Friday, November 27, 2015

Living Years

I should probably first apologize for the earworm. Sorry! Second, if I posted this already, double sorry. I remember mentioning it on Facebook, but I don't think I have here, but my memory is affected by cold virus. All apologies where appropriate. The other week/month (time slips away), I heard "The Living Years" by Mike + the Mechanics for the first time this year. I hadn't been dreading it exactly, but back when Dad was alive and I would hear it, I would wonder how I would react. It was roughly what I would have expected. I cried a bit, but not out of regret for anything unsaid. Just because I miss him and wish he were back. So that's OK. Since then, in the way of radio since the '80s, it's been on heavy rotation a bit, so I've heard it another two times. Both times there was no tears or sadness, just a kind of rueful smile. That and a tendency to want to lampoon the lyrics. These ARE the same guys who did a song called "Silent Running" with the refrain, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me running?" And you want to say, "DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW WHAT 'SILENT' MEANS?!" Anyway.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Memory and happiness

I've had this topic at the top of my Notepad for months. I can't get it clear in my mind, perhaps obviously. The idea though is in line with the truism that older people are happier because bad memories recede. Well maybe we aren't happier but we do tend to go on about the good old days, and tend to forget about the bad old ones. I'm wondering if this is in any way connected to Alzheimer's and I'm wondering if there's any evolutionary pressure to have happy old people around. I guess it would be good for the species to have elders who are considered wise, and it might be easier to consider us wise if we're comparatively happy-go-lucky. Moreover, we might be more useful if we're able to share good things from the past that might be applied in the present. Of course, in the current political climate, it would be helpful if some old people would point out that the Trumps of the world are trotting out the same arguments that led to ships full of Jewish refugees being turned away and sent back to the Holocaust. So there are limits to the argument. What I'm mainly wondering is whether Alzheimer's or other forms of senile dementia are just an extension of natural memory loss. And then there's the question whether the kind of memory loss I'm talking about in elders (i.e., focusing on the happy ones) is a physical problem or a decision. Maybe as you get older, you just decide to define yourself as happy and thus to filter out the unhappy memories. I don't know. My memory, like the rest of me, doesn't have a lot in the way of filters. Gradually the unhappy memories have less sharp teeth. But they're still there, they're still there.

It's still yesterday, believe me

I missed yesterday's entry due to being sick. It's not exactly the worst illness ever, but is whacking me over the head a bit, hence missing things like blog entries. Yesterday, it was a burning sore throat. Today, the throat has improved a bit and symptoms have moved into the boogers boogers boogers stage. And that was before I drank or ate anything. Eating breakfast now and expecting some drama as the day wears on. I'm skipping Thanksgiving totally or at least postponing it. I don't think interacting with other people would be the most thoughtful thing ever. I think I'll ask William if we can put it off until Monday or so. I will try to take a bath eventually at least. Yesterday I did take the printed version of one of my drone pictures over to Devon around the block who asked for it and also demonstrated the drone. I managed to crash it in someone's yard but they weren't home so I recovered it without gunfire or conflict. The Krazy Glue repairs didn't hold so I did it again; I don't think they'll hold this time either. Prop guards have very awkward fracture lines. Well, the Krazy Glue will dry up eventually anyway; might as well use it up instead. Right, that was yesterday's post; today's is coming up. Happy Thanksgiving either way!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Today was another nice day, if cold, so I took the toy through its paces at nearby Pacific Park. Didn't I just say that all the experts were telling me to take off the blade guards because they create huge wind resistance? Yes I did. Boy does that not seem like such a good idea! I had a crash or two today. None were anything I took very seriously; toy operated fine afterwards. However, two of the blade guards were split along one (of three) arms. I may be an idiot, but I suspect that without the guards, those would have been the blades all broky and useless. Mind you, I have extra blades, but they were a pain to put on and I have to assume that they would be a pain to take off, too. I don't have extra blade guards, but I do have super glue. 1,001 uses! If you thought that was dull, you should have seen my alternate topics! I finally went back to play Civilization IV without the expansion packs. To make a long story short, I was correct that the starter level was much, much easier on the basic game than after expansion. But a lot of the stuff that was added in the expansions is sorely missed. Still, it's much more of an edge of the seat game, even in spite of being very easy. I appreciate that that makes no sense, but there you go. There's a lot more stuff to do I guess is what it is. Also my dreams were as ever very odd last night, but you catch a break since I can't much remember them. The bewildering part was that I was sort of on a major league sports team but sort of a coach or sort of otherwise connected with them. Apparently my job was to keep their wildest player in line. I guess my brain woke up enough to say, You're 53; other than bowling, you're not getting on any major league team. Or something.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Toy test flight

