May 9, 2010

Getting my beliefs challenged

I own the extended DVD set of "What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?", also known as "Down the Rabbit Hole". I can't remember now how my browsing the internet today started, but I ended up learning a lot about the science in "What the Bleep": It's terribly inaccurate. There are other inaccuracies or downright errors, but for the most part quantum mechanics only work on quantum levels, not at sizes like a basketball or a universe or even a mere atom.

And that spoils all New Age claims that it is quantum physics that explain the Law of Attraction or any other woo-woo belief, like spontaneous healing, psychic phenomenon or near-death experiences. Dang. I was so hoping science could explain these things by now.

My surfing has brought me to The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. There I have found good writing, and proper skepticism. Not the finger-pointing pooh-poohing of beliefs, but rather a behind-the-scenes look at some claims and what's factually wrong with them. Articles here not only debunk stuff, but also discuss skeptical deists

"We always say, “skeptics say ‘show me the evidence,’” don’t we? Skeptics are not merely cynics; skeptics don’t say “I don’t believe it!” They say “what is the evidence for it?” and if there is sufficient evidence, they change their belief. This is why […] it is not at all difficult to allow for skeptical deists."

…and the necessity of beliefs that don't change in the face of facts:

"When data and belief come into conflict, the brain does not automatically give preference to data. […] The brain doesn't care whether or not the belief matches the data. It cares whether the belief is helpful for survival.").

This reading diet has made me question once again my own beliefs. I find that that, this time around, it doesn't worry me. The natural state for a healthy human being is to be curious and to be curious means to question and explore and to accept that the conclusion may not be what one had hoped for. But I'm finding that to be the fun part. At this rate, I may have to start labeling myself as an agnostic.

I wonder how my next viewing of "Down the Rabbit Hole" will be after all this skeptical reading. The movie/documentary has its share of mad hatters; I refuse to endorse this one although I find it very cool that I share a birthday with this one.

May 7, 2010

Say to self: Change is good

When last I wrote… When the heck was that? Sheesh, a month ago. You know, a proper post with several paragraphs and stuff. Something that requires a cup of coffee to read - and write. (I bought the cup you see because it says "Beautiful Home". Nice affirmation.)

I am happily busy at work. That's good. We're redoing our logo and graphic design of brochures, business cards, etc., and I've been thrown into the thick of it.

At home I've been getting back into more routines. Or trying to. I at least feel like doing that, which I haven't in quite some time.

In the midst of all this, is the fact that there is change. Change is all around me. Things don't stay the same. Tomorrow will not be like yesterday, even if I do nothing. I find that that bothers me. And being bothered by change bothers me.

I used to willingly embrace anything new and different. I still do that to some degree. I bought a domain and have started to build my website there using iWeb, but that's temporary. I will whip out the text editor and CSS cheatsheet and do my own thing. Eventually.

But when it comes to other kinds of change, the kind I don't control, the kind I don't ask for, I find that I react badly now. I don't know if it's age or circumstance, but I suspect it's because I don't like loss. Or maybe I just don't like other people doing things that demand I make a fuss, too.

My co-op is going to have a vote on whether or not to expand our balconies. I have no idea what that may involve, but it may involve a mess. Well, that's still off in the future so I'll put that out of my mind for the time being. (But I do feel like being a curmudgeon and voting "no" to the expansion. That'd be a first!)

More immediate is the situation at work: In the middle of not knowing whether or not our department will be kept as is, we are forced to dismantle everything and move, and in the future we will be expected to live with a minimum of paper and filing use. The idea of all kinds of endings, of tossing out our own history and even our own personal space, started to overwhelm me yesterday. I felt the tears come on, and I was reminded of the stress last year when everyone around me started moving our offices (in my eyes, willy-nilly) and I wished things were more planned and paced.

My co-workers seem so energetic. They've been tossing and working their way down memory lane, and I have been watching them, fighting my own sadness about the whole thing. The photo here shows my signing off on the last four-color printing job our two-color press will ever do. It's the last time I've printed out a job on film, and the last time we'll be making printing plates from film. All our machines will be sold. I can't help but be sad about it all. It's the end of an era.

I think in part my reluctance to embrace what is happening is because it isn't our choice. It's one thing to acknowledge that modern times demand new solutions; we'd then be selling off our old technology in order to install new. I'd love me a digital press! But we didn't make this choice, we didn't get to steer our own way into the future. It was decided for us. Yes, I know, such is life in a big company and in this ever more quickly changing world, where five years has now become an impossibly long perspective (versus 20 years, well, 20 years ago). But I've enjoyed this work, I've enjoyed preparing separations for printing, I've enjoyed working with practical men, who accurately line up crop marks, whose fingers are stained with C, M, Y or K, who have such pride in their work. This week, our two-color press has done more printing than it has so far this year. I've enjoyed hearing the rhythm of the machine as it turned out pallets and pallets of new letterhead with our new logo. It sounds normal, it sounds right, it sounds like home.

I know I'm not in danger of losing my job. I'm just in danger of losing my comfort zone, of losing what I've been enjoying up close for the past twelve years. Twelve. Time to move on, yes.

I am excited about the remodeled work space to come. I am willing to cull and toss and give up so that we can all move and move in time. There's no point in fighting the change. I simply have to remind myself that change is inevitable so I may as well find the good in it and enjoy it.

I hope I've convinced myself by the end of this weekend.

May 2, 2010

All the Wrinkled Ladies

If you're my age *cough*, enjoy this spoof of Beyoncé's hit. Don't be mad when you see your skin don't fit. LOL!