My Atomic Clock

socs-badge-2015I’ve been thinking about time lately. Time, timers, alarm clocks and regular old clocks and watches. I had all these thoughts bouncing around in my head and I thought: maybe the SoCS prompt will be about ‘time’ and I’ll be able to set these thoughts free.

What do I get? Beef. Beef?

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “beef.”  Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!”

I guess I could have started by saying that I have a beef with Linda for not choosing ‘time’ but that’s forced. Still, ‘time’ is what the voices in my head are clamoring to talk about. Oh, wait, there is a connection. Yes, I think this will work.

Green Egg
The best grill I’ve ever owned.

Beef is one of the few things for which I bring out the timer. On the too few occasions when I cook steaks on my Big Green Egg, I make sure that I sear the beef on both sides for exactly 2 minutes. I actually have a timer setting on my iPhone for this. Other than that, I don’t need alarms or timers to get through the day.

I have been waking without the aid of a clock for as long as I can remember having to get up on my own. Before that, waking was orchestrated by my dad and no clock was required. I still set an alarm for travel related activities and odd work requirements but I can’t remember the last time I was woken by an alarm. One extreme example was a time when I was in Florida: I set an alarm for 2:15 am, to get up with enough time to shower, pack and get to the airport by 4:00 am. I woke up at 2:10.

I don’t know why this happens.

I have heard other people say that they don’t need a clock, and I know people who are late for things anytime their alarm clock/phone/sun dial fails to go off. I don’t know what genes wind one person’s internal clock but hit the snooze button on others. This is a case of me simply playing the hand I’ve been dealt.

4:56
A good time to wake up

I typically get up at 5:00 am. I wake before that. On the very best of days, I wake at 4:56. I love consecutive numbers, and 4:56 (am or pm, it doesn’t matter) is my favorite time of the day.

Did you know that the consecutive pairs within any hour that has them are 24 minutes apart?

2:10 and 2:34

3:21 and 3:45

4:32 and 4:56

5:43 and 5:67 – yes, I know there’s no 5:67 but it’s 24 minutes after 5:43 and if I told you that it’s 5:67, you would probably realize that it’s 6:07. You might give me a funny look, but you would know what time it was.

The most interesting consecutive number time, of course is 12:34 but I still prefer 4:56. 12:34 (am or pm, it doesn’t matter) doesn’t have a consecutive partner. 12:10 is close ‘cuz 2-1-0 is 24 minutes before 12:34, but it doesn’t work.

Ironically, even though I enjoy looking at consecutive numbers, I have always had an affinity for analog watches and clock faces. When I was in high school, digital watches had just hit the market. I had one for a while, but you had to press a button to display the time. I didn’t like that because it made looking at my watch one of those awkward “excuse me while I figure out how long I’ve been listening to you” moments.

One of the things I hate about my new Microsoft Surface at work is that, in Windows 10, Microsoft got rid of the Gadgets. I have an analog clock Gadget on my Windows 7 desktop and I was sad when I couldn’t keep that going forward.

By the way, the reason you had to press the button on those early digital watches was because battery technology wasn’t as good as it is today. An always-on display back then would have eaten batteries the way I eat M&Ms.

Actually, the way I eat M&Ms hints to a different aspect of OCD behavior. I like to organize them into groups by color and begin by eating the colors with the least M&Ms. I don’t have any rules about which color to eat in the event of a tie (I’m not crazy OCD). Of course, I only do this if I’m sitting, by myself, at a table. Otherwise, I just toss them down right out of the bag or bowl.

As for that hunk of beef cooking on the Big Green Egg, I’ll take mine medium, but I’ll determine that by pressing on it to see how firm it is. Once seared, I put the timer away.

