Discouragement

So, I’m still chugging along at the novel.  i know I haven’t put anything up for a bit, but I’m getting to the point where my directionlessness is a drag.  Yes, I’m beginning to have a better sense of general plot and structure, and the overarching themes have been in place for some time.  But am I really moving forward?  Who knows.

Being around a sicko is like having a small, portable iron lung strapped to your chest.  I know from extensive experience with roommates, boyfriends, and family.  The real problem with lingering in illness is not spreading the disease, or being unable to do certain things.  You get bored.  In particular, if you’re not the sick one, you get really frustrated with the lack of activity until it feels like a great weight or a constant diminished lung capacity.  It’s like climbing in the Himalayas without the euphoria of lightheadedness.
“I hate feeling this way,” Becky wheezes from my couch.  of course, trying to speak at all sets her off into another fit of coughing.
‘And I hate hearing about it,’ I think.  But, of course, it’s not her fault.  “You’ve got to just sleep and get yourself well.  And once this round is done, you’re immedately getting your flu shot.”
“I know, I know.  I just hate being bed-bound so long.  I’ve got to get out and DO something.”
“You’re going to Linda’s game night tomorrow, right?”
“Ugh.”  She flops back onto the couch.  “And Jeff will be there.  Just what I need.”
“Well, maybe all your germs will keep him at bay.”  She just rolled her eyes at me.
Of course, this would be the night that all of us discovered Jeff was Dating Someone.  Her name was Lindy.  In polite company, I could call her opinionated and strong-minded.  The less delicate of us saw things somewhat differently.
“What’s he doing with her?” Linda hissed to me after they’d moved on into the kitchen.
I shrugged.  “Evidently he’s decided he has to settle for bitter, since the nicer ones have proved unobtainable.  She seems to be reasonably intelligent.”
Linda winced.  We both looked over slowly to where Becky was hacking in a corner.  She seemed to be taking it well.  Of course, it was difficult to tell with her already red nose and partially closed eyes.
“Why did Becky even come out tonight?  She’s obviously still wretched.”
“Stir crazy.  When your only company for a week is me, even a girl like Lindy starts to look good.”

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The Fab Lab and the Unwettables

There are occasional instances when my current employer makes me go ‘cool!’  or ‘I want that!’.  Today both have happened.

Recent research at MIT is codifying the way surfaces repel materials.  Researchers have been refining their understanding of the way thin liquids like oil can be kept from coating or being absorbed into a material.  By examining the way duck feathers resist the higher surface tension of water, scientists were able to come up with a surface that could resist coating by oil and even pentane (a solvent which has the lowest surface tension at atmospheric pressure, and is thus most liable to wet a surface).  They are now completing a list of the ‘rules’ that apply to wetting.  In this future this should mean super-wet-proof materials for consumers.  Cool.

In addition, based on MIT models, a new fabrication lab is being opened in Providence.  It will be an industry-grade lab that’s open to the public for a variety of projects and developments, and is being opened in association with AS220, an arts and technology collaborative.  Since its based on similar labs somewhere around here, it makes me want to go out and fabricate.  I have the ideas, and could possibly have access to the tools, so why not?  I want that.

Be good, for goodness’ sake.

There are few things that can raise my ire like unrepentantly dogmatic views.  The recent example that caught my eye was Tim Wildmon’s comments in response to a recent humanist ad.  Tim is president of the AFA, or American Family Association.  His comments:  “How do we define ‘good’ if we don’t believe in God? God in his word, the Bible, tells us what’s good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what’s good, it’s going to be a crazy world.”

There are points I agree with in his comments.  Yes, in fact, the world is crazy – I don’t think this is directly due to each of us deciding our own moral code.  As for God telling us, in the Bible, what’s right and wrong, I don’t think it’s quite so clear as that.  There is the possible exception of the Ten Commandments being actually smote in stone by the Almighty, but otherwise morals are not so clear.  The God of the Bible is changeable, and at times contradictory, just like life.  I love every crazy minute of it.

But the issue at hand is not really about whether or not humanists have acceptable morals.  It’s not really even about whether we believe in God.  It’s about sharing.  It’s about Christians allowing those with other beliefs to celebrate with them in a season that is supposed to be about grace, and forgiveness, and new light and life in the world.

Personally I do what is right and what is good because of my love for something greater than I am.  Personally a part of my obligation to do good for others is because it has been done to me.  But I’ve often had the question posed that if I was wrong, if there was no God, if we are alone in the universe, whether I would change my behavior.  Honestly, I wouldn’t.  It might change the reason behind my actions, but not those actions themselves.  And additionally, I think that God would want people to do what’s right simply because it’s right, if they would not do it for other reasons.  Being good, upholding a moral code, is still an act with value, no matter what you believe.