Archive for science

Fall Work, Ashcan, 5k, and Sandra Bland

Posted in real life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2017 by sethdellinger

1.

Winter is coming and I hate winter.  But I am coming around a little more to the idea of liking fall.  For most of my life, I’ve been staunchly against fall, citing the fact that it is a sad harbinger of winter, and the end of summer, and the season where everything dies.  But the past few years I’ve started to feel I’ve just been repeating what I’ve always said, instead of being honest about my changing views.  Fall is kind of nice.  I like wearing longer pants and hoodies.  I like crunchy yellow leaves.  So yeah, another example of allowing myself to evolve here.  Granted not on any sort of major topic, but I wanted to make it public: sure, I like fall.

2.

Work is going terrific!!! I am back to working in Harrisburg and no longer doing my crazy commute.  I work (approximately) 8am-4pm Monday-Friday.  I’m having a blast!  I’ll have a more detailed password-protected blog about it within the next week, but I wanted to give that quick update.

3.

My favorite painting of all time is John Sloan’s “Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street”.  The reasons are many.  First, Sloan is my favorite painter overall: his pioneering “ashcan” style–which denotes his muted color pallet, a brush technique that was representational but bordered on abstract, and choice of subject matter–speaks to me and to my view of the world.  This painting in particular (which I’ve included below) hits me on a gut level.  The titular streets are in the “tenderloin” district of New York City, which is another way of saying the poor or “slum” area.  In this work, Sloan chooses to show us this area in broad daylight at a busy intersection.  We are looking at a corner business that is perhaps of some disrepute–a brothel or perhaps a burlesque theater?  There are some finely dressed folks around, but they are not the same kind you’d find down by Central Park.  The focus of the scene is on a woman in distress; she is in nightclothes and carries a pail, is obviously upset.  Most scholars of this painting suggest this woman is drunk and is emotional.  The passersby–especially the two finely-clad young women nearby who could not be more different than the drunk woman–look on with judgement and perhaps even amusement, but no one in the scene seems to have empathy or concern for this woman.

There is a lot more that could be discussed about the painting.  Sloan did not waste a centimeter of the canvas (a quick for instance–Sloan’s decision to place the drunk woman at the bottom of the canvas, rather than center her, leaving him space to paint lots of sky, whereas he could have provided more surrounding context of the city instead; an interesting topic of discussion, that one).

johnsloansixthavenueandthirthiethst

 

4.

I have made some mention on Facebook that I have begun running, and even signed up for my first 5k (this coming Saturday)! I’m super excited but also currently undergoing a substantial amount of worry as, just 3 days ago I did my longest outdoor run yet and have had some very minor signs of some stress fractures in my shins the past few nights.  Now, these symptoms are very minor and it is 100% possible I am inventing them.  Any way you slice it, I am running the 5K this Saturday and will keep training this week on elliptical machines to avoid high impact work, and should probably know after the 5k (because my body will tell me) if I have to take a break from running and maybe evaluate my running style, etc, moving forward.  But I want to be a runner super bad so even if I have to take a significant break and make some adjustments, I’m on it.  On a side note, the running has really been a key factor in helping me get close to my goal weight: before the weekend I was 144 (goal is 140)…the weekend saw a lot of eating so I’ll know where I’m at when the dust clears on Tuesday :)

5.

Police kill innocent black people with an alarming frequency.  You don’t have to eat animals or their secretions in this day and age.  America should be a country that welcomes immigrants.  Respect women’s reproductive rights and the rights of their bodies.  Resist any and all attempts to make our culture white, male-oriented–including the language you use.  Climate change is real. There is no need to wear wool or leather in this day and age.  Do whatever you want when The Star-Spangled Banner is playing, including eating food, walking to the bathroom, keeping your hat on (I mean really) or sitting or kneeling.  Fund art programs, NPR, Meals on Wheels, and Planned Parenthood.  Oh, and in Major League Baseball, the designated hitter rule continues to be an absolute scourge.

Jamboree

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , , , on November 3, 2015 by sethdellinger

1.  Here are some questions I would like answers to:  obviously there is a bone in your nose, because it is able to break.  But skulls never have a nose bone, just a hole where the nose was.  What’s going on with that?  What is an electric acoustic guitar?  I mean I get the basic concept, but still.  When you cast a shadow, it is because your body is blocking light rays, but your shadow isn’t pitch dark; some light is still landing there; what mechanism is at play there?  Why can’t beggars be choosers?  Why do I love Furbys so much?  What the heck is fire?

