Dammit, Jim!

I'm not a science writer so this may not make any sense at all. But I think it's fun to ponder these little conundrums.

Okay. Time travel. Still impossible. And when you think about it, if it were possible, someone should already have come back from the future by now.

But! I'm reading Chaos and Harmony by Trinh Xuan Thuan, and it's all about the cosmos and Einstein and things of that nature. And he's talking about how time appears to slow down as you near the speed of light. He gives a scenario with Jules and Jim; Jules is piloting a starship at 80% the speed of light and Jim is chillaxin' back on earth. Jim decides, about an hour into Jules' trip, to send him a message using tachyons. (Bear with me; tachyons are theoretical particles that can travel faster than the speed of light)

Okay, here's the conundrum. Once Jim sends the message, Jules receives it a half-hour before Jim has actually sent it. So when he sends the reply message, Jim receives it approximately 52 minutes before he sent his original message.

So I'm thinking....if Jim receives a reply before he even sends a message, thus making sending a message unnecessary, he wouldn't send it, and therefore would not receive a reply in the first place.


It reminds me of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, where they need to leave the keys to the jail cell somewhere so they can retrieve them without having been given them in the first place, so they have to go back in the past and leave them behind a bush. Once Bill and Ted think of this idea, they go behind the bush and - voila! - there the keys are. But then, Bill reminds his friend that they have to remember to actually go back in time and leave the keys.

But what if they forgot? Then the keys would not be there in that moment when they went to go get them. And what if they then committed absolutely to going back in time and leaving the keys? Would they abruptly appear?

Ahhh, such speculation is almost fruitless. But I love it.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.


Revising the aughts.

Thanks to a couple of savvy friends and a revelation of my own, I have added to my list of the defining characteristics of this decade and now present to you the full list (though subject to revision yet again). Here we go:

1) The War on Terror
2) American Idol
3) Reality TV
4) Celebrity mania
5) Blogs
6) Harry Potter
7) The election of the first Black President
8) The recession
9) Social networking
10) The iPod
11) Going green
12) Internet fame

I left off anything from fashion because at any given time there are several major trends and I like to keep my lists looking tidy. Also I didn't want a number thirteen...but I would have chosen huge sunglasses, just so you know. ;-)


Becoming...a better photog?

I'm excited. I'm about to share with you all some photographs I took during college. These actually were also a part of an art exhibit I did sophomore year (don't be fooled, I lived in a fine arts dorm and they had a little room...)

I've been thinking recently about if and how my camera skills have gotten better over the years. The pictures below are those I considered some of the best I'd ever taken--by the time I was 20. I had a Kodak Advantix camera, which, if you'll recall, was a big deal because of the "drop and load" function for film canisters. (Easier to load - harder to develop, trust me!) It could do crazy things like turn black and white photography into a study in history. But, as basically the point-and-shoot of yesteryear, it had its limitations also.

Now, they have a slightly grainy quality (which you may or may not be able to see) because they're actually scans of the real thing that I had put on a CD so that I could work with them online. But that kind of makes them even cooler, because there's an age attached to them, unlike purely digital photography. I did adjust the color saturation a bit since you always lose something in the transfer.











I upgraded in 2005 to a 35mm Minolta, getting it for about $170 on overstock.com instead of at its regular price of almost $450. I got a digital Canon Powershot in 2006 (on a whim, as I was out of town and without my Minolta), and as you all know just purchased my latest one, a Fujifilm Finepix that I love to death. I ordered prints online at Walgreens yesterday for about fifty of my favorite photos from my NC vacation, and could not be more thrilled. The quality is sublime, and the detail, especially around edges, is ridiculous.

Anyway, I decided that I've always had a pretty good eye for photography. There were a few clunkers in that long-ago exhibit that I can only see now as "not that great." But mostly for me, it's just a matter of progressing in terms of camera quality and really cracking the whip and learning the fundamentals.

Thank God for Jesus.


