A few things

January 23 2018

A Joke
What’s the difference between a snow man and a snow woman?

About Me
I found the Listserve completely by accident. I was Googling for the exact definition of the word "listserve" so I could use it in an email, and I found the website.
In the past year, I got married, finished my PhD, moved to a new country where I don’t speak the language, started a new job (in a new field), and now my wife is 15 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. We will name her India Joy. These are the days I imagine looking back on with fondness, but at the moment I feel like I can hardly catch my breath. Maybe life always feels like that. Anyway mine is pretty exciting and scary right now.

The older I get, the more I’m guided by the dreams of my childhood. As the oldest thoughts I have, they seem to be the most important. When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote science fiction stories for my mom and my grandma. Now I’m an engineer, but a couple years ago I wrote a short story and it was published in a literary magazine. I want to do more of that.
I’m paying off my student loans now, and then I’m going to get my private pilot’s license.
I want to see Alaska and the life there.
I’ve tried and failed to imagine the feeling of being a father. My wife and I are keeping a journal of letters to our unborn child. My letters begin with “Dear fetus...” I’m simply excited to meet the little girl. I think this will be fun.

I feel constantly bewildered by the pace of life. There’s no time for anything, even on days when I don’t have any plans. Mindfulness meditation has helped me a lot. I want to do a ten-day silent meditation retreat but worry I’ll never find the time.
I miss living in my hometown surrounded by my childhood friends. It’s sad that our communities have become so fractured. This is a big piece of our evolutionary past which modernity has stolen from us.
The future is arriving far too soon and it’s full of BitCoins, genetic modification and environmental disasters. It is scary, but exciting as well. I saw a deaf man using a telephone today. He held the phone in front of him and used sign language to communicate. What a beautiful new thing. Also, last year, out of about 36.5 million flights, not a single person died on a commercial airplane. How incredible.

Book Recommendations
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
Anything by Kurt Vonnegut, or Mark Twain (“Roughing It” is excellent)
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Chapter 33 (Blissful) is a favorite
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
Anything by Oliver Sacks

Questions for You
In my career, I’ve been following my curiosity while trying to maximize my free time and disposable income. Some people are driven by passion for their job, or for a cause. Where does this passion come from? Do I just have to wait for it? How do you choose a cause to work for?
Why do men get depressed when they get old, and how do I avoid becoming a grumpy old man?
What’s it like when your first child is born?
Where does one find the time and motivation to exercise every day?
Do you know any good jokes?

Thanks for reading,

[email protected]

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