• Category Archives GeekWorld
  • The Future is, again, Now.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Old friends and newer friends. CBE’s beginning and its flounders. Sushi Win and Bella, that cute robot waitress. Tom. Happy Camper. Conifer Cafe, 80 decibels. Yikes. Naps. New Mexico. Arizona. Utah. Colorado. Short trips. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. Two-state solution. The Moon in the Sky like a big pizza pie. Amore! Love.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jews

    One brief shining: Hold your phone up to the bar code, press the link, up pops the menu, consider it while using the physical menu, order, then enter credit card data, press send, and a bit later Bella comes trundling out from her charging station with plates, Water, and glasses, wait a while longer and here comes spring rolls, tempura shrimp, and a pot of green tea, followed after another short wait by Bella’s return with a sushi roll, my hamachi carpaccio, press finish on Bella for the third time and she rolls away, her fetching backside complete with an LED sign reading Sushi Win that flashes across her darling metal shoulders.

     

    The future rolled up on Tom and me not in Silicon Valley or the tech wise Denver suburb called Tech Center, but in a sushi place trying to continue surviving. I met Bella last week on Valentine’s Day when I ate at Sushi Win with Luke. Tom and I share a fascination with scientific and technological breakthroughs, so we had fun meeting Bella, considering her potential future impact. We both took videos.

    As I wrote a week ago, many restaurants have experimented with new ways post-pandemic. Covid was hard on people, yes, but on restaurants, too. Fountain Barbecue has computer screens where you order and pay, wait until your order is done, then pick it up yourself. So last millennium.

    Each of the three times Bella came to our table, I found myself wanting to say hello, thank you, and good-by at the appropriate times. And, I did. This cued me in to a robotic future where our responses to the new machines in our lives vary by context. I responded to Bella as I was familiar to responding with a waiter. But a robot in my living room serving tea or cleaning floors would probably elicit a different response. Oh, excuse me. Could you be sure to get that area where the dog hair is? Thanks. Could you get me a beer and a hot dog? Yes, you can clear this up now. Different yet again. Could you hand me a 3/16th? Hold the car up here while I work on the tire. Sweep out the garage and return to your charging port. We’ll cut the grass tomorrow.

    Oh, the wonders we’ll see. The future rushing, leaping into our lives, coming soon to a restaurant table near you.

    Of course, A.I. Shifting the workplace yet again. Hitting some knowledge workers this time. Maybe covering school board meetings, reporting on last night’s football game, making travel plans and reservations, polishing or even writing that essay or think piece for work.

    Not to mention our machines headed to the moon, to low earth orbits and high. DNA editing. Zoom. Smart phones. Dumb users. Electric and self-driving vehicles. Gee whiz, Buck Rogers.

     


  • The Technocene

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Luke. Sushi Win. Birthdays. Feeling seen. Darkness. Reading. Mussar. Fountain Barbecue. Their Chicken wings and pork ribs. Fingers. Toes. Heart. Mind. Lev. Exercise. Alan and his funny ecard. Weird Al Jankovich. Sympathy for the Devil. Rolling Stones. Beatles. And, Beetles. The Who. Credence. Jefferson Airplane. The Doors. Led Zeppelin. Early Music. Gregorian chant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sushi Win

    One brief shining: Ordered green tea yesterday at Sushi Win, waited a bit for it to show up, when it came it was on a delivery robot which rolled up to Luke and mine’s table with a smiley face, a button that said finish, and a pot of green tea, two cups, styrofoam plates for our order, chopsticks, and wasabi/soy sauce mixers; when Luke pressed finish the robot smiled, said thank you, and rolled away back to the place from which it came.

     

     

    Robots. AI. Space based nuclear weapons. Private sector launches from NASA launch sites. Private sector Moon projects. We have suddenly, yet chaotically (not slowly but surely) moved into a new era. The technocene. (my neologism. at least I thought of it just now.) OK. I looked it up. Though original in my head, several others got there ahead of me.

