Tag Archives: The Myriad Ways That I Love Dave

Dec
25
2012
Christmas Card 2012

Every year since 2000, our Christmas card photo has involved a statue wearing a Santa hat. The first eleven photos are here. Last year’s photo is here.

We took the 2012 photo during our Thanksgiving trip to Erie, where the world’s best Christmas card statue lives. I don’t see how we can possibly top this one. Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like Jesus in a Santa hat. Nothing says “I’m going to hell” like the cursing I did in front of Jesus when I realized I’d forgotten the wireless remote for the camera (the photo shoot can’t go smoothly, it’s part of the tradition).

My brother-in-law doesn’t believe this is Jesus. He’s convinced it’s Copernicus. But I assure you, there is a statue of Jesus at Gannon University and we put a Santa hat on it. I’m a little disturbed that my brother-in-law thinks we are weird enough to put a Santa hat on Copernicus, but lie and say it’s Jesus. But now I feel the need to find a statue of Copernicus for a future photo.

Santa hat difficulty: easy, except for the arctic wind that kept blowing the hat off Jesus’ head.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TRACY, DAVE, CHUCK, AND JESUS!

We gonna party like it’s your birthday.

Oct
19
2012
Photo Friday: Lucky 13

In the words of my Dad, I’ve been “steady busy.” I’ve been planning a new ice cream blog. Because when you can’t find the time or energy to update your first blog, why not start another one?  I’ve also been: making ice cream, taking a small business workshop (see also: ice cream), worrying about my dog (he’s fine, don’t worry, but there’s been stuff), basking in the glow of my Craft Whores win, and celebrating anniversaries.

Last Wednesday was my 13th wedding anniversary. Dave had his usual Wednesday night jam class thing, and that means on Wednesdays, Dave is gone before I get home. This means that Wednesday is not the night we make sweet weekly love, but rather Wednesday nights I have to not only walk the dog, but also provide my own dinner (my life is hard).

But I found these on the counter when I got home.

I assumed there were 12, because a dozen roses is a thing, right? Later Dave told me there were 13 because we’ve been married 13 years and I was touched in my cold black heart by his  uncharacteristic romantic symbolism. But the best part of my anniversary present was the note on the counter saying “Chuck walk: check.” When I realized I could report directly to the couch, plant my ass there and watch TV, my eyes welled up with tears of joy. ‘Twas a happy anniversary indeed!

Last week was also our 20-year dating anniversary which, holy crap, is a long time, no? We celebrated by seeing Peter Gabriel on his last “Back to Front” tour stop. He performed the album “So” in its entirety in honor of the 25th anniversary of its release. Which occurred when I was FOURTEEN years old and Peter Gabriel didn’t look like an elderly Druid. But he sounded awesome. He also played two other non-“So” sets, including songs from the album “Us” that came out the month I met Dave (11 days before we officially started dating, not that I looked it up and counted). I assume he played “Come Talk to Me” in honor of our 20th anniversary, right?

As I rested my head on Dave’s shoulder and listened to the song, memories of that CD playing over and over as we fell in love came flooding back to me like 20 years hadn’t passed. How the hell did 20 years pass so quickly? Add Peter Gabriel to the growing list of bastards who made me cry at a concert.

Please to enjoy this video (this wasn’t our show, but the only video from our show on YouTube gave me vertigo). Song starts around 2:15:

May
18
2012
Basic Needs of a Wife

Recently I wrote a post on what I learned from the Duggars about the basic needs of a husband. The source of this knowledge, the Institute in Basic Life Principles, sells the “Seven Basic Needs of a Husband” eight-page pamphlet for two bucks.

But what of a wife’s needs? Well, they have that covered too! Only wives must be a little more high maintenance, because the “Seven Basic Needs of a Wife” take 80 pages to explain and cost $12.99 to receive.

But hey, I’m a wife and I know a little something about my needs. Let me share some of them with you now. I need a husband who will:

1.) Check his damn pockets before throwing shit in the laundry. On the plus side, our guitar picks and loose change (and cell phones) are impeccably clean around here.

I'm keeping everything I find in the dryer. I'm hoping he'll run out of guitar picks.

