and I went out on a sailing cruise, while M (not a big boat person) enjoyed town.  The cruise was great, the quiet of the sails and the water, just the two of us and a family of three and the Captain and a deckhand.

And the phone is upstairs charging again, and I’ve been lazing about long enough after we got back to the house that it is getting on dinner time. ¬†So nice and lazy. ¬†I think I will read more of West for a bit; she is good.

(Oh, and I guess I haven’t mentioned? ¬†That Mysterious Illness that I had the other week? ¬†The final verdict, not definite but at least plausible, based on the eventual discovery of both Escherichia coli and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in my blood, was diverticulitis with septicemia (i.e. there was a little hole in my intestine somewhere, and some gut bacteria leaked over into my bloodstream), which is relatively life-threatening compared to most routine daily events. ¬†So I am even more grateful than usual for M deciding I ought to get to the ER, for antibiotics, and for continued life in general.)

So now it is Thursday evening, after dinner, and we’re sitting around talking about what to do tomorrow (nothing, for instance, or the beach), and listening to a very miscellaneous Bandcamp track found while searching on “little shop of horace”, “little shop of horus”, and so on. ¬†Very idyllic!

And now it is Thursday evening after a walk down to the end of the road (house for sale on 1.5 acres and 600+ feet of shoreline, just under a million and a half US$, which is lots of money, but less than a medium-size condo in Chelsea, which is only a piece of a building, and has no shoreline at all). ¬†I have showered the tar off the soles of my feet (from road repairs that I blithely walked over barefoot), and am about to lose myself in West’s story again. ¬†Lovely evening.

Dot dot dot.

And now Friday morning. ¬†I could have written here, instead of this entire entry, just “the secret of being on a floating dock in a quiet bay with the full moon above”. ¬†But then I wouldn’t have gotten any phone tabs at all closed.

Jessamyn West is still very good. ¬†I may not finish the book while we’re here, because I keep napping, and playing SimCity BuildIt, and occasionally writing in the weblog here. ¬†I hope I remember in that case to leave this instance of the book behind, and to get one of my own.

I see that last year I mostly posted some pictures. ¬†I’ve taken some pictures this year, but for whatever reason I amn’t posting any here. ¬†I might still, you never know.

We are thinking, the little boy and I, about going to the beach today, the last full day of the week. ¬†It’s a bit cold for the beach really, and it’s lovely and relaxing here. ¬†But we still might. ¬†What time is it now? Just gone noon.

Sometime a little after dawn some loud grackling birds woke me up, and I went down the old cement steps (inlaid with decorative stones and shells) down to the sand.  The tide was out, and it was beautiful.  Then I went back to bed for a few hours.

This is being an extremely long entry! ¬†Maybe I should post it as a Part I and a Part II, so y’all could digest it in multiple smaller pieces. ¬†Or I could not do that. ¬†:)

And now (dot dot dot) Friday evening, lovely and cool, almost cold in the wind.  No going to the beach happened, but the little boy and I went swimming (and walking, the tide being out) in the bay off of the dock; very refreshing.

The long drive home tomorrow!

And now (a last set of dots) we are home and the little daughter is with us again, and we are looking at old photographs and generally being happy and domestic. ¬†I will put an appropriate picture at the end here, and post this now (probably without proofreading the last bits, ’cause I am tired).

Happy year!

Evening on Linekin Bay

2014/08/25

Fifteen years!

Wow, you’d think something would have changed after a week away; flying cars, or aliens walking around Manhattan, or at least a new subway line or something, but NO, everything is pretty much just the same!

Weird.

Extremely attentive and/or precognitive readers will suspect rightly that we were away for a week because we were in Maine; the first time that happened was in 1999, and this is 2014, so it’s been fifteen years!

And since that first Maine trip was when I started writing a weblog, and this is in some sense the same weblog as that, this is the fifteenth anniversary of the weblog!

Woot!

Here is a picture of Maine:

Renewal

Isn’t that gorgeous? Along with M’s sister’s family, and their father and stepmother, we rented a house on top of Dodge Mountain, overlooking Rockland and the bay and points East, with a lovely deck, and chairs to sit in, and tables to put your book and your wineglass on, and beds to sleep in, and all.

It was great.

I did a lot of reading, as usual. That book there is “Karma and Rebirth” by Christmas (sic) Humphries. I wrote it up for GoodReads (hope that link works for not-me people).

(I will resist the obvious temptation to produce lots of weblog content by pasting in all various book reviews I have written instead of just linking to them!)

I read that because I happened across it in some used book store (perhaps Hello Hello Books?), shortly after watching Hemant Mehta’s rather offputting “Can Atheists be Buddhists“, and it seemed like a nice synchronicity.

