It’s…like…Totally Random — or is it?

Is anything really random? Does the interconnectedness of life preclude that anything is accidental or coincidental? Can one person who has an obsessive tendency to make sure lights not in use are turned off really save the planet? Ray Bradbury, scifi writer extraordinaire, once suggested that it is possible. In “A Sound of Thunder,” a man travels back through time to the age of dinosaurs. Although he is cautioned about remaining on the path during his visit, he doesn’t. And the dead butterfly later noticed on the sole of his shoe causes repercussions in his modern day world.

And what about chaos? Webster’s defines it as “complete disorder and confusion.” But it adds a second definition specifically linked to physics: “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.” Appear random. Small changes in conditions…wikipedia image

When first experimenting with the concept of chaos, Edward Lorenz discovered that minute variations can cause huge differences in data analysis. The subsequently coined Butterfly Effect is explained here:

The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

This is quite an involved way to lead into the fact that I’ve been tagged by the ever gracious techie, Phil at Thought Sparks to disclose eight random facts about myself. This one has clearly been around the block and back a bejillion times.  The rules are (and you do know how I abhor rules, right?):

  • Players start with 8 random facts about themselves
  • Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts
  • Players should tag 8 other people and notify them that they have been tagged.

Got it? I’ll do what I can to make it relevant, even though it’s random, and things are really never random… Phyllotaxy Are they?

  1. My former student, Mary, is a member of the Peace Corps, living in Honduras, and working on educational projects there. She still emails me! Mary was one of my top 8th grader writers in 1993, and a violinist with the San Diego Youth Symphony who went on to study music at UC Irvine. Now she shares her music with kids. She has a call out for pen pals to act as mentors for 12-13 year olds in Tegucigalpa, the city where she works.
  2. Between 12-15 magazines show up at our house monthly. We can’t figure out why 4 of them show up, because we’ve never paid for them, and never ordered them. They just come. I love magazines and always thought that if I didn’t work, I’d have time to read them. Now, we’re getting rid of the subscriptions (most of them) because I don’t read them. Think of all those trees I’ll help save.
  3. I was forced into Catholicism by a physically abusive step-father who ironically neglected to reference those commandments he must have had to memorize at one point in his childhood. Funny how that works, isn’t it? The Dynamics of Science and Religion
  4. I have been known to frankly share my thoughts on religion with those bold enough to knock on my door, or walk up my driveway selling theirs. My “church” is filled with plants, animals, the ocean, the mountains, sunsets, and rainstorms. I don’t need a box, an organ, or a certain day of the week to be thankful for all I have and consider what others need.
  5. The concept of reincarnation fascinates me. At times in my past, the idea of becoming a rock seemed much less stressful, and far less painful. Didn’t Simon and Garfunkel write a song about that?
  6. I absolutely believe that if art and music were as important in school as reading and math, our country would be a far less violent place.
  7. The most heavenly combination of flavors that I could eat every single day is tomatoes, basil, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. And the aroma…
  8. Although it would be interesting to visit aspects of my childhood and early adult life again, I have never feared getting older. I relish looking forward to whatever comes my way, knowing that what I do right now, is completely connected to that eventuality.

So what can you do to leave your imprint on what comes next? To what extent are the sum of your parts woven into the future’s code? We’re waiting to hear about your 8 random facts.

.…..why paisley????

Twisted sister…..totally pissed off!

Wonderland or Not

the domestic minx

Melting Wok

One Old Green Bus

Electric Writer

Eat Drink Live

I actually took the time to see whether any of you had been recently tagged by someone else…but I may have overlooked. Cheers!






16 responses to “It’s…like…Totally Random — or is it?”

  1. “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random…”

    ….always leave ’em guessing……

    i gave out 8 things unbeknownst to man prior to my post 6-10-07… i’ll have to think on this,,,, but i am sure i can further expose myself… i seem to be enjoying it…..

  2. Kelly, What a great lead-in to the post. Yes, life seems much more random than it is in reality. I love your brutal honesty and vulnerable look at your life. What a privilege to read and get to know more about you.