There's a book coming out this Wednesday called The Sartorialist, and it's by a man named Scott Schuman who goes by the book's titular moniker. He's a street-style photographer, snapping hip adults in major cities all over the world, and I didn't realize how much I liked his stuff until I found out about the book. (Don't you love it when you find out that something awesome is coming out like two days before it does? No wait period!)

I've wondered each time I've seen a subject of his, what these people are really thinking when they get dressed. Are they the sort of person who's so effortlessly individualist and creative that a quirky outfit seems perfectly normal to them? Are they making an effort to stand out quirkily? If so, can the Sartorialist spot such artifice a mile away, and does he reject it or accept it's inevitability?


I think I'm going to take a nap. Late night last night.

(photo courtesy of this post by Joanna over at A Cup of Jo)


The aughts.

Every decade has defining characteristics. The 20s - jazz. The 30s - the Depression. The 40s - WWII. The 50s - perfection. The 60s - postmodern freedoms. The 70s - disco! The 80s - big hair. The 90s - errgh...um...sigh...really crappy alternative music. (Except for Alanis)

And of course, there's much more that can be said about each of those decades; sub-characteristics, if you will, people and events and styles and landmarks that are instantly identifiable in their place in time.

And when you think about it, it takes a while for the new decade to shake off the old. For example, when I was born, the world was still living by those wonderful 70s standards of bell-bottoms, discotheques, disaster movies, orange shag carpet (though my mom claims it was 'rust colored,' it was my room so I should know), and Three's Company. God, I love the seventies. *moment of silence*

So I've been thinking, now that this decade is gently drawing to a close, what are those defining characteristics we will look back on in twenty or so years and nod our heads and say, 'Yes. Those were the aughts, all right'?

I've compiled a list.

1) I'd say the biggest one is the War on Terror. Or, the War in Iraq. Or, whatever we choose to call it whenever we figure out what's actually going on. September 11th was extremely early in this decade and so the proceeding events have had plenty of time to play out across the aughts; not to mention the fact that the War is as hotly contested and debated and reviled as Vietnam (though Nam, interestingly, spanned two decades).

2) The next biggest is American Idol. Whether or not you like it, it's the truth. It also came into existence very early, in summer of '02, and is still going very strong and has been incredibly successful both in ratings and in the commercial viability of its winners and finalists. Simon Cowell is an icon, although a strange one, and Seacrest inhabits a plane all his own. It is very difficult to imagine the aughts without this show.

3) Reality TV in general. There have always been reality shows, but it wasn't until the aughts that it became a phenomenon, and networks began developing reality over aging formulas of the past like situation comedies. We have seen more highs (AI, Biggest Loser, Survivor), lows (Paradise Hotel, Beauty and the Geek), awesomeness (What Not To Wear, America's Next Top Model, Real Housewives), unnecessariness (Run's House, Hey Paula!)and outright inappropriateness (Flava of Love and it's many spinoffs) than we ever imagined could exist in the universe.

4) Celebrity mania. I hate it. I can't go into it or I'll break something.

5) Blogs. Huh. Whodathunkit. And remember when they were called 'weblogs'? And all new and frightening? Good times.

6) Harry Potter. Even though the series was first published in the late nineties, the movies began coming to theaters in '01 and the hype as the fifth, sixth, and finally seventh books came out was unreal. Kids loved reading again. Parents loved reading with their kids. J.K. loved cashing her checks--err, I mean...writing. And every now and then, on warm summer midnights, the country--nay, the world--felt united by a boy in glasses who became really good at acting like a bitchy teenager.

7) Admittedly I'm not too taken with the world of high fashion, but notable styles that have come and perhaps already gone are huge sunglasses, Ugg boots, anything peasant (meaning ugly), graphic tees, and hurrah! Skinny jeans are back and hips are allowed once more. And if you happen to be wearing an outfit consisting of each of those things, you are either Mary Kate or Ashley. Who probably belong on this list too. Although way down.

So that's my take on it. Anything major that you think should have been on my list?

Here, at the end of things.

At this point

all I dare dream of

is a chance to slip away


into a moment

that never ends.


(photo taken on the E.B. Jeffress trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina)