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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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Spectre and Meltdown – Digital Villains and Killer Computers

January 13th, 2018 by Michael Dyet
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computer-virus

Hmmm, is the digital cat out of the virtual bag in the secretive world of microprocessors?

Two new technology bugs, known as Spectre and Meltdown, have arrived on the scene.  Rather sounds to me like a plot for the next Mission Impossible movie. Ethan Hunt enters the matrix to apprehend digital villains.

Being as jaded as I am in this area, I am inclined to respond to the news with “Yeah, so what else is new?” I know not to open e-mails from people I do not know or to click on links in e-mails that are in any manner suspicious. Flu season is year round in the digital world.

But there is something especially disturbing about these latest viruses. I am give to understand that they exploit a design flaw that apparently has existed in computer chips for years – and they affect every computer device including laptops, BlackBerrys and servers.

If I understand correctly – and I probably do not, but I will stumble on anyway – programs are usually isolated from each other and the operating system. But this design flaw allows viruses to break that isolation. And that is bad – Lex Luthor level bad.

I envision a microscopic bridge inside my computer that the virus can waltz across willy-nilly. Yes, I know willy-nilly is not a technical term. Then again, maybe it is. How would I know? And would I even care, if I did know? Probably not, but I digress.

It seems that the chip companies have known about this vulnerability but choose to turn a blind eye. Hmmm, blind eye. Great name for a computer virus. Copyright pending.

I have learned that modern, high-performance processors perform something called speculative execution. They make assumptions and speculatively compute results accordingly. It worries me to no end that my computer is speculating. It makes it seem actually alive and capable of going rogue in the matrix and attacking me.

But images of killer computers aside, if they guess correctly, they win some extra performance. But what happens when they guess wrong? They throw away their speculatively calculated results and start over.

All of this is meant to be transparent to programs. A well-kept cyber secret. But somehow this speculation slightly changes the state of the processor. These small changes can be detected which results in the disclosing of information about the data and instructions that were used speculatively. Translation: the digital cat gets out of the virtual bag.

And this too is bad. Or at least not good – or somewhere in-between good and bad, although how wide that spectrum is in digital terms I cannot speculate.

Computer virus is, of course, a metaphor. A metaphor gone wrong, it would seem. But I do not see the point of blaming the metaphor. It is just an innocent bystander in this speculative world of virtual right and wrong.

It must be Bill Gates who is to blame. Or Mark Zuckerberg. Or the guy who invented Google. Or all three of them together in a digital ménage a trois. Of course, that is purely speculation on my part.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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The July Waltz of Carefree Winged Wonders

January 6th, 2018 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, what is an unrepentant nature lover to do when caught in the vice grip of the dead of winter?

We are in the midst of a January deep freeze in this area. And just to be clear, I am talking about a teeth-chattering, bone-chilling, are you freaking kidding me, minus 30 wind chill winter assault on our senses. Every conversation begins with “Can you believe this cold!”.

It is the perfect time to hunker down inside, brew a big batch of coffee and revisit some of the winged children of the goddess of summer. The three I have chosen, from my summer 2017 excursions, are very common species – easy to find and yet always a delight to behold.

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Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

This Canadian Tiger Swallowtail was intent on feeding on a tempting wildflower which gave me the luxury of time to creep closer and capture it.

Do you see how the outside of the wings displays a geometric pattern of artist’s touch markings that is a landscape all its own? Pale yellow furrows subdivided by a network of thread-thin and thicker, meandering black rivers. Scalloped edges on the fragile swallow tail, with crescent moons of white and orange, giving way to the pastel blue band.

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Great-spangled Fritillary

How could I ever tire of the golden orange flare of a Great-spangled Fritillary, with its pumpkin seed spots and quivering black lines, darting across my field of view? This specimen seems magically suspended against a background of verdant green while perched like a feather on the fronds of a whitish-purple wildflower.

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Silver-spotted Skipper

Does it matter that Silver-spotted Skippers are an easy find? Not in the least. Each one still stirs my heart with its photo-friendly attire – the telltale white splash and pale orange blotches against the walnut-brown wings. Like the Fritillary above, this flawless specimen had the fashion sense to position itself on a stage of mid-summer green pageantry for maximum effect.

In the barren, frozen scenes of a biting January, I need a metaphorical escape to summer glory to sooth my impatient heart. Nothing works better than a glance back at the July waltz of carefree, winged wonders in the full-blown extravagance of summer.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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New Year’s Reflections at the Benediction of an Unrepentant 2017

December 30th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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boat-adrift

Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d – William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

Hmmm, is the legacy of adversity the ability to find purpose both in blessings and affliction?

