Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfection or Not

I often find myself walking in the park and listening to music on my phone (one of the joys of a smart phone is that it doubles as a music machine and computer and ...). Sometimes the mood of the day and the endorphin high of the walk and the sound of the music meshes perfectly. It is on those days that I have a hard time resisting the temptation to dragoon each and every person that I encounter and insisting that they grab an earphone and share the perfection of the experience.

Other times I am mired in the day and cannot find music that matches the weather and the walk. It is the type of day feels like a slog. On those days I pass people who look like they are clearly having a day where everything is perfect. On those days I am sorely tempted to stop them and ask what they are listening to so that I can gain that  nirvana too.

So my questions for you are:

  • Do you ever feel that urge to share the perfection of the soundtrack of your life? 
  • Do you ever want to ask someone else what soundtrack is making their day so much better than yours? 

Inquiring minds want to know?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bureau of Odd Facts

No, not a barrel of old farts, but time once more for a journey through the odd facts that strike me over the head and leave me going huh?

First up is the factoid that the suicide rate in the United States rises ~17% for every 500 meters above sea level. So those of us who live close to a mile above sea level have a suicide rate 55% higher than those living at sea level. Having lived at both altitudes, I have no clue as to why there is such a difference. Really piques my curiosity. Anyone have any idea why? Gives a whole new meaning to hang'em high.

Next up is the odd conjunction of two factoids to make one oddity.
Factoid 1 - 10% of all convicted murderers in the United States are women.
Factoid 2 - 1% of all executions for murder in the United States since 1977 have been women.
Leading to the oddity that women murderers are disproportionately less likely to be executed. Why? Inquiring minds want to know. Is it a sympathy or sex thing?

What lesson are we to learn from these facts? The only morals I can come up with are 1) live near sea level and 2) make sure your sex change operation is complete if you are of the male persuasion and are contemplating murder.

What odd facts have made you go ?huh? of recent times?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Last We ...

When last we spoke, I was preparing to be a pallbearer in the cold. It was indeed cold and the wind was whistling. You could tell the foreigners because they tried withstanding the grave side service in nothing heavier than a suit coat. They were shaking pretty hard by the end since the wind chill was -25 degrees or lower.

Of course then started a warming trend that saw temperatures reaching the upper 50s Sunday and Monday. A lot of the snow melted and the ice could be chipped off. Today started nice but then the temperature dropped 30 degrees and it started snowing. So it is once more snow covered and the temperatures are headed into single digits again. Nothing like the variability of the weather out here on the high plains of Colorado.

Leaving the weather aside, I have been enjoying the outdoors while the weather was nice rather than writing here. (Sounds like a good excuse doesn't it?)

The other day I was reflecting on how varied my musical tastes are. Everything from Katy Perry to Iron Butterfly to... In fact the only music I really can't stand is some Rap music and a lot of the old cater-wauling country and western. So what forms of music can you not tolerate?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Thoughts

It's 3pm and the thermometer has finally hit a blazing 10 degrees, but the wind chill has never gotten above -5. This morning at 9am it was still -10 degrees with a wind chill around -25. What you might call a slight cold spell typical of January. Looks a bit like this:

The bad part about the cold is the timing.  I am a pallbearer at a funeral tomorrow and the indoor part of the service will be no problem, but the cemetery is out on the plains with no shelter from the wind and the cold. He was a military veteran, so the graveside part of the service may run on for a bit by the time the secular and military services conclude. I'm just hoping it is above 5 degrees by that time and that the services proceed apace.

On a completely unrelated note, there are bald eagles gathering in the area for the winter this year. A rarity somewhat symptomatic of climate change and of improved fishing at the reservoir.. They are out by the reservoir as is their wont, munching fish, sitting in cottonwood trees, etc. At least 20 adult and younger eagles are hanging about. Earlier (before the snow and cold) they looked like this:
(Photo by Jessica Elbert and TheDenverChannel.com)

Now it is a bit colder and snowier and they look a bit cooler:
A sight I never thought I'd see in this area. It's good that the eagles are recovering.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's ...

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to shovel snow we go.  It snowed again yesterday and so this morning it is time to clear it off before getting down to real work.
(Courtesy of VSTA Newsletter)
Makes me a bit jealous of L. She headed down to Arizona yesterday for some corporate training this week. Her biggest concern was how not to carry her heavy coat with her on the plane.  After all it is a toasty 3 degrees out right now with corresponding highs for the day compared to the balmy weather in Arizona (in a city where the BCS National Championship game is being played tonight.)

Odd question of the day: Do you have certain actors/actresses you like to watch and yet you cannot put your finger on why you like to watch their work? I do and it often bothers me as to why I like to watch their work.

In one example that springs to mind, the actress in question is not exceptionally good looking, sexy, or even capable. Her acting seems monolithic and wooden when I reflect upon the performance in retrospect. And yet I will scour NetFlix to find shows and movies she is in just to watch. Why? Who knows?

So do you have similar inexplicable quirks in your viewing preferences?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Week From Hell

Last week was one of those weeks I'm really happy only rarely occur. A week ago Thursday we got our first real snow of the season - with blizzard and white out conditions. Of course, that also happened to be the day I started to come down with the creeping crud that is circulating here abouts. It turned out to be a dud of a blizzard, mainly wind and cold with only a half foot of snow.

Friday more than made up for the dud blizzard of Thursday with more snow and wind and real blizzard conditions. The temperature stayed in the single digits, the wind blew at 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph and the snow dropped out of the sky with a vengeance. When it finally stopped snowing around 3pm on New Years Eve, the wind continued to howl at 40 mph and wind chills were in the -25 to -35 range. The snow was drifting into drifts as deep as 7 feet in places.
(Photo swiped from Google - not one of mine.)

Remember that crud I mentioned? It came on strong and my nose would not quit running. I was supposed to go to a New Years Eve dinner, but I had to call and beg off. I was in bed and trying to sleep by 6pm that night. New Years day I got my snow shoveled and the MIL's snow shoveled (it was challenging to travel the 5 blocks or so to her house just to shovel) and then crawled back into bed. By now my throat was raw and I was hacking along my merry way.

On Sunday, my throat was so raw I couldn't swallow, my ears ached, my nose and lips were cracked and bleeding - I felt and looked just wonderful. Couple that with the fact that the infection was throwing my diabetes control off and causing my blood sugar to spike and drop in spite of the insulin, etc. and it was beginning to look like it might be time to visit the emergency room. Fortunately, I finally started to stabilize by evening.

On Monday I still felt like crap, but no worse. Of course it was then that my voice completely disappeared. I slowly got better over then next few days and actually began to feel human by Thursday - just couldn't talk and had no energy. Today I am pretty close to recovered modulo tiredness and an episodic hacking cough. I could do without another week like the last one. Ever!

Here's hoping your week was much better.
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