Things I miss, Part 27

  • My beard. I sort of have a stubbly version going right now, because when it’s really short the white doesn’t stand out. The reason I don’t have a full beard is because it would be white and I don’t fancy the “distinguished gentleman” look. Yes, I’ve thought of growing a beard and dying it. I think it would be weird, but I’m more open to weird these days.
  • 10 cent candy bars. This is the lowest price I can remember, circa 1970 when I was six or seven years old. This is not a bad thing, though, because if they were still 10 cents apiece, I would weigh 300 pounds.
  • A full head of hair. I shaved my head seven years ago, and I’ve made peace with never having a proper head of hair again, but I still kind of miss having hair on my head.
  • That section of my National Novel Writing Month novel that got eaten when Scrivener didn’t sync properly. My fault, I’m sure, but I’ve never experienced that “afraid to lose stuff” with software before and it is always in the back of my mind now when I use Scrivener.
  • My original copy of The Ever-continuing Saga of the Round Balls comic I wrote back around 1984 or so. I did 11 issues of varying length and at some point tragically lost them, probably left in a box under the stairs of a townhouse I used to live in.
  • Not completing my swimming lessons in 2007. Technically I can swim, but it’s more accurate to describe it as “not drowning.” Living on the coast it always seemed like a good skill to have. But water kind of terrifies me. Probably because I can’t swim.
  • That childhood sense of time, where the summer stretched on forever. Now it goes by in a blink. There’s actual science behind this.
  • World peace.

Still technically writing every day

I have not found my groove yet early in this new year when it comes to writing, but I am writing something every day, as I had vowed to do. So yay for sticking to it for nearly a whole week so far! Only 51 more to go.

Part of the problem is my mind feels cluttered by negative thingamabobs, mainly but not exclusively related to a growing professional dissatisfaction. Maybe all those years of not working in a field I am passionate about is finally having an effect. I’m not saying there is something I am passionate about–clearly I struggle with writing, no matter how many books I read on the subject, and how diligently I follow all the little tricks and things to keep you going–but I can’t help but think there might be something I’d be generally more satisfied in doing in my work life.

But every time I take one of those “This is the work you SHOULD be doing!” tests, the results are always somewhat dubious. So I’m not sure how to go about investigating a possible career side-step. I’m also aware that I’m not exactly a 20-something that can freely experiment with a bunch of different jobs to see what sticks (or maybe I could, who knows?)

Anyway, the important thing is I wrote something today and maybe I’ll hit the treadmill again tomorrow. Also, only two more months until we are back on Daylight Saving Time, hooray. All right, this concluding paragraph was a little random. Maybe I accidentally lapsed into free writing. There are worse things that could happen. Like scurvy or the return of parachute pants.

Rain today

It rained today, the first rain we’ve had this month during daylight hours (we had one other brief shower overnight). It took 25 days to arrive, which is impressive, but in a somewhat depressing way, less impressive than it once was because dry summers are no longer uncommon.

The rain is good because it helps reduce the likelihood of the tinder-dry forests instantly going up in flames, it helps to douse the smoke drifting down from all the current forest fires already raging due to the tinder-dry aforementioned, and it may slightly revive the very very brown grass seen everywhere.

As I am the lucky recipient of a return of the cold I had a few weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t have run, anyway, but even that turned out to be okay–I enjoyed the indulgence of a true day off, where I shrugged off not completing my activity rings, enjoyed some comfort food, and bought a couple of Frisbees. Er, flying discs.

The weather appear much the same tomorrow, but if I’m up to it, I may try a short, soggy run. And like it!

Three abilities that would be handy or maybe kind of dumb

I’ve always meant to do a best/worst super power list. Consider this the B version of that. These are abilities that might be interesting to have. Or not.