2.  Ever since I became a vegetarian, I’ve noticed (at least on social media) a fair amount of mildly confusing hostility toward us.  Now I know that, like any subculture of people, there is a vocal minority that will actually make unprompted attempts to make meat-eaters feel bad, recruit people to the cause, etc (which honestly I say more power to them, it’s an important issue), but most of us just quietly eat our vegetables and say very little about it; what we do say is because this is an important part of our lives that we are passionate about; how odd to think we should be passionate about how we eat but remain silent about it.

So why do some people get so upset at vegetarians when most of us are largely leaving you alone?  And when most of us bite our tongues at the myriad, countless, terribly unimaginative pro-bacon posts that float around?  It is inconceivable that someone would be made to feel bad for voicing a pro-meat agenda, but those of us who are passionate about the lives of animals are made to feel like voicing our opinion would be indelicate?  The answer seems obvious.

Most people know, at their core, that eating meat is wrong.  Even if their conscious mind firmly believes there is nothing wrong with eating the carcasses of butchered creatures, deep down, at core, they know.  In our modern world, with all the options available to us, the wholesale slaughter and consumption of literally countless beings is radically unnecessary and a moral evil, and this fact resides in most of you.  So while I initially recoil every time one of my friends posts a completely unprompted anti-vegetarian meme, I recover quickly, secure in the knowledge they’ve done so because they wish, deep within themselves, they had the courage to act on what they know to be true.

3.  Let’s talk about sports for a minute; but more to the point, let’s talk about language and sports.  Even more specifically, let’s talk about “clinch”.

Now, in English at large there are quite a few ways to define exactly when one has “clinched” something.  It can mean to settle or finalize, but also to assure oneself of future reward.  In American sports, for many many years, it has meant strictly the latter; that an individual or a team had passed a mathematical hurdle in order to be assured of a reward–typically a playoff berth, but more rarely something like a batting title or a similar individual achievement.

In decades past, the word would be used something like this by a sports announcer:

“And with one more strike, the Padres will win their third game of the best-of-five series, thereby clinching their appearance in next week’s League Championship Series!”.  As in, with this win, they now are assured of moving forward.  They have WON this series, and have CLINCHED an appearance in the next round of the playoffs.

Then, a few years ago, I was watching one of the championships of the major American sports–I don’t remember which–when moments after the winning team won and had just begun their celebration, the announcer said something like this: “And with that, the winning team has clinched the championship!”

I knew it sounded wrong but it took me a few seconds to suss out why.  Really, they clinched it?  To my understanding, they won it.  Clinching implies it has secured further games.  There is nothing after the championship.  The season is over.  There is no longer anything to clinch.  They won the championship.  Nobody ever clinches a championship.  When did they clinch it, in the half a second from when the buzzer started to sound until it was done sounding?  Let’s end this madness, please!

4.

I know, intellectually, that humankind did not have anywhere close to the technology to put a person on the moon until right up until the moment we did so.  In fact, it was almost a miracle we were able to pull it off when we did it.  But it has always struck me as odd–and this is a really challenging thought to put into words so bear with me–that over the long and storied history of humanity, that somebody didn’t get there almost by accident at some point.

OK, let me pull it back a little bit.  Thinking about early Mount Everest climbing, the accepted knowledge is that Sir Edmund Hilary and his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, were the first human beings to summit the mountain.  And for all we know, they were.  It’s certainly not easy to get up there, and there’s no discernible survivalist reason to do so.  But human history is long, and there have been billions and billions of people walking over the surface of this planet well before we started keeping track of what we all were doing.  It seems to me the likelihood that some human being, at some point in deep history, for reasons completely unknowable to us, once trod upon that summit before Sir Edmund Hilary’s DNA was a glint in an amoeba’s eye.

Now it is harder to make a case for people having gone to the moon in ancient history.  I’m not some conspiracy theorist or quack, I’m just playing the numbers game (but without actual numbers).  While I will go out on a limb and say it is LIKELY a human summited Everest somewhere in the deep past, I will only say that it seems totally feasible that someone got to the moon at some point.

How?  I have no idea.  Some rudimentary capsule on top of a vast amount of explosives?  I really don’t have a working theory.  It does seem to me that if some human in history worked out a way to get to the moon, they probably didn’t arrive alive or live very long once they got there.