    What I mean by it. Our technoworld today surpasses almost everything I saw in science fiction movies as boy. Have you seen the robot do back flips? Or the new one that can learn from a video of a human doing a task, then improvise? Even, silly as it is, that delivery robot at Sushi Win? Properly programmed it could replace a wait staff. Order from your phone. Which Luke and I did. Wait a bit, here comes the food. These are not tomorrow. These are capacities that have made it into the retail level of robotics.

    AI. Can you say Kurzweil? The Singularity is near. I find it useful. Its capacity to summarize and simplify complex material amazes me. It’s fast, too. But again this is the AI that you can access through Bing or ChatbotGPT. It’s not the stuff that’s in development. Where serious arguments over sentience have become common place.

    Space based nuclear weapons. Banned fifty years ago it looks like Russia has a satellite killing nuclear weapon they could or have deployed. Of course, nobody commented on whether the U.S. has a similar capacity in waiting. Or, China.

    Private sector space. Colorado School of Mines offers an asteroid mining degree. Several private companies have attempted, all unsuccessfully so far, to land on the moon. The most recent launch happened early this morning. See video above. Remember the Coca-Cola in 2001? Or, Bruce Willis taking oil drilling technology to prevent an asteroid from hitting Earth in Armageddon?

    Others. Recent advances in nuclear fusion. The incredible space-based telescopes. CRISPR. Smart phones. Zoom and its ilk. Video phone calls! Self-driving cars. Electric vehicles. You can add your own items to this list.

    If there was an anthropocene, it will have been brief. Perhaps a hundred years when we burned dead ferns and dinosaurs to heat our homes, generate electricity, power our cars and airplanes. Fateful, perhaps apocalyptic yes but much like Hobbes describing human life: nasty, brutish, and short. Now we hope to rely on the wind and those giant windmills. Or the tides, or geothermal or Great Sol directly. Now the world shaping ideas and catastrophes are in the realms of computers, robotics, renewable energy.

    We have no idea how they will impact us or the planet we live on. Why? Because as humans, we go one step further than we can understand. That’s the genius of our species and its curse.

     


  • Days of Yore, Days of Chips

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Great Sol. The Middle East. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. The West Bank. Hezbollah. Lebanon. Iran. Iran proxies. Soldiers for the U.S. in the Middle East. The Ukraine. Russia. Yes, even Putin. The Black Sea. Brother Mark and Saudi sunrises. Mary and 9 foot long Monitor Lizards and 10 foot reticulated pythons. Monkeys, too. North Korea. South Korea. Japan. China.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A new friend, Gary

    One brief shining: When Tara came on my Zoom window for our Hebrew lesson, I saw large tropical Plants in the background, yet she lives, I know, on Kilimanjaro Drive, just off Jung Frau and the calendar still says January; I had my lesson beamed from Shadow Mountain to somewhere in Costa Rica, my halting Hebrew sent to a Spanish speaking country while I took my teacher’s notes in English spoken in Central America. Gosh.

     

    Our world is so much more complex than the world of my childhood. Only the telephone, the dial telephone, connected my small hometown of Alexandria, Indiana to friends and family in distant places. And the further away the more expensive. Remember person-to-person calls?

    Sure we got Ed Sullivan and the Lone Ranger and I Love Lucy on often finicky TV screens. And, yes, there were those moments of catastrophe: the death of John Kennedy, the shooting of Jack Ruby when the breathless commentators came on interrupting regular programming. Or, the moments of glory, especially the U.S. race to put a man on the Moon. One small step, one giant step.

    Those special televised experiences united us. We saw one news anchor, often Walter Cronkite, with one view of the facts, no MAGA, no chest thumping yellow backs. And when they faded away we went back to our lives in towns and cities and countrysides.

    Now I can take something so mundane as a Hebrew lesson in real time even though my teacher and her husband decided to fly to Costa Rica and work remotely from there for a few weeks. In a few minutes I’ll go online with my buddy Tom. He’ll be in his home near Lake Minnetonka and I’ll be here on Shadow Mountain. I follow the war in Israel through Israeli newspapers that I can access with the click of a mouse button.

