…and after they had walked a little way Christopher Robin said:

“What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?”

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best–” and then he had to stop and think. [For the purposes of this post, you can skip straight to the next paragraph, but you’d probably rather read what Pooh thinks…] Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. And then he thought that being with Christopher Robin was a very good thing to do, and having Piglet near was a very friendly thing to have; and so, when he had thought it all out, he said, “What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,’ and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

“I like that too,” said Christopher Robin, “but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say ‘Oh, nothing,’ and then you go and do it.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

I don’t actually agree with Christopher Robin, I don’t think that Nothing is what I like doing best.  But, it’s a very important thing to do sometimes, I think.

I always struggle to put my finger on this, and I’m not sure this is the right approach, but maybe.  I get a longing at times when I feel busy.  But I’m not that busy.  My work schedule is calm, especially recently.  I do plenty of fun things, I’m sure I have way more fun than the average person.  Pri and I took a week+ camping vacation early this month that did have the wonderful “mind flush” sensation that vacations can bring.  I even watch TV shows sometimes (via DVD, we don’t have TV in the house).  So, it always feels wrong to say that I’m “busy”.  But that’s what I’m always tempted to say.

What’s closer to the truth, but always sounds awkward when I try to say it, is that I’m not getting enough time where I just do whatever comes to mind.  I get enough sleep.  I get a fair amount of reading done.  I dance, I tell stories with friends, I catch up with faraway loved ones with fair regularity.

But so often I have things planned.  It’s part of the Myers Briggs J personality type that I share with everyone I’m related to, I believe… while I’m working, I think “Oh, this evening I could/should do such-and-such”.  This is assuming I don’t already have something scheduled, which I often do.  As thoughts like that pile up, I start to look longingly at the weekends “I won’t be able to do such-and-such in an evening, at least not this week, so maybe this weekend.”  Of course, I often have things scheduled in the weekends too.

Anyway, this evening Pri asked if I wanted to go to a concert, the famous Menahem Pressler (who is also one of our neighbors now) leading a group in chamber music.  I’m sure I would have enjoyed it.  But I stayed home, not even knowing what I’d do.

I ended up in from of the computer, doing.. nothing.  Which took the form of some old-fashioned web surfing: “I wonder what’s online about such-and-such?  I wonder if Reason magazine did a book review of The Omnivoire’s Dilemma (which i just finished reading)?  oh, they did! back in November of 2006, and several other mentions of it since then.  oh look, this one links to a Mayo Clinic report on whether organic foods are better for you or not.”  etc.  That plus catching up on my friends’ blogs and such… but really, whatever came to mind.

I really think that’s the key… my mind is happy to be a worker, doing the thinking necessary to earn money, keep the house in decent shape, find fun things for me to do and take care of the logistics of doing them.  But without a bit of time to let my mind just run free, I start to feel a bit cramped.  I think I spent only an hour or so in this bit of nothingness I’m describing, but and the end of it I literally let out a loud sigh of comfort that I think I rarely find these days.

Then I went and emptied the dishwasher and otherwise tidied up the house for a bit.  I feel that if I’d done this earlier, my thoughts would have focused on things to do, etc.  Instead my mind continued wandering, thinking of things to do, but in a more abstract way, not trying to organize my time.  A different state of mind.  It felt good.

Eventually I started composing this very post in my mind while still cleaning.  It strikes me as one of the least “deep” and least focused things I’ve ever written here.  But, here’s a thought: “Blog” comes from “web-log” right?  Like you’re keeping a log like the Captain’s Log on Star Trek, describing everything that’s going on, but you’re saving it to the web.  That’s an interesting idea, and I think a lot of people treat it much more that way than I do.  For me, I like it best when it works as an outlet for thoughts that are stuck in my brain.  And ironically, the more things I’m doing, the less I feel that way, and the less I feel like I have to share.  In other words, the more that’s going on in my life, the less I feel like I have to write about.  Put another way, with less focus on the irony: it’s not just that being busy makes me have insufficient time to write in the blog, it’s at least as much that I like to write about things more “heady” than most of the stuff that makes me feel “busy”.

I don’t know.  It’s just a blog post about doing nothing.  Rather than wrap it all up, I think I’ll go do something else, because that’s what my mind feels like doing.