2.) Not leave peanut butter on the side of the jar. And/or fix the ant problem. I’d be happy with either really. The peanut butter is unfortunately not pictured, because I wiped it off in a huff before remembering this photo project. And even though I haven’t made a peep to Dave about documenting his failure to meet my needs, he’s miraculously stopped leaving peanut butter on the jar. I do have a photo of an ant that got stuck inside our frigging salt shaker last year, if anyone’s interested in that.

3.) Run agreed-to errands in my lifetime. We’ve been paying the fee for this brand new, yet faulty DVR for months. I even placed it near the front door for easier recall. No dice.

4.) Wait for me to actually finish what I’m saying before absent-mindedly asking, “what?” Here’s a charming story: Dave received a pair of ear plugs from our friend JohnBoy at his bachelor party along with the advice, “Sometimes Tracy is going to want to talk to you and sometimes you aren’t going to want to listen.”

5.) Close things he’s opened. The regularly open dishwasher door is a shin-busting accident waiting to happen. I probably should have done a video for this one because there’s no way to capture the majesty of how many doors and drawers Dave can leave open at a time in one picture.

Also, we could never have glass-front cabinets.

6.) Sit on the furniture without deforming it. Seriously, the power of Dave’s ass is beyond my understanding. I have no idea how he makes the cushions do that.

7.) Learn how to distinguish times when I might be receptive to him grabbing my boobs. Or at least won’t try to turn every dish washing experience into a Cialis moment.

Well, that’s seven. So I won’t mention “allowing me to be financially dependent” again. There you go, I’ve just saved you guys $12.99.

Did I miss anything?

Mar
29
2012
I Have An Excuse This Week

Shhh! Do not disturb. I’m tapering. The “taper” is the period before a race (in my case, a ten-miler this Sunday), during which a runner reduces mileage and rests in preparation for the big day.

Tapering is the only part of my training that comes naturally to me, probably because it’s my normal state of being. Resting is one of my favorite activities, but I usually feel guilty about it. But this week, I’m not being lazy. Oh no. I am tapering.

When Dave saw me lying on the chaise after my last pre-race long run, watching TV while half asleep, he said, “Oh, you’re tapering now, eh?”

All week, baby.

Runners World would likely not approve of my tapering procedures, which consist of expending as little energy, physical or mental, as possible.

You guys, I am tapering so hard, I’m skirting the edge of coma.

Have you ever noticed how heavy your eyelids are? I have. Holding them up is about all the energy expenditure I can handle right now. Since I’m expected to keep my eyes open at work, I’ve made sure to hit snooze many extra times each morning. Sure, I’ve been late every day, but it’s only because I’m doing my necessary tapering.

The taper got off to a rough start due to the dance group who has decided that the parking lot for the park near my house is a good practice site. They practice for HOURS, loudly (with whistles!), every Sunday. The noise has been slowly eroding my will to live, but this week the walk to the phone to call the police also broke my taper, damn it.

Unfortunately, work also interrupts my taper. Since I have to be lucid during meetings, I make sure I recover from the mental exertion by staring blankly at my computer screen or out the window to rest my mind and body until my next meeting or I need to use the bathroom, whichever comes first.

I’ve let some writing ideas slosh around aimlessly in my head, but can’t expend the energy to translate my thoughts into a coherent post. I’ve only been publishing a post per week recently, but this week it’s intentional, because, I think you know where I’m going with this by now…I’m tapering.

Interrupting the flow of grinding, circular thoughts and staring out the window, an overdue notice for my credit card arrived this week. Huh. I guess they didn’t get the memo about my taper. 

My pre-race taper couldn’t have come at a better time. I am exhausted and overwhelmed. I have added a lot to my life without giving anything up. I’m reaching new lows in low energy.

In the evenings after work, I have had to do some extra tapering to catch up on the tapering I missed while commuting and working. This involves falling asleep while upright and walking home after work (a bizarre new experience, really), eating dinner in front of the TV, and then mindlessly watching “30 Going on 13″ while eating ice cream, all while Dave does everything else.

Tuesday night, I sacrificed my taper to get up and hug him as he got ready to walk Chuck before bed and he said with about as much frustration as he’s capable of mustering, “It’s hard to work all evening while you get to sit on the couch and watch a movie.”