    The oddity of all this connection by fiber and phone line and satellite, the irony of it, lies in its isolating effect. Go into any coffee shop anywhere and you’ll instantly know what I mean. Most of the people in the coffee shop will not be in conversation with a person near them, but they might be speaking to a friend on their phone. Laptops will be open. Phones in front of faces. An electronic rapture has lifted the souls in the room up, up, up into clouds of whizzing electrons and packets and i.p. addresses.

    We find news sources, information sources now that meet out preexisting biases. We silo our knowledge on web pages devoted to whatever interests us.

    No. I’m not a technophobe. I’m posting this, aren’t I? And no I’m not even really complaining. Our world is not worse, simply different and infinitely more complex, so much more connected than the quiet days of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. How has this changed us? God, I don’t know. But the impact is profound, that I do know.

     

     

     

     

     


  • Post Conversion Let Down

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Leo. Doggy presence. Luke in Florida. Tom in Atlanta. Paul’s birthday. 77. Whoa. He old. Great Sol brightening a Shadow Mountain morning. Last warm day for a while. Snow coming. Over spending on Snow tires. For safety. Giving myself the best odds. Living high. Colorado. The Rockies. The Himalayas. The Appalachians. The Smokies. The Atlas. The Alps. The Dolomites.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountains

    One brief shining: Leo lies on my rug, legs sprawled out, head down, sleeping or resting, while I sit here typing, hitting key after key with the automatic movements learned first in typing at Alexandria-Monroe High School, perhaps the class I’ve used the most in terms of daily activity, odd to contemplate though paws on the keyboard, a million dogs would not produce the Britannica.

     

    I slept in this morning. On purpose. Because I liked the feel. An oddity for me, yes, but fun in a I don’t have to so I won’t sorta way. Bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ever hear that one? Don’t think I’ve felt that way since I hit 70. Awake and alert, ready to go about the day, yes, but bushy tailed? Can’t recall the day. Maybe a feeling reserved for the get up and go ages of the twenties and thirties?

     

    MVP tonight. Rabbi Jamie on trust/compassion with the metaphor of rock. This small group at CBE supercharges my month. We’ve been meeting for years now, lost two members to death: Judy and Kate, and have gotten as close as a group can get. Figuring what I can make since we always bring food.

     

    So. An odd, kind of silly deal with my Snow tires. Jesus told me two of my Blizzaks were at 4 mm tread. I knew it, too. I took them back last year when a tech said they could go a little further. Nope. So Jesus offered me a deal. Salvation for two Blizzaks. I don’t know how they get away with that name even in Latino circles. Too many jokes, I’d think. Anyhow. He would give me a deal on two new ones. But. I’d have to leave the car until 1:30 pm. This was at 9:30 am. Nope. Put’em on.

    Drove home, ordered two new Blizzaks from Tire Rack.com. About $20 more than what Jesus had offered. Shoot. Going to big O in Evergreen on Friday to have them put on. I know. But I brought this on myself. Having good tread and good winter tires for Mountain roads? Perhaps not necessary, but prudent. And damned if I don’t have a real strong prudent streak. Always surprises me, too.

     

    Post conversion let down. Had such a buzz going the last month or so. Getting ready, making schedules, preparing myself for transformation. A peak on Tuesday in the mikvah. Slowly. Like air going out of a balloon. Life deflates. Not depressing, but a daily normal state over against a time of heightened anticipation, excitement. Maybe like the time after opening presents on Christmas morning. Gathering energy for the long haul now, a Jewish life until death.

    Although. I do have an inner calmness now. As if some vibratory mechanism in my inner world got turned off. That is the opposite of an excited state and I’m still getting used to it. Feels like I have enough time now, as if the future has gone quiet, not clamoring for a piece of me right now.

    Changes.


  • Too many Gabriels, or Jesus Opened My Door

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Stevinson Toyota. Leo. Blizzaks. Jesus/Gabriel. Ruby and her Snow shoes. A lowering of expectations. For me. Bright Sol. Watching dawn break over the Mountains on the way down the hill this morning. Lack of traffic. Agency. Taking care of business. Renailing a board on my house. Taking care of Leo. Changing tires. Making breakfast. You know. DD. Domestic duties.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Winter tires on Mountain roads

    One brief shining: Jesus opened my door and asked what were we doing today changing the oil and tires, check the front brakes, and I’m a waiter all right I’ll come find you when we’re done that’ll be fine and he did. Back home.

