I stuffed Le Pape and the SO on a plane for bound for Amsterdam yesterday, hence I have the opportunity to whip a one-off summer post without neglecting the SO. I think Le Pape is returning, he left La Mère here. But I guess it’s all a bit up in the air (no pun intended). I know the SO is returning. And we’ll still have at least 6 weeks of fun time together. Canada and the Netherlands don’t require travellers to quarantine anymore, if you’re fully vaxed.
The boys are making a 7-10 day business trip. I was asked if I wanted to tag along, technically it would be business, there’s a board meeting. But at 9 hrs flight time, not including gates and security and customs? I said no thanks. The SO totally understood. I think they both really just wanted to be back in the EU during the Tour de France, which ends the 18th, but…yeah, sure, business reasons too.
Actually, I’m happy to have a bit of alone time – with the dogs and cats – at my own house. This may sound weird but, it’s been a weird summer so far. We left Gran’s June 15, the day after she got out of the hospital. She is doing much better now. Mutti said she could handle things with Gran, with the home care assistance. So we drove up the coast over the course of 10 days. It was glorious!
We stopped in to see my Da — and got roped into doing some demo on Hugh’s new home. Gotta watch that reno bottom line. If you ever want to know how someone is really doing, give that person a sledge hammer. I’m not saying the SO didn’t enjoy himself, he did. He said it was “refreshing.” But…yikes that damaged drywall was busted out lickety split. I was still unscrewing the kitchen cabinet doors (to be refinished). And I had power tools!
By the time we reached home it was the 24th, the day before the big heat dome started. On the 25th friends began calling over asking if they could come hang out with us — because as a SoCal gal, I insist every home I live in must have AC. This led to a weird dynamic. We are fully vaxed, but Canada said we have to quarantine for 2 weeks, till July 8th, even though Canada was going to lift the quarantine requirement for fully vaxed people entering the country July 5th. So, we’d need to quarantine 3 more days after quarantine entry laws changed because we arrived pre-7/5. Stupid.
Anyway, as law abiding citizens concerned about other people dying…we decided to quarentini it up in the basement so the upper floors and attic were available for couch surfers, day trippers, etc. I think at one point we had 7 adults, 1 child, a diabetic dachshund, 2 kittens, and a parrot. And there’s only one bathroom upstairs. We asked people to bring their own food, just use the toilet (no baths or showers), wear masks around other people, and stay off the internet (while the SO is working).
It worked out well. People went to work, they ate out, they crashed overnight in the AC. A couple people were there every day all day during the heat. A child with quite bad asthma. A woman with lupus. They all seemed to be having a good time. We had to just listen in the basement, although on Day 6 we did have a backyard good-bye barbie. I suppose it was technically illegal, but…it seemed wrong not to go since they threw it as a thank you for us. And it was outside, so… we went.
After they left we had quarantine “together time,” but with the full house, and all our pets, not just the dogs. That was great. Then immediately our quarantine ended, the SO had to get on the plane. And that’s ok. I know he’ll have a great time because he hasn’t been home in a year, and the Netherlands is still home for him. All good. I’m hoping the utility bills come while he’s away, so I can pay them before he sees them. I have no idea what our squat house AC is going to cost. Typically we only AC certain rooms in the house, not the whole freaking house.
Oh well, needs must. Chips where they may, and all that.
I have to say, I’ve thought a lot about apocalypses during the past few weeks. Mostly because people kept using the word apocalypse. A lot. As a Catholic, you grow up hearing about the Apocalypse. Which most people think of as catastrophic events, but really it means “the revealing,” in this case, of Christ. So on a personal level, apocalypse isn’t a scary word for me. On a community level? Um….kinda learned to live with it years ago.
As a Californian with decades dealing with local weather apocalypses, climate change, and all their fallout, it was a little interesting watching people in BC react to their first real “revelation.” Even people who accept climate change and understand its impacts, rarely truly understand what it all means till they start experiencing the cascading effects themselves. Heat leads to death, leads to fires, leads to dead marine life, leads to poor water quality, leads to poor fisheries, leads to economic impact, leads to ….
Even people who believe in climate change (or Covid), often assume it won’t happen to them or they’re somehow insulated. So they don’t really prepare (get vaccinated!). They don’t own blackout curtains or window awnings or AC or go-bags or have a fire route escape plans from their house, let alone from their entire city. To have to come to grips with these things on the fly? Isn’t fun. And then after a revelatory event ends (Jan 6th), there’s often the fall back of “That was interesting. But it’s a one off. An aberration.” They again put off change (HR1 – @DNC stop asking for money to save democracy in 2022, when a majority of people gave Dems a majority in the house and senate and the WH! Do your Dem job in 2021!)
