Silly Grins

Monday, February 27, 2012

We Make Boxes

Hey, mister... are your sure that's a good idea?

We tested

They bussed

We learned

Once a week

This isn't being nostalgic. This is just trying to remember some things that happened, trying to figure out what it might have really been about. Judging by the haphazard attempts, there was interest in an overall design, but we were peripheral.

Our subjects varied. From memory:

  • advertising
  • boardgames 
  • calligraphy
  • chemistry
  • electronics
  • roll-playing games

They'd bus us in from different schools. I only remember a few of the faces and a few names. Different ages, maybe. They put us in a facility that looked like it was a cross between a lab and a home economics class. The room is probably much smaller than I remember, because I was still a kid of course.

People were invited to come in to give demonstrations and teach skills. Burning magnesium:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Japan Today: US 1950's

Some people have observe that Japan is, in some ways, stuck in a virtual social mindset a lot like the 1950's.  When I look at those old black and white films, it makes me wonder. 

Below is apparently a link to an experiment carried out in that era in the US at a VA hospital. The video lasts almost 9 minutes... which is too long for most people to watch. So, what I propose is taking a look at the 55 second mark, for ten seconds, and then again from the 1:56 mark till somewhere around the 2:30-ish.

The first time I watched this, I noticed the contrast in her expression, her body language, etc. She seems to be aglow. Maybe the lighting changes. She looks ecstatic. In the zone. That place where it all stands still... silent for that mile between heartbeats before it all crashes down into an explosion of euphoric bliss.  I couldn't help thinking about moments in life that were like that and how more will be. 

This takes a willingness to let go and head further down that rabbit hole.

She says, "I can't tell you about it. If you can't see it, then you'll just never know it. I feel sorry for you." 

(0:55-1:06, 1:56-2:30)
Or, if you've got the time, watch the whole thing.

VA hospitals are a trip, from what I understand. 
Just recently, through conversation with a nurse who had worked in one, in the US, there's some wisdom around knowing when it's time to let people pass. Paramedics love to crunch 'n crack. Judging by what was said, some people prefer to just be let go. When you've been there, despite what the written rules may say, there's something more sacred than protocol set by bureaucrats. That angel earned her wings.

Breaking on through to the other side seems impossible at times. But it isn't, even in this land of harmony. The tension the housewife in the film shows at the beginning of the clip is all too familiar. Stress and tension can be seen as ripping this place apart during most of the daylight hours. Breaking on through to that other side... is something akin to a what might be called spiritual awakening. Those are people I see, but not everywhere.

It doesn't have to be this way. People can cut loose without cracking up. 

Next stop... Titicut Follies.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

君が代: Beautiful

Hands down, one of the most beautiful melodies I've heard.

(Fixed it... apology for sending anyone along down the 404)

Friday, February 24, 2012

They Call Him Loco

And he says he's a racist.

Here's the last comment I left on his fine blog, along with a translation:

“Yep, another book, and then another, and another…”
When the stork delivers that bundle of identical quintuplets the midwife of literature assures me is on the way, I will definitely devote an entry to your firstborn tome (certainly there will be more). Books… all the way down. For now, I pace back and forth in my mental hallway… when the bundle of joys, sorrows, hopes, and wisdom are delivered, time will be given to the cause.
Contentment mus be found in what lay in my palm as I sit pondering, as a mind rests beneath that shade of the electronic tree.
Optimistically Yours,

Blog Experiment #1: Yogurt

Real Time Blog Experiment

Start Time: 2:00 pm, Friday, January 24, 2012

Estimated Time to Completion: 240 minutes

Cleaned & Ready

Mixed & Capped
Two in Chamber

Awaiting Results. Status to be updated periodically. 

Time: 4:45 Not looking good. Seal on the box was breached. Heat lost. Will add more water and hope for the best. 

Time: 5:34 Still not looking good.  Starting to consider options. Do not want to waste the material. Lids can be secured and transported to domicile. There is considerable risk that Wifey may not like it. 

Time: 6:00 - ish. Barely. Decision has been made. We'll risk transport.

Positive Signs of Life

Updates later this evening...

Time: 9:41 
The Results: 

Two cultures developed from the same strain. Basically, a tablespoon or two of unsweetened yogurt (store bought) mixed with milk out of the carton will give you what you see above. 