I am not a winter-friendly person. You will not find me zigzagging down snow-laden slopes or cross-country skiing along frozen trails. I hibernate like a bear. The walk from the car to the door is as much of winter as I care to experience.

But as I gaze out the window at my townhouse courtyard, keeping a glass barrier between me and the frigid temperatures, a contemplative mood takes hold. The grace of Old Man Winter presents itself to me in monochromatic hues.

Antiqued white of the crusted snow with silver-grey edgings where the wind has sculpted it or a shovel has piled in into miniature mountain ridges.

The wheat-brown trunks and barren limbs of the trees which stand stoically against the cold in a peaceful slumber that surrenders graciously to the elements.

A beckoning sky of powder blue, belying the bone-chilling temperatures below, does not seem that different from a summer sky if I suspend my disbelief.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this palette of muted colours is telling me that the year ahead will hold subtle blessings that I need to recalibrate my senses to perceive and make my own.

A whimsical snow flurry passes through as if on the wings of winter angels. Flirtatious snowflakes perform a choreographed dance – sideways cascades, counter clockwise spins and gravity-defying, upward slides.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this capricious dance is telling me that the nascent year will unfold more impulsively than I would prefer. But it will also have an underlying harmony if I can slow my mind enough to seek it out.

The snow flurry ends as unpredictably as it began. The sun emerges once more lending contrast to the landscape. Shafts of crisp sunlight seek out and paradoxically soften the sharp lines of gray brick walls, wrought iron fences and snow-dusted, peaked roofs.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this winter sun is telling me that the year about to be born will seem harsh and unforgiving at times. But so too will it have moments of clarity that show me the way ahead if I am wise enough to assemble the puzzle pieces.

2017 was mean-spirited and unrepentant in its treatment of me. Misfortune seemed to lurk around every corner and bite at my heels even as I picked myself up and carried on. I was at the mercy of the unsteer’d boat which seemed to hold me captive in a winter land of adversity.

But perhaps, just perhaps, I needed the affliction to see the wisdom in Shakespeare’s metaphor of fortune. At the benediction of the year, hard-won insight empowers me to see splendour in the grip of winter, both real and figurative, which will serve me well in the New Year that awaits.

~  Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you ae reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

 

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When I Grow Old and Wear My Trousers Rolled: The Year of the Black Cloud

December 23rd, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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I grow old… I grow old…

I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled

T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Hmmm, when I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled, will 2017 be a year that mercifully fades into the mist of lost memories?

I would normally wait until New Year’s Day to write my year-in-review post. But I am jumping the gun in the hope of banishing the stubborn black cloud that has been hanging over me for the past twelve months. If you follow my blog, you will have heard my tales of woe. Bear with as I feel the need to assemble them in one place and be done with them.

The black cloud forms. There was an early sign that 2017 might be a tough year. My cat was diagnosed with kidney disease in late 2016. Special food and medication seemed initially to be working. But on New Year’s Eve, my big fat cat, as I liked to call him, stopped eating again. Weekly visits to the vet, for treatments that were less and less effective, followed for five weeks.

The black cloud takes hold. In early February, I made the heart-wrenching decision to end his suffering. It still pains me to recall that feared day. By chance, he was cremated on Valentines Day – a fitting farewell for a sweet, affectionate cat who brought me much joy.

Side note: I was working with a naturopath from the beginning of the year to address digestive system problems. This was a precursor, as it turned out, for what was to come later.

The black cloud spews lightening. In March, I received a telephone call at work telling me that a family member had suffered a heart attack. I still recall the clutch of fear in my heart at the news. An emergency angioplasty to insert two stints into heart valves was successful. But a nasty staph infection contracted at the hospital made for a miserable few weeks.

The black cloud spews thunder. In early August, a severe bout of stomach cramps occurred that lasted on and off for three days. Reluctantly, on the evening of the third day, I called 911 and went to the hospital by ambulance. The diagnosis: Volvulus aka, twisted colon, causing a bowel obstruction and requiring surgery to remove a weakened section of colon.

I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital, including a stint in ICU with aspiration pneumonia, preparing for the surgery, the surgery itself and the recovery period. I came home to recover for a few weeks believing that surely this was the final misfortune in my dismal year.