Just imagine, though.  Imagine we go back to the moon someday with more time and means to explore it.  Imagine an astronaut is walking down an embankment in a crater.  She sees a small cave tucked into an alcove.  As she approaches to explore, she sees footprints!  Closer still, sitting in dirt on the windless surface, a tattered copy of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”.  She hesitates before entering the cave.  What a story this would make!

And for you smarty-pants out there, I know lunar soil is called regolith, but that would have really ruined the pacing there.

Chaos in Capitol Heights

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by sethdellinger

My love and I live in a rebuilding section of a partially blighted/ partially hip neighborhood of a medium-small city in a region dominated by medium-sized towns.  Like most places in this world, the South-Central Pennsylvania area is chock-a-block full of places you could live; towns, villages, county seats, “townships” the East Shore, the West Shore, and on and on, and most of these places are all close enough to all the other places that, within reason, one could choose to live in most of them and commute to work in a nearby area.

When Karla and I were trying to figure out just how I could move from Philly to Central PA while I was working an aggressively high-responsibility job in Philly (which prevented me from helping her in the housing search in person), while also not knowing EXACTLY where in the region I would be working, we had a difficult time settling on where the housing search should focus.  Although I could commute to almost anywhere in the region from almost anywhere else, some places are certainly more central.  The uncertainty was a puzzling factor, and my astute love had to shoulder all the legwork herself.

Conveniently, she fell in love with the first place she looked at–the place we live now–in the Capitol Heights neighborhood of Harrisburg, the capital city around which the rest of the region orbits.  It is, quite literally, one of millions of places we could have ended up living, which is what makes this next part so interesting.

Almost directly across the street from our house–certainly less than 50 yards away–is a house that my father lived in for about a year of his life, when he was very, very young–maybe 2 or 3 years old.  He doesn’t remember living there, but my grandmother certainly does.

And this is one of dozens of places that both my father and grandmother have lived over the course of their lives–and for both of them, it is the only time they lived in Harrisburg.

Our neighborhood is one that has undergone many changes over the past decades.  Many city blocks have simply been knocked down and cleared–and are now populated by weeds, mounds of dirt, and conspicuous sewer hookups reaching into nowhere.  Sometimes, beside these long, narrow weed lots you will see townhouses that are over a hundred years old (and they look like it, too).  In isolated spots like this, the neighborhood resembles a “ghetto”.  But then a few blocks later, the empty lots have been built back up; within the last decade rows and rows of new, ultra-modern townhouses sprung up in an attempt to capture the gentrification overflow from the nearby hip “Midtown” enclave–the few blocks that sport the arthouse movie theater, swanky craft beer and local food eateries, the farmers market, and the independent playhouse.  Karla and I live on one of these new blocks; actually for three or four blocks in any direction of our house, all one will find are the brand new townhouses.

Except the house my father lived in, briefly, in his extremely early childhood.  It sits, probably 150 years old, like a beacon from the past nestled between new elephants.  It and it alone somehow escaped the revitalization.  And if my father hadn’t driven my grandmother past the house for a look at it–back when we had the address but I still lived in Philadelphia–none of us would ever have known the significance.

I don’t believe in a higher power.  Of any kind.  I don’t believe in fate or things happening for a reason.  It seems obvious to me that we make these things up to explain the world around us, especially when the chaos seems to clear for a moment into what looks like order.

The chaos doesn’t ever clear into order.  Events that seem pre-ordained or “fated” or just too coincidental to be coincidental, well, that’s just the chaos of the natural world lining up for a split second for you.  If you watch the static on a television screen for hours on end, occasionally you’ll see, for just a second, the outline of the United States, or a dog’s head.  It’s just chaos lining up in your mind.  Reaching for a larger explanation of order is how most human’s minds react to moments like that.  It’s tempting to say that my father’s childhood home being so improbably located next to mine is somehow significant, was for some reason supposed to happen, that it “can’t be coincidence”.  But nobody says that about the traffic they hit coming home from work yesterday, or stubbing their toe in the darkness when all they were after was a damned drink of water, or the three hours they spent in a mindless stupor watching their shows at night–three hours they have actually totally forgotten.  Nobody ever thinks it was “meant to happen” that their doctor is 45 minutes behind, and they have to spend all that time in the waiting room with the old magazines and they forgot to bring their Kindle.

