June 25, 2012

I have something new to be thankful for… the outpouring of sympathy and understanding I’ve received since my beloved Jasmine passed on. My readers from outside the USA may have a bit of a tough time understanding, but here in the USA dogs are often considered part of the family. I’ve been touched by the kindness I’ve been shown, starting with the staff at the veterinary clinic. I’ve been comforted by hugs and shared tears with my friends and family. And I’ve also been fortunate not to have to deal with any insensitivity, which is a bit surprising because I don’t expect everyone to understand my specific loss. Maybe it’s just that we’ve all experienced grief, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the heartbreaking end of a relationship or even being let go from a job.

The day-to-day changes have been the most difficult since all of my routines were built around Jasmine. Going outside in the morning and before bed or strolling to the dam after work were pleasant and significant markers in my daily life that are now possible to do alone but don’t feel right. Still, every day feels a bit less strange than the last, proving that time really does heal all wounds (though slowly). And I’ve been able to keep active, once again thanks to my friends and family. But I still am lacking my usual enthusiasm for my multitude of projects in those hours in which I am alone. Last week I somehow managed to complete a 1.1 update to one of my apps and today I trudged through and got some artwork done for another, but it’s a struggle and my work rate is relatively low.

So I decided to write this, which I knew would bring another wave of sadness over me (grief seems to come in waves with a decreasing frequency). And truth be told I’ve needed tissues as I’ve been writing. But I’m okay with accepting and fully experiencing this feeling of sadness as part of the therapeutic process. Each wave naturally subsides and I always feel a bit better afterwards. I know I felt better after writing my Facebook tribute to Jaz (which required far more tissues due to the freshness of the wound) and maybe this will be one big step toward rekindling my natural enthusiasm for life. Once that’s back I’ll resume my excited ramblings about the many figurative flowers I stop to smell.


Operation Distraction

June 19, 2012

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on exciting topics including the Blackstone River, the North Atlantic Current, the War of 1812, and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I’ll write full posts once I feel up to it.


June 11, 2012

Okay, that headline is making fun of my lack of posting lately – the end of the school year is a busy time and combined with my app work this site has been neglected. But I’m back and this is my 100th post! The subject is time, brought about by watching the movie “In Time” starring Justin Timberlake (he’s not a bad actor, really) and Amanda Seyfried (who is most notable here for continuing the much-appreciated-by-me trend of short hair on beautiful women in Hollywood these days). The concept of the movie is interesting – in the future people are genetically engineered to stop aging at 25. After a person reaches that age, however, the must continue earning time in order to go on living. If done well, a person can live indefinitely barring being hit by a bus or killed in some other fashion. Most people in the movie, however, live day to day.

The film wastes that concept a bit by using the old “greedy rich vs. noble poor” theme that seems to resonate with people that can’t get over the “unfairness” of life. The two protagonists even go the Robin Hood route and steal and distribute time to the oppressed population. This distracts from what should be the focus of the movie – that every day is precious and should not be wasted. The big flaw those preoccupied with income disparities tend to overlook is that above a certain financial threshold (and it’s not that high) happiness is not a function of income.

The movie could have also expanded on the idea of alternate currencies. The time as currency model is quite interesting compared to our fiat money, and the movie doesn’t clearly explain the reasoning behind the extreme rationing of time (population control is the most likely and is briefly mentioned). It got me thinking about some of the informal currencies at play in our world. In romantic relationships levels of beauty, physical fitness, youth, status, intelligence, and humor are all currencies which are evaluated by the “buyer” to determine someone’s value as a partner. The weight of each factor (and the addition of others) varies from person to person. Some may find an equal distribution amongst all these as desirable while some (ahem, some men) may value just one attribute (hotness, for instance, a combination of beauty and fitness). Since in love as in business most transactions are voluntary the perceived value of your romantic partner can be assumed to be of equal value to your own. Therefore the higher your partner’s value is the higher yours can be assumed to be, which is why many people derive their self-worth from their romantic relationships.

Here’s another old and beautiful Pawtucket church (see this post for more churches). This one is actually older than the others. It was built in 1868 and designed by Boston architect John Stevens. It’s beauty to my eyes lies mainly in how it is situated overlooking the river  on a nicely landscaped property. The tower is very prominent but looks out of proportion with the rest of the structure to me from some angles. I’m not going to go into much detail because unlike most of the other structures I’ve profiled this one has a well-documented history that can be found here.