The black cloud spews more thunder. Scar tissue from the surgery caused repeated secondary bowel blockages which landed me in the hospital three more times over the next couple of months. Since then I have been on a restricted diet of pureed and blender-prepared food to reduce the risk of another blockage.

The black cloud spews rain. You would think this would be enough bad luck for one year. But one more low blow was awaiting me. A little over a week ago, I awoke to the sound of gushing water in my townhouse unit. A failed shut off valve allowed a geyser of water to flood my suite. I stayed with friends for several days while a cleaning service dried out my place.

Given this unrelenting black cloud, the metaphor of choice for my 2017 is a tsunami of misfortune that put me down for the count several times and left me very eager for the year to end.

When I grow old and wear the bottom of my trousers rolled, I will be grateful if 2017 fades into the mist of lost memories. But I earnestly hope that what lies ahead for me in the coming years, will enable me to see 2017 as the turning point after which my luck changed and great things happened. Stay tuned to find out.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a wee

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The Quest for Originality and the Perfect Metaphor

December 9th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, what is a writer to do when the world at large fails to inspire?

There are plenty of in-the-news topics that I could blog about at the moment. Should I set my sights on:

The Donald Trump Circus. On a daily basis, Trump does something controversial or says something inflammatory or tweets something provoking or makes a wildly unpopular, head-scratching decision. I could easily compose a post a week about him.

But no thanks. I do not want to wade into that fray again or give Trump more attention than he is already getting as it only encourages his behaviour.

The Sexual Harassment Downpour. Lately, a new story breaks every week about this despicable behaviour by a male celebrity or a man in position of power. The perpetrators are now tumbling like dominos. Many of their peers are trembling for fear that they may be next.

But no thanks. I do not want to pound that pulpit even though it would get me many readers. I cannot think of anything to say on the subject that would be more than bandwagon jumping.

Hollywood celebrity ties the hook with British royalty. The media is abuzz with the news of the dream-come-true engagement of Meagan Markle and Prince Harry. It is pitched as a feel good story for trying times.

But no thanks. I have never been a fan of the royal family. I do not want to be part of the spin doctoring, on either the yeah or nay side, on that front.

Political Battle Lines. They are already drawn for the next provincial election here in Ontario. The gloves have been off from the get-go. Special interest groups are dipping deep in their advertising budgets to tell us who we should not vote for under any circumstances.

But no thanks. I have blogged on that subject before and declared my point of view – namely, that all too often it is sadly a case of which candidate is the least objectionable. I have nothing new to say on that topic.

I have to wonder what it signifies when all the hot topics of the day have no appeal. Am I too much of a skeptic, or too much of an optimist, to take aim at easy targets?

The issue goes deeper into my artistic heart. I crave originality in an off-the-shelf world. I hear you asking: How can you say that when technology continues to explode with new whiz-bang innovations every other day? My answer: The technology Grinch rarely finds inspiration there.

At times like this, I ponder two questions. What am I? Who am I? The answer is always clear. A spinner of tales, a juggler of words, an inventor of characters, a seeker for the perfect metaphor. Some days I write just because I cannot allow the creative fire to go out. For today, that is reason enough.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Baby Bommers to Millennials: Passing the Torch

December 2nd, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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passing the torch

Caveat: This post is a Baby Boomer reflecting on the rise of the Millennials generation. Millennials may, or may not, feel that reading this article is an exercise in mirror gazing.

Hmmm, as the torch passes from Baby Boomers to Millennials, what changes will we see?

Those of us in the Baby Boom generation, people aged 46 to 65, have long owned the distinction of being the largest of the generational cohorts coexisting in the population. But it seems we are surrendering our title to Millennials, people aged 18 to 34, who are redefining society in their own image.

Millennials are the first generation in history to have grown up with digital technology and this has shaped their identity and outlook on life. They are digital natives who cannot imagine being without technology whereas we Baby Boomers are digital immigrants who adapted, sometimes grudgingly, to the digital world.

A few other key characteristics of Millennials:

They are the most educated generation in Western history – convinced that education is a key to success in life and willing to acquire significant debt to earn their academic credentials.

Mobile technology is important to them and not just for fun and games. Yes, they are the most likely to have created a profile on a social networking site and to visit their page several times a day. But Millennials also use their devices extensively for research and education.

Millennials are entrepreneurial. They accept that the job for life is an outdated concept and aspire more to creating their own company than to climbing the corporate ladder.

So what does the rise of the Millennials cohort mean for society? The experts point to several key trends that are already beginning to take hold.