  3. Paisley, I tried to be careful…truly. Just wanted to bring some attention to your provocative writing.

    Hi Phil, and thanks for providing the opportunity of trying to connect my random sequential personality. Cheers to you!

  4. What an intriguing and fascinating character you are Kelly…
    Again, my morning thoughts are plunged into the delicious ‘chaos’ that swirls about me.
    A Butterfly Effect indeed.
    You are a beautiful butterfly!

    Thank you for tagging me.
    Although I have done similar things, I love the idea of 8 Random Things!!

  5. Thank you, minx. And ditto! I will need to think about the butterfly that set off a rather snippy chain of events today when I was out and about.

    Perhaps I flapped my wings a bit too vigorously early this morning.

    Thanks for being a good sport. The rest of us will benefit from your post, I’m sure.

  6. There is a name for that: synchronicity. (I think… if we are talking about the same thing). I have been obsessing over that concept during the last few days myself, we must be on similar paths right now Kelly 🙂

    Phil also tagged me with this one. I did not post the rules, or tag anyone else though.. guess I ought to go back and do that considering it is a pre-requisite to participation, right?

  7. Hey Dave…Two paths diverged in a wood…You know? That’s how it always is with me. I’m going to have to do a “beach read” review here soon, because my eyeballs are popping out on all this heavy stuff. The sun’s shining for goodness sake! Or for my sake. It’s sure to piss off all the guys. *sigh* What did ol’ Abe say about people pleasing?

    And I already checked. Everyone in Blogsvania has done this meme. I don’t always tag — especially if it’s going to take people a long time to fit it in.

  8. Blogsvania. Hahahaha. OK this is going to sound bad, but I am in JUST the mood to lay it on you. When I read that, I immediately thought of how in The Sopranos, they are always making off-hand comments in reference to people being “blood suckers,” and the Transylvania segway… too much to resist.


  9. Er, Dave, buddy. I have NEVER watched the Sopranos. *sigh* It hasn’t been because I haven’t wanted to. Really. So put it in this context. I’ve been dead and am just now coming back to life. Sort of a revers of the blood-sucking thing. No?

    I know. Weak. But I’m sitting here listening to iTunes blasting and typing Theorem cards for the RT’s final in geometry tomorrow. He’s drawing the diagrams.

    I WISH I was watching the Sopranos. Anything but this.

  10. hi Kelly
    love the new look blog…all that white…and 3 columns too !!!!!
    terrific set of random facts…totally agree with the art and music fact
    and getter older….ha as long as you forget your birthday and don’t look too closely in the mirror …it’s ok !!!
    see ya Kim

  11. Hi Kim, Thanks for stopping by. I like the 3 columms, too, but I’m still working out other things.

    Of course you’d agree with the art/music issue. Maybe I should round up a world-wide posse on this one? What do you think?

    I crossed the half century mark last fall, and am good to go. I slather on the moisturizer more than I ever have. The face isn’t the problem. It’s the rest of me — but that’s a work in progress!

  12. “Is anything really random?”

    Personally, I believe everything happens for a reason. (so far).

    also, very brave of you to post your 8 things …especially number 3…(well done)

  13. I’m compelled to address the concept of randomness again today in my post (which I have to get busy on!).

    It’s all in the cards, so to speak. Some just haven’t figured that out yet.

    I’m reminded by another aspect of physics — for every action there’s a reaction…or something like that.

  14. You see, the thing that Ray Bradbury missed is that the man’s foot had stepped on the butterfly millions of years ago, so surely the course of history hadn’t been tampered with in the first place because it was already part of history. Or something. Okay, I’ll leave now!

  15. You know…you are right! Thinking about what came first in the plots of the time travel or life regression plots is always kind of trippy.

    But isn’t the issue that the action does rewrite history? Except a squished butterfly altering political outcomes is a bit far-fetched. I know Ray Bradbury is often faulted for his lack of scientific knowledge, which is fine by me. A good story is a good story, right?

    Thanks for chiming in!

  16. Thanks for the tag, I actually did this a week or so ago when Chip from “Chips and Quips” tagged me.

    Making a List, Checking it Twice – Eight Random Facts.

    if art and music were as important in school as reading and math so true

    Makes me want to head out to the grocery store.

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