A Fresh Start-Almost

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August 18, 2022- The process of procuring a motor vehicle is far easier now, than it was even ten years ago. The selection, documentation and approval of my purchase took slightly less than two hours. Digitization certainly has much to do with that, as does surety, as to what one wants in a car. I am now the tentative owner of a vehicle that is of later model than any I have owned, up to this point.

The day proceeded well, even though the classroom where I worked today was short-staffed. The three of us kept order and got some teaching done, with intermittent help from others, here and there. There were no major issues. It helped that those two students who began acting out were set straight, as to what would be tolerated and what would not.

After turning in a rental car, I retrieved the KIA Sportage from the dealership, finding it a pleasure to drive and feeling good about the updated technology, that is so commonplace for a lot of people. The Sportage offers just as much security as the Saturn did, so I am not concerned about safety on the road, as long as I follow the maintenance schedule.

All that remains now is to get the title to Saturn back to the insurance company, which for some reason sent it back to me, after it was mailed to them once. There seems to be a minor gap in understanding, at some point in the company’s organization.

I am almost enjoying a fresh start.

Getting Power to the Tower

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July 27, 2022- The technician’s assessment of the issue facing my modem/router combo was quite simple. The power cord sent in the original package was not suitable for the device. M/R had faked it, for several months, but was unable to make it, in the end. So, I bought a universal power supply, set it to 12 volts, and if the tower was not too worn out by the recent experience, it should be good for quite a while longer. For good measure, a wall plug adapter, specific to this device, should be here on Friday.

Some, but not all, people of my generation-including yours truly, at times, have to be taken through technological matters, by the numbers. Fortunately, I haven’t had to have the same lessons repeated, ad nauseam. Power to my own upstairs still comes fairly easily. Nutrition has been a big factor, as has keeping immunity up to a high level.

This brings me to the matter of the power allotted to the average citizen. I am reading the last chapters of the autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi. It covers his life up to the 1930s, and focuses on the lack of trust that colonialists had in the people of the Indian subcontinent, in managing their own affairs. Some of this, no doubt, came from greed and a cultivated lust for power and control. The rest came from the rulers being stuck in one model of civilization.

We see the same, across this country, and around the globe, in our own time. Those who mistrust people who see things differently from themselves have taken to turning off their ears, and their filters, reverting to the failed and miserable mindsets of bygone days- be they Fascist or Bolshevist.

In this complex world, answers to problems come from various points of view. No one viewpoint can address everything that the world presents to humanity. The tower of power should be open to all, which means only inclusive democracy will work to sustain civilization-in the long run. As long as we are in a human state, no autocrat, no matter how bright, can run a nation alone. We need only look to the failed rulers of the 1930s and ’40s, to see this.

I rest my case.

Under A Gentle Mist

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July 26, 2022- I woke this morning, to a router/modem combo that was struggling to even fully load, and a candle pot that had somehow crashed to the floor and shattered, overnight. After cleaning up the pieces of ceramic and vacuuming the shards, I looked carefully at the device, and found its power supply was running very hot. So, the whole thing was unplugged and will remain so, until a technician from Sparklight comes over, tomorrow at some point. Thus do I write from the pleasant surroundings of Wild Iris Coffee House and will communicate with others, this evening, from Raven Cafe.

There is a misty rain in Prescott, this morning, a gentle reminder that, no matter how difficult things may seem at times, there is always a Guiding Hand that will help keep things on an even keel. Last night, as I walked from Bill’s Pizza, following a pleasant dinner served by a precious soul, I was approached by a longtime friend, who is a Youth Pastor. He asked my opinion on the political events of the past two years, then stated his disaffection with a certain defeated candidate for the presidency. My contention that any one of us can be dumb at times, but few are stupid, was reinforced by our conversation. My conservative friend has a good heart and a discerning mind.

I got a reasonable estimate from the auto body shop that I use here, so Saturn should be repaired, relatively easily, sometime in August, courtesy of the culpable party’s insurance company. In the meantime, it’s roadworthy and will get its welcome back oil & lube on Thursday.

Late August and early September will find me in Colorado and northern New Mexico, with a Baha’i school in Colorado Springs as the centerpiece. The second half of October will bring a visit to northern Nevada and eastern Idaho. I had considered a train ride to Sacramento, and renting a car from there, but the time and money required to drive up there is actually less than a train/rental car combination. So, once again, it’ll be Saturn and me going forth together. Thanksgiving will, most likely, be a Texas affair, with Christmas right here at Home Base, but more on those, later.

This is a community of very finely-tuned synchronicity. I left the coffee house, momentarily, to change parking spots, as there is a two-hour limit. Spotting an empty space in Iris’s lot, I went to the car, turned around and, lo and behold, the car in front of me got the empty space. Having been raised with a mindset of abundance, I pulled around the corner and found several spaces available. There is, most often, room for everyone in this world.

Intermittent

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July 24, 2022- Short and bittersweet- After finishing my dog-sitting stint this morning, I came back to Home Base and prepared to host a Zoom devotional, as I frequently do on Sunday mornings. We got off to a good start, then the connection was cut. I have noticed my modem/router combination going out, off and on, since a renovation project began upstairs, in the apartment formerly occupied by a deceased neighbour.

It seems some jackhammering was done on Thursday, while I was away. The workers say that their activity shouldn’t affect electric flow in my unit. The Geek Squad will be here on Tuesday, so we’ll find out what the issue really is. There is plenty to be done in the meantime, and I have no Zoom activity until Wednesday night.

This is a time of uncertainty, but I will make it through these First World speedbumps.

Blood Simple

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April 14, 2022- This evening, I saw a snippet of a drama, discussing the curious matter of blood type chimerism, in which a person could have more than one blood type. The matter is explained in detail, in: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17053463/ and https://www.healthline.com/health/chimerism.