63 thoughts on “My Atomic Clock

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  1. I am really amazed at your skills and that you notice so much in a clock. I am also into this, but it is more related to my writing work. Not many of my friends know that whenever I visit a new place I usually time the distance I walk from the nearest railway station or bus stop to the exact destination. The word ‘Beef’ is really becoming controversial in India especially in the past few months as it is being used by political parties and media corporate to play dirty politics over cow meat. If the word ‘beef’ would have been given to me, I would have gone a completely different route. However, I don’t want to kick the hornet’s nest here. Anybody interested in knowing what so controversial about beef in India, just type ‘beef ban India’ and you get a huge list of search results. By the way, good work on this Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharukh. I didn’t think about the fact that beef can be controversial. It just goes to show the benefit of being part of a larger community. I do tend to pay attention to how long it takes me to get from point A to point B in a new city. Beef notwithstanding, I guess people are (can be) the same all over. thanks for your continued support.

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  2. Dan, I’m relieved that you were able to combine beef and clocks. I was worried your inner timer might go off and make you explode. Great work.
    It’s the weekend. Let’s try and forget about those pesky clocks. :D Except the feline alarm clock variety. Have a satisfying Saturday! Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Teagan. Weekends bring me the “it’s time for our walk” “it’s time to brush me” “it’s time to feed me” and, of course, “it’s time to head to the bar” – all good times. Have a great weekend.

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  3. Nice take off on Linda’s prompt.

    I always set my alarm clock and I nearly always wake up 5 minutes before it’s due to go off. Doesn’t matter whether I’m home or traveling, or whether it’s the normal night-time sleep or a daytime nap. I always thought that was a little strange since others in my family can’t seem to wake up even with the alarm. And I often wake up to duplicate numbers: 1:11, 2:22, 5:55, etc., and many days I’ll glance at the clock at exactly 10:10 or 11:11. It gets a little annoying sometimes.

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    1. The only time that annoys me is when I happen to notice that it’s 9:11. I just don’t like that particular time anymore. It is weird how some people just don’t seem to need clocks and other can’t get up even with clocks. Makes you wonder why we have them :) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Awesome, post, Dan! We have some things in common. I do not wake up to an alarm clock either. I detest them as they jolt one awake so rudely. My first open eye is usually around 6am, then I just drift off here and there to about 7am, whereupon I get up. IF I oversleep which is not often, my cats make sure I get up … oh take my word for it. One has it hands down how to walk across Mom’s full bladder to get her up. Yep! True! And when I used to eat M&M’s, I too ate them by color and let them slowly melt in my mouth before the urge to crunch them overcame me. It was a game to see how long I could last before I just had to chew. When I cook, no timer. I eye ball things, or use my nose to tell me when something is done. There is an exception here. When I used to bake, I had to use a timer to make sure that what I was baking was done or did not get over done.
    Thank you for this delightful post. Enjoyed every single image as well. Have a great day, Dan!!! <3

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      1. It was NOT easy to control my teeth on the urge to bite so I could get to that chocolate. I had to have discipline and many times I chucked it and just chewed away. I always looked for the RED M&M’s to eat first. :) LOL I have no idea why.

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  5. My husband also wakes up without an alarm. It’s uncanny. I wake up when I smell the coffee :-) And M&M’s: I sort them by color and then eat them until there’s an equal number of each color. Then one at a time from each color so the numbers are still equal, round and round until they’re gone. Try it and I’ll try eat the color with the least first. :-)

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    1. I will give your method a try. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in the M&M eating process. If I’m at home, I do get a coffee delivered on work days, as my wife gets up before me and brings me a cup. Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. In the night, my half-sleeping brain is a fan of what it calls “cute time.” We have a projecting atomic clock so it’s easy to see what time it is when I wake in the night. Although numbers have always been my antagonists, my sleepy self seems to find them cuddly. Whatever time it is, my brain checks to see if it’s “cute”. Consecutive numbers are automatically “cute” and, yes, 12:34 is the cutest. 3:39 is cute because 3 times 3 is 9. 8:42 would be cute because 8 divided by 4 is 2. 11:23 is cute because why? anybody? It starts with an F.

