Author's selfie It’s been a busy day! Up early and out for a walk, managed a few other things afterward, and then off to work. I spent part of the day out in one of the libraries, then came back to the office to work on some other tasks. It felt like a good day to wear a tie today. I don’t always.

Sad News

Today marks a number of sad tidings. For me, it started with the news of Vera Rubin’s passing. An astrophysicist, I remember reading in several different books about her contributions, the challenges she faced, and about her discoveries involving the rotations of galaxies. The day wasn’t done with that news. Instead, I found out late in the day that Carrie Fisher had passed. Of course, Carrie Fisher had played an iconic role in my early childhood, as Princess Leia. And it is sad that she passed at such a relatively young age. 2016 wasn’t done yet, as I learned of Richard Adams’s passingWatership Down and The Plague Dogs were books that stuck with me from childhood. I was reading Watership Down not long ago to my son and it was an opportunity to revisit the rabbits.

These were all people I knew about, not people I knew personally. I was also present today when the library received a call about a much loved, retired employee who is now in hospice care. I don’t know if the family wants the news shared, so I won’t say more here, except to say that they were always one of the most positive people I’ve known. I know they have their family with them, and my thoughts are with them and their loved ones.

Each day people get these calls and lose someone they love. According to the CDC’s FastStats, there were 823.7 deaths per 100,000 population or ~7,195 deaths per day (average) in 2014. Most of those don’t hit the national news—but they have a huge impact on the people in their lives.

Cover of How Not to DieAnother item noted on the CDCs page are the leading causes of death, with heart disease topping the list. This fact concerns me because I have a family and personal history with high cholesterol. Back in August, after reading How Not to Die, I made significant changes to my diet. I have great blood pressure. I have never smoked. I don’t drink. Since I changed my diet and started exercising regularly, I’ve lost 25 lbs., for what that’s worth. I’m more interested in seeing the results of the cholesterol test in a couple of months.

Greger’s book and his work at focuses on providing people with information on how diet impacts health.

With that said, I want to address something I saw posted earlier. Basically, the post blamed Carrie Fisher’s death on her lifestyle choices, as well as her depression. As if she deserved to die! It reminded me a bit of Black Mirror’s “Fifteen Million Merits” in the attitude of disdain and judgment. It shows an astounding lack of empathy and ignorance. Each of us is different. I have high cholesterol and didn’t recognize my depression until fairly recently, and sought treatment. My healthy lifestyle changes are the choices I made, the decisions I took, and included medical treatment for depression. Yet this sort of judgment and shaming of people makes even typing that sentence hard! The fact is we never know what struggles people face, what biological hand they’ve been dealt, or their circumstances. People make the best choices they can in that moment, given all of the factors in their lives. Taking a superior, judgmental attitude doesn’t make the world a better place. It doesn’t help anyone. Maybe that’s the hand the person posting was dealt, maybe they can’t do anything about being a dick. That must have its own challenges. Still, I recommend at least making the effort. Don’t be a dick!

And here is a recent interview with Carrie Fisher, and Gary.

Writing/Art Progress

I wrote some today and probably won’t do anything with it except use it as background material. I spent my time painting doing a rough sketch of Carrie Fisher’s dog, Gary.

Daily words: 533 words
Monthly words: 3,937 words
Writing streak: 8 days
Drawing time: 15 minutes
Drawing Streak: 8 days