My Mechanical Keyboard

My new keyboard is quite nice. It goes clickity clickity clickity. Mechanical, you see. I have wanted a mechanical keyboard for some rtime. That being said, you will notice I’m still getting used to it. I was doing a lot of deleting, but perhaps for the pur pose of writing on this keyboard, there won’t be any backspacing. Perhaps you will judge the quality of the writer from this, but I assure you, my typing skills are immaculate. I do this for a litving, after all. Quite sensitive, too. It’s a Razer Blackwidow Stealth. I think. I very much enjoy t he clickityh clack it makes. Of course, I don’t so much enjoy the mistakes I’m making. We’ll sere if I get used to it or if it has to go in the donate pile.
Typically, I enjoyu writing on a 2007ish MacBook. First generation Intel. The keyboard is the best I’ve ever used. I’ll own that keyboard for quite some time.
If you don’t think a keyboard is a big deal, I don’t blame you. They typically aren’t something to write home about. It’s a tool and even to people that work in computers, like I do, it probably often doesn’t matter. I know some programmers that go a little bonkers over keyboards, but no one really goes bvonkers over them likea w riter does. The exact reasoning I r eally could not say. Same reason there are certain pens to enjoy. I’m sure some people will tell you it’s the amount of time you spend with a writing instrument, whether it bne a keyboard or a pen. That’s partially true, because there are keyboards and pens I really have not liked using. Then again, there have been quite a few keyboards and pens that are perfectly okay for extended use. Those gel pens are perfectly comfortable. A softer Dell keyboard can be used for hours with no fatigue and maximum comfort. The Dell is a keyboard I’ve used off an on for years. They are great. What is it about a writing instrument thyat draws myself, and those like me, in then? I don’t have all the answers, for sure. If you wanted all the answers you definitely shouldn’t have come here. Hell, the title of my page should be, “I may have some answers for you. A few of them could be right.” For me, I suppose it’s a combination of the tactile, the aesthetic, and the efficiency. I have a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen that I absolutely adore. I love the way it feels in my hand, the way it looks sitting there, and most definitely the way it writes. The ink flows onto parchment and looks gorgeous. I use brown ink, if you are curious. Often I use a pencil, too. I prefer a 3B, iirc, but I don’t often payu the money for them.j
Back to the mechanical keyboard. Why? I don’t know if I’m any closer to an anser than I was when I started. I like the way it sounds, I like the way ti feels. Bakc to clickity clack.It’s this tangible thing that seems more real than other keyboards. I can feel my fingers striking down the keys. I can hear the click of the keys as they go down. Ultimatley, it may come down to the way the typewriter sounded when my father sat in his office using it all night. And now I’m considering trading in the keyboard for a typewriter.


Why question reality?

The subject of reality comes up a lot in philosophy. Why is it we, as a species, question our reality so much? What is built into us that causes us to have to go through this? Everyone is familiar with Descartes’, “I think therefore I am,” but why is it so resnonant? I’ve often wondered on reality myself, so it’s not exactly a surprise to me that it has been so ingrained in our questioning of the universe.

Almost all philosphers, at some time or another, have grappled with the question of reality. We touched upon Descartes, but he is just the surface. Anytime you see someone dabble in metaphysics, they have absolutely written, and probably extensively, about reality. Berkeley wondered if reality existed when you weren’t there and seems to have concluded that it does, because God is all-seeing and therefore if God can see an object it must be real.

I find the questioning of reality to be similar to that of the need to have a higher power that created and aligns us. We have to be able to make sense of things. One is putting into the concrete our lack of understanding of the world and attributing it to some higher power. The other, the question of reality, seems to be quite the reverse: it is attempting to put into abstract what we sense. Perhaps, though, it is not as abstract as I thought and is more relatable to the idea of needing to put into concrete what is abstract. Why would we immediately assume the world still exists when we cannot see it. It seems to be a matter of faith that when I go to sleep at night, the world goes on around me.

Not faith, though. Reason. Through experience and education, everyone should be able to reason enough to know that reality, most likely, keeps on existing without them. The five senses I have are enough to tell me the surface of this keyboard is real, the desk it sits on is real and the space surrounding me is real. My brain has developed to keep interpreting this data and conclude that it is real, even when I am no longer here. There is a phase of child development  where peek-a-boo works and then suddenly it doesn’t. This is the concept. At some point, we are able to abstract beyond the here and now.

Why, though, do we keep on questioning this reality? What conflict is inside the mind that makes us wonder if the world is playing tricks on us? Of course, the possiblity does exist that we keep questioning reality, because somewhere deep in our subconscious we know there is no reality; this really is a holographic universe. Let’s put that to the side for now and assume that reality exists. We can’t come to any conclusions on why we question reality if we start questioning it here.

