Friday, July 30, 2010

Massage table musings:

I went for a massage the other day, as I do on occasion. Having dealt with health issues in the past, I discovered their capacity to nourish the immune system, and thus enhance the body’s ability to self-heal. Although now in good health, the habit of going for an occasional massage has continued. They are a wonderful treat. For those of you who’ve had the experience, you know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Not long into the session, I began to slip into a semi-conscious state, as is often the case, drifting somewhere between sleep and synthetic free fall. Neurons hummed in blissful cadence as chakras began toking on the zenergy of air, earth, ether, and even the therapist – who just happened to be an extremely attractive little spirit indeed. Lysandra was her name, I believe.

In my trance-like state, thoughts dislocated and ran uninhibited through fields of dreams. Abstract neural imagery merged with physical ecstasy as my body continued to throttle down and offload stress by diastolic degrees. If ever a case could be made for heaven on earth, it was moments like these that would be convincing evidence for such a case.

Enjoying the rub, as she worked her hands across my back, I was reminded of an article I had read about massage just a few weeks prior. The article theorized that the reason a massage feels so good is, at least in part, due to neural anticipation - the fact that you don’t know exactly where the therapist is going to go next keeps your nerves on their toes, so to speak; and your body alive with the thrill of wonder. An easy way to demonstrate this, according to the article, was to rub on yourself for a moment. Massage your arm or shoulder and see how it feels. You’ll note that, although it feels okay, there’s really no comparison to the high voltage delight of being rubbed by another. This is because you know exactly where you are going with your next move; there’s no anticipation, no drama, no uncertainty, no wonder.

As my mind continued to ponder this notion, Lysandra shifted aft to work my lower body, moving with the free flowing grace of a ballerina. Although she was fairly young, maybe mid-twenties, she was clearly experienced. With the shift in location, my mind did the same, taking the line of thinking and seeing if it could be somehow twisted with writing - which is the ultimate fate of most thoughts that sashay through my brain these days. And in this case, it didn’t take long to make the connection between the joy of massage and the joy of reading. I realized right away that anticipation while reading is indeed a key element, at least from my view, in the level of pleasure derived from plot and prose alike.

By natural course of thought, I then reflected back on some of my favorite books, (Jurassic Park, The Positronic Man, Red Dragon) and sure enough, anticipation was, among other factors, a direct corollary to whether I enjoyed a book or not. The anticipation of not knowing what was coming next kept brain cells delightfully confused and heightened with amorphous anxiety, and often kept me reading late into the night. I found the connection between massage and reading quite cool, especially while prone on the table, and still buzzing from endorphin overload. It’s amazing what the brain will concoct while broadcasting alpha-wave test patterns.

My mind must have chewed on this thread of thought for some time because before I knew it, Lysandra was asking me to turn over so she could work on my front side, and finish up. Shaking free of the zero-G coma I’d slipped into, I complied, completely unaware that there was even a world beyond the small candlelit cubicle surrounding us. As I settled into a comfy position, and Lysandra slipped a pillow under my head, my mind almost immediately picked up on the analogy it had been ruminating on for some time - the comparison between the pleasure derived from massage, and that of reading a great book. Anticipation, uncertainty, surprise were all definitely hallmarks in the excellence of each. Lysandra then began to work her way down my torso, slowly massaging silky circles over my abs. And as her hands ventured lower, I found myself wondering, with the same anticipation I feel when I’m deep within the plot of a really cool novel. I can’t wait to find out if this story will have a happy ending.


Infinite wisdom

I fear it might take forever for me to fully grasp the concept of infinity.


Friday, July 23, 2010

How to spell success

I feel I owe the cheerleader squad from my high school Alma mater a debt of gratitude. For it is thanks to them that there’s at least one difficult word that I know how to spell - success. And that word, along with the dance routine that accompanied it, for some reason, are indelibly etched in my mind to this day: “S-u-c-c-e-s-s, that’s the way we spell success….success, success, success, success!”

Beyond my success with this word, to this day, I still struggle mightily with spelling, not to mention punctuation; odd, perhaps, given the most recent chosen path of this wayward mammal. I’m sure anyone reading this blog possessing even a rudimentary background in copy will find errors, as the work here is essentially unfiltered. You could only imagine what these blog posts look like prior to their run through the MS word spell/grammar check. I could’ve sworn I heard my laptop mumble the word moron the other day when I keyed said function.

I do recognize my shortcomings in this area, and apologize for any errors. So please be kind, and perhaps even a little forgiving, as you read through this blog. Best bet, wear your grammar goggles as you read, and try to just enjoy it for what it is. They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, so maybe someday I’ll improve, but I doubt it. Beyond the basics, for some reason I’m just not motivated. Good thing god created spell check and copy editors.

The origin of this problem, I do not know – mild dyslexia, acute ADD – who’s to say? Is it nature or nurture? It’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps it’s a hard-wired perceptual issue, or what they once called stupidity, before the whole world went PC. I don’t blame my teachers. I know that I was taught this stuff, not only in high school but college. I vaguely remember learning it, which is to say that I vaguely remember forgetting it. For some reason it just never stuck. What could I say, the time I spent on girls and sports back in the day left little neural bandwidth for anything else. Like many folks, I wish I studied harder back in high school, focused on the more important stuff; maybe then I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed when I sit down to watch Jeopardy and a spelling category comes up, or feel that stab of panic when a grammar related question pops up on Are You Smarted Than A Fifth Grader.

