Memory

I write myself notes all the time. I have the calendar app on my phone set to remind me of things I want to do later. I’m not always successful at following through on them, but I am getting better at remembering to get the things that I want to do done. At least, I’m getting better at keeping my To-Do list updated and checking it.

My memory is poor in some instances and good in others. I am not alone in that. I can’t remember my childhood before age five that well. I see stories where people remember their lives at age three and wonder how that’s possible. I have a poor memory and sometimes wonder if those people only think they remember their lives at age three.

I’m told that I climbed a ladder at age two and was found wandering around on the roof of the house. I have no memory of that, just the memory of someone telling me that story. When I was a baby, my oldest brother took me into his pup tent at the back of the yard because I was crying in the hammock where my mother had put me. I gather she spent time looking for me before discovering that. I have no personal memory of that either. Again, someone told me that happened. I think that I overwrote my memories of that time in my life were overwritten by later, more interesting memories. After all, there are only so many synapses in the human brain.

I admit that my memory is not good. That’s why I write myself notes and keep a To-Do list. I have managed to establish a few routines that I follow to the point that I am annoyed when the routine is upset by unexpected events. I don’t think I am alone in that.

I also don’t think that my memory issue is due to old age, although I have family members who might say that. My memory has always been poor. I’m not even sure that there is any way to improve your memory. You just have to keep reading a list or doing something until you can recite or do by rote, but that takes time. Some people have the gift of total recall. They may be able to remember their lives from day one. I don’t know. I only know that I can’t. There are times when I wish I had total recall, and then I think of the bad things in my life. The times where I lost a loved one or a beloved pet and think, a poor memory is not so bad. I remember who I am and who my family and friends are. That’s enough.

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Posted in General Opinion

Data Backups

Backing data up online is a good idea. I have a network storage drive that I use to hold my documents. It keeps the hard drive of my computer free for processing. The problem with that method is that the network storage drive isn’t backed up with the computer. I have to do it manually. So I use GoogleDrive to do that. It’s a backup in the cloud and that’s a good thing, really. My method is simple. I copied all the files from the network drive to GoogleDrive and put it in a folder that I created there to hold the backup. I did that last January. It took a while, as there was a lot of stuff to move. At the beginning of last month, I looked at the network drive and ordered it by date modified and looked at what had been modified since the last time I uploaded files and moved those files to the backup. It’s a bit cumbersome, but it works.

Backing up your data is important. You never know when something will happen and you don’t want to lose your data. My back up plan with using GoogleDrive to hold the data has the added benefit of the fact that GoogleDrive itself is backed up periodically. That’s a double back up and means that my data is doubly protected against loss. I may never need to copy the data back from GoogleDrive, but it is good to have it there, ready to use.

Backing up your data to the cloud or even a dedicated backup site like Carbonite, or Mozy. My method is cumbersome, but my data space on Google is free. For me, that’s the selling point. if you need to make it more automatic than you will have to pay, but however you choose to backup your data, you should do it soon. You never know when you may need it. it only takes a few minutes if you plan it right. The initial backup will always take the longest, but after that, it depends on how much data you change. A lot of my data is kept on Microsoft’s OneDrive. It’s backed up too. It is accessible to my desktop computer, my net book computer, and my tablet. It’s safe there and I can access it. The other stuff is safely backed up on my GoogleDrive space. Review your needs, then choose the best backup plan for you. set it up and keep it up. that’s all you have to do. the peace of mind is worth it. Backups are important and sometimes you need to restore your computer. If you haven’t backed up your files and data, you will be out of luck.

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Posted in General Opinion

Dreams

I don’t remember my dreams as a rule. I keep my tablet handy in case I do wake up and remember a dream. It’s good to write them down as sometimes they can lead somewhere in fictions. Dreams are process by which we process information. It’s not a conscious act; it is just the brain’s way of processing the day’s sensory input into our memories. The brain categorizes the day’s experience and serves it up with bits and pieces of other experiences, things we’ve read, seen, heard, and whatever. That’s why dreams rarely make sense. The brain is just trying different combinations in our memories. There’s only so much room in there.

When we dream, we are actually processing ideas and thoughts. They can coalesce into a story premise or even a novel solution to a problem. More often than not, though. They are nonsense. Underneath that nonsense, though, we learn things, and we remember things. It’s how it works. At least, that’s what I think. Dreams have a purpose. They help us imagine how things can be, remember how they were, and so on. Writing a dream down might or might not make much sense because dream interpretation is subjective. It all depends on what you want.

