His intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller blogs.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the “traditional” day for my “traditional” weekly blog post, and so I began with one of the variations of my traditional “Hello and good morning” greetings.  I’m probably the only person even to notice such things, let alone to care, but I can’t seem to help but do both.

I don’t have many interesting things to report about myself lately, as you probably know, since I’m still not writing any fiction, and I haven’t played any music—either in the sense of playing an instrument, such as a guitar or cello or keyboard, or playing music on a device just to listen to it—in recent weeks, either.

Yesterday, though, when I was taking out garbage from the office, I encountered the little owl below, of whom I got a few grainy pictures and even a grainy video (it was still pretty dim out, and I didn’t want to try to get too close and scare the creature).  The video is silent because my phone, due to the humidity, had done as it often does and gone into headphones mode, even though there were no headphones attached to it.

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The owl and I startled each other nicely, because when I came out, it was barely three feet from me.  We both jumped a little, almost identically and simultaneously.  I’m pretty sure, after doing some Google searching, that it’s an Eastern Screech Owl, perhaps a juvenile one.  It didn’t fly away from me, just sort of hopped and trotted, but its wings appeared functional and symmetrical from what I could see, with no clear sign of injury.  After I made the video, it let me get about 4 feet away, where I knelt down and said hello.  It looked healthy and not terribly alarmed.

There is quite a lot of wildlife in south Florida, and particularly there are many birds and reptiles.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owl and its ilk are gorging themselves on the many lizards, including the unusually large number of young iguanas we’ve had lately.

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Earlier this week, I saw the subject of this picture outside in the back, and it ran and ran, then I went past a construction dumpster, carrying garbage destined for a more standard dumpster, past where it had been.  I thought it might have already headed toward the little, wooded seating area in the shopping plaza, but then I realized it had tried to climb away only to find itself in the pictured basket, apparently puzzled about what it should do next.

Iguanas don’t seem to tend to be that all that bright.

We’ve had some other life in the long alley behind the office, including some good-sized frogs and their tadpoles, and what I think is a Cuban Knight Anole, pictured below, and one of which I saw quite a while back on the fence beside the house in which I live.

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But perhaps the most interesting—in some senses—life form encountered was that seen in this video, in a wooden fence behind the aforementioned slightly wooded, rather pleasant, outdoor seating area in the shopping plaza/strip mall.

There was a time in my life when I would have been terrified even to get this close to such a swarm, but nowadays I just find it fascinating, and I wasn’t the only one.  I’m not sure what I meant when I asked about where the bears are in the video—apparently it was a sensible joke, because my coworker laughed about it.  But all I can think of now is fictional bears trying to get honey from beehives, a la Winnie the Pooh or similar.  And I don’t know why I should have thought of such a thing, even for comical purposes.

Oh, well.  I say and think a lot of things that are bizarre and peculiar, even to myself.

Of course, there is other “wildlife” in south Florida, both native species, like the owl, and invasive species, like the iguanas, the anole, and the humans.  There are other mammals besides humans, as well.  Around the house in which I currently live, there are of course quite a few semi-stray cats, and last night when going out back, I encountered a youngish male raccoon, who was at first nervous of me, though he hadn’t even realized I was there until he practically walked into me, at which time he retreated a bit—apparently I’m pretty quiet.  I spoke calmly to him, and he seemed reassured enough to come back past me to go wherever he was going, through a gap in the fences.  I took no photos, but who hasn’t seen raccoons before?

There’s plenty of food in the neighborhood for an enterprising raccoon or twelve, so I’m not surprised he looked quite healthy.  I know he has older kin, because I’ve seen other, chunkier relatives (presumably) of his in the area in the past, including once what I believe was a mother with her child.  There are also at least two opossums, probably a mother and child based on their relative sizes.

It’s all rather interesting, I suppose.  Unfortunately, nothing about me or my life is nearly as interesting as these animals, except perhaps in the “Chinese curse”* sense.  I still have my usual chronic pain, and this morning my back and side were quite stiff, so before I got dressed I rolled on lots and lots of “Icy Hot”.  I don’t think that was a good idea, because all I have now is that irritating, burning sensation all around my skin in the left half of my midsection, overlaying the stiffness and pain that was already there and persists.

