Communion Of Dreams


Matter of perspective.

This will probably come across as a little brag-y. Sorry about that. Not my intention.

The other day I got a phone call. For Legacy Art. The gallery we closed May 31, 2004. Yeah, more than ten years ago.

And after I got through abusing the telemarketer over this point, I got to thinking about the many changes in the last decade.

First thing I should say up front: I’m at a low point in my bipolar cycle, as I’ve noted recently. That means that my self-image isn’t all that great. This isn’t a debilitating depressive episode or anything — I’ve managed to continue to work steadily, as well as enjoy the usual aspects of life. So not horrid. But it is sometimes difficult to not focus on the things which haven’t gone well, and my own failings which are often a component of that. And one of those failings is a sense of not accomplishing much, of being lazy, of wasting my time and the time of others.

Anyway. I got to thinking about the changes in the last decade. And surprisingly, more positive things came to mind than negative ones. That fed on itself, and I found myself making a mental list of the accomplishments.

In no particular order or ranking: wrote two books (one of them as co-author). Most of the way done with another. Visited Wales. And Argentina. And New Zealand. And Italy. Wrote several thousand blog posts. Became something of an authority on small caliber ballistics. Wrote several hundred articles and columns for publication. Was the full-time caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. Have done conservation work on something more than a thousand (that’s just a guess … may be closer to two thousand) books and documents. Made some great hot sauces. Raised, loved, and then said farewell to a great dog. Tried to be a good friend, and husband. Tried to help others when I could.

We all fail. We all have things we’ve done that haunt us in one way or another. Sometimes, those fears and demons overwhelm. Me, at least.

I may or may not be at a turning point in my bipolar cycle. But I’m glad that at least I can think of things I have accomplished. That helps.

Back to work on St. Cybi’s Well.

 

Jim Downey



A good year for peppers.
October 18, 2013, 1:40 pm
Filed under: Gardening, Habanero, Weather | Tags: , , , , ,

My sister dropped me a note. It included this:

Also, now that it has been a bit, how are you doing without Alwyn there?  I’m sure that you miss him terribly!!

 

* * * * * * *

Typical for this time of year, weather forecasts are now starting to include the possibility of frost. I decided that this afternoon I’d go out and harvest the rest of my Habanero crop in advance of some rain we’ll probably get tonight. This is what I brought in:

Hab harvest, 2013

Hab harvest, 2013

 

Compare that to three years ago:

 

Or three years before that:

Habenero Harvest

 

Notice the difference? Yeah, a *lot* more fully or partially ripe ones in this year’s crop. Even though both of those other picks were taken about two weeks later in the season. Interesting.

There’s about 700 – 800 in this year’s pic, based on the totals listed in those earlier posts. Should make for a nice big batch of insanely hot sauce.

 

* * * * * * *

My sister dropped me a note. It included this:

Also, now that it has been a bit, how are you doing without Alwyn there?  I’m sure that you miss him terribly!!

My reply:

Yeah, definitely. Still keep expecting to see him when I turn a corner, still by reflex go to call him when I go out to take something to the compost pile, and so forth.

“And so forth.”

That would have included going out with me this afternoon to pick peppers. He just loved going outside with me, any chance he got.

Yeah, I miss him.

But it’s been a good year for peppers.

 

Jim Downey



Fearless.

At about 7:45 in this interview:

NPR: “I wonder: your original CD together Realtime is so beloved by your fans, does that make you just a tad nervous about how this much-anticipated follow-up might be received? Or do you just block that stuff out?”

O’Brien: “Ah, you know, I’m gettin’ over that.”

NPR: “But not yet? You’re still working on it?”

 

* * * * * * *

It was a hard week. He may have been only a dog, but his absence was entirely too distracting.

 

* * * * * * *

The other night I played supportive spouse and accompanied my Good Lady Wife to a professional meeting she had at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The Lake (as people in Missouri almost universally refer to it) is an interesting sort of place, from a purely anthropological perspective. Originally built to help generate electricity, it then became a tourist trap in the 1960s, then evolved into something of a Spring Break party spot for college kids throughout the state. It still has something of that reputation, though it has now branched out a bit into being a general purpose convention/resort area. I’ve written about it previously.