The Mehta piece is offputting for a few reasons:

  • His conclusion is basically “no”, and I’m sort of both of those things, so yeah.
  • The reason his conclusion is basically “no” is that, he says, although Buddhists don’t believe in a deity, they do believe some stuff (specifically Karma and Rebirth) that Isn’t Scientific, and therefore atheists won’t believe it.
  • This implies that for Mehta “atheist” doesn’t just mean “doesn’t believe in God” for some value of “God”, it means “only believes stuff that is Scientific”, and that seems like just sloppy thinking or sloppy word-usage or something,
  • His conclusion that Karma and Rebirth are Not Scientific seems very offhand and not particularly well thought out; as for that matter is his assumption that all Buddhists believe in either or both of them in any form.

Some day I will have to write a post on Buddhism and Scientificness and Karma and Rebirth and all, and why atheists can in fact be Buddhists, and vice-versa, at least when they are me. Not today, though. :)

Another book, that I’m sure I bought in Hello Hello Books (which is a great bookstore, by the way), and then I read and enjoyed very much, is Doris Grumbach’s “The Pleasure of Their Company”, which I also wrote up for GoodReads. It was good.

I do love lying about in Maine, feeling the wind and reading books and thinking about things.

Also I went out on a boat! And held a lobster!

Here is a picture from on the boat, with the notable deck hand Dana holding the lobster in question:

Dana with the lobster

and here is the lobster, with parts of my hand holding it:

Lobster

and a little girl looking dubious in the background.

We did many other things in Maine! I took three of the four kids to the beach one day, but the sun was behind clouds and the sand was too wet and rocky and the waves too small and they got cold, so we didn’t stay very long.

Here are some rocks!

Rocks

They do look coldish.

We went into Rockland a couple of times (although sadly we were not in town for this

Internet Cats

which I bet would have been noteworthy), and into Camden a couple of times (here is a classy black-and-white shot of some water in Camden:

Water in Camden

just because we are posting lots of pictures; more and/or different ones can as usual be found on the Insta-Gram).

Reading back through some of the various Maine and post-Maine postings in the weblog over the years, I see lots of variety in terms of thoughtfulness, randomness, introspection, and so on. I did feel introspective, in a good way, and renewed, in a good way, by it all this year, but in writing about it I’m mostly just writing random things, I think. :)

Maybe largely because I didn’t feel like writing about it at all while I was there (too busy doing it?), and now am writing about it retrospectively, having been home for a couple of days and back to work one day, so somewhat back in the quotidian mindset. Or something?

Here is another picture :) this one of ol’ Red’s Eats (where we didn’t eat this year) as randomly enhanced in its usual drive-by way by Google Plus:

Red's Eats

Kinda neat, I thought.

What else? I read some other books, acquired some other books, sat zazen a bit, had some thoughts, drank some wine, ate some lobster and some blueberry pie, enjoyed some sun and wind.

And I’m not unhappy to be home. :)

About all one could ask for, really!

2014/07/20

I need you more than whoa

So Lady Gaga really needs to enunciate more clearly. Listening to Artpop playing loudish on the car radio, with the occasional interruption from the maps app telling me how to get home from wherever, I really couldn’t tell what it was.

More than gold? More than goal? (World Cup reference!) More than dope? More than Dole? (mmm tasty canned pineapple rings!) More than whoa? More than low?

Eggs Benedict on the UWSApparently it is “More than dope“.

Anyway! Great fun yesterday, which was M’s b’day. We decided, daringly, to go into The Big City rather than just to some Mall or other familiar space. Brunch on the Upper West Side, at a sidewalk caf√© even!

Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your taxi. (photo: Little Daughter)

Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your taxi.
(photo: Little Daughter)

And little stores, some yarn-related and some not, and the wilds of Central Park, and the Guggenheim Museum.

(The Italian Futurists seem to have been mostly sort of wannabe-Fascist assholes; who knew? The work itself was probably daring and transgressive at the time; today it would be sort of meh.)

And we rested (and recharged my phone; the one thing I don’t like about the Nexus 5 is how battery-poor it is) at work, and then went and met the little daughter (yay!) at this amazing little tea-and-pastries-and-macarons (which I now know have basically nothing whatsoever to do with macaroons) place in Soho, and walked through a buzzing-with-energy Soho evening to the subway and came home.

Whew!

Oh, and there is the interesting Case of The Two Very Similar CDs, but that will have to wait for another time and/or possible world…

2014/05/25

The Daisy Knitter

Because everyone’s schedule was actually going to be in sync, we had all four of us planned some time back to go down to the Zoo today. We recently realized that it was going to be Memorial Day Weekend, and were a bit worried that the Zoo might be unpleasantly crowded.

