Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!


Wishing everyone a happy New Year and a year of good health, success and happiness.

I am not sure what it means, but apparently it's the Year of the Dragon. I like dragons.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011: Small Good Things

Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) by Astronaut Ron Garan

The human mind has a tendency to focus on the negative things that have happened to us. Memories of traumatic events are more deeply formed than the positive ones. Science blames the hippocampus for ensuring that we recall bad events. An adaptive mechanism to prevent these events from reoccurring in the future. One dwells and reviews images of a poorly edited movie, which rely on perception provoked by negative emotions rather than factual memories.

The positive events are mundane in comparison. We take repetitive stability for granted. The human mind does not think about "it could be worse", but is dissatisfied that "it could be better" and is not. Such is the human condition.

I attended a series of mind-opening and -altering lectures, during which a gifted professor introduced me to the concept that the quantum path not taken might be the alternate path we would not want to be on. In simple terms; the bad things that did not happen to us.  If we were to keep track of them, we would quickly realize just how fortunate we are.  He listed a few examples and I was inspired to do the same.

It helps that I am a compulsive list maker and keep a (somewhat sporadic) writing journal. Writing a Proustian list of aggravating and disappointing events is easy. Writing a list of the pleasant moments takes a little effort; the "small stuff" is so easily forgotten.

The 2011 list of random small good things:

1. I started a blog. Glad that I did.
2. I met some incredible people in the blogosphere and am impressed by the quality of writing. I have come to think of many of you as my geographically challenged "friends", although I still think it is strange that I am communicating with people whom I have never met. I am working on that.
3.Then again, I had a fascinating conversation about art and science with a complete stranger in an art gallery.
4. I bought art supplies, books and journals.
5. I bought other things, but this list is not about "stuff".
6. Nothing unreasonably heavy fell on me.
7. Nothing unreasonably large ran me over.
8. Someone I was not particularly fond of has retired.
9. Spawn is taking his medication and I still have all of my digits.
10. Sharing hilarious moments with HQ, my friends and select relatives.
11. Had an argument with someone about a scientific theory when he walked into a mailbox, which I used to prove my point. And it was not "Hrunmpf!" Still laughing.
12. Living with a circus troupe of feline entertainers.
13. Finding lost treasures while organizing.
14. Finding pebbles, leaves and interesting things while hiking.
15. Watching birds and other wildlife.
16. Watched a group of fat squirrels put on weight for the winter, this amuses me on an annual basis.
17. Learning something new.

The list is long. Life is short.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best Wishes Most Welcome

Rationally, I am aware that changing the calendar year is merely arbitrary. A useful way to keep track of future dates and appointments.

Irrationally, I am happy to see it go. Yes, 2011 has been an unpleasant year of clusterflocks and bizarre sequences of unfortunate events. Rather than take probability and coincidence personally, I shall blame all of the world's and my personal problems on a year; 2011, go find yourself!

I am mentally prepared for a universe of entropy. HOOWEEEEEVER, I was not provided with any instructions or disclaimers that 2011 would be the year that entropy would select me as its unwilling recipient.

It appears to be a global occurrence. Bad things have happened to too many people this year, whether virtual or real. We noticed. No thanks. Please return to sender. I suspect that some of this is due to the contagious spread of negative economic and environmental news.

Recently, too much of my time has been spent keeping whitecoats on their toes and struggling to keep my inner Sheldon Cooper at bay.  I have been busy working on my exciting new project tentatively titled: "How to introduce and extract cooperative non-human (Felis catus) into a sterile environment without attracting attention." It should be a bestseller.

To all my friends and fellowers:

I wish you all a restful holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy anything that you are or are not celebrating and a Happy, healthy New Year.

Best Wishes to you and your families and a peaceful, happy and healthy 2012.

See you next year.