     

    Jesus’ first name is really Gabriel but there was a time when they had several Gabriels so he took up his middle name. It was on his name tag. But each time he texted me it came up Gabriel. I asked about it. No longer too many Gabriels, think I’ll go back to that now. This is Latino country out here. Too many Gabriels, but only one Jesus.

    Ruby needed a synthetic oil change and her Blizzaks. I sat in the waiting area in my usual spot well away from the everon television which people no longer watch. Cell phones and laptops.

     

    I first read an NYT article about Evergrande, the giant housing developer in China sinking below the default line. Lots of its execs are in jail now including the founder. Quite a mess since they took a third of an apartment’s price upfront, then failed to build millions of them. A lotta angry people. Including Xi Jinping. My son says China is much less worrying as an enemy when its economy is in crisis. Hope he’s right. Still, imagine all those poor aspiring home owners…

     

    This story has a Kate component. The next article I read I highly recommend: What It Takes to Save the Axolotl. The axolotl exhibits neoteny, that is, maintaining its juvenile form all its life. Not sure how that can be right. I mean if it maintains its juvenile form all its life that makes it its adult form, doesn’t it? Anyhow, a minor point.

    The axolotl thrived in the chinampas canals of an early Nahuatl people, the Xochimilcas. They had an agrarian Venice with plots of land bordered on all sides by water in canals. The chinampas had/have a fertility enriched by the soil dredged to build the canals. The chinamperos who farmed the chinampas grew vegetables, ate fish and axolotls from the canals.

    The axolotl has largely disappeared from Xochimilco, the area once outside of Mexico City where the chinampas way of life had been preserved. At least two different groups at different Mexican universities are working to restore the axolotl to its home environment. The one that interests me the most champions the original wetland farming methods of the chinamperos which used no pesticides or fertilizers. Pollution holds most of the blame for the axolotls no longer able to survive in the canals.

    Another part of the blame? Festive party boats, trajinera, that operate on the weekend. Kate and I visited Xochimilco in the mid-1990’s when she attended a meeting of the Physicians for Social Responsibility in Mexico City.

    It was so hot. I turned around while we waited for our trajinera to dock only to see Kate sitting on a large block of ice and fanning herself!

    It was a pleasant afternoon. Flat bottom boats came up close to us with mariachi bands, barbecued meat, and souvenirs. Music filled the air and the colorful trajineras floated up and down the canals of the ancient Xochimilca people. Not so good though for the axolotl. Which we didn’t even know were there.

    I’m going to adopt an axolotl through this website.

     

    Jesus/Gabriel called me. Ruby had finished her rounds of the tire changers and oil changers. Only thing left. Pay and go home.

     


  • The Animal Shall not be Measured by Man (sic)

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Snow. Cool night. Gray-white Sky as Snowflakes glide past the Lodgepoles. The three Mule Deer Bucks in the yard yesterday. One with a magnificent rack. Thanksgiving week. Urban Farmer. Ruth and her new (to her) Subaru. Gabe. Mia who calls me grandpa. Mezuzah hanging tomorrow. The Iliad. Hector and Paris and Menelaus. Helen. Agamemnon. Ajax. Odysseus. Achilles. Troy. Reading. Sangfroid. Veronica. The mikveh. Canceling Starlink.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow

    One brief shining: On Snowy days I’ll load a fire in the fireplace, get a cup of coffee, and pick up the current book, right now the Iliad, and take off into the world of Troy, of men who lived for war, of women so beautiful they were worth fighting and dying for, of the wine-dark sea and the rage of Achilles.

     

    No more Starlink. In my reason for cancellation I quoted Musk’s comment on X.* Back to DSL and Centurylink.

