Random questions and thoughts, June 4, 2023

  • If someone had a time machine, travelled back 66 million years and managed to nudge the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs so that it never hit Earth, would I be awkwardly typing this now with the tiny arms of an Acheroraptor?
  • Shirts with vertical stripes look weird. I can’t even explain why, they just do.
  • Why do some people litter?
  • Would interviews be better or worse if everyone in the interview was compelled by magic/technology to answer all questions with complete honesty?
  • What do billionaires think about on their deathbeds?
  • There’s a cereal you can get only in the U.S. called Quisp and when you think about it, it’s a pretty odd name. Maybe it’s a portmanteau of Quaker and crisp? Still odd.
  • If I could uninvent autotune, I probably would.
  • Male names I like (these will show up as character names for protagonists in stories of mine): Ethan, Christian, Jacob
  • Something I would never wear: Plaid shorts
  • What’s better, warm soda or a stale cookie?
  • I am still kind of amazed every time I see a jet take off and fly. I know the science, it still amazes me.
  • Why are some people mean? Do mean people litter?

What “one more thing” means to me…

It means coming back from the grocery store and realizing I forgot to get the main item I went there to buy. I get everything else, just that one more thing…

This is why it’s important to put everything on your shopping list and not assume your giant brain will remember anything not on it.

I knew I should have added dishwasher soap to the list. Do I really want to go back just to get it?

Kobo: Time travellers

I got an email from Kobo this morning, titled thus:

Except I have not finished reading Fairy Tale (for those wondering, it’s the generically-named latest novel from Stephen King). I’m reading the book on a Kobo device, so Kobo knows I’m reading it…yet apparently is just guessing that I am done, maybe based on how much I’ve been reading per day? (I didn’t read last night because my nose was being super mean to me.) Or maybe the email is from the future where I have, in fact, already finished the book. Or maybe this is the fault of AI because it’s everywhere now, and who knows what it’s getting up to.

Anyway, this is my 63rd post of the month, and I have given myself a made-up award for posting so much, even if most of it is nonsense. Maybe especially because of that1Actually, the real answer is I gave myself permission to basically post anything I wanted, no matter how trivial, weird or silly. I’m enjoying it so far..

Not trusting your users, Macrumors edition

An article on the alleged new Pride Apple Watch band and face has comments disabled (see screenshot below).

The only plausible reason I can think of (as they allow political discussions on the Macrumors forums) is the editors don’t trust their readers to not be bigoted trash.

But I’m open to other explanations, too!

And so it goes

box with brain inscription on head of anonymous woman
I mean, is this not the best BRAIN photo or what? Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Sometimes I think if we truly figured out the human brain, it would be the end of humanity.

That’s my deep thought for today.

I like fiddling

First, it would be cool, if somewhat corny, if I could play the actual fiddle musical instrument.

Alas, I cannot. I can barely play a kazoo.

But I do like non-musical fiddling, and this occurred to me while I was adjusting the fonts and icons in Obsidian, two things that have no real effect on how the program works, but make it look nicer or more personal.

I mean, I love these little custom icons I added through a community plugin (certain folder names redacted). They’re cute, and also functional, because I am a visual person. And yet I have probably spent way more time fussing over them than would seem logical:

What does this say about me? That I’m a silly person? Probably. That I care about aesthetics? Almost certainly? That I am a fiddler? Oh yeah.

Spring-cleaning for the brain

Yeah, it’s not spring yet, but I feel like my brain could use a good spring cleaning. Lately, I’ve been coming up empty for writing and drawing. Is it the time of year? Is it lack of sleep? Is it some other unpleasant thing in my life, like mismatched socks?

I don’t know.

So consider this post a cry for help.

But also, here’s an amusing cat image:

Losing

Recently, I’ve been feeling nostalgic and watching old episodes of Siskel and Ebert on YouTube, having regularly watched the various incarnations of their show when they were still new, going back to the 1890s or thereabouts. Siskel died in 1999 (Ebert was felled by cancer in 2013), so it’s closing in on 25 years since they last appeared together reviewing films.

