Jim Huggins (jkhuggins) wrote,
Jim Huggins

Wednesday Hodgepodge: 17 February 2016

The Wednesday Hodgepodge appears courtesy of From This Side of the Pond.

1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?
Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you're so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.

I'm not going to post about a random act of kindness I performed, or I'm going to perform.   I think it's self-serving.   And it's also un-Biblical (Matthew 6:1-4).

But there's no such restriction in posting about being the recipient of such gifts.

The first one that comes to mind ... goes back to December.   I was visiting a FedEx Kinkos to pick up a copy job and as I was entering, was noticing a woman hauling many large packages onto a cart and heading back and forth into the store.   I paused for a few moments to hold the door open for her and continued to hold it until she'd managed to finish getting everything into the store.   I was a little puzzled when she paused right at the end and dived into her car to retrieve something ... but then was surprised as she handed me a small gift bag with a packet of hot cocoa and some holiday candies.  It was a sweet gesture (no pun intended).

2.What's the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

Working in Flint, Michigan, I'm stuck in the middle of the water crisis that's all over the news.   And while there's a lot of horrible things about this situation (which I'll avoid going into), the good thing I am seeing is people on the ground working to make things better --- collecting and distributing bottled water and water filters to families most affected by the situation.   This is going to be with us for a very long time, mind you ... but it is encouraging to see people getting past the finger-pointing and rolling up their sleeves to do something about the situation.

3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos...your favorite food the color of night? Your least favorite on the list?

Blackberries.   I'm a sucker for sweets like that.   I've never had black currants or grapes, so ... black olives would have to fall to the bottom of the list.

4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were-
travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises
What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you're over 50, have you done all 12? If you're not yet 50, have you done any at all? What's on the list that you haven't done, but would like to do?

The last thing I need in my life right now is more guilt about things I'm not doing, or that I "only" have a few more years to do.

5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what's your favorite film where winter plays a part in the setting?

Gosh ... this is hard for me, for some reason.   I can think of films that had winter scenes in them, but none really where winter plays an integral part in the plot.   Maybe The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe?   Technically, that might qualify as a "Christmas flick", but ti's about as close as I can come to one.

6. When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?

This morning?   Thinking about my professional (lack of) prospects tends to discourage me.   And there's nothing I can do about it except buckle down and get back to work.

7. Share a favorite proverb.

It's not Biblical, but the one I tend to use the most is this one from Voltaire: "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Even when I'm discouraged about my professional prospects, sometimes it's possible to have a good day.   My algorithms class yesterday was one of those days --- students engaged with the material, asking questions ahead of my pacing, students bringing up valuable side topics, and so on.   It's a good day when I can't get through my lecture notes because I keep having to answer too many questions.

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