House Fly

Another sure sign that spring is on the way: a house fly buzzing around the light fixture in the bathroom. He is no more.

This morning the temperature is 1C, above freezing. By mid morning the temperature will drop to below freezing and we will have a flash freeze. Tonight the temperature will fall to -19C. Earth’s mood swings can be a challenge to deal with.

It has just occurred to me that I have created an entry featuring the house fly on Valentines Day. One of the last great romantics, that’s me! I think it stems from an attempt to ignore candy (too many calories), to ignore romantic dinners at nice restaurants (allergy prevents restaurant dining), to ignore clinking glasses of champagne (wines contain my allergen). One truly gets into the spirit of ignoring what is not advisable, it seeps into the bones. Sensible me.

Attila and I are beginning to plan our next short visit to the little house in the city. We were last there at Christmas, almost two months ago. It was our intention to visit frequently this winter, but the Sunday weather and/or driving conditions prevented travel. Spring is on the way and we will be too, very soon. I may stay there for a week. We took possession of the place last July and have yet to be there on garbage or blue box collection days. The garbage has been traveling back to the country to be disposed of here. The blue box is overflowing at the little house, clearly it needs to be put out on the curb early on a collection day.

There was a nice little program for recipe collecting, Yum, that got so drastically downgraded that it is no longer being developed. The search is on to find the last viable version of that software, and to install it to replace the most recent, flawed version.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FLASH FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT
1 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 98.8 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Temperature: 1.0°C
Dewpoint: 0.8°C
Humidity: 99 %
Wind: WSW 21 gust 35 km/

Quote

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.”
W. H. Auden
1907 – 1973

A Lot of Good People

Sometimes even I think I am a little strange. Here is where I went at 5:25 a.m. this morning, while Attila sawed logs sleeping in. I was looking at quotations. I read a quotation by Pascal. I got thinking about algebra. I loved algebra in high school, and was feeling warm hearted towards integers and variables. I found a web site that reviews the basics of algebra, lets face it it has been more than 30 years since I last paid any attention to algebra. I’ve spent a good part of my morning playing around with simple variables, expressions and equations. It is like playing with blocks, building things from units, moving them around to make sense in different ways. It is also a bit like jigsaw puzzles, fitting things together so that they make sense. What fun!

My Mom remembers this time; she always said that they were lucky during the depression because my Grandfather had work. She never romanticizes the experience. What strikes me is that the people I know who lived through that time, have never voiced contempt for the poor; not for those who were poor during the depression, not for those who are poor now. Perhaps I am just lucky to have only met good people, but if that is the case then there must have been a lot of good people around who grew up in the depression era.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-9 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -9.0°C
Dewpoint: -10.2°C
Humidity: 91 %
Wind: SSE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -15

Quote

“The eyes those silent tongues of Love.”
Miguel de Cervantes

Snow Gage: Snow Topped Boulder

What a beautiful day. The small clouds stream, speeding across a brilliant blue sky. The pines are swaying, sighing in the gusty wind. Shadows dance. Snow devils whirl. A visual delight.

Snow Gage: Snow Topped Boulder

Snow Gage: Snow Topped Boulder

Attila took two hours to remove the snow from the deck this afternoon. This was the second time he has undertaken to remove the snow from the deck, which is quite reasonable at this point in the winter.

To date, we have not received a high volume of snow. This is easily determined by observing the boulder in the front yard. Today we can observe the boulder; more accurately we can observe the snow mound that rests on top of the boulder. Other winters, when we had a lot more snow, there was no trace of the boulder, it lay beneath a flat expanse of sparkling white snow; no hint of a rise in the yard to indicate that a boulder even existed. It is only February so the boulder may yet disappear.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-7 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -7.0°C
Dewpoint: -15.3°C
Humidity: 52 %
Wind: W 18 gust 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Quote

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.”
Henry Miller
1891 – 1980

On the Screen

Crazy Heart 
2009, Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall

goin crazy

The snow squalls were interesting yesterday. At times the sky looked like it was clearing, shortly thereafter all you could see out the window was snow. When I drove home from work yesterday it was snowing hard, and a sudden strong blast of wind brought additional snow showering out of the towering roadside trees. Visibility was zero. And suddenly there was an SUV heading straight for me, well into my lane of the highway. Luckily I live here and respect the weather conditions, I was traveling around 40 km per hour, so I could swerve towards the ditch to avoid a head on collision. The driver of the SUV didn’t slow, stop or seem to think anything at all of forcing me off the road, they just kept speeding along. The road was wider where this occurred so I didn’t end up in the ditch, didn’t get stuck. I just carried on at a snail’s pace until I reached home, safe and sound. I don’t yet look old enough to pull off the “little old lady driver” thing, but give me time and I’ll get there.