Maybe such products do their work by making you feel relief when they fade away, so you think you feel better when you’ve just reverted to baseline.  It would be a pretty good joke by way of a pain-treating product.

Icy Hot does actually tend to help when I’ve got inflammation and soreness in joints, such as the base of my thumb, so I don’t want to denigrate it too much.  I’m just speaking tongue in cheek—which is a good way to set yourself up to bite your tongue badly if you hit a bump or just forget what you’re doing with your tongue.

That’s about all I have for today.  At least there are some interesting animals, and some exceptionally mediocre pictures and videos of some of them.  If it weren’t for all the people (me included) south Florida would be a really cool—though actually quite muggy and hot—place to be.

Wherever you are, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  Relish the time you have with them; it is finite, and you will not necessarily have any warning before it comes to an end.  Revel in your time, as Tyrel said to Roy.

TTFN


*I.e., “May you live in interesting times.”

O heaven! that one might read the blog of fate, and see the revolution of the times.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and so it’s time for what is, “historically”, my weekly blog post, though in fact it’s merely another iteration of my now-nearly-daily blog post.

It’s getting harder at times to think of what to write about.  I’m more or less committed to doing this whole thing stream-of-consciousness style, since I’m hoping that—just maybe—it might act at least as a form of “talk therapy”, though there are fewer questions and less feedback than one receives from real, usual therapy sessions.  Still, maybe just expressing my thoughts in this fashion will help me to organize them in some way.  I’m certainly not writing fiction or playing music, so I don’t have anything to speak about with respect to those subjects now.

It’s the first Thursday in August 2022, now that I think about it.  That doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy; I can’t think of any major holidays in August, though I suppose I could be forgetting about something.  August is one of those comparatively dull months, though it is a month of “pure” summer, in the sense that, in the northern hemisphere, it’s all in summer, like July, not split up into two seasons like June and September.

It is a bit curious that we don’t start our years at the winter solstice.  People have known about the solstice, about it being the “shortest” day of the year, for who knows how many thousands of years, and many festivals worldwide have been associated with celebrating this renewal of the length of days, dominated in the west of the modern world by Christmas and then New Years.  I think it’s mildly weird that we don’t simply begin the next year on the solstice, or the day after it.  We do start it thereabouts, but why not right on that day?

Maybe the issue is that the solstice changes subtly over time, and occasionally happens closer to one day than another?  I don’t know quite enough about it to say for sure.  If anyone out there does know to what degree the solstices change, feel free to comment about it below—not on Facebook or Twitter, unless you don’t care about the comment being seen for a while, anyway.  I don’t interact much via Facebook anymore; it’s too stressful and depressing, though I miss knowing what many of the people I used to know are doing, seeing pictures of them and their families and whatnot.

Twitter is slightly less stressful, largely because I don’t feel personally involved in any of its stupider aspects and don’t tend to follow people who are.  Twitter, to me, is a good place for sharing links to articles and videos and for one-liners and “What’s your favorite of the ________ movies?” types of questions and answers.  Even with the “enhanced” 240 character limit, it’s simply not a venue for expressing or discussing any deep or complex thoughts.  No wonder “discussions” on the site almost inevitably devolve into monkey-style feces flinging (metaphorically).

Speaking of days and equinoxes*, I read recently that the rate of the Earth’s rotation has speeded up, and indeed, that we recently had the “shortest” day recorded—that’s not shortest in the sense that the winter solstice is the shortest “day” of the year, but that the actual period of the Earth’s rotation has decreased.  It’s not by a lot, of course—I think it was on the order of a microsecond or so, though I may be misremembering that order of magnitude.

It’s certainly not something a person would notice, but the international group that manages the Universal Time standards and sidereal versus solar days and the like needs to pay attention and note such changes.  And if they adjust years—adding leap seconds for instance—that all has to be coordinated with things like GPS satellites and so on, which already have to be managed with respect to General Relativity and Special Relativity; their function depends on highly precise time-keeping, and time is different farther up in “space” and at higher speeds.

