My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Wed, 20 Jul, 2005

Apologizing for Everything

I have spent much of my life apologizing. Not for really awful things, which I usually don't even know I've done, if I've done them at all. I apologize for lesser things. I have apologized throughout my life for social gaffes, for inadvertent insults, for excessive intensity and forwardness of personality, for various forms of overdoing, for my lifelong uncouthness. I have gotten to the point, sometimes, of "pre-apologizing" whenever I meet someone whose good will matters to me (for instance, a Friendly Scientist), since I know that I will fail somehow in the ordeal of civilized social interaction.

I must now apologize for my lack of cultural input. I have become somewhat of a recluse. Instead of reading Serious Literature, I've read only one or two books at all this year, one of them being the vast doughy mass of "Harry Potter, book 5." I don't go to movies, not even trashy ones or fantasy blockbusters. I don't watch TV. I haven't even been listening to baseball games (though I check the results online). When people ask me about current cultural events, I can barely answer. I manage to read the newspapers at Starbucks, at least a few pages of them. The only thing I read at length are online articles, and not too many of those.

My excuse is that I have been under pressure at my day job for a few months due to lack of signmaking personnel. I have had to do most of the signwork. This may be changing as a new person with professional graphics background has finally been hired. I hope that she will take a share of the workload. Meanwhile I take care of hundreds of little signs at the gourmet store, dashing through the bustling store finding missing ones, making new ones, and correcting existing ones. It is like walking through a moving, constantly changing kaleidoscope image, picking and replacing pieces as you go. It is intense work (and noisy, too, with people, cell phones, and pop soundtrack together) and so when I get home, the last thing I want is to listen to something SERIOUS which demands even more of my attention. This is why I budget my attention so carefully and why I am not as much of an Intellectual as I am supposed to be. So if I apologize for being culturally out of it, this at least has a reason.

I apologize (at least to my classical-music listening audience) for my choice of music listening. I love electronic spacemusic, much of it endless drones or repetitive rhythm tracks without any discernible musical content. I find it soothing after a day in the kaleidoscope. It evokes vast quiet spaces, which I fantasize about. You can have a listen to my typical Internet "radio" stream at Live365 Internet Radio type "Moving Through Space" into the "search, find stations that play" box. I apologize, but I dream on and listen to the aural clouds drifting over the sonic prairie.

I must also apologize for my food choices. Despite the well-meaning lectures by vegetarian friends and clients, I still eat meat and lots of it, the saltier the better. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to just say "I'll have the salad" and actually prefer it, but not now. I apologize for getting that package of flavored tortilla chips and munching them. My diet is not virtuous. I apologize for consuming creamy gorgonzola cheese. (See "working in gourmet store" described in an earlier paragraph for excuse.)

OK then, I'll apologize for everything, no matter how trivial. But what do I NOT apologize for? Two things: art and physics. No matter how much work I do at the day job, I am at the art table night after night, painting stuff. I am currently working on catalog number 924, an abstract geometric piece for my upcoming autumn show. This is a very stylized but still recognizable ocean scene, painted in acrylic, all in colors of light and mid-blue with one bright orange accent. In my physics study I am working through Schaum's rendition of acceleration and motion, this time done up in beginning calculus style with graphs and derivations. This time I don't just get the formulas served to me, but I get the mathematical lead-up to them, built from basic ratios and (classical) relationships of time, space, and motion. And there are plenty of problems to solve. These are the kind of problems I like to have; no apologies needed.

Posted at 3:30 am | link

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