After visiting a friend in the hospital, I went out into the humid heatosity to find my car battery was dead. Seems I left the lights on after traveling through a work zone. Triple A would have someone save my kiester in about an hour.
I went back to the hospital to wait. I was really annoyed. Bad things (even when they’re your own stupid fault) shouldn’t happen when you’re doing something nice. That’s not how the universe should work. It’s how it does work, but I don’t think it should. You can see how much the universe cares what I think.
I moped around a bit, twittered a while.
Twitter is not the place to argue things involving thermodynamics, quantum molecular orbital calculations and numerical methods for solving partial differential equations.
Needless to say, I was feeling even more annoyed.
When something bad happens, one way to deal with it is to do something to give it meaning. What could I do to make something good out of this car failure? If I could come up with something, then it wouldn’t be a total loss. Who knows? Maybe God had a purpose in me doing something stupid and having a crappy wait.
Now, you have to understand. Secret Agent L (Twitter: Secret Agent L) is a Pittsburgher who practices really cool random acts of kindness. She does them up real pretty and artistic and heartwarming. I admire her, and so I got to wondering if I could follow in her footsteps somehow. I had nothing prepared.
Looking around, I saw the gift shop. It hit me: the gift shop sells puzzle books I could leave to make people’s day better! I picked up 5 puzzle booklets and a packet of pens. A handwritten note explaining that this was a random act of kindness would fit on the covers. What should I say? My mind went blank. Well, I could look up what to say on Secret Agent L’s website. She had nice words and I don’t think she’d mind the plagiarism. I could spread the books and pens around for people waiting at the hospital to find. Great! This is going to work!
Yeah pens. My wife does the New York Times puzzle and books of logic problems in ink. When I get her a puzzle book, I get a pen to go with it. I didn’t think about everyone else using pencils. This was not planned, and it shows!
I sat down, got ready to write the first note and…the Triple A called. They were pulling up to the hospital right then. I quickly tucked a pen in each book, put them where people waiting could find them and headed out to the car, thinking “That wasn’t even half-butted. That was a quarter-butted effort.”
The Triple A woman was real helpful and showed me how the high tech battery tester worked.
So that’s how my attempted random act of kindness went. The emphasis was definitely on random.
Now you know why Secret Agent L actually plans these things!
I went back to the hospital to visit my friend the next day. Four of the books remained, so at least someone took one of them. I also left the Union Finley Messenger, but just ’cause I finished reading it!
BTW: Someone asked me about the title. When you do something nice for someone in return for them doing something nice for you, you “pay it back.” When you do something nice for someone else because someone did something nice for you, you “pay it forward.” Well, my Dad used to talk about things going “catywumpus,” which he never defined but from context appeared to mean not going in the direction you had planned. And this was far more random and weird than normal secret missions of random kindness. So “Paying it Catywumpus with Really Random Acts of Weirdness” makes sense to my strange brain.
Nancy found this dragonfly right next to the instar shell it had just climbed out of. The instar hatched and grew up in our pond.
Below is a photo of the instar shell. All photos were taken with my iPhone.
I was downtown and saw some of Ginny’s favorite wildlife!
I can blog from the iPhone if I wanted to. Not sure if there’s a more painful way to blog… But elipses are easy on the iPhone!
Looking at the old blog. Wondering.
Song of the Post: I’m Not Dead (I’m in Pittsburgh) by Frank Black
This morning is home-schooling time for me: I’ve got Kubota’s Raw Workflow for Lightroom in the laptop DVD drive, a couple cups of coffee in my stomach, and more than a few parrots calling in the background.
I’ve recently become enamored with Kubota’s image tools and training for photographers. I’ll have more to say about that over at a second blog I’m starting, Rob Carr Event Photography–and eventually explaining why I’m setting up another blog.
BTW: I don’t actually have Frank Black’s “I’m Not Dead (I’m in Pittsburgh) on my iPod. There just aren’t too many songs about Pittsburgh and the title struck me as a little bit funny.
I’m not sure that’s something to brag about…
Song of the Post: Lead Me On by Amy Grant
Waiting for the train
Labelled with a golden star
Heavy hearted boarding
Whispers in the dark
Where are we going–is it very far?
Bitter cold terrain
Echoes of a slamming door
In chambers made for sleeping, forever
Voices like thunder in a mighty roar
Cry to the Lord.
Torture is acceptable. I can’t believe it, but in talking with several people, the idea that America tortures isn’t shocking any more. They’ve lost any moral outrage–in fact, approve. The biggest complaint they had was that Obama should not have embarassed the country. Not “torture is immoral.” Just “He shouldn’t embarass us.”
Dick Cheney says it’s ok to torture, so it’s ok. It’s like some insane combination of the Stanford prison experiment and the Milgram experiment .
There’s an image I can’t get out of my head. You see this guy being tortured at one of the extraordinary rendition sites. He’s your typical Middle Eastern man, and he’s face down on the floor, being kicked and punched and spit upon and taunted. He turns toward the camera, and it’s suddenly obvious the person they’re torturing is Jesus…
…and they know what they’re doing.
Song of the Post: Everything You Know Is Wrong by Weird Al Yankovic
Everything you know is wrong
Black is white, up is down and short is long
And everything you thought was just so
Important doesn’t matter
Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong
Yesterday, Fox News came up with yet more proof that Barak Obama is the most evil man in the world:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid writes in a memoir that President Obama told him he “has a gift” when it comes to public speaking, a comment that could be interpreted as bragging.
Shocking! I think that’s pretty conclusive, don’t you?
I would have ignored it, but Fox put it in the subhead of the article. If you read the rest of the article, you don’t see anything more in the article about it. There’s no analysis of the ethics of how to speak about your abilities. There’s no mention of either of the two highest-ranking Christian luminaries–Pope Benedict XVI and Pat Robertson–saying anything about this comment.
It’s just a dig at Obama designed to subconsciously affect your opinion of the man. Fox News is about manipulation.
On the other hand the Obama team did screw up with the flight over New York for a photo op. I think Letterman said it best last night when he noted “This is the sort of screw-up we’d expect from the Bush administration.”
Song of the Post:
- Barber’s Adagio for Strings
Go look on iTunes. Barber’s Adagio for Strings is on wedding music albums. I’m not kidding. It’s on wedding music albums!
For crying out loud, people! If you’re going to have Barber’s Adagio for Strings at your wedding, don’t get married. Break up now and be grateful you escaped with your life.
I was thinking about an exception for people who met at the movie Platoon or the symphony, but no. You still don’t do it.
Same thing goes if your mother-in-law plans on listening to it on her iPod during the wedding. Maybe even moreso.