    I prefer analog clocks to digital ones for a sentimental reason. I think I must be numerically dyslexic, since I have to really CONCENTRATE to make sure I’m seeing numbers in the correct places and orders, so learning to tell time was very, very difficult for me. My grandmother, with infinite patience, worked with me gently and humorously until I could tell time on the only kind of clocks we had then. I’m not about to throw away that effort and those precious memories! ;)

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    1. I got that – Fibonacci – nice job recognizing that in the middle of the night. I like the cute times. I like numbers that make me stop and think. I’m definitely going to add 11:23 to my cool times of the day. That’s good because I’m usually getting hungry by then.

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  7. I fell asleep before 11 last night and woke up at 11:36 today. I can do that almost any Saturday. On Sunday, the sleep debt isn’t so great, and I often wake in time to leave for church (10:15) — but not always, so I do set an alarm. In order to wake naturally when you do, I’d need to go to bed around 5-6pm. I’m totally jealous and think being a morning person would be much easier. 6am kills me. I am very excited that this is my last year at 6am. Next year, and all the years after it are 7am at the earliest. I haven’t had that since Bubba and Sissy were in grade school!
    I sear steaks in my cast iron skillet, as there is also a genetic component involved in overcooking meat. The Mister does ribs, bbq chicken, naan, burgers, brats and hot dogs on the grill.
    Bubba recently instructed and supervised his grandparents on how to prepare and grill steak on the red side, and The Mister and I were absolutely tickled. (He’s the favorite, can you tell? lol)

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Don’t be too jealous. There are plenty of days that I could sleep in if I wanted to that I’m still up between 5:00 and 6:00. When I traveled to Seattle, I had the entire morning free after arriving at 10:00 pm (which was 1:00 am in the time zone I started from), I still woke up at 6:00 am. Everybody has their way to prepare the perfect steak. The reason I don’t use the grill as often these days is because my wife does a great steak in the skillet.

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  8. At least when the meat isn’t cooked right, Dan, you can blame it on faulty clocks. The darn things have proliferated so much over the years that it really makes the DST switchover a pain.

    And getting them all coordinated takes so much coordination, it’s ridiculous. “Let’s see, according to the kitchen clock, I’m early. But by the living room clock, I’m late. Meanwhile, my watch says I’m on time.” Brother. Good post!

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    1. I’ll add that to the list of reasons I don’t like DST Paul, but it’s already a long list. The hard one for me is the one in my car. I only ever notice that it’s wrong once I’m moving, and that’s not a good time to try to remember how to change it.

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  9. I do that too – sort M&Ms but don’t eat in a particular color order (altho I probably save brown for last). Great post on time that got my mouth watering for rightly seared grilled steak! I’ve always known what time it is without a watch except retirement time moves twice as quickly as work time ever did.

    My best use for time is with my grandkids. Having watched a nephew struggle with transitions and my brother help him cope, I started from when the g’kids were babies to tell them “you have 10 minutes before …”
    whenever we’d be changing activities or moving locations. I give them a
    5-minute and a 2-minute update. I can honestly say – even though they have very different personalities and needs – neither has ever raised a fuss or not co-operated at ‘time zero’. Occasionally they negotiate for 15 minutes but they never balk as the updates are announced. Why this isn’t in every parent manual, I don’t know!

    My Sophie (KIA) is highly digital except she has a tiny old-fashion analog clock built into the dashboard. A bit of nostalgic whimsey from a creative dashboard designer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that retirement time slows down in about 4 years, but I need work time to speed up for now. Sorry about planting that steak in your head (unless you’re having steak right now). I like the little analog clock in the dash. I do like the idea of teaching young children about time intervals. I joke with Faith about the number of times we were running for a train because “one of us” was running late. I’m glad to see that others sort their M&Ms :) Thanks for hanging out here today.