Now I find myself at an impasse, though. It is much easier to question reality itself than to wonder why we question it all. The question, though, seems to come down to matter of trust. Trust in our senses and trust in our ability to reason. It seems to be this distrust of our ability to reason that causes us to question existence. Our minds are reasoning on a level beyond that of consciousness to determine the world is real. We’ve run the calculations somewhere deep inside and concluded that, yes, everything around us does exist. But in our conscious reasoning, we are questioning that of our subconsciouss. Why not question our subconscious, it doesn’t speak to us. The parts of our brain we have built through social and cultural interaction, education, training and sensory input are telling us that possibly things aren’t real. Descartes questioned it, so why shouldn’t I? Perhaps he was on to something. Perhaps, what we really should get out is the conflict between conscious and subconscious reasoning. Perhaps, our minds are much more complex in the background than we would like to give credit to and that is why, after everything we can physically experience, we still have to question to ability of our silent subconscious to gently inform us that it is all real.

The Wheels On The City Bus

When driving out of the city to my job that has no bus stop near, I find myself caught behind quite a few city buses. I find this somewhat strange as I’ve consistently found the city bus to be too slow and too expensive to use on a regular basis. According to Jessica, it was faster for her to walk from Ramblewood in Wyoming to the mall in Grandville than it was to take the bus. What’s the cause of this disconnect in what could be such a wonderful form of transportation? I’ve taken the bus several times in the years I’ve lived here, but I can’t really recall it ever being a positive experience.

Once I took the bus because it was an ozone action day and I was riding my bike into downtown. After a few minutes of drenching sweat(on my way to Hop Cat for a first date, by the way), I stopped and grabbed a bus. The driver was not a big fan of me trying to get my bike on the front. Perhaps because she needed to hurry up and get to all the stops before someone noticed she was handing out Jesus flyers to people getting on. If you aren’t from Grand Rapids you may think it strange a public employee handing out “Jesus Saves” booklets on a public bus. It’s not that strange around here.

That’s the only time I really remember taking the bus, but I’m sure there were others. Every now and then I took it school, because for Aquinas students it was 25 cents. Free if you go to the state school, Grand Valley.

Now we get to the point of money, I suppose. Last I saw it was a $1.50 for a one-way bus ride. Now it’s gone up to $1.75. There are not a whole lot of situations that make the bus a more economical alternative to driving my car. Sure, the argument can be made I’m not being an individual polluter on a bus and I don’t have to worry about parking, etc. There are probably dozens of arguments for taking the bus over driving. Price is not one of them. Unless I’m paying to park, (which I rarely do, because I can walk anywhere in the city someone would want me to pay to park) there is just no way that taking the bus is cheaper than driving.

Even on the occasions it is cheaper to myself or others than driving what about the time it takes. I tried to map out riding the bus to work. It only takes me to a certain point even though I work 9 miles from home and home is downtown. It stops at the airport and that’s the farthest. I’m sure that would be fine if there weren’t so many businesses out past the airport. I’ll have to spend some time coming up with alternatives for going from the airport all along the East Beltline corridor. I wish the answer was getting all those tech companies and factories to move into the city, but I doubt they would move just so I could ride my bike or walk to work more easily. Like I said, though, I discovered from downtown to the airport is a one hour bus ride. It’s a 45 minute bike ride. How can I ride my bike 9 miles in 45 minutes and the bus takes an hour? What’s the route and why?

I really would like to take the bus. I swear it! I’m not someone who is trying to get all the buses off the road so I don’t have to wait for them. I want the buses to be more efficient, so I don’t have to weigh the horrible inefficiency with my desire not to drive. It’s a tough call. I’d like to spend my morning commute with a book and not have to stress out because everyone is going at least 10 miles an hour under the speed limit for reasons that I will never fully grasp. I’d love less cars on the road and more buses and bikes. We have to come up with a way to make this happen, though, and the way Grand Rapids is going about it isn’t really working out so well.

So, some things I may have an answer for. The price I’m not sure, but can guess it is just that there aren’t enough riders and those that do ride are heavily subsidized. Can’t be cheap to operate that many buses and have that many routes. That’s where my solution comes in. We just have too many bus stops and the routes aren’t very economical. The bus stops are in places like directly after a traffic light or directly before, so they hold up traffic. Also, at least along Fulton where I used to live, they are about every 100 yards. I love the idea of a bus stop every 100 yards, but we just don’t have the density as a city to warrant it. Let’s put some serious thought into our bus system and make it affordable and timely.