Rain, snow, snow, rain

We’ve had a roller coaster of weather the past few days.

Lots of rain and some more snow on the way. Yesterday was in the 60s which a friend commented “in July, this is going to feel cold.”

Some people think that the cycling of the weather can have a lot of subtle effects on mood, joint pain, and other things. I’m not sure.

I’ll be glad when I can plant the garden again. I might make it really big with the intent of donating a lot of food. Last year I was overwhelmed with tomatoes and let a bunch go to waste. If I had realized that I could have donated it to some community organizations, I would have done a better job of keeping up.

Valentine’s Day and the Romantic Delusion

A pink heartHappy Valentine’s Day!

Today is the day that the romantic delusion is the strongest. People have expectations for themselves and their relationships that, more often than not, only cause heartbreak and self-destructive obsessions.

The romantic ideal of modern culture is fixated on the idea that there is _one_special_person_ that can meet all my needs. I’ll have a best friend, lover, confidant and booster that can also meet a raft of other expectations. It’s an ideal of that perfect someone, yet perfection is an inherently unrealistic illusion.

Why is the romantic ideal so strong and persistent? It’s supported by strong feelings and emotions at the start of a relationship. One can see so may possibilities and a happily-ever-after together. Her heart skips a beat when she sees the other. He understands me before I even speak.

Hollywood as has no problem bringing the idea to life with dozens of romantic plots. Cinderella meets the perfect Prince. Snow White gets loves first kiss. Lady starts a family with the Tramp. Shrek marries Fiona and carries her across the threshold of the honeymoon cottage. In return she hurls a mermaid interloper back into the sea.

Popular culture also helps make the concept seem so real. Look at the names of several genres of entertainment… Romance novels, romantic comedies, news reports of a celebrity romance between, say, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. A story about four siblings who together have 225 years of marriage to their respective spouses won’t make a compelling film and is barely plausible.

From one point of view, the passion of a new love is mutual yet selfish. _I_ feel so fulfilled with her. _I_ know that he is going to be the perfect partner. Even though the feeling is mutual, it’s about subjective pleasure. The romantic feeling is reinforced by each others experience of a passionate connection, but it is still about how the self feels. _I_ feel _in_love_ and you’ll be able to help me keep that energy (probably, though, only until enough bumps happen along the road.)

Valentine’s Day is the commercial culmination of the delusion. Buy her roses. Give him the ring that to signifies forever. Let your high school sweetheart know they are their true love with a Hallmark card. Impetuously propose on a trip to Cancun.

What is the true cost of the scripts that prescribe a romantic life for everyone?

Talking the walk

The cliche emphasizes the need to walk the talk. That is, if you declare a path but don’t follow it, you’re just spouting hypocrisy and lies. The converse is talking the walk. This is a different principle, not leading to criticism and judgement, but rather it gives a path for growth and healing. It’s an opportunity for me to be myself, perhaps, to become a better me.

The gist is that while walking outside, I’m not so bound by the synthetic world of men. The static seat in the kitchen or an automobile’s mechanical cockpit get their light from anonymous strangers. By walking, I put my life in front of a different mirror and can see hidden strengths in the reflection.

A friend of mine does counseling with teens. He remarked that with teenage boys, instead of meeting in his office, going on a walk can be a lot more productive. The youths are able to be more direct and make more progress in that less clinical setting.

I’ve noticed a similar effect with myself. When I’m walking with someone, the distraction of my sink of dirty dishes is gone. I’m not avoiding a wreck as traffic merges onto the highway. Instead, I’m sharing an authentic experience with a friend.

Perhaps we’re walking in the park. If we come to a moment and need to contemplate alone, we can take a break and look at a remarkable oak tree and watch the birds fight on the playground. The transition is completely natural. All of that outer beauty won’t hide any inner beauty slowly forming within us together. We’re not trying to entertain each other nor put on the happy face.

When I’m talking the walk with a friend, we explore different parts of our lives. Sometimes I get answers and can solve problems. Of course, life isn’t deathly serious all the time. However, developing a pattern of shared meditation like this in good times can be golden when I don’t know what to ask.

Launch and land and re-launch

No earlier than tomorrow at 13:30 EST the Falcon Heavy demo flight will launch. SpaceX Launch You Up (Uptown Funk Parody).

I hope it goes well and that SpaceX learns enough to be able to start commercial Falcon Heavy contracts forthwith.

Support Cinesaurus, the makers of the parody. Check out their Cinesaurus Digs the Internet for some inspiration.

Everyday Astronaut and a SpaceX Launch

A blue rocketYesterday, I watched Everyday Astronaut live stream a SpaceX launch. The satellite was lifted on behalf of the government of Luxembourg. It was exciting that some of Luxembourg’s national leaders were watching the launch in person.

I’m proud to be a budding space nerd. It’s much more fun than being a computer nerd. A computer nerd can’t watch the Amazon fraud prevention team over the shoulder and jump up and cheer when they ban another dodgy vendor like you can when a Delta IV lifts off from Vandenberg.

After a rocket launches, there’s commentary that you can review. There’s always new things to learn including nearly a century of history behind space travel. For example, it’s amazing to watch this narration of a slow motion video of Apollo 11’s Saturn V first stage engines as they ignite and leave the ground.

Tim Dodd is awesome. He’s really fun to watch and has entertaining yet informative videos. He has a Russian space suit he wears for some videos. He proposed to his wife in it at Machu Picchu–so awesome! He makes his own music. If you want to support him, you can join him on Patreon.

Apparently I was a baby space nerd in high school, but I had forgotten. This week I found my 1979 term paper about the Space Shuttle. It would be interesting to compare the projections for the shuttle in 1979 with what actually happened.

Dal Makhani

On a recent visit to Fort Wayne Halal Meat and Grocery, I bought a package of Dal Makhani distributed by Deep Foods, Inc.

Being the adventurer gastronomically, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting. I knew it was a split bean recipe, but not much else.

I made it last night and had it with some brown rice. I was very impressed by it. Tasty and spicy.

Today I made the Goan Fish Curry manufactured by General Mills in India. Again, I didn’t really know what I was getting. Fish curry sounded a little odd, but I decided to give it a try.

It was also very good. I had to cook it longer than the recipe described because I added too much liquid to the pan, between the water from the fish and extra coconut milk.