  • the ability to draw whatever I picture in my mind, exactly as I want it to appear. Basically, to draw magic, instead of stick men and art that looks like, “Dude, you should practice more. A lot more. Like, for years and years lol.” I’d impress a few people, but I wonder how it would affect how I see things, knowing I could later capture them just how I wanted. Would I become indifferent to the ability? Find clever uses for it? See it is just being a practical thing, albeit rather unique?
  • the ability to zoom in with my eyeballs. I can think of many practical (and a few prurient) uses for this, with no real downside, apart from the occasional “I didn’t mean to look at that” moment. It would be like having a permanent set of binoculars with me, and while I don’t often wish I actually did always have a set of binoculars with me, it very mildly irritates me when I don’t and I want to make out something in the distance and can’t.
  • the ability to touch type. A boy can dream. Maybe if I typed faster my hands would be gnarled claws by now and I’ve actually saved them by typing slower using my refined hunt and peck method. Yes, that’s it, I’m sure.

I refuse to sink (to using logic, apparently)

This was pointed out to me yesterday–a lot of people have tattoos that bear the image of an anchor with the accompanying text “Refuse to sink” to some variation of the same.

Now, think about this while looking at a sample:

“Refuse to sink” is obviously meant as an affirmative phrase, so hooray for that. Affirmative phrases are good!

What is an anchor’s primary function? To anchor a water-going vessel–you know, a boat or ship. Perhaps a very fancy floating log. How does the anchor perform this function? By sinking to the bottom of the body of water and dragging/getting stuck in the muck/rocks along the bottom.

An anchor’s purpose is to sink. If an anchor did the opposite–float–it would be completely useless.

You see where this is going.

This is like the people using literally to mean figuratively.

“I literally just walked a million miles to get here.”

A “refuse to sink” anchor is as logical as a “refuse to fly” airplane. Perhaps the airplane secretly wants to be a truck. I don’t know. Who am I to judge? But really, this is kind of silly. I’m just wondering how this expression–which perhaps would be better-accompanied by an image of a buoy–becamse so popular, especially as a hard-to-remove tattoo.

The most generous take I have for now is people are weird.

My beard is like a horror movie

I shaved this morning the same way I always do–I used the electric razor on my face and neck, then used a trimmer for my Van Dyke. It’s properly known as a circle beard but no one seems to know what a circle beard is.

Anyway, the beard itself is more a vestige at this point, as I don’t use a guard on the trimmer, insuring the facial hair is there but in a minimalist sort of way.

Tonight I noticed the fuzz on my chin and upper lip was more pronounced than one would expect after a little over 14 hours of growth. I clearly remember trimming it this morning and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been struck by lightning since then and acquired the power of super fast hair growth as a result (though a little more on the top would be nice).

Instead I’m left to ponder how my facial hair has become the folical version of Michael Meyers, coming back stronger and more resilient no matter how often I whack it down.

I’m going to take pictures of this to prove it’s not just me being weird. Well, weirder.

Swimming poo(l)

Today I found out what happens when poo (officially “fecal matter”) is found in a public swimming pool.

They close the pool.

This makes sense, of course. Who wants to swim with poo? After the poo is fished out, the staff must conduct a sweep of the pool using their poo-meters or whatnot to make sure the water is fit for swimming. Thid can take awhile as public pools tend to be large.

This happened at the Canada Games Pool, and while it didn’t inconvenience me–I was there to use an elliptical trainer–the closure of both the main pool and the large kids pool meant that anyone who wanted to get wet had to:

  • use the swirl pool, which is not really the same thing
  • sit in the sauna and sweat profusely, which is definitely not the same thing
  • make do in the very small kiddie pool, which is really just a shallow wading pool

The swirl pool and kiddie pool were both more crowded than I’ve ever seen them. I felt bad for everyone. And sweaty. Because of the elliptical.

I started thinking about why or how someone would poo in a public pool and then stopped. I think I made the right choice.

In their pocket

I got an email yesterday from Pocket, the service that lets you save stories on the web to read later (various browsers and other apps do the same thing but I glommed onto Pocket, in part because it was bought by Mozilla and integrated directly into Firefox).

Email from Pocket is not unusual–I get several per week with recommended and sponsored stories. This one was different, though (and yes, it included the little rocket because that’s become a strange and slightly annoying trend in email subject lines over the past few years):

? Stan, you made the Top 5% of readers in Pocket this year!