But see, whatever the world is–whether it’s orderly or chaotic or ruled by a God or ruled by particles–it’s that way all the time, not just when neat shit happens.  If it’s all put together by some power or god or fate, then that entity ALSO MADE YOU STUB YOUR TOE.

There isn’t a reason my father’s childhood home is now across from mine, and I suggest that the lack of a plan makes a coincidence like this even more amazing.  The static on the television screen made a really pretty shape with that one.

Fizzy Waterfalls & the Haircut Bigots

Posted in Photography, Prose, Rant/ Rave, Snippet with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by sethdellinger

Have you ever filled a big cup up about halfway with a carbonated beverage, and when you go to take a drink of it, you can’t really breathe?  What’s the scientific process going on here?  Is the inside of the cup all filled with carbon dioxide?

Since I buy a lot of music on vinyl that I already own in another format, I keep ending up with a lot of “download cards”–these little guys that come in the vinyl records that also let you download a free version of the album–basically a way to try to convince you to spend money on music in any form at all.  Anyway, for awhile I tried to match up these cards with friends I thought might enjoy the specific music the most, but it’s gotten difficult.  If you legitimately think you might enjoy discovering new music that is the kind of music I like, let me know, the first person to say so just automatically gets all my download cards from here on out.

It seems about every six months, some bigot from the middle of nowhere says something atrocious, gets fired from his high profile job, and all the other bigots start freaking out about the First Amendment.  Now, I know I’m not the first to point this out, so I’ll be brief:  the First Amendment protects your speech (and not even all of it!) from the government.  Not from companies.  And the thing is, the people who want the jobs of these rich hate-mongers saved are the same exact people who are always the first to try to get a waitress fired for next to no reason.  Yeah, let’s keep the job of the rich bigot who definitely doesn’t care about you—because the Constitution!—but let’s fire our actual brethren who are down in the trenches with us because your steak was burnt.  I can only imagine what you’d want if that waitress said something you didn’t like!

I’m currently obsessed with the Kay Ryan poem, “The Niagara River”.  Watch the video below to see me tell you why:

The Niagara River

As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice–as
calmly as though
dining room paintings
were being replaced–
the changing scenes
along the shore.  We
do know, we do
know this is the
Niagara River, but
it is hard to remember
what that means.

 

It’s kind of difficult to rate your senses, isn’t it?  I was just sitting here thinking, gee, smell has to be the best sense!  But then I thought, oh there is no way smell can compete with touch!  But then I remembered sight.  And on and on.  Senses rule!

I’m getting tired of cutting my hair.  Does this really just have to keep happening?  I mean it’s every couple weeks, for, like, life.  I mean, I get it, body.  You’re good at growing hair on my head and, increasingly, everywhere else.  We’re all very impressed.  But consider your point proven.

My new deodorant smells like soap.

Look at this picture I took:

photo

 

 

It’s My Thought That Counts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2013 by sethdellinger

It occurs to me with no lack of regularity that, because of my persistent status as single and childless, that I have significantly fewer opportunities to receive presents as the rest of you romantic and procreating beasts.  And hey, listen, I’m gonna admit something most people avoid saying out loud:  I would like more presents!

So recently, I was thinking, maybe it’s not just the lack of Valentines, Father’s Day, and anniversary (as well as the extra gifts one gets at Christmas and birthdays etc, from your significant other and children) that are preventing me from getting a significant amount of free goods.  Perhaps part of the problem is, when gifting times roll around, many of you potential gifters think my interests are limited to just a few things, like pompous music, post-1930s American and British poetry, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, and you just don’t know how to buy presents for a guy like that!  And, while it is true that I really love those things, the fact of the matter is, I have literally hundreds of interests, and with the advent of the internet, there is nearly no shortage of ways you can spend money on me! And the internet also means it is very easy for me to re-sell something you may accidentally get me that I already have!

So, in case you have just been hankering to buy a gift for a guy but don’t know who the hell Philip Larkin is, I will here lay out for you a massive list of interests I rarely talk about, but I assure you I am just crazy for!