We needn’t have worried, because as it turned out the Zoo was completely inaccessible.

(After an hour or so waiting in traffic, we got within shouting distance of a parking lot entrance that was closed with a LOT FULL sign. A topless young man jumped out of the car ahead of us and went over and talked to the people in orange vests near the sign; as he was coming back M called out the window to him “What did they say?”.

“We’re fucked!” was the metaphorically accurate reply.)

So we drove Northward a bit to Peekskill, had coffee and hung out at the Coffee House (I got a tee shirt!), took pictures on our cellular phones, looked at lots and lots of books at The Bruised Apple, had yummy little pizzas, I mean flatbread, at Gleason’s, and (not in this order) wandered through the Flea Market buying random things.

The most notable random thing I bought was this:

artifact

(shown larger than actual size).

When I asked the owner of the case it was in (with various pieces of costume jewelry, old pocket knives, police whistles, compasses) how much it was, he said “Ah, you’ve got a good eye, look at this”, and he showed me that, if you twist the knob in the center, a stubby bit of wire pokes out from the end of each of those ribs you see radiating from the center in the picture. “That’s five dollars.”

A bargain, clearly! So I bought it.

(Here is an image of it with the wires extended, too.)

And, this being the future, I was able to type the patent number into my cellular telephone while standing there at the Flea Market, and determine that my new possession is technically speaking a Former for Artificial Flowers, patented by Antonia Dolia in 1930 or so.

Turning of the disc on completion of the operation varies its position and withdraws the wires 5 within the casing, the formed flower being thus free for removal to leave the device free for further manufacture.

So with that, and having a nice day in the car and in Peekskill, in lovely weather, with the all-four-of-us family, this has been a lovely day, despite the inaccessibility of the Zoo.

Now the little daughter has gone for a quick tango-related jaunt into The City, and the little boy is off somewhere with his chums, and M and I are sitting here typing on computers and watching people hit tennis balls about on the television.

Earlier I was reading Fred Pohl’s “The Annals of the Heechee”, but got really really tired of being told like three times per page about how Robinette Broadhead is a computer program, and how that means he is so much faster and more parallel than meat people, that I put it down to do something less tedious.

You can therefore partly thank Pohl’s bit of Mary-Sue-ism for this weblog entry. :)

Him, and the (patented) Daisy Knitter.

Now I am thinking of taking this plain grey tee shirt that I have and maybe tie dyeing it with bleach or something. Or maybe a nap…

2013/08/29

Wilderness were Paradise enow as long as there is WiFi

This house has a big screened-in porch, to keep the mosquitos and black flies away and still let you sit out in the soft air, looking across the tidal river mouth to the next island along.

I think I’ve realized before in roughly this context that sitting down and writing about where I am and what I’m doing, and what I’m thinking, significantly helps me appreciate it. Which seems odd and even pathetic in a way, like the person in the joke who won’t know whether he enjoyed his vacation until the pictures come back. (Remember when you had to wait for pictures to come back? I barely do, some days.)

I tend to live, that is, mediated. Or maybe it’s just the part of me that writes weblog entries that tends to live mediated; an interesting and potentially thorny question. I should go sit for half an hour, and expose all the parts of myself to some unmediated experience (in some sense). Maybe I will in fact do that! See you in about half an hour, conditions permitting, in the next paragraph.

Okay, back! That was nice. And the little daughter sat (Sat) with me!

(So now I have six additional points in my Karma Pool, one for each five minutes, and since there were at least a couple of instants there where the Monkey Mind was not drafting and evaluating sentences for the weblog, I get two Prajna Tokens that I can use to advantage on future Insight Rolls. Zen as D&D subgenre: I wonder if anyone’s written that up. A quick search reveals only the predictable Zen Warrior. “[U]ses wisdom and inner spirit to enhance their fighting”, phleh.)

As long-time reader may have realized by now, it is Summer, and we are in Maine! All four of us, too, which has not happened since, um, the last time it happened!

(Weirdly, I have no computer-as-such with me, and am typing this on my “iPad”, which is like a computer only smaller and you type with your thumbs on the screen. But it can talk WiFi to the house’s access point, and thence into the Internets via a nice fast RoadRunner connection of some stripe, so yay.)

We arrived on Saturday after a fine drive up, and the car managed to make it to within a few yards of the driveway of the house before the engine mysteriously quit. I started it again and drove it actually down the driveway into the place behind the house that one puts the car in, and the engine mysteriously quit again.