No, no, no. Dave, I’m tapering.

At least that’s my excuse for this week. Sorry, sweetie. And Tom Ridge didn’t believe me when I told him I was lazy!
someecards.com - When I die, I hope I'll be doing nothing, so people could say that at least I died doing what I love.

Mar
26
2012
Basic Needs of a Husband

I will spare you my rationalizations about why I watch the Duggars’ reality show,  “19 Kids and Counting,” and simply say: I am repulsed yet strangely fascinated. Also, I have always enjoyed learning about foreign cultures.

I didn’t think their beliefs could shock me anymore, but the season premiere proved me wrong. The camera scanned ever so briefly across one of Michelle’s public speaking handouts and the title, “Seven Basic Needs of a Husband,” jumped off the page. 

I paused the DVR so I could study up on my husband’s needs.  And so I could take a picture of the screen. Here you go.

Squirming with discomfort, I read about the ways in which I am destroying my husband’s (apparently ridiculously weak) manliness.

For example: wives, did you know that we destroy our husbands’ manliness when we “resist his decisions in our spirit.” That’s interesting, because I don’t stop with resisting in spirit. I say that shit out loud.

Most entertaining were the handout’s practical tips. For example, instead of “resisting his decisions,” you should “learn to wisely appeal to your husband.” Even fundamentalists understand the need to be realistic about who really makes the decisions. Fear not, wives! We need not accept our husband’s decisions, we just need to learn how to be more subtle in our resistance.

These “needs” were so over-the-top ridiculous it was hard to be as pissed as maybe I should have been. When I noticed the “love is killed by self-sufficiency” line, I dissolved into giggles.

But wait a minute…

If you’ve been reading here awhile, you may be aware of my early retirement fantasy

Why is it just a fantasy? A.) our mortgage, 2.) I imagine replacing the time currently spent working and commuting with things I want to do, not what I’d actually be doing (learning to cook, cleaning the house, doing Dave’s laundry, etc…), and c.) as grumpy and depleted as work makes me, my self-worth is largely tied up in how well I perform there and in my ability to earn a living. It would make me (not to mention Dave) uncomfortable to expect Dave to earn all our income.

But the Duggars (actually the “Institute in Basic Life Principles”) were telling me that God wants me to be financially dependent on Dave. My self-sufficiency is killing our love. That doesn’t sound good.

Could Dave really need me to quit my job? Could this really be so simple and easy? I thought I’d consult an actual husband about the accuracy of these needs.

“Dave, I need to show you something. Can you come in here for a minute?”

I played the scene in slow motion so he could peruse his basic needs.

“So, what do you think? Do you need me to quit my job? Because I’m willing to make that sacrifice to support your manliness,” I looked at him hopefully.

Unfortunately, Dave fixated on a different basic need.

“No, but I agree you shouldn’t resist my physical affection.”

“Crap, I hadn’t even noticed that one. I brought you in here to discuss how my self-sufficiency is killing our love.”

“But God wants you to stop crushing my spirit.”

“I don’t think God understands how often you want to have sex. Look, if we worked on meeting your need to have a financially dependent wife first, I’d have so much more time to, uh, stroke your manliness in other ways as well.”

I think he’s starting to warm up to my early retirement. I think it will be more difficult to convince myself.

I joked that God didn’t understand how often men want to have sex, but apparently he does. The only practical tip the handout provides for wives to help them meet this need is: “learn the power of prayer.” Yep, that sounds about right.

——

If you wonder how I know the “Institute in Basic Life Principles” published this document, that’s because my perfectionism commitment to my blogging craft made me research the source. I may also have ordered my own copy. Hey, there are six more needs the show didn’t even cover, and I’m nothing if not thorough.

Dec
23
2011
Photo Friday: Christmas Card 2011

Last week, I shared our previous Christmas card photos. This year, I wanted:

  • an easy statue for Santa hat purposes (so our runner-up will have to wait until a year I feel like packing a gopher grabber and a step stool),
  • a short commute (so the perfect statue in Erie was out of the question),
  • not to get mugged or worse (actually, I want this every year. Sorry Baltimore, but “Homicide: Life on the Street” was set there for a reason–when the first page of Google results about our statue of interest in Baltimore includes an article about a stabbing in broad daylight nearby, that means no).

