The Pixelization of Memory . . .

or Tomorrow for Sure . . . Maybe.

And yes, our rig did not get moved today . . . again. Turns out I have a very narrow window of time to get anything really done during my off hours from the gate.



It’s usually close to 6am before I get back to the rig, and as late as 6:30 before I get to bed. One variable in this is whether or not I was able to get enough signal to upload the blog from the gate. If not, I have to boot up the laptop, upload the blog to the website and then post it to Facebook, a task that can take 10 to 15 minutes.

And since I’ve normally gotten up at 10:30 to 11am all these years, that’s when I still wake up. Whether I really want to, or not. So if anything gets done, it’s in that small time frame from about 11am until around 1:30.

Then I can convince my brain I’m only going back to bed for a ‘nap’. That way I can usually get another couple of hours in before I have to get up and go to work. All in all, not that much different than past years when we were doing 24 hour gates.

Then I would work an 8 hour shift, and Jan would work a 6 hour one. Then I would work 5 hours and Jan finished up with a 5 hour one. So what this meant was I slept for about 4 hours twice a day, which worked fine for me, and I had no problem doing this for the entire 3 months.

But what this all boils down to is that fact that I only have about two hours to really do ‘anything’ before I go back to work. And today’s window was ‘eaten’ up by a #6 Double Meat Whataburger with my name on it. They even had a special sticker printed up just for me, and stuck it right there on top of the wrapper.

It said ‘BACON’!

Jan’s said ‘KETCHUP’ so I knew that one wasn’t mine. You all know how I feel about ketchup on hamburgers and hotdogs. Ketchup belongs on French Fries and meatloaf, and that’s pretty much it.

And of course, on Whataburger fries, it’s their Spicy Ketchup.

The Pixelization of Memory . . .

Pixelization generally has two meanings.

One is the blurring or distorting of a photo or video. You see this a lot on TV where they may blur out a company logo or a risqué T-shirt slogan. Now I always wonder if it’s something we could see walking down the street, why is it so necessary to hide it on TV. And of course you also see it used to hide the identify of children, or even witnesses in a trial. Both of those valid.

And you sometimes see it used on ‘reality’ shows like ‘Naked and Afraid’ to hid people’s ‘naughty bits’. Now there’s probably 4 or 5 people on the other side of  the camera. There’s the camera guy, a sound guy (you can often see the boom mike), the director, and probably a general flunky.

So they  get to see all the ‘naughty bits’, why not us?

Or are there really any ‘bit’s to be seen at all? For all we know it could just be bikinis and speedos under there, and it’s all just hype. I mean, think about it. You’ve got a show with ‘Naked’ in the title, but there’s no ‘naked’ to be seen.

What’s the point?

Note I put ‘reality’ in quotes, because if you know anything about television production, you know there’s nothing ‘real’ about any of this. There could be an entire crew of twenty behind the camera, including a catered buffet table setup, filming a guy lost in the wilderness.

I remember an episode of ‘Building Alaska’ a year or so ago. They had the 2×4 walls up and then every one left for the night, except for one guy. Now he knew he was not supposed to work on a ladder with no one else there, but he did anyway.

They started out with a long shot of the guy on a rickety ladder nailing on top of one of the walls. Then the ladder goes flying out from under him and he starts to fall. The next shot cuts to a view underneath him, looking up as he falls toward the camera. The final shot is from the top of the wall looking down on him sprawled on the ground, groaning in pain with his leg twisted funny.

Yeah, right!

The second meaning of pixelization comes into play when you zoom in on the digital photo on your computer. As you get closer and closer you start seeing the blocky pixels that actually make up the image. And in talking with Jan today, it occurred to me that our memories operate in the same manner as the digital zoom effect.

Or at least mine do.



Now memory is a funny thing, and overall, not very reliable. Police will tell you that if they have four witnesses to a crime, they will have five different descriptions of the criminal. It’s amazing sometime how much faith juries and prosecutors put on ‘eyewitness’ testimony, since so many studies show how unreliable and easily influenced our memories are.

