Monday, March 7, 2011

stars 'n physics and all that jazz....

some things are easy to understand. definite. like, um, 1+1 IS 2. and don't anyone start getting all clever here. you're definitely going to die. fact. even though chuck berry doesn't think he will. he's 84 and still doing gigs. completely understandable.

other things are not quite so easy to understand. in fact, they're inexorably, exhaustingly, tantalisingly goddamn tricky. but if you give yourself enough time to think about them, you'll be able to choose an option. there are always at least 2. if you have the mental strength of a hermit and the patience of a bird stalking cat, then you could wade through endless options of understanding. and end up in lovely nothingness apparently. quite. go figure. and feel awfully good about yourself in nirvana. noddy badges all 'round.

not sure i buy into that theory of if a tree falls in a forest and there's no one to hear it, has it fallen? or if you're a man and a woman isn't there, are you still wrong?.....well maybe. i mean if a great big fuck off 200 year old baobab lies snapped and broken it has definitely fallen, hasn't it?

most things just are. and you'll never work them out. like stars. and fallen baobabs. like coincidences. like secret patterns in life. like the way books fall out of the shelf at you in libraries or book stores. the very ones you need to read. or the pages fall open at exactly the right place. and you sit down then and there, plonk in the aisle and start reading. they can steal your bag, pull tongues behind your back (i love pulling tongues at kids staring out the back window, when their ma can't see. i do a real vicious one) or sigh heavily as they have to step over you. people are usually ever so polite in book stores. at least the ones i've been into. everyone's ever so efficient. and studious. i love seeing who's reading what. matching people to sections. i used to like all the esoteric sections, the African sections, biographies, photography, psychology sections. i am so bored of self help sections. they ALL say the same thing. believe me. and they don't work. smug bastards ripping us all off 'as all. i'd like to see them all shiny new and perfik.

so there i was a few days ago sitting in the library at school wonderin' 'bout thangs. as one does. the "well dear, you'll wonder and wonder until the crows build nests up your bottom and then you'll wonder how they got the sticks up there" sorta wonderin', when my eyes wandered to a book called Illustrated Dictionary of Physics. i think, if i rightly recall, i was contemplating Option 2 Of Present Conundrum #482, which made me realize that i know nothing about anything at all, when, quite suddenly, i spied the book. snug between the encyclopedias britannica (how anarchic is our library?). hell, when you know nothing you might as well try and learn something. anything.
the titles read like romance: energy. motion. dynamics. turning forces. gravitation. density and pressure. magnetic fields (Fields of Magnetics! how glorious is that?), reflection of light. sound waves. transfer of heat. temperature.waves. electric current. static electricity. perception of sound. and suddenly i thought i could begin to understand love. why on earth haven't i ever studied this shit before, man? i suddenly understood why aeroplanes drop out of the sky and that breech position is NOT going to save you. (another definite). and that the "rear rotor blades of a helicopter apply a moment to the helicopter which prevents it from spinning...". naturally i've always known something stops it spinning (thinking screw or iron rod) but a MOMENT? pg.14 under the title of Turning Forces. ...and suddenly it gave the whole idea of moments another meaning. i've taken the book out. i'm drawing delicate little pictures of atoms and molecules all lined up and boxed and arrowed and coloured in, in all their various "physical states". all i know is that i like doing this. i like reading this.

so i've searched more. and i've found a beautiful orange book on astrophysics. i think... i wasn't allowed to take it out. but i wrote down my favourite quote. it made me think of people: (i'll make it small so i can fit it all in and sneak past being labelled laborious)

"...roughly half of all the stars in the sky are found to be in binary systems, in which two companion stars orbit their common center of mass with periods ranging from hours to many thousands of years. According to Kepler's Laws (still to be leaned about), the wider the separation between the stars, the longer their orbital period. Binary stars may be born together from a rapidly rotating protostar that split, or one may capture the other in a close encounter after birth. some may eclipse each other, causing variability in their observed brightness. Binary stars are important for determining information about stellar masses. Some binary stars are so close that transfer of material can occur between the components affecting their evolution and producing variations in their light output..."

i'll be reading about dead stars next. you can still see them, you know.

i'll let you know if i become a guru at the end of it all. or maybe an artist. and i'll write a self help book but with poems and pictures of little atoms and spinning helicopters which lost their "moments" and aeroplanes falling out of the sky with straight blue arrows indicating the downward direction.

Kitchen Board: Early March 2011: 10:40pm Tanzanian Time...

and it has rained oh bestests. twice in the last three days...we can always do with more but i ain't complainin'. it's more than deliciously charming, i tell ya. bruised skies over the maasai steppes. the smell of rain all sexy and coolness in the air.... my best. oh and before i go. here are some pictures of liza's ancient triffikly expensive broken violin which we tried to fix with super glue and leggin' (inner tubing which basically holds the entire african continent together). it broke while we were rehearsing for andre's funeral. i have since heard it broke again and frankie operated on it using a special animal glue and lots of clamps. the entire finger board lifted off. but oh i shouldn't be telling you this in case anyone wants to buy it one day. AND she'd just spent around US$ 2,000 getting work done on it in NYC....oh dear... she said her violin mender would be spittin' snakes....well. it worked for a while. and we have another gig tomorrow. cross fingers. pray for one of those "moments" eh?

toodely toot oh best beloveds, bisous X.X.X. musical spinny momentous ones. x. j


Linda Sue said...

That is a sad violin and your writing just makes my day- I will buy several copies of your book when you decide to do that...I promise it!
Your life is so far away from mine and so very much more interesting- LOVE your blog MS.! LOVE!

Linda Sue said...

Oh and another thing- you could start your own "church" - BIG BANG PLANK TIME and you would be the Jesus Sally. Great scam it would be - loads of money in your pocket I bet!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
elizabeth said...

Well, better you than me with the astro-physics.
But it all sounds utterly fascinating in the sort of way that makes my face glaze over.
You are quite right with the self-help books. They are all utter crap upon crap and self-indulgent and American and slogan-ny about you being so wonderful and important and all that baloney
especially if you weight 350 pounds and are stupid as all get out and lazy too
and mean with it.
No wonder you need to hear that you are 'special'.
Hee hee. I'm being mean.
We need a bit of British stiff upper lip and being told you are quite worthless.
Enough about self-help books.
"Janelle Pnders the Universe" would be MUCH MUCH more interesting.
Still cold --below freezing - this morning at the dog run.


Elizabeth said...


word verification:

is that someone in Africa who worries?

Linda Sue said...

Just watched THE UNIVERSE on the science channel- thought of you! Astronomers and physicists are able to go back to the beginning dot of intense energy that formed our universe but can not yet see behind it- the nothing...perhaps you could help them out, I think you have the answers to everything, I do.I am high on Nyquil at the moment, horrid flu, so forgive my comments that may be Nyquil based.

tut-tut said...

inspiring and, well, just inspiring

Janelle said...

thanks LS for all your comments...and get better soon unless nyquil is a total trip!? x j

elizabeth - a morani is a warrior here...young maasai warrior! so there ya go! heh. x j

and THANK YOU tut tut! x j

Linda Sue said...
I promise i am not stalking you...looked for email add to send this you tube vid to you because I think you would love the images, let alone the song. Ok, I will leave you alone now...

family Affairs said...

Astro physics??? - makes no sense to me at all - I don't understand a word of that paragraph - please try not to share your newly found enthusiasm for science because I can't cope. My brain will explode. Sorry about the violin. Good luck tomorrow Lx

JoeinVegas said...

Glad you are self educating in some difficult things - a lot different than your daily life.

Heather said...

now thats a self help book worth reading! : )

Lori ann said...

xoxo hey ho there you go. i hope your writing your book darlin, everyone is waitin for it.

Amanda said...

ach. late to the party here ---

well, there are moments and then there are moments. don't know what the hell kind of moment attaches to a helicopter but god bless it.

and janelle, if you write a book you don't need to write a self help one - you are way beyond that stuff. whatever you write about in this space and turn your considerable attention to, whether it be physics or ghosts or moments, is always magical.


Reya Mellicker said...

OK. This is splendid, Janelle. Just perfection in blog post form. I'm sure there's a law of physics to describe it but I don't know what it is. Wow.