Monday, October 29, 2007

"Where Does The Time Go"

The quote is from, of course, "Uncle John's Band", by the Grateful Dead.

Worked Saturday after 3 weekends off, was dragging at work this morning. I get a couple more things done, I think I will try to dispense with working weekends altogether.

My new computer came in, finally got everything transferred over to it, including my Outlook Express e-mail and contacts and my Firefox favorites. System is way fast, most noticable is ripping CDs, 20-25x. It has 3 groups of 4 LED's that you can set to different colors, or to strobe, etc. Apparently the Dell XPS 720 I got is their top of the line gaming computer, and the gamers like this stuff??? I got it because it was the only system Dell sold with 10000 RPM WD Raptor drives. So I have two of those in a 300GB RAID 0 (striped) array, and another 600GB of 7200 RPM drives for content storage. Seems pretty jammin'.

I have spent hours playing with Google Earth in Sky mode. I seems you can only do lookup on extragalactic objects by Messier #, NGC #, common name (Andromeda Galaxy, maybe a dozen or so), and the first dozen or so of radio source names (Perseus A). I've been putting in Abell clusters of galaxies. Sometimes, when it flies into a rich cluster and suddenly dozens of beautiful galaxies come into focus, it's like, holy shit, that's so cool. Finally, surfing the galaxies like the Silver Surfer. I will start checking out if there's a better way to import stuff (more clusters, radio sources, x-ray sources) before I do much more. Also noticed that Wikipedia has only maybe 6-7 articles on clusters of galaxies. That also would be something to pass the time. So maybe I can add being a dilettante astronomer to being a dilettante musician and a dillettante software developer for retirement.

Speaking of which, last Wednesday at the LBJ, only 3 guitarists showed up, and only 3 singers, until about 10:15. So I was playing and singing a bunch, got close to running out of material. Next morning, those songs were really running through my mind strongly. The last two Sundays, 2-4: band practice. Patrick is drumming well, we've got King William singing too!

Listening-wise, "Once" soundtrack is very listenable. Also got some more Ray Charles and Django Reinhardt. The Mike Bloomfield "If you love these blues, play'em as you please" is very interesting. I also have the new Joni Mitchell, the new Prince, and a new Suzanne Vega, after a couple of listens not making much of an impression.

Biked last weekend for probably the last time this year, 31 miles in 2h24m, 1 stop.

Two new birds in the backyard:

  • a downy woodpecker;
  • 3 dark-eyed juncos (I think, still have to check the bird book).
I looked at bird baths for the winter, they look like a pain. Vaguely thinking about ways to keep a bird bath going over the winter ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too Much

-- as in the Dave Matthews song. I think I am suffering from some existential / consumerism indigestion.

So, as background, I have recently replaced:

  • My 24 year old 27" console TV with a 52" Sharp Aquos LC52D64U. Under 3" thick, it worked out great, my son was in for his birthday 2 weeks ago and he and his buds hung it for me.
  • My 15 year old Sony tuner for a Sony 5300 tuner with 5 HDMI inputs, plus old stuff like phono. Nice piece of gear, but 3x $ I was expecting to spend. But, I do keep things a long time.
  • My April 99 Dell 2x500Mhz home computer with a 4x2.4Ghz Dell workstation, due in this week.
Then a few weekends ago visited my friend David in Columbus OH -- of the 4000 bottle wine cellar, the gourmet cooking, the 1Ghz ethernet home computing setup (plus 2.1 terabytes of RAID disks for his 100000 pictures -- he is a wonderful photographer and a photoshop wizard) and the house wired for cable AND satellite. 48 years old, he and his wife have no children and are consumers' consumers.

Then the next weekend had lunch with an old high school friend of mine in Louisville who is 3rd generation president of the family company. He has done a great job with it, diversifying and training his son to take over for him. He and his wife, empty nesters like us, recently moved into a huge, beautiful house across the street from Cherokee Park.

So, it's just been nagging at me. I was brought up lower middle class in a family of 7 kids, I just don't think I'm cut out to be nouveau rich. It just doesn't feel right. Goddamned catholic upbringing, you never get to enjoy anything.

Still, you look at our resource/carbon footprint, and despite the prius and recycling and keeping things for 10s of years, my footprint is still 1000x a third worlder's. And, my wife astutely pointed out, if you add in our 4 grown kids, our total footprint is much larger than our childless friends in Columbus.

Looked at vacation lake homes in Tennessee last weekend. Saw some nice stuff. The 2nd house will definitely help our footprint!

Well, I guess I'll just hope for Real Good Tech to fix all this up.

Haven't biked for 2 weeks. Biking will be over soon.

Meanwhile, I've gotten to drinking probably 1-5 oz alcohol per day, probably averaging around 3. I am my own science fair project, what fun! I think that once I got over averaging 2 oz/day, I could no longer drink enough water to rehydrate myself. So I think I am permanently dehydrated. The back of my throat/postnasal region is always scratchy -- but a few drinks in the evening and I won't notice it! My legs want to cramp all the time too. I sleep more and exercise and read less.

So, I'm going to have to consciously cut back to weekends and Wednesdays (LBJ), see if that helps the dehydration. Seems like I want to be addicted to something. I quit smoking so colds wouldn't last so long, the one I caught in Quebec still lasted 2 weeks, I thought, I should go back to smoking.

Plus, I think the alcohol is depressing me, to where the christians and other dumbasses who have always been there are getting me down more than they should. I guess we'll see.