     

    Those three Mule Deer Bucks in the back yard yesterday reminded me of the three who greeted me on Samain 2014. I had come to Colorado for the closing. They were in the back, like these three, grazing calmly. I walked out of the lower level, not sure what to expect. I was brand new to the Mountains. We stayed a respectful distance from each other while staring intently into each others eyes. After a few minutes, we broke off. They returned to grazing and I went back inside. Altered.

    As I reflected on it later, and as I’ve said, I came to believe they were three Mountain spirits come to greet me, say it was all right for me to live here. That began my ongoing experience of my Wild Neighbors, of their world in which I’m just passing through. They come and go on their own schedules, according to their own needs and desires. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to see them, usually not.

    I’ll finish today with a quote that if I ever had a tombstone big enough I’d want to include on mine.

    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
    Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

     

    *”An X post Wednesday afternoon said: “Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post also referenced “hordes of minorities” flooding Western countries, a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory.

    In response, Musk said: “You have said the actual truth.”” CNN.com


  • A Philosophical Day

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Kippur, Rich’s new Dog. Leo. Kepler, my sweet boy. Kate, my sweetheart. Rich, a good friend. Joan. Ron. Marilyn. Tara. Jamie. Alan. Ruth. The solar Snow shovel. Dry needling. Mary. Spinal stenosis. Ruby. Dry roads. Mostly. Safeway. Ice cream. Shadow Mountain. Shadow Mountain Home. Starlink. Sushi. Crackers. Salmon. Sleep.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My CBE family

    One brief shining: Went to Rich’s office yesterday to sign Powers of Attorney and met Kippur, the five-month old black and tan puppy Rich got as a foster and who bounced back as a rehome, Kippur came up as I sat on the couch, pawed me, licked my hand, looked me in the eyes, jumped up on the couch, put his head in my lap, then settled with his body snug against my left leg.

     

    First off. Buddy Tom and I got to talking yesterday. About weirdness. Quantum mechanics and agreeable electrons and photons. The lack of solidity in all things.   And how about that spooky action at a distance. The narrow sensory spectrum of human senses. Multiverses. Multiple dimensions. We didn’t wander over into time. But we did mention death. And the sacred. And how limited our grasp of things really is. How much we don’t know. How much is hidden from us. Could the sacred be the occasional glimpse into  quantum reality? Or, another dimension? Or, a multiverse? Sensory data beyond our capacity?

    And these are matters that have solid scientific data and theories behind them. Not some guy reading gold tablets on one side of a curtain. Or Mohammed listening to the angel. Yet they are all also as strange as salvation, heaven, a God. As strange as the Quran or the Tanakh or the New Testament. That was the morning.

    In the afternoon I went over to Rich Levine’s office to sign durable powers of attorney naming Joseph overall and Rich for Colorado. That’s when I met Kippur, the wonderful puppy. All puppies are wonderful, I should also say. Anyhow Rich and I got to talking about whether humans are hard wired for symbol making. A woman philosopher he learned about Tuesday night thinks so. She convinced Rich. Not sure at this remove what the implications of that were but Rich thought it was important.

    Rich teaches constitutional law at the Colorado School of Mines in, he said, “A country that no longer honors the constitution. We’re living in a post-constitutional time.” We also discussed Israel and Hamas. The sadness and dismay at being Jews given the way Israel is acting in Gaza. And yet…

    Also had a p.t. session with Mary in which she said, alarmed, “What’s that around your neck!” I thought I had a creature somewhere on me. Turns out she’d seen the flashing of my Medalert pendant. I usually turn it so the light flashes toward my chest, but apparently I hadn’t that time.

    Finished the day with MVP discussing the character trait, or middot, of silence. My practice for this month is to ask myself when am I? More on that at a later time.

     

     


  • Starlink, Internet Bright

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My back. Its complaints. Mary’s solutions for managing them. First thing in the morning after the Shema. The beauty of fall transitioning to winter. The skeletal Aspens. The yellow leaved Willows and the red barked Dogwood. The Asters blooming in my back yard. Kurt Bohne. Starlink. Shadow Mountain Home2. Download: 105. Upload: 20. Elon Musk. Shadow Mountain. The drive into Evergreen. The Mountains and Valleys along the way. CBE. Israel at an inflection point.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: really fast internet

    One brief shining: Kurt and Shawn put a ladder against the gutter, carried a Little Giant ladder up the roof and got to work first installing the mount, then the Starlink rectangular antenna on the mount, running Starlink’s cable down the side of the house and into the router and connecting the ethernet ports, while with my phone I created a new router address, plugged in a password, and after that things were just fast, fast, fast.