Anyway, like these sorts of meeting things go, the first night there was a cocktail party with an open, but limited selection, bar.  I walked up to the bar, nodded to the nice very clean cut young man behind it, asked “Got any Fat Tire? ”

“Sorry, just domestic beer. ”

I blinked, a bit stunned.

He explained further “We don’t have any of those Belgium beers.”

 

* * * * * * *

At about 7:45 in this interview:

NPR: “I wonder: your original CD together Realtime is so beloved by your fans, does that make you just a tad nervous about how this much-anticipated follow up might be received? Or do you just block that stuff out?”

O’Brien: “Ah, you know, I’m gettin’ over that.”

NPR: “But not yet? You’re still working on it?”

O’Brien:“Well, there is a sort of a fermentation that happens in people’s minds, and I guess it happened in my mind too, that you know, what, can we do that again? Can we go back to that? And then, at some point I just said ‘well, you know, if we don’t try we’ll never do anything together again'”.

Scott: “To me the word is ‘fearless’. Putting it out there, and then, with the right ingredients it’ll probably turn into something edible.”

 

Something edible, indeed. Back to work.

 

Jim Downey



Death comes quickly.
September 22, 2013, 8:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

He spoke through tears of 15 years how his dog and him traveled about
The dog up and died, he up and died
And after 20 years he still grieves*

Again, I am reminded that we need to cherish those we love while we have them.

An hour or so ago I lost my buddy. The buddy who went walking with me every morning. The buddy who helped me get through the long years of being a care-giver. The buddy who kept a sharp eye out for trespassing deer, and people, and racoons — especially racoons. The buddy who was always there, always patient, always happy to see me.

Death came quickly and unexpectedly. Yesterday he was fine, had a good day. Last night he seemed a little sluggish, reluctant to go outside, but we figured that was due to the loudness of a nearby music festival. He didn’t like loud noises.

This morning before the sun was up, he was out of his bed, seemed to not be feeling well. I decided to wait until a little later in the morning before I called our vet. Shortly thereafter he started a quick downward spiral, showing all the symptoms of a heart attack. We debated whether we could get him to a veterinary hospital in time to do any good. Instead, he was able to die while I held him, in familiar surroundings.

He was a good dog.

The cats are being extra affectionate this morning. They know we’re hurting.

Jim Downey



“He dreams of stopping the wave.”

“I think he actually plans that ahead.”

* * * * * * *

Interesting news item:

Study broadens understanding of quantum mechanics

(Phys.org)—Former and current USC Dornsife physicists have led a study that represents the first, quantitative account of the universal features of disordered bosons—or quantum particles—in magnetic materials.

The study published in the Sept. 20 edition of Nature magazine broadens our understanding of quantum mechanics and challenges the accepted predication in quantum theory.

“It’s remarkable to find such universality in disordered quantum systems,” said co-author Stephan Haas, professor of physics and astronomy and vice dean for research in USC Dornsife. “And it’s even more amazing that we may have finally identified a real-life example for one of the most elusive quantum glasses in nature.”

Yeah, OK, so? What’s that actually mean?

Potentially, a lot. Quantum particles are thought of as wave-forms, operating in a range of space/states (this is known as quantum superposition). This characterization leads to such particles being ‘trapped’ — unable to escape a given space/state due to interference — what is termed ‘localization.’ Having a way to control localization is the key to much finer control over quantum effects, and helps to turn it from a theoretical physical problem almost to an engineering one.  From the above article:

Quantum magnets and other occurrences in quantum mechanics could set the stage for the next big breakthroughs in computing, alternative energy and transportation technologies such as magnetic levitating trains.

* * * * * * * *

“He dreams of stopping the wave.”

Who? Gorodish:

Gods, I love that movie.

* * * * * * *

“Alwyn, wait up, bud,” said my wife, as our dog trotted past us on our morning walk.

He went a couple more paces, but stopped before he got to the entrance of a care facility. That entrance comes off a busy street, and we only want him to cross it with us so as to keep him safe.

“I think he actually plans that ahead,” I said. “He trots ahead here so that he can sniff that bush for messages.”

Jim Downey