Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #890 - Back to Michigan

Kalamazoo College in winter
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #890 - Back to Michigan

Hi Mom,

So, hi there, I am writing a blog in the sky. Though this one is dated Tuesday December 12th, I am posting it, back dated, on Wednesday December 13th as I ride in an airplane from my new home in the Pacific Northwest back to my old home, my long-time home of Michigan. This will be my first time back in Michigan since I rode the ferry outbound from its shores on August 21st, 2017.

That would be this ferry:

the SS Badger 1708.21

I hesitate to say that I am "going home." My home is not in Michigan anymore. My home is in Woodland, Washington, just north of Vancouver and of Portland, Oregon. I lived in Michigan a long time.

Surely, it will be familiar. But I don't have that feeling of "going home." I am visiting family and friends. I am re-connecting with people, places, and things somewhere I lived a very long time. But I don't have that feeling of "relief," that feeling of comfort, security, and home. Maybe I will feel all those things when I get there. And maybe I won't. Maybe the thing that is missing from the equation is you, Mom. I don't know.

I will be staying with the Big Guy, Dad, in the condo where you died, Mom, a condo where I never lived, though there are many familiar things there, many of my things are there, and so there will be familiarity and love, but will there be home?

The home that you created is gone, Mom. The home that Dad and I created with you after your days of creating space were largely behind you is also gone. The home that Liesel and I created together is gone, too. By "gone," I mean that the home concept is gone. The physical places remain, of course. But the idea of "home" is gone; it has passed into memory and into feeling, emotion, love.

On the drive to the airport tomorrow morning (tomorrow as I post, this morning as I write), my wife thought I was sad. She was singing along to her music, and I was quiet. Partly, I was quiet because I don't much like "Safety Dance," but then "Under Pressure" played, and I didn't sing to that either. She read my emotions as sad, but my emotions are more complex than simple sadness. I am not sure exactly what I am feeling in a way that I can adequately describe. I think I will know when I get there.

I am bracing myself for the realization that one "cannot go home again" as Thomas Wolfe wrote so long ago.

Maybe I am also seeking closure. I was in such a rush to get out of Kalamazoo on a time schedule. I tried to enjoy the goodbyes and the love from friends and family, but there was also madcap packing and frenzy. This visit will be more reflective and slower paced.

So, we'll see.

Mom, I will soon be where you last were, physically, again.

Friends, for those who see this posting, shoot me a message. I am trying to find time to see as many people as possible, but I have not contacted everyone yet, partly because some plans are still up in the air, and partly because I know I cannot see everyone. I know everyone will understand.

Michigan, Kalamazoo, loved ones, I will see you soon.

PS: I didn't know what photo to choose for the top of this post. The K-College photo feels right as surely I will visit the campus, but it's only one of many places I love. I wish I had a better photo of myself surrounded by Kalamazoo people, loved ones...

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 892 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.12 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #889 - Particle Horizon - Musical Monday for 1712.11


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #889 - Particle Horizon - Musical Monday for 1712.11

Hi Mom,

I am trying to keep things simple.

Grading Hell.

So, here is new music from Ascendant.

I promise to have more to share with you soon.



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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 891 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.11 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #888 - At Yale Park - Lewis River - Drive to Mt. St. Helens

1712.10 - at Yale Park - Lewis River
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #888 - At Yale Park - Lewis River - Drive to Mt. St. Helens

Hi Mom,

We went on a drive today to Mt. St. Helens. We didn't actually go very far up the mountain side and some roads were closed with snow as we found when we reached the PINE CREEK INFORMATION CENTER. We didn't go much beyond this point, but we learned that next time we should come down from the north along the 504 through Castle Rock.

This picture set above is from YALE PARK on the Lewis River, where we first stopped. The wind was as fierce as anything I experienced in Scotland, and despite the sunshine, it was very, VERY cold at this park. But the bathrooms were open, so that's a bonus.

After our drive to Pine Creek and back, we stopped at the COUGAR BAR AND GRILL, just north of Yale Park for a bite. GREAT burgers. Tater tots. Homey atmosphere. The bar maintains a mini-library and wood burning stove.

I am in Grading Hell, and it's Monday so this is all the content for now. I have final grades due Tuesday.

Liesel and I attended a lecture on Jungian psychology on Friday, but I have not yet had time to type up my notes and make some cogent sense of the lecture. So more on that in future post, though I doubt it will be out in either of the next two days.

Still, despite having grades to do, the drive healed our souls. It was needed.

It's so beautiful here.

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 890 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.10 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #887 - Web Scraping with Python


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #887 - Web Scraping with Python

Hi Mom,

I may have mentioned that I am taking this Python course. It's a MOOC, actually. My primary care doctor turned me on to MOOCs a couple of years ago.

