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A nice science article in the Times discussing (and defending!) the virtues of the wandering mind.

In the past, daydreaming was often considered a failure of mental discipline, or worse. Freud labeled it infantile and neurotic. Psychology textbooks warned it could lead to psychosis. Neuroscientists complained that the rogue bursts of activity on brain scans kept interfering with their studies of more important mental functions.

But now that researchers have been analyzing those stray thoughts, they’ve found daydreaming to be remarkably common — and often quite useful. A wandering mind can protect you from immediate perils and keep you on course toward long-term goals. Sometimes daydreaming is counterproductive, but sometimes it fosters creativity and helps you solve problems.


I daydream all the time almost constantly.  Indeed, I frequently find myself wandering along three or four different mental tracks simultaneously, often with some piece of musick running through my head as well.  I believe it’s an internal defense mechanism against boredom, since a) I get bored very, very easily and b) I hates being bored.

I believe it’s also the reason I blog the way I do, preferring a sort of ad hoc, conversational approach to a more formal structure, and simply sounding off on whatever happens to seize my attention at any given time, rayther than attempting to focus on one particular topic.   (If I were to go with the latter approach, I would undoubtedly get quite bored with that quite quickly.)   For whatever physiological reason (discussed somewhat in the article), having the ability to throw out these asides when they come to me actually helps me focus on whatever more important task I happen to have at hand.

I learned a new term last evening: Fascia board.

Most of my fellow port-swillers probably already know that this is the horizontal board that caps off the bottom edges of the rafters and to which the gutters are attached.   I can now assure you that when said board rots out and detaches itself from the rafters on the corner of the house during a violent rainstorm, it will take the gutter right along with it, as I discovered upon my return to the port-swiller residence after work yesterday.

The good news is that I also found a note attached to the front door.  A handyman who lives in the neighborhood had spotted the twisted and hanging gutter as he passed, turned in, and wrote out a diagnosis and price quote on the spot.   I appreciate that kind of enterprise.

UPDATE: The WaPo snapped some coo-el pics of the storm that blew through my neck of the woods yesterday and caused the fascia board swan dive.


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June 2010