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  10. 😀 I used to sort my M&M’s by color too but I ate the ugly ones first, to me the dark ones. I saved the few green(Yes! There were green ones!) for last. Somehow tgey tasted better. Then after the whoke FD&C red scare I tossed the red ones. 😱
    For what it’s worth I have an automatic inner clock that wakes me at 7:30 no matter where I am or what time zone I am in. That has been my work arrival time for over twenty years. That signals trouble to me mentally I suppose. Even in CR it happened. Time indeed.

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    1. Does that mean that your inner clock wakes you to start working but that you might still be in your jammies? I’m beginning to wonder if anyone just eats M&Ms in random order. Thanks for swinging by today.

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  11. Interesting – time and beef. I don’t pay much attention to time since I retired and only wear a watch as part of getting ready to go somewhere. I’m an early riser but a little later than you. But, when I have to be somewhere early in the morning I set two alarms so that I can go to sleep and forget about it. If I only set one, I wake up on and off all night long checking the clock. OCD has all kinds of faces. :-)

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    1. Two alarms? That’s funny Judy. The things we do to accommodate the way we are. Whatever works is fine. I actually set my nightstand clock 30 minutes fast. If I’m exercizing in the morning, I get up at 4:45 but I don’t want to see that.

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  12. Really interesting about the consecutive numbers on the clock. I don’t use an alarm to wake up either. Because I hate alarms, they always startle me too much, and I too am able to wake up by myself at the right time. When you said atomic clock and I saw the photo of that barbeque, I thought you were talking about a bomb. It looks kinda like a bomb doesn’t it? :)

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  13. This post was so much fun, Dan! My husband would be jealous of your Big Green Egg, but he hardly eats beef at all. Chicken was his dinner tonight. I always set an alarm but if he has set his alarm to get him up for a fishing trip in the morning, he is always up way before the alarm. I think that is the little kid in him. Not OCD about those M&M’s, eh? :D

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    1. Maybe a little OCD on the M&Ms. The Big Green Egg does chicken and turkey really well, really fast and you can use it as a smoker. It’s the same drill. You open the vents and get it up to about 700 f – toss the bird on, sear the skin and then lower the temp to about 350-400 and cook it off. Thanks for dropping by today. BTW, the BGE does fish well too :)

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  14. Thanks Dan, wonderful post. I have to say I’m one of those who has an internal clock. It’s both a blessing and curse. There are times when I make the decision to sleep in, but it just doesn’t work. The old inside clock refuses to be ignored and pushes me out in to the world no matter how hard I try.

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    1. Thanks Don. You have highlighted the curse of the internal clock for sure. I can’t sleep in, even when I want to and the opportunity is there. If I am still in bed at 7:00 am, it’s because I am sick :(

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  15. “Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future. . .” (Steve Miller Band started rolling out their words, as I read your sequential numbers and thought, “I really need another cup of coffee for this post. :) )
    Okay, Saturday’s are always jam packed but no excuses, just sorry I missed this yesterday since you are always there to say something first thing in the am. On work days I get up exactly 5:55 and leave the house at 6:40. There was a time I used to wake up at 4:56 but I like ten o’clock tv shows and this was making me have sleep deficiency. I read Joey also mention this, too. On Saturday and Sunday unless meeting someone or plans for church, I turn my “head alarm” off, Dan. I really can! This is such a nice break that I like to try getting extra. . .
    I liked your working “beef” into the post uou really wanted to write. I like rare or med. rare steaks and onions and mushrooms grilled on a pan.
    I like Jim Croce singing, “Time in a Bottle ” and “Time,” sung by Pink Floyd. Music really resonates with me, usually my teen aged choices, too. :)

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    1. Thanks Robin. As Don mentioned in an earlier comment, I am jealous of your ability to turn your internal clock off – I can’t do that. I like all of those time songs, but thanks for reminding me of the Steve Miller Band. I think I’ll spend some time with them today. Steaks grilled in a pan seem to be the choice over steaks charred on a grill. I guess I’ll stick to chicken on the Green Egg. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday.

