3I’m just back from a weekend in the Big City. This picture does not do justice to the City or to the driving experience. However, any time the driving experience was exciting, I was avoiding looking at it.

We started our weekend on Friday night with the symphony. #1 son liked the Haydn the best — it was clean, he said.

Saturday we went to a non-profit job fair, which was quite fun and enlightening, and #2 daughter picked up a few applications.

Actually, I went to the website of one of the most interesting places — a music museum — and saw right away a bunch of things they could do if they wanted to apply The Dark Art to better effect. I even sent them a brief report on the subject. Since I don’t live there, I guess I don’t have to worry that they might be offended. Unless they remember #2 daughter when she applies as “the one with the crazy

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 mother.” I didn’t use expressions like “viral link juice” though, so it may be okay.

When I checked my stats this morning, I find that the main website languished while I was away. It doesn’t make sense to me that my failing to mess with it for four days (illness and then a long weekend) should cause people in other parts of the world to quit visiting. “Ah, I see that no one has been plying the Dark Art today at that website; I guess I’ll go to Lakeshore instead.” Nope, can’t see that. Must be coincidence. We do have twice as many orders for the month of March as we had for March last year. And I will mess with it today.

Next was homemade lasagna and conversation at M. Bassoon’s, and then we had a cooking show party. The next day we went to church, then to brunch with an aunt, and then we came home. All those things were very enjoyable, and if they hadn’t all happened in the same 24 hours, I would probably have lots more to say about them. Maybe I will in the future.

Now it is back to the salt mines. Actually, I’m going to lunch with Janalisa today. It is in my zip code, and is in the nature of research for my myzip site, but it does mean that I need to get lots of messing around with the websites done this morning.

I read both the mysteries that I took along during the drive, and put a few inches onto the prayer shawl. I am therefore still reading The Science of the Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch. I had assumed that the title would refer to the old “watchmaker” argument, and it does, but the authors have also taken the opportunity to write about the nature of time, and therefore of space. In particular, they are (at the point where I am reading) looking in depth at the idea of time travel and of alternate universes, counterfactual histories, etc.

I’ve mentioned before the Big Idea that all possible universes actually exist. That is, if you chose to drink coffee this morning, then that decision caused a branching in the spacetime continuum so that there is also a universe in which you drink tea. People who are really enthusiastic about this idea are not actually thinking about tea and coffee universes, but about universes in which there are different numbers of dimensions, or in which Newton’s laws really cover all observable reality. They believe this because of mathematics. This puts the idea entirely in the realm of faith. The authors of Darwin’s Watch, not being men of faith, ascribe it to wishful thinking rather than faith, but it is, along with God, one of the Big Ideas that allows us to explain the otherwise inexplicable bits of the universe.

The idea is so fun that it has lots of devotees, especially in fiction. Darwin’s Watch neatly destroys it as a scientific hypothesis, being as there is absolutely no evidence for it in the real world, but it certainly is a fun idea. Especially in fiction. It has reminded me of some of the fun time travel books I’ve read in the past. Someone goes back in time and makes changes. When they return to the present, either everything is different and no one but the time traveler realizes that it is All His Fault, or everything is the same and the time traveler realizes that the eventual outcome is inevitable. If well-written, such books usually manage to slip in some irony or epiphanies or other good literary stuff.

But do you ever think about that in your own life? Is it the case that God has a plan for you, and all you need do is strive to be obedient to God’s will? Or that it doesn’t matter in the least what you do, because all the possible outcomes of all the possible actions you might take are simultaneously working themselves out along the various pantlegs of the Trousers of Time? Or that you are the Captain of Your Fate and the Master of Your Soul (or vice versa; I forget) and every little thing you do has consequences for you and everyone around you?

And how does the speed of light come into it?