1.  Soundtracks to movies made before 1980 on vinyl records

2.  Anything to do with early thought on city planning, especially dealing with pioneer Jane Jacobs

3.  I like hats

4.  I like notebooks to write in, but not one with Hallmark-y or sentimental messages printed on the cover

5.  Corduroy clothing

6.  I collect old postcards, preferably with messages written on them, preferably from 1915 and earlier

7.  Single-issue Marvel comics (any title) from between 1993-1997 are usually a good bet

8.  Anything celebrating the state of Pennsylvania, especially including its coat of arms

9.  Back-issues of Discover magazine, pre-2005.

10.  Post-it notes, white-out, index cards, legal pads, mechanical pencils

11.  Owls

12.  Games for the original Game Boy (original only, no Game Boy color!)

13.  First edition of any book by Orson Scott Card, Dave Eggers, Flannery O’Connor, or John Updike

14.  Hoodies or winter coats ordered from the websites of any of my favorite bands.

15.  Anything that you see on this list, if you can find a mousepad that in some way depicts or deals with it, I would like to own that mousepad

16.  I have a genuine interest in the Johnstown Flood.  Aside from the famous book by David McCullough, I own nothing about it.

17.  Aside from the DVDs, any merchandise or materials related to the film “Labyrinth” would be a home run.

18.  I have a high interest in the European particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC (sometimes also called CERN).  Yes, there is merchandise.

19.  I love Grey Flannel cologne but haven’t owned any in years.

20.  Any DVD that says it is part of the “Criterion Collection”…you can buy me that.

21.  I am a big fan of motorized inclined planes, or “funiculars“.

22.  I love backscratchers.  It is not possible for me to own too many of them.

23.  Books or materials about early American filmmaking are always great (post 1910 and D.W. Griffiths only, I have no interest in Edison’s important but dreadfully boring experiments).

24.  Dr. Strange is my favorite comic book character.  I have plenty of stuff but feel free to take a leap of faith, there’s a lot out there.  Statues, figures, and busts are especially desired.

25.  The easiest thing on the list:  I love all Philadelphia sports teams.

26.  I have an interest in Quantum Physics.  There are tons of books and DVDs on the subject.  I will read and watch them all.

27.  John Sloan, the painter.  That man painted my soul.

28.  I am intrigued by the lost colony of Roanoke and would love to learn more about it.

29.  Post-Revolution, my favorite historical figure is Aaron Burr.

30.  I could always use a new (good) digital camera.

31.  I have an interest in but have not read much about behavioral psychologist BF Skinner.

32.  I am a major evangelist for Dr. Pepper, and even more specifically Diet Dr. Pepper, and I will, without irony, wear, brandish, or otherwise use merchandise imprinted with this soda’s logo.

33.  I have always been smitten with now-deceased scientist Carl Sagan, and any of his books are welcome.  Likewise, his television series, “Cosmos”, and any materials related to it, are high on my love list.

34.  In the realm of living scientists, I have a bona fide man-crush on Neil DeGrasse Tyson and will gladly accept his books, DVDs, or tickets to see him speak somewhere.

35.  I get weak in the knees for Ben and Jerry’s “Late Night Snack”.

36.  Art Spiegelman’s masterpiece of graphic novel literature, “Maus”, is an all-time fave, but is always priced just out of reach.

37.  Toblerones.

38.  Coffee-table sized books featuring the art of Henri Rousseau, and/or merchandise featuring his paintings “The Dream” or “The Snake Charmer“.  If I listed all of these items in order by what I’m interested in right now, this one might be #1.

39.  I have an odd interest in the history of the Mormon religion, specifically the handcart disaster, the Mountain Meadows massacre, and the early life and “visions” of founder Joseph Smith.

40.  I’d love a Polaroid camera.

41.  I love coffee, of course, and there are a few things I still need, primarily a pour-over set for iced coffee and a French Press.

42.  If I hit the lottery tomorrow, two of the first purchases I’d make would be the complete series of “The Fraggles” and “24” on DVD.  Don’t judge me.

43.  My favorite living poet is Billy Collins.  I have all his books.  See what else you can do.

44.  I love riding my bike.  But I’m not a serious biker, like, wearing spandex, etc.  I do it just to cruise around.  But I could use a new lock, gel seat cover, or other biking stuff you might think of.  I could also use a new bike, but if you want to go that far, we should probably collaborate on that.

45.  Anything relating to the old TV shows “Northern Exposure“, “Twin Peaks“, or “Picket Fences“.  I own the entire series of “Northern Exposure”, but other than that, it’s open season.

46.  I find the Donner party very interesting.  I have read this book on it, but nothing else.

47.  I like to use caramel coffee syrup in my coffee and oatmeal.  I can never have too much of it.

48.  I love newspapers, but it’s not easy to find merchandise regarding them, such as hats, shirts, etc.  My favorite newspapers are The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today.

