Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Physics of Tennis and Walking

I got some new tennis shoes in the mail this week. I feel a little bad for not buying them from a local place. But my pro shop at my club doesn't carry my brand (New Balance) and I know exactly what I need (10 B, slightly larger than my dress shoe size) and can get it so easily online. My others had developed a very, very thin spot on the sole and when that happens a toe injury is soon to follow. I'd reverted to shoes -1 because the sole was smooth but intact. So, I wore them for the first time yesterday and played three not very hard sets of doubles on hard court. So they are fine. It's amazing that we humans (even this uncoordinated one) can play tennis. Moving around the court and arranging to have the racket strings strike the fuzzy ball and go over the net and stay in. (Well, sometimes.) It's just amazing, really, what we can do. Like I say: even me. Oh, I miss of course but even in missing your body is conducting an amazing array of spectacular fine and gross motions.

I took a walk yesterday, too. I just felt like getting out and so I walked over to Congress and sat in the Hideout and drank a root beer and worked the Thursday crossword in the NY Times. All but one square without any Google checks or such. I also wrote a little in a notebook and pondered great questions of the world. Like "what is the story of the weird guy who seemed maybe a character, maybe homeless and then engaged the girl nearby with the Mac laptop about Flickr accounts?"And "How is there enough bad art in the world to decorate all the coffee shops?" Things like that. It's good to get away from watching the stock market or wallowing in techno-land turning your thoughts into pixels and just sit in a coffee shop.

Walking back and forth I was struck again by how we walk, adjusting to bumps in the terrain (easier in my hiking boots than in heels, I thought, as I saw one gal teetering across a street). Stepping nimbly over curbs and around obstructions, most of us go along without a hitch. It's really no wonder that sometimes we fall. And sometimes we can't get up.

Speaking of which (falling and not being able to get up) my dad left a message on the phone last night that the Lifeline people had sent him a new phone (which has the antenna and speaker built in to communicate with the Lifeline button). His did not survive its encounter with the Shiner Bock. He was wondering this morning how he could set it up so he could use the phone from his chair (it doesn't buzz his hearing aids and has nice large numbers that announce themselves, etc.) but possibly avoid his liquids. We decided that maybe it could go on another table. Of course, the next misstep won't involve the phone. That's how these things go.

It's amazing how we can do all these things with our bodies without thinking much about them. Until they disappear. Or we do. Dad can still walk and take care of himself (eased by the accessible house and canes and walkers, of course) and after over nine decades that's amazing.

In other random thoughts from yesterday: it's too bad our computing environments are so powerful and yet so difficult to back up. I was anticipating a visit from my computer guru today to look at updating some stuff and why we get some random errors here and there. I decided to record briefly the changes I made to my computing environment on the Windows XP Virtual Machine. I updated spreadsheet cells, downloaded and edited photos, wrote in a journal I keep in a Word document, updated QuickBooks with a stock dividend in one of my accounts and with some checks we'd written, etc. That's not counting, of course, updating my Austin Daily Photo blog. Who knows whether that blether will be 'preserved' or not.

It's too bad that we can't register all our software including versions and option settings, record our file structure, get versioning on all files, be asked to rank the importance of data, etc. without having to develop our own elaborate schemes for not losing stuff when our media and computers so down. It makes me so tired, making backup schemes, making sure they work, upgrading software, looking for files, organizing. I just want to use the computer to make words and pictures and to read stuff. I want it to be there with my calendar, mail, journals, financial software and spreadsheets. There just is no scheme that works flawlessly. Apple has this 'Time Machine' thing but I don't know how well it really works especially if you lose your whole environment. It seems more suited for recovering from your own faux pas. I guess Apple offers some off site backup, too, but I don't know how that works. I think my main problem is that I create too much stuff. Too many e-mails, too many downloaded pictures, too many words. I think it's interesting that I've entrusted all the blog entries to some free service without much of a qualm. I used to create my own HTML journals and such and I would upload those to the servers of companies I paid to host them and then I was pretty blase about otherwise backing them up.

Where am I going with all of this? Don't know. Life is complicated. We are complicated. Computers are complicated. I'm going to go across the hall and exercise and read the newspaper.

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