22 November 2010

Ever Expanding

Picture of the Andromeda Island Galaxy,
Photo copyright by Robert Gendler
My faith in the system has been restored

Well, at least some of it, anyway.

Perhaps a more accurate statement would be to say that my faith in certain members of said system has been restored. My leadership cares. They really care. But again, only certain ones.

In other news, I’ve been trying to read at least a few pages a day from one of my new books, specifically, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It’s really interesting so far, as I’m sure it will continue to be. His writing is very straightforward and clear, and definitely readable for a non-physics major. I’ll admit I do have some familiarity with physics and quantum concepts, but I’m certainly no expert, and furthermore I’m terrible at math. Thus, if my dabbling in physics and my few basic nuclear engineering courses have provided me enough of a basis to grasp the concepts in the book, I figure most people with a general education should be able to understand it. That said, I have a lot of faith in the intelligence of humanity…sometimes.

I’ve made it through the introduction and the first chapter so far…so not very impressive. As always, I’m busy. By this point, all he’s really covered are the historical theories of space and time, to include the Copernican model of the solar system (the Earth at the center, with the Sun, moon, stars, and the known planets at the time of Copernicus revolving around it), as well as the work of Newton, Galileo, other such famous names. Hawking even touched on Einstein’s theory of relativity. The part I just finished was an explanation for why quantum mechanics and relativity cannot coexist, and therefore we need a new theory to describe the universe that applies both at the nuclear level and at the macro-level. I’m definitely hooked. I love sci-fi (we’ve been over my nerdom before), so this is appeals to both my sense of “OMG space travel! Star Gate! Wormholes! Light-speed!” and my love of learning in general. Can’t go wrong if you’re expanding your horizons.

In continuing with the theme of expanding horizons (the universe is, after all, expanding), I recently expanded my Tarot collection with another book. I know. Huge surprise. More books. More buying things. So out of character for me. However, this time I also added a new deck (it came with the book) to my set. I now own two Tarot decks! Having already flipped my way through the whole deck, I definitely prefer the one I already am comfortable using, the Celtic Tarot. My current deck is also a much higher quality, in terms of the artwork used, the actual weight of the cards, and the thematic depictions for each of the major and minor arcane. Nevertheless, the new deck, which came as a set with the Tarot Secrets book by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber, contains quick catch phrases to help the reader remember the traditional meanings of each card when it is drawn, so hopefully I won’t have to look them up as much. The reason I purchased this book in particular is because, according to the description online, it’s supposed to help the memorization process of the basic meanings of the cards, particularly for ease of reading for others. As many of my friends like to drop by for a reading, and since time is generally of the essence for all of us, I’m hoping after I practice with this set some more I’ll be able to minimize my consult-the-references time when reading for others. Thus, I think I’ll make this new deck my official reading-for-someone-else deck, but continue using the Celtic Tarot for my personal readings.

On a slightly more depressing note, I used up the last of my Sugar & Spice flavored Coffee Mate yesterday afternoon, which thoroughly ruined my day. I have to make a grocery store trip after Thanksgiving to pick up some more goodies for my fridge. On the bright side, at least I get a few days off soon. I’m leaving Wednesday afternoon to drive down to visit my parents. My little brother and my running buddy (she totally outruns me, these days) will come with for the road trip, and then one of my cousins and her new husband will be joining us at my parents’ house as well, so it’ll be a party. We’ll kick off Thursday morning with our annual family Turkey Bowl—not that any of us are particularly good at football, mind you—and then feast ourselves silly. I don’t actually eat turkey, but I’ll be gorging myself nonetheless on sweet potatoes and green beans and stuffing and, of course, pies. Pies are kind of a big thing in my family. And by big, I mean huge.

We. Love. Pie.

I'll be running off all that food Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning. I fully anticipate my running-buddy dragging my rear out of bed and then up a mountain or two. It'll be good for me.

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