No one can interpret your dreams for you. Your experiences are the basis of your dreams. No one else has those. If you Google the word ‘dreams’ you will get a number of websites that will ‘interpret’ them for you. Some are just dictionaries of the symbolism. Some of it makes no sense. A website called Dreammoods says that if you see a baboon in your dreams, you need to be more expressive in your feelings. Really? I don’t think I have ever dreamed about a baboon, but then, how would I know. I don’t usually remember dreams. That’s why I take dream interpretation with a grain of salt. Usually, if I remember a dream, I look for something a bit more common in them. For example, if you go to bed worried about making your bills, your dreams will probably have a financial tone. You’ll get your dream job, or win the lottery. That’s just wish fulfillment in your dreams. It isn’t real and you know that. It doesn’t solve your problems, but it lets you escape them for a while. That’s the real purpose of dreams, finding solutions, if possible, and escaping the mundane world around us.

Write down your dreams when you remember them. Be entertained by them, find solutions to some of your problems, but remember they are just dreams and have no substance in the real world. Perhaps I’m lucky that I don’t remember most of my dreams. I’m probably entertained in my sleep, but that is all I get from them. If you remember yours, maybe you can get good work of fiction from them and have a good night’s rest.

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Posted in General Opinion

FFL March 2015 Report

From: Agent Smudge To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 1 March 2015
Subject: The Meeting

The male has left. He was the one who helped bring us to this place. Beyond that, I know little about him. Agents Storm and Luna said he was from the place where Agents Trouble and Pica live. They were afraid he was here to take one of us back there with him, due to the death of Agent Trouble. That didn’t happen. We are still uncertain as to the purpose of his presence here for so long. He seemed nice enough as humans go.

I will add that he didn’t seem to be inspecting us at all. The humans banded together and went off somewhere most days. They are planning something. I don’t doubt that, otherwise, why would they meet in secret? I believe that we should all do our best to determine what they are planning. They went somewhere where no one could expect us to be able to listen in on their conversation. They had bags with that Mouse on them. They talked about something call Pirates of the Caribbean, Mission to Mars and other things that make no sense. They also went to some sunken gardens. How do you sink a garden? The male came home one day with a fish made of glass. He called it a souvenir. It was hard and stiff and I have no idea why you would want food you couldn’t eat. Humans are strange. I will try to find out what they were meeting about.

From: Agent Probie To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 1 March 2015
Subject: Interrogation

I was never sure that the male human was here to take one of us. He never seemed interested enough in us for that. I think he was here for another, unrevealed reason. I am going to do what I can to assist Agent Smudge to learn what the purpose of his meeting with our humans was. Has Agent Pica gotten a new partner yet? I’m not asking for myself, but I know that we have a number of agents waiting for placement and I think Agent Pica may be lonely. No one should have to do this work alone. I’m only saying that it must be very hard to cover a station alone. Does she have a good network with the roaming agents? Have you sent her instructions to find out what the humans are planning at her end? I understand that it must be hard for her to do the work of two agents, and hope that you will consider that when evaluating her reports. Agent Luna said that she is a nice cat.

They took me for interrogation again. I gave up nothing. I must report the indignity that I had to endure during that interrogation. They did a body cavity search! I can’t believe that they would stoop so low. What did they imagine I would have in there? Other than that horrible experience, the interrogation went as they usually do. No one asked me any questions. They only tortured me with sharp pricks. Have we learned why they do that to us?

 

Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

Research Notes

No matter what kind of research you are doing, you need to make clear, concise notes. I research my novels. I also do research into my family history. They are two completely different forms of research, but their notes have a couple of things in common. I date both of them. For example, any research I do today would have the date on it, 22 February 2015. I follow that with a complete citation of the reference I am checking, the URL if it is online or the publication information if it’s in a printed work. I won’t go into how to do that. Suffice to say that you can look up how to do it online or in any writing reference book. Then I make a note of what I found, giving it a meaningful name such as, “Birth of Grandfather Neil A. McTaggart” or “Details of Simulated Planet”, helps. After I write those down, I move to the actual note taking. In the case of websites, I usually do screen shots or just copy and paste. That’s the fastest and easiest way to get large amounts of text into your notes. Putting the concepts into your own words is better though. You are less likely to plagiarize the work, unconsciously, which would still be a crime.

That’s where the two processes separate. Research for a novel is mostly text. Family history research often involves images. It’s very important to get that image, whenever possible. Then you need to record why you think the subject of the record is your ancestor. You need to cite the source as well, so get that citation when you get the record. Then you need to put the information from the record into your own words. This makes it easier to read. Later, you can transcribe the record. You need to record your impressions of the source as you do the research because otherwise so you can analyze it better later. Researching your family history is a multi-part process. There’s the initial research, analysis and incorporating it. So it is very important to record everything you find when you find it. It’s also important to note when a source doesn’t have the information that you were looking for. That way you won’t search the source again, unless you have updated information that may make the information you are looking for show in the source, assuming it’s there.

