Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflection: Flexibility Revisited

I am revisiting once more the concept of flexibility: How is it that I appear unusually flexible -- indeed hyperflexible -- to friends, yet never scored well on test of flexibility? I was sub-par throughout all my years of P. E., and was, in fact, the worst person in my class in gymnastics activities, performing like a person with joint limitations. (Flexibility wasn't the main reason I was eventually placed in adaptive P.E., but let's just say it wasn't helping.)

Sometimes it takes years to define the perimeters of something; some crucial detail eludes me. Here goes: Tests of flexibility are generally done with the legs straight/ extended. It appears that, for me, though, the ability to bend at the waist depends, to an unusual degree, on also having bent legs. In P.E., students are asked to sit with their legs extended and then touch their toes. The act of sitting with my legs extended is in itself uncomfortable; my range of motion in this position is pretty limited. But if I bend my legs deeply -- sitting on my feet, say, or sitting in yogi position -- then everything changes. I can not only bend my body flat against the ground, but I'm so comfortable I could sleep that way. (Sometimes I do.)

Pictures taken here and there, across my life, are suggestive of loose joints. If you look at the picture in With Legs Crossed, you'll see a small child with some unusual posture. In that pose, it almost looks like my legs detached. Either that or they were pretty durn short... which they weren't. I doubt I could do a toe touch, though, even then. By the time I started school, at any rate, that task was way out of reach.

Once again, I've got to get on my soapbox and say that it's not just about physical capacity. If we look at how a person acts in one context, striking as it may be, we can get into some trouble generalizing or making predictions about how they'll perform in other contexts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reflection: Those (Very) Protective Anti-Virus Programs

September 18 was the day Toto's free trial of McAfee ran out (or so it told me). It was hard to use the little netbook in the days leading up to September 18 as McAfee kept flashing dire warnings. I felt I had things under control, but the security program knew how to tug at my heart strings.

On the evening of the 17th, I looked up security programs, some free, some in the neighborhood of $30 to $40. It seemed like the free version of AVG did less than it used to -- understandable, I suppose, in a freemium world. Still, the free program would stave off crisis. Windows gave us a firewall, and AVG would at least momentarily give us our anti-virus; later I could decide if I wanted to purchase something additional for Toto and Snookums.

Now here is where things got curious: AVG proceeded to download more than it indicated it would -- or so it seems. (It wouldn't want to see anything happen on its shift.) Also, it is the 20th now, and McAfee is hanging around longer than indicated. It appears it is thoughtfully giving me a grace period. (Will it win my heart yet?) It put up an icon that we were in a state of alert (no protection? low protection?) But when I plugged my camera in, it warned me that there was this device connected... and did I want it to scan the thing? Perhaps McAfee has downgraded itself, but it has not left. I picture it like the Cheshire cat -- some part remaining.

Choices, choices... I guess most security program companies offer some sort of free download that's separate from their trial. Some offer more, some less. McAfee has a curious program that will let you know whether the security program you currently have installed (whatever it might be) is behaving properly. It will tell you things like, "CA Security reports that things are peachy keen. But if you want even more protection, you can upgrade to McAfee TOTAL Protection now." Snookums-the-Netbook has one of those programs. So far I have not felt the need to get Toto one.

photo: pittaya