So we went back to the scene of 2008. Across the street from Winston Churchill is the Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden. The statue is a bust so it was easily accessible for the hat. He also has some special meaning for us…sort of. We had planned to use “On Marriage” from The Prophet at our wedding. We thought we liked the message (which seemed to be about avoiding the fate of the Beautiful South song “We Are Each Other.”) We thought the officiant would bring it and he thought we would bring it. Wedding FAIL. I wonder if Gibran wrote something “On Stupidity.”

It was probably just as well, as a more recent read made me giggle like a 12-year-old:

    “Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.”

This is good advice, I hate sharing.

    “Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.”

Now this just seems inefficient and wasteful, a married couple should easily be able to share a single loaf of bread.

    “Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute played by Sting irritate Tracy.”

OK I made that part about Sting up. It’s actually “Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”

    “Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.”

Huh. I would have thought only the heart containers in the Legend of Zelda can contain your hearts.

    “And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw!

My apologies to Mr. Gibran. His words on marriage are still lovely, but I’m done berating myself for not thinking to bring them to our wedding.

Hopefully he will forgive me for poking fun and for placing a Santa hat on his bust at his Memorial Garden. Various of his quotes are engraved at the Memorial site and my favorite was:

“That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.”

Whoa, I think he understood Einstein’s theory of time considerably better than I did.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TRACY, DAVE, CHUCK,

AND KAHLIL GIBRAN!!!!!!

Dec
16
2011
Photo Friday: Christmas Card Retrospective

It’s the holiday season (so whoop-dee-doo and hickory dock) which means I’m down to one blog post a week. I haven’t run since Saturday either. Merry Christmas!

Our annual Christmas card photo shoot is a wrap, but it seems a little early to post it. So this week, I thought I’d share the history of our little tradition. Are you ready for 11 years of Christmas card photos?

Living in the D.C. metro area, there are shitloads of cool statues and I suggested we include a picture of us with a different statue in our Christmas cards each year. Dave suggested putting a Santa hat on the statue’s head. Brilliant. Let’s do this thing!

2000 – Fala

Fala is my all-time favorite presidential pet. He’s probably in my top five favorite dogs ever. Love him. When the FDR Memorial opened, I visited with a friend who kept going on about FDR and his four terms and bandying about phrases like “our greatest president,” and I was all, “Look! Doggy!” Sorry, Mr. President, but your dog is the best part of your memorial.

Santa hat difficulty: easy

2001 – Albert Einstein

This statue, outside the National Academy of Sciences, is awesome. And you are supposed to climb all over it. Also great because Dave’s a physicist and because as we all know, Einstein was never wrong. This was the first time I remember creating a little scene with our photo shoot (think this was the year some bystanders asked to us to borrow our hat so they could take a picture with Einstein-Santa too).

Santa hat difficulty: slightly challenging

2002 – Party Animals

This was the only year we did the photo shoot during summer. And since we were traipsing all over the city taking pictures of this public art project anyway (there were 100 elephants and 100 donkeys), we decided to take and use multiple shots. Here are a couple of favorites.

Santa hat difficulty: easy

2003 – Kermit

This statue was our first outside D.C. Kermit is actually part of the Jim Henson Memorial at the University of Maryland in College Park. We took many shots with us and the whole statue, but the best, by far, were of us and Kermit. Sorry, Jim. This year is my favorite.

Santa hat difficulty: easy

2004 – George Mason

Who’s a fluffy muffin? This was our first Christmas with Chuck. Chuck is the prettiest member of our family, but he’s not always the most cooperative model. This year also marked our switch from film to digital. I had never heard of George Mason before moving to Virginia. But down here, everything is named after him (if it isn’t named after Lee).

Santa hat difficulty: easy

2005 – Screw Propeller Guy (John Ericsson)

Dave started pitching the “Screw Propeller Guy” as an option right after Fala. I held Dave off as long as possible, because a.) who the hell was going to care about Screw Propeller Guy and b.) I wasn’t sure we could do it. I couldn’t come up with a better idea in 2005, so Screw Propeller Guy it was! Getting up to his level was interesting. We learned Chuck doesn’t like to be picked up.