We finally got clear, dry weather today. Although it's both cold and breezy, still it was a nice day to take out the quadcopter. So I did. A good place to fly is a very underused park called Southeast Park. As it isn't exactly photogenic, I thought I would be able to forebear from using the camera and instead practice flying. I did do the latter but failed to do the former. The pictures aren't exactly electrifying, but look about as good as the terrain permitted. I would have been happier if downtown in the distance had looked clearer, but heck, it's probably 10 miles. People in the Syma quadcopter discussion group on Facebook keep saying to take off the blade guards, that they catch the wind and hinder flying markedly. I guess I can trust to their greater experience, but it looks impossible to me. (The blade guards are little pieces of plastic that protect the blades slightly (on only one side each) from hard landings.) However, something is certainly catching the wind. This copter is much, much heavier than the previous ones and much more powerful, but still got carried away by the wind like crazy. So the flights weren't too long. I did finally learn to land without crashing at least, which is a big plus. The smaller lighter drones were easy; when you got near the ground, you just hit the control for up and it came down in a more or less guided landing. This one is so heavy and falls so fast that that trick never works. So I have to let it fall and start the controlled crash much higher up. Is tricky but fun to learn to master. I just wish we could get Indian summer back, this time without any more rain. Darn it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I always dreaded it

Long ago when I was newly published, I visited Costco and saw all the deep deep discount books, including some from my publisher. So I knew I would one day be on the remainder shelf, and felt deeply sad about it. Well not so much personally, but deeply sad for the novelists who poured themselves into their dream worlds and now see their stuff marked down 90% at Costco. Today I experienced something similar, finding my hiking book at Goodwill. I mean heck, it's been 17 years, and there is another edition and everything. I must say I wasn't very blue about it. It was just a big giggle. I took a picture and posted it on Facebook ("I'm in Goodwill! I'm in Goodwill!") and Paul's mom, with whom I'm Facebook friends, saw it and asked for it. So I had an excuse to buy it, but Paul was nice enough to pick it up for me. Being kind of humble, it never occurred to me that she might want it signed. Only later when ex-girlfriend Susan (who took some of the pictures, mainly the ones where I'm wearing a beard) said she was still waiting for her signed copy did I think that somebody might actually want one. Well I have a pen and it's some days until Thanksgiving, so I imagine we can manage this. I PROBABLY still know how to sign my name!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

And another thing

As I mentioned, I somehow skipped another blog entry, so here's another extra one. It may not be too electrifying either. Harry the cat got in a huge fight last night. Anyway a noisy one. When I went out and hollered, he came running with another cat in pursuit. I hollered again and the other cat gave up and went away. Harry had gone up on the roof. I wonder if he was trying to protect us by going up to the roof instead of going through the open door. In here is much safer than the roof is. On the other hand when you're little and fast and good at climbing, I guess the first choice is to go up. He stayed up there for a while, but came down when I was ready to go to bed. It's funny that he happened to come in when I turned the lights out. "I don't want the other kitty to see me!" Well I thought it was funny. He was pretty subdued all night and all morning, but seems none the worse for wear. He was outside most of the day and doesn't seem to have gotten into any further tussles. It's rained all evening, so he's more or less willing to stay inside, although he's agitating for something at the moment. Probably sees a millimeter of space at the bottom of the food bowl.