49.  Museum memberships.  Any kind of museum.  Art, history, whatever.  I can’t imagine a gift I would love much more than a membership to just about any museum.  Currently, I am a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but no other museums.

50.  Old coinage, pre-1900, from early America or other countries.  Confederate money would be very cool.

Hot Dog Soup

Posted in Rant/ Rave with tags , , , on June 16, 2013 by sethdellinger

About once a month, somebody “accuses” me of having an “opinion about everything”.  Some people actually find this to be a negative trait!  While I suppose having constant opinions coming out of one’s mouth might, over time, seem “negative” or “cynical”, what is the opposite?!  Certainly not “optimistic”, it’s just…unopinionated, which I can’t imagine is very different than uneducated.  Or at the very least, uninterested or lacking any substantial level of curiosity about the world around you.  And to me, a lack of curiosity is just about as unattractive of a personality trait as you can have.

“The blog”, as a general phenomenon is sadly going the way of the dodo.  The lion’s share of the content on the internet is now filtered through three or four different social network sites, with instant sharing, commenting, “liking”, where all the people you know are already congregated.  Taking the time to create and maintain your own blog, and then trying to convince everyone to leave the comforts of the social networking site to actually read your blog, is now more trouble than it’s worth for most people.  Myself included.  My blog output has been pathetic for over a year now.  But that might be partially because when I drop a blog bomb on you, like this or this, it goes largely unnoticed and uncommented on.  You people don’t deserve my blog.  Regardless, I mourn the end of the blog era, when, briefly, a bunch of everyday folks fancied themselves writers.  It was fun.  Now we’re all just statusers.

I’m scared by how fast technology is evolving.  I know, I know: what a very typical thing to say.  Everyone who has tons of opinions has that opinion.  But do you know about Moore’s law? If not, you should click on that link and read that article.  Moore’s Law is not a theory anymore; this is how the world is working now, and it is truly ghastly imagining what things will be like even five years from now.  Microchips in our brains is not a joke anymore.  I dare say it is something that will be happening soon.  And hey, look, I’m not afraid of change.  I’m afraid of change happening faster than we can adapt to it or control it.  There were thousands of years from when we invented the wheel to when we came up with the car.  It’s been 80 years since we invented television, and now we’re about to control them by waving our hands in the air.  And that progress is only going to keep speeding up, according to Moore’s Law.

I’d eat Hot Dog Soup, if it existed.

Philly Journal, 9/7

Posted in Philly Journal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2012 by sethdellinger

Philly Phacts

1.  Philadelphia is the fifth most populous city in the United States.  It’s kind of a big deal.

2.  The city of Philadelphia is its own county—the only instance of a city-county in Pennsylvania.

3.  The Greek translation of “Philadelphia” is literally “brotherly love”.

4.  It is one of the twelve “four sport cities”.

5.  As of December 31st, 2009, there were 829,873 registered Democrats living in the city, and 134,216 Republicans.

How I’m Doing!

I am really having a grand old time.  Living around people I know again, as well as working at a job whose main training tool is basically telling you to be really really nice to people, has started to make me come back around to caring about my fellow human again.  I love my new job.  I have really, really fallen in love with my mother’s cats, and I dare say they’ve started falling for me, too. Living with my mother is not only easy and tolerable, but downright great (and I don’t care how that sounds coming from a 34 year old; you can stuff your societal norms where the sun, it does not care to shine.  I am talking about your bunghole).  I have way too many fun and interesting things to do, all the time.  This new setup is redefining what I am interested in, and how I spend my time and money; where I’ll end up on that spectrum remains to be seen.  I will say that without a doubt, there will not be a year-end “Top Ten Movies” list of 2012.  I just cannot seem to muster the interest for movies right now (although there most definitely will still be a music list).  I finally got back to Central PA to visit friends and Dad.  It was a transcendant time.  Dad and I’s developing interests in local history are making for lovely, lively, emotional visits.  I only got to see a few friends on that visit but plenty more will be coming soon.  Paul is coming here to see the Phillies vs. Marlins with me next Wednesday, so that should rule.  I’m drinking a lot, a lot, a lot of coffee, and not just at work.  I got a new, finally very nice record player.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  I’ve decided I like owls now and my sister keeps finding rad owl statues/ figures for me.  I cautioned her not to overdo it but with finds like these, I’m not sure overdoing it is possible.

Here’s a picture of my sister and I at the Franklin Institute

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