Thursday, March 02, 2006

#591 Question 17 thru 17c

The weather is iffy again - one forecaster says 1 to 3 inches of snow, another says 4 to 8 inches. Gak!

There's a lot I want to say, but it's not the right time (not that it's ever the right time, but I'm getting superstitious). It's this silly roller coaster. The view from the top is wonderful, but the low stretches go through swamps. I was pretty much in the swamps yesterday, then I got a phone call late last night that zipped me right to the top again.

I probably won't be posting again until perhaps Sunday night. I'll be attending a Mensa Regional Gathering this weekend.


Continuing with questions from The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D., Workman Publishing Company, Inc., $6.95. (If you like the idea, you should buy the book. Get yourself all the questions at once.)

17. Would you be willing to become extremely ugly physically if it meant you would live for 1,000 years at any physical age you chose?
No, but not to the physically ugly part, "no" to the "live 1,000 years" part. I don't want to live that long. I especially wouldn't want to live that long at the same age all the time. It would get terribly boring. The thing I've enjoyed most about the 61 years I've already lived has been the way I've so obviously grown and learned and changed, as a function of age and increased maturity. After the first 150 years, I think I might stop changing, or else I'd turn into a walking saint, or ignored sage, any of which would be pretty boring. I'd rather just die in the proper time, and get on to the next step. (Whisper - Although, to be honest, I wouldn't mind a guarantee of another 40 years at this age....)

17a. How much are you affected by a person's physical appearance?
Well, there's two groups here. There's the "beautiful people" versus the not-so-pretty people, and there's the people who make an attempt to look their best versus the people who are, let's face it, slobs.

Beautiful versus not-so-pretty doesn't affect me much, although sometimes when someone is TOO pretty, male or female, I'll expect shallowness at first, and need a little more proof of their niceness before I'll let them in. As proof that I easily go the other way, beyond beauty, I offer that I've had many mild or major crushes on men who were physically mud-puddle ugly by any standard. I think many nerdy guys are cute.

I have more trouble with the people who try (they might fail, but at least they tried) versus the slobs. People who don't take care of their appearance, who don't make the slightest effort to look at least decent, will get an instant cringe from me. I'll have a lot of trouble getting past their appearance. There's a woman I know now, that I know to be nice (if a bit ditzy and an attention hog) and I know if I gave her a chance I might be able to overlook her faults and enjoy her craziness, but she's a SLOB! Bad posture, grossly overweight, mismatched clashing clothing, bad messy hairdo, no makeup. She always looks like she should crawl back under the rock, and she defiantly doesn't care. I hate to admit it, but I just can't get past the cringes. Even considering that, by comparison, I'd look absolutely terrific standing next to her, I don't want to stand next to her. I'd keep trying to tuck her blouse in.

17b. How would it change your life if something happened to make you much less attractive than you are now?
On the one hand, it would make it harder to attract friendly interest. On the other hand, any interest I attracted would be truer. Other than that, I don't think I would be otherwise affected. I have a fairly good self-image, only partly based on appearance.

17c. Do you find anything disturbing about immortality? What age seems ideal to you?
See 17. Believing in reincarnation makes it a lot easier to reject boring immortality. Thirty-seven was a nice age, but I kinda like where I am now, too. I'm a lot smarter, and the body hasn't started falling apart yet.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

#590 Singularity, Love, Weight, and the Rest of the Package

Yesterday, neighbor Anna asked for a ride to physical therapy. She said 8 am. I said that she should call me to make sure I was awake, and she said ok, she'd call me at 7:30. I said to make it 7. I set the alarm for 6:30 this morning, and it's a good thing I actually woke up and got moving then, because when Anna called at 7, she said the appointment was for 8, and I should pick her up at 7:30. Sheesh. If she knew that, why did she offer the wakeup call at 7:30? That wouldn't have been much help.

While she was doing her thing, I had breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. Scrambled eggs, bacon, tea, and an orange, for about $3. Not bad. I'm going to take her in on Tuesday and Thursday of next week, too.


Today was weigh-in time at the spa. I have lost 4 lbs. since February 1st. I suspect I've actually lost more in fat, because I'm growing muscle, which is denser. We also measured at the bust, waist, tummy, hips, thigh, calf, and upper arm. Since last month I've lost an inch here, 3/4 inch there and there, a bit everywhere. So, I'm progressing.


I wander around the internet sometimes, mostly following side trails off something I was researching, and sometimes I find interesting stuff. I hit the mother lode today - a site which consists entirely of pointers to neat stuff other people accidentally stumbled upon -


Wandering around, I also discovered that Yahoo has an "Answers" section. You ask a question, and self-defined "experts" can offer answers, and then others can vote on what they think was the best answer. It strikes me as next to useless. It's like the "gullible" website. "You like this answer? Here, I'll give you another...."

