Sunday, December 26, 2010

21: Christmas comes but once a year ...

It's the last week before Christmas so time for me to put pen to paper (In a manner of speaking) once again ...

As I sit here year after year whittling the still-warm core of another year's experience, I create personal punctuation marks in this billion year, day-follows-night-follows-day odyssey that we share. This semi-colon draws my attention to the recurrence of the counter-intuitive 'unseasonable cold' effects of global warming, as it settles deep, crisp and evenly oer the castles of England. Yet in this idyllic picture-postcard, deep white, snow white; double glazed, insulated and efficiently lit scene, something ugly stirs ... 'Tis the ire of Christmas Past, which lashes hot and fast on those who blaspheme by their casual observations of this ... "Weather is not climate!". It seems that even a secular society still needs its Gods. But as another freedom falls quietly by the wayside, another fairy dies ... Especially cruel when it's the freedom of the English to talk about the weather.

Outside there is a snow-clad winter wonderland. Bedecked trees bow under their burden, shrieking children slide precariously down glistening hillsides and the population of villages and towns double as the snowmen hiding in the shadows since last winter, creep out under the cover of darkness to stand in any open space, arms akimbo in silent homage to the cold and frosty morn. With the combined snick of a million butterfly sneezes, billions of transistors convinced of their own importance since their recent creation from the very sand of time; are assigned to holding in perpetuity the value of a pixel never ever to be noticed. A transistor is not aware, it is just a dumb collection of materials! ... But what then of a virus? The smallest transistors today are the same size as the smallest virus, and they are clearly demonstrating their individual identity and independence; no longer are they the well behaved transistors of the past, these nano-revolutionaries are the bellwethers of the future. Indeed it may be that they become so unruly that the only way to progress Moore's law is to use viruses in their stead. So it may not be long till we have to consider the self-actualisation of our circuits ... Viruses have rights too you know!

So it seems likely that we will have a white Christmas this year ... or does it. There's more to statistics than chance. You know that if enough people wish for something, then perversity steps in and it doesn't happen. So somewhere out there, a butterfly with a wicked streak is adjusting the weather so that a warm-front (a relative term in the UK) arrives to assures we have cold-rain for Christmas and the bookies rest easy on their profits. Of course Christmas is not really about gambling, or indeed any of the commercial motivations that strive to part us from our financial present and future. It is an opportunity to remember that we are people living amongst people in a most improbable situation of beauty in a majestic and awesome; but predominantly empty and hostile universe. And more; to value the relationships and feelings we share with others. A good time to thank whatever you attribute for giving you the opportunity to do so ... But then go out and spend something because the Chancellor needs you to help pay-off his gambling debts.

Of course it wouldn't be right for me to get so far and not mention anything about my 2010. Well I suppose my experiments with time-travel are proceeding quite well. These days I can manage a stately progress forward in time, though backward or even minor variation from the day/day proves intractable. Perhaps more disappointing is the realisation that increasingly more of you didn't start as early as I did, so are generally further from the finishing line ... but such is life. So that I am still here to launch this missive into the ethereal odyssey is the greatest fortune (to me); doubled by the fact that you clearly still have an ISP! From this sound beginning, I'm expecting around 400 or so of our fellow time-travellers to further swell this coffer of happiness.

... As you know there were a lot of seconds in 2010, so I did a lot of things. I and my wife (Frances) are well, we walked and talked, and did and saw; and we travelled the globe and saw children and grandchildren who are well and delightful (of course). My work is great, and through it I have met you, new and old like-minded friends who find satisfaction in the challenge of mastering and utilising the interaction of just a few of the 115 elements ... we have such a long way to go. What else ... Well Fame and Fortune still prove elusive, and Beauty Sleep just isn't working. Late Great (as in the late great Ian Phillips!) is coming along nicely, though late seems to be the easiest part. But overall I would say it has been a good year ... Which throws serious doubt on my old adage, that life is AC-Coupled.

Time to finish now; the central-heating boiler is making a funny noise so I'd better go and laugh at it, lest it sulks over Christmas. So time to hang up the penknife and sweep up the discarded shards ... Just Christmas then we're off again, full-tilt into a brand new year.

" ... and when it comes it brings great cheer!" ... So have a very merry Christmas, and I (we) wish you the best of fortune for 2011.

Cheers.i@n(And Frances)