The death of suburbia. Success for Baby Boomers is a nice house in the suburbs. Not so for Millennials. They are drawn to cities and are willing to trade the dream of owning a home for the excitement of city life – even in notoriously expensive places to live like New York City where the median cost for an apartment is a whopping $3,900 per month.

The demise of shopping malls. Everything you need in one self-contained, mega building is losing its appeal. Millennials can and do shop for just about anything they need online. Hence, no need to flock to the mall on evenings or weekends.

Tough times for marketers. Conscious of unemployment, frozen wages and the scarcity of stable jobs, Millennials are frugal. Experiences – e.g. eating out and attending concerts – trump possessions. Living a minimalistic life is a conscious choice.

So as we Baby Boomers ride off into the suburbia sunset clinging to our cherished homes, Millennials are greeting the sunrise in the city and creating new metaphors for success and happiness. I say more power to them. The torch is firmly in their grasp.

My Latest Work: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage – A Glimpse into “Incorrigible”

November 25th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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abstract fire on black background in orange and yellow colors

For an author, every person he or she encounters is a possible character for a story. Every once and a while, a real-life eccentric comes along that proves to be irresistible. The story begins to unfold in the author’s mind and demands to be written.

The story Incorrigible, from Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage, is the result of once such encounter. What follows is a short excerpt from the story to whet your appetite.

….. Huckleberry, I’ve told you a thousand times. You shouldn’t feed the mice.”

Vera’s voice startled him, but resonated in his ears like a finely tuned bow string.

“I swear you make less noise than a feather in a wind storm. After 60 years you’d think I’d hear you coming.”

“Don’t go changing the subject on me. I’m wise to your wily ways.”

“Ever seen one in the house? No, because they know this is where the food is. There’s a method in my madness. And for the love of Lucifer, for 60 years you’ve called me Huck. Now out of the blessed blue I’m Huckleberry?”

“Time was you’d be tickled pink if I called you that.”

“Well, no more. I’m Huck and leave it at that.”

“You’ll always be Huckleberry to me.”

“Have it your way. I’m not of a mind to argue,” he relented, resisting the fond smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth.

“Are you of a mind to clean up this shed? Every newspaper that came into this place in the last ten years is still here. What will people think?”

Huck scanned the confines of the shed. Small motors of every size, shape and make rested on stacks of yellowing newspapers. A path barely wide enough to navigate wound from the shed door to a desk littered with spare parts.

“You think I don’t know what people say? Crazy, old motor man. Couple bricks short of a load. I don’t give a good goddamn. Nobody but you ever understood me, Vera. I expect that’s not likely to change.”

“Huckleberry, what am I going to do with you? I won’t be around forever, you know.”

Huck’s brow furrowed. His bad left eye, on the side where the cow kicked him many years back, drooped half shut.

“You’re always talking that way. But you’re too stubborn by half to go before me……

Intrigued? Get your copy of Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage and find out where that fateful day takes Huck – and why the photograph at the top of this post is appropriate.

~ My Latest Work: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills -An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit my website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to my Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Revisiting For Whom the Bell Tolls

November 18th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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Bell Tolling

Hmmm, what wisdom can I take away from four more days in the hospital?

I am resting at home after my fourth hospital stay in the last three months following colon surgery and post-op complications. Fortunately, this last episode resolved quickly and my stay was short – warding off the spectre of a second surgical procedure.

I have learned to look beyond the obvious for a lesson to be learned or an insight to be gained from these obstacles that life throws in our path. There is no shortage of possibilities for consideration from this latest storm.

The hospital ER experience is always stressful. It consistently requires five or six hours to work through the various tests, with wait times in between, to enable a diagnosis. But on this occasion the hospital was in serious gridlock status. I waited 19 hours on a stretcher, with many other patients, in the hallway outside the ER for a bed to become available.

I wonder if I should be vocal decrying the underfunding of our hospital system. But the problem is not exclusively political. Our aging society, with the wave of the Baby Boom generation reaching later years of life where medical issues are more prevalent, is a major factor. And what about the ability of medical science to prolong life. Is that a double-edged sword?

Takeaway: There is seldom a simple answer to society’s most troublesome issues.

Once I was in a room and feeling better, I began to roam the hospital hallways to reboot my system. I peered discretely into rooms seeing many patients who were far more ill than me.

The aged patients were particularly troubling with their shrunken and failing bodies, haggard faces and expressions of suffering and the absence of hope. I have been in several hospital rooms where the families were maintaining a morning to evening vigil not knowing how long their loved one might have left.

