As the year winds down I’m mostly cheery about my slice of life, though distressed by much of what I see looking outside it. There are cheery-side pictures here.
Here are things that will happen this first week of 2015:
People will kill others because of devotion to supernatural entities. Were there a benevolent deity, he or she would manifest double-quick and say “Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Thou. Shalt. Not. Kill. OK?” But there isn’t, as any fool can plainly see.
People will kill others as an expression of devotion to nation-state abstractions. In the long term, this malignancy may be a harder nut to crack than religion.
The strong will impose violence on the weak, with little fear of negative consequences.
People will suffer immensely because their manager at work is some combination of abusive and incompetent. In the developed world, I suspect that shitty management is a leading cause — possibly the leading cause — of human suffering.
Many things will be produced because they can be sold, with no concern for their effects on the purchasers; because only amateurs worry about that.
Important people will make public statements about important issues which neglect crucial truths, or actively try to direct attention away from those truths, in language carefully constructed to mislead.
On the other hand:
My son, 15, has grown 21cm (8¼") in two years; he is shockingly tall and good-looking.
My mother, at 84, retains all of her essential self and has not an ungenerous bone in her body.
My extended family is mostly at peace with each other and the world, in acceptably good health, and not terribly short of money. Some of our illnesses are severe, but about as well controlled as could be hoped for.
I continue to enjoy my profession.
I am loved much more than I deserve, I think.
A smaller problem · I’ve sort of vanished from the Net since I started my new job. It’s a weird feeling. There’s no conspiracy; I’m just Learning AWS and trying to start helping make it better. It takes time and energy. As a matter of principle, for the first time in forever I have a Work Computer (several actually), and a Personal Computer that doesn’t come to work.
I’m making no predictions or resolutions; given the urge to blog and tweet more, I will; otherwise not. Lord knows I’ve done enough of it for any two or three normal humans. I suspect the Internet will keep calm and carry on, absent my verbiage.
Christmas presents · I got the Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 wide-angle zoom. It’s fun! My son got a gaming keyboard (its WSAD glows lividly), my wife a beautiful Italian flower vase from the Fifties, my daughter a half-leather vest from a thrift shop we’d wandered through a few weeks back.
We ate and drank and played cards, dealt with Saskatchewan temperatures, sledded. To get there and back we put six people in a van (the family plus Allyson and Shane) and drove 3,436km; the road soundtrack was Emma Kirkby and Shonen Knife and Herreweghe’s BWV 131 and Johnny Cash and Leon Redbone and so on. It was a brutal grind and I loved it; the moments of beauty outnumbered the moments of terror, which is all you can ask for if you’re going to drive across the Rockies in Canada in winter.
We stopped in Calgary for more family time on the way back.
Above, the interior of the Chinese Cultural Centre; below, a picture from the Christmas-light display at the Calgary Zoo. It was seriously freezing. This was taken when the camera was fogged up and I almost reflexively deleted it. When we got going, I realized I had the 30-year-old Pentax 50mm portrait lens on, and there was no hope of changing lenses while shepherding kids through a -22°C snowscape. Still, it was OK.
Now I’m home, typing this in front of the fire, ignoring the approach of midnight.
I hope the world does better in 2015. I’m doing OK.