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      1. Or, in brothers case, they have a grill where steak, pork chops or hamburgers can be cooked on main grill, with a side gas burner for grilling mushrooms and onions. They like grilled peppers when I am not around. I am allergic only to green peppers. I had a real story of an ex who, in his youth, made a crock pot of stew with green peppers mixed into stew. (I ended up in emergency room.) Family knew this from when I was 3. I did not get mad at ex, since he just accidentally forgot.

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        1. I had the grill with all the burner options, but we missed the charcoal flavor. This grill has limitations, including the fact that the grill surface is round and pretty small. Still, I like the flavor and I’m usually only grilling for two. I’ve never heard of anyone being alergic to green peppers. That you could end up in the ER from a mistake like that is pretty scary.

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  16. I like my steak medium rare, but rarely eat steak.

    I have an internal clock which usually wakes me 20 minutes before my alarm goes off. Why 20 minutes? I try to snooze during that 20 minutes, but often times I just can’t so I get up. The last couple of years I am requiring less and less sleep which is quite a change. I spent most of my life needing 10-12 hours of sleep a day. My internal alarm has me getting up at 4:04ish every morning. It’s way too early! I have started staying up later to see if that helps me sleep until 5am at least. Sometimes it works.

    When I need to be somewhere I usually set two alarms so I can relax and get to sleep otherwise I worry subconsciously and keep waking up every hour.

    Another interesting post Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 20 minutes? That would be annoying. I wake up closer to five minutes before the alarm, but then, I like my steak medium. I know, there _shouldn’t_ be a relation, but…

      Setting the alarm before I have to wake to travel does help me sleep better, but I sleep pretty well anyway. Thanks for the comment :)

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  17. Hey Dan – I love the way you think – and cool how you integrated the time with the beef topic a bit – but stayed on the time topic enough because you really had a flow – and we were laughing this week because in one of our rooms we still have that digital projection of the time that is hard to see during the day – and we thought about how old school it is – anyhow, laughing at the m&m’s eating too – and the pics just made the whole post come alive – :)

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    1. Thanks! I love the SoCS prompt because I can just flit from thought to thought and “I’m doing it right” for a change. The M&M eating has been a surprise connection with a bunch of my buddies here. I feel almost normal. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  18. So interesting Dan, I never heard of another human being fascinated by consecutive number for time. I guess reading your post made me realized for the first time that 11:11 is definitely my favorite time of the day. Every time my eyes meet the clock at 11:11, I automatically smile. It makes me feel good and happy, for no particular reason.
    Very cool post Dan, thanks for sharing what’s in your head!

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  19. While I admire your precision, Dan, especially with cooking, I’m afraid we’d have a problem if you were cooking my steak. You would lay a beautiful rib eye on the grill, set your timer, and work your magic. And after you proudly set it down in front of me, I would take one look at it and say, “I appreciate the effort, truly I do … but please take it back and cook it this time.” I like my meat well done. Really well done. Really, really well done. If there’s still even a HINT of pink inside, I won’t eat it. Many years ago, my dad and I were in Ohio visiting some elderly friends who were determined to cure me of my “well done” preference. After putting my steak back on the grill twice, the man finally gave up and told me to go ahead and cook it myself. He was horrified when I came back with what could surely be mistaken for a burnt sacrifice. It was perfect and delicious. Then when he offered me one of his prize German beers and I said, “No, thank you, I don’t like beer,” I think he really wanted to tell me to just go back to Canada.

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    1. I could make your steak Wendy. My wife prefers that kind of well done. Our steaks go on together but hers cooks over the hotter coals and mine off to the cooler side. I’ve perfected this technique over 31 years of marriage. As for a Canadian who doesn’t like beer…I don’t know what to do with that. Shaking head… Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Thanks Peter. I’m guessing that there’s a proof out there somewhere but I’ll settle for observation on this one. The Big Green Egg is part grill, part smoker and part oven. I do like cooking on it but I don’t do it often enough.

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