life

Academic titles of address

Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash There is a controversy out just now about whether holders of doctoral degrees other than medical doctors ought to use the title of Doctor before their names. I have some thoughts on the subject as a PhD holder in Physics. When I was in graduate school we would joke about the German practice of using honorifics for people according to their precise level of advancement, so a Herr Doktor would be outranked by a a Herr Professor Doktor and so forth.

Tired

unsplash-logoJason Abdilla I read a piece today about how prolonged stress can lead to persistent fatigue in a person who might be at a loss as to an obvious cause, and I'm thinking that that is what's going on with me now. The worst comes at the end of what seems like a terribly long working day, which is frequently one where I felt like I came up short in results.

Sixty

unsplash-logoClark Van Der Beken I like saying “I’m entering my seventh decade” today. It’s completely factual, because of the way we count things starting with one, and at the same time it sounds more weighty. The first decade was childhood and grade school. The second decade was high school and college in Illinois. The third decade was graduate school in Massachusetts, teaching in New York, and marriage. The fourth decade was research in Pittsburgh and then a break away to engineering in New Jersey and a start in writing.

Time capsule

Here is a time capsule from the Covid-19 plague year for future readers who might be interested in what it was like around these times. The cold rain has come back, comfort to those who worry about drought, but making it difficult to go outside to take in a little bit of exercise. Spring has been as slow to come as it has been every year, and since it doesn’t snow here we don’t have the receeding line of old drifts to tell us how much progress we’ve made since the beginning of January.

Five cars

unsplash-logoEugene Triguba Last week we picked up our fifth car this month, a white Nissan Versa. It’s a little snug but will be fine just for getting around. We have this because car number four, a Nissan Altima, is in the body shop to repair a scrape it acquired a few hours before we bought it. The seller agreed that the repair would be done at their expense without our having to argue about it, and we’re hoping it will turn out fine.

I forget

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Free photo ID 82985451 © creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime.com The disturbing thing that happens as you age, I find, is that you begin to notice your mind working subtly differently from the way it used to. From an early age I have set great store by my thinking organ, through all the years of school and the years working in technical professions, and taking care not to mess it up with chemicals or risky activities.

A death

© Melinda Nagy Free photo ID 582639 | Dreamstime.com The sudden violent death of someone in our extended family has brought back some thoughts of a philosophical nature to the surface for me. As near as I can tell, our circumstances did not match up closely: he was living in the East, I on the West coast, he was killed in the kind of rough urban neighborhood I rarely come into close contact with, and while have a workaday routine like hundreds of thousands of tech workers in the Bay Area, he earned money piecemeal buying and selling electronics to individuals in person.

2019 update #1

© creativecommonsstockphotos ID 95931871 | Dreamstime.com Moving from one part of the the San Francisco Bay Area to another seems like it should be a pretty minor change, but it’s actually been the biggest thing that happened with me in the last six months. Originally we chose to live in San Mateo because of its location halfway between the tech centers of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It’s about forty-five minutes to an hour by train or by car, going north or south respectively, to reach a high concentration of tech companies.

Picking up stakes

© Alexey Kondratev ID 8616636 | Dreamstime.com By this time four weeks from now we will have moved to a new place in Alameda. The preparations for taking possession of this condo are well on their way thanks to a whirlwind two weeks of activity. They tell us it’s a slow season for people hunting for a home because of the holidays and the rise in interest rates, so we haven’t had to compete with other people for the same properties.

Before and after

© Anna Vorobyeva ID 8789711 | Dreamstime Stock Photos Here I am on Easter Sunday, the week before the diet began and here again this morning, carrying the equivalent of the shed pounds more or less

The weight

© Braendan Yong ID 5658144 | Dreamstime Stock Photos It took ninety days. Was 190 pounds, now 150 pounds. Was officially over the line between overweight and obese, and now I’m down to dimensions I haven’t sported in maybe twenty-five years. It was becoming clear to me that most of my long-term health issues were linked with diet and fitness, and that that was going to be the only way to avoid worsening quality of life in my remaining years, I was going to have to do something major about it.

Let me tell you about myself

I have been spending the majority of my time these last four weeks talking about myself to people I don’t know. It isn’t something I would choose to do, but it is a necessary part of the job interview gauntlet. I talk about what I’ve done, and about things that have been done to me, and about what I thought I was good at doing, and about what I wish I were better at.

Death in the Evening

On the way home today, my train was delayed because of a fatality on the tracks happening about forty-five minutes before I got on. It was on the other side of the tracks, someone crossing over the tracks where they should not have been, possibly a suicide. I was already on a later train than the one I usually took, because of a late meeting at work, so the delays took me well past twilight into night.