Archive for the 'time' Category


November 12, 2006

Our lives are made up of moments strung together.  How small an increment of time can change your life forever?  There is the extreme involving sudden violence, but what about just in terms of interaction between other people?

What does it take to change course in life?

I would posit that change from within is the hardest and rarest form of change.  I would also argue that that sort of change, be it in terms of losing weight, getting an education or ending a relationship is not something that happens immediately.

In the category of things happening to a person in life, change can be deep and immediate.  This requires no heroics and the choices made following what life hands you are nothing like those changes from within.

Such is the type of change that I’m dealing with at the moment.  It is a delicate and transitory time.  As I sit here now, experiencing the full meaning of it all, it is almost enjoyable.  Yet, there has been much stress and it really has only begun.  Change still may not happen, but it seems more and more likely.  I am standing at the top of a hill and now I must leap to another hill even though I may fall a bit in the process.

Let’s hope it’s not too far.

I don’t have time to write.

November 1, 2006

It’s irony at it’s finest.  Mental Interface is more popular than it’s ever been.  Hundreds of people visit here daily.  I have more people reading my writing than at any other time in my life.

But I’m too busy to write.

Even as I write this cop-out excuse for a post, work goes languishing.  I have to return to it before I fall asleep at my desk with my face dented by my keyboard.  I hate peeling keys off in the morning.

As I approach 30,000 lifetime hits for the blog, I want to take a moment to thank you, dear reader for making this portal from my brain to the web worthwhile.

Now it’s back to work.

The Antikythera Mechanism

September 7, 2006

I read about this recently in Discover Magazine.  It was just a little blurb, but I leapt from my chair in amazement.  Never before did I know that the Greeks had mastered such fine gearing.  Who would have guessed that a society from 2000 years ago had inventors that rivaled Charles Babbage.  Moreover, this is not new.  It was discovered over 100 years ago and has been written about fairly often.  I am an unabashed geek and yet somehow I missed learning about this incredible device.  Here’s a link to an article written about it in 1959 from Scientific American.  It’s also on Wikipedia.

The greeks didn’t have electricity.  They didn’t have gun powder.  They didn’t even have iron works.  Apparently, though, they understood astronomy, mathematics and bronze smithing.

This device apparently helped with sea navigation.  It is self-dating too by the calendar-like aspects of the inscriptions on the device to 80 BC.  It’s almost crushingly telling in it’s power to show the thinking used and it’s regarded as the very first scientific instrument produced, if not the very first mechanical computer.

To me this object holds true preciousness because it is an anchor point in human history and of scientific thought.  It’s also a warning that bright people and far ahead thinking in science can’t save a civilization over time.  Or, as stated in the Scientific American article: “It is a bit frightening to know that just before the fall of their great civilization the ancient Greeks had come so close to our age, not only in their thought, but also in their scientific technology.”

In my old age, I can now watch movies more than once.

August 28, 2006

All my life it drove me crazy to watch the same movie more than once.  I could recall every minute and I always felt like I was wasting time because there were other movies out there that I could be watching in the pathetically short and flailing existence that is human life.

But now, I’m 40 years old and my memory barely functions.  So I thought I’d try watching Ghost in the Shell again.

I think I first watched it four years ago.  Sure I remember lines and scenes from it, but as I watched it it was almost new to me again.  Plus, it was better even than I remembered.  Moreover, I’ve had the sequel and both series to compare it to.  Even though it’s ten years old now, it still compares favorably.

So what’s old is new again.  In my failing mind, I find a new hope.

I can’t wait to watch Star Wars Episode III again…

Don Ho.

August 8, 2006

Don Ho August 2006

Originally uploaded by Thaed 3.

As I wind down my time in paradise, I have to mention that I saw Don Ho perform while I was here. I know that that may cause some of you to snicker, but I figured, hey, he’s a legend out here and how many times will I get to see a legend? Well, all I’m going to say is that I wish I’d caught his act 20 years ago. I took a pic of him, but I think he should be remembered as he was in his prime.

Work, exercise, family, sleep.

July 30, 2006

One would think life would be simple. After a person has finished where he or she wants to be with schooling, life is just managing these four things. Get up in the morning and go to work, whether it’s working for someone or working for yourself. One just has to get up and work for 8, 10 or 12 hours. Exercise is pretty much essential to good health and fitness, so getting on a bike or lifting weights or running or doing yoga should be a natural thing at the end of the day (or in the morning even). Family is most important of all and that should be life’s greatest joy. We should love our kin and enjoy spending time with them, for they are closest to us, right? Sleep should be a gift. After perfectly sailing through each day, one should just reach somnolence the moment one arrives on the sheets.

But it doesn’t work that way, does it. Work for a lot of people is not something to love or least of all something to which one looks forward. Few people leap from bed on Monday morning smiling at the prospect of the beginning of a work week. Even those who love their jobs can be overwhelmed. Moreover, there are those among us who avoid work like a sickness! Exercise is easier for some. It can provide escape from work and even a mild euphoria if it’s done with vigor. Yet, who among us fails to exercise enough? Almost all of us who have a routine break it and many people would not exercise if you paid them to do it. Family? It’s important, but, sadly, people don’t always get along. I’ve written enough about insomnia for you to get the idea where I stand on sleep.

