Archive for October, 2013

Ho Hum

Friday, October 25th, 2013

One of the tropes of science fiction, a minor one actually, is that living forever becomes boring. I would’ve asked God for his take on it, after all, he actually is living forever, but I realized that his take on it would actually be irrelevant to my own. One of the main things I do with my time is to learn stuff, to work on developing expertise, and God is already an expert on, well, everything.

The internet has made it possible for me to easily subscribe to interesting sources of information. It’s so easy that I’m constantly searching for reasons to drop subscriptions, and I work very hard to not follow too many links out of the ones that I do read. Here’s the thing, and this is a “life” trope, there just aren’t enough hours in the day, or week, or year. I’d like to learn it all. I’d like to become an expert in everything. So I don’t know about “forever” but I could certainly be happy living for a very, very, very long time.

A smart man once told me that if you study something for just two hours a week, in a matter of just a few years, you’ll be an expert. I’ve seen quoted anywhere from two to ten thousand hours of doing something will let you master it. For me, the job of growing older has always been one of reigning in ambition. The older I get, the less time I figure I have left, the less time I have left, the fewer things I can learn really well. It’s tempting to say that by the time I die I’ll have figured out what I really want to know and have learned it, but the truth is, even if I live for a thousand years, I think I’ll still be just getting started, and I think I’ll still be pushing away things that I’d like to learn because there just isn’t time.

Yeah, I think the only way that life gets boring is if you just stop looking.

The Bully Pulpits

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

I’ve been watching what’s going on in Politics here in the U.S. since the rise to power of the Tea Party. First I’ve got to give them full tactical credit, for such a small group, and such a fringe group, they’ve done a masterful job of pushing their agenda. Of course it helps when you’re being backed by billionaires, some of whom own media outlets. But then I get to sit back and be aghast at what damage they’re doing with their mean-spirited, regressive, winner-take-all antics.

The thing that they’ve done that’s unique, at least within my lifetime, is they’ve recognized that the American Constitution pretty much guarantees a two-party system, so rather than become just another powerless fringe group they’ve figured out how to infiltrate one of the extant parties and run it like a voodoo doctor running a zombie. Of course it helped that the Republican Party was already floundering in a world that was too modern for them to understand. Not too mention that there was already a large part of the Republican Party that believed that the best way to get to smaller government, government that they and their corporate masters could easily get around, was to show that big government doesn’t work by getting in and sabotaging the very government they were supposed to be running. The Tea Party just grabbed them by the figurative lapels and said, “Stop being subtle, you’re not fooling anyone that actually cares!”

And they’ve definitely stopped being subtle.

So I asked God for comfort. I asked him to tell me it would all be okay. He said don’t worry, that no matter how many times it gets pushed to the ground progress eventually picks itself up again and keeps marching forward.

Great, my whole country is being bullied and all God can say is, it gets better.


Light Bulb Joke

Friday, October 11th, 2013

So God says to me, “How many angels does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

I said, “I don’t know. How many does it take?”

She said, “None. Angels don’t screw in a lightbulb, they screw on the head of a pin.”

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Is it New Year’s already? Okay, sure I know it’s not even Halloween yet, but I also know that these last three months of the year are going to go by in a mad rush. They always seem to, each holiday suddenly upon me when I’m just starting to get over the last one.

God says it’s just a fact of getting older, time speeds up as more and more we realize that it’s running out, that our little patch of it is drying up. I get that. I really do. But I don’t think that’s it for me, I don’t think that’s what I’m feeling.

What I think is that when I was a little kid the holidays just happened, they were isolated islands that just came up over the horizon. Sure they were scheduled, sure I knew they were coming, and sure I had to do things to get ready for them… but not much. I had to decide what to be for Halloween. I had to help, a little, with the cooking and cleaning for Thanksgiving, and I had to answer a few questions about what I wanted for Christmas and buy a few presents to give. But now that I’m old and have a job and have a little more disposable income each year, the holidays are a lot more work.

I have to decorate my home and my office for Halloween and then again for Christmas. I have traveling to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and usually New Year’s, so I have to plan vacation time and coordinate it with people at work. There’s shopping, there’s wrapping, there’s Oscar contender season at the movies. There’s redoing my playlists with seasonal tunes. And as often as possible I work in a trip to Disneyland to see the Haunted Mansion done over with Jack Skellington and crew.

Sure there’s months to do it all, but it’s exhausting I tell you. And then just when I’m most worn out, when my resistance and will to fight are at their lowest, I’ll have to listen to a bunch of nut jobs whining that there’s a “war on Christmas” and lying to me about “the reason for the season.” And yet, for all of that, I wouldn’t give up these three months without getting an awful lot in return.

So let me be the first one this year to wish you Happy Holidays, and that includes Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving. When I say Happy Holidays, I mean them all. Happy Holidays everyone.