Here's my most recent Python program from the third of the Python For Everybody courses. Strictly speaking, I am not supposed to share code. If someone taking the course were to find this, they could post it as their assignment without doing the work. However, I think it's unlikely that the code is found and used in this way. My blog does not come up easily in Google searches I have found. I have experimented with this this searching. Even when I put the NAME of my blog in the search, I do not always find the entry I am seeking. I can search "sense of doubt blog anger" to try to get to yesterday's blog post, and it does not appear in the top ten results. I have to force the search with "sense of doubt blog spot anger" to get just the main page, not even the specific page of yesterday's entry.

Anyway...

This Python program is related to such searching. Its a web scraping program. It uses a Python library called Beautiful Soup to parse URL links on web pages.

But to keep it tricky Dr. Chuck added some wrinkles. This program asks for a count and a position, intending that starting with a given link, such as

http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Fikret.html

with a count of 4 and a position of 3, which means the program extracts the third web link on the page and cycles back to feed that link to the parser, extracting a new web page, and then extracting the third link from that page and repeats this process the number of times for the given count number, which in the test case is four times.

Here's sample output of the tester materials.

$ python3 solution.py
Enter URL: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Fikret.html
Enter count: 4
Enter position: 3
Retrieving: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Fikret.html
Retrieving: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Montgomery.html
Retrieving: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Mhairade.html
Retrieving: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Butchi.html
Retrieving: http://py4e-data.dr-chuck.net/known_by_Anayah.html

Official Python comments marked with # and in the gold font.
My comments marked with # and in the normal white font.


# To run this, you can install BeautifulSoup
# https://pypi.python.org/pypi/beautifulsoup4

# Or download the file
# http://www.py4e.com/code3/bs4.zip
# and unzip it in the same directory as this file

import urllib.request, urllib.parse, urllib.error
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
import ssl

# Some materials have to be imported for the program to work, such as the aforementioned Beautiful Soup library and three functions from the Pyton URL library: request, parse, and error.

# Ignore SSL certificate errors
ctx = ssl.create_default_context()
ctx.check_hostname = False
ctx.verify_mode = ssl.CERT_NONE

# SSL certificates give funny errors, so the above code circumvents this problem.

# User input below

url = input('Enter URL: ')
count = int(input('Enter Count: '))
position = int(input('Enter Position: '))

# Below, a while loop until count runs out. Using the "urlopen" function the url from th euser input is opened and the data read into the html variable as bytes. Beautiful soup is called on the html variable to parse the contents. Soup is called again to get the anchor tags, which retrieves all the links, one for each anchor tag and puts them all in a list object called tags. You will see I commented out some of my test print statements to make sure I was getting the right data.

#I retrieve from tags the link at the position I want, which will be "position-1" because we start at 0 as in tags[0] is the first link. I called the get method on the tag at that position to extract just the web address, the URL, and I put that string in the url variable, overwriting the previous, which the first time through is user input. I count off one extraction be decrementing the coutn variable, and the program loops back and checks the "while" condition. If we still have a positive count, we do another, and so on until we run out of count.

while count > 0:
    html = urllib.request.urlopen(url, context=ctx).read()
    soup = BeautifulSoup(html, 'html.parser')
    # Retrieve all of the anchor tags
    tags = soup('a')
    # print(tags)
    print('Retrieving: ', tags[position-1])
    # print(tags[position-1].get('href', None))
    url = str(tags[position-1].get('href', None))
    count = count - 1

This program would be MUCH harder to write without the useful libraries, Python's url library and the cool Beautiful Soup, created at crummy.com by Leonard Richardson. There's cool stuff at the crummy site, such as a blog, a zine, and documentation.

https://www.crummy.com/software/BeautifulSoup/

That is all.

I am having fun with coding.

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 889 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.09 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #886 - Anger is Temporary Madness

Rockwell Kent's illustration of Captain Ahab from the 1937 edition of Moby Dick. <em>Photo by Rex Features</em>


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #886 - Anger is Temporary Madness

Hi Mom,

I set up this article after I almost got in a fight with a neighbor who tried to tell me that the dogs should not pee in people's yards as seen here:

https://sensedoubt.blogspot.com/2017/11/hey-mom-talking-to-my-mother-857-dont.html


This article from here:

https://aeon.co/ideas/anger-is-temporary-madness-heres-how-to-avoid-the-triggers


Anger is temporary madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it


Massimo Pigliucci
is professor of philosophy at City College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His latest book is How to Be a Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living (2017). He lives in New York.

