Time Flies

Perhaps not surprisingly, I just missed another anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary, Leslie me informed me that we both missed that a few weeks back. No, the anniversary I missed this time was the 12th anniversary of this blog. In fact, if I hadn’t been looking back trying to figure out how long I’d been practicing Tai Chi, I would never have known it was the blog’s anniversary. As you’ve probably noticed if you stop by regularly, I’m not much into “Special” days. Other than Christmas, I seldom devote a blog entry to holidays.

Still, it’s hard to believe that I first published a blog entry on September 21, 2001, an entry protesting our invasion of Afghanistan, almost as hard as believing that we are still there fighting a war that will accomplish nothing, despite politicians’ claims to the contrary.

Back then blogs were on the cutting-edge of the internet; now they’re almost ancient history, a mere footnote to the history of Twitter, Facebook, and all those other new medias. Luckily, I didn’t think of myself as cutting edge then, and I don’t think of myself as hopelessly obsolete now. I’m doing what I love, and as long as I can keep doing it as well as I want to do it I’ll be here doing it tomorrow and the days after.

The only thing more important to me than blogging is probably regular exercise, particularly walking and hiking. But I see regular exercise, even when I don’t want to do it, as vital to my health and well-being. Blogging is the mental equivalent of regular exercise. Forcing myself to write here has kept me more alive than I ever thought possible. I suspect I’ve read more for this blog than I read for my undergraduate degree.

Thank you for accompanying me on my journey, no matter how far you’ve walked with me. I sometimes think I bird just to meet fellow birders and to join with them in the appreciation of Nature’s beauty. I keep blogging because I meet the most interesting people here, virtual friends who love literature and ideas as much as I do. I suspect there’s no place in the world where I could find better companions.

I’ve fallen behind

and I can’t get caught up.

I am having a hard time balancing my compulsions lately. About the only thing I’ve managed to do regularly is to get to the Y and exercise for an hour or two each day so at least I don’t sacrifice my health to my other obsessions. You need to be healthy if you’re going to try to clean up past mistakes.

My main obsession, as I mention recently, is trying to clear out old photos that are filling up nearly two very large hard drives. I don’t even want to think about how many CD’s full of even older shots I might have waiting on the shelf. And we won’t even mention all the old slides that really should be converted to digital copies so that they don’t get thrown out when no one has slide projectors around to show them.

Conservatively, I’ve been locating and deleting nearly a thousand photos a day. Before I can delete many of them, I need to find them on backup hard drives because they have become disconnected from Aperture over time. Many of them became disconnected when I had to buy a larger hard drive to back them up. If I just delete them from Aperture without first locating them, they never actually get deleted from the hard drive, and that certainly defeats the purpose of what I’m doing.

So far I’m just tackling the easy part, deleting photos that aren’t as good as photos taken the same day or photos of subjects that I know in my head that I have better shots, common birds like Great Blue Herons, American Bitterns, Kingfishers, favorites that I can easily remember.

It will take me probably another 40+ hours just to finish this phase of the job. The harder job will be identifying all the photos so that I can then eliminate all but the very best of the shots, and the ones that have personal value because they remind me vividly of particular experiences.

It’s hard to remember that this is merely an extension of another job I started recently, trying to clean out my office so that I can paint, lay a new floor, and move the furniture around so that I can spend more time doing artwork.

Luckily it’s winter and I don’t have any plans to go anywhere until spring. We’ve descended into the winter rains here, and it’s supposed to get even worse in the near future. So, maybe I will be able to get back to reading and writing sooner rather than later.

Of course, I suspect I originally started this cleanup to avoid writing about Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. I have given both a lot of thought, though, and I’m not willing to throw them out until I have finally written something about them.

Disconnected

My lack of recent posting was due to an extended trip to Santa Rosa, California I just returned from. Normally when I’m about to leave on a birding trip and am not going to have internet access I’ll try to post several blog entries that will appear on upcoming dates while I’m gone. I didn’t feel that would be necessary this trip, however, because Mary has a high-speed Internet connection and I thought I would have lots of time to post entries.

I knew she had been having problems with her provider, but we completely lost the connection over the long weekend, making it impossible to post an entry from her house. It turned out squirrels had been chewing on the lines making the connection unstable. Strangely, exactly the same thing happened to our service in Tacoma a couple of years ago. I wonder how common the problem is?

Actually, though, I found the intermittent dropping of the connection more frustrating than simply not having it available at all. It seemed like every time I was about to post a blog entry the connection would cut out. Under such conditions, I found it difficult to get motivated enough to spend the time writing copy or even cropping pictures.

Not only was I unable to post entries, I was unable to read several of the ebooks books I had taken with me. I was surprised to discover that much of the commentary in my iPad book on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience required an Internet connection because they were served from YouTube. The same was true of a biology textbook I’m reading.

I have long been aware of how much time I spend on computers but much less aware how much of that time is spent connected to the internet. Looking back at my journal, which automatically tracks my time online, it turns out that most of my time spent on the computer lately is connected to the internet. The internet has become so woven into my daily life that it’s nearly impossible to live “normally” without it. Not sure I like that, but life certainly seems less pleasant without it.

Anyway, I should return to my normal schedule of posting four or five times a week once I’ve caught up here,. I’ll start with pictures from the trip and then attempt to make some comments on Joyce’s The Dubliners, which I finished while cut off from the internet, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses.

Unplugged

Unplugged

I’m about to head out on a 3-5 camping trip and decided that since many of those days will be spent carrying a pack uphill that I would leave all my computer equipment at home since I didn’t want to leave a Mac Book Air and other computer equipment at the trailhead. I know from experience that too often it isn’t safe.

It’s bad enough having your car broken into without losing expensive equipment that the insurance company won’t cover without an extended policy. Normally when I go birding I keep reasonably close to my car and don’t worry too much about it being broken into, but that would defeat the purpose of this particular trip.

Besides, after ten+ years of blogging and constant time on the internet I want to see what it feels like to simply shut it all down for three to four days. I suspect it might be harder to quit than smoking, but I think I need to find out.