That was exciting! So now we know the extremely nice couple that drives for and/or constitutes Boothbay Taxi, and the also extremely nice people at Dan’s Auto Repair just down the road, and at Hawke’s Auto Something down toward the Harbor, where you can pick up a rental from Enterprise (once you have taken a taxi there on Monday, after a very relaxing Sunday spent in the house and in taxis to and from the grocery for foods).

I am writing this on Thursday-already, having realized as above that I would appreciate things more if I wrote them down (roughly), so there are other days in between. Let’s see.

On Monday we took the one car in and rented this one here, and walked around town and had food at the traditional Lobster Wharf. Tuesday the kidlings and I went to the big sandy beach (the water was unspeakably lovely), and then back to the house where the ladies roasted veggies while the men went out hunting seafood rolls for the tribe. Wednesday was yesterday, and the kids clambered about on a big multi-level rope course with harnesses and zip lines and stuff, and we grups stayed on the ground taking many many photographs. Then we had another nice seafood dinner in town.

Some evidence of these and other activities may be found on the official ceoln Instagram feed thing, which I ought to link to from this weblog sometime. If I haven’t already.

Today is cloudy and looking like another relaxing not-doing-much day in the house. We might go to the very nearby Botanical Gardens, or to the grocery, or something. Or not. :)

Wasn’t that quotidian? Oh! This also means we should say Happy Fourteenth Anniversary to the Weblog!, more or less roughly; although for most of that time it was here, not here. (And boy is HTML hard to type on this little thumb-keyboard!)

Oh, and before the zazen I took a shower because M said I should even though we are on vacation and showers are boring (and you generally get wet).

I stopped as usual at the Library Used Book shed in town and bought eight books for two dollars, one of them Buber’s “I and Thou” which I suspect I’ve never read.

But even more than in prior years, the once-traditional list of all the reading materials lying about is sort of moot. F’rinstance, I was sitting here watching an episode of Whedon’s Dollhouse on the Net-Flicks, and the boyish mad scientist character mentioned a couple of times the gag reflex when eating sea urchin, so I paused and looked that up on the interwebs, and it turns out that that is a thing, but also that it is quoted in a book of essays about that fictional world, and a few thumb motions and ninety-nine cents Earth currency later, I had a copy of it here in Maine, on the i-Pad, all ready to read at.

So yeah. :)

While I was in the middle of writing all of that, somewhere around “once-traditional” I think it was, Dan’s called to say that the car was ready, with a brand-new distributor and a tie-rod while they were at it, so the little daughter and I went out and picked it up and turned in the rental and bought a few groceries, and then I went for a walk along the road and into the botanic gardens, which while not really arranged for visits by barefoot pedestrians, is quite friendly and pretty and upscale, and has all various plants and roses and stones and pieces of art and water-features and trails for walking on.

(From the northernmost part of the gardens one can in fact see this house we are in, although there is brush and/or deer netting and/or “Staff Only” signs in between. I got home by looking around surreptitiously, slightly lifting a piece of loose deer-net, slipping ninja-like under it, and hopping a low stone fence to the road near the house, rather than walking all the flipping way back south to the official entrance. So far the FBI have not embarrassingly appeared.)

So yes, I have been watching Dollhouse. It is good! There is significant good audiovisual work out there, it appears, which can be viewed without commercial interruption. Also good!

I think I will stop writing with my thumbs for a bit again now, and do other stuff. Maybe later I will tell you about this self-published author who, perhaps unwisely, offered me a free copy of his book if I would review it. Interesting things have ensued. For some value of “interesting”. :)

Back again! It is ummm Friday morning, and I’m sitting at the round glass-topped table on the porch, having slept deliciously late and then eaten food, immersed in the still-lovely air and watching cars go by on the road.

Last night the little daughter required everyone to drink alcoholic beverages. I had a bigger-than-shotglass of bourbon with an ice cube and a little Rose’s Lime Substance. And we all gathered around and watched tennis and things on the teevee. Extremely pleasant in all ways. But I think my insides are scolding me a bit today. So no more boozes for now!

And now it is Friday night, and I have taken the little daughter to the airport so that she could fly places on airplanes (apparently 23-year-old little daughters are allowed to fly unaccompanied on airplanes without any special arrangements!), and have watched another Dollhouse episode (and a Lost Girl episode, even though Lost Girl hasn’t really convinced me that it is good yet, but Ksenia Solo is cute), and the little boy and I shot off a couple of little boxes of Consumer Grade Fireworks that I bought on the way home, and we are watching Tennis on teevee again and I am sleepy zzzzzz…

And then it was Saturday, and now it is suddenly Sunday, and we are home after a shared six-hour drive (that was remarkably traffic-light even though Labor Day Weekend), and have slept and had Sunday Morning Bagels. And now I will read this over another time or two, and post it so that you can read it!

