Blogging, Me & My Life, Politics

The Relentless March of Time

Hello everyone. It’s me again (Wilf). I’m glad to be back.

There you go. OK. Yep. That’s what I came up with for a title. “The Relentless March of Time“. What is time? Why does it run the way that it does? What are the implications of time dilation, and the rest of relativity? Why doesn’t it in the opposite direction, with effect proceeding cause? Would it ever be possible for time to run in a different way, perhaps in a different universe? Could a universe exist without a temporal1 dimension? Is there even such a thing as another universe?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions; not fully. But that’s not what this post is about, so I will leave them for another day.

After a busy month, I’m finally settling down back into my normal life. That includes syncing my iPod Touch to my computer for the first time since October. Syncing takes long enough, but it’s the backing up that really kills me. Not only do I sync my iPod to the slowest computer in the house, it also happens to be the crashiest computer. But it’s my computer goddamnit, and I’m stuck with it for now.

Syncing The iPod has become an event in my life, on a par with Visiting The Dentist and Having My Eyes Tested2, though fortunately, because I can now download podcasts directly to my iPod, I rarely need to sync.

When I do sync, however, it leaves with in a bit of a pickle. I can’t use my iPod, and I can’t really use my computer for anything as intensive as watching TV or games.3 So what should I do with myself?

This time, I’ll use it to write a post for my blog. A few things have been on my mind or have happened recently, and that’s what I’ll write about today. I’ll note them here, for-the-record style, as the current state of my mind:

ONE

My internet-friend-cum-benevolent-overlord WiBu has once more re-relaunched his website again. I did like WiBu’s blog in its previous iteration – it had a clean appearance and it was designed to put the focus on the ideas. I often found his posts confusing, but I enjoyed reading them and having discussions in the comment section. In the new version, the comment section doesn’t seem to exist. I don’t know whether this is an oversight or a deliberate omission – I hope it is the former.

The problem with WiBu, based on reading and interacting with his blog for a month or so, is that he seems too much of a perfectionist. Perfectionism can work well sometimes4, but as a general approach to life, I believe that it hinders productivity and progress. Take this blog for example: I’ve chosen a design which I like and which adequately displays my content, and I’ve stuck with it. Generally I’ve only modified it if I’ve wanted to add extra functionality to it. This has allowed me to focus on writing – a process which I treat I the same way. I want to get my thoughts out there. It doesn’t matter how skilful my use of writing is, as long as it is good enough to convey my ideas. Good enough, not perfect. If I strived for perfection, I might reach it eventually, but not without depriving another post of existence.

I’m maybe being unfair to WiBu; perhaps I’m just plain wrong. The trouble is, I can’t go back and verify my impression by reading his old posts. They’ve been deleted. I have his introductory post to go by, however:

I want IamWiBu.com to showcase who I am; I want it to represent my ideas and opinions clearly; I want to be proud of it.

I feel the same way about my blog. He says this about his blog’s previous iteration:

I never polished or really thought about what I had written. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that […]

That’s what causes me some doubt. WiBu says this, but I think that his posts were too polished. Why would you need to keep “a great number of drafts” if you weren’t bothering with polishing? Just publish them, and refine at a later date if you think it would be beneficial. Give me the wheat and the chaff. Be proud of the whole you, not just the bit that you show to the world. Let me see the real WiBu.

He also says this, but I’m not sure if it really means he is striving for perfection, or if it’s just an expression:

Practice makes perfect.

And then there’s this bombshell:

The old content has been deleted

Why delete it? It was WiBu who said to me “Never delete a blog post you publish if you’re blogging for yourself.” [If you’re reading this, WiBu, doesn’t that apply to you, and if not, why not? Does your intention of “I want IamWiBu.com to showcase who I am” not require the road leading up to the current WiBu? Here ends my criticism. I hope you’re not offended, and please feel free to correct me.]

We’re different people with different interests and focuses, but it’s our enjoyment of thinking which links us. We also both happen to be at the same strange stage in our lives, the year before we start university.

I hope he continues to write.

TWO

My website has had some changes too, specifically to the sidebar:

  • I have slightly adjusted the style of my Twitter updates.
  • I have added a section showing my 5 most recently rated movies, under the heading “Movie Ratings”. The feed is taken from my Facebook account; I use Flixster on my iPod to rate movies when I finish watching them. This is linked to my Facebook account, which shares my rating with my friends. It’s a social thing. A current problem with the feed is that, as well as ratings, it shows movies which I have marked as ones which I would like to see, but haven’t. The dates are not always right either. I intend to play with the feed a bit, perhaps with the help of Yahoo! Pipes, to remove such distractions from my ratings. One of my aims is to watch more films, so I envisage that this list will change often.
  • I have added a section which shows my 6 most recently uploaded Flickr photos. I’ve been playing around with Flickr quite a bit, but I tend to do all of my uploading in one go, meaning that the 6 images are often the same for a long time. Maybe this section isn’t a very good idea over just a straight link to Flickr.
  • There is also a section which shows my recent Tumblr posts.

Speaking of my Tumblr website, I’m enjoying it. When I am spending a lot of time at my computer, I can’t throw interesting links and images into my queue, which are then slowly spat out at a rate of (currently) one per day. I’ve not been spending much time on my computer recently, meaning that not much is being added, but I don’t worry about it. I have about 500 or 1,000 starred items in my Google Reader account, and when I finally start going through it I’m sure a lot of them will end up at Tumblr.

I’ll continue to update this blog with my thoughts. I’m happy with it at the moment, and not at all concerned that my posting has been infrequent.

THREE

I’m quite keen on learning to play the piano at the moment. It’s hard. We’ve had a piano in the house since August. The piano appears easy, beacuse anyone can press the keys and get a sound out of it, but there’s so much more to it.