Takeaway: Death can be a cruel tyrant. No one should face it alone.

This time around I was in a room with an indigent man who was admitted for amputation surgery because of unmanaged diabetes of which he was unaware. A caseworker was working diligently to find a new place for him to live which he could afford on his Ontario Works pension and which had no stairs as he would require a walker while his foot healed.

Takeaway: No matter how difficult my situation, there is always someone worse off than me.

In the end, what drove home these insights was the sound the IV Pump makes when the flow through the tube is interrupted or the IV is disconnected for a few moments. A repetitive beeeeep-beep, beeeeep-beep, beeeeep-beep that was omnipresent day and night.

This sound haunted me as though it was warning of things I did not want to contemplate. It became an auditory metaphor for the suffering and tenuous hold on hope surrounding me. I was frustrated at my recurring health issue. But the plaintive tolling of the IV alarm bell reprimanded me and forced me to acknowledge how fortunate I am in the grander scheme of things.

~ My Latest Work: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit my website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to my Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you are reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

 

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Iron Man, the Internet of Things and Facing the Music

November 4th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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Iron Man

Hmmm, could I be reborn as Iron Man courtesy of the IoT?

If you happen to be in Spartanburg, North Carolina and think you see Tony Stark in full gear, do not be concerned. You have not crossed the event horizon where reality and fiction merge. What you are seeing is a practical application of wearable technology.

The BMW assembly plant in Spartanburg is testing the use of exoskeleton vests for plant workers. Selected workers are wearing motorized metal frameworks that reduce the muscle effort required for a task by as much as 40%.

This technology is an offshoot of the Internet of Things (IoT) – the network of physical devices embedded with electronics and network connectivity that enables the devices to connect and exchange data. The experts project that the IoT will encompass 30 billion objects by 2020.

Fear not, I am not going to launch one of my anti-technology rants. I see this development as a very positive application of technology – particularly since BMW envisions its application as keeping workers on the job longer rather than replacing people with robots.

Truthfully, I am wondering how I might get my hands on one of these exoskeletons. Seems like a perfect solution to my wonky back.

I could pop on the metal vest every morning and breeze through my day with no worries. The only hitch I see is that the price of such a device is probably several times my annual salary. Might be a tough sell to convince HR that it is a reasonable accommodation.

Now that I think of it, perhaps the techno experts could develop a wearable, IoT-enabled belly band that regulates the functioning of my digestive system which has been off its game for some time. No more castor oil pack treatments, pureed soups and magnesium tablets. Strap on the bellyband, connect by Wi-Fi and let technology take over.

Continuing on that theme, my eyes are showing signs of aging. I now need two pair of glasses – one for computer work and reading and a second set for general use. Seems quite feasible that a Geordie Laforge eye visor could be manufactured for me to regulate my optic nerve to find the perfect focal point once every nanosecond.

Why stop there? I have been wearing custom orthotics in my shoes for years to compensate for plantar fasciitis. It should be possible to have a pair of exo-shoes designed that precisely compensate for my weak arches. Bonus: It would save me the expense of getting fitted for new orthotics every few years when the old ones wear out.

Hmmm, maybe I should just face the music and have a full, head-to-toe exo-body suit developed that takes over the entire operation of my body. I could literally become Iron Man – a walking metaphor for the fusion of technology and biology.

It would certainly save me a lot of time in medical appointments. Where do I sign up?

~ My Latest Work: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Random Act of Metaphor: A Murmuration of Starlings

October 28th, 2017 by Michael Dyet
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murmuration

Hmmm, can we learn a life lesson from the unique behaviour of the common Starling?

As an avid birdwatcher, I try to appreciate all birds – the common species I see regularly as well as the heart-pumping, once-in-a-season sightings. I will confess, however, that I often take Starlings for granted since they are always present in significant numbers.

But at this time of year, Starlings transform into a collective that in itself stirs my soul. Hundreds or even thousands of Starlings come together in flocks which move as a wave – twisting and turning, changing direction at a moment’s notice and shape-shifting in geometric patterns.

This phenomenon is known as a murmuration. I do not know who coined the phrased. But I love the cadence of it and the way it rolls off the tongue. It elegantly captures the way each bird in the flock bends its will to the greater good and achieves perfect unison with its companions.

A murmuration of Starlings in an airborne dance of delight – a random act of metaphor to teach us that harmony is a state of grace much to be coveted and a thing of wonder to behold.

~Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of Until the Deep Water Stills: An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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