The further thoughts about self-published novels and stuff will have to wait. :)

2012/08/19

Fish and Kasha and Hardcore Heroes

So the little daughter, now out of college and a Certified Adult in her own right, has been cooking things. Cooking, from the look of the pictures she’s been posting to The Instra-Gram and other young-person places, delicious gourmet sorts of things.

Which is really cool. :)

This weekend she is home visiting, it being the weekend after her birthday and a convenient weekend for visiting, and she asked me to show her how to make Fish and Kasha, which was one of the things that I used to cook for the family back when I was myself young and energetic enough to cook on weekends. (Age is of course a feeble excuse; maybe I will start doing it again!)

I couldn’t find a written-down recipe on any of the many recipe cards in the various recipe-card collections in the kitchen, but I thought I pretty much remembered how, and M helped remembering the ingredients, and so the little daughter and I went out to the local vast cavernous A and P, and we bought fish and kasha and chicken broth and bread crumbs and broccoli and cauliflower and cheese and stuff, and came home and cooked it all, and it was all very yummy and nostalgic and successful.

(They didn’t have any really familiar-looking fish varieties, but the little daughter looked up “swai” on her “cellular phone” and found that it’s basically a kind of catfish, which is what it looked like, so we got that, even though it was “re-fresh” (that is, frozen and thawed) rather than actually fresh.)

Then while we were eating and talking about when we had first, and last, had Fish and Kasha, I remembered where the recipe of course was, and found it in the old weblog, in the entry for 7 November, 1999. A while back! And reading the recipe, it turns out we followed it pretty much exactly, down to getting Wolff’s kasha at A and P, and it being Sunday. (Although we didn’t do the extra skillet-involving steps with the kasha, and it still came out perfect.)

Here it is again, just for fun (note somewhat twee Rocky Horror reference at the beginning there):

Sunday Dinner: Fish and Kasha

This is a great dinner, because it doesn’t have many ingredients. I don’t like a meal with too many ingredients (did somebody yell “slut”?).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut two catfish fillets (about a pound) into bite-size chunks. Take two bowls, pour some milk into one, and some bread crumbs into the other. Dip each chunk of fish into the milk, and then into the crumbs, and then put it onto a baking dish (mine is clear glass or pyrex or something; I don’t know if that matters). Cook 25-30 minutes, until tender. Do not overcook.

While the fish bakes, take about one cup whole-kernel kasha (a.k.a. buckwheat groats). We used to get this in five-pound sacks from Walnut Acres, but they don’t seem to have it anymore. Now we buy two-cup boxes of Wolff’s in the “funny furrin foods” section of the A&P. You can just boil it in chicken broth for about 15 minutes, but for a fluffier result: in a small saucepan, melt two Tbs butter in two cups (one can) chicken broth, with a dash salt and a dash pepper. At the same time, heat the kasha in a frying pan or heavy skillet over high heat, until hot and toasty. Pour the boiling stuff carefully into the kasha, lower heat to simmer, and cook covered about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has vanished and it all seems sort of done.

Steam some broccoli. That is, cut off the parts of the stem you don’t want to eat, and arrange for the top parts that you do want to eat to be exposed to steam (preferably in a steamer rather than just sitting in boiling water), until it feels right when poked with a fork. “Right” is entirely up to you.

While all that’s going on, melt another two Tbs butter in another saucepan (yeah, you’re going to have some dishes to wash, later). Dump in enough flour to mostly soak up the butter. Gradually add milk, a little at a time, stopping between each addition to stir until smooth. When you’ve got a good amount (use more milk for more but thinner sauce, less for less but thicker; it will thicken up somewhat when you add the cheese in any case), grate in some cheese (we like sharp Cheddar for this, but anything gratable that you like will work). Stir until the cheese is all melted.

Pour the cheese sauce over everything else, and eat.

The only hard part about this is getting everything to be done at about the same time. That, and cleaning up afterwards. But it’s all very yummy! The little daughter eats everything but the broccoli. The little boy used to eat the kasha back when he was a baby, but won’t anymore.

Tonight, all four of us ate pretty much everything. :)

On entirely other fronts, I’ve been playing Diablo III more, which surprises me somewhat given my not very enthusiastic first impressions. Turns out there’s something soothing (or something) about wreaking havoc through the same landscape and the same story multiple times, with varying character stats and types and varying nastinesses of monsters.