Apparently not!

How it is that I can so easily spell success, but never (and I mean never) correctly spell necessary, I don’t exactly know. Maybe it’s a simple matter of rote memorization from hearing our cheerleaders chant the word so often; maybe it had something to do with those short sexy skirts. Perhaps if Mr. Coles (my ninth-grade English teacher) had worn a cheerleader outfit when he taught, I might not be so grammatically challenged. I’m immensely grateful to the gals in green and gold of yesteryear. I can only hope that the final journey of this novel, like my favorite LHS cheer, also ends with success!

Photo of Eagles cheerleaders taken from NFL Preview

Sunday, July 18, 2010

gravity is gay?

If the apple Sir Isaac Newton observed plunging earthward didn't fall far from the tree, and Newton is generally considered the father of gravity, does this mean that gravity might be gay?

not that there's anything wrong with that.


Manuscript update

According to my agent the manuscript is still in a holding pattern.  The book is currently in the hands of several publishing houses.  However, to the best of her knowledge the story has yet to be read.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Misery loves company

Of all the beasts that inhabit this glorious orb, only Homo sapiens have gods. To the best of my knowledge, my dogs have no dogma. Coincidently, humans are also the only creatures to be aware of their mortality. Many have speculated that there is a connection, claiming that the fear of death has given rise to religion, as well as the notion of an afterlife. The thought of rotting amid worm laden loam for all eternity must’ve been as frightening to the hominids of Paleolithic yore, as it is to the slightly bigger brain editions of today. But could it have served as inspiration for the concept of heaven?

Life is our most precious gift; it’d be difficult to argue otherwise, the fear of losing that gift a valid anxiety. An afterlife would allow us, at least in some spiritual rendering, to continue on, which would go a long way to help ease that anxiety. But even if there isn’t life after death, one can at least take solace in the knowledge that we all die at the same time. This is because from the perspective of the dead, time stops. Without afterlife, the instant would be eternally frozen, similar, I imagine, to the blank slate of pre-life. A man falling at the hands of a Clovis point spear (circa 11,500 BC); dies at the same time as a person today, because from the perspective of the ancient, time stopped, rendering the ensuing millennia nonexistent. Likewise, time will stop from the POV of today’s dead. This rationale may not be as comforting as heaven, but by way of the age old misery loves company principle, knowing that we all die at the same time might help assuage the fear of death at least some.

Authors note:

For the record, this is observational fodder with no agenda beyond an attempt to provoke thought. I have read many works (as well as in between the lines) that clearly have a theological slant in one direction or another, and invariable, due to what I consider a deeply personal choice, I find them off putting. Where we go when we hurtle hereafter into that legendary light; Heaven? Hell? Nothing? I don’t know. Sorting out religious matters is not a crusade of this writer, but that doesn’t mean these issues won’t occasionally be probed. Where I stand on this particular matter will remain unrevealed. But I will say this, it seems that I was appropriately named.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HEADLINE: The case of the missing blogger finally solved.

Call off the search party, don’t delete from your favorites list, and whatever you do, please don’t boil that dust-speck – “I am here! I am here! I am here!”

To my 4 loyal followers, and transient fans who venture through, I appreciate your patience, and apologize for dropping off the face of the earth for a spell. Life has been utterly chaotic over the past few months, as the business of existence has kept my dance card effectively punched. Aside from tending to elementary life functions, (eating, sleeping and other biological imperatives) most of my time has been dedicated to keeping the wheels greased (i.e. running my business), which helps finance the aforementioned essentials, and as such, allows for the ongoing output of fresh blog excreta! (hey….at least it’s FREE)

Now back on-line, at least for the moment, new works should be appearing in very short order, and hopefully with a little more regularity moving forward. In the mean time, to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to over the past few months, I’ll mix it up a bit and post some pictures to help tell the story. And save us both the burden of at least a thousand words.

Projects of this scale (pond resets) usually only come around once, maybe twice a year. They’re extremely time consuming and labor intensive (in this case several tons of gravel replaced by spade and sweat alone), and must be carried out while simultaneously managing at least 200 service calls each month. We completed three of these projects over the past several months, a more than laudable task for a few mere mortals. This self imposed stretch in Gulag was as exhausting as it was necessary to keep body, mind, and laptop alive, as well as a roof overhead. Nobody said saving a world (even a fictitious one) would be easy.

To our clients, we are grateful for keeping us busy, especially given the current economic climate. Much gratitude also goes out to the thousands of aquatic critters under our care. Fish poop, to us, is like ambergris, gross but treasured; who’d’ve ever guessed teleost turds would be the base of such a sound economic stimulus package.
The Gulag
(the koi pond is on either side of the stairs)

Temporary accommodations for fish:
(definitely up-scale!)

Dominic and Josh
(the dream team)

The Fish Whisperer


pondering what's next?