So I’m sick

thermometer

I hope that’s not a picture of a rectal thermometer. I have no idea.

I’ve got the sneezing, the sinus pressure, the sore throat, the cough, the whole lot. Ruined my weekend.

And I’m pretty sure I caught it from Audrey, who seems to be a never-ending source of potential disease. No-one ever told me that when you have a child you basically have Patient Zero living in your house.

Unlinking

A bunch of my friends no longer blog. I’ve delisted them from the sidebar. I added Chris Hubbs back in because that just make sense.

Facebook happened, I think. Those of us who weren’t writers by temperament or by design stopped interacting with blogs and comments (it was too much effort) and started commenting on Facebook walls instead (far too little effort).

I don’t know if anything is lost in this transition. I don’t think so. There privacy of Facebook can be nice. I miss the openness of it all, though. I can honestly say I gained a few friends on the internet from blogging. I’ve only lost friends on Facebook. At my age it’s a lot easier to lose friends than to gain them.

How long will I keep this up, I wonder? I think as long as I’m making things, and thinking things, and want to write all those things down. I can accept that there are a lot of people out there who don’t care about that. They’re content to think things and have those thoughts boil off into the ether. There’s nothing wrong there. There are, after all, far too many thoughts and not enough time to write them all down.

So I soldier on. There’s that.

I almost died yesterday.

While I was driving through an intersection, another car took a left turn in front of me, a left turn that would have probably killed us both were it not for my quick-braking reaction. I ended up stopped in the middle of the intersection like an idiot, staring at the person who, in another world, had caused my death.

Novels would have me wrapped in epiphany now, celebrating my new lease on life. It turns out that today looks a lot like yesterday. I thank God for not separating my spirit and my body, but other than that, I’m the same person.

This, of course, is the latest in a long line of things Gregory House has said that I agree with.


Attribution and License for the above photo.

Ideas

Have you ever noticed that some people have ideas lodged in their heads that they seem to come back to all the time?

You’ll convince them that another way is indeed better, and they’ll agree, but later be back to the original idea. After a while you sort of pick your battles, but even then it’s not really worth it.

Method and madness.

At work, there are certain things we do all the time. We do these certain things every day. Most people here have developed a method of doing these things, a way of (for instance), writing descriptions for tools of different sorts. After a while there’s a sort of community lexicon for these things.

There are, however, a few people who resist change. Though I should say they resist changing by constantly changing. Or, they cannot seem to do the same thing the same way twice. They’re immune to the community lexicon no matter how long they work here.

I alternately find this annoying and fascinating (I have a deep ambivalence to caring about such things) and sometimes wonder: why do some people settle into patterns and adopt informal standardisations while other people seem to resist them at the atomic level?

Changes.

In reading — and editing — some old posts today, I’ve come to see that my style of blogging has changed. From the beginning, it was a semi-personal narrative. SOmething for the world to see, if you will. My own place, centered around me, where I can say things that I might otherwise never have the chance to say.

There are posts on this blog from almost the very beginning of my writings on the internet. Imported from Blogger and other places. I like to read them every once in a while. It’s a sort of self-checkup, or a state of the person measurement. Have I lost touch with anything? Am I radically different in any way? Have I stayed the course?

It’s odd, really.

Three years ago, I had heard the name Noam Chomsky (for instance), but really had no idea what he wrote, or what he believed. I hadn’t encountered that yet. My study of the pysical sciences (albeit an off-and-on flirtation rather than a serious study) hadn’t brought me to the inescable conclusion that the earth at least looks monstrously old.

I probably wouldn’t have used the word “monstrously”.

If I were pressed, I’d have to say that I don’t particularly like looking back. Not, of course, because my history is so completely devoid of merit that I can’t bear the sight of my former self, but because it’s pretty useless. Do you know anyone so enamoured of the past they can’t envision a future that doesn’t resemble it? I’d rather not be that person.

I’ve done very good things. I’ve done very bad things. I am not, however, trapped in the glare of either. By God’s grace, I move forward; but in moving forward I also look back. To guage, or to measure, or to plumb.

Call it what you like. I don’t mind.

In a whole blog comprised of what some might mercilessly call navel-gazing, I reserve this short time to glance over my shoulder and contemplate.

I’ve changed, you see. Not in the way that some of you like I might mean, as if I’m somehow qualified to say, “I’m better!” I don’t know. Sometimes I think that. Sometimes I even want that. Yet, I am different in some way, in some etherial sense I can’t put my finger on.

Maybe you know how this is, one day looking back and seeing that you’re just not that person anymore, not just in ways that can be readily qualified as “good” and “bad”, but in ways much more subtle. In ways that defy symmetry.

Here’s the difference between now and then: I’m not going to tell you how. I’ll let you guess, if you even care, which I really can’t be sure of.

There’s an entire series of posts before this one. I can vouch for their honesty — if that means anything to you — but you’ll have to read them for yourself.

Find some time when you’re bored.

You’re the problem.

There’s this action no-one likes taking, and I mean no-one. It’s not a hard thing, really, but it stings.

Admit you’re the problem, see how that feels, see if I’m right. Look at yourself as clearly as you can — and let’s be honest, not particularly clearly even then — and you will notice this. You’re the problem.

You’re not always the problem, of course: there are genuine instances where you’ve been acted upon and had no fault in it. I’d guess that those instances are rare.

If you call it fault, or blame, or something like that, fine. Call it that. But in doing so, don’t reduce everything to a set of sums, to percentages, to balances and counter-balances. Have you found a way to rightly apportion that force of will that entangles us all? Congratulations; in thinking flawed so deeply, you’re the problem.