Most recently I’ve been playing in Hardcore mode, which means that if the character you are working on dies, it stays dead, and you need to start another one (or go back to leveling your comparatively unexciting non-Hardcore characters).

My first one, Ulf The Doomed, made it to level 30 before I got careless and he ended up surrounded by monsters, which isn’t usually a problem, except that multiple ones were taking turns freezing him so he could neither fight not heal himself, which definitely was a problem.

The second one, and my first what do they call them Wizard or Magic User or whatever, was Mary Death (a brilliant name, I thought), and she made it only to level 14 before dying due to my not having swapped the latest level of potions into her action bar, and left-clicking rather than right-clicking on the potions in inventory once I realized that, arg.

And that was all good fun, but I think I might be tired of Diablo III for awhile now, we’ll see. And I haven’t been in WoW or Glitch or anything that I used to play alot and have now temporarily forgotten about entirely, for some time.

On the other hand I’m still in Second Life for at least an hour or two, at least five or six days a week, even when real life is moderately stuffed with things (as it’s tended to be). Which says something. :)

2012/06/20

Hello again, goodbye

Oh, time is so long and fast, and sweet and cruel!

The other day (just yesterday?) a couple of boxes came UPS, heavier than usual boxes, and they were the boxes that we had been expecting from Stepmom down south.

The bigger box contained the old music box (the Old Music Box) from my childhood (and the smaller one had the five toothy metal cylinders that we have, that one plays on it).

It’s a wonderful thing. I was fascinated by it as a kid; I recall spending endless hours examining it and puzzling over it and figuring out how it worked. No telling how accurate that recollection is, but I do remember exactly how to operate it, and the musical thunk that it makes when you put a cylinder in, and the sounds it makes when it stops normally, and when you stop it by holding onto the little paddle of the Jacot’s Patented Safety Check (“Sept. 22, 1886”). If I could smell it (one more reason to wish I could smell again), I’m positive the rich mix of wood and time and oil would be utterly evocative.

When I was a kid there was no Internet, so while I knew from the label on the inside of the lid there that it was a Peerless Forte-Piccolo (“Any Number of Cylinders may be Obtained for this Box”), I had no way of finding out anything else about it.

Now that there is the Web, I can find out easily that there are many to be had on auction all over the place, and that it is worth approximately SIGN IN OR REGISTER NOW TO SEE PRICES.

Also, among all those rather annoying pages, there is this wonderful page from The Music Trade Review of presumably some large number of years ago, which describes Jacot’s Interchangeable Music Boxes, of which the Peerless is “a popular priced instrument with a single spring”.

At the turn of the century (no, the one before that), one imagines that people would sit around and listen to the latest cylinder on these, in livingrooms (parlors?) all over the place, in between listening to Mother performing on the keyboard, Sister singing, and Younger Sister reciting “How Doth the Little Crocodile” or equivalent.

It’s surprisingly loud!

I wonder if I ought to be oiling it…

And then on the sad inevitable side of time, last night Gramma Jeanne finally broke the last fragile strands connecting her to her body, and left us for wherever. She would have turned 100 in August; here is a picture from more than ten years ago, that Dad took (and she said back then was okay to put in my weblog):

Her consciousness hadn’t been paying much attention to her body for a few years anyway, so her finally slipping off was no surprise, but it’s still a thing, a twinge, a sadness. It’s funny how, although she’s part of my identity, part of my childhood, part of my Self, I don’t remember very much specific about her. She was nice, indulgent, adoring of her only grandson, but not in a very embarrassing way, even by the standards of a little boy.

For awhile she and Grampa Proc (Samuel S. A. Proctor, technically my step-grandfather, deep-voiced and mahogany-skinned and genial, always smelling of pipesmoke) lived in a house with a big window that looked across Cedar Lake into downtown Minneapolis. And then later they lived in Hawai’i, where we actually visited them once or twice.

In the Minneapolis house, they had a lava-lamp! I remember sitting and staring at it for hours. And I remember as an adult trying to sit and stare at a lava-lamp for hours, and it somehow wasn’t the same.

Time is so long and fast, and sweet and cruel.

2012/06/09

Paulie’s

So now I am sitting in Paulie’s Bar, 25 minutes or so from home, listening to the guy who we thought was supposed to start at 9 and who actually started 45 minutes later, playing a mic’d acoustic guitar and singing into the voice mic, sitting on a bar chair on the little stage (well, platform, raised maybe six inches above the floor on mysterious random somethings). He’s pretty good, and I’m enjoying him even over the noisy crowd (little girls the little daughter’s age or so, not a day over twenty-five anyway, fiddling with their smartphones and talking to each other easily over the music, the little boys with buzz cuts and those weird thin-line beard things, drinking Corona from the bottle, a few folks from my generation, the little boy himself at the table next to me here looking around).