Santa hat difficulty: challenging

2006 – Teddy Roosevelt

We had Teddy on our radar for years and actually visited his island several times to practice. He’s pretty fucking big. Had to Photoshop the hat and it was so painful I vowed never to do that again. Decree: all future statue heads must be theoretically reachable by tall husband, possibly with gopher grabbing device and step stool assistance. This was our depth of field masterpiece. Getting statue and us all in focus would be a nightmare every year after.

Santa hat difficulty: impossible

2007 – The Awakening

We took this mere months before this statue was moved from Hains Point in D.C. to National Harbor in Maryland, which might as well be the moon given how inconveniently located it is. So I’m glad we fit this in while the statue was still in the city. I hated all of the shots of us with the head. I loved the hand shot, but that didn’t convey the statue. So this was the only year we printed a double-photo card.

Santa hat difficulty: easy

2008 – Winston Churchill

Mr. Churchill stands astride the boundary between U.S. property and the British Embassy. So I felt reasonably assured the British wouldn’t come running out with guns when we stuck a Santa hat on Mr. Churchill’s head. Of the many photos we took, Dave, Chuck, and I were in focus in exactly none of them. I took the best shot and did my best to sharpen us in Photoshop.

Santa hat difficulty: moderately challenging

2009 – Charles Buls

Our first international entry! We took the Santa hat and a mini tripod (explaining the awkward angle for this one) on our trip to Belgium. The only bummer is that Chuck couldn’t be in it. Buls was a former mayor of Brussels and there is a dog with him but it’s very hard to tell from this weird angle and once you see the dog it sort of looks like he’s humping the mayor’s leg. Oops.

Santa hat difficulty: technically easy, but pretty embarrassing (some older Belgian ladies seemed amused by us)

2010 – George Washington

We took this while visiting my family last Thanksgiving. The statue is next to the Eagle Hotel in Waterford, PA. I had always thought this was the only statue of Washington wearing a British uniform but I just found something arguing he’s actually in the militia uniform of Virginia. Whatever, he’s carrying out a British order, so there. 

Santa hat difficulty: challenging

2011 – ?????

——————————————–

Care to make a guess about this year’s Christmas card photo subject? Hints: he’s in D.C. and is very close to a previous subject.

I’d love to hear any suggestions for photos in the D.C. area or elsewhere (I’m still kicking myself that we didn’t do Jimi Hendrix while on vacation in Seattle). Tune in next Friday for our 2011 photo and holiday greeting.

Nov
25
2011
Photo Friday: National Family Pajama Night

Flipping through the Company Store catalog a few weeks ago, the picture below caught my eye, along with an explanation of “National Family Pajama Night.”

The text said, “The best memories are often the ones where your child reminds you of those special moments long after the original smiles and laughter. This fall, plan a special night for your family creating new memories on National Family Pajama Night. Saturday, November 19th, 2011.”

I don’t think we are the family the Company Store had in mind.

Yeah, special moments with your child, blah, blah, blah. Whatever, look at the cute golden retriever. Wearing PJs.

National Family Pajama Night was on! We were going to make some mother fucking memories up in here.

I briefly considered ordering a matching set of family PJs, as the Company Store clearly intended. However, Dave and I couldn’t agree on a style and Dave also gingerly reminded me of the incongruity of my wish to retire early and the purchase of new, matching PJs when we already own PJs. Well, except Chuck. So we ordered doggy PJs for Chuck. Besides the joy of dressing Chuck in PJs, why was I so excited about this event?

National Family Pajama Night would give me an excuse not just to stay at home and cocoon as is my preference (logy means sluggish, after all), but to celebrate it. We weren’t just going to stay in and lie on the couch watching TV, as usual. Oh no! We were going to rock the staying in: wearing comfy PJs, renting a movie, eating popcorn and homemade two-batter brownies. Slumber party, y’all!

I “liked” National Family Pajama Night on Facebook and checked out the daily “memory-maker” ideas. I briefly considered fort building, but then decided our couch is a perfectly good fort as is. We opted out of the homemade play-doh making and playful puppet show as well.

We started off with a photo session, documenting Chuck’s angst. I should probably feel guilty about this, but I giggled the entire time. What good is having a dog if you can’t use him for entertainment?

