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Saturday, 8.05.06: Week In Review

It was a quiet week here on Planet Susan. HOT.

I'm addicted to air conditioning. But I'm trying to be responsible to the power grid and keep the inside temp to 78. What an eco-saint.

Also trying to keep driving to a minimum. Hate those gouging $45 tank fills.

These things could be adding up to a summer version of cabin fever.

Social. I did manage to get out for a lunch and a breakfast with fellow escapees from the Institution.

Ebay. Sales have picked up. Who knows why. Summer is supposed to be slow. But maybe other eco-hermits are sitting at their computers too.

Darwin. Ran out of steam on learning Flash and exploring "goddess" figures. Started cataloging Jim's big natural history/evolution book collection. I'm up to 23 single-spaced typed pages (in bibliographic form). Benefit so far: my touch typing skills have gotten a boost.

Although I'm not even handling the books at this point, I feel like I've plunged into a 19th century world where gentlemen generalists could achieve scientific breakthroughs.

I read once that Darwin's huge talent was not only synthesizing all of current knowledge into the origin of species. He wouldn't have been able to do that if he hadn't been an amazingly unbiased observer of the natural world. He made all his notes on a voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. He was unfettered by any impassioned belief system or scientific imperatives. He just opened his eyes and recorded what he saw. Sounds simple. But I think (for former idealists like myself) it's the most challenging task of all.

I did an exercise in a workshop once: I passed out cartoons to everyone and told them to tell me what they saw. But instead of saying, "There is a man lying on a couch...," they all explained the joke to me. "This is funny because the guy is telling his psychiatrist... while the psychiatrist is..."

Darwin held off on explaining the joke till well after he got home.

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