We’re not perfect. Should we just give up? Should we stop trying so hard? Should we let entropy and age have their way with us?

Nope. Can’t do it. Why not? Because it’s even worse than the alternative! Only the wealthy or disabled don’t have to work and people who are wealthy often work too. Waking hours have to be filled with something. A person can at least try to pick something he or she really likes doing. Not being fit really leads to bad things. Yes, we’ll all die anyway, but it can be more painful if a person doesn’t exercise. It might mean the difference of staving off diabetes and having decent later years instead of horrific ones. No one wants to be incontinent, incompetent and in a wheelchair in a nursing home. Family is a person’s pleasure and cross to bear. Enjoy your family members and help them when you can. As far as sleep is concerned, even I have to admit that the days where I hit work, exercise, family successfully (and maybe throw in some hobbies as well) are days I sleep the best. If not, there’s always drugs.

Daniel Schorr is a Great American.

July 25, 2006

Daniel Schorr turns 90 next month.  This is a man who has been in the news business since the 1950s.  He’s written books, won Emmys and lifetime achievement awards.  His only living peer as far as I know is Walter Cronkite (another great American).  As a senior news analyst for NPR, he’s still delivering information to the world on a national level.  Most people don’t live to be 90.  Fewer still work to 90.  No one keeps active in the news media at 90.  He’s only a few months older than Cronkite (I’ll blog about him in November).

My point is that Mr. Schorr is a unique individual to retain his abilities into his advanced age.  He also retains his desire to produce, which is just as remarkable.  His perspective is that of a living time machine.  When he was born, World War I was in full swing.  It’s impossible to list all the things he’s seen in his time.  Yet you don’t hear any of that in his voice.  He just reports things as he sees them.  You would expect to hear an echo of how things were back then.  You would think he would yearn for the old days.  As far as I can tell, he doesn’t; he seems relatively positive about the future while being critical of that with which he disagrees.

Mr. Schorr has been blessed with both long life and a youthful mind.  Those are tremendous gifts that most of us would covet. What impresses me is that he has taken these gifts and he has used them in an active and admirable working life.  He continues to work and do what he loves.  We can all learn from that.

Nintendo DS and my upcoming long flight.

July 21, 2006

In 12 days, I’m going to be on a very long plane ride.  It will be 13 hours or so.  I am going to take work and I’m going to take books but I’m also taking my DS Lite!  Now I already have Tetris, Bomberman & Mario Kart.  I’ve been told to pick up Advance Wars DS, Mario & Luigi:  Partners in Time and several others.  Since the DS plays GBA games, I may also pick up Golden Sun, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga and several others (Thanks Scott!).  Anything I else I should bring to pass the time?

The Stress/Relaxation Continuum.

July 16, 2006

I admit it. I’ve been a leisure glutton this weekend. Now, finally at 3:37 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, reality is knocking on my forehead and I have to get to work. I tell myself if I relax on the weekend by playing Oblivion most of Saturday afternoon, napping and drinking a beer in the hot tub, then I am better off because I am happy. Indeed, I am happy and relaxed. This, in theory, will help me face the horrors of the coming week. If nothing else, I’ve been having a grand old time.

Yet there is a cost to this. I blew off stuff that needed doing. That stuff still needs doing. That stuff will have to be done. In the stress/relaxation continuum, the time you take to relax creates more stress. So you have to do a relaxation dance for short periods of time and then jump back on the deadline treadmill so that you don’t get so far behind that only the end of civilization can save you (of course that would cause its own stress). As long as you aren’t gormandic about your relaxation, this seems to work.

Really, when we get rid of one stress, we only trade it for something else. If we hate our jobs, we quit. This ends the work stress but creates no money stress (and maybe homeless stress or live-with-the-parents stress). If we kill the person who causes us stress, we get jail stress (and unwanted same-sex relationship stress). If we get fed up with politics here and move to France, we get French stress (perhaps the worst kind of all).

So I’m making excuses for my laziness yesterday and my half-heartedness today. But I’m back at it now and all will be better.

July 4, 2006.

July 4, 2006

Happy 230th birthday USA!!!  Today takes me back 30 years to July 4, 1976.  I remember the bicentennial fondly.  It mattered to me.  The bicentennial coins really impressed me and the whole idea of living in a country that was 200 years old thrilled me.  I resolved then to live to see the tricentennial!  Me in my red, white and blue overalls, somewhere after my trip to the candy store, deciding to live to be so old.  But I’ve kept up with that lifelong goal.  I’ve got a ways to go yet.  I’ve now settled on living to be (at least) 113.  That way, I’m hoping to be alive enough to appreciate the tricentennial.  I’ll buy a pair of red white and blue overalls from somewhere and talk about my trip to the candy store when I was 10.

People that old are human time machines.  I want to tell people what it was like living in semi-rural Ohio in the mid 1970s.  I have lots of stories.

According to the Chicago Tribune, at any given time, there are only 50,000 people living to 100 and only 60 or 70 that make it to 110.  That’s 60 or 70 people out of six billion!  Now that’s a lottery ticket!  But I’m motivated.  I’ll give it my best shot.