I needed to step in and stuff Chuck into those PJs. We followed the Company Store’s sizing chart, but they obviously didn’t account for Chuck’s generous circumference. He’s pretty busty, just like his Mama. He’s a brick house, as I like to sing to him. Chuck looked like an adorable sausage for the 3 minutes we made him wear the PJs.

Our first choice of pre-movie cartoon warm-up (Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) was blocked on streaming video, but we made do with Aqua Teen Hunger Force on DVD. Then we watched Blue Valentine and ate brownies. I’d like to provide a deep, insightful review of the film, but I never really got over the first few minutes. Someone really should have warned me about the dog. Seriously, I didn’t give a shit what happened to anybody after that.

Recipe and pictures of the two batter/Twix-studded brownies coming soon.

Nov
14
2011
The Bread Loaf of Time

Dealing with time is one of my biggest struggles. Dave once told me about an experiment that showed the passage of time is actually slower if moving than if not by comparing two atomic clocks. As someone used to obtaining a non-treated counterfactual through random assignment of fairly large numbers of units, taking a difference of two clocks didn’t work for me.

I spat out a string of questions about the design of the study. “How did they actually measure elapsed time?” “What is the normal accuracy of these clocks?” “Did they repeat this more than once?” “Why didn’t they use several clocks in each location?” Since Dave didn’t really know, I sort of won an argument about physics against a physicist, which was fun but left me without an understanding of time.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time

Given my desire to understand time, I didn’t beg for the remote when I found Dave watching an episode of PBS’ NOVA called “The Illusion of Time.” This was part of a four-hour series based on a book by physicist Brian Greene, or as I like to call him, annoying string theory guy.

Annoying string theory guy has become a bit of a celebrity; he’s even been on Letterman. So he’s pleased with himself, is what I’m saying. He wears a leather jacket and a swagger during this show, but he wasn’t fooling me. If you are going to be a geek turned famous scientist, at least be lovable like Carl Sagan, who sounded like Kermit the Frog and seemed credible. When annoying string theory guy speaks, I feel like he’s trying to sell me a stolen car.

Five minutes into the show, one of the scientists interviewed, Max Tegmark, had this to say: “There’s basically no aspect of time which I feel we really fully understand.”

Great! Can’t wait to hear about it for an hour then.

Throughout the hour, I got the distinct impression physicists just make things up. I freely admit I don’t understand physics. Physics was an elective and I elected not to study it. I definitely think physicists are smarter than I am. But I also suspect they don’t really understand this stuff either, they are just smart enough to fake it.

Einstein = Genius

It was cute to see the man crushes these physicists have for Einstein. The first half of the program explained how Einstein overthrew “the common-sense idea that time ticks the same for everyone.” According to David Kaiser: “It’s mind-blowing that you and I will not agree on measurements of time…Why should my measurement of time depend on how I am moving, or how you’re moving? That, that doesn’t make any sense.” So far we agree, that doesn’t make any sense!

Apparently, there’s a link between space and time. Annoying string theory guy explained the clock experiment. The 1971 experiment compared elapsed time for an atomic clock flown around the world with the elapsed time of a clock on the ground. At the end of the experiment, the two clocks differed “by a few hundred billionths of a second.” I couldn’t believe measurement error was smaller than that difference, but Dave insisted there are atomic clocks accurate enough to detect an effect that small.

“In 1971?!?”

“Yep.”

I’m supposed to believe we had technology that accurate forty years ago, but today I have to wait 20 minutes for PDF files to spool to my work printer? Can’t Microsoft hire these clock people?

Einstein’s genius didn’t extend to creative names. Annoying string theory guy explained that Einstein fused together space and time “in what came to be called…” …wait for it… “spacetime.” You don’t say? Even though the show contained no point more clear, they needed a second scientist to explain it. Max Tegmark explained it again, only even more slowly and with arm motions and an earnest look, just to be sure we were all clear.

SPACE + TIME = (say it with me) SPACETIME

Annoying string theory guy turned a visual of “spacetime” into a loaf of bread to illustrate. I found this both condescending and, grudgingly, helpful as I’m not a theoretical learner. He showed how slices of “now” can angle toward the past or to the future depending on the movement of aliens 10-billion light years away. So just as all of space exists, all of time exists as well, or so Einstein said and Einstein can’t be wrong.

