Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

It's cold again, and I find my mood slipping once again. I'm sluggish, and can't seem to motivate myself. All I do is search for interesting anime to watch, or take long naps with the dog. I can't wait for spring to hit, with its explosion of life and warmth.

Soemtimes I think I should move to a place where it's warm all year around. Somewhere like Phoenix AZ. Yet I think that I'd miss the seasons as well, since I especially love spring and autumn, and it's really only the short dark days of winter that bother me. I've been thinking that this next winter I'd try some light therapy. It's just a matter of buying a special bulb for a lamp, then sitting in front of it for fifteen minutes a day. I can manage that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

D-Days in the Pacific

I've always been a historian of the European theater in WW2. I'm not sure why it worked out that way, except perhaps living in Scotland for a while influenced me. Now I'm learning all I can about the Pacific Theater, and it is more complex than I could have imagined. There were 126 D-days in the Pacific, each one followed by island battles that were sometimes short and furious, and other times long and grinding.

I don't think I have the memory to remember every single D-day, so I've started with a list of what historians consider to be the most relevant. They might have been strategically important, or just vast in terms of impact upon the troops. On my DVR is a three part documentary that I've been watching and taking notes on.

I'm going to buy "D-Days in the Pacific", by Donald L. Miller. I had a look through it, and it seems to be a comprehensive study. That's for a later stage, however.

After the D-days comes a study of the naval battles and strategy. This should prove to be difficult, as I know so little about naval history. I just read "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by
James D Hornfischer. It was an excellent book about the battle of Leyte Gulf that I would recommend to anyone.

I'm going to haev a busy summer.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A headache a day....

I used to suffer from migraines, due to a bout of encephalitis I had when I was in my twenties. I haven't had one in years, yet today I felt the first signs of onset, and it sent me scuttling in fear to the medicine cabinet. There was precious little there to take, so I ended up just trying to calm it away. It seems to have worked.

My migraines are brought on by stress, so I guess it made sense that relaxing should banish one. Still, I feel thankful that it didn't blossom into a full-blown attack, which would have left me blind and writhing in pain. Now I just need to figure out what I'm stressed about.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Infinite Worlds

I read in the news today that scientists believe that there may be 100 billion earth like planets in the Milky Way. I wasn't at all surprised at the idea of other earths, I was surprised that it was considered news. I thought that people had been theorizing the existence of other Earths for decades, and that such theories had been widely accepted in the scientific community. Maybe that was just hopeful thinking on my part.

To me, the existence of other Earths has always been a given. It seems inconceivable that the Earth is the only planet of its type in the vast Universe. There are countless suns like our own, with countless planets rotating around them. Surely among those countless planets there must be some that are similar to Earth?

Or perhaps it was just the amount of other Earths given that was newsworthy. 100 billion is a number that I find impossible to wrap my brain around. Yet if this number is correct, then the Universe is teeming with life. Life that we would easily recognise, and perhaps could communicate with. Life that at this moment could be putting forth their own theories on planets like their own.

I like to imagine what this life would be like. Bipedal, like us? Octopodal? Or, like the Martians from H.G. Wells, tripodal? Are their civilizations rudimentary, or so far advanced that they have interstellar travel?

I doubt that any visitors from other worlds will come down to the earth in my lifetime, or maybe at all. The vastness of interstellar space seems unconquerable. Still, wouldn't it be amazing if they did? Suddenly, this world would shrink to insignificance next to the limitless cosmos. Perhaps then mankind would learn to move beyond regionalism, and unite as one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cats have Nine Lives

My geriatric Siamese cat, Sparkey, has lymphoma. It makes his throat swell up until he looks like he has an advanced case of the mumps. Then the vet gives him an injection, and within a day he's back to normal. I'm told that as long as he has an appetite, it's a good sign. Yet he's still losing weight. It makes me worried.

When he was diagnosed, I was shocked. It seemed that any moment could be his last, and I railed against the fact that I could do nothing to help him. He's not a good candidate for chemotherapy, and frankly at his age (eighteen) he shouldn't' have to go through such a trial. He'd be violently nauseous, lose hair and experience joint pain. So it was decided that we'd treat him with steroids to keep the swelling down, and otherwise just wait for nature to run her course. The first few days and weeks I watched him like a hawk, concerned about every little thing. Now I just watch him carefully, to make sure he's eating.

Sparkey seems the same as he always has been. He spends long hours in patches of sunlight or on my lap. He eats. Sometimes he even plays. I try to make him as happy as I can. He's quite content. I'm saddened and wish I could do more.

I keep telling myself that he's old, and it's only to be expected that he'd be ill. He's lived out his lives, all nine of them. I'll try to keep telling myself that, until the end.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God is in the Details

It's been a long time since I updated this Blog. The winter came, and sucked all the vitality from me. I found myself drifting, hibernating, existing without any real purpose. Lately however the weather has taken a turn for the better, and the sunlight has recharged my batteries. So I find myself once again writing and thinking of writing.

I also find myself once again contemplating the nature of God. I still find it impossible to believe that there is one God, Creator of the Universe. Or rather, I believe that if there is one Creator, He has since moved on to other things, leaving His universe to spin and expand, alone. I believe that such a being is so beyond the touch and understanding of man, and that we cannot truly grasp the reality of His existence. He has left this world to the lesser Gods, Gods that man can envision and contemplate.

So I find myself discovering Gods in the most commonplace of things. Like believers of Shinto, I can believe that each household possesses a unique protective God. I can believe there is a God of the trees, a God on the mountain. A God of the pots and pans. Simple, natural deities that require very little worship, only respect. Gods of the details of life. I find I can connect to these deities far more easily than to a grand Creator.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and the monotheists are right. I suppose I'll eventually find out, in the next life. yet I also feel that anyone that is great enough to have created this universe can forgive the transgressions of an ignorant monkey such as myself. In the meantime, I'll content myself with the Gods of the details of life.