Dirty Laundry

A Little Time Off And Some Interstellar Traveling

So, I’ve handed in yet another revision for my latest book. I’m really happy about how this one has turned out, though it was a long haul getting it into shape. Now, I await the next round which will hopefully be a set of line edits (rather than the big sweeping edits of the last three drafts).

With my few weeks of down time I’ve since finished (mostly) the clean up of my office. It no longer looks like a hoarder home, thank goodness. My wife tends to get a little panicky when she sees the stacks of papers, magazines and newspapers (mostly hockey or research related) that I hold onto. Not to mention my book buying addiction. But there always comes a point when I can’t take it anymore and I have to sort through everything and really decide if the stuff is worth keeping. So, at least I have a threshold.

Sometimes I can’t let the things go (most of my Vancouver Olympics stuff) but often I am able to recycle and/or donate whatever I’ve amassed. While I probably have a bit of an unhealthy attachment to my stuff, I’m not so crazy that I can’t toss it if I need to. Still, I have to be wary of the situation in my own life as I did go through my dad’s house when he passed away and it seems this saving-stuff-because-someday-I-may-need-want-or-can-use-it runs in the family. And, although I don’t hoard old lottery tickets (I rarely even buy them), I do tend to squirrel away old issues of The Hockey News and Macworld because… well… you never know.

Beyond the spring/fall/winter cleaning I’ve managed to catch up on some of my pop culture. Been reading books I’ve set aside (The Goldfinch by Donna Tart - very good thus far), been watching television shows (Arrow, Gotham, The Millers, Modern Family), attended a few hockey games, and have gone to see a few films.

The latest movie I went to was Interstellar. I won’t spoil the film with a detailed recounting of the plot. Suffice it to say it was great in places and not so great in others. If you do see it, try to go to an IMAX theater as it is definitely visually stunning. I thought the story was a little hokey in places, not to mention a few paradoxes that muddy the waters, as well as an odd message “We were not meant to die on this planet, but to leave it.” Not sure this is the kind of lesson we want to be teaching future generations. That we can screw up this world, no biggie, we’ll just find another one to inhabit and… you know… screw that one up, too.

Beyond all this, however, the film did spark in me an excitement for understanding the science behind the story. To learn more about wormholes, and blackholes, and the vastness of the universe, etc. etc.

I suppose that if the movie inspires others to seek out answers and ask more scientific questions, then it certainly serves a good purpose. It’s one of things I think we’ve been losing in our society. The wonder that the natural world ought to evoke in us. I think many of us have become numb to it. Or simply don’t have time to even think about. Too much stress, too many bills, too many worries.

But consider this.. just for fun. Our observable universe is 13.8 billion years old.(This is only the OBSERVABLE universe. It’s likely much older and much larger than we will ever know. It is also possible that ours is only one of many other universes that we will never know about.) Just to put this timeframe in perspective (thanks to Neil DeGrasse Tyson), if the entire time our observable universe were translated to a single calendar year, with the Big Bang being on January 1st, then the entirety of recorded human history (from the very first cave painting to The Goldfinch by Donna Tart) would be the last fourteen seconds of the last hour of the last day (December 31st) on that calendar. All our wars, empires raised and crumbled, inventions and scientific discoveries. Tick, tick, tick, tick…Just fourteen seconds. Much less time than it took for you to read this blog.

I don’t know about you, but that boggles my mind.

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And so, that’s what I’ve been doing. Cleaning up, wasting some time, and wondering about life, the universe and everything.

Oh, and eating custard filled croissants. Another of life’s wonders.