FOUR

I wanted to write about the abnormal weather which we’ve been having, but I don’t think I have time. I’ll save it for another day.

FIVE

I am now an Uncle! My eldest sister and my brother-in-law visited over New Year. I arranged to travel back home with them and spend a week or so helping her, particularly preparing meals to freeze for when she’s too preoccupied with her baby5. It was really nice, and was my last chance to have some pre-motherhood time with her. Next time it won’t be so quiet.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I woke up to the news that I had a nephew! He’s so cute. My brother and I had bought him a Fleece. We think he’s going to love it.

I had yet another awful trip back though. By train. Perhaps I’ll write about it sometime. I was travelling for nearly 10 hours. Jeez.

SIX

I took part in the John Pearson Memorial Debate at Perth Speaker’s Club last Thursday; the 14th. I’m not too interested in the topic of the debate6, but rather, I’m interested in the process of debating itself.

George phoned me when I was away on my holiday visiting my pregnant sister, and I reluctantly agreed to the debate. I’m glad I did, although it did put somewhat of a dark cloud over the rest of my holiday, knowing that I would have to debate when I got home. Taking part in a formal debate forces you to understand a topic, it forces you to think logically, it forces you to be quick on your feet, and it forces you to speak clearly and succinctly. It’s extremely difficult, but when it works, it really pays off. Maybe I’ll write more about it some time.

Did I mention that we7 won? Bazinga!

SEVEN

Politics. It was a shame that the Massachussetts Democrats lost the Democrat’s supermajority in the Senate, and probably imperilled real health care reform, but it seems entirely deserved. As ever, John Cole of Balloon Juice has been amusing to follow on Twitter. A couple of my favourite tweets of the past 24 hours:

Have we started to impeach Obama for the lousy campaign he ran in Mass? Wait- you mean he wasn’t on the ballot?

Does this mean we get to fuck over Joe Lieberman now? Please?

Rumor has it Brown is only threatening to vote against #HCR because it doesn’t have a robust public option. #usedtobesane

We in the UK have our General Election this year. I look on it with absolute cynicism.

EIGHT

I’m very pleased that I’ve now received an offer from the University of St Andrews to study a Masters of Pure Mathematics. It’s probably where I’ll eventually decide to go, but first I still have much to consider.

NINE

So what of my gap year? It’s progressing rapidly, but I really don’t know.

My problem, if it is a problem, is that people have an expectation that I’m going to do something big. The thing is, I’m perfectly happy doing what I’ve been doing so far. For example, this year I’ve spent a festive week with my family at home, then a week with my pregnant sister, and now a week back at home, the majority of which has been spent continuing to create my offline iPhone/iPod Touch web app, and relaxing. That’s how I want it to be. Maybe I’ll spend the next week focused on blogging, or on reading books, or on watching a new TV series. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

I’m going to write further about my web app soon, but just a little bit here – it’s something very personal, made entirely and only for me, which no one else will ever use. It’s hardly an achievement that I can hold up and show as the fruits of my gap year, yet to me it is something which I’m proud of, and although is not going to make me any money, I’ll find it useful, I’ve learned some skills, and I’ve had fun doing it. Even if JavaScript is so fucking frustrating, especially when the functionality that I’m using (HTML5 databases) is brand new and is only supported in Safari, it’s still been fun.

I don’t feel a need to prove to others that I’m achieving things through my gap year.

That all said, I would like to do some travelling. My budget is small, so I would be limited to Europe, and I’d stay for maybe a month. I’m most interested in France, but would like to see other countries as well. My stumbling block is actually planning. I don’t have an idea of how to start or where to start. It’s procrastination good and proper, and I know that I’ll end up paying for it, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Soon. Soon.

(This is a perfect example of a section of writing which I don’t think is perfect, but which I’m willing to put out there anyway.)

TEN

What’s my life about? I’ve never really thought about it before. I don’t want to it to be about money. That’s why I didn’t become a doctor. I could have easily become a doctor (I’ve never not got an A in a subject) and had a prosperous life, but that didn’t appeal to me. Sure, I wouldn’t mind helping people, but no.

UPDATE: I’m not saying that doctors are only in it for the money – not at all. I’m just saying that I could have gone into medicine for the money, but I didn’t want to.

I want something else from life. I don’t yet fully know what it is, but it involves learning.

Just a thought.

ELVENKING

I want to add more to my blog about studying French, specifically Advanced Higher French. A year ago, I was working so hard on my French speaking, but there was absolutely no online support. I didn’t know what I should be working towards. I approached the date of my speaking exam, 18th March 2009, with dread.

French related queries happen to be the most common searches leading to this blog, and I want to help people in the way that I would have wanted to be helped. I hope I’ve not forgotten it all.

DONE

There’s so much more I want to say, but that concludes this entry in my Journal of Self-Discovery™.

I’ll see you all next time. Goodbye, and thank you for joining me.

P.S. Has my iPod finished syncing? Of course it fucking hasn’t. It crashed.

ONE


Footnotes:
  1. Shit. I’m sorry and embarrassed to say this, but I had to look up the adjective form of ‘time’. I won’t forget it again, now that my brain has involuntarily rewired itself to link it with Star Trek: Enterprise, via the abominable “Temporal Cold War“. Though, to be honest, I would love to write my own time-travel war story. 
  2. Both of which, incidentally, are coming around shortly. 
  3. Like I said, it’s a slow and crashy computer. 
  4. For an example, see Steve Jobs at Apple. 
  5. Curry, chili, lasagne, stew, etc. 
  6. The topic was was: “This house would allow parents the right to choose the sex of their child” – I was arguing for the proposition, the side which I actually support. On a related note, my sister didn’t want to know the sex of her baby until it was born. 
  7. George and I. 

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