Beyond Me

I now have confirmation that at at least three people read this blog. That’s like, the big time! Look for a book deal soon. I write these with the same expectation that I have for all of my art, which is that it’s for me first and foremost. I’m gratified that other people seem to enjoy my work, but also a little puzzled. This next may sound like false humility, but when I sit down to really think about it, I have trouble understanding why anyone…like…pays attention? To me? I try to imagine the sort of person who says things or makes things with the expectation that people will pay attention and take them to heart, and I really can’t do it. I believe those people exist, but I don’t understand them.

I’m saying that I’m glad you’re here. Let’s leave it there.

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after NASA’s Peseverance rover landed on Mars, there was a livestream. Different engineers spoke about the rover, about how the landing went, about what’s coming next. I follow space news with mild curiosity but usually nothing approaching real interest, but I happened to tune into the livestream while I worked. What grabbed my attention was when one person explained that for the first time they’d been able to attach microphones to the rover. Then, they played a recording:

I was in awe. I know that it’s “just” wind noise. Sounds just the same as standing out on your driveway, recording with your phone. But for just a moment, the scale of human achievement was impressed upon me — this is the sound of the wind on another planet. The technological progress to make this happen is staggering! To get the rover there, safely, and be able to send back something like this still amazes me. Especially considering that folks only got really serious about space travel like…seventy years ago.

So anyway I’m following the rover on twitter now.

This kind of ties into something else I’ve been thinking about since reading it on tumblr, of all places. I don’t know where the original post is so I’ll paraphrase. Let’s say it’s a few hundred years ago and you’re a village blacksmith. You can be pretty sure that your children, if you have any, will take on work similar to your own, and so will their children, and so forth. You can picture the world as it will be in several generations’ time, and be pretty on the mark.

But now, technological progress has become so rapid that this isn’t really possible anymore. My Dad’s college experience in the 70s, to pick an example, is vastly different from mine in the early 2000s, and mine will be completely different again from my daughter’s (should she decide to pursue post-secondary education). The tumblr user wasn’t saying this is a positive or negative, exactly, it’s just something that is.

A commenter then chimed in with something reassuring; if you’re feeling overwhelmed by change, look for the things that stay the same across time. Behaviours, tools, so on. They example they used was if somebody with an iPad Pro and one of those Apple Pencils was writing next to somebody from ancient times carving letters out of a stone tablet. It’d be something the person from ancient times could look across at and say oh, hey, same. I see what you’re doing there.

I think that’s pretty comforting, somehow!

Thing I Saw: I’m nearly done the Tales From The Loop series on Amazon Prime, and something I’ve never experienced before is being intimately familiar with the backdrop of a fictional show. It’s supposed to be set in Ohio, but it was filmed in Manitoba, with neighbouring-town-and-sometimes-my-home Morden playing the town’s Main Street. It’s very difficult to make the substitution; every time I see it on screen I’m like “oh! there’s the jeweller where I got our wedding rings”. New Yorkers and Vancouverites probably deal with this all the time. Side note: I was aware of the filming and there was a casting call for extras, but I didn’t fit the physical profile they wanted. So I never even checked out the sets 🙁

Thing I Learned: Fossils are protected under Manitoba provincial law as a “heritage object”, and if you find one, you have to give it to the proper authorities for study and preservation. I learned this because my daughter really wanted to look for fossils in our yard. She wants to do that because of a general interest in dinosaurs, and a book that said that in some places you get to keep what you find. Not here, kiddo!

I’m Grateful For: Slowly diminishing COVID case numbers in our area! We’ve been under fairly heavy restrictions since last fall, and they’re gradually easing up again. I may get to see my board games group again one day, Lord willin’ and the cases don’t rise!

I’m Dreaming Of: Starting regular Twitch streams in which my whole thing is that I work through the Jupiter-developed Picross games and explain my method as I go.

One of my favourite tracks from the soundtrack, which is also excellent reading music