So, a week ago, we welcomed my new “co-workers” to our home.  The drywall replacement that we’d been planning on since shortly after the water issue (you want to say “flood”, but that might not be technically accurate) of June 2008 has officially begun, and the contractors are quite happy to be working inside somewhere.  It seems to be going very well, faster than we expected so far.  Hopefully that will continue to be the case.

Anyway, in the meantime, we moved both of our offices into the guest room.  This has actually worked remarkably well… if I had my filing cabinets and some more civilized wiring (note the 50-foot ethernet cable unapologetically lying in the middle of the hallway) I could probably just keep it this way indefinitely.  But, of course, I don’t have to, in another week or two, I should be able to return to my office, which should be looking better than it has since I started working there.  We’ll see…

WFIU Produces a somewhat silly radio short called A Moment of Science. Silly though it may be, they’ve had quite a few shows that gave me a valuable bit of scientific knowledge. And a couple of times they’ve offered expert concurrence with theories that I’ve developed on my own. Last year they confirmed that fruit flies don’t really like fruit. And now, about walking…

For several years, I’ve asked people to “rank the following in order of comfort: standing still, walking, sitting”. You might take a moment and come up with your own answer if I haven’t already asked you…. Well, the striking result is: I can’t remember a single person who didn’t rank walking as more comfortable than standing still. I started asking the question because I realized that this was the case for me. Nearly everyone seems to agree, when they stop to think about it.

A Moment of Science says that this is because it lets points on your feet “take turns” bearing the pressure of your weight, (each resting when it’s not its turn) and because it circulates blood in your feet better.

So, now if anyone ever tells me they think standing still is more comfortable for them, I can tell them that they are wrong! :)

As I prepare to leave on vacation tomorrow (more on that soon) I realize that over 90% of the spam I get in my inbox comes from my old HoosierNet email address, which is still forwarding to my new email account. In an effort to have fewer than 10,000 emails in my inbox (not an exaggeration) when I return, I’m retiring that old address. I suspect that I’ll wish I’d done it sooner.

If you want my new email address, please submit a comment to this post. I’ll reply to you, and then you’ll have it. Thanks!

Well, it was about 5pm, I was wrapping up work for the day, and the 5pm local news on the radio said “it’s been a slow day at the polls”. Polls?!? It’s voting day? Yup, primary day in Indiana, in my area, the only races are for city government. “OH, but the polls are open until 6pm! I can still make it!” So, off I went.

Wow, this was a new low, I’d say. No worry about a last minute rush, I was the only one there. And this wasn’t that upsetting to me once I saw that the ballot for the Democratic primary in my district had 0 (zero) contested races on it. I gather that some other districts had contested races but… yeah, nothing. The only decision to be made was whether or not to vote for the person who was going to win no matter what.

The most interesting thing about the day, actually, was that we’ve switched voting machines. Still with the same company, but much to my surprise, we’ve moved AWAY from paper-trail voting! It used to be that when we pressed the final button you could hear the printer printing the actual paper recountable ballot. This was on a nice, easy to use, electronic voting machine. Why did we change? I don’t like it.

Whatever the case, I’m still glad I voted. I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed an opportunity to vote since I became eligible. I certainly haven’t missed an opportunity to vote since I was registered to vote here in Bloomington. So, I’m glad I didn’t break the streak. Although, if I had to miss one, this would have been a good one to miss. *yawn*

Cave CricketSo, are other people noticing a surprisingly large number of these crickets in and around their houses? I don’t remember ever seeing them in the past, at least not enough to notice them by species. But, over the summer I started seeing them (often dead in spider webs) and Priscilla found many many of them at her house (much to her dismay).

Well, they are still here, and I’m still surprised. Priscilla now says they are cave crickets and the pictures in Wikipedia definitely look right. So, now I know their complete taxonomy and stuff, but that doesn’t tell me anything about why they suddenly seem so much more prevalent than I’m used to.


Do you remember when I said “[Everyone is right about
Well, everyone is wrong about Net Neutrality. Or, put more fairly,
everyone is right about some of the things that they say, and wrong
about other things that they say. Very little of the hailstorm of
opinion circulating on the subject is free of spin, overstatement or
falsehood. Almost all of the opinion is representing either a vested
interest or an ideological interest. I work for a small ISP, which
perhaps puts me in an interesting position: I understand (imho) pretty
well what’s going on, but the degree to which my interest in the
matter is vested is pretty minor. Furthermore, the question of the
government’s role here is deep. So, I offer my reading of the
situation, in hopes that it will help some folks to develop an