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Catching Up

My labor day weekend for the most part pleasant. I got a lot of relaxing done and a decent amount of exercise. Most of the latter was from walking to the service station to retrieve my car. It had been stalling and I asked them to look at it, and for a whole week they couldn't get it to stall. So I just took it back.

The new Harris Teeter was open. It was a bittersweet occasion, because I couldn't help but think about how much my father would have like the new improved great big humongous version of the store where he used to love to shop. He would have been like a kid in a candy store.

Of course, he really would have been a senior citizen in a grocery store. Which is the functional equivalent of of a kid in a candy store.

I walked down to Jackson's Java one day and went over to the Harris Teeter (it's closer now!) and bought a sandwich for lunch at the deli as well as some reading material to go with it...the latest issue of Money magazine and a hardback book
called You've Got To Read This Book. It was a collection of essays by famous and semi-famous people about books that influenced them.

Only after I paid for it did I notice that it was edited by the same people who do The Chicken Soup For The Soul series. Yikes! I've got to be careful with those wild and crazy spending sprees.

I finally got to see Warren in the hospital. It was kind of an accident. I had walked down to JJ Sunday and there were a bunch of people who were going to go see him. I'm glad I got to see him. When he was first hurt my thoughts were "I'm going to feel horrible if he dies and I never went to see him". By Sunday they had become "I'm going to feel like a dork if he gets released before I go to see him". That is a good thing.

He actually hugged me (one of those arm around the shoulders hugs men give each other) and I actually didn't barf. As miraculous as his recovery was, these things are even more miraculous.

On the other side of the coin, I found out over the labor day weekend that a cousin of mine had died. I knew he had been very ill with a mysterious brain disease, but I hadn't heard any news for a while.

I wasn't very close to him, so it wasn't a huge blow in that way. The scariest part is that he was a generation younger than me. He is my first cousin's son and cousindoc's nephew. I remember him as a little kid, and how much fun he had running around my grandmother's house.

It makes me wonder why God lets some people live and some people die. I was kept from drinking myself to death, but he was so much younger and took much better care of himself. (I don't know this for a fact, I just figure he had to). Maybe it's better not to wonder, but to just be grateful for life. That shouldn't be hard, but it is sometimes. Things like the death of a family member really give you perspective.

Other things have happened that bear comment...the death of Steve Irwin, the discovery of the leaker in the Valerie Plame case, and the arrest of Warren Jeffs. I'll try to address these in later entries.


(there's bluegrass playing all around me in this coffee shop at 9:30 in the morning! what's going on!)

I've never been sure why some people die and some don't. It doesn't make a lot of sense. It seems weird to me that we spend so long training a generation of thinkers and then they just spend half of the time training the next one, and most of their unique insight just is erased in heat decay.

I was reading about reversible computing and thought of you; Have you read about this at all? Edward Fredkin said in a speech about it, 'What's the minimum amount of heat a supercomputer designed to predict short-term weather changes has to release? The answer is 0." He demonstrates how heat is generated in a computer; During non-reversible operations, like the erasure of a bit. That informational content of a memory cell or whatever has to go somewhere, and it is released as a bit of heat into the environment. Our computers are constantly erasing information in their cells, but you can design logical hardware that maintains a record of everything it is doing, and performs the operations backwards as they are completed, leaving the only non-reversible actions being the display of data and the correction of errors. I had never thought of information in that thermodynamic kind of capacity so far, the idea of actual bits being converted into heat, I thought it pretty profound.

Of course, making a process reversible increases the complexity by a constant (I think) as information of all states has to be maintained (increases memory overhead) and the process is essentially completed twice (once forward, once backward).

Anyways, I'm sorry your cousin died. I'm glad Warren's doing okay.