Often in college sociology classes they demonstrate the fallibility of our memory by staging some sort of incident in the middle of the class. It may start with the classroom door slamming open an two guys entering, yelling and shoving each other. Then a women carrying a small dog runs in and starts screaming at the men while they’re still pushing and taunting each other. Then she turns and runs out, closely followed by the men. The teacher then hands out a pre-prepared questionnaire for the students to answer in class. And the results were amazing, and all over the map, mostly because of the way the questions were asked.

By using the right questions, the teacher was easily able to influence the results.

1. What color dress was the woman wearing?

2. What did the 3rd man say  when he entered the classroom?

3. What color purse was the woman carrying?

4. Was the woman wearing high heels or flats?

5. What color beard did the guy wearing the red shirt have?

But most of the questions were misleading, or ‘leading’ as the case may be.

1. The woman was wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

2. There was no 3rd man.

3. No purse, just the dog.

4. The woman was barefoot.

5. No beard, no red shirt.

But the majority of the class answered the questions describing the woman’s dress, what the 3rd man said, and the color of the purse. Strangely few people noticed the dog.

But when another class saw the same incident and were just ask to describe what happened, they did much better. But not ‘better’ enough that I would want to risk a prison sentence on their ‘eyewitness’ testimony.

Ok, my digression seems to have digressed, but I’ve finally circled back around to my initial thought about memories. So hang on, I am going somewhere with this.

Believe it or not, Jan and I were talking about an old girlfriend of mine this morning. Now Jan’s pretty good about this. She has been known to point out an well-proportioned young lady in a bikini, and I’ve been known to point out a well-muscled guy in tight biker shorts.

I guess you could call it ‘tit for tat’. Or maybe ‘tit for lats’, maybe. Anyway we’ve always had a ‘You can look, but you can’t touch’ philosophy that’s worked for us for almost 50 years.

I’ve mentioned in the blog before, how when we visit my relatives in north Alabama, part of me is looking around for old girlfriends when we’re in a restaurant or store. But then it dawned on me that I’m looking for them as they  were at 14, 15, or 16, not as they would be in their 60’s now.

But we were specifically  talking about a girlfriend I had when we were living in Colombia, South America and I was 13 and she was 14. Though actually she was just a few months older than me.

Yeah, I know. What kind of girlfriend can you have at 13? But we were close, considered ourselves boy friend and girlfriend, and spent a lot of time together.

But what was unique about her was that she was from England, and her family (and her) were somewhat well-known. As least as far as having an hereditary family title dating from the late 1600’s, and the ancestral manor to go with it, gets you known in England.

Jan asked me if I had ever followed up on her, to see what happened to her? I mean, she would be in her late 60’s now and would certainly have inherited the ‘Duchess’ title from her mother long ago.

I told Jan No, I had never followed up on her, or any of my past girlfriends for that matter. I don’t want to find out they were killed by a drunk driver while in their 20’s, raped and killed by an intruder, or even died in the World Trade Center.

I prefer to keep my memories of them intact, when they were beautiful young teenagers in the prime of life, and not possibly  moldering in the ground somewhere. But that’s when I discovered the pixelization problem.

I found that, although I could visualized the future duchess generally, red hair, green eyes, I could not zoom in on her face in my mind. As I said it was like zooming in a digital photo, with her face becoming more and more blocky and distorted the closer I got. I couldn’t see any details. And it wasn’t just her.

The rest of them were the same way. I could see them generally, but not in detail. Now it’s different with Jan. I met her when I was 18 and we’ve been together ever since. And I can see her, see her face back then, with no problem.

But then she hasn’t really changed all that much. I swear she has picture in an attic somewhere.



Well, as you can tell if you made it this far, my train of thought jumped the tracks once again. I started typing on one subject and then end up wandering all over the landscape before I finally made it back to my topic. It’s kind of a stream of consciousness run wild sort of thing.

As Kandi said, it’s kind of like a kangaroo driving a car. He’ll run up on the curb a few times, but he’ll get you there eventually.


Thought for the Day:

“The triumph of Hope over Experience” – Samuel Johnson on 2nd marriages.

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2 Responses to The Pixelization of Memory . . .

  1. Chris Yust says:

    You need more sleep!

  2. Merideth says:

    I can see what you were talking about Greg. It made for a very interesting read I must say. Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to you. LOL. I can’t stay focused when I don’t get enough rest.

     

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