Nonsense

Sponsor me for 826 Boston Write-A-Thon fundraiser

(Shortcut to just sponsoring.)

Hello, friends. In my spare time, I volunteer as a tutor at 826 Boston. They're a wonderful group. Primarily they support students in learning to write--an important adjunct to both reading and understanding--but as the resident engineer (nominally) I also help tutor in physics. And Spanish.

Detoxification in the time of doldrums; or, Waiting to be led

Last week was quicksand, each day deeper into dullness by struggling to get out of it. This week--slowly, slowly--I'm crawling out of the hole.

I'm not any closer to getting paid--not yet. I'm trying to approach that problem from the other side. I'm thinking about how I want to spend my time first.

Happy birthday, Jeff Buckley

Today would be Jeff Buckley's 44th birthday.

I feel a little artificial saying, "What a tragic loss." I didn't know the man. I didn't know his music until years after his death. I'm not familiar with his full catalog of music. Dwelling on any what-might-have-beens is an unnatural affectation.

But his voice... If that doesn't move you, what could move you?

Raygrets; or, Adventures in bureaucracy

In my hand I am holding an unopened farewell card from M, dated March 2008. I am going to open it.

Later. I will open it later.

See, anticipation is the best part, and anxiety is the worst. The trick is to balance the anticipation with the anxiety, the promise with the purgatory.

The point I'm not getting at is: I am now a free agent.

Plus twenty

Runners learn — the hard way, naturally — that there is an invisible barrier at the 20-mile mark known as The Wall, the point where you’ve burned off the body’s ready-to-use chemical energy.

You remember the feeling. Your thoughts, once as free and fluid as your running, turn to viscous sludge, like wet concrete. Your legs abruptly submit their resignation. All vital signs, as measured by your sodden brain, point toward system collapse.

The Wall. Bonk.

Two worlds at work

I live in two worlds at work. One is good, one is bad. I created them both. They move in different orbits. Despite my education in orbital mechanics, I don't know how to predict their paths nor do I know how move them.

The first, my native world, is the bad one. It is a land of belching fumaroles and badlands -- a discontented place. This is me at work.

The second is peaceful, positive. Here is where I feel at home but do not reside. This is me at work, but not at work -- meaning, the things I do that are not defined as part of my job.

Potential

My least favorite word is "potential." I despise this word.

In mechanical systems, potential is clearly defined. Potential energy is the amount of energy stored in a system. A ball suspended in the air has a measurable amount of potential energy; the higher you raise it, the more potential energy it has that can be converted to kinetic energy as it falls. A compressed spring has a measurable amount of potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy when the spring is released.

And so on. In a mechanical system, potential makes sense.

Mapping Blue Highways

Similar to the previous post about Slowly Down the Ganges, I am mapping the places from another book: Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. Reading these travel tales excites me -- I want to know where the authors went almost as much as why they went and what they did there. I want to see the places they saw. I want to follow the roads they followed. Perhaps I should see if there is a local chapter of Geographaholics Anonymous.

Mapping down the Ganges

Last week at the Pollard Memorial Library I picked up Slowly Down the Ganges by Eric Newby. Usually I pick up books based on recommendation from friends or from Goodreads. This one I just happened to pick up because it was in the travel section of the library where I had gone to pick up Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon.

The report of Chevy's death is an exaggeration

Found via Chris Guillebeau: Richard Chang, "Saving Chevrolet Means Sending 'Chevy' to Dump," NYTimes.com, 9 June 2010.

I think General Motors is faking the demise of the "Chevy" name.

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