People get angry for all sorts of reasons, from the trivial ones (someone cut me off on the highway) to the really serious ones (people keep dying in Syria and nobody is doing anything about it). But, mostly, anger arises for trivial reasons. That’s why the American Psychological Association has a section of its website devoted to anger management. Interestingly, it reads very much like one of the oldest treatises on the subject, On Anger, written by the Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca back in the first century CE.
Seneca thought that anger is a temporary madness, and that even when justified, we should never act on the basis of it because, though ‘other vices affect our judgment, anger affects our sanity: others come in mild attacks and grow unnoticed, but men’s minds plunge abruptly into anger. … Its intensity is in no way regulated by its origin: for it rises to the greatest heights from the most trivial beginnings.’
The perfect modern milieu for anger management is the internet. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, or write, read or comment on a blog, you know what I mean. Heck, Twitter anger has been brought up to new heights (or lows, depending on your point of view) by the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.
I too write quite a bit on online forums. It’s part of my job as an educator, as well as, I think, my duty as a member of the human polis. The conversations I have with people from all over the world tend to be cordial and mutually instructive, but occasionally it gets nasty. A prominent author who recently disagreed with me on a technical matter quickly labelled me as belonging to a ‘department of bullshit’. Ouch! How is it possible not to get offended by this sort of thing, especially when it’s coming not from an anonymous troll, but from a famous guy with more than 200,000 followers? By implementing the advice of another Stoic philosopher, the second-century slave-turned-teacher Epictetus, who admonished his students in this way: ‘Remember that it is we who torment, we who make difficulties for ourselves – that is, our opinions do. What, for instance, does it mean to be insulted? Stand by a rock and insult it, and what have you accomplished? If someone responds to insult like a rock, what has the abuser gained with his invective?’
Indeed. Of course, to develop the attitude of a rock toward insults takes time and practice, but I’m getting better at it. So what did I do in response to the above-mentioned rant? I behaved like a rock. I simply ignored it, focusing my energy instead on answering genuine questions from others, doing my best to engage them in constructive conversations. As a result, said prominent author, I’m told, is livid with rage, while I retained my serenity.
Now, some people say that anger is the right response to certain circumstances, in reaction to injustice, for instance, and that – in moderation – it can be a motivating force for action. But Seneca would respond that to talk of moderate anger is to talk of flying pigs: there simply isn’t such a thing in the Universe. As for motivation, the Stoic take is that we are moved to action by positive emotions, such as a sense of indignation at having witnessed an injustice, or a desire to make the world a better place for everyone. Anger just isn’t necessary, and in fact it usually gets in the way.
The philosopher Martha Nussbaum gave a famous modern example of this in her Aeon essay on Nelson Mandela. As she tells the story, when Mandela was sent to prison – for 27 years – by the Apartheid government of South Africa, he was very, very angry. And for good reasons: not only was a grave injustice being perpetrated against him personally, but against his people more generally. Yet, at some point Mandela realised that nurturing his anger, and insisting in thinking of his political opponents as sub-human monsters, would lead nowhere. He needed to overcome that destructive emotion, to reach out to the other side, to build trust, if not friendship. He befriended his own guard, and eventually his gamble paid off: he was able to oversee one of those peaceful transitions to a better society that are unfortunately very rare in history.
Interestingly, one of the pivotal moments in his transformation came when a fellow prisoner smuggled in and circulated among the inmates a copy of a book by yet another Stoic philosopher: the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus thought that if people are doing wrong, what you need to do instead is to ‘teach them then, and show them without being angry’. Which is exactly what Mandela did so effectively.
So, here is my modern Stoic guide to anger management, inspired by Seneca’s advice:
  • Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
  • Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
  • Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
  • Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
  • Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.
  • Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
  • Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
  • Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
  • Practise cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
  • Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.
Above all, be charitable toward others as a path to good living. Seneca’s advice on anger has stood the test of time, and we would all do well to heed it.
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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 888 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.08 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #885 - Throwback Thursday 1712.07


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #885 - Throwback Thursday 1712.07

Hi Mom,

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Decorations are going up in the new home on Blacktail Lane, and I am sure I will share a picture at some point, but we're not done yet. So instead here is a picture of me in my COOL Tiger pajamas circa 1968? That's a total guess. I am going by the wall behind me, which means it has to be before 1969. I am thinking that the wall may be Traverse City, so this could be either 1966 or 1967 conceivably. We were in Schoolcraft in 1968, so that's another possibility. Honestly, I do not remember the walls in Schoolcraft.

Though I miss you more around the holidays, Mom, I am feeling a lot more grounded and less raw than I have been the last two years. But I have also made many major life changes, such as moving out west, so let's see how I feel when I return to Michigan for a visit, which I am doing next week.

And that;s all for content... I am trying to get these posted in a somewhat timely fashion, so I am going to work on being briefer. Also, I am feeling a little "unwell."

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 887 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.07 - 10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #884 - Random Photos part 99

via Graffitti Kings
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #884 - Random Photos part 99

Hi Mom,

Various art.

I am feeling visual today.

There may be more of this kind of thing in the future. People may like this type of entry. A quick stroll through a scroll.

The problem is that I am not archiving these, so it's likely they could come up again. I should really archive, which is the whole point of this kind of posting: culling out my blog folder.

This is a random assortment from the top of the folder.

The only theme is that all the images (except the one up top) were labeled somewhere in the A-C area.
Aphrodite Nacrea - Eliza Gauger - Problem Glyph


Black Hole_PIA21086_hires
1953 ad









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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 886 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1712.06 -10:10

NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.