Anyway, that’s been my summer so far. Weird. Wild. Woolly. I’m currently spending time doing math as a pleasurable distraction. I was thinking about knowledge lost by schoolchildren in the US during covid. And then I realised I had probably lost knowledge over time. I found a math textbook left behind by our 10 yr old visitor. Eeek! I turned a few pages felt out of my depth. But, but, but, how could this happen? I did calculus in college! I look at advanced math all the time and understand it. Don’t I? Understand it?
Honestly, revelations suck sometimes. So, I’m doing math courses on Khan Academy, trying to get my chops back. I’m starting with 4th grade math. It’s sad, but it gives me empathy for the children. And “bad at maths” is at least something I can remedy. Math is really just a language I used to know but haven’t used in awhile. It’ll come back to me. I think part of my problem is I never used math as math. I used logic to figure out math. When I did skills test for pre-calculus on the Khan Academy website, I passed with 100%. But I used logic to arrive at the answers not math.
I like math; math has beauty. But sometimes people who love math, let it overrule their ability to think outside of math (logic). And sometimes, if you’re really into math, your inability to do new or remarkable math can put the breaks on what you can think of as possible. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, about limitations on thinking that keeps us from seeing reality, or possibility. For instance, today, we all know our solar system revolves around the star we call the Sun. If you ask someone when did we know this to be true, you’ll probably hear about Copernicus. But actually, this was discovered 18 centuries earlier, by Aristarchus of Samos.
You might ask, why was basic such science insight was dismissed for 2000 years? The answer there is culture. Culture decided the earth was the center. Not science, math, or observation. And human culture is hard to change. Even when culture finally accepted a Sun-centric solar system, there were still problems. Math problems. You can make math do almost anything. If you want to know why something isn’t true (or fully correctly theorized), check the math. The more messy the math, the less likely it is to be true. And we see an example of this when we look at the history of orbit of the moon.
The moon is the moon. Its orbit is its orbit. But culture, science + culture, decided the moon didn’t go around the earth. It had it’s own path around in circles in space, and based on observations, that had to be a super weird orbit. So they came up with very twisty math to make the moon’s very twisty path (as defined by culture) work. Centuries on this was found to be incorrect. But people had believed it because the theory fit cultural beliefs and the math, though complicated and weird, “worked.” It worked hard, to prove a false belief.
By the way, earth had a second moon for a bit in 2020, but it’s gone now. Observation, not math, told us the moon was there. Culture this time said, “Wow!” I’d call that progress.
I think a lot about stuff like this. About how we can be blinded to things as they are because we’re stuck in a mindset that was, perhaps, “as things were” at one time, but clearly objectively aren’t true now. Sometimes the things we believe were never true. We just wanted them to be true – because our culture told us it was. Sometimes we enlisted math to prove/explain things we wanted to be culturally true. And pure math got roped into the sordid cultural drama. I’m pro-math. Math can be very revealing. Very predictive. But theory based on observation (reality) + math produces better outcomes than theory based on culture + math.
Anyway, back to the apocalypse. People running around talking about apocalypses got me thinking about black holes swallowing the universe. Which got me thinking about the Big Bang. I have a pet theory about the Big Bang. I think in some other universe, a black hole formed and sucked in a vast untold amount of material. The hole became impossibly stretched, that is, spacetime stretched in the gravity well of the black hole, and eventually all this material compressed to the size of an atom in a hot dense state, and then as a result, a tiny atom-size tear appeared in the bottom of the well, a tear in spacetime, and that became the place and moment the Big Bang happened, that started our universe.
We have seen white holes. Those are black holes that suddenly belch out light and energy. I think that belch is probably what happens when the atom-size hole in spacetime rips at the bottom of the gravity well. When a big bang happens. I think we see a tiny bit of the blow back and that’s the energy leaving the now white hole. After that, the black hole is sealed off. It sort of conceives, gives birth and then dies, if you want to look at it that way. That’s my theory anyway.
I’m sure a professor of astronomy or astrophysics would say I’m crazy. But to me, there’s a natural (as in, nature) logic to it. Things in the universe, our universe, come into being, consume things, reproduce, and die. It would explain a great deal about cosmology that right now has no explanation or has explanations such as, the Big Bang appeared out of nothing. (Seriously, nothing.) I don’t think anything every truly disappears or truly appears from nothing. It’s just we lack a full understanding. Our picture is incomplete. Or worse, we are blinkered, by our beliefs.
I like particle physics, but sometimes I think they’re the microbiologists of the cosmos. It’s like they’re trying to understand a single-cell virus in a cat’s intestine. But they don’t see the cat’s whole internal physiology. And they don’t see the cat living externally, or see the cat and how it behaves and interacts with its environment. But it’s all tied together. Understanding a single-cell virus in a cat’s intestine is awesome and needful, but it doesn’t unlock the secrets, mysteries, or grand unification theory of “cat”-ness. You need to a cat for that.
Anyway, Poirot says, “Time to feed me.” He’s the catness in charge of the house universe. His GUT is empty. No mystery or secret there. I must attend. Otherwise, it’s apocalypse meow.