Taking notes while researching a topic, whether it’s your family history or just a topic you need to look into for writing a novel or a paper, is easy as long as you remember to note the date you found the information and where you found it. It’s a good idea indicate what the notes are about as well. I give mine a title as I said before. That lets you find the note you are looking for. The date tells you when you searched that record. Good notes will help you in your research. Do it right and organizing them will be a snap.

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Posted in General Opinion

Getting Active

My activity monitor is not just for the time I spend at the gym. I actually never go to a gym. I don’t have a gym membership. It tracks my activity twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That’s because your activity level is twenty-four/seven. You move around a lot during the course of your day. even if you don’t think that you can fit thirty minutes of exercise into your day, stop a minute and consider where you could fit some exercise in. all you have to do is be active. If you walk up three floors of stairs instead of taking the elevator, that’s a mini-workout. It’s all that you have to do. I use vacuuming the house as a form of exercise. It’s mild, to be sure, but I am more active doing that than sitting in a chair. Speaking of sitting in a chair, did you know that you can bounce in your chair and get a small amount of activity that way?

I work from my home. I can’t vary the distance to the rest room, but if you work in an office, you could. Exercising in groups can be fun. Get your office to do the wave. Anything that gets you moving is good for you. Take the scenic route to the restroom. Go to a restroom on another floor if you can. It only takes a few minutes. Park a distance from the door when you go to work or the store. Let the other people sit in their cars waiting for a parking space to open up. You get your exercise in by walking to the store and then in the store. It does add up.

Doing the laundry can be a form of exercise. You can make multiple trips to put away the clean clothes, or dance in place while you hang up clothes or fold them. Dance with the broom while sweeping the floor. Bounce on your feet while doing the dishes. It might take you a bit longer to do the chore, but it will do two things for you. One it will make the chore a little more fun and two, it will add to your day’s activity. It doesn’t matter what you do, just move while you are doing it.

It’s said that you need at least ten minutes of cardio exercise a day for it to be effective. That’s correct, but it’s your overall activity that really counts. An active lifestyle doesn’t always mean playing sports, or working out at the gym for hours. It means shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. It means vacuuming and dusting. Just take a half hour and go for a brisk walk. You don’t need to spend thousands of whatever currency you choose to use, you only need to spend some time. So figure out where you can spend time actively and do it. It’s that easy.

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Posted in General Opinion

Winter

Winter is a cold time. It’s the season of snow and ice. The days are usually gray and dull. There’s little color. Some people like it. As you may have guessed, I really don’t. It’s not my favorite time of year. I hate being cold. Snow is only pretty right after it falls. Then it’s a nuisance. You have to move it off your driveway and sidewalks or you will slip in it. Yes, it’s slippery.

There are things that you can do with snow and ice. You can slide down hills on snow, build snow people, and have snowball fights. I went down a hill on a toboggan as a kid, and learned an important lesson. One person cannot control a toboggan. I didn’t have the weight. I would have been better off on a sled. I would likely have been able to avoid the tree, if I had been on a sled. Instead, I hit it, broadside. I wasn’t seriously injured, but it rather put me off the sport of sledding for a while. I can’t recall going sledding after that, although I probably did. It just doesn’t stand out like hitting a tree does.

I fell while learning to ice skate. The old adage about ice being the hardest thing about learning to skate is true. I pinched a nerve in my shoulder. If you’ve ever pinched a nerve, you will understand that I was in pain. We thought I’d broken my collarbone but I hadn’t. I never did learn to ice skate well. I just remind myself that ice sunk the Titanic.

As I sit here, writing this blog, I realize that I have been remarkably clumsy and easily discouraged in terms of winter sports. I also realize that I was an active child. Now I struggle to be active as an adult. What happened to that active child? Somehow, I turned into a couch potato. I’m not sure how that happened, but I got lazy.

I also do my best to avoid being cold. I can stand the heat of summer, but the cold of winter – I don’t like it. Cold and wet has to be the worst feeling ever. I hate being cold and wet. I love swimming in the summer, but don’t do it much. I don’t have a pool for one thing. For another, I don’t have a place where I can go to swim regularly. Oh, some members of my family have places on a lake, but it’s an hour and a half drive to get there and I often can’t do it because I have to work. The weekends in the summer, I have to cram the chores in that I can’t do during the week. For that matter, I have chores that I have to do in the winter as well.

As I said, winter is a cold, dreary time. I don’t like it much. Some days, when the sun is shining, it is a pretty time when the snow is new, but it gets old very fast. Then you have to think about shoveling snow off the driveway. No, winter is not my favorite time of year. You may have a different view of it.

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Posted in General Opinion
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