“Rock me, Momma,” the guy sings, “like a southbound train.”

We’re here to listen to a group that a friend of the little boy’s, a fellow bass player who’s been a year or two at the school where the little boy starts in September, plays the bass in. They’re supposed to be on after this guy here with the guitar. They’re usually sort of folk-rock, the little boy says, but tonight they don’t have the cello or violin (I think it was), so they will be more like Funk.

Today we’ve been simultaneously looking for apartments for both tiny children, one for him in Boston (because A Certain School I Could Name doesn’t have even enough dorm space for incoming Freshmen for Pete’s sake), and one in Princeton for her because that is where she is going to start living and working now that she is an Adult College Graduate type. Both of which are completely ridiculous because just a minute ago they were like 8 and 12, sheesh.

It is nice that virtually all of this apartment-hunting stuff can be done over the Interwebz these days, although we have some firsthand reports about the most likely-looking Boston places from the above mentioned bass player, and we may actually go up and have a Realtor show us around, and the little daughter knows at least the neighborhood down Princeton way well already, if not the actual building.

Speaking of the little daughter being a College Graduate and all, here is extensive photographic evidence of the fact. It is an “album” on “the Facebook”, so I’m not entirely certain that it will be correct and/or visible to anyone or everyone, but give it a shot.

Busy times, eh? And that’s without mentioning all the other stuff that’s happening, because the other band, the one we came to hear, is now doing mic checks, so I think I will attempt to Publish this from the ‘pad here, an’ we will see what ensues…

2012/05/21

Cat pictures!

I don’t usually post family and cat pictures much, but I can’t resist these two from M’s weblog:

<3 :)

2011/11/26

Saturday, November 26, 2011

So, another lovely family Thanksgiving, the four of us sitting around the table feasting and being thankful. A bit of a story inside it, and I’ve finally cried for Dad some, which feels good.

Everything was all bought and planned for the Thanksgiving Dinner, everyone home and being snug as bugs. I had the turkey all stuffed, extra stuffing waiting to be cooked (’cause everyone loves stuffing), sitting by the oven. I turned on the oven to pre-heat, and a minute later it turned off again. And so did the clock on the oven, the light above the oven, the ceiling light nearby, and various televisions and things in the next room.

Okay, so the breaker tripped, reset it and try again. But it tripped again, before the oven had got very hot at all. Something wrong with the oven, we thought. Unplugging all the things that we’d noticed turn off along with it didn’t help. Called the neighbors next door, who were out of town having Thanksgiving with family, and they said we could use their stove, which sounded plausible until we all realized that their son had come over and borrowed the extra key to their house that we keep for emergencies, the other day, and hadn’t brought it back yet. The little boy went next door and searched under all of their doormats and stuff, just in case, but no other keys.

I took a couple of Ativan ’cause I was feeling stressed, and everyone was telling me that it was okay and we could just go out to a restaurant together this year. I was down on the kitchen floor peering into the oven with a flashlight in case there was anything obvious, and then I was clinging to poor M’s knees and sobbing, because it had suddenly hit me that I couldn’t call Dad to complain to him and ask him what to do.

I did alot of crying there, more than a turkey dinner warranted, and then I went and flung myself down on the Maid’s Room bed and sobbed there for awhile, taking deep breaths in between crying, tears streaming down my face, the whole thing. Opened my eyes and realized that I was on the bed that Mom and Dad had gotten for me when I was little, and cried more.

Eventually I felt all calm and peaceful, and came out again, and told the kids what-all had been going on, and we had a big family hug.

And then when I went down into the basement to reset the breaker one last time so we could at least use the lights and stuff, I heard a click from the other side of the basement, and thought that I had heard that click at least one other time resetting the breaker, and developed the wild theory that the washing machine (which had been going all this time) is on the same circuit as the oven, and a few minutes after that the washing machine was all done, and I turned the oven on again, and it stayed on.

(Neighbor who knows things about houses and appliances and stuff says that probably the circuit breaker just needs replacing, and has been on the edge of not allowing both the oven and washer to run at the same time for awhile, and just went over the edge. And/or that we just haven’t tried to run both of those for awhile!)

So then everything worked (except I overcooked the not-in-the-bird stuffing just a little bit, but it’s fine as long as it has gravy on it), and we had the abovementioned wonderful family Thanksgiving feast and lounging around afterward being thankful and playing video games and suchlike.

And I didn’t really mean to go into quite that much detail about it all in here, but I have, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Happy Saturday After Thanksgiving! Or local equivalent.