As for why the Earth is speeding up, well, I haven’t read any speculation, but at first glance it seems odd.  One might expect that, over time, if anything, the Earth’s rotation might slow down, and I believe that has been the overall trend over billions of years, with tides and the like very, very slowly dissipating angular momentum.  For a rotating body to begin to rotate faster requires—by conservation of angular momentum—that its overall mass distribution gets closer to the center of rotation, like the proverbial spinning ice-skater pulling his or her arms in closer to his or her torso and thereby speeding up.

spinning skater

I wonder if, perhaps, there is some change in the distribution of the Earth’s mass in the form of water from glaciers, such as in Greenland**, and mountain glaciers in other places, decreasing the amount of mass that was higher up and away from the center of the planet and bringing that mass down into the sea, which by default is as close as things like water can get, since liquid water “seeks” the lowest level.  Of course, general erosion of mountains and even adjustments of the planet’s crust due to plate tectonics could have effects on rates of spin, but it seems to me that they would be too slow in their effects to be so noticeable—so to speak.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this phenomenon, particularly if it continues.  It’s unlikely to make a difference in our day to day lives that could possibly be noticeable to people who aren’t measuring with the most precise instruments science and technology can produce, but the information is a curiosity, and it could be at least a marker of the effects of climate change.  Or perhaps not.  There may be another explanation.

Maybe by sheer chance the Earth got hit with meteorites that, for this one small bit of time, happened to, on average, deliver their kinetic energy in the direction of the Earth’s rotation.  It’s not something that’s likely to be a trend, but it could, in principle, happen briefly just by chance.  It seems highly unlikely to happen in such a way as to cause a measurable change in the rotation rate, but what do I know?

Anyway, that’s about enough meandering thoughts for today.  I hope you are all having reasonably good days—even if they are shorter, and you have a microsecond or so less to get your daily chores done.  Please use that diminishing time by spending it with those you love and who love you, if you can.  Take advantage of the moments you have by doing things that are affirming for your relationships and families and so on.  Entropy is always increasing—that’s the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and it is as inexorable as any law we can imagine.

We could find someday that there are exceptions to the speed of causality (aka the speed of light), but no one who knows anything about thermodynamics thinks anything is ever going to overthrow the 2nd Law, since it’s based in the fundamental nature of mathematics and probability.  The universe might start again in a Poincaré recurrence, but that’s not going to be for another 10120 billion years or so, so don’t hold your breath.  Or do, if it pleases you; we’re all going to be long gone before any recurrent universe happens, anyway, even if nothing like the “big rip” makes such recurrence impossible.

As I said, don’t waste time.  Love your loved ones and spend time with them if you can—and if they want you around.  Don’t take such things for granted.

TTFN

whirling globe


*I was, you can go check for yourself.

**I feel that the ones in Antarctica might be less impressive in effect only because they are so much closer to the axis of rotation already.

As you from blogs would pardon’d be, let your indulgence set me free.

Hello and good morning and welcome to Thursday and to another edition of my weekly blog post.  Also, of course, welcome to Summer (in the northern hemisphere, anyway…in the southern one, welcome to Winter).  Tuesday was the Solstice, aka the longest day of the year (in the north), if by “day” you mean the time during which the sun is above the horizon.  Now, as always happens during Summer, the “days” are getting shorter.  That may seem counter-intuitive to some, but when you take a moment to think about it, it’s pretty clearly the case, just as during Winter the “days” are growing longer.  The solstice is the peak (or the nadir) of the sine curve of day length, from which there is nowhere to go but down (or up).

I haven’t written much this week.  Last Friday and then this Tuesday and Wednesday, I only wrote about 700 words each, and on Monday I didn’t write anything at all*.  Nor did I play any guitar.  I just didn’t have the energy for much of anything.  I still don’t have much energy, frankly, but it seems this blog is the place in which I’ll delay longest before slacking off.  It’s the Tom Bombadil of my resistance to the figurative assault by Sauron on my middle-earth…to stretch a metaphor to its breaking point.