It goes on to elaborate a little:

You’re a top reader in Pocket for 2017, and you should be proud! Not only did you make it into the top 5%, you’ve also exercised your brain and undoubtedly learned a ton in the process.

I just find this weird. There are about five hundred billion people on the internet, so how did I manage to get in the top 5% of Pocket users? My first thought is that Pocket is drastically unpopular and any moderate use by anyone would put them in the top 5%. This is also my second and third thought because all other possibilities seem so much less likely. But perhaps most people only use Pocket occasionally because they read a story right when they find it, rather than holding off until later. Maybe we live in a culture of instant rather than delayed gratification and I’m an outlier.

Maybe this would all change if Pocket featured Facebook integration (I would then hate it forever and plunge into the bottom 5%).

Anyway, I suppose it’s nice but mostly still weird that I’m in the top 5% of anything on the internet. Go me!

Testing the axiom “An artist must suffer for his art”

My personal life has undergone a seismic shift as of last night. Since this is a blog and not Dear Diary I’ll say no more, but if an artist must suffer for his art and I keep writing or doodling or throwing pots or engaging in some sort of creative endeavor, I will soon be producing work that’ll look touched by genius.

Just sayin’.

Let’s start with a haiku.

I did a bad thing
The consequences are due
I am a dumb guy

The genius part may build slowly over time…

Siri loses her mind (all the time)

One day I’ll write up a full review of my Series 2 Apple Watch (which I am generally pretty happy with) but something that has always bugged me is that Siri is only available when you have an internet connection, even for things that should easily work without a connection like “Hey Siri, start a 5-minute timer” or “Hey Siri, shuffle my music.”

Siri also has a tough time parsing certain (seemingly random) things. I will never get Siri to play The Alan Parsons Project’s album Pyramid because Siri is incapable of understanding the word “pyramid”:

“Hey Siri, play the album Pyramid.”
I’m sorry, I can’t find the album Pure Mind

“Hey Siri, play the album Pyramid.” (Being very careful to pronounce the word clearly and concisely.)
I’m sorry, I can’t find the album Pier Mind

“Hey Siri, play the third Alan Parsons Project album.”
begins playing random track from The Turn of a Friendly Card, the fourth APP album

Best of all, even when I issue a command (usually related to playing music, like the aforementioned “Hey Siri, shuffle my music”) the watch will insist something went wrong with Siri…shortly after executing the command correctly:

I mean, as long as it works I don’t mind, but it’s a bit unsettling.

At least I’m totally set if I ever get an album called Pier Mind.

If I do this…

If I wear my over-ear headphones and then rub a finger on my upper-lip stubble (it’s not quite grand enough to really call a mustache) the sound is strangely reminiscent of sawing wood.

This has been my random thought of the day.

Also, I dreamed the other night that a taxi driver or bus driver said dividing something up fairly would be “fifty, fifty, fifty” and I frantically tried to find some way to permanently record this wisdom for all time. In reality I have an app called Drafts that I can summon on my Apple Watch and with a tap of the mic icon, I tell it what I want to record and it’s done. It’s simple yet always strikes me as such a spiffy, hi-tech way to record random thoughts and ideas.

In the dream I couldn’t get the app to work. I’m not sure why. The watch probably adopted spontaneous non-Euclidean geometry that made it impossible to operate.

This has been my second random thought of the day. About random thoughts.

Another month, another flurry of last-day posts

I’ve done it again.

I started out in early June staying close to one-post-per-day on this here blog, then it went off the rails and on this last day of the month I found myself eight posts short of my desired goal.

It’s been difficult, but I’ve avoided making eight posts of animated cat gifs today. I’ve only made one.

This is post #29 so I have one more to go after this.

Have a random thought:

What is it that makes so many people unaware of the space around them when they are out in public? I don’t really know, but I lean toward thinking it’s something unique to large urban areas. As more of the world fits into that category it’s probably going to get that much worse.

And that’s not even counting the smartphone zombies.

It bugs me that so many people don’t pay attention. It seems lazy and selfish. But what can I do, other than to complain in vain? I suppose I could wear a giant mechanical suit and just fling people out of my way. That seems a bit harsh, though. And expensive.

No, complaining it is.