     

    I know. I know. Supporting Elon Musk. Yes, he’s a reprehensible person politically, but boy does he engineer good products. The Tesla. The Boring Company. SpaceX. And, my only personal connection to his empire since I don’t use the X formerly known as Twitter, Starlink. For years I’ve had ok service from Century Link, using two DSL lines to get around 40 mbps. The price difference between the two services is $14 a month. Worth it for 80-100 mbps. Also, when the phone system goes down in a storm my internet will not. Happy to be with them. Kurt and Shawn who installed it for me were great guys. Would use them again if another need arises.

     

    Laid in logs and firestarting materials after adding the rest of my firewood to the stack next to the fireplace. If we get snow over the weekend, I’ll be in my chair reading about Jewish life cycle events or the new Jessamyn Ward book, watching the fire. Gotten used to burning pine. Would really like to get some oak or maple though. It’s available down the hill where they have a variety of deciduous trees, but I’ve never sought it out. Maybe this year.

     

    Israel. Hoping Thomas Friedman’s words, Biden’s, Blinken’s, Austin’s convince the Israelis to slow roll, if not eliminate a ground invasion of Gaza. And that Israel can show its humane side to the world, not just its bristly, never again ferocity.

    The court of public opinion has turned against Israel. My sister Mary says there are pro-Palestinian rallies in Muslim Malaysia where she now lives. There is, too, sentiment that the U.S. has it right in the Ukraine, opposing Russia, and wrong in Israel, supporting the oppressor. The situation in Israel is so much more complicated than that. Neither side covers themself in glory. A solution has long been stiff armed by both Arabs and Israelis.

    I would have left tomorrow for Israel.

     

    Seoah and Murdoch celebrated my boy’s 42nd birthday last night. Party hats, cake. Murdoch sat on the bench at the table. Very cute.

     


  • Day to day

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Great Sol. Light on the Needles of the Lodgepoles out my window. Black Mountain clear against blue Sky. The Elk Calves and their Moms on Lower Shadow Mountain Drive. That big Mama Bear and her two Cubs on Warhawk. It’s kiddy rearing time for our wild neighbors. Airline Websites. Travel details. Early Spring weather. Waiting for the sudden jump to Summer. Dandelions. Those three Elk Bulls. Waiting on their arrival. Soon. Travel agents. Crows and Ravens. Canada Jays. That fat Chipmunk. The Rabbits who live under the Shed. Mountain Lions.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Bear Cubs

    One brief shining: In the Spring here in the Mountains Flowers emerge later Trees leaf out later but the Elk birth their Calves, the Mule Deer their Fawns, the Moose their Calves, the Mountain Lion their Kittens, the Black Bears their Cubs, the Fox their Kits while the Mountain Streams rush down, carrying the Water of Snow Melt and later Rains, while the temperatures fluctuate between warm and cold, while the days become longer and the nights shorter the Mountains and the Forests become a nursery for our wild neighbors.

     

    In the morning I turn off my electric blanket, close the bedroom window, pick up my life alert button from its charging station, unhook my cellphone from its cable, turn off the oxygen concentrator, and go out into the next room for my hearing aid. I take my first pill of the day, synthroid for my funky thyroid, washing it down with some tap water. I set my phone’s alarm for one hour after the time I took they synthroid. That alerts me to take my morning meds which include my chemotherapy. Grabbing my phone I head upstairs to write Ancientrails in the home office. I often finish around the time my alarm rings, some days, like today writing takes longer.

    Today I had to strip the sheets from the bed so Ana can put clean sheets on, arrange the blankets. Also I had to refill my seven day plastic pill containers. Took up some of the time I would have been writing.