2011/09/18

Home again

So Dad passed away a little after midnight, on Wednesday (the 14th). He was the best Dad ever, and his passing was as gentle and as undemanding on his loved ones as one would have expected. I was there, down in Florida with him and Stepmom. I think maybe he was waiting for me to show up; one of the last things he said to me (along with some discussion of Linda Ronstadt and Alan Watts) was “you got here just in time”.

And now I am back home, and while my usual witty and ironic commentary here might be a bit subdued for awhile, I figure Dad is the one who gave me at least the good parts of the wit and irony, and I shouldn’t let it be suppressed on his behalf. I have been remembering all sorts of things about him (pretty much unreservedly positive, because I am the luckiest son ever), and some of them may get written down here eventually, but probably not right now.

It makes you think, in a more serious and concrete way, about consciousness and death and what might happen to the one after the other. (I’m listening to a course that touches on the subject, but I think it’s going to stay pretty abstract and theoretical.)

As far as I know there’s no particular reason to think that the usual suspects have it at all correct; they are just, layers of complication aside, taking a bunch of very old guesses far too seriously. Those guesses might be right, but they’re no more likely to be than any of millions of similar guesses that didn’t happen to get written down.

It could be that nothing happens, that consciousness just goes out at death. That would be awfully boring, though, and it’s not clear there’s much more to say about it.

There’s a theory, which somewhat hearteningly I can’t find on the Interwebs at the moment, that consciousness, mysterious and amorphous as it is, quantum-tunnels among the available possible world-lines, and always finds one in which life continues. So although other people may experience a world in which one dies, one’s own consciousness avoids those, and one is always, in one’s own world-line, immortal.

It’s not clear what it would mean for that to be true or false; it’s not obviously falsifiable, at least from here. But that’s okay.

Dad lives, in various senses and to various degrees, in the state-spaces of various brains, mine and Stepmom’s and lots of others. Does that mean anything about his consciousness? No idea; consciousness is hard.

A friend told me, a week or two ago, that when her father died, a friend had a dream that he was waiting in line, all excited because he was waiting to find out what he was going to do next.

I like that thought.

I know Dad would want to be doing something interesting. I’ll be sure to arrange that at least the parts of him here enriching my own state-space are.

Thanks, Dad, for everything.

2011/09/14

Dad

Dad, 1944

William Bernard Chess, 1927-2011

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2011/08/19

Expedition

So for the little daughter’s birthday we went into New York City (again! just a few days after last time! probably some sort of record for us!) on the train, and took the New York City Subways down to SoHo (the area South of Houston Street, whence the name), and idled patiently about while said daughter indulged her unaccountable taste for clothes shopping (even though, as I pointed out, she already has clothes).

Whilst idling about, the little boy and I went to the Opera Gallery New York which had some fun stuff to look at (I do not remember seeing the comfortable-looking sofas in that one picture on the web site, or we would probably have sat in them; unless they were part of the art). And then later M and the little boy and I all went over to the Evolution Store, which also had fun stuff to look at, much of it consisting of the remains of dead things.

After all that when we were hungry, we wandered around Little Italy a bit looking for a restaurant, and the little daughter’s telephone told her about one called “Peasant” that was nearby, so we went there.

It was very good!

They did not have the Razor Clams (which sound dangerous anyway). I had the Risotto with Veal Sauce; or at least I think it was risotto. For some reason I always forget what risotto is, and I may have it confused with something else. Sort of like arugula and that other thing. But anyway, it was very good! And the waitress was absolutely adorable (maybe about the little daughter’s age? I am a terrible judge of such things) and discussed in depth the terroir of the available by-the-glass wines, and the composition of the various sauces, and so on, at the slightest prompting.

M and I had a nice light red; the little daughter had a somewhat heavier Primitivo. Since it was her 21st birthday, we all noted that this was her first taste of alcohol, and then laughed uproariously (since she’s been in college for three years and all). We skipped dessert at Peasant, and stopped at Zero’s Grand Central (we’d checked on the way in and determined that they’d be open until 2am, which was far later than we needed them), and picked up a small red velvet cake (mmmmm) and a little fruit tart, and when we got home, happy but exhausted, we used our last dregs of energy to sing Happy Birthday and have cake and take pictures of candles being blown out and all.

I am not posting any pictures for some reason, but M has posted a number of historical little daughter pictures in her lovely and much less ironic-sounding post about the birthday.

A great time was had by all, and we are very proud and extremely astonished by this grownup that we have somehow produced. It will be very restful now that she will be taking care of all of her own affairs, although we hope she will allow us to give her little bits of advice and aid now and then.

hee hee.