Chaos theory

“Out of order, chaos.”

That phrase rumbling through my skull woke me up way too early this morning. Naturally, I thought it a bit of profundity, the Universe addressing me while I slept.

“Remember this,” I instructed myself, and went back to sleep.

I remembered. And this morning the first thing I did (after getting coffee, of course) was to give a good hard twist on Mr. Google’s decoder ring, hoping to find out what the hell the Universe was talking about.

Well, it appears that the Universe was having me on, as usual. Seems my snoozing cerebrum had managed to flip a quote from an NPR story I heard yesterday about one of two female Type 1 incident wildfire commanders, the first to attain that lofty rank.

“Think of us as 911,” Jeanne Pincha-Tulley said. “We’re really good at taking chaos and making order out of it. We’re used to taking complicated and making it work.”

Leave it to a so-called journalist to (a) get the quote wrong, and (2) come down squarely on the side of chaos over order.

• Editor’s note: This is my 1,200th post on this free WordPress blog, which in a dreamscape ruled by chaos means absolutely nothing.

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29 Responses to “Chaos theory”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    1200. Sounds like we owe you a case or two of beer.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      And that’s just this blog, which only goes back to November 2008. There’s all that other raving, too, which dates to 2002. I’m pretty sure I was blogging before that, but the platform and content are deep in the digital tar pits with the rest of the dinosaurs. I must be stunningly full of shit.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Goes back pretty far, brah. My recollection goes back to Fuerte the Wonder Pooch, back when you were writing from Weirdcliffe. Still have a soft part in my heart from that post. As well as the one you wrote about the invisible riders in Lost Wages.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ah, Fuerte. What a pooch she was. Never be another like her, though I’ll confess that Mister Boo is starting to grow on me. They all have their own little lovable qualities, even the smelly one-eyed little weirdos.

        I liked that Outerbiker column too. Being an old newsie I dismiss almost everything I do as soon as it’s done, but now and then I think, “You know, that one didn’t entirely suck.”

      • Derek Says:

        Are your eyes brown? you must be.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Interesting story here.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Back to the start of the thread.

  4. John in GJ Says:

    “Out of order, chaos.”

    Ah, blow it out your ass, Howard.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Is moderation on? Left a link to Amazon for a book (Order out of Chaos) written by Ilya Prigogine et al. Prigogine was a Nobel laureate in chemistry. I read some of his work on thermodynamics when I was writing a Ph.D. qualifying exam on ordered crystal structures back in the late seventies. God, its hard to believe that I once had a functional brain. Or at least semi-functional.

    When I read that “out of order, chaos” and its inverse, I knew that rang a bell, but I had to spend all morning looking for the right room in that house up on my shoulders.

    • John in GJ Says:

      See, that’s the difference between you and me, Khal. You hear the words “order” and “chaos” and you think of thermodynamics and crystal structures, and then head for the bookshelf. Whereas I heard those words and thought of Blazing Saddles and “blow it out your ass, Howard”, then headed over to YouTube.

      There’s something wrong with one of us but I don’t know which one.

    • Derek Says:

      One of my favorite instructors in college, and I did not have many, taught Thermodynamics and other stuff. I remember another student explaining his refusal for partial credit (all apologies to Asian folk I understand our “R” does not exist)
      You build bridge? It fall down? You get partial credit?

      • khal spencer Says:

        I had an undergrad thermo prof who had a similar attitude. He asked which of us wanted to fly on a plane designed by a C engineering student.

      • Derek Says:

        and Khal, thank you for making me think of ordered crystal structures. Material science has developed considerably. I need to re-evaluate what is possible. Sometimes I forget I have a quarter- century investment in my learning and I try to inflict it on other people by rote, as if learning by rote didn’t damage me.
        I had my first argument with a co-worker in the 3.5 years I have been back at the company I work for about a tool design. He pissed me off so much I redesigned the whole tool and came in at almost half original materials cost. Jerk. I didn’t get to sleep at all. The world is moving so fast it is hard to keep up with what is possible now and if you want to sell something to a US consumer it must be cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. Durability, accuracy, ease of use, compatibility, safety, beauty? These are secondary concerns. IS IT ON SALE NOW? WHY NOT? IS IT ON SALE ELSEWHERE NOW? WHY DON’T YOU KNOW? etc. etc.
        Our market compells us. The almighty dollar is important when the bill collectors call.

      • Derek Says:

        and by “jerk” I mean jeez dude do you really have to be that smart early in the morning, amongst other things.

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    1200 is some sort of milestone, congratulations! I’ll drink a toast of this in your name
    tonight. This is the official bubbly of the Giro and I scored some on-sale ($6) at a local wine shop. Cin Cin!

  7. Opus the Poet Says:

    1200 posts since 2008 means you clearly haven’t been writing enough. I’m coming up on 1750 and I didn’t start my blog until after I saw yours here (back when your original site was going TU on a regular basis). Still considering that you didn’t get going good here until several months after I went live 1200 is pretty good…

  8. Libby Says:

    Congratulations! Long may you flourish and write!
    And get thee to a voice talent agency – unsolicited advice. It never ends.
    Fuck yeah Patrick O’Grady.

  9. Ira Says:

    1200 posts and I’m sure I’ve read every one, and probably most on the old site too. I’ve been a fan since I first read the Foaming Rant in the mwsnbn (fuck them)..

  10. Dave Watts Says:

    Ha! This blog post reminds me of our Mayor Richard J. Daley (the father of Richard M.) who once famously said to the press “The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

    So remembering it askew isn’t all that bad, really. Congrats on #1200 here, and I don’t know how many elsewhere. I’ve read just about every one.

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