Temporary local configurations of star stuff

Hi all and happy boxing day (and other holidays)!

(I’ve been sending periodic emails to current and some former students since the start of the pandemic. If you want off this list, lmk. If you want to stay on as a former student, lmk and send me your non-UW email. And, if you’re interested, I’m maintaining an archive of past emails to students.)

This is just a note to say that I hope things are going well for you now and that you’re getting a chance to rest. Also, a note to acknowledge that a lot of people don’t have restful situations going on with their families, and, for that, I’m sorry. I hope you have (online) friends you can rely on for support and love. 

This is also to acknowledge that this freaking virus is still with us. UW has decided to go remote for the first week of the Winter Quarter as everyone gets back from vacation and tests for COVID and gets boosted. I hate to say this, but, given how easily the omicron variant spreads, I sort of predict more remote instruction will be mandated in a few weeks. 🙁 So, yes, I know it’s pretty stressful and uncertain for those of you still at UW. For me and your other instructors, it makes it really effing hard to design a curriculum that can adapt to different learning modalities. Ugh.

I know there are people out there stuck in a moment that they can’t get out of. But remember my previous emails about blips (and about imposter syndrome), and, as I was contemplating how to help last week, one morning I woke up with this thought:

We all bathe in the same sunlight, and we all see the same moon.We are all temporary local configurations of star stuff, and when we go away, we return to the cosmos to become infinite potential. But right now, relish and be thankful for our temporary configurations because this one lets us reflect and marvel at our universe’s awesomeness. Rejoice and bask in the awesomeness of existence and allow yourself to feel the energy between all of us.

Photo of man sitting on a Jeep looking away towards the night sky which features Mars, Venus, and the Moon by Shi Huan
Mars, Venus, and the Moon by Shi Huan

Anyway, I want to leave you with some goodness. I’ve found joy and solace in some media this week:

  • Music – New Order’s Ceremony and Erasure’s Blue Savannah
  • Movies – The Matrix Resurrections (a satisfying 4th-wall-blended response and reclamation to alt-right red-pillers) (I haven’t seen the new Spider-Man yet but since I want to watch the first two again first)
  • Shows – The Witcher season 2 is good, and the first is worth a rewatch… The Expanse is on its last season (I haz a sad)
  • Games – are everything

cheers and love,


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