This issue is raised, when a child has a blood type, which neither parent of record is known to have. Each parent may then be tested for chimerism, in the hopes that nothing skeevy has gone on and resulted in the child having been sired by a third party. Of course, this matter can be complicated by in vitro fertilization, sperm or egg donors, or just a series of multiple partners, prior to the pregnancy and birth.

I am old school, when it comes to such matters. I fell in love and married, once, and did not stray. There was never any doubt, as to our son’s parentage, as there is no doubt in probably 90% of all childbirths-even those which are “unwanted”. Ours was very much wanted, of course, and any grandchildren I may have will enjoy the same welcome from their parents.

Blood can be a simple thing. It’s the emotional aspect that makes matters of the heart get complicated. This also is true of relationships between extended families, communities and nations. We have only to get back to the very basic awareness that all bleed red, and are one human race.

Alogrithm Go Round

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October 5, 2021-

Just some musing about yesterday’s social media meltdown, which happened right after a whistleblower appeared on television.

You can’t get in, because both doors are locked, and the keys are inside. I hold the keys, and I’m the only one who can decide when and how there is an unlocking. I’m the algorithmic program, designed to teach everyone just how inconvenient it is to challenge my master. I follow instructions, and am breathtakingly loyal to my master. Unlike his army of attorneys, I don’t cost any money. I can communicate a very telling lesson, for pennies on the dollars that it costs to send the suits after any whistleblower. I am the algorithmic program that locked the doors once, and I can do it again. Be nice to my master.

Everywhere, and Nowhere

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April 17, 2021- Eight years ago, I passed through the town of Magdalena, New Mexico, as it had run out of water, for the first time in memory. Since then, Magdalena has managed to keep its potable water supply above the minimum. The area is not “high growth”, so there has been a positive response to water conservation.

Arizona, southern California, Utah and Colorado, along with other parts of New Mexico, are high growth areas, with no corresponding stability in their water supply. We, in central Arizona, find ourselves in a place that is both appealing to those looking to relocate AND is in a period of lesser precipitation. The southwestern part of what is now the United States has known drought that has lasted as long as 400 years. During that time, the indigenous peoples of Arizona, California and Nevada packed up and left for other places which were not experiencing as severe a lack of precipitation.

The present, more transactional, society is, at least for now, both more numerous and more resistant to relocation, than were the somewhat simpler communities of the First Century, A.D. It is not hard to imagine just what chaos would ensue, in communities both densely populated and centered on high rise residential building, should the situation that faced Magdalena-and Cape Town, South Africa, a few short years ago, overtake them.

The present social climate has more than its share of denial-based, most likely, on the inability to imagine a world of dry taps. The technology for mass building of canals and distribution of water, from half a continent away, does not yet exist, nor does the public will to look into the matter. It will, however, present itself as necessary-and possibly as soon as the tail end of my lifetime, which is, as many of you realize, not all that far off.

We will need far more rain this summer, than has fallen in the past several years-and a much higher snowfall, come the winter of 21-22 and beyond, if the worst case scenario is to be averted.

OverZoomed

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December 10, 2020-

The spread of teleconferencing during this time of worldwide pestilence is probably the single most useful occurrence of the year . I can only hope it remains, especially as when I find myself away from Home Base, come late Spring onward, carrying on regular communication, via Zoom, YouTube or what have you, will be a much easier task.

There is, though, the matter of working out synchronicity. This evening, there were four events occurring simultaneously. Two were parties, one was a memorial gathering and the last was a worship service. I focused on the latter two, just barely greeting folks at the first of the parties, before it was time to leave.

We will, as with any other endeavour, need to work out etiquette and protocols of expectations for Zoom gatherings, lest feelings be hurt, unnecessarily. I know that, just because one is among many on a teleconference does not mean feathers won’t get ruffled by someone’s absence or abrupt departure.

So, I have worked out a set of priorities for my own Zooming- Offering condolences and memories will have to come first, then regular worship and devotionals, followed by special celebratory events and lastly, someone’s random informational offering-which ought, by definition, be recorded for later viewing.

In any case, may your Zooming be helpful and a source of connection.

Adding New Skills

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November 10, 2020-

As I returned from work, this afternoon, my friend, the Mourning Dove, landed briefly on the gravel of our driveway. Usually, her greeting me is an indicator of good news. So it was this time, as I received written confirmation of a change in my monthly deposit from the Feds.

Workwise, I was asked to preside over a pair of online classes, this afternoon, having completed two in-person sessions in the morning. Being math and science, I had to pay close attention, ahead of time, to the material. It was not difficult, but these are “whiz kids” and it turned out they already had mastered the material.

What I had not mastered was the setting up of Breakout Groups, so everyone ended up in the same group, with little to discuss. This will be a matter for Zoom Tutorial, over the next couple of days, as I am quite sure today will not be the last time that I need to oversee such a class format, between now and Christmas.

In the end, my young friends were glad that someone was there to run them through the session, even if it was review material. There are a number of avenues of learning that can branch off from the lessons, yet I leave that to their very competent regular instructor, who returns next week.

I dreamt last night that a former hard taskmaster managed to teach me how to secure caps on bottles of cola, using plastic ties. I can pretty much guarantee this will not happen in real life. What I got out of it, though, was that I can, and will, acquire new skills, over the next several months and years. I won’t be working for wages, all that much, after next month, yet life itself needs us to stay sharp and focused. As I write this, the image of one of my uncles, whose cognitive skills were sharp during his working years, but faded in retirement, is cautioning just such a regimen of regular mental exercise.

Life is certainly a sweet cornucopia.