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The arbitrariness of time cycles

So, we have just completed another revolution around the sun and have gone through the usual rituals commemorating that revolution. Of course, the planet also completed a revolution around the sun two days ago and will do it again tomorrow. It all depends on where you want to mark the starting point for the "new" year.

We also just completed a decade, which has a special significance to humans because we have ten fingers and therefore a base ten number system.

Today Les Miles is hoping his football team will win so that the program will achieve 100 wins in 10 season. That would be so much more of a milestone than 99 wins in 10 seasons.

I'm wondering why someone has not proposed a metric version of the word milestone.

Misleading subject line

Yesterday I was excited by an email that entered my inbox. The subject line read, "John, Full court records now available."

But when I read the email I found that it was not about basketball.

Windows Vista Service Pack 2

So, I turn on my laptop this morning at 6:00, have breakfast, shave, read the paper, etc., etc., and when I return to my computer there is a message from Windows Update informing me that I have updates ready to install. I click to see what it is, and am told that it is Windows Vista Service Pack 2. What is strange is that the publication date is 6/30/2009. Today is 9/18/2009. Why does it take almost three months for Update to tell me about SP2? Whatever. If this is like other Windows Service Packs, it will take forever to install and require some rebooting, so I guess I will find something else to do for the next hour while Microsoft is taking over my machine.

It's That Time of Year Again

Time for the annual week-long family vacation on Block Island. I look forward to this every year.
I never write music reviews. Never. But I made an exception for Gina Riggio's first major studio album, Ultraviolet Catastrophe, which was just released this month. Assuming Amazon accepts it, the review will be posted in the mp3 section within 48 hours. Perhaps I went a little overboard; Amazon suggests reviews between 75 and 300 words; mine weighed in at 877 words. I just had to say something about each song, as well as about the album overall. So sue me.

Ultraviolet Catastrophe

Gina Riggio's new CD, Ultraviolet Catastrophe, is totally stuck in my head. I am going to write a rave review of it on Amazon when I get a chance.

Detroit, then Chicago

Leaving this morning to start a road trip to Chicago. I'm looking forward to visiting with my relatives in Detroit on the way there, as our last visit was a good five years ago, for my cousin's wedding. On the agenda is the Detroit Zoo, which I have not seen since I was a little kid. Mostly, though, I just want to catch up with everyone, see their new homes, and so forth.

Chicago is the site of a conference on personality research, where I'll be presenting a poster. It will also be a homecoming for my wife, who spent the first year of her life in Evanston. Of course she doesn't remember living there, but we plan to visit some of the places that appear in photographs from the family album.

I'm wondering if I will have a chance to get in a couple of runs. I feel like I'm back on top of my running, taking second place in my age group in a 5K two weeks ago, and improving my time in the Arts Fest 10K last Sunday by 2:15 over last year.

Film Bucket List

I started compiling a film bucket list a couple of years ago. The official name of my list is "There's No Way I Could Not Have Seen That Movie" list. What they all have in common is that they are guy movies that my wife would never want to watch with me. Some are classics; some are puerile movies like Dumb and Dumber. I finally watched one of the movies on my list, streamed from Netflix: Unforgiven.

35 years later, I finally finished

Because it introduced me to Taoism, the TV series Kung Fu 1972-1975 was a life transforming experience for me. Because we had no stations broadcasting ABC in our area, we had to tune into the show via UHF, which was always a little iffy. As fuzzy as the show came in, I could not wait to watch it each week. But, sadly, we totally lost the ability to tune into it half-way through the second season, so I never got to watch the final episodes.

Throughout the 1980s I hoped and prayed that some day Warner Brothers would release the show on VHS tape. And, eventually they did. At some absurd price like $39.95 per tape. As much as I loved the show, I could not afford to spend hundreds of dollars on it.

Then, finally, they released the series on DVD and I bought all three seasons. I began watching, oh, maybe 3 years ago, just one episode every so often. For me it was like drinking precious vintage wine. I wanted to savor the experience and make it last.

About a month ago, I was down to the last of 4 DVDs for the third season. And then I heard that David Carradine had died. That settled it; after 35 years, it was time to finish watching the series.

Two nights ago, I watched the true final episode, where Kwai Chang Caine is reunited with his half-brother, Danny. I was a bit confused about the fact that there were 3 more episodes listed on side B of the DVD. Watching the first one, I found that it was out of sequence, going back to an earlier time in Caine's life. Same for the next, as well as the last one I watched today.

Some research on the Web revealed that this order of episodes corresponded to the dates that they were initially released in 1975. But they actually belonged earlier in the season. When the show is rebroadcast these days, the episodes are in logical order. But not on the DVD.

It was a confusing ending after a 35-year wait and 3 years of savoring the series. Rewarding, nonetheless. And the final bonus feature, Carradine's visit to China, including the Shaolin Monastery, was great.

R.I.P., David Carradine

I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of David Carradine this morning. The show Kung Fu literally changed my life by introducing me to Taoism. The character played by David, Kwai Chang Caine, was inspirational to me. I continue to be affected by his performance in that role even today. I am grateful for the positive effect that David's acting had on me.