The love and relationships answer section seems to be overrun by children. Children who can't spell, can't string words together coherently, and can't think. It's scary reading.

One question and answer intrigued me. The question was: "How can u tel wen sum one luvs u" (or something like that).

I was thinking my answer (in general, not just in romantic love) would be, "When someone is as concerned about your health, happiness, and welfare as they are about their own, or even more, when they are willing to give up things important to themselves for you, then they love you." That led me to thinking about love in my life, and by this definition, I have to conclude (and believe it or not, I'd never thought about it before quite so specifically) that my father definitely didn't love us at all, not the least bit, and my mother's love was minimal. I thought about that for a while.

Then I read this answer (copied verbatim):
(1) when he/she cares about you a lot
(2) cant take a long without seeing you
(3) telling you his/her secrets
(4) treats you special than other people
(5) follow your heart and mental mind to feel that and watch his/her talking, acts, and atitude towards you .

This kid has some trouble stringing words, but at least he/she can think (so there's hope). #2 is more infatuation than love, but I was thinking that the rest is pretty good. Then I applied it to my situation again. Hmmm. Problem in Paradise. He (my obsession of late) says he cares "a lot", but I'm not seeing it. It seems like he can go indefinitely without seeing me or calling. He doesn't tell me anything important to me, and he's got a lot of secrets. He doesn't treat me as more special than anyone else, in fact someone else seems to be the special one. If you throw all that away, then whatever is left for #5 is the only place he excels, usually but not always. He doesn't fit my own definition, either, in that he knows I'm hurting, but he's in no hurry to lessen the pain. I guess I don't believe he loves me at all. I just keep hoping he will. Someday. Sigh. I wonder how long I can keep that up.


From The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, at :
"What is the Singularity? Sometime in the next few years or decades, humanity will become capable of surpassing the upper limit on intelligence that has held since the rise of the human species. We will become capable of technologically creating smarter-than-human intelligence, perhaps through enhancement of the human brain, direct links between computers and the brain, or Artificial Intelligence. This event is called the "Singularity" by analogy with the singularity at the center of a black hole ...." It goes on to say that, essentially, once we achieve a certain level of technology such that we can enhance intelligence, then the advanced intelligence can advance technology further, and the two will feed each other, increasing each other exponentially. They're all excited about it.

Am I the only person whom this scares? The concept of super-intelligence without a corresponding increase in soul, compassion, love, and plain old common sense is scary. I mean 1950's A-bomb scary. Run to the bathroom scary. People are people. Imagine the nastiest person you know, or the most soulless corporation, or the military, or the I-know-what's-good-for-you-and-you-don't people, whatever, with this capability.

This is long (118 pages), and not for the faint of heart, but I found it and feel a responsibility to share it. It's another view. Don't say I never gave you anything.

America For Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption
A Congressional Report on How America Is Being Sold to the Highest Bidder
Prepared by the House Rules Committee Democratic Staff
The Honorable Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

#589 Amazing Day, Not!

The TV is back on. The Amazing Race starts another course tonight, and I can't resist.

I spent most of the day trying to catch up on correspondence. I wrote a few emails and filled out some forms for mailing, and that was pretty much the whole day. May called, and I was on the phone with her for about an hour. TAR starts at 9 (in 5 minutes - Blogger logs the time you START an entry, not the time you finish) for 2 hours, and then I have to wash and dry my hair and get to bed early so I can take the neighbor lady to PT tomorrow. She said 8 am. Ouch! I asked her to call me at 7 to ensure I'm awake.

I haven't eaten anything yet today, and there's a pot of Earl Grey waiting for me, so gonna run now.

Monday, February 27, 2006

#588 Senior Moment

I had one of those "Senior Moments" today. Actually, a few.

I go to the bank often, almost daily now because the exercise machines are upstairs in the bank building. If I go past the bank, I'm likely headed for the recycle center. And sometimes I actually go to the town hall, which is further south. If I pass the town hall, I'm headed for Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, or Wappingers, which I do several times a week.

So today, I headed for the town hall to pay the county taxes. South of the center of the village, I happened to glance left, and realized I had just passed the inn, so I thought "Oh, Foo!" and I turned around in the insurance office parking lot and went back to the bank. Sitting in the bank parking lot, I realized that's not where I was headed. Left turn (not easy anymore in the village) back out, keep heading south, and without thinking, I turned in to the recycle center. Sitting at the closed center gates, I thought "Oh, Fooey!", that's not where I was headed either, and went back out. Left turn, kept heading south. I passed the town hall and was on my way to Rhinebeck and points south when I realized that's not where I was headed. "Razzelfrats!" Turned around in Hardscrabble Square, saw the Subway shop, bought a sub, headed back north, and was halfway home with my sandwich when I realized I hadn't stopped at the town hall. Tomorrow is the last day to pay the taxes without penalty, and who knows what tomorrow will bring, so I turned around and went back. This time I made it, and actually found my way home again.