Whatever... (yawn)

Books... all the way down

"Hey, College Boy, what do you know about Socrates?"
That story he told about one of the summers he'd been working on the grounds as a way to pay off what his swimming wouldn't. That's how the scholarship worked. You swim to win because it pays for your books. He swam. He won. He paid for his books. If he didn't swim, he couldn't win. And then no one would pay. 

So, he swam. On and on.

Or something like that.

One summer, way back when and someplace else I've never been, he was stopped by the old man, the full-time groundskeeper. Full-time meant there for life, as part of the institution, exactly where he wanted to be. Where he was stopped by the groundskeeper, the old man. That's when the question was asked.

"Hey, college boy...." well, you know the rest. 

As it turns out, that old man who pretty much knew how to wield anything with a handle... that old man also knew a lot about Aristotle. And a lot of other stuff that you might like to think you knew a lot about too. 

College Boy suspected Old Man had been seduced by Clio. Suspected, though it was obvious by the stacks of books he had managed to neatly cram into his living space. College Boy said they were everywhere, the books... in huge stacks. One time when he was visiting for a cup of conversation, you know, just checking in from time to time after summer had finished.... one time, he said that he noticed Old Man kept books in his oven. He lived off the words, devouring them.

Everywhere he looked there were books, nothing but books, all the way down.

Clio, she had whispered in his ear, seduced him. That's the way College Boy told it. 

You wanna know how? Well, he's gonna tell ya' anyway.

College Boy was wondering back into archives, maybe late one day, actually thought he looking for something. Clio teased the dust off the top of one of those old tomes as the boy opened it, firm and gentle hand holding her straight back, bound by the feeling of firm spine made supple, sliding index finger between silken pages...she knew exactly what she was doing when she blew his mind. 

He could never leave her.

That Man who never left college, the one who swam and won to pay for his books... that Man went on and on, and on... into her embrace... as an historian. Now he's gone. All the way down. Just seven days ago.

(Update... it wasn't him, it was him. This happens when you start climbing down that stack of turtles... get's a little confusing in the wee hours. Yeah, this blogging this is an ugly mess for which I offer no apology.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nearly Going Postal

Today's anecdote concerns a trip to the post office, which was consequently followed by a number of other surreal events. But the main event, so to speak, happened in that place where packages get shipped, postcards sent, and people usually wait in line... usually.

You see, I was waiting my turn at the front of the cue when one of the clerks asked the next person, that's me, to step over to where she was. The counters in front of where I'd been patiently hanging out were marked for mail. Behind the counter and over to the side a little was a slightly older clerk who'd just motioned for me to come over to the parcel section. Okay.

Just as I stepped sideways and was about to slide forward, a sixty-something fellow who was probably no stranger to hard work, judging by his stout frame and unpolished demeanor, stepped over to where I was headed and began to ask a question. 

He was kind of leaning in while making that, "It's okay, I just need something" kind  flick-wave without even bothering to look in my direction.  The clerk politely told him to wait, but he didn't listen in his overriding-request mode. 

The clerk looked both pissed-off and apologetic. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

ADHD: Hello WTF?

The book would be really helpful in saving the family a lot of grief. Really. You see, it's full of common sense, common sense in the form of sage advice like, "Don't ask your kid loaded questions." And little gems such as, "Mind-fucking your kid because you happen to have a real problem with alcoholic mood swings is, perhaps, not the best way to go about raising a child." 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Adrenaline Placebo

Angry I become, if time is not used wisely.  

Adrenaline junkie I am not.

Some people are. They make movies. They make big, fast, and furious movies.

(Mouthing the words)





(Now screaming)


Debt Free: Paranoia

Concerning debt:

The whole idea of living debt free really does sound nice. 

Yet, there is a troubling question that comes up. Is a person's value to the society in which they live understood in proportion to the debt they owe? 

A system, perhaps a jealous system, would despise those who refuse to buy into it through the accumulation of outstanding liabilities. The debt-free individual may be much less manageable. 

(Deep breath)

And something else (not related to debt):

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Or lack thereof...

 100 & 18. 34: 4, 11, & 19. 5 & 26.
Sometimes you've got to look real close just to be sure you're in the right lane. Or is it the left?

"It was people that first started acting like I was too dumb
to hear or see or say anything at all.”
-Chief Bromden      

The fog, it's got a name. No, not 'parenthood'. Though that can have the same effect. Having no idea where you are or what you should be doing. Driving through the fog, there are a few basic things to keep in mind. Even though it's not a bad idea to keep the lights on, they don't seem to do much good, not on high beam. 

Slow down. 
Be patient. 
And do not stop.