But what came before? How did you get to this place? And even, if you could see all the connections, tenuous or otherwise, would your trifling intellect begin to comprehend the permutations? The primaries, the secondaries, the tertiaries (or the framework of numbers forces upon them)?

Sometimes I imagine the world like strings, every man and woman trailing them wherever they walk. Like marionettes with countless hands pulling in countless directions. Like a fabric, maybe, shifting in the present, reaching hesitantly into the near future, somewhere into the far, being laid down in the past.

Can you control the things that come before, that determine what comes after? Can you identify them and disentangle yourself?

Do you have free will?

Sometime in the future you may admit — privately, publicly, it matters not — that you’re the problem. That there’s an answer you need to find to yourself. That you are the only thing you can change. And that when you change you, you change the future.

Or do you?

Maybe you’ll admit you’re the problem and see a tiny gossamer strand reaching back to these words.

But you probably won’t.

These are some things I really love.

It’s been brought to my attention that I use this blog to complain about things a lot. Oh, okay, it wasn’t brought to my attention: I noticed as I was reading that there were a lot of posts essentially bitching about things. The remedy, I think, is to post something positive right now. And in order to do that, I’m going to make a list.

Things I Like

  • CBC Radio 1: For those of you in the US, there’s NPR. For us in Canada, there’s CBC Radio 1. All the stuff the other stations won’t play goes here. No commercial pressure leads, I think, to much better programming. Insightful commentary, excellent in-depth news, and radio documentaries (why have I heard so few radio documentaries in my lifetime?) When I get in my car in the morning CBC Radio 1 is the default station.
  • Zeugma: If you haven’t already heard, Laura and I adopted a cat. Not just any cat, mind you, but the cutest cat in the whole wide world. I’m usually a fan of short-haired cats, but Zeugma is a medium-hair grey, and still in the kitten stage of running-around-and-playing-with-everything. If it moves, Zeugma will bat a paw at it.
  • Nasi Goreng: Best food in the world. Really. Easy to make, painless to store, and spiced with curry. How could I not love a dish so fine?
  • Wordplay: I like puns. I like good puns and bad puns and puns that make you groan. Puns, however, aren’t all. I like other kinds of wordplay, like double meanings, irony, sarcasm, that sort of thing.
  • Kretek cigarettes: Yum. That’s all I have to say. There are quite a few good things in this world, and Kretek cigarettes are definitely one of the top.
  • Friends who give me espresso machines: Best gift ever. Period. I am now well on my way to being an Italian coffee expert. Coming up soon: latte art courtesy of WikiHow.
  • WikiHow: Now that I mention it, WikiHow is — after Wikipedia — the wiki I most often visit. You should, too.
  • My sister Becca: She does a great job at work. And is delightful to work with.
  • And last, but not least, Laura: If there’s ever a moment I say to myself, “Why did I marry you?”, you should hit me with a bear or something, because that’s crazy talk.

So I’m getting married, huzzah.

You know what weddings are all about? Weddings are all about stress. Let me explain. Yesterday, I left work early, as delivery men from both Sears and Jysk were showing up. Show up they did, both of them late, and I spent the rest of the evening assembling furniture, which isn’t as therapeutic as it may sound. In fact, by the time I had figured out how the TV stand and the couch fit together, I had spent three hours bolting things together, deciphering schematics cleverly encrypted with 128-bit stupidity, and wondering why so much extra hardware had been crammed into the little plastic bags, until I longed for the sweet embrace of death.

Then I got into work to discover everyone calling for their tools, and every tool not done or done wrong. Hyperbole, but it stands. In the midst of this I discovered that money is going to be a little tight for the first few months of marriage because OSAP — predictably, I might add — thinks that we don’t actually need any money for food and whatnot.

Of course, some of you are going to be saying, “Well, then you shouldn’t have bought that bed and that furniture.” But of course they were both a donation from my parents, bless their moneyed souls, and not a cash donation. And I will not beg money from them; things tight, but we’ll survive just fine. For the first time I understand why finances are the ruination of many an otherwise sound relationship.

We will find ourselves, after the honeymoon, in a house full of semi-nice things, with a few thin dimes to rub together. At least for the first few weeks. Add to that the inevitable tension of getting used to — for me at least — having another person around the house whose needs I have to consider, whose well-being I am entrusted with, and you have the makings of a rocky road. It’s scary too: are my shoulders broad enough for this?

Something is going to blind-side us. The time is ripe. I mean, me and Laura love eachother and we’ll make it through whatever comes, but it’s all too simple right now. The challenges seem straightforward, and life seems to generally dislike being straightforward. So I’m waiting to get hit by a bus.

All this to say that I may well be fraying and wearing thin, but this is going to happen. It will, and if I find myself taking a bus in the chest, it will be for love. I’m a big ball of hope that no bus will come, and that the rewards of the tension will be legion, and that in all of this there will be a knot of blessing.

But I still can’t wait for it all to just be… over.

Celebrity gossip sites suck.

Every time I see someone browsing a celebrity gossip site or reading one of those magazines, I ask myself why people will willingly concern themselves with the private lives of other people, something manifestly none of their business, rather than paying attention to things that directly affect their lives, such as being involved in the workings of government.

I wonder sometimes if stupidity is a disease, or maybe some sort of meme. Yeah I understand that expecting everyone to be smart is a bit of a tall order, and that even the smartest people have issues on which they’re pretty boneheaded; but is it so much to ask that people pay attention to something that actually matters?

Every time I see one of my sisters, especially, I die a little inside. I ask myself if my caring about things is an anomaly. Am I the freak here?