Friday, April 27, 2012

The Muse of a Busy Person

I've been too busy and brain-fried to do any writing.  I've been heading into work early and leaving late. Then dinner and vegging out – on the internet, chatting, watching the Mets, etc.  But too tired to write.

The Muse is apparently not amused.

For the past few nights I've been having vivid, vivid dreams, complete with turning points and twists. Last night, or should I say this morning's, dream involved the actress who plays Emma in Once Upon a Time.  It involved changing a turning point in time and what it does to the characters in this little drama. And a ferret named Moxie.

Emma and her friend, an older man who's a teacher, are no longer friends, she's got a new romance and Moxie doesn't know her anymore.  When Moxie bites her and runs, that's when I woke up.

I cannot wait until next week, when I can write again. (That's when work settles down. A little.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Myth of "Free" Time

Work is very busy and we're short-staffed. I've been working like a demon and it seems to be holding together.

But I'm tired.

I also know, from past experience, that I get sick when I'm exhausted.  And I can't get sick right now. Not at all.

I have one full day off this week – today. I've already done laundries during the week, I started my weekly cooking binge last night and I've chosen very quick and/or easy foods to cook and I'll take a shower this evening instead of in the morning.

This is all so that I can schedule some free time. Only it's not free. It takes work to free it up, for instance.

I've used some of my free time to watch TV this morning. I try not to judge – down time is important, too.

But a good chunk this afternoon was spent playing. I observed a bookbinding class and now I've got the bug.  I worked on that for part of the afternoon.  Blogging is play and so is writing – I've done that, too.

Play is important for me and for all of us. I need to create, to make things.  I'm not sure that scheduling downtime and playtime will keep me from getting sick, but I hope so. It *will* make me happier.

What do you do when you "play"?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Forty Years

I've been reading a book on energy called, Reinventing Fire.  It's an interesting book, and one of the most interesting parts is where the author supposes how we'll get energy in forty years.

Now, it's almost impossible to figure out what the future will look like 40 years into the future. But it got me thinking about how far we've come in the last 40 years. And then 40 years before that:

Forty Years Ago

In 1972, traffic deaths peaked at 59,589.  Seatbelts had been mandated in new cars since 1968, but their use wasn't required by law until 1984.

In 2010 (latest available), traffic deaths were the lowest ever recorded, at 32,708. While some safety measures, such as air bags were also implemented, that's still a difference of 26,881 lives saved. Do you wear your safety belt?

Just before the Oil Crisis of the seventies, a gallon of leaded gas was 36 cents, in 1972. In 1975 – 57 cents.  Although we laugh at it now, that's a 58% increase.  Yesterday, I bought gas for $3.59.

In 1972, a Chevy Nova got between 8mpg and 15mpg. My Mazda3 (roughly the same size) gets between 28mpg and 32mpg. So efficiency has risen between 300% and 400%. And that's not with a Prius.

Eighty Years Ago

In 1932, the US was in the depths of the Great Depression and unemployment was 24.1%. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president by a landslide. And problems with agriculture lead to mass starvation in Russia.

The average cost of a new car was $610 and a gallon of gas was 10 cents.  But the average annual income was $6,510. The most popular car was the Ford Model B.

For some context: Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion in 1932 and Radio City Music Hall opened. Oh, and the parking meter was invented. Now we can pay for parking with our Smart Phones in NYC, at least.

TV had been invented in 1926, but shows weren't broadcast until 1935 – in Germany. TV wasn't broadcast in the US until 1941. And the first programmable computer wasn't invented until 1938- again, in Germany.

Forty Years into the Future

No one really knows what we'll have in the future – sometimes just thinking up what we want spurs it to happen. Star Trek had cell phones in the 23rd Century. Star Trek aired in 1968 and I bought my first "communicator" in 1995.

Maybe we'll be wearing batteries or have the internet in our eyeglasses. Maybe we'll grow our own food again, maybe not. Maybe we'll double our lifespans, or maybe we'll cause massive floods. Or we'll colonize Mars.

This, for me, is what's so intriguing about Science Fiction – what can be.