Or as Sean Carroll said: “If you believe the laws of physics, there’s just as much reality to the future and the past as there is to the present moment.”

I don’t believe in physics, I just believe in me. Yoko and me.

The Arrow of Time

So 30 minutes in, I got it. Past, present, and future are an illusion. I didn’t see any practical application to care much about, as the aliens who can see our future are too far away to tell us about it before we’ve experienced it too, but I got it. Then the only woman in this telecast, Janna Levin, said: “Our entire experience of time is constantly in the present. And all we ever grasp is that instant moment.” Then I got confused again because I remember the past, how about you?

They spent the next few minutes discussing time travel, because otherwise most people will stop being interested in a show about science. Then the last 20 minutes painstakingly tore down all of the limited understanding I built during the first 30.

The last part tried to reconcile why time appears to move only forward when the laws of physics don’t require time to have directionality. Annoying string theory guy implied entropy might help explain this “arrow of time.” I fell in love with the entropy guy, both because he has a cool bust of himself on his gravestone and because his work shows my inability to stay organized isn’t a character flaw, it’s a law of physics.

But no! Entropy can’t explain the arrow of time because the laws of physics say disorder should increase both toward the future and toward the past. Annoying string theory guy then said: “And that makes no sense.” As if everything said before that point had made sense.

Since they were having trouble reconciling Einstein’s theory of relativity with the arrow of time, they decided to blame the discrepancy on the Big Bang. Annoying string theory guy: “So our best understanding is that the Big Bang set the arrow of time on its path…the universe has been unwinding since the Big Bang, becoming ever more disordered.”

So basically, really intelligent physicists can’t explain time either. In the next episode, I look forward to not understanding, and also possibly debunking, quantum mechanics. 

Check out this uncomfortable yet endearing video which increased the strength of my crush on Max Tegmark. Hopefully a future episode of NOVA will explain the power physics geeks have over me.

Oct
21
2011
Photo/Video Friday: Water

I’m still mourning my beach vacation.

For some reason mini golf seems very decadent to me, maybe because it’s such a useless activity. You know we had excess leisure time available because we played mini golf not once, but twice. The second time was on this cool (although completely mosquito infested) real grass course. I beat Dave both times. I felt proud of this achievement and started to think I should take up golf in my retirement. But when I mentioned my victories in an email to my father-in-law, he didn’t allow me to savor my triumph very long (“anyone can beat Dave at golf!!!”).

I managed to run a couple of times. I ran right on the beach, which I’ve never done before. It felt noticeably more difficult, but the view made up for it. I was very amused by what my Garmin running watch portrayed as my running route when I uploaded my information. Having added running on water to my resume, maybe my dream job can be founder of an independent religious movement.

I got a glorious amount of sleep during the vacation. Sadly, the solid eight or more hours a night didn’t seem to make much of a dent in my sleep deprivation.

Our house was on the ocean side of the Outer Banks, so each night I thought about getting up to take sunrise pictures. Each morning I rolled over to find the sun shining right in my eyes. Oops. So the sunrise photo shoot was the morning we left. The results were just OK. I’d hoped the sunrise would be as pretty as sunsets are. I mean, aren’t they the same thing in reverse?

I wasn’t super impressed. I don’t think the lack of clouds in the sky helped, as it was just a sea of orange with nothing breaking it up. But since I hauled my ass out of bed before the crack of dawn and burned my retinas (and probably my camera lens too) for this, I’m sharing one of the pictures. I like it because it looks kind of creepy.

What I enjoyed most about our week away was walking on the beach together. Chuck had never been to the ocean before, and I don’t know how many more chances we’ll get to take him. It kept reminding me of that Little House on the Prairie episode (“The Odyssey“) where Laura and Albert take off on a cross-country journey to California with some dying kid who you’ve never seen before this episode even though there are only 15 people in Walnut Grove (red shirt!) so he can see the ocean before he dies. Don’t think I didn’t cry when I watched the video of the last scene linked above.

Lastly, Chuck is not a water dog and it is very cute.