I think.

This place looks sort of familiar, and the cat seems to recognize me.

Why the confusion? I was preoccupied, running on autopilot, following habit, and listening to a Dolly Parton CD wasn't helping.

The nice neighbor lady from down the street stopped by today to ask if she could borrow some firewood. Her furnace isn't working, it has to be replaced, not fixed, which means it'll be a while, and although she has lots of downed trees in her woods, she can't get them cut until the weekend. I keep a small amount of maple and locust racked on the side of the house for emergencies, so we put about 10 logs in her daughter's car trunk. I was very surprised that that was all she wanted, it looked to me like about one day's worth of wood, and it's been in the low teens at night lately. But that's all she wanted.

Um. Just realized. It's one day's worth for an open fireplace, but if she has a woodstove, 10 thick logs might last three or four days. I didn't ask what she was burning it in.

She says she'll replace the wood after she gets her downed trees cut, probably this weekend. I was about to say she didn't need to replace it, but ... actually it isn't that easy to replace a small amount of short-cut hardwood, and if we ever have another multi-day electrical outage, I'll need it. So since it's "free" to her, I'll take it. I gave away the wood from my last few downed trees, and I'd prefer not to have to hope for more falling trees, or to have to buy a whole portion of a cord of unknown species and unknown curing from some guy who thinks it's mahogany or something.

It's unfortunate that the furnace died. This is the family that just put the house up for sale, so they can move to wherever the daughter will be going to college.

I had a bunch of things on the "To Do" list for today. I have decided to stop waiting for the Hairless Hunk's trailer, and I'm going to get one of those (smaller) construction dumpsters, so I can get rid of basement junk. And I wanted to see if I can get some info on the Coach House Players - I was a member back in the late '60s. I can't act (well, actually, I can - what I can't do is remember the lines) but I can build sets and paint stuff, and whatever else is needed. But mostly, it might be fun, and I might meet people my age. And I need to get the tax stuff together and catch up on correspondence. (No wonder I got so many "aloof"s on my Nohari!)

I didn't get any of that done because I spent much of the day doing research on charities for the friend who is setting up charitable trusts. The woman was a high level executive in one of the largest computer companies, and yet she's completely lost on the internet. She also has an almost paralyzing fear of viruses. She won't even open mail from known friends unless they put something specific and personal in the subject line.

I found lots of good stuff from various sites that provide official financial reports and filings, and ratings based on efficient use of donations. You can even find the CEO's salary and benefits, and the size of the slush funds! And information on how charities can use creative bookkeeping to make the numbers look better. And clues to indicate that they might be doing that.

There's a website ( where you can find out the odds of your dying in various ways. But it would be so easy to draw invalid conclusions from the data.

For example, the site says that the lifetime odds of a person's accidental death while riding a motorcycle are 1 in 1,159, whereas the odds of dying in an automobile accident are 1 in 228. (I chose the motorcycle and automobile because they're so much more obvious than other possible comparisons.) It would be easy to conclude that you are many (like 5?) times more likely to die in an automobile accident than in a motorcycle accident. This is probably true for the population as a group. However, you cannot conclude that motorcycles are safer than automobiles, because we don't know how what proportion of the populace regularly rides motorcycles. If 10% of the population rides motorcycles, then their risk as a group is more like 1 in 116.

We are told that riding in a car is much more dangerous than riding in an airplane. Now I can't help wondering if the people who say that are using numbers that apply to the entire population. Not everybody flies. There are a lot of people who have never flown. So the risk goes up for those who do fly. If your group is only those who do fly (and I have no idea what proportion of the population that is) how does that compare?

Just wondering, but not curious enough to look it up.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

#587 Shocking Cold

Another photo from The Leading Candidate. My hair is now a little longer, and my cheeks and chin are a little thinner. I don't usually photograph well at all, partly because my skin reflects light, so this is pretty good. (No, I'm not wall-eyed. That's reflections on my glasses.)

It's at most 15 degrees outside, more likely less. Every time I get out of the van, I get a shock, either when locking the door or pushing it closed. Big shocks. I have to work up the courage to close the door. Using gloves or my sleeve only delays the shock until the next time I touch metal. I'm glad I don't need to pump gas any time soon.

This evening, green sparks leapt from the key to the doorknob when I was opening the house door.

My hair is standing straight out from my head.

It's supposed to snow tomorrow and Tuesday - maybe that will calm the air.

Nothing else to write about.

Blah day.