Snow squalls are expected again today. With a little bit of luck a squall will not cross my path on my trip to work and back again.

Attila and I are breathing a sigh of relief, I’ve managed to get enough work to diminish the mountain of bills that arrived around Christmas and lingered into the New Year (insurance, property taxes, heat etc.). We could see them coming but were unable to prepare for them before they arrived. Hand to mouth to be sure, but at least the hand is still moving towards the mouth.

Okay, this isn’t much, but what a rush! I heard a bird call in the forest, so loud that the sound penetrated the walls of the house and found me sitting here. Not since last November has such a sound infiltrated these four walls. Snow squalls and bird song, a transition in progress.

A new poem, “goin crazy“.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SNOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT
-21 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -21.0°C
Dewpoint: -22.9°C
Humidity: 85 %
Wind: SSE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -27

Quote

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?”
Ursula K. LeGuin

Assumptions

Assumptions are the bane of my existence. Many fields of scholarship have alluded to the inherent weakness of calcified shared assumptions, such as education and business (see below). Although shared assumptions can be a very healthy way of maintaining balanced social interactions, once they cease to evolve freely they become rhetorically and functionally tautological (see definition below).

We all have our faults and weaknesses. One of mine is “jumping the gun”. Occasionally I make a superficial assessment of something I read or see, based on false assumptions, then base a conclusion on incomplete information. Usually this goes unnoticed even by myself, because I seldom, if ever, leave any assessment as superficial. I am driven by some internal force to find out more, look at possible meanings, find the context. The superficial assessment serves only as a starting point in my process of education. I am, for the most part, a self-correcting system, in a constant state of intellectual flux.

There are times though, when I venture an initial statement on a subject before moving into the research stage. Usually these false statements happen in a conversation where I am feeling some pressure to participate, which is usually but not always a self-generated pressure. This invariably leads to miscommunication at best, embarrassment and/or hard feelings at worst.

Not to confuse this with my “off the wall” statements, and in particular “off the wall” questions. These statements/questions are usually based on a solid core of understanding, a seemingly unique perspective on a subject. This unusual perspective sounds ridiculous to other people (colleagues, professors at university while I was a student etc.) at first, until they hear the context of the statement/question. My questions are frequently regarded as irrelevant, crazy or “off the wall”, based on the conversant’s assumptions about why I am asking the question. Almost invariably though, once they answer the seemingly silly question, and listen to my response, they can abandon their own assumptions about what the statement/question must mean. Then they are free follow my subsequent logic and understand the point I am making. That is not to say that they will agree with my point, it is merely that they cease to regard the statement/question as crazy, and assess it on its own merit.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SNOW SQUALL WATCH IN EFFECT
-27 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -27.0°C
Dewpoint: -29.6°C
Humidity: 79 %
Wind: SSE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -31

Quote

“Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.”
Eric Hoffer
1902 – 1983

Note

Jumping the Gun
“to do something too soon, before the right time”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Off the Wall
“(informal) unusual and amusing; slightly crazy”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Assumption
“a belief or feeling that something is true or that something will happen, although there is no proof”
Source: http://www.oxfordadvancedlearnersdictionary.com/dictionary/jump_1

Shared Assumptions

The normalization of social interaction: When shared assumptions cannot be assumed
Marilyn A. Rumelhart
QUALITATIVE SOCIOLOGY Volume 6, Number 2, 149-162, DOI: 10.1007/BF00987085
Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t042253702136380/

How One Center of Innovation Lost its Spark
July 23, 2001, Donald Sull, Faculty
Harvard Business School
Source: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2377.html

Tautological
“A rhetorical tautology can also be defined as a series of statements that comprise an argument, whereby the statements are constructed in such a way that the truth of the proposition is guaranteed or that the truth of the proposition cannot be disputed by defining a term in terms of another self-referentially”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology_(rhetoric)