One of the things that struck me in watching them, captured in that timeless way old TV shows have, is how life is as much about loss as it is about anything, especially as you get older. Your life is framed increasingly by losses. Sometimes they are cruel–how Ebert must have felt to lose Siskel at the young age of 53–and sometimes they’re just silly, like losing your hair. And sometimes the losses simply have that weight of inevitability to them, as when an old actor or musician succumbs to old age and your mind shifts from thinking of them as here and now to being in the past, forever locked there.

But the losses can be other things. Your childhood home might be replaced by an apartment building, your old neighbourhood all but unrecognizable as time sweeps away what once was. You realize that the pace of change is relentless, that so many things we take for granted as always being there are far more ephemeral than we realize.

The McDonald’s in Duncan seems eternal, though.

I remember riding my bike through the freshly-paved parking lot with a friend the day before it opened in the summer of 1978. It’s still there today, 45 years later, though it looks contemporary, thanks to a remodel a few years back. No matter what else changes in Duncan–and Google’s Street View confirms that so many things have since I moved away way back in 1986–there are some places that seem to just stay on forever.

I don’t really have a neat wrap up for this, and I’m not saying getting older is a downer because your life becomes filled with all the things you lose, it just struck me tonight when watching Siskel and Ebert dissing on what would be Gene Wilder’s second-to-last movie as one of the worst of 1990, that so much of our lives is impermanent, even as we don’t realize it until much later, when we begin to look back.

Except that McDonald’s, of course.

(Google Street View, 2021)

3600 days of MyFitnessPal is kind of weird

As of today, I have logged into MyFitnessPal for 3,600 days:

That works out to 9.86 years. I’ve been logging in since I had hair.

When we were in Manning Park back in 2017 we had no cell reception. The place is, as they say, off the grid. But north of the campground we were staying at by Lightning Lake was a mountain called Blackwall Peak. We drove the long switchback-filled route to get to the top, and right at the apex was…a large Telus cell tower and building. I was able to get one bar on my cell phone and keep the MFP streak going.

I later found out that if you logged into the app during days you had no connectivity, they would comp you for them later through support. This was later still built-in to happen automagically once you had connectivity back. I think my streak was in the 800s back then.

The weird thing now is I don’t really care about the streak anymore. In fact, I’ve been on the lookout for a better tracking app but so far I’ve found none that are a worthy replacement, despite its flaws and niggles.

Anyway, just a random thing I noticed today.

Here’s a shot of me preparing to throw my mid-summer snowball, with the cell tower behind me.

The perception of time and aging: Weird

It’s an actual thing that as you grow older you perceive time differently, mainly in that it seems to fly by faster. Waiting a year for something to happen when you were nine years old felt like FOREVER. At, say, 49, it feels like the proverbial blink of an eye.

A few days ago, Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac died, at the age of 79. This made me think back to the reunion of the classic Mac line-up that led to the live album The Dance, which I bought in the now quaint CD format. The concert, album and subsequent tour all happened in 1997–25 years ago as of this writing, yet when I think back to it, it feels like it happened far more recently, more like five or ten years ago. It’s weird. McVie was already 54 at the time. She rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014 at the age of 71, yet in my mind she seems to be eternally around 40 years old. This may admittedly be in part to how music videos “preserve” people as they were, but I think the time thing plays a big part, too.

I don’t have anything more profound to offer on this, only that it’s something that has become more obvious to me after I moved from my 40s and into my 50s. The death of McVie made me think again how my brain doesn’t easily wrap around how much time has passed on so many things.

Although it does feel like it’s been about a hundred years since I had a decent head of hair.

Welcome to December 2022 ~or~ Ice to meet you

Because it’s cold out there today. It’s -6C as I type this and the expected high is -1C, which scientists refer to as BRR. At least it isn’t snowing anymore. Or raining, because that would be even more fun with everything covered in crunchy snow right now.

I must venture out at some point to get some foodstuffs, plus I also want to go to the lake to see how viable it might be for running tomorrow. I’m not super hopeful, but you never know!

Also, I was down this morning, woo. Weight-wise, I mean, not in terms of my spirits. I am officially 10.9 pounds from my weight goal of 150. Can I get to 150 pounds in the month that plies people relentlessly with candy, chocolate, eggnog and the horror known as fruitcake? Possibly!

Also, here is a cat in the snow.