entropy

The Ageing Rockstar and i have had a busy week. On Sunday we went to the Blues Jam.  This may sound like something you get in a jar but in fact is a bunch of ageing rockstars and other musicians getting together to sing and strum and bash drums. It is great fun and gives me the opportunity to film the Ageing Rockstar in action.  

Then on Wednesday we were off to Uxbridge, which is somewhere almost north of Watford as far as i can work out, where we met with some friends of the Ageing Rockstar who he has known since he was a Fledgling Rockstar.  Between strumming there was a lot of reminiscing about Gigs We Have Been To, and talk of fellow Ageing Rockstars, punctuated by exclamations of "blimey, is he still alive?!!" 

Then on Saturday we were off again, this time to Sunbury on Thames.   The Ageing Rockstar did his stuff and between strumming found time for a chat with the Teetering on the Brink of Middle Age bass player about a new purchase the TBMA bass player had made.  It seems this is another "not-guitar" which again needs some TLC to bring it back from the grave.  I don't know where all these rescue guitars would be without kindly musicians willing to take them into their homes and selflessly devote hours to their welfare. It is truly heartwarming.

When we got back from Sunbury on Thames we were met by my son, who comes round to entertain the lurchers while we are out.  It seems they had a wonderful time chatting about string theory and the beginning of time, so much so that my son was fired up with talk of weighty matters.   It is hard to describe the feeling one has, after a long evening of groupie activity followed by a long drive, made longer by the vagaries of motorway closures at night, when one is confronted with enthusiastic talk of entropy.  I will just say that the feeling is not one of unbridled enthusiasm.

My son is a master at turning subjects round to suit his agenda.  Persons on the autistic spectrum are known for their dedication to whatever subject interests them at the time.  In my son's youth he spent many years obsessed with fluorescent lights.  It was not uncommon for him to say "talking of strip lights, ..." during a conversation where try as you might you could not find any reference to anything electrical in the preceding 5 minutes.  However, with maturity has come cunning. He now can segue into his chosen theme with the ease of a 1970s disc jockey.  The discussion of entropy somehow morphed out of a discussion of non-alcoholic drinks.

"Did you know you can get stainless steel ice cubes now?" asked my son, "they stop the ice diluting your drink."

"But i thought the way ice made your drink colder was something to do with the actual act of the ice melting rather than just the coldness?" I said, trying to stay awake.

"Ice melting into water is a very good metaphor for entropy," said my son, "when it reaches the point where all the ice has melted, nothing happens."

"But isn't that just water?" I countered, "so really water is the metaphor rather than ice melting?"  (how easy it is to get sucked into this heady stuff at 2 in the morning.)

We then somehow moved onto the heat death of the universe.  Apparently you can get T-shirts which say on them "ask me about the heat death of the universe".   I pointed out that these were not really likely to be babe-magnets, but my son was not to be swayed from his theme.

"At the start of the universe it was too hot for anything to happen so it was not until it got to the temperature of bath water that things started to get ready for the Big Bang."  There then followed more information than i really needed about thermodynamic equilibrium, otherwise known as maximum entropy.

At this point i decided it might be prudent to take some notes as there was no way my rather unreliable memory was going to keep this level of physics in order until i was able to record it for my readers.

"What are you doing?" he asked

"I'm taking notes so i don't forget this stuff." I explained, "then i can write about it in my blog."

"You're not writing about me are you?"

"I won't use your name," i assured him. He should be bright enough to realise that as he is the only son i have people will probably work out who he is, but i didn't want to enter into a debate about privacy at this unearthly hour.  He is so paranoid about his cyberspace footprint that he wanted to buy his laptop with cash so Microsoft would not peer over his shoulder.

The conversation then moved onto a man called Slavoj Zizek who my son has been watching on YouTube.  He is apparently a fine example of Soviet-era Communist humour.  He has been described as the Most Dangerous Philosopher in the West, although I don't suppose this title is one that there is a lot of competition for. It seems this Slavoj Zizek has been making a film called "The Perverts Guide to Ideology" which i am sure has a lot of accidental Google hits.  

At this point i decided to have a snack and went into the kitchen to fetch one of my 'health bars'. These used to be called cakes but i have renamed them now i am watching my weight.  They are actually quite healthy as they are made from grated beetroot, ground almonds, eggs, honey and coco powder.

"Have you been baking your Trojan cakes?" called my son from the living room, "only i made my pizza in the oven earlier and it tasted of earth!"  (He calls the newly re-named health bars Trojan cakes because they masquerade as chocolate brownies while really containing alarming vegetables.)   

I suppose the oven making his pizza taste of earth might be what started him off on the train of thought that culminated in the heat death of the universe.  The Great British Bake Off has a lot to answer for...

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