Tangents are lines that touch a circle or an ellipse at one point. In three dimensional geometry a tangent plane intersects a sphere at one point. You can find more than you ever wanted to know about 2 dimensional geometry tangents at Wikipedia.
A Tangent in conversation is a diversion that might intersect the ongoing conversation at one point and be totally irrelevant to the whole rest of the context that is taking place among friends.
That's the way my mind works.
Actually, my mind works three tangents away. Imagine a circle that represents a conversation. My mind works off the tangents of this conversation and constructs another conversation that I may have had with other people at another time, or which may just be in my head. From that second (non-current) conversation my mind takes tangents to a third hypothetical conversation's context and extrapolates a tangent from that.
What this means is that I say some really stupid stuff during conversations that, to any reasonable person, seem totally out of context.
But there are a few people I've met who can follow each of these tangents in their own minds. And if the pick-up is quick enough, the two of us have a nice laugh while the rest look at us as if we're from Mars.
So, here are my tangents this evening.
The first tangent is for a man named Kim.
Take a look at this website. This is what I hope to do before next October. But I still need to tool up for the job. I won't do the fancy stuff, because I'm incapable. But just making the tomahawk heads should be straightforward. I did quite a bit of anvil work when I was in high-school. My parents' home and barn has enough scars in the posts from the swords I made back then. (Sorry, Mom and Dad).
The second tangent has to do with my many years of competition and teaching martial arts. Somebody has put together a website with some wonderful information to demythologize martial arts. The nice thing is that they don't just pick on eastern martial arts. Everything is fair game. Mary found this site when she was looking for information on handgun stances.
The third tangent is that I'd like to recommend to you my friend, Bruce Gee's blog. When Mary and I lived in Madison, WI, during my graduate courses in Hebrew and Semitic Studies, we attended Grace Ev. Lutheran Church. Jesse Jacobsen (author of The Plucked Chicken) was our pastor. (Jesse is now pastor in Oregon at Bethany Lutheran in The Dalles, and Concordia Lutheran, Hood River Bruce and his family were also members there at that time. Bruce has a wonderful family and a keen mind. His mental fomentations are well worth reading. Even if you don't know him or his family, his reports are always entertaining. And when he writes on theology he is one of the most eloquent writers I've had the privilege to read. He calls his blog "Pagans and Lutherans." The title reflects his own experience in coming to faith.
The fourth tangent has to do with a vain personal wish. I have been practicing Iaido with a wooden bokken for several years. I've often desired to buy a real katana. But I've not done so because, unlike a handgun, you can't remove the firing pin or put a gun lock on a sword. I've read about experienced swordsmen who have severely cut themselves by accident. And, heck, a real, folded steel, genuine, made the traditional way, katana costs $$.$$$. But maybe I could make one? And so this blacksmith website has a good bit of tonic to keep me in check.
And then, there is the fifth tangent, self-reliance. Homesteading and survival, living off the land, being a pioneer, no dependence on anyone, being "off the grid" has a strong appeal to me. I read a lot of fiction like "My Side of the Mountain" when I was a kid. So I get beans and some supplies from farmers in the area. Problems? I like my computer and the net--I rely upon these tools for a great deal of my work; though, really, I can do it without them. For my work I need my car and gasoline. This implies a heavy reliance upon world economics. The nearest grocery store is 13 and half miles away. Gardens, when depended upon for survival, require more space and more time than our family is able to deal with. Our winter heat depends upon natural gas and a working electric grid. Our kitchen is entirely dependent upon the electrical grid. The meaning? I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to self-reliance.
Tangents are good, as long as they are kept in check. Mary is very good at keeping my tangents in check. I'm so glad that God put us together.
Now, if the kids would just go to sleep when it's bed time.