    I’m very aware of how dependent on electricity I am. Blanket. Charging for my phone, my life alert button, my hearing aid. The oxygen concentrator. And, medications. I’m alive thanks to the batches of pills I throw down each morning and evening. Life with cancer and hypertension. Life up high. 8,800 feet.

    Bear comes next week to do the annual maintenance on my Kohler generator. It kicks in when heavy snows or lightning strikes take out my feed from C.O.R.E. Without it I would have no well-water, no cooking on my induction stove, no lights, no computer access. Electricity is the chi for my day-to-day life.

    My life is quite a distance from the hibernating Bear in a rocky cleft or the Mountain Lion in their den. I am softer, less resilient than they are. Even though I can find food perhaps more easily, I require an automobile for the task while they rely only on their paws and their instinct. Which of us is more likely to survive global warming?

     


  • Entheos

    Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Curiosity. The Ancient Brothers. Mark and Dennis. Coming May 23rd. Yet more Rain. Even more swollen Streams. Ancientrails as a life project. Tom and his time with Charlie H. Bill and his time with Bella. Mark and his time at the gym. Anytime Fitness. My treadmill. Marilyn. Ginnie. Josh. Jane. Kat. A banker. Vulcan Centaur.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rocket Scientists

    One brief shining: A beautiful woman with a long braid dangling over her t-shirt down to her space themed spandex had, on the back of the blue t-shirt an outline of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, on the front ULA and I asked, I’m too ignorant to know but is that a real rocket ship?

     

    Yes. She answered. And I was working on it until I quit my job a year and a half ago. What was your area of expertise? Vibration and acoustics. Oh. I see. Not sure why I keep running into engineers. But I do.

    CBE is amazing. All these smart people. This was at the Dismantling Racism class yesterday afternoon. Looked up the Vulcan Centaur and it’s been under development since 2014. Supposed to fly for the first time in July. Had a setback a month ago though with a second stage explosion during preparation for a launch.

    The class has gotten better. Taking a mussar approach to the work. I like it for the inner work though I chose an opponent for my practice this week. Four areas of possible practice each week: with HaShem (God), with Self, with a fellow, especially a victim of anti-black racism, or with an opponent.

    My practice involved an e-mail to a person with whom I’ve had long standing differences. Sent it last night and got a reply this morning. A sweet one. Maybe there’s something to this approach. The middah this week is kavod, or honor. Honoring self and other. The theological idea is the all made in God’s image trope. Said another way, we’re all human, all riding this blue spaceship our only home together with all the other critters and plants. Honor it all.

     

    During the Ancient Brothers session on curiosity I identified curiosity as my defining characteristic. And naming what I call the valedictory lifestyle. As a valedictorian myself I’ve occasionally become curious (see!) about what happens to others who graduate first in their class academically. Turns out usually nothing spectacular. Sure a lot go into academics. Some have successful careers in business or the sciences.

    But usually no stars. No one off achievements. No amazing inventions. Why? Because we’re generalists. We easily get sidetracked by something new and shiny. If purity of heart is to will one thing, we’re not at all pure.

    I call them enthusiasms. My enthusiasms can last a long time. Religion has turned out to be the longest lasting, but inside that broad category I’ve been all over the place. From existentialist atheist to Christian to Unitarian-Universalist to Pagan and wanderer with the tribe. There’s a piece of each of these, often substantial pieces that remain intact within me. All somehow glued together with Taoism.

    There’ve been many others. Art, my twelve years at the MIA. Politics, lasting almost as long as religion, but again all over the place in terms of action. Islam which I studied after 9/11. Horticulture. Cooking. Heating with wood. Beekeeping. Dogs. World travel. F1. Science. Tarot and Astrology. Cinema. Acting. Writing. Getting degrees. Tea. Korean and now Spanish. Oh, and one that actually has been lifelong, reading. Not sure when I learned but I’ve never ever stopped. Buying books, too. To feed the habit. I’ve dabbled in painting and sum-e.

    Enthusiasms in my life are more than dabbling but less than enough to gain full mastery. But I must admit it’s been, is being, a hell of lot of fun.