I have written a few thousand words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado this week (go ahead, do the math), but my writing has been so slow that even since last week, the protagonists haven’t formally met with Lucy, the extradimensional demi-god who adores the Beatles.  They’ve traveled through her world a bit more, at least, and I’ve thrown in lots of little references that only Beatles fans will get.  It might be amusing for eventual readers; it also might be irritating.  I suppose it could be both.

As those of you who are paying attention to such things will already know, on Tuesday I uploaded the rest of Outlaw’s Mind that I have written so far.  It stops abruptly during the middle of a scene, because that’s where I was when I took my hiatus from writing it; apologies for that.  As for why I posted the rest—well, I just wanted to get it “over with” up to the current point, in case anything prevents further uploads.  If circumstances permit (and if anyone so much as expresses even the tiniest interest) I may continue with it at some future date.  I doubt anyone will much care, however, one way or the other.

As I said in Tuesday’s pre-story comment, I may soon post what I’ve written so far of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, though any potential readers should bear in mind that it’s even more of a first draft than Outlaw’s Mind was.  If I do it, I’ll probably just post it all at once, though it’s over 60,000 words so far.  I don’t think there should be any upper limit to the length of a written blog post, though.  After all, even at so many words long, the file is only about 633 K in size, making it much shorter than the average video, even videos that are only a few minutes long.  So, data size at least shouldn’t get in the way.

Speaking of video files, I posted a silly little video last night on YouTube, which I’ll embed here, below.  It was, as I say in the video, a test of the function of using my phone to record and then upload videos to YouTube, and I think it went pretty well…though I suspect that the last few seconds of the video got cut off, just as I was about to stop “filming”.  I didn’t lose any content to speak of, and I wonder if YouTube just does that to such videos, or if the upload process did it (via WiFi, of course), or what exactly happened.  I uploaded it directly to YouTube, rather than, for instance, saving it to Google Drive and then uploading it from a laptop.  It was a trial in case I end up in situations where I want to upload videos but I’m not in good circumstances for using a laptop.

I can’t directly live-stream to YouTube** from my phone currently, because I don’t have enough subscribers to my YouTube channel.  That’s an interesting criterion for people to be able to live-stream from a phone.  I’m sure there was some quasi-logical decision-making process involved in setting the requirement, but I haven’t come up with any good hypotheses for what it might be (I also haven’t tried very hard to do so).  Of course, I could live-stream from a desktop or laptop if I wanted, because anyone can if they have a channel (or so I understand), but that wasn’t the point of my latest video.

Anyway, that’s about all there is to say about the video for now.  I did a few other test videos on two different computers earlier, and I uploaded them, but I haven’t made them public yet, and I may not ever do so.  I’m not sure.  I suppose we shall see.  Here’s the video in question above, though.

Don’t mind the sunglasses and the mask.  I was just playing around with the look, and frankly, I think it’s a lot better than my naked face.  Honestly, I could almost think I looked cool that way, which is a weird thought.  I’ll try not to get used to it.

With that, I don’t have much more to write in this week’s blog post.  Life is boring and unrewarding, and I don’t readily foresee any change to that, though I have something in mind that might do the trick.  Further bulletins on that as events warrant.  In the meantime, though, I hope you all are doing reasonably well—indeed, I would wish for you to be doing as well as it’s possible for you to be doing.  In fact, I will wish for it.  Why not?

There, I did it.

In a certain sense, of course, you already are doing as well as it’s possible for you to be doing right now, because once “now” has happened, it’s not as though you can do a mid-game reset and go back to try to do better.  I don’t know if that’s a comforting thought or a distressing one, though it could be both or either or neither, depending on the person.  But anyway, please try to make your present and your future as good as they can possibly be for you and for those you love.  You might as well—it’s not like you’ve got anything better to do with your time.

TTFN

summer dawn


*And, of course, I wrote nothing on the “weekend”.  I pretty much did nothing on the weekend.

**From my phone, anyway.