“Possibly Living People”

When I start surfing Wikipedia, I often wash up on some rather strange shores. It turns out that they have a biographical category that kind of gives me the creeps. According to the explanation, “Persons of advanced age (over 90) for whom no documentation has existed for a decade or longer can be placed in Category: Possibly living people.”

Not that I have a Wikipedia page, but please, Lord, if I ever do, don’t ever let me get placed in that category! If I manage to make it to 90 and no one has heard anything from me in a decade, then I’m not living right.

I don’t want to be warehoused. I don’t want to be utterly alone. I don’t want to vegetate. Granted, I probably won’t be climbing Mount Everest, but I hope I’m still voicing my opinion, learning new things, and raising the occasional hell. Otherwise, what’s the point?

I want to live, not just kill time. I want people to be able to look at me and say, “Yep. She’s definitely alive. Heaven help us.”

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Triple Point

Chemistry and thermodynamics are weak areas for me, I must admit. Recently a friend was talking to me about the Triple Point, which is something that I’d long since forgotten about. (That’s if I had ever heard about it in the first place. I had a Florida public school education, after all.)

According to Wikipedia, “the triple point of a substance is the temperature and pressure at which the three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) of that substance coexist in thermodynamic equilibrium.”

That’s really rather fascinating. It seems like that state shouldn’t be possible. It seems precarious. It seems like something that could easily fall apart. It also could be a very magical point in time.

So I started to think about other pivotal points in life where anything could happen.

  • That split second in time when you move from thinking something is a catastrophe to realizing that it’s actually a catalyst.

  • That moment when you’re walking down the street, arm and arm with your new boyfriend, and you unexpectedly run into your ex. Awkward.

  • When you try to do a good deed, like break up a fight that has nothing to do with you, and for your effort you get punched or bitten or knocked on your behind.

  • The shocking discovery that it’s possible to love someone and yet not like them. (Dysfunctional families, anyone?)

  • The point where you’re given an ultimatum, and you make the choice that the person was hoping to force you not to make. And you then discover that you’re much better off because of that choice. (Yay, you!)

  • That moment when you bite into something, expecting it to be savory, and it turns out to be sweet. Or vice versa. And that next moment when you go from being disgusted to being intrigued.

  • And perhaps my very favorite—that amazing moment when you realize you are in love, and everything in your world is about to change.

May you survive the many shifting sands of life, dear reader!

Triple Point

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Am I Older Than Velcro?

I have no idea what I had been dreaming about, but that question was still echoing in my head upon waking up this morning. It kind of freaked me out, to be honest. Why on earth would I be asking that?

But then I got curious. I distinctly remember my first encounter with Velcro (which is technically a brand name for “hook and loop fastener”, just as Band-Aid rolls off the tongue easier than “adhesive bandage”). I was fascinated. My whole family was. What’ll they think of next? I remember playing with it. Rrrrrip… rrrrrrrrrip…

It is rather disconcerting to realize that something as handy as Velcro hadn’t been around all my life. But I could say the same thing about cell phones, laptops, and DVD players. I’m not as old as dirt, but on some days it sure feels that way.

But can I just say this? I absolutely love Wikipedia. When I looked up their entry for hook and loop fasteners, I discovered that they were actually conceived of in 1941 by a guy named George de Mestral when he was taking burrs out of his dog’s fur. It took him about 10 years to figure out how to make the product and get people to take him seriously, but he applied for a patent in 1951, and didn’t actually get it until 1955. His product wasn’t made in the US until 1957, and didn’t really appear in goods used by the general public until the mid 60’s.

So, it turns out that Velcro is older than I am. So are zip ties. Somehow I find that comforting.

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You Don’t Have to Believe in Global Warming

It must be awfully stressful to be a climate change denier. If you fall into that category, I have to admire your tenacity, your grit, your firmness of conviction. Especially in light of the fact that fewer and fewer people agree with you.

According to a Gallup Poll in March, 2016, 64 percent of Americans are extremely concerned about it, up from the all-time recorded low of 51 percent back in 2011. And 65 percent of us believe global warming is caused by human activities.

And scientists (the ones who study these things, after all), are even more definitive. According to Wikipedia, “A survey found 97% agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years; 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that ‘currently available scientific evidence’ substantiates its occurrence.”

No one likes to be a member of an ever-shrinking group, but hey, you are entitled to your opinion. And opinions don’t have to have anything at all to do with facts. For example, I am of the opinion that cranberries are torture devices that get trotted out every Thanksgiving. You don’t have to agree with me.

Even so, I’m sure we can find some common ground. For example, most of us should be able to agree that we need to take care of the planet on which we live, for ourselves and for future generations. It’s the only planet we’ve got, right? We can all agree that our actions have consequences, even if we don’t agree about what those consequences will be.

So it’s official. I will no longer judge you harshly for being of an opinion that flies in the face of science. I will no longer ridicule you for having a belief that is so foreign to my own. Don’t you feel better already? I do. What a load off our minds. Group hug!

But in exchange, I’m going to double down on you if you neglect or abuse the planet. Just as I would be wrong to go out and destroy all the cranberry bogs, so you would be wrong to negatively impact the earth. Fair’s fair.

If you aren’t willing to stand on that common ground, then I can only conclude that your agenda is far more nefarious, and you might want to take a hard look at your level of selfishness, laziness, and greed. In that case, you’d feel a whole lot better if you simply come clean and admit that it isn’t that you don’t believe in global warming. It’s actually that you don’t give a shit.

But I’d like to have more faith in you than that. I think you can believe what you will and still do what you must. Your actions mean much more to me than your thoughts. Especially if you’re choosing to be thoughtless.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with Cortana

I have finally managed to upgrade to Windows 10. The year-long delay was not for lack of trying. I’d upload it for about 5 hours, then try to install it for another 5, only to be told there was some sort of error, which, when researched on-line, seemed to be some catch-all code with no solution.

I must have heeded their nags and tried to upgrade about a dozen times, because I hated Windows 8. (And what happened to Windows 9?) It reached the point where I was sorely tempted to drive up to the nearby Microsoft compound and throw my laptop at the security guard. “Here. You figure it out.”

But then about two weeks ago, after I’d long since given up all hope, I apparently clicked on something without even realizing it, and the next thing I knew, I had Windows 10! Oh, happy day! More or less.

Yes, there’s a learning curve. And I had to iron out quite a few glitches. And I STILL can’t get Google Chrome to work properly, but over all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

The feature I am having the hardest time getting used to is Cortana. You’ve got to understand. I’ve got very humble electronics. No smart phone. No Siri. Nothing that responds to my voice. The GPS in my car often exasperates me. So this trend toward anthropomorphizing our gadgets is relatively new to me.

But Cortana is trying really hard. She talks like the perfect friend. “Ask me anything,” she says. “Hi! How can I help?” “Anything I can do for you?” “What’s on your mind?”

So just out of curiosity I asked her, “What is the meaning of life?”

She sent me to Wikipedia. Sigh. I have to say that this was one time when Wikipedia didn’t give me a satisfying answer.

Don’t get me wrong. I doubt any of my other friends would have been much help, either, but at least we’d have had an interesting conversation about it. It would have given us more opportunity to bond.

So, Cortana, don’t get too comfortable. I still don’t consider you my bestie, even if you act like you care, and you’re always willing to be there for me. Keep trying, though. You never know. You might grow on me.

Cortana

Random Articles

I’m bored, bored, bored. Uninspired. Unmotivated. Disinterested. In an attempt to stimulate my brain, I check out my blog. Respond to any comments. See what countries have come to visit. Then I hop over to Facebook. See if anyone is on line and wants to chat. Nope. Respond to comments. Put my two cents in on my friends’ posts. Check out the news feed. Become temporarily mesmerized by one spider devouring another outside my window.

Bored. I do the physical therapy exercises for my wrist. Ouch. I watch people walking and jogging and biking across my bridge. I break out the binoculars and check out the peregrine falcon nest for activity. Wrong time of year.

I try to think of something to write in my blog. I got nothin’. I should read a book. Not in the mood. I dance around the room to the music inside my head, until I feel a little silly.

So I do my last resort thing. I go to Wikipedia and click on the “random articles” tab. Sometimes this is quite entertaining. Other times it simply makes me more bored. Here’s what I got today.

  • Paul Couvret was the 34th Shire President of Warringah in New South Wales.
  • De Beque Canyon is a 15 mile long canyon in Colorado.
  • Naptown is a nickname for both Annapolis, Maryland and Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Frank McGuinness is an Irish writer who wrote, among other things, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.
  • Orthogonius monolophus is a species of ground beetle.

While these things might help me win at trivia, they aren’t particularly entertaining.

Maybe I’ll have better luck with StumbleUpon.

Whoa. Now we’re talking! I could eat up a few hours with this. Gotta go.

[image credit: theendinmind.net]
[image credit: theendinmind.net]

Valeria Lukyanova: Whacko Poster Child for Breatharianism

For those of you who don’t know Miss Lukyanova, she is a Ukranian model who promotes herself as a human Barbie doll, and she also is, in my humble opinion, the world’s greatest media whore.

If you want true insight into her disturbing self-absorption, I suggest you watch the video on Youtube, made by Vice, called Space Barbie. In it, she discusses her anorexically thin figure. She doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with it.

She believes that looking like a doll is a good thing, because “Dolls are based on the image of refined girls”. Actually, no, Valeria. Dolls, especially Barbie, have shapes that no human being could ever achieve or should ever strive for. She admits she’s had breast augmentation surgery and wears contact lenses to enhance her strange image. She also says, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with girls who try to look like me.” She says to her sister, who is also abnormally thin, “Don’t smile so much, or you show your double chin.”

According to Wikipedia, she is an educator at the School of Out-of-Body Travel. She also believes she is from another planet and has traveled back in time to teach us. She claims to keep in regular touch with beings from other planets. She has been filmed wearing a beard and speaking in a creepy voice, but her director has also been filmed saying to her, “Okay, this time let’s do it in a normal voice.” That speaks volumes about her sincerity.

In her latest grab at media attention, she has recently announced that she is training herself to be a Breatharian, and plans to live on nothing but air and sunlight. She says she hasn’t felt the need to eat in weeks. Assuming you’re stupid enough to think you can defy the laws of nature and simply stop eating entirely, I feel the need to say, “Don’t try this at home.”

To be clear, food is the only thing that stands between you and death. Not only that, but going without food when it’s available to you is insulting to the millions of people on this planet who are genuinely starving through no fault of their own. According to Poverty.com, 21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes. If that doesn’t debunk Breatharianism 21,000 times a day, nothing will.

Now, normally I would just dismiss this woman as being bat sh** crazy, but unfortunately she has more than a million followers on Facebook. I find this extremely disturbing. The last person a young girl needs as a role model is a mentally disturbed woman who advocates self-absorption and eating disorders and is now telling people to stop eating altogether. In the video she also calmly mentions that in a past life she immolated herself in front of her students. Don’t try that at home, either.

I am so angry at this woman I can barely speak. Do the young girls of this world not already receive enough messages that make them critical of their own bodies? The fact that Miss Lukyanova is so desperate to be idolized that she cares not one whit for the well-being of the young girls who look up to her will tell you all you need to know about the true nature of evil.

I can only hope that having this nut as the most visible and outspoken advocate of Breatharianism will help destroy its credibility before it takes too many victims to that great insane asylum in the sky.

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[Image credit: Huffington Post]

Blog Fodder–Finding Your Inspiration

Blog fodder is a term that a friend of mine invented, I believe, after we talked about ways in which I could come up with new topics on a daily basis. It’s not easy, and I’m amazed that I’ve been able to pull it off for 286 days straight. I’m rather proud of myself.

Now not a day goes by when I don’t think “blog fodder” at least once. I’ve begun carrying around a little notepad so that I can write down ideas. Many is the time when I’ve thought of something, neglected to write it down, and then promptly forgotten it, only to kick myself soundly about it later. So I also keep a notepad by my bed, because I’ll often think of things as I’m drifting off to sleep.

So what are good sources of blog fodder? The main one, for me, is new experiences. This is followed closely by new observations. I also look to the past for inspiration, discussing my travels and incidents that I remember which have impacted my life. Sometimes I’ll chime in on current events.

I have to confess that I’m also a shameless thief. Not in the plagiarism sense of the word. But if I hear a conversation that intrigues me in the grocery checkout line, for example, I’ll write about that. If a story I’ve heard on NPR while I’m driving to work makes me curious, off I’ll go in that direction. On desperate days I must admit I’ll go to Google Trends, Wikipedia, the dictionary, or even Facebook to spark my imagination. Once or twice I’ve sent out a desperate plea to friends and family for ideas.

When I started writing this blog I must admit that I had no idea how much it would expand my